"The Event"... (Finishing my tale of fear and why that emotion has led me to self-publishing again.)
The day started like any other Saturday in my life at the time. I woke up with a headache, and a continuation of the sniffles/cough I'd had for like 6 weeks. I downed some antihistamines, and found that I'd run out of coffee, so I threw on my scarf, jacket and toque and started trudging through the freshly fallen snow to a local greasy spoon where I often went (and still go much less often) for Ukrainian sausage & eggs. As I was walking down the street, I noticed my nose running, and when I looked at my scarf, there were drops of blood.
"Weird" I said aloud, thinking that I hadn't had a nosebleed in a hell of a long time, possibly never as an adult as I could recall. I had been taking a lot of antihistamines to fight of this cold that wouldn't go away. So I ran back home holding my scarf to my nose, and eventually got the bleeding stopped (took a few minutes, but I looked up online the proper way to hold your nose so it stopped and it did.) Once it stopped I did just what I'd set out to do, have a greasy breakfast, some coffee another shop (Turk's) and some grocery shopping after that. I even stopped by work and told people about my weird nosebleed.
I played on the internets for awhile, had a beer or two, and changed into my track pants/t-shirt combo that is my loungewear at home and settled in to watch the HNIC double header, Leafs game first, then the Canucks and someone. During the first period of the Leafs game, the nosebleed came back but not the trickle it had been. It was more of a river of blood. Somehow I never got any on my clothes, furniture, or carpet as I ran to the bathroom and bled all over my sink, grabbing toilet paper to staunch it, the paper soon became bloody pulp and it just seemed to get worse and worse.
I tried all sorts of positions of head, body to try and stop it, eventually, my nose had been bleeding for nearly an hour, so holding my nose and head back I put my pants on with one hand and went upstairs and asked my landlady if she knew any first aid, or if she though I should go to the hospital or what (this was the first time I thought of that!) It was going slower, but still a steady drip. She called a Nurse friend, who said we should call an ambulance or I should cab it to Emergency. Having no money on me (between paydays) I opted for a non-emergency ambo ride.
The ambulance pulled up 10 minutes later and they came in, asking me the standard questions. They were a bit stymied as to why the nose was bleeding so much until I mentioned all the antihistamines I'd been taking. They said it was likely that my nose was all dried out and raw because of that, but then they took my blood pressure. It was insanely high. 220/110 or something like that, I forget the actual numbers, but they kept asking me if I had chest pains, or ever did. No I said firmly, understanding that they thought maybe I had heart issue. This was and is true, never had/have chest pain like that.
They said "well your BP is dangerously, insanely high and you have to come to the hospital if you don't want to have a heart attack or a stroke."
Okay there is something to FEAR. I started to be a little bit afraid at this point, more so than I had been of bleeding out alone in my basement apartment.
There was a light blanket of snow on the streets and hardly any traffic; the ride to St. Paul's was almost pleasant as I gave my history to the ambo guys, who btw were really caring and helpful. They made me calm and I didn't feel as scared going into the hospital as I did when they said we had to go.
I was fast tracked into a room where they stuffed my nose with cellulose like it had just been broken in a hockey fight. Not a pleasant experience that. I grimace just thinking of it. I stayed in the ER overnight, as they couldn't get my BP down where they thought it safe to send me home. I do not recommend the ER at St. Paul's. I was treated (and they shouldn't make this distinction in my opinion, but I got the sense they feel they "have" to) like a junkie, or some child having a tantrum, simply because after sitting there with tubes coming out of me, and my nose stuffed with cellulose for 6 or 7 hours I was trying to get someone to pay attention to me long enough to tell me what was going on.
I almost made a formal complaint when I left the hospital, but didn't want to deal with it anymore.
I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days, up in the cardiac ward, until they could get my BP down to a level they were comfortable with me being able to maintain; with all the pills and advice they gave me.
This definitely put some fear into me. They told me I needed to lose say 20 or 30 pounds at least, and I had to go on a "heartsmart" diet to help keep the BP down. They never really ever came up with a causal diagnosis other than a predisposition genetically to high BP and my crappy dietary habits/overweightness. At the time I weighed 260-270 lbs.
For the second time in a few years I felt I was in a do or die situation, but this time the die wasn't a metaphorical thing. (The previous do or die, being going to Japan to earn enough cash to be able to pay my debts, which had been impossible to do, staying in Canada) So I started reading up on how to eat healthier, how to read nutritional data on foods. I had never paid more than scant attention to those labels before, simply gorging myself constantly, filling whatever emotional voids needed filling with food. (those voids btw are mostly still active and hungry, but I ignore them for the most part these days)
What I found as I went along though was that actually it was a fairly easy thing to eat healthier, and less. (for example: The day I left the hospital even, I looked healthier than I had in a couple of years as the High BP inspired acne/rosacea that had been making me feel like an ugly troll for the last few years had completely vanished.)
Losing weight turned out to be embarrassingly easy for me. Embarrassing, because it was so simple: eat smaller/healthier meals. Now I weigh 185-190 lbs. Though I still have too much flab on my torso since the regular exercise aspect of healthier living is the hardest part of living healthy, for me personally.
I am getting to a point here, and that is despite my conquering of the high BP (which I still take some meds for, mind you, and watch my diet etc) there is still a real fear of (for lack of a better term) my own body that I haven't been quite able to get past yet.
Psychologically speaking my first guess is that this fear of being more physical stems partially from the stuff I was mentioning the other day here, about some things being so easy for me, that I never tried very hard at them. Sports are a good example of this. The very basic aspects of team sports I was decent at as a kid, but as a chubby little bugger, I often was picked last for things, or not included because of an assumption I wouldn't be good enough. I took this seriously, and it became a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and my confidence (and still does) ran very hot or very cold.
This led to me either trying really hard or more often, not at all in situations like gym class. Playing road hockey, or sandlot baseball though, I always gave it my all. The other aspect of my body fear was that my body wasn't really my own. Hunh? You say?
(Again To be Continued, eventually I'm going to get to my point, but I've decided to go with the flow on this blog....)