Austin, United States

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m...

My Most Recent Brush With Death

Another brush with death! I can’t believe it, but I have to say it was partly my own stupid fault. You see, I have a form of PTSD, so sometimes I react in a way that people do not understand, though I restrict my reactions, for the most part, to my home, and to myself. If you see someone go off on what appears to you to be a small thing, you probably are not aware of the long string of things that preceeded that event. I’m not a criminal or anything. I was taught early on to verbalize my feelings, and this works for me. I keep it to the home. There is a cumulative effect of repeated abuses, and over time, it can become maddening. I suspect the problem has to do with a group. I don’t want to elaborate here. After I blow off a little steam though, I’m ok. I realize this is something I need to deal with in a different way, but at the moment, it’s my only outlet. On the job, I’m fine. I have always enjoyed working, and throw myself into it whole hog. I’m about to join a gym, but that has to wait for my injuries to heal from a bad fall a few weeks ago. I think I fractured a bone. It’s still very swollen. In the past, ambling through the park was a good way to deal with my PTSD, and recently I read that some similar treatment for vets has been effective for most. Interesting really.

So you may be wondering about the near death thing, and how does this relate. I’ve been very distracted with Christmas things, and decided to try a medication to help the effects of the home invasions I’ve been trying to deal with, though this seems to have abated somewhat. (And I have to add here that not everyone is coming in here to do something wrong. I think some try to house sit for me sometimes when I’m out. So I like to think.)

So one evening, I started this medication, but I was distracted with all that I had to do during the week, and without thinking, I took the whole pill instead of half, as I was instructed to do for the first 3 days. It didn’t take long for the symptoms to manifest. My tongue became hard to control, and I spoke only thickly. My legs did not want to work, and my body began to jerk. My system was shutting down, as I was, what else?, verbalizing (if thickly) the problem. I heard a neighbor say, “If she doesn’t call EMS soon, she won’t be able to.” That frightened me, and I realized I was not having a normal reaction. HAH! (I had debated, “Should I just go to bed?”) So I quickly unlocked the door, stumbling to it, and stumbled to the phone and dialed 9111. Yes, I dialed three ones! I still got the 911 operator, thank God. By the time EMS got here, I was not doing well, and that’s putting it mildly. I was not able to go change out of my pajamas, and was having trouble just staying in the chair. Nor could I stand. It was the most odd feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life! Scary too!

EMS set right to work, calmly, efficiently, beautifully! I can NEVER thank them enough! They took my blood pressure and it was 60 over 35. I gulped and said thickly as I felt myself sinking, “I’M GOING TO DIE!” It’s funny that they didn’t laugh. The EMS lady just said, “You’re not going to die. You’re going to be all right.” But, “I’M DYING! Isn’t that what that blood pressure says, that I’m DYING?” (All of this said thickly and with great effort.) She replied kindly, “You’re not dying. You’re going to be all right.” Actually, despite her assurances, I still harbor this sneaky suspicion that I was indeed dying. If they had not come, I probably would have died. I remembered foggily that the contraindications on the info sheet had said something about low blood pressure and that you could die! I WAS DYING! So I thought. Funny now. But I was so wiped out, I could not walk by this point, and they had to CARRY me to the ambulance. As it turned out, I think they sent TWO ambulances (probably one for the neighbors who were undoubtedly going ballistic. Haha.) In retrospect, I have to thank the neighbor who made the comment about calling EMS. She also had a part in saving my life. I hope she doesn’t regret it today! (My PTSD episode last night. SIGH!) One thing I noticed before I sank so low was these weird physical hallucinations. Not strong ones, but mild misinterpretations of physical surroundings, drug induced. An arm and some background thing took on the look of something coming towards me that was NOT an arm, but I wasn’t sure what. I would then see it more clearly, but it was something I had never experienced in my entire life. I’ve never hallucinated before. In different circumstances, it would have been a curiosity. Hah! I’m not into drugs. I only take them when I must.

The technicians started an IV and gave me a shot of something and slowly, I began feeling more lucid, but still as limp as a wet noodle. I remained in a bit of a fog and slept in the emergency room until just before dawn when they woke me. I WAS STILL ALIVE! :P But terribly sleepy and floppy. That particular medication makes you sleep, as well as working as an antidepressant and so forth. I had been having a bit of Christmas blues, which is what had induced me to try to take something in the first place. I did manage to get a cab and go home. I was NOT going to take the bus home in my pajamas with only slipper socks on! NO WAY! NOT IN THE HOOD! That would have started all KINDS of talk! You can understand, of course….

I got home at dawn, and went right to sleep. I slept until 3 in the afternoon! I woke up with a horrible headache. I felt as though I had a hematoma. I guess that’s how a hematoma feels…..

The thing about PTSD is that you can also misinterpret something because of past events. You can think it is happening again when it is not. As I said, I save my reactions for home. I have some good neighbors too, who I know have tried to help, though it can be hard to sort things out sometimes. I’ve tried showing those who do these harassment things what the effect of their actions can be, but it hasn’t had a positive effect on everyone. Until you’ve gone through something like this, you can’t understand. You just think harassing someone is a cool thing to do. It’s not.

After this idiotic event, I’m more careful to not let myself get distracted, and I returned to consciousness with a new attitude towards being alive. More grateful, I guess, with more of a sense of purpose and a greater appreciation of Christmas. And I now know that I will never take that medication again, “correct dosage” or not, because after three days, I was supposed to take the full pill that I had taken that night. NO WAY, JOSE! Ain’t happening. Though I’m now basically back to full functioning, I still feel kind of weak. I’ve never really been a timid person, but I do still feel a bit peak-ed.

I am, interestingly, having a mars-jupiter aspect to my natal chart. I don’t put a lot of stock in astrology, but it is mildly interesting. Lots of aggression is a possibility with this apsect. I’ve been trying to stay home as much as possible. Haha. But I have been very accident prone. Not only did I have a very nasty fall, which injured both of my knees, my arms, and my back, but almost killed myself with the wrong does of medicine, and other smaller events. The other day, I swiped my card at the grocery store counter, and the card reader flew off its hinges! I had to catch it! GOOD LORD! That has NEVER happened to me before. I asked the clerk, “Has this reader ever done this before?” She said, “No.”, and she gave me a suspicious look. I didn’t do it on purpose! I promise! As I said, mars-jupiter. Lots of weird accidents happening, seemingly by coinky-dink. One interpreter said, “You’re full of confidence right now. Just have a friend with you to bounce your thoughts off of.” Or something like that. I’m not full of confidence right now! I feel stupid. Maybe that’s the purpose of the aspect, to make me feel stupid. IT WORKED! But on the bright side, this aspect will recede about mid January. Until then, I will have to be very cautious. So they say. I’m beginning to believe them! I don’t recall EVER having such a run of bad luck and total frustration! This time I’m going to deal with it withOUT medication….but I’m not going to drag a friend into it. I’m just going to stay home as much as possible, and find a nearby job. That should solve all these problems in one fell swoop. God willing. Of course, I DID have a second fall at home after the first one! DUH! How would I ever survive without my good Guardian Angel? (Though this is all very unusual for me.) God knew what he was doing when he gave a Guardian Angel to each of us! Probably none of us would live very long without them….

P.S. And the latest? As I was finishing this, I noticed something wet on the computer desk inching closer to my hand. The carton of tea I had sitting on a coaster had sprung a leak and was threatening to take over the whole desk! SIGH! How did that happen? It was just sitting there! Mars. Lots and lots of mars….

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