Heart/wrecked

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Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

Foot Fetish

Due to a communications mixup, I didn’t get to see the new podiatrist until today.

Lemme back up…about a month ago, my foot started to hurt after a long walk. At first I thought it was a stress fracture, but there was no bruising.

Pretend doc that I think I am, I decided it was a joint or tendon injury: extensor tendonitis and possibly capsulitis of the second metatarsal. I wore a boot in the house, iced it, soaked in epsom salts, taped it up with KT tape, and did a lot of stretching.

Refusing to give in to the pain, I forced my poor foot to go on long walks that were excruciatingly painful.

Finally, this morning, I got an xray and waited for the doc. Actually there were two of them that came in to see me, ‘cos I guess it was a slow Monday. They asked me what happened and I gave them both the benefit of my ZERO years of medical school.

I was pretty chatty and finally, one of them broke in and said, “How’d you like to look at the xray?”

I said, “Well, you could have shut me up about five minutes ago haha”, but he said he liked listening to my diagnosis, even though I was totally wrong.

The xray left no doubt as to what the problem is IT’S a COMPLETELY BROKEN stress fracture at the base of the toe and not healing because I kept re-injuring it.

My initial diagnosis was correct! I should have gone to medical school for real, oh well, too late now…

I hate my feet, I really do, they’re tiny but completely deformed from too many years of ballet and toe-crushing pointe shoes, in addition to breaking every toe multiple times because I’m CARELESS. I call them my fat little trotters.

I can’t walk anywhere for two weeks, I have to wear a hiking boot in the house, I can’t go barefoot at all, and I had to promise to actually and truly wear the boot so I wouldn’t be forced to have an aircast up to my knee. In other words, my foot needs to be completely immobilized.

On the plus side, they told me I had the softest feet they had ever seen, (which was only slightly weird) and they loved my high arches–from an anatomical perspective. The docs said I should see the rest of the feet THEY have to look at all day, and in that regard, my feet were a PLEASURE. LOL. AND that my sunny disposition cheered them both up because they were having a not-so-great Monday. We spent a lot of time laughing which made me happy, too.

There’s a SLIGHT chance I’ll have to have surgery in January, but only if it doesn’t finish healing correctly if I disregard their expert advice.

That’s my Monday, I hope yours is less fraught with injury!

Daytime Moon

I love seeing the moon during the day even though it’s so very confusing.

Daytime Moon

In the morning
When the sun
Is shining down
On every one,
It’s very strange
To see the moon,
Large and like
A pale balloon,
Drifting over
Roof and tree
Without one star
For company…
~ Dorothy Aldis, American children’s author and poet (1896-1966).

What does Chanel and a moral dilemma have in common?

Here’s the story…

I found an adorable pair of Chanel CC logo earrings on Amazon, not real, but “replica” and so sparkly that I purchased them. I don’t normally go for fake anything but these looked a lot like my real Chanel logo necklace, and I thought what the heck, I’ll just return them if they’re not great, plus I lose earrings so often that I’d be totally freaked out if I lost one that cost hundreds of dollars.

The delivery tracking number wasn’t working so I messaged the seller. She immediately responded, said things were unfortunately delayed and she was very sorry, issued a refund, and told me if they did arrive, keep them as a gift from her.

Well…two days late — today — they DID arrive and they are even more sweet than I had imagined.

What would you do?

Here’s what I did: I emailed the seller, told her I received them, and asked her to either give me an address so I could send a check OR re-charge my card.

Again, she responded promptly:

I am very sorry for the delay of the package,
So you don’t have to pay, you can keep it,
thanks.
GOOD DAY,

Here they are. I never expected to receive such an awesome gift, but I feel much better about keeping the earrings knowing that I offered to pay and she still wants me to keep them!

The earrings look perfect with my (real) Chanel necklace.

Would you have tried to pay or would you have not bothered to make the effort based on the first email?

Of course this wasn’t a life altering moral dilemma, just one of those medium-sized quandaries that pop up in our lives on a daily basis to test our character.

Convo 918: “I love myself.”

“Look at what I made, Grandma! It’s a sculpture, it’s my creation!”

