Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #29
–Dr. Sue’s office calls
Monday, April 13, 2009
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 292
I went to have my stress test. They take an EKG while you are walking on a treadmill. Before they start they had me sign a form that said I would be tested to the point of pain or exhaustion. Because I had been using my stair climber for years I was curious how tired I would become, or if I would experience pain before the test was complete.
I started walking and after a few minutes they increased the incline of the treadmill. I was just getting warmed up, starting to sweat and they said I was done. I wanted to keep going. I describe this because I think it is important how much regular exercise has affected me. Because I have been exercising regularly for many years, I was just getting started at a level of physical exertion that would exhaust or cause pain in other patients.
While the EKG was taken while I was on the treadmill, they don’t tell you the results while you are there. Dr. Sue’s office called me today and told me that the EKG was “completely normal”. At this point, I wasn’t really surprised that I didn’t have a heart problem, but I did feel I had completed my due diligence. I was confident that I had done all I could to make sure I didn’t have a heart problem that could impact those that depend on me.
It is important to be clear that any health concern, including any kind of chest discomfort or pain or soreness must be examined by your doctor. I did not attempt to diagnose my chest soreness on my own and neither should you. It is also important that none of this means I could never have a heart problem. Other conditions could develop and I must continue to report any symptoms to my doctor.
I realize that you may be thinking that since Dr. Sue didn’t think I had a heart problem, I shouldn’t have had the stress test. Was it really medically necessary? I can understand this viewpoint. At the same time, I worked with Dr. Sue and she made the call that the stress test was the next step to address my concerns. As Dr. Sue predicted, I was able to let go of my concerns about my chest soreness after my EKG was “completely normal”.
This also shows how you must treat both the physical and the emotional. Because I was working with both my doctor and my therapist all of my symptoms were being monitored and addressed. I also knew that Dr. Sue and Elsie were in contact. I think this was important and contributed to my making progress as fast as I did. Any physical issues will complicate the diagnosis and treatment of the emotional issues.
–Sessions: 17 of 53
Monday, April 20, 2009 11:00am
I was talking with Elsie about things I worry about. I worry that I could have done things better. Elsie interrupted — “you should have had a dog — you could have screwed that up too!” I took this to mean that I really need to lighten up. I haven’t screwed up very much.
During the two weeks since our last session we had taken the boys to see Yosemite. We saw the major waterfalls and half dome. You could hear the Lower Yosemite Falls from our room at night. The night sky was great, so many stars! During our trip, I had an experience I wanted to tell her about. To reduce the traffic in the Yosemite Valley, there are busses that will take you around. We were on one of these and it stopped to pick up passengers. A whole bunch of people got on. It got very crowded. I was getting annoyed. I starting thinking of how long it was going to take to get to the next stop. I was worrying that we wouldn’t get to see everything we wanted to in the few days we had.
For no reason that I am aware of, I suddenly saw things clearly. I looked at my wife and sons and thought that we got there without any issues, we were in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and we had already seen one of the falls and Half Dome, and there really wasn’t any reason to be upset. I could choose to be happy. I could make the conscious decision to look at the same facts and be happy. I could worry about what might or might not happen, or I could be happy with what had already happened. It worked. I was no longer upset. I relaxed.
Elsie listened. Then there was silence. Then she began to applaud. She was clapping her hands! We didn’t discuss it further. I knew what she was trying to tell me. I had figured out something without her telling me. I don’t have to worry all the time. Unless there is a real good reason, I can choose to be happy. It may seem silly to you, but this was an important moment for me.
I told Elsie that the results of my stress test were completely normal. I looked up what a stress test actually does as well as what a heart attack is. This helped me understand why a stress test can identify heart problems. I will say, again, that you must not try to self diagnose. Get help and get any medical problems addressed properly.
I told Elsie about taking my oldest son to UC Davis for orientation. He was going to be a freshman in the fall. The orientation started in the same auditorium where I graduated 29 years before. No member of my family attended. Elsie becomes agitated, she is upset. She says my family probably knew I was graduating. She doesn’t understand why they weren’t there. I explain that my Mother was mad at me during my senior year of college because I went to visit my father. Elsie asks lots of questions. She wants to know how the visit came about. It’s hard for me to explain. This comes up many times. I had no control over my parent’s behavior but I have to explain it.