Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brain Overload, The Real Deal: a short memoir

Several weeks ago my beloved Lab mix (who is 13, we think) had three grand-mal seizures (no previous history) in 12 hours and ended up at the emergency vet clinic. I have never been so happy to live "in civilization" and not the "boonies" that I grew up in.  Usually, my frugality wins but when it comes to this dog I can only see with my heart.  She was there to greet me out of the hospital and long before that nursed me through some pretty awful migraines. When I would shake and shiver in pain she "selflessly" would crawl into bed next to me until the shaking passed. She is an odd little dog full of anxious quirks. We just get each other even if nobody else does! So to say I had a stressful week adjusting to new medications and need to go out more during the day is a gross understatement! I was quite stressed.

It all caught up with me last week. I knew better than to run to BJs before my hair appointment (my summer pixie cut was growing a tail, Seriously, if you don't believe me ask my hairstylist friend.) So, I was determined to make it to my appointment! With list in hand, I foolishly entered the huge, overstimulating box store. About half way through, I knew it was a mistake.  I ducked down a 'quiet' aisle and took a few deep breaths trying to pull myself together enough to get out of the store at least! I was able to get out the door with my purchases. As I got in my Jeep I was done. I knew I was in no condition to drive and thankfully I had about an hour before my appointment since I all but bolted out of the store (yes, I paid, it's amazing actually.) So, I jumped in my Jeep and threw the seat back, dug out my "emergency chill pill"and took it . Of course, I grabbed the pillow I keep in my Jeep (not the first panic attack I've had folks) and began my deep breathing exercise, as the blanket I also keep under my seat served to block the rest of the assaulting sunshine from my closed eyes. Once my medicine kicked in I sat up and grabbed for my phone to check the time and to set an alarm so I didn't have to think about it! When I looked out my passenger side window and  saw parked in the spaces right in front of me was a blue pickup truck. Someone was sitting inside it apparently waiting for someone in the store.  If you remember my story you know that a blue pick up was reported leaving the scene of my accident.  Immediately, I knew it was a monument, a reminder from God He is in control and with His help I can keep going.  I'm not sure if you've ever been this exhausted and your brain so flooded you were convinced you could not go on.  That is where I was at that moment. It hasn't been quite this bad for me in awhile. It made me very thankful for a number of friends I knew would drop anything to come rescue me. But, this time I just needed a dark quiet car and the reminder of that blue pickup truck.  I literally didn't think I had the strength to get home! That blue truck sitting there "watching over me" somehow calmed me and reassured me, "this too shall pass!" Just as the Lord cared for me that fateful day, He continues to care for me daily!
After a short nap and a "God wink," as my friend calls it, I actually made my hair appointment (with a friend who 'gets it') and my tail was taken care of!
     The ordeal reminded me of a conversation at a wedding this summer.  We were seated with people from our church we didn't know well. After hearing my story, the curious friend asked me, "Do you think you will ever go back [to finish your Master's and to teaching]." I replied that I no longer wondered if it was my calling I can't even handle the organized chaos of a store by myself. Why would I ever enter a classroom again and be responsible for all the precious lives in my care. I have an amazing peace that it is not the place the Lord desires for me. I don't regret my choice of careers.  It prepared me, not for teaching in a classroom, but to help in my own recovery.  I had a lot of different strategies already in my memory and I loved learning, which came in really handy since there were and still are many things to relearn or learn for the first time!  At one point, just before my aneurysm be began to  I regret choosing Elementary Education as a major. I think the Lord was stirring my heart for what he had prepared my journey to be. I certainly haven't figured it all out yet but I am much more content with exactly where I am than striving to fit in a place that wasn't meant for me.
On that same note, you'd think a girl who wakes up every morning truly thankful for life and breath. Thankful that all her arms and legs move when her brain asks them to would be much better at "living in the moment." Perhaps, my conservative upbringing made me cringe at first when I heard this, but I am not good at this concept.  When I talk about "living in the moment" I mean enjoying and being thankful for what the moment, you are in, provides. You see, while I am truly thankful I notice that the moment is often spoiled with fears and anxiety about what might be around the next corner. So, in a way I'm not enjoying moments but anxiously fretting the next obstacle, test, trial.  My beloved and ancient dog has been teaching me this. She is still here and walking around, eating, drinking and living. Now I have moments of weakness when the reality of the situation hits me and I am teary, sad and anxious but, we take short walks every day. It has always been her favorite thing and I often use my own fatigue as an excuse to tell her, "not today!" But, this fall we take walks every day and she seems happy to smell all the creatures who walked around before we got there.  She even prances down our driveway and wears as much of a smile as a dog can wear. So, I have had almost an "extra month" of walks and pictures and spoiling her rotten, which she is pretty sure should have been her treatment all along (don't let her fool you, she was always spoiled by this tenderhearted, dog loving girl who always felt some responsibility cater to her anxious ways. I mean,  if we left I always brought her to my parents house (usually a two hour trip in the opposite direction,) where it was familiar to her and I was sure she would be taken care of exactly as I wished!)   Here is to many more days of spoiling and many more moments truly enjoyed!!
Click here for a really great explanation of "Brain flooding"


kernscot said...

Hi Lisa-

It was so good to see you for Paulie's birthday. I was afraid to ask about Mookie so thanks for the update.
I can at least partially understand what she means to you. I was very close to my last Sheltie, and my new young Siamese cat Robbie was exposed to a virus which may overwhelm him at some point. I thank God each day that he is OK, and have anxiety attacks when he occasionally sneezes. My social worker friend reminds me there are no guarantees in our lives so I just enjoy him.


Gin G said...

Good to see you feel well enough now to write about this crazy summer.