Thursday, September 9, 2010


So, today I finally called the VA and talked to someone about the stuff going on with my own health. One of the things that happens when you are a caregiver is that you don't do a very good job of taking care of the caregiver. For the past year, I have been having nearly daily bouts of nausea. Some days it's just a little queasiness, and other days it's full tilt boogie. Today it came on full tilt, and I had had enough, so I called the VA. They were pretty calm until I mentioned that I also broke out into a real unattractive sweat with this and would have to sit down until I got my strength back. That's when they strongly recommended I come to the ER (the nausea, weakness, and sweat are suggestive of serious heart stuff).

The ER? Really? This has been going on for over a year! And it was only a little over a year ago that a hotshot cardiologist ran a wire up my groin and told me that my arteries were "perfect." But I am an obedient airman and I went in. It took less than 5 minutes for the ER triage nurse to figure out that I wasn't in immediate danger and I was sent to the Urgent Care Clinic. I ended up with three vials of blood drained and leaving some urine behind for them to examine. I go back in on Tuesday to see a doc and get results and figure out what is next.

I don't think this is serious. I am fair, fat, and well over 40 and it is very likely a cranky gall bladder. But I will do the drill and get back on track taking care of my own health. The cautionary tale is this: when you are looking after everybody else, you probably aren't looking after yourself very well and things go to hell. I also haven't had an eye exam in three years; and if I hadn't been taking Bill to the dentist every six months, I probably would have skipped that, too.

When I got to the VA Center and checked in, I was chided because it had been since May of last year since I had been seen in my clinic. Well, I was SURE they were mistaken! I am clearly not THAT irresponsible! 
Except that I am. I checked my datebooks from this year and last, and ... yep! I am doing the stuff I jumped all over my mother for doing before and after my father died. Not giving care to the caregiver. That just disappoints me. I thought I was doing SO much better than that!

And as soon as I have that thought I realize that I have found another way to make myself feel bad. "Wow! I did a good thing for myself and I am finding a way to feel bad about it." The guilt that haunts us in grief finding a new and exciting way to torment me!

For the guys with sensitivities to female things, I suggest you put fingers in both your ears and go "La, la, la" during this next section.

When I got done at the VA, I went to the mall and did some retail therapy. I went looking for shoes to wear to the reunion banquet in San Antonio at the end of the month, and ended up buying nearly $400 in lingerie. Oh!
But, truly, when you go in and find that you are wearing the totally wrong bra size and you realize that everybody sees you LIKE THAT; it is an EMERGENCY!

Afterward, I needed a drink. I needed three drinks. Cosmos. Actually, I just needed two -- but they were SO GOOD, that I had the third just because I could. And oysters. And good phone with my girlfriends!

Ok guys, you can come back now. Seriously, I don't know why you get freaked out when we talk about bras.


Lissa Forbes said...

All you say is true. Caregivers often don't take such good care of themselves.

I'm sorry, Sharon, but I got you beat. I had my first mammogram today in over 12 years! The good news I went in and took care of it ... just like you did. Give yourself a pat on the back instead of the guilt trip. I know, sometimes easier said than done. It's about disassembling the hard-wire response.I'm just encouraging you and reminding myself. :->

Lots of love,

Bobbie said...

Ha, if you think talking about bras is bad, mention your period LOL. They head the other direction. I figure I will need to hire a cab driver to get to the hopsital with a hysterectomy.

Anyway, so true about that caregiving....Life gets busy and we probably put the most important things on the back burner. I'm two years overdue with the regular maintenance and that's really stupid for a woman of my age.