Two nights ago I was lying in bed, reading. Local author, easy story, nothing that’ll blow up your skirt. About an hour into my tale, my heart started beating lightning fast. I turned onto my back and took some slow, deep breaths to help ease my ticker. I took my pulse: 137bpm. Hhhm…I’m not particularly fit, but I guessed that 137 beats per minute was perhaps a tad speedy, even for me…
Another hour later my heart pounded at 142 beats per minute. And when I say it ‘pounded’, I mean it didn’t tikkity tikkity…no no, it GEDANG-GEDANG-GEDANG-ed.
Two more hours passed like this. BPM at 145. I closed my eyes and listened to the rhythm. I felt how each beat shook by body, almost violently under heavy covers. But it’s hard to keep up with tachycardia, and after a few minutes it felt like my heart was just fluttering instead of beating and I wondered if that was how it felt just before your heart stopped.
I was worried, I’m not a liar. I felt out of breath, but that was to be expected with an Usain Bolt-like pulse. But otherwise I felt fine, so my concern was not ringing alarm bells or running around in my head, shouting: ‘heeelp us!!!’
I couldn’t help be reminded of the two previous times I almost died. Well, I think I almost died…
The first time…well, the first time was an act of self-harm and I’m too ashamed to talk about it in great detail. It was a very long time ago and I was incomparably stupid and my stomach took about 8 hours to expel from my body the harm I inflicted on it. I have brief snapshots of consciousness in those 8 hours where I felt my body spasm and my stomach heave. And I felt tremendous fear. Fear of hurting those who loved me. Fear of betraying the opportunities I have been given and the possibilities that awaited.
The second time resulted from another act of self-harm, although a little less shameful (at least in my opinion!). Being the primary caregiver for my mother while she had cancer meant I had to ensure three super healthy meals a day. But I also saw to it that every craving my mom had was satisfied. This became especially true when it became clear that recovery was a fool’s dream.
Like me, my mom was a sweet tooth. And I was not gonna let the woman feast by herself. After her passing, I had not the will nor the incentive to lose the weight I had gained or the health I was compromising. Until I awoke one evening about two years ago with a completely constricted trachea that had gone into spasm. The spasm resulted from a horribly potato-heavy meal (I had about three elephants’ weight in fries) that caused some severe heartburn and reflux.
As I fought for air on my bathroom floor, one fear flashed through my mind: I cannot go to hospital! The ONE night I fell into bed without showering! The one fucking night!! I crawled into the shower, reached up to open the faucets and prayed for every narrow intake of air.
It should not surprise you that I lived. The next morning my doctor, who is also a friend, asked my why I didn’t call an ambulance. I didn’t shower, I replied. She bestowed upon me an epic, yet deeply deserving ass-whooping. I started exercising and eating for one, and today I’m no longer a Yetti.
Two nights ago my fear was this: I wanna finish the damn book.
It moved me to visit a doctor again – one of my least favorite activities. A hypersensitivity to a certain spice has been identified as the culprit and my heart rests in peace.
So…off for a quick chococino and then some writing…
[As a side note, I want to sincerely and from the deepest and most truthful part of my heart tell you this if you need to hear it: if you need help, whatever that help might look like, please reach out and ask for it. I was stupid enough in my life to have put myself in situations where I learnt that people, even the pretty shitty ones, want to help. But if you don’t allow for help to happen, you are sprinting across the border that separates hard-ass from dumb-ass. All of us are needed in some way and we should honor that. And before you think no-one needs you, I bloody well need you to read my blog. Love and light.]