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Part I »



That's me all blurry on the stretcher there, just about two hours ago.

I was just sitting here minding my own business, uploading vacation photos when a wave of intense dizziness hit me and I nearly fell out of the chair. I stood up, walked around, drank some water and figured it was just a passing phase. A minute later, another round of dizziness and shortness of breath hit.

I've had panic attacks before as most of you know, but nothing ever like this. This was more than some general floating anxiety. I literally couldn't breathe right. When I have anxiety attacks, I know that the feeling that I can't breathe is all in my head and I can usually stop it. This was something else entirely. I thought I was going to die before anyone could do anything to help me. I'm talking life-passing-in-front-of-your-eyes moment. Which, of course, made me panic, making the not breathing thing even worse.

My daughter just kept getting my water, not knowing what else to do. My son just stood there wide-eyed and panicky. I told my husband to call my mother (I don't know why) and then I told him to call an ambulance - which let him know how serious it was. I've never in all my shortness of breath moments ever asked for helpe from anyone, let alone paramedics.

So the ambulance came, the neighbors all gathered in front of my house, being nosy and curious and wondering what the hell was going on and there's five men in my house, all of whom know my father through the fire department, and I realize that I'm not wearing a bra. After they shoved an IV in my arm and took my blood pressure and attached all kinds of electrode things to me, I excused myself to run into the bathroom and put a bra on. Which is a difficult thing to do when you have wires and whatnot sticking out from every spot on your abdomen.

They had to use the stretcher, even though I pleaded with them not to, and all the neighbors gawked and whispered while they packed me in and turned the siren on. Wooowooooo!

Anyhow, bottom line is, I'm pretty healthy. The EKG came back normal, blood pressure normal, blood work normal. However, I've been directed to cut my caffeine, drink lots of water, stay out of the heat for a few days, see my doctor about my insomnia (I actually had to sign a paper saying I would do this), get some rest, chill out, calm down, etc., etc. Easier said than done.

I still feel a little lightheaded right now and I know I'm exhausted (yet not tired, if you know what I mean). It's good to know I have a good ticker and all and that it wasn't any of the weird things that went through my mind (bitten by a strange bug upstate, poisoned by the government, controlled by aliens, simultaneous sudden onset of every disease known to mankind, gamma rays, though I don't know if they tested for gamma rays or poison) and I'm just going to try to "chill out" as the doctor prescribed by looking at my vacation photos and shouting SERENITY NOW!


Jeez, that sounds scary. Glad to hear you're healthy at least. Do get that insomnia thing checked out.

Who lovingly took the time to take the picture? Miss you - hope you are feeling better soon!!

Glad you're okay. Try not to have so much fun on vacation next time. ;-)

Oh my feel better. I am glad that it was nothing too serious? Are you off from work tommorow?

Holy crap! What a way to spend your first evening back. Glad to hear you're OK, and welcome back. That was very generous of you, giving the neighbors something to gossip about.

Whew -- glad it was nothing too serious. Rest up -- stay hydrated (always important) -- get better.

Paramedics and ambulances are always fun, with all the people watching you for their evening entertainment.

Something similar happened to me in a hotel in Portland, Ore. I was just in bed, trying to go to sleep, and I was dizzy and just not feeling right. Sitting in bed, my pulse got up to 180. Called the ambulance, mostly because I really had no idea where I was in Portland and didn't know where the nearest hospital was. I wasn't dying or anything, so I told them to take their time getting here, don't make a big deal of it. Of course, in 5 minutes I hear hear the siren and see the flashing lights through the curtains. And down the stairs and through the lobby I go, with an audience. All that from what turned out to be dehydration.

The good thing about those hospital visits is we usually do find out that we're in topnotch health, aside from whatever minor hickup put us in the hospital that day.

Glad you're ok!

Geez, wotta drama queen. Can't you just make a quiet return to the blog like a normal geek?

Glad you're okay, but what a way to tell the neighbors that you're home. I'm impressed!

Besides, you're not allowed to die until I head back to NYC and we have lunch or something.

I question the timing of this anxiety attack, and I demand we raise the homeland security threat level to red.

Cause I pretty much trust your instincts.

glad you're ok

Amen, and see that doctor about your insomnia!

Glad you're OK. I figure you complete the blogger health misfortune trifecta.

You know it's bad when you need a vacation from the vacation... Thinking of you! Feel better!

Glad you're okay. You need a vacation :)

Wow... glad everything turned out "not serious"...

Please take care of yourself (listen to the doc)

Damn! I hope you feel better soon! Time for some ice cream. Always makes me feel better! :) lol

Holy shit, how scary! I'm glad you're ok!


Not sure if you ever saw this, but I had my own experiences with panic.

Hope this helps.

Best of luck at staying calm, and taking good care of yourself!
That was a neat post tho.

Sorry to hear about what you went through, Michele, but glad to hear you're ok.

And you are blogging 2 hours later ?!?!?

Please take a rest. We'll still be here.
Hope you are ok.

Oddly enough, I got a really bad headache and started feeling weird about the same time you did last night. Luckily I could breathe, so I had a margarita and went to sleep for 10 hours.

THANK GOD you got your bra on! It's funny what you worry about at times like those. And they probably made you take it back off at the hospital, huh?

Anyhoo, welcome back, glad it wasn't terminal, but it sounds serious anyway, I hope the docs get it sorted out for you.

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry -- I know how it is. Rest up and cut back on the Joe!

If you've never cut back on the joe before, you're in for a real treat. Get yourself well. We've missed you.

hang in there. calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean

see you in the threads

Great to have you back! Deep breath, hug the kids & hubby, update the will. To a certain extent, the excitement itself is a form of stress test, which you seem to have passed.

Geez, girl, way to scare your neighbors!

Kudos to the photographer. Now you have PROOF that you need more time off! Put your feet up and relax.
/me doing the 'Get-Better-Soon' dance

ok, now I'm scaring the neighbors ...

geezus, lady! take care of yourself, will ya?

Whew! After seeing that photo so soon after you were back, I am glad that things worked out Ok.

Snarky note: if they did bloodwork, they did check for poison. :)

Thank goodness you're ok! I hope the day off helps.

Wow, that sounds familiar. I had similar episodes a few years ago, awakening in the middle of the night with my heart racing and pounding. No dizziness, but the racing heart definitely causes one to panic. On both occassions my wife called the paramedics, but the symptoms had subsided by the time they arrived. After the second episode, my doctor had lots of tests run on me, including a heart stress test and a sonogram of the heart, only to conclude it was too much caffeine. I've since cut way back on the caffeine, am drinking more water, and I haven't had any repeat episodes. Believe me, too much caffeine can mess you up! Everything in moderation, I guess.

Moms always said to make sure you are wearing clean underwear in case of situations like this - I guess they all assumed we'd at least be wearing underwear in the first place.

Be aggressive with the docs about finding out what's going on with you; don't let them blow you off until you are satisfied that you are getting all the diagnostics and treatment necessary so that you don't have to worry about this happening again.

Glad to hear it turned out ok-ish.

Make sure to play plenty of video games...they always make me feel better. :D

Want a word of advice from someone who's been there, done that?

Well, you're going to get it anyway.

See your doctor, and not just about the insomnia. Make sure you give him the entire liturgy of symptoms, including/especially the dizziness. Regardless of what they say, dizziness while sitting at a computer is not normal under any circumstances. And a clean check-up at the ER isn't the final word when it comes to certification of good health. This is not said with intent to scare, but I had three clean bills of health before I collapsed and nearly died (at age 39) from a heart virus.

I sincerely doubt that your problem is anything of that magnitude, but this is definitely a trust-but-verify situation.