Not long before all of these panic attacks,we moved into our newly built home, but before we did we were forced out of our apartment and had to live with our parents until our house was approved, it didn't pass the first inspection. I was pregnant with our fourth child and living with my parents, trying to keep the kids quiet was quite a burden because they were active little boys who wanted and needed to play, the only problem being, there was not a place to play. While living with my parents, I started to hemorrhage and was hospitalized for a week. When I was discharged they said I had to have bed rest, oh yeah, sure - 3 little boys to take care of and I'm suppose to just lie around. Then my husband comes home from work one day and says he is moving over to his mothers because there is not enough room at my parents. I was floored, what? did he think he was going to leave me and the thee boys and go about his merry way to his mothers? No way, so the kids and I moved over with him. I still was to be on bed rest which was a hard thing to do.
Finally, our house is ready for us to move in, so in we move with, thankfully my mother and dad to help out for awhile. The first day there, March 13 of 71, the furnace does not work. My third child is sick and I am pregnant and everyone else is freezing. Ron goes through all the papers to find the guy who installed the furnace. He finds it and calls. The guy said he was not coming out because the builder never paid him. After much talking by Ron, the guy comes out and fixes the furnace. Nice warm heat flows through all of the rooms. My parents leave at the end of the week and I am on my own - Ron is at work and I'm suppose to be on bedrest. Sure I am, It is impossible so I try to stay off of my feet as much as possible until Ron comes home from work.
I am feeling better and able to move around more, things are looking up. Nope, not so. We receive a letter from an attorney saying that our neighbors are going to sue us for digging lower than their yard, therefore putting their hedges in peril. Now we had nothing to do with how the builders decided to do the plot, we were kids, both of us 28 at the time. We knew nothing about nothing.But we had to learn fast. We were able to work things out to their liking and the suit was dropped. In August my 9-1/2 little boy was born healthy, but I started to hemorrhage and they had to do things to make it stop, which it did finally. Then I went into Post Partum depression which lasted from August to November. That is another story I will write about later, but in the meantime - - - - -
I started to feel terrible as I was cleaning off the dishes after dinner. I had a terrible headache and told my husband I had to lie down. I went into the living room and my husband brought me in a hot cup of tea.
I slowly sipped the tea and it felt warm and soothing.When I finished I set the cup down on the table and leaned back against the couch. All of a sudden, this weird feeling came over me, and I felt like I was actually going to die. I called my husband in the room and told him how I felt. My heart was pounding very hard and fast and I could feel the pounding of blood through my arteries and veins. My body was shaking uncontrollable and I thought I was going to pass out.
He said,” I'm taking you to the emergency room”. He helped me get out and into the van. He started driving to Citizens Hospital in New Ken. I’m still in the same state as when I left, but I was not sure I wanted to go to the hospital and told him so. He rode around for a while to see if I was feeling better, but I still had all of the symptoms. He was scared and so was I, because we had no idea what was going on with my body.
We entered the emergency room and they took me back into the room right away. The nurse told me to take off my clothes and lay on the cot. I stripped and lay on the cot with a light blanket over me all the while shivering hard. It was freezing in that room, and that I’m sure made me shiver more. I laid there for what seemed a long time before the doctor came in. When he did come in, he did not say more than two words; he took my temperature, blood pressure and pulse and left the room.
For what seemed like an eternity, I just laid there and after a while, I noticed that I was not shaking anymore and my headache was gone. The nurse came in, retook my blood pressure and pulse, and told me I could go home. I asked her what was wrong with me, and she said my blood pressure was high but was okay now. I got dressed and walked out to where Ron was waiting. I told him what they said. He just shook his head as we walked out to the car, and said, “I should of asked more questions”.
I felt fine when I went to bed and in the morning, I went to work as usual. Just when I started to think that it had been some kind of fluke, it happened again! I went through the same routine as before, and got the same answer as before. It started happening more often, and sometimes twice a week. I cannot even begin to remember how many times I went to the emergency room and got the same treatment as the first time. It was quite often. It was quite scary and it was quite a hardship to live with.
