Americorps makes the news (oh, and I almost died this morning)…


Obama urges citizens to undertake national service.

Seems Americorps might be getting further attention on all fronts. Not at all a bad thing, I think. The program was excellent; I’ve been giving thought to going back E-Corps: Austin for another year after i return to the states to raise some more $$…And if there are even further benefits for joining, say, a larger ed-award, or even more pay, its even less of a no-brainer.

And on that note, Happy Earth Day! I spent my Earth Day morning concerned I was having a heart attack…I had just gotten off the phone with my mom and was finishing breakfast at the monastery when the left tip of my right index finger abruptly went numb…Which is rather wierd…I rubbed it, slightly concerned by it, and decided to take a shower and monitor the sensation…Part of the way through my shower, a pins-and-needles sensation went through my hands, and as I quickly dressed, up the rest of my arm. I stepped out of the shower, and considered having the other person at the monastery drive me into town and as I did so, my chest went tight and my heart started beating intermittently. The pins-and-needles went to numbness and it was rather scary, frankly. No chest pain, no loss of control or true panic, though, and it went away after about 20 seconds. I knocked, told Blake I was headed to the doctors, and drove myself into town.

No incidents on the way…The doctor saw me pretty rapidly, since I was, after all, having a potentially life-threatening condition. He clamped my finger to a device that measured my blood oxygen content and said it was at 100%, which is a sign that I was having a panic-attack. Which I immediately dismissed, mentally. But they put me through an ECG anyways, noted my pulse was quite low (in a good way), but my blood pressure was slightly high. I told them that it’s tested consistently high for the past two years but every doctor I’ve been to has never been too concerned by it.

The doctor is still convinced it was a panic attack…Which annoys me to no end. I mean ok, I can see how it could be one, but I know myself better than anyone, and I’m not one to panic. Especially when I don’t have anything to panic about, which, according to him, doesn’t seem to really matter. I might have had a panic attack due to the onset of the numbness, which I mentioned to the doctor, but that doesn’t mean everything’s A-ok. But I had to accept that they did the tests and have to go by what the results indicate. And they are doctors and I’m not.

Elevated blood pressure, history of heart palpitations, creeping numbness, family history of diabetes and health problems. I’d be slightly more concerned if I was a doctor. If I die, do say I told him so! But in all seriousness, I’m not too concerned at the moment (which is why I know it wasn’t just a panic attack!!!)…Mostly because I think there may be some truth to his assessment. The symptoms I was looking for came up almost as soon as I thought about them. I was concerned about numbness spreading, and it did. Then I started checking my heart rate and looking for shortness of breath and it came up. Mind-over-matter, of sorts. There’s a placebo-like name for it that I can’t think of at the moment, but it’s a real medical phenomena…

Categories: Uncategorized

4 comments

  1. Well, sorry you almost died dude. Don’t do that, okay?

    I will say one thing, but don’t take it wrong: Panic attacks don’t necessarily mean you’re consciously panicking. They have to do with your body “freaking out,” and the name is really just a misnomer. It doesn’t have anything to do with your state of mind at the time, people can have them for no apparent reason. Think of it more as a momentary brain fart that affects the whole body and forget about the word “panic.” Adrenaline coursing through your body can do it, which can come from a misfiring of some chemicals in your body pretty easily.

    Either way, I hope you’re feeling better. If you DO die from a heart attack of whatever, I’ll make sure to let him know.

    • Ah, sort of a chemical imbalance-kinda thing? That makes a bit more sense…The doctor didn’t explain it like that. He just sort of gave me this dissmissive smirk (that I may or may not have imagined to be dismissive) and asked what I was panicking over, which annoyed me.

      • They can be brought on by actual panic, or just a stray thought that sets off the chemicals. They really are just a chemical thing most of the time though, so yeah, don’t worry about it; it’s not you, it’s your brain.

        Wait…

  2. Scary stuff man.. I was reading it, prepared to hear the worst.. and damn, I’m glad you’re alive and dont need heart surgery.

    Something about our modern human predicament not jiving with our old biological imperatives.

    I was reading about this when I was looking for ways to solve my own anxiety.

    It said that it was a false triggering of your body’s Fight-or-Flight synapses. Where the situation may not remotely require it, but the trigger goes off anyway, and without a logical precursor in the mind as to why the trigger went off, a person is just left confused in an un-explainable state of rapid heart beat and unrest, where the thing that causes the original bypass of reason, gets free reign, as the person manifests it, without the control of his mind.

    It said that attempting to control, is the fuel which feeds the beast.

    Have you thought that perhaps this is something your meditations brought out? .. a buried thought.. just applying mindfulness to something smaller, leading to an unexpected cause of other unrest? I find it happening to me more often since I started group meditation.

    I sincerely wish I could be out there right now. I’ll tell you how I deal when my own anxiety starts getting the best of me. Just start writing everything you’re experiencing.. what you think the cause is, what you think might happen, etc… for me, it brings my situation back under the control of reason.

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