Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Ghost of Blood Pressure Cuffs Past

I went to a urgent care center today. The short of it - I tripped on a haunted trail and sprained my knee.

I do NOT like going to the doctor, emergency room, etc. When I was in ICU following the hysterectomy my vitals were constantly being checked. I had a blood pressure cuff constantly on and it would take my blood pressure regularly and one of those clamp thingies on my finger. I don't know why I didn't prep myself for it today, I guess I wasn't thinking about it. I was cruising through the paper work, filled out date of last period (Sept 2006 - always fun to write that down), last pap smear (no cervix - no pap smear!), major surgeries - hysterectomy, all w/o a blink of the eye. I even didn't have a complete meltdown when the sweet girl behind the counter told me that my insurance says I have no coverage (breathing through that one... we will be at my benefits office Monday after work to get that taken care of). What freaked me out was having the nurse put the clamp thingie on my finger and realizing I was about to have my blood pressure taken.

Usually I can prep myself for having my blood pressure taken --- I get ready for it. I do tons of deep breathing, etc. etc. and can get it under control. This year (while getting my flu shot) the nurse actually mentioned that it was low.

Not today, as soon as I saw the cuff I could feel my heart rate pick up. I started to get that panicky feeling. And immediately got super talkative. I told the nurse I didn't do well with blood pressure cuffs, and she was nice, but there's no way to make it easy. She was understanding - and reassured me that while my pressure was high - it wasn't super high.

See the evil finger thingie and blood pressure cuff (in white)
*also must do disclaimer - 20 units of blood makes you puffy - that is NOT what I usually look like - forgive my vanity!

I have few clear memories of the ICU that have truly stuck. They are all jumbled. But I can remember that #*$&#& blood pressure cuff. It was on constantly and an automated machine would take it every 15 minutes or so. It got to the point that I actually bruised where they were taking it. I didn't have a literal flash back today... but as the cuff tightened on my arm... I felt the panic rise and all the feelings of grief, loss, confusion that I was feeling in ICU start to creep in around the frayed edges of my sanity. I beat it back, but it was such a bigger struggle than I anticipated.

I am honestly frustrated, I didn't expect it. I have been kind of self assured lately. Thinking I have healed and getting as close to getting "over it" as possible... I have been more focused on our future in foster care... then I get surprised by a an unexpected flash from the past.

Anyone else have something seemingly innocent take them back to a place they would rather not be????

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who has had a truamatic experience in their life will experience flash backs or panic even when they don't expect it. You're not crazy!
    Good thing you explained the picture, I thought your husband was in the hospital with another woman:)