The one time when I was laying in the room, this young doctor came in and examined me. He told me what his diagnoses was – Panic Attacks. ”What is that?”I asked. “What causes that to happen? “All kind of questions I had and it seemed he had all of the answers. This had been going on for months and I was so glad that someone finally had the answers.
The young doctor said that one of the causes could be “caffeine”. During the very many times this had happened to me, I had noticed that it happened most often after I had drunk a cup of tea. He also said that nerves could play a part in it also. He recommended that I see a psychiatrist because they were qualified to help people with this problem.
Well, back in the late 1970’s no one ever talked about Panic Attacks, who knows, most people probably did not even know about such a thing. I didn’t want my parents to know and none of the relatives, or friends. Therefore, I kept this secret to myself and made my husband promise not to say anything. I was extremely upset that I had to see a mental health doctor. I was worried I might be going crazy, or something else terrible could be happening to me. Ron tried to comfort me, but to no avail. I made the dreaded appointment.
The day finally arrived. I was a complete nervous wreck as we drove to the office. When we went in, I was very thankful that no one else was in the waiting room. They called me into a small office so I could give all of my information to the receptionist, after that I sat down beside Ron. The receptionist called and said that I would see the social worker first and she would decide if I needed to see the doctor. The young social worker was very pleasant and put me at ease. As soon as she started to ask the first question, I started crying and did not stop all through the rest of the questions. After she was done, she told me I would be seeing the doctor. I thought to myself “I guess so, she thinks I’m a nut case since all I’ve been doing is crying
Have you ever been to a psychiatrist? What a joke. I went into his office; he was sitting behind his desk blowing his nose. He motioned me to sit in the chair facing him. When he was done blowing, he asked why I was there.( I was much calmer with him, because as soon as I saw him I felt he would not be able to help me.) I told him my symptoms, and when I was done, he asked me “Is it better to have a bird in the hand or two in the bush?” I thought to myself “what does this have to do with anything?” I told him “It is better to have a bird in hand because then you had the bird.”
I guess I passed the test, because that was the only question he asked me. He got out his prescription pad and wrote out a prescription for Valium! There was no way I was going to take a drug like this one. I came out of the office and Ron and I left. As soon as we were outside I told Ron that I would have to find someone else to treat me because this visit was a joke.
Through a lot of research, I found out all I could about Panic Attacks, and at the same time found a wonderful woman therapist that truly helped me through the trials and tribulations of this terrible, disabling health issue. I saw her once a week and sometimes twice, no medication was given just a lot of talking. She explained to me about the “flight”, where when you think your going to die or faint, you want to run away from where you are because you feel that is what is causing the problem. She asked me what was the worst thing that could happen to me if I did faint.
After many, many visits my panic attacks started to subside, I had to watch my diet. I could have nothing with caffeine, because that could trigger a panic attack. I went to classes at the hospital to learn relaxation. Finally, I was coming around to being my old self. It took a lot of work but finally the days came without panic attacks, but before that, there would be times that I would go grocery shopping and be standing in line to check out, when I would have this feeling of doom come over me and I would have to leave. I would push the cart to the side and practically ran out the door ,because I felt like I was going to faint and I had to get out of there so I wouldn’t. I could not go to church and stay for the full service, so many circumstances that almost made me a prisoner in my own home. I was able to work full time during this awful time, but I never shared what was wrong with me with anyone for fear they would think I was weird. Let's face it, I thought I was weird - panic attacks - who me? Yes, me!
It put a strain on my marriage, because my husband could not comprehend why, whenever we were out somewhere, I would just get up and have to leave.
Not much was known at that time about panic attacks., I was a pioneer in unknown territory who kept plodding along trying to find my way back to normalcy.
Today, it is a much talked about subject. There are still people that question the diagnoses when someone has it, and there are people that make jokes, or think it is all in the person’s head.
Believe me when I tell you it is all true, I lived through the nightmare and it was hell.