Sunday, December 4, 2016

Could it be PTSD

I have a few things I want to write about. Some weighing heavy on my mind and a little bit about the Weeki Wachee Yard Sale (I'm not sure who is more mind boggling, some of the vendors or some of the attendees.)

I have been experiencing some emotional memories, more like flashbacks since last Thursday when I was at the gym. I feel irritated, short-fused and at my wit's end (whatever that means.)

This gym has a series of toning tables that you lay down on and complete various exercises. For instance one replicates walking. The bottom half is split in two and it raises and lowers your legs as if you are walking. On another one, the bottom half raises and lowers your legs and hips for doing sit ups. and strengthens your back, if you also work with it.

The tables are set up in a row. The attendant switches them on for six minutes each and sets the rate, slow to faster. I was talking with  the woman following me in the line, when the attendant switched my table on and started walking away. I called after her because I wanted it turned to a higher speed, but she didn't hear me and walked away. The woman I was talking to said, "Too bad you don't have a bell."  I replied, I can just see that, all of us ringing our bells for their attention."

We laughed at that thought. Then I closed my eyes and found myself back in the infusion room while Kevin was having chemotherapy. The first few months he was there, the IVs/Infusion pumps would ring or buzz or something when the IV had finished or it was time to change from one drug to another. They were kind of annoying, but the nurses were pretty good at getting to the patient and making the changes. Then they upgraded to new pumps and the alarm system on those were very annoying.

We would be there in the infusion room for hours, twice a week. Most of the time the rooms was filled with cancer patients undergoing chemo.

When I closed my eyes the other day, I was next to Kevin. He was sitting back in one of the recliners.I felt as though I was reclining or laying down, but I would have been sitting next to him.

Bells were beeping continuously. Some nurses, especially one in particular, would ignore them and were adept at not making eye contact with other patients sick of listening to the alarms. The alarms never meant anyone was in danger, but I am sure it made every one's blood pressure rise.

I was tired that day and Kevin was having some bad times. By then the chemo sessions left him shaking for a day or two afterward. I talked with the nurses about it and they had theories. That was about it.

On this particular day, the ringing, dinging alarm noise was making my heart race. I wanted to start screaming, but of course I couldn't do that. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted all of it to stop. I wanted to wake up and find that it was all a dream. I started crying. Kevin took my hand and gave me a reassuring look. I thought to myself, "I will never forget what this sounds like." Then I took a deep breath, smiled and gave Kevin's hand a squeeze. I thought, "We have to get through this."

I opened my eyes just as the six minutes were up and it was time to move on to the next toning table. The first thing that popped into my mind was that I could not remember at all what those pump alarms sounded like I have no recollection as to whether it was a ringing of a bell or more like an alarm. And during this memory or flashback, there wasn't any sound, just my thoughts and visions.

It seemed so real and like I was there and it was happening right then. All over again. It just took a suggestion about bells and  my imagining everyone in the gym ringing bells to get the attendants' attention.

Since then, I keep thinking about this and feeling somewhat emotional. Now that I take a cautious look back, I was doing a pretty good job of blocking out the bad stuff, or at least I thought I was.

Maybe it is because of the holidays  creeping up on me.  We missed having Grief Support last time because of Thanksgiving. Now I am l looking forward to it this Thursday.

I don't remember having anything like this happen to me before.  It hopefully isn't PTSD, Maybe it is more like I wanted to suppress something coming back up like a loud burp.

I actually feel better after writing it down and sharing this with you. We'll talk about the yard sale another time.

Here is a picture of Horst and Liz Goeller's yard. Their house is tucked in behind all of the grand decorating. We always looked forward to spending an evening with neighbors, catching up on news and celebrating the holidays with them in Horst and Liz's yard amid the Christmas lights. Thank you Horst for good times with great neighbors. I am looking forward to this year's special evening and I am sure Kevin will be nearby, watching us.

Tomorrow I will be busy getting ready for Christmas on Main Street in Brooksville, Thursday evening.

Thank you for reading my posts and for your kind emails and comments.

Love and hugs, Nancy


  1. I think grief can kind of be like PTSD at times. But, it is just normal, awful grief. Hugs to you, Aunt Nancy.

    1. Erin, you are right, normal, awful grief. I love you.


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