Friday, December 13, 2013

Xanax not so good, says the cardiologist

He discouraged me -- strongly -- from staying on Xanax. Darn. Says it's OK for a week or so but long term it's a bad idea. Also he's making me do a stress test, the kind with the radiation scan afterward. I hate that. Oh how crappy old age is!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The miracle cure: most prescribed drug in the US

The ER visit a couple of weeks ago - and the resultant 18 hours in the depressing hospital environment -- seemed like a heart issue. And that gets your attention & my husband's, too. But more and more, I'm convinced it was an acute anxiety attack. Some doctors call it panic attacks, which strikes me as a misnomer. Well anyhow, I had another episode a couple of nights ago & decided to start taking Xanax day and night during the stressful period I'm in (at least).
Turns out it has been a godsend.
And although I already knew that Xanax (and its generic clone) is the most-prescribed drug in America. Now I can see why. It's only been two days of my full-time regimen, and I hear from a very good friend that she did this for TEN YEARS, and looks back on it as a pleasant time of her life. (She went off about 4 years ago to take a lesser anti-anxiety drug that supposedly is less "addictive.")
Seeing my cardiologist in a couple of days, will run this by him. But I might also take it up with my long term primary care doc, a woman with whom I have a good rapport.

More to come........

Sunday, December 1, 2013

R & R

We just spent two sweet days in a cabin in the woods, at Murphin Ridge Inn (75 miles east of our home in the city of Cincinnati). My husband and I both felt our anxiety and stress disappear. The place has miles of hiking trails, and at times you can get away from any human sounds at all. While I do love my fellow people, we live where traffic and ambulance noises are almost ceaseless, so this peace and quiet is a soul-strengthening relief.
Ah but back in the thick of things now -- I have about 135 students in four classes (I'm a professor at the University of Cincinnati), for whom I have to come up with final grades between now and December 15th or so.
Better get to it...........
Sunrise amid Amish farmland

Monday, November 25, 2013

Visit to the ER -- but oddly uplifting

On Saturday I was at dinner with husband & friends when a strange, strong feeling hit me in the upper chest. It wasn't pain or even shortness of breath but more like palpitations. We decided to go to the ER. Long story shorter -- because of my heart history (angioplasty resulting in 4 stents in 2 arteries, 2010) they kept me overnight for observation. It was scary and uncomfortable, of course, but by early afternoon Sunday they'd released me after all the tests were negative.
And for whatever reason I feel really great today.
One thing I learned was that compared to the others on the cardiac floor -- not just this weekend but overall what the nurses see -- I was the youngest and by far healthiest person. My night nurse, who checked me in including weighing me, said that my weight was "perfect." Sunday morning I was so bored that I walked the halls in my hospital gown and a pair of sweatpants, and I saw the misery and unhappiness people and their families were going through.
It made me feel fortunate, and also because we have excellent health insurance coverage, so that this episode won't cost me a dime.
Also I had nine hours of catch-up sleep last night, which I'm sure added to my feelings of vigor and a very upbeat mood today.
You'd think that a visit to the ER and being admitted to the hospital would be overall a bummer, but it didn't really turn out that way.
Where I spent Saturday night

Friday, November 22, 2013

And another thing

Oh, there are so many that when someone dear dies, a bit of me dies too. When mom went, there were many times when I thought, "Just take me now, too." How inconceivable it is that she will never be back with me.
Near the end of her life, just a week before the stroke that silenced her forever, she said "I'll always be with you." I have tried so, so hard to truly feel that, to have it be more than words. And I don't come very close, ever.
The best I can do is be grateful to have had such a wonderful mother for 62 years of my life. It's not too hard to be present to that blessing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Worst Thing....So Far

My mother died in March 2012, a blow from which I will never recover. She lived a long, sweet life, outlived two husbands, was the best mom I could have imagined, developed dementia and urinanry incontinence in her 80s ("don't get old," she repeatedly told me), moved from a lonely big house in western North Carolina and spent her final 4 years near me. She died peacefully of a stroke at 91.
I miss her so profoundly every day.
After her stroke --her precious smile!

Some people believe that we will be reunited with our dead loved ones in an afterlife, and I sincerely wish I had that faith. But I don't think it's part of reality. The reality is she is gone and I will never see her again, a fact I find so painfully hard to accept.
I have a dear husband who loves me and tells me so very day. We have no unmet material needs. I am blessed with an occupation that keeps me busy and fulfilled, a dear stepdaughter, two fine though far-away (in NC and FL) brothers  and their families, and sufficient numbers of good friends.
Our last Christmas together

Ah but mom was the love of my life. I had her for 62 years. I will miss her for all the rest of my days.
Sweet Wilma Mae Brown b. 2/12/21 married my dad Paul Mitchell 12/7/46 who died 5/27/77. Her second husband was Marvin Mason married in 1988. My mommy passed from the Earth on 2/21/12.
She was beautiful, compassionate, caring, loved and loving.
When she was a young beauty

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Welcome to my lament for the fading of the light.
I turned 60-freaking-four this fall -- with McCartney's jaunty little tune playing repeatedly in my head for weeks on end -- and my dear heart mother died a year and a half ago. I had heart surgery (4 stents later, thank you very much) in 2010 and a painful gum graft two weeks ago.
My boobs have morphed from a manageable C-cup through at least my 40s to a DDD top-heavy monstrosity that makes sweaters highly problematic items of clothing.
And the wrinkles, OMG. Fair skin, probably too much sun in my youth, inherited a million fine lines along with the heart disease from my dad's side.

All this despite the usual, and some more than usual, efforts to hold off the ravages of time. I've exercised virtually every day since my late 20s and know all about healthy eating -- in fact, my identity thanks to my 4-year-old blog, a magazine column and contacts in the local dining/cooking scene is "the healthy foodie."
I'm not fat -- thanks to all of the exercise and vigilant eating -- and I guess most would say that I am fit "for your age."
But there's the rub!
I don't know whether anyone will read this, but I welcome comments and discussion about aging -- whether you want to dispute my "negative" tone or pile it on because you feel it, too.

Let 'er rip...........