The Other Side

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Saved from Pinterest as a personal reminder not to listen to my anxiety.

So I’m on the other side of a procedure that was so anxiety inducing that I can’t even put into words how it made me feel, how it filled me with dread, and how even the nurses were shocked by what my vitals read. And you know what? I survived! The results are that my colon is totally fine and the doctor didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

All day long Sunday, I prepared for this procedure. I fasted. I drank only liquids and drank nearly a gallon of “Golytely” liquid laxative. Yep… that was the name. That stuff was unarguably the worst part of the whole thing. I spent my whole day in my pajamas running back and forth to the bathroom, timing my consumption of fluids. Then I broke. As my husband was saying he was going to bed I hugged him and began crying uncontrollably. When he asked me what was wrong I listed off a rambling list to him about being miserable, being tired and uncomfortable and scared. His response was to comfort me to the bedroom and convince me to come lay down with him for a little while until I calmed down, man, that guy is such a gem. I went to bed that night with my head on his chest, soaking it with tears as my anxiety took hold of every thought I had. I had previously come to terms with the thought that I wouldn’t even sleep that night, figuring I’d be wide awake with worry and on the couch.

The next day husband worked in the morning and I camped out on the couch feeling dizzy and completely useless because I hadn’t eaten and was probably dehydrated but couldn’t drink water beforehand. When he came home he got ready and off we went. I knew if I allowed myself to think too much, it would all take over. I would be paralyzed with fear, my anxiety being the steel bars on the cage that held me prisoner. So we got to the hospital early and the doctors were ahead of schedule. As they called me in I quickly forced out an “I love you” and ran off because I knew if I even kissed him, I’d break.

I got behind the doors and back into my little curtain room and the waterworks started. My nurse was so kind and understanding. I told her, through the beginning of the waterworks that I was terrified and that it was nothing she or anyone else was going to do wrong that would elicit this reaction out of me. She was kind and calm and said that she would make this painless and that she sees a lot of people who are afraid of doctors. Then another nurse came in for the IV and that’s when I about lost it. As I’m laying in the bed about to get poked the two nurses are talking to keep me distracted and then it happened. They both got very nervous, watching my vitals they stopped talking and focused to place the IV. Once it was in and secured they both let out a sigh of relief and said, “Phew! You scared us! Your heart rate got to 138!” … Yep… I was not kidding about my fear of doctors, needles or hospitals. But as soon as I knew the IV was placed… I was as calm and cool as a cucumber!

The rest of the people I met, nurses, doctors, anesthesiologist, were all so nice. Being wheeled to the procedure room was a nice easy ride and I even remember watching my anesthesia nurse, Mark, push the plunger on the sedative. I fell right asleep and my brain woke up as we were turning the curve to go to the recovery room. Here’s the fun part, when my brain woke up, so did my mouth. Though, at some point my brain checked back out. It must have been when I saw my husband. My brain was like, “You got this bro? OK, cool” and my mouth kept running. Before I had gone in, Steve told me to ask “What the weirdest tattoo was that the doc had seen on someone’s rear” and I told him I would not ask that to a professional. So we laughed. Well… apparently my husband can permeate my anesthesia brain because as the doctor was walking away I called out to him, “Hey doc! My husband wants to know what the weirdest tattoo you’ve seen on someone’s rear is!”

*Face Palm* …

I have no recollection of this only that my husband told me. I apparently also told him my heart rate 4 times. Which is funny because apparently the nurses told him the same thing and were quite shocked that they could physically see the reaction I have toward doctors.

So now, with that behind me I have 2 important takeaways.

1- That is one less procedure for me to be terrified of in the future.

2- I can now focus my efforts on my mental health.

This week, I have scheduled into my calendar calling a therapist because if I don’t get control of my anxiety now, it is only going to continue getting worse. I’ve identified that it’s gotten much worse since I’ve been married. It would seem natural as now, I have so much more at stake than when I was just a young kid living at home. And with the approaching efforts to start our family, Lord help me if I don’t do something now!

I face this part of the journey with excitement. I know that’s not often a word people use to describe taking control of their mental health but I have been plagued by anxiety my whole life. I am ready to have tools to cope, control and co-exist with it. I know I will never get rid of it. It’s part of who I am. It’s why I am such a good planner, why I think ahead and I have it to thank for a lot of different things. But I don’t always want to give it the microphone. So that’s what I’ll be working on moving forward and writing about, I’m sure.

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