“That’s absolutely amazing, T! Make sure you put it in a safe place so I can see it the next time I visit, OK?”

And then he was off to play with the little girl next door.

“Gotta go, Grandma, Em’s waiting for me!”

Oh my heart. He’s FIVE YEARS OLD.

That gave us time for Dad to share an incredible story about Angel Girl 2.0. During her bath the previous evening, she stood up, put her arms around herself in a big hug, and said, “I love myself.”

Then she said, “Daddy love yourself, too.” directing him to give himself a hug.

C was napping, so I wasn’t able to chat with her.

T came back for a moment to grab a pile of grapes to share with his friend.

“Hi, Grandma! I’m still playing out front, you know how we do that, right? Em’s chasing me.”

“Hey T, do you love yourself?”

He said, “I love YOU, Grandma”.

I DIED.

“Oh, T, I love you, too. But do you love yourself?”

“Yes, Grandma, I love me too.” (I swear, it’s like talking to a teenager.)

And off he ran.

That boy. *Shaking my head.*

Where and how does a two-year-old acquire that kind of healthy self love? One of my favorite lady docs first shared with me Louise Hay’s suggestion to look in the mirror every day and say, “I love you” to my reflection. At first I scoffed, too embarrassed to look at myself any other way but critically, but because I liked and respected that doc so much, I gave it a try. And kept doing it until it wasn’t so weird. After that, I did some of Hay’s Mirror Work and Inner Child exercises. It’s tough work, that’s for sure, but insightful and nourishing.

That this little girl already has such a beautiful light spirit is glorious. Imagine if everyone felt that way, the world would be a very different place.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…

Try this Louise Hay Mirror Work exercise for a better morning routine:

  1. When you first wake up in the morning and open your eyes, say these affirmations to yourself: Good morning, bed. Thank you for being so comfortable. I love you. This
    is a blessed day. All is well. I have time for everything I need to do today.
  2. Now take a few more minutes to relax and let these affirmations flow through your mind, then feel them in your heart and throughout the rest of your body.
  3. When you’re ready to get up, go to your bathroom mirror. Look deeply into your eyes. Smile at that beautiful, happy, relaxed person looking back at you!
  4. As you’re looking in the mirror, say these affirmations: Good morning, [Name]. I love you. I really, really love you. There are great experiences coming our way today.
  5. And then say something nice to yourself like: Oh, you look wonderful today. You have the best smile. I wish you a terrific day today.

Kindness Matters

In color or black and white, the message is the same. I found these cups on the clearance rack for two dollars each. TWO DOLLARS!

In these photos, it appears that the paint might be chipped off a couple letters, but it’s only the lighting. They are perfect and not damaged in any way.

I couldn’t resist. I needed to rescue them and bring them to a good home, a KIND home.

Happy Saturday!

Yes, it does.

Crime in Carlsbad

Update: After a chase through Carlsbad, the suspect got on the freeway and was eventually arrested by California Highway Patrol aided by the Astrea helicopter. There is a $250,000 bail for his many charges. ****Now I’m told this arrest was NOT in conjunction with these crimes, which means there’s more going on in my little town than I was aware of!
___________________________________________________________________

Last night I received a disturbing call from a neighbor who wanted to know if I had heard about the recent string of robberies on her street, which is directly behind me.

To explain how that works, I live on a hill but the land behind me is even higher so I can look up and see the backyards of the homes on their street which ends in an open space.

I had not heard ANYTHING but these are the scary details:

I learned that three houses in a row were robbed on Sunday between 3am and 4am while people were home, asleep. In the house directly above me, somebody got into the house through the garage. So far I’m not sure how they entered the other homes or what was taken.

The one good piece of news is that no one was hurt. Apparently the police chased the burglar all the way to Del Mar and then it turned over to Del Mar jurisdiction. I don’t know if he/they were apprehended or if they eluded capture.

I called other neighbors on my street and no one had heard about it at all and we’re pretty upset that the police didn’t inform us in the interest of public service/public safety. None of us heard sirens or the helicopter that would normally tell us to shelter in place when crimes are committed.

