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I am a stay-at-home mom of two sons, 12 and 10. I used to be an advertising manager. I love my new career and have thrown myself completely into it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

And I Left the Restaurant In An Ambulance (Update)

Well it took a long time to get the results of the physical and blood tests.  Bottom line - everything looks good.  The only potential problem is that my blood pressure should be lower.  Also, I had preeclampsia with my first pregnancy and that raises your risk for hypertension later.  So this is something I really need to watch.  Also, I didn't realize before this how serious high blood pressure can be over time.  Left untreated, it can damage organs, like your kidneys and heart, and lead to hardening of the arteries, which increases risk of heart disease and stroke.

So I will make the lifestyle changes I mentioned previously to get healthier and now also to decrease my blood pressure.  Specifically, I will keep up with the exercising I already do but try to fit in little spurts here and there.  I usually walk 3x/week for 45 minutes and get on my exercise bike 2x/week for 50 minutes.  I also do some arm weight exercises 2x/week and a bit of yoga.  Now I'm starting to do lunges and squats while I cook dinner, some crunches and leg lifts in the evenings and I'll stop every so often and do 25 jumping jacks just to get my metabolism going.  I aim to do that 4x each day and then that adds up to 100 jumping jacks.

I'm also watching what I eat more.  My diet was always fairly healthy, I just ate too much and would snack in the evening after dinner.  So now I'm trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables (at least 1/meal), replace "white" starches for whole grain ones and watch my portions!  Also, I'm trying not to eat after dinner.

So far since my last post, I've done pretty well.  However, my youngest son got sick for a few days and now I've been sick for about 3 days and my husband has just come down with it.  So I haven't had the energy to exercise for a few days and didn't do as much when my son was sick.  So I'll just try harder next week.  I am also trying to meditate whenever I can and de-stress as much as possible.  It's hard to find time to meditate, but I will keep working on that because that should help the blood pressure.  I just can't get up earlier in the morning to meditate - I just fall back asleep :)  Then during the day, there are too many things going on so I'm trying to work it in in the evening.

Let me know if any of you are on similar health/well-being quests.  We can give each other inspiration and tips.  In the meantime, take care.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And I Left the Restaurant In An Ambulance

Wow!  I just had the most strange and scary experience of my life.  We took another vacation to go skiing and we went to a restaurant for dinner.  When we walked in, I noticed that it was very warm in the restaurant, uncomfortably so.  The place was packed so we had to wait for a table.  I took off my jacket and sat down.  The hostess mentioned how warm the restaurant was and I agreed with her and said they needed to turn down the heat.  A couple of minutes later, another woman waiting for a table mentioned how warm it was.  I was thinking of going outside to get some fresh air, but I didn't want to make a fuss for my husband and boys, so I told myself to just sit there and relax and I did start to feel better.

We got sat and ordered our food.  Our food arrived and we all started eating.  Out of nowhere, I felt like I was hit by a truck.  I immediately felt extremely sick!  My vision faded and everything seemed like it was getting distant.  I became very lightheaded and weak and felt like I might get sick.  I stopped and told my husband that there was something wrong and I thought I needed to go to the bathroom.  I tried to get my strength to leave the table and the next thing I knew, I was sleeping and I heard my husband calling my name from far away.  In my mind, I was peacefully sleeping and his voice was part of a dream.  However, his voice became closer, louder and more urgent.  I finally opened my eyes to see why he was calling me so urgently and noticed I was sitting in the restaurant.  I was confused and he told me I had just passed out and they were calling 911!  It turns out that my head fell back, my eyes rolled back into my head and I made gurgling, choking sounds.

Everything now looked and sounded distant to me but I could talk and understand what was happening around me.  I was very lightheaded and weak and just wanted to get out of that restaurant because it was uncomfortable and I felt I was making a scene.  The paramedics came and put me on a gurney and into an ambulence.  I was very scared, my boys were scared and my husband was scared.  I was embarrassed and felt really bad about my children seeing me that way and scaring them like that.  They did all kind of things to me in the ambulence and I found out later that they took an EKG, took some blood, tested my blood sugar and checked my heart rate and blood pressure, among other things.  My blood pressure at the outset was 90/60, which they said was too low.

When I got to the emergency room, they did all kinds of tests on me:  they did the same ones done to me in the ambulence and also checked my blood and gave me a chest X-ray.  Of course the first fear is a heart attack.  I had been reading alot about warning signs of heart attacks in women because February is Heart Health month so I was very scared.

Bottom line - my heart was fine (thank God!).  It was an episode of syncope (fainting) due to a vasovagal response, which means that something or a couple of things cause my blood vessels to dilate so much that not enough blood, and therefore oxygen, was reaching my brain.  This caused me to faint.  Talking it over with my husband we came to the conclusion that I was probably a bit dehydrated (I hadn't drunk enough water that day), I got overheated in the restaurant and the altitude may have played a part.  All of this worked together to drop my blood pressure too much.

This was a wake-up call for me, though.  Our family learned how things can change in a moment and I learned what it really feels like to lose control of your body.  I tried to breathe deeper, calm down and take a sip of water.  None of those things worked.

I decided I need to pay more attention to my health because things could have turned out much differently.  I need to lose a fairly good amount of weight and am too thick around the middle, which is a risk factor for heart problems.  I now have a much better reason to lose weight and take care of myself other than vanity - I want to be around for my children and my husband.  It was no fun being wisked away in an ambulance and having a roomful of strangers staring at you.  It was no fun knowing that my boys were witnessing this and feeling frightened.  It was no fun knowing that I was scaring my husband and putting him in the hard situation of having to be strong for the boys.

It was just no fun.

Starting yesterday, I'm changing my lifestyle.  I am not going on a diet - I am changing my lifestyle.  I've been good with exercise, but I will be even better.  I will eat more healthfully.  I will practice portion control and I will try to do things that make me healthier and help to give me a long, happy life and I have an appointment to get a complete physical with my doctor tomorrow to see what the state of my health really is right now.  Party over - time to get serious.