I decided that i needed to try medication again for my depression. Since Prozac has been working for some of my family members, maybe it would work for me. Making a doctor’s appointment was a big deal for me. My trusted nurse practioner who valued alternative medicine along with traditional medicine was the first person I went to 2 years ago. But their practice is now a membership practice and I could not justify paying for membership in addition to the cost of an appointment since it is not covered by my insurance. So i needed to find a new doctor. Ugh
Amazingly, I found an OB/Gyn at a new practice 5 minutes from my house. And a woman nurse practioner, my choice of doctor. I called and made an appointment. At least it was super convenient to the house! Things went well, started on fluoxetine at my request to start at 10mg before increasing to 20. She recommended a referral to a psychiatrist which I know is a good idea with my history. Last time I tried an SSRI (anti-depressant), Iwas having many side effects and felt it was making me manic.
So today was the psychiatrist appointment. It went ok. It is challenging for me to see a medical person who does not embrace my wholistic views on energy and alternative therapies. I have realized that I can still stay on top of my own health and beliefs and utilize the western practioner when I need them and do my own research and still be in charge of my health and the decisions that are made.
I have been on the medication for 5 weeks now and am feeling like my mod is lifting, I have more energy and more motivation to do things. This is my first time writing in months. I decided since my doctor appointment was in a different part of town, that I would go to a new location for my me time, and to write to help shift the energy since I have not been writing despite going out for my me time at my usually places. I came to a shopping center where I had bought my wedding dress over 23 years ago. The shopping center has changed greatly since then and looks so different and the dress shop is no longer here.
I found a Panera and inside, a comfy chair but the outlet was not taking my charger and so after sitting a little, I decided I needed to walk around. I wanted to see the whole shopping center as well as get some fresh air and take in the beautiful weather today. When I came back into the Panera, I decided to look for a different spot to sit near an outlet. I found a table and noticed at the back of the restaurant, 6 tables away, there was a guy sleeping on the floor. Or was he sleeping? This is known as a pretty nice area of town and yet I have not been here in over 15 years and so who knows, maybe homeless people sleep on the floor here. Sounds silly now that I say it. It sounds more than silly, absolutely ridiculous that I thought that. I decided I needed to get an employee to check it out. It bugs me but I did not feel safe walking up to him myself to see if he was sleeping or passed out. Luckily, someone else had seen him before me and gone to get an employee, they walked over as I stood there. I heard the employees check on the guy and he made a noise and then another employee came and cleared out the area and rolled him on his side. I was frozen. I kept thinking, I know CPR and I should go up and state that. Someone was on the phone with 911 and so i knew that was taken care of. It is one thing to have CPR training, because it’s required for my job, but I have always prayed that I would never need to use it.
I feel guilty writing this and i felt so guilty standing there while the employees who obviously did not know CPR were attending to him. I know CPR and I am supposed to use it to help people. Amazingly, a cop showed up within a few minutes. So there was relief that someone now would know the right thing to do. My heart was racing. If you dpon’t know much about me, you may not know that my husband suffered a severe cardiac arrest in our home 6 years ago. Much to our surprise, we had no idea he had a heart issue and he had very atypical symptoms with his heart attack. So for me, this was personal and my heart was racing as I relieved my own expereince with this. When an employee said he was turning purple and went to get ice, I knew, yet, I was frozen.
Quickly after the first cop arrived, another came and then the medics. I moved out of the area to allow them to. Do their work. My heart was still racing and I still felt frozen. I kept asking myself, why didn’t I approach the man to see if he was ok? That is what I have been taught to do.
“Annie, Annie, are you ok?”
I was just sharing memories of CPR with my kids when the Michael Jackson song, “Smooth Criminal” which I refer to as the “Annie are you ok?” Song, Came on the radio recently. When I hear that song. it makes me think of CPR. The dummy we worked on for some reason was named Annie. The first thing you learn in CPR training, is when come across an unconscious or potentially unconscious person, you shake them (in an effort to arrouse them) and ask if they are ok. “Annie, Annie, are you ok?”
I was relieved when the medics wheeled him out and I could see his face wasn’t blue but they were doing chest compressions on him. I hope he is ok. I know the reality of heart attacks and oxygen deprivation. I guess I don’t know for sure it was a heart attack. I realize that my going up to him most likely would not have made much of a difference. I don’t know. how long he was lying there before he was found . It feels cold for me to say that. I would like to believe that should I encounter such a scene again, I will have the confidence to go up to the person to see if they are ok and use the knowledge I have to help in whatever way I can. I would like to be the kind of person who acts quickly to offer help to a stranger. And maybe if no one else was doing any thing, I might have stepped in. Someone else came running in, I guess that person might have had CPR training but after the cop arrived she soon stepped away. I think I can forgive myself for freezing and not stepping in.
I am a therapist and not a doctor or nurse in part because it is not in my personality to respond quickly under pressure and jump in to an emergency. Yet, I feel guilty and if anyone knewthat I had CPR training and was just standing there, they would be appalled. Right after, I wanted to talk to someone who would get it, someone who was there when my husband went into cardiac arrest. I did text with my son later and I knew he got it. He was 13 when it happened but he is 19 now. I am curious to talk with my fellow colleagues who are therapists to see if anyon of them have ever had to use CPR or been in a similar situation. Surely, I am not he only person who has frozen, wondering what to do, feeling like I should help but feeling so panicked and frozen.
Heck, it took me a while to respond correctly when my own husband was having a heart attack. He was still alert and conscious until after the medic arrived and I thank God every day for that. Yet I wasted a few minutes before I called 911. He said it was back pain. He has back issues. It was his upper back and his right arm. AFter I wasted time looking for my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, I remember saying to myself, “Gina, his arm is cold and clammy, You know what this is. Even though it was the “wrong” arm.” Don had no idea it was a heart attack. I was there in the ER when he finally was alert and the doctor told him he had a heart attack before they wheeled him up to the cath lab. I saw the look on his face, like”are you crazy? I had a what?” He did not see me and has no memeory of that until he woke up after having cardiac catheterization to place 2 stints in his arteries leading to his heart that were 90% and 100% blocked.
No matter ho w much I write about that experience or tell people about it, I guess even to this day, 6 years later it still shatters me- no, shakes me?- (there is no good word to put here) when I think about it. Yes, he survived and is doing great today. That doesn’t take away from how traumatic the experience was. And I live with it every day, wondering if it might happen again. I was ignorant before, had no idea he had heart disease, neither did Don. But now I know he does. Now we both know. We both live with it in different ways. It happened to him but he does not remember when it happened. He did not see his spouse go into cardiac arrest before his eyes in the living room, wheeled out on a stretcher in a hurry with a dark blue face in front of his 3 children, ages 2, 9 and 13. I did not wake up hours later in the hospital being told I had a heart attack, flat on my back with a tube up my leg and a pump assisting my heart and sore from the repeated defribillations the life-saving medics performed. He spent 12 days in the hospital and I spent those days being his advocate and making sure my children’s basic needs were being met. I did rise to the occasion in the crisis and handled it well. I asked friends and family for help and juggled their schedules while spending most days in the hospital from about 5am until 9pam, coming home to get my kids off to bed.
I feel that I am in a weird fog. I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices. I send healing love, light and energy to the man from Panera and to his family and loved ones. I pray he is alive and able to fully recover. I ask my family for patience as I come out of depression. I never realize how depressed I have been until I am on the other side. I can see the hozizon.