Friday, March 30, 2007


Wednesday, in the middle of writing the previous post, my vision suddenly went funny. I had arrived at work early and was spending a few minutes at my laptop, thinking about passion flowers and how great my life is, when everything started to swim and then went totally fuzzy. It was terribly frightening, and lasted about 25 minutes, during which time I conversed with colleagues and prepared for my first session (I know, I know, how stupid does this sound?). The vision issue eventually resolved but was immediately replaced by a headache and copious vomiting, at which point I promptly and rather foolishly drove myself to the emergency room. (The fact that I choose to put myself behind the wheel while in such a grievous state is a testament to both my state of mind at the time (scared shitless) and my complete inability to ask for help--but I'm working on it. ) I decided upon Oschner, despite the fact that Trinity is mere blocks away from Touro, because I could not bear the thought of scrambling for parking in the middle of the Garden District so close to lunch hour. And then there was just the tiniest voice whispering inside my befuddled head, reminding me that I did not want to be in Orleans parish in the midst of a personal health crisis. And so I evacuated to Jefferson.

Turns out I was having an ocular migraine--something I had never before experienced and hope to never re-experience. At the time, though, I thought I was having a stroke. The docs at Oschner thought I might have a brain tumor, and they sent me for a CT scan pronto. Afterwards I was sent to an exam room to await the results of the scan, where I passed the time reading a chapter in which the esteemed psychiatrist Irvin Yalom encourages therapists to help their clients explore death anxiety. After almost an hour of exploring every nook and cranny of my existential despair, I looked up as the doctor rapped loudly on the door and stepped inside. The first thing I noticed was that he was not smiling. Ack.

"You know how in a moment everything can change?" he said.

Now, call me crazy, but this did nothing to dispel my anxiety. As I stared at him staring at my chart, I began to think about how I was going to break the news to my family. I thought about my baby, my beautiful, soft, innocent, tow-headed girl, and started to get pissed: I would NOT be denied the privilege of watching her grow up! She needs me! What kind of God would force a child to grow up without her mother? It seemed I had I skipped entirely over the initial stage of Kubler-Ross's grief model, past denial (see, I told you I always expect the worst will happen) right on over to anger. No way was this doctor--wait a minute, his badge said he was a physician's assistant!--going to tell me my life was over. No way.

The P.A. was shaking his head. "Things change around here so fast," he lamented. "You know that family doctor I was telling you about? I guess she's not taking new patients after all."

1 comment:

Leigh C. said...

I had one of those, too...right in the middle of teaching a class of K-1 aged youngsters. God bless the co-workers I've got, or else I'd have been one nasty teacher to those young 'uns, which they didn't deserve. I instead got sick when I went to pick up the little guy afterwards and threw up outside his school.

Haven't had one of those migraines since, thank God. I hope you NEVER have another, either.

Oh, and P.A.'s suck, by the way. They share initials with the Palestinian Authority, which oughta tell patients something right off... 8-P