A bad week sends me to the ER

Last week picked me up like a rag doll and slapped me against the ground hard.

It started with neighbor problems during Memorial Day weekend that led to emails and conversations with the police during the week. Then our yellow lab tore her ACL and went in for a $5,000 surgery for her knee. A rough week at work rocked my equilibrium in the way only work can do, and Saturday morning my heart lost its rhythm and off to the emergency room I went.

Home sweet home.

That’s the executive summary. Here’s the full scoop.

Our neighbor problems continue. Based on my complaint and other neighbors’ complaints, the police visited the parents to let them know the neighborhood was stressed about their daughter. I’m not sure how much it helped. The email from the officer stated the parents understood, but were “not appreciative of all the complaints.”

If we were renting our house, we’d be gone. Owning a home is overrated. My advice is to own a mobile home instead. I wish we did.

Now I spend every night looking at Realtor.com and every available house in our price range. No luck. There’s limited inventory these days. And something about having to move because of uncaring neighbors really upsets me. We may have to move, but it’s not going to be a fast process.

Our six-year-old lab hurt her knee last year. We went to the vet and he took x-rays. He saw a small speck, but felt it was nothing because she was walking okay. But our dog grew more bothered by the knee, so we went back and he gave us the name of a specialist, who diagnosed a torn ACL. In she went in for surgery the very next day. And now our bank account is light almost 5K. We love our dogs in this family. Or I should say we love the yellow lab because we got her when my daughter turned four. She and my daughter have a bond. I can’t explain it. It exists. And my wife loves the dog too.

I may work for one of the top 100 best companies to work for, but that doesn’t mean every day rains gummi bears and I spend half my day at the beach. The term “work/life balance” makes us laugh daily when we talk about the workload. I am going to write more about this in a future post. All I know is that both my wife and I work for large companies and I’m thinking it’s time they started hiring more people to do the work.

Welcome to the ER.

All of this led to my heart going into Atrial Fibrillation Saturday morning and an ER visit. It’s interesting because I thought a heart with no steady rhythm would be a big deal when I got there. It felt like a big deal to me. But despite the my pulse jumping from 60 to 160 and back again, they didn’t exactly rush to help me. I guess if I’d said I was having chest pain, first class service would’ve kicked in. It felt that serious to me. Eventually, they got around to doing something. They gave me a shot of ativan, an aspirin, and a large IV bag of fluid and my normal rhythm returned. But I wonder which came first, the panic attack or the crazy heart rate? I’ll never know.

Now I have to go see a psychiatrist. I know I have a problem with anxiety and need to manage it better than taking an occasional Xanax Skittle. The A Fib episode gave me a scare. I don’t want to go through it again.

And I should add this. I’ve had time to think about the week and what caused the stress. Yes, all of the above happened. And all of the above contributed to the problem. However, it was really the fear of what might happen in the future that pushed me over the edge. What if the neighbor retaliates and hurts my wife or daughter? What if I can’t negotiate my way through the politics of this project? What if I lose my job? My insurance? It really comes down to worrying about the unknown.

I don’t believe in God, but that doesn’t mean I don’t speak to her sometimes as if she existed. And I asked her for a sign. Something to show me I should continue and not give up. To continue to put up with the challenges of life. And she delivered one of my favorite songs, “Blackbird.” Interesting choice. I guess it’s like a dream – it’s my interpretation that matters most, not the dream or the song. And though I thought about not mentioning this part because it feels embarrassing, I’m leaving it in. It is what it is. And it happened.

12 thoughts on “A bad week sends me to the ER

  1. Bloody Nora. Doesn’t sound like fun. I wish I could come around and deal with your neighbours for you – Breaking Bad style. I can see why U are flapping but mate its not worth putting yourself in hospital for – god knows U do enough time in there already. In the words of many great men, fuck them. Also, you live in LA – time U got a big shiny gun and keep it in a lockable box by the door.

    • Matt,

      I wish you could too. Like unleashing the Hound in Game of Thrones.

      I wish I lived in England like you and the Knight of the West Ham. What a better place to live. LA is so f’ing agressive. I feel like I should carry a spiked baseball bat every where.

      Nice to hear from you. Best to the little flower.


  2. I bought (another) lotto ticket tonight. You know they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

    Apparently I’m insane, because I keep buying these damn things and never winning. Anyway, if I win, I’m sending you a good chunk of change, because you need to move, you need to work for yourself (no less work, but much greater satisfaction in it) and you need to not have to worry about that damn insurance – oh, and you sure as hell need a holiday.

    I can’t imagine living in a place that caused me to feel fear and anxiety and not be able to do anything about it. When we lived in TX we had family members who tried to run my husband off the road (drug issues), then they started telling people around town that our son was retarded (I kid you not) we kept hearing from different people “I heard about your son..so sorry..”

    I was terrified as he got older HE would hear about it – and how the hell do you explain that to 6 year old? They eventually took out an insurance policy in my husbands name, and sued us for defamation when we talked about it – seriously. And this was family members – it was beyond insane and emotionally unhealthy.