I’ll call the police today and find out more information. It looks like we might need to organize a community meeting with them to ensure that they work harder to communicate with us.

Last night I had a bad dream (not a surprise) that someone broke in and I chased them down the steps and hit them on the head with my heavy Le Creuset dutch oven, which most definitely stopped him in his tracks. I called the police but had enough time to change into something pretty before they arrived. (Priorities.)

Lock up, activate alarms, and stay safe!

Can You Spot the Typo?

Honestly, does anybody still know how to spell OR proofread OR edit their work?

This sticker is on every single gas pump–at least in my area, and it REALLY annoys me. If I knew who to call to lodge a complaint and demand a correction, I would, but there’s no company info.

By the way, do you have any idea how much I DETEST pumping gas? I let the tank get down to empty every. single. time. It’s one of the little life tasks that I absolutely ABHORE, and this desecration of a common word irritated the hell out of me yesterday when I was forced by circumstance to find a gas station or push my car home.

I discovered this gem, kinder than I’d be…” In the end, we’re only human, and humans make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to avoid them. Be aware of common errors, learn from other’s mistakes, and take necessary steps to check your work. As author Randolph Hock warns, “If there are spelling and grammatical errors, assume that the same level of attention to detail probably went into the gathering and reporting of the ‘facts’ given on the site.”” https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/why-spelling-errors-affect-business/

(Also this, as pointed out by an eagle-eyed friend who questioned this: “Buildup is a noun that refers to an increase in something, like plaque on one’s teeth. Build up is a noun phrase that means to accrue or increase something.”)

Did you spot the typo? Let me know in comments…

I Like Big Rocks and I Cannot Lie

I never liked that song by Sir Mix-a-Lot ‘cos it seemed sexist and disrespectful but I love hiking and I love big rocks. I also see what appears to be the head of a dinosaur.

#wordlesswednesday

Twisty Cucumber Vine

Here’s the last of the summer cucumbers trained to climb up and around this singular post that seems to have the gigantic job of holding up most of the second story. Or it’s the third story, cos I can’t really figure out how this tri-level house works.

We had a HUGE thunder and lightening and rainstorm last night and my garden is SO happy. Fingers crossed this means we might have a rainy year and end the drought.

“Are you my Grandma?”

I got the Covid booster at my local CVS because it was easier and closer than the location my doc’s office was using. I didn’t want to drive home all the way from Del Mar just in case I had another allergic reaction.

**** You can read about that experience HERE: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/23/rainbows-ivs-my-covid-vaccine-experience/ ****

There was a line even though we all had appointments, but I was glad to see so many people getting vaccines and boosters.

The woman behind me had her four-year-old daughter with her and clearly didn’t anticipate a wait so she hadn’t brought any books or toys for her little girl who was becoming slightly impatient. (Me too!)

I’ve learned that sometimes it helps to distract kids by engaging in conversation and told her how much I liked her sparkly shirt and that did it; I had a friend for life! She responded by telling me she loved my curly hair. I showed her photos of my adorable Angel Kids, the one with hair curlier than mine and the other with fiery titian hair.

“Hey, mom, LOOK! She has red hair just like me!”

“Are you my grandma too?

“No, honey, I’m grandma to this little boy and this little girl.”

“Can I see more pictures?”

Her mom nodded approval, so we spent a few minutes looking at pictures of T and C, which distracted her until it was my turn for the vaccine and we said goodbye.

It wasn’t as fulfilling as spending time with my own angels, but it still felt good to share some of my grandma magic.

It’s been an hour post-booster, and I guess I’ll live. I had a very slight allergic reaction, a little throat issue and asthma. They brought me Gatorade and readied an EpiPen but I didn’t need it because my albuterol inhaler helped forestall a severe respiratory issue. Even thought I had forced hydration for the last couple of days, I was PARCHED and drank the giant thirty two ounce bottle in about five minutes.

When I got home, I took Benadryl and Tylenol because I already had a headache and chills which tells me that I still have a robust immune system, nothing that ginger tea and a soft blanket can’t fix.

Oh, and the nice people from CVS gave me stickers for my Angel Kids, so I’m a happy, fully vaxxed grandma.