I live in fear; trying to cope with the situation by looking at the small milestones that I achieve as my body and heart heals from my heart failure. But the constant fear of a setback, minor blip in my pulse, pressure somewhere in my chest (just for a split second), low energy … anything will trigger anxiety these days. And the anxiety brings on new symptoms that triggers high pulse, and then I fear something is happening. It’s my personal version of Dante’s 9 Circles of Hell … perhaps not so morbid and scary, but still layers of fear and anxiety.
If I raise something it increases my wife’s fears too. We both live in fear. Although I’m strong and improving, we are still in a mode where I’m fragile. A little cough and we freeze. It may sound silly, but given what we experienced in the recent weeks, we have also come to the realisation that we are not in control of our destiny.
Doctors, nurses and physiotherapist are pleased with my progress, but mentally I’m still fearing the worse. It will take time to heal the mental scars that this experience has left behind.
What am I so afraid of?
- falling asleep and not waking up; lying for what feels hours thinking about my condition, and building up fear that prolongs my ability to sleep. In the past, I would fall asleep and enjoy these moments of quiet and peace. Now, I fear these moments of death (pun from Freddy Krueger) where my body “falls” into the dream world, and I wake up throughout the night for unknown reasons … probably anxiety.
- scaring my kids because their dad need medical help; I always want my kids to see me as the strong person in the family, so they know I can protect them. That is not the case these days as I’m sitting fragile in the La-Z-Boy recliner getting help from their mother all day. And I really hated when my youngest daughter was there when we called 911 one morning when I was feeling unwell. She was scared and hid under a table.
- hurting my wife; I want to be her rock and always try to help by taking my load of the chores. However, she carries a tremendous load these days and I fear that she is not sharing her struggles or concerns with me. She is bottling it up inside, and she needs support too – support I cannot give her.
- missing out on my kids’ lives; what if I never get better. What if I is getting weaker, or not stronger, and can no longer be part f kids’ childhood. It pains me to think like that but it saddens me.
This is our new normal and we will find a way to deal with. In the meantime, I need to learn how to manage my anxiety levels, and my wonderful wife has bought some good books to help me.