    So we moved – to the other side of the world. To not have the option of being able to get the hell out of dodge would have been overwhelming – I would imagine I would be in the ER with heart issue too – In fact, if you didn’t have that kind of reaction, you would have to start asking yourself, why not? In other words you sound perfectly normal and of sound mind to me…

    I suggest (easy as it is for me to say from my peaceful beach side life) tackling one problem at a time – which is the thing that would be easiest to change, and start there. You know what brings unhealthy emotions into your life, and so you know what needs to go – it cant happen overnight (took us nearly a year to move from the time we made the decision – and it was a shit-ass year!) but you can make the decision and start working the process – and there is a lot of peace in that – because you feel like you are (finally) taking control, rather than these external factors controlling you.

    Hang in there, karma comes around eventually and it WILL be your time!

    I LOVE Blackbird. She sure is perceptive.

    • Karyn of down under,

      I buy lotto tickets. I have a pile of them on my desk right now. There is something quite satisfying about lottery dreams. They put me to sleep in a happy place some nights.

      Sorry to break this to you, but you are insane, but in a good and charming way. Happy insane.

      This thing in TX is quite interesting. I’m surprised you didn’t “Billy Jack” them for comments like that about your son. Do you find that explaining the concept of “stupid people” is one of the hardest? Though your son is younger than my daughter, it’s a lesson we’re teaching her now.

      I think it’s good to worry that he would hear about their comments, which could be damaging. I remember kids in the neighborhood throwing rocks at me because they found out I had CF and thus the reason I never wanted to be associated with it as a child.

      I’m not sure how the whole insurance policy/defamation situation played out. That must be some story. I’m curious unknowncystic@gmail.com if you can share more. That’s crazy. I’m glad you moved.

      I’m glad you have not been in the hospital for a heart issue. Remember, I’m living on borrowed time right now. You’re healthy. No hospitals for you.

      Good advice and helpful. In a way, I’m doing that. I’m looking at houses on the internet every day. Some tell me that you’ll always have crazy neighbors. And that may be true, but I won’t have the crazy neighbors I have now. And that’s good enough for me.

      “External factors controlling you.” I have to tell you that this is going to be the subject of a post coming soon. I think this is one of the greatest stressors I have.

      Lastly, I want to thank you for this entire comment. It made me feel better.


  3. Ah, you’ve got control issues, just like the rest of us type A personalities. For us, nothing is worse than uncertainty. It pretty much makes living with CF excruciating. I think we’re often waiting for the ax to fall. I think the psychiatrist is a great idea. The situations won’t change, but your reactions to them can.

    By the way, I LOVE that you had a conversation with Her. The last time I was conflicted and asked her for a sign I was driving home from vacation through West Virginia and within 10 minutes a huge hand-painted sign appeared that said “Jesus Loves You”. I was looking for something a bit more subtle…

    I hope al smooths out and within no time a;; of these issues are a thing of the past…

    • Stacey of a state without sunshine,

      I’m happy to see something in writing from you. If not a blog post, a comment is the next best thing. 🙂

      Control issues? Hmm, I have to think about that one. And I’ll think about the uncertainty part. Maybe I should just dial 1 800-stacy for mental heath. You know about CF, which I don’t think the head doctor I’m going to see does. See, you would be a better choice. Oops, I forgot to call the head doc this week. That’s not a good first step.

      I like your sign better. I’m glad you got that one. Because Jesus clearly does not love me. He has favorites. I know that’s not in the bible, but Jesus hated a lot of people. He had an angry side and he’s taking it out on me. But better me than you. That I’m happy about.

      Thanks again for plying yourself away from your busy life and writing. Good food for thought.

      Your CA friend,


    • Margie,

      Thanks. In my next life, I want to come back as a dog in this household. It’s a good life. Two meals a day. Two walks a day. Belly rubs. No work. It doesn’t get better.


  4. This will be the first time I’ve commented on yiour blog but just want you to know that I’ve been a follower for quite some time now and am often inspired by your post. I’m also amazed by your wit given the hand you’ve been dealt.

    When you mentioned your yellow lab, I just felt the need to comment. We have a black lab and just know they are a special breed that we can’t seem to do enough for. Spoiled? Yes, with belly rubs also that she loves.

    Wishing you the best, UC.

    • Larry,

      Hey, glad you took the time to leave a comment. I’m really glad you did. Don’t be a stranger. I have to post an update soon about the dog and two weeks of her recovery. Been quite an experience and a costly one at that.

      Best to you and thanks again for saying hi.


  5. I had a dachshund who required emergency back surgery, then an eye procedure and was allergic to grass. I don’t know if we even ever totalled up what we spent on him. But he was ours and we loved him so we didn’t hesitate. I hope you and the dog recover speedily.

    • MAL,

      Nice to hear from you. Where’s my guest post?

      What is it about dogs that makes us spend a fortune on them? I’ll be coming back as one in your house in my next life. You’ll be saying, “why does that dog keep sticking his head in bags?” That will be my signal to you that it’s me.


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