Thursday 15 March 2012

The Tale of a Garden-Variety POTSy Lass

(You know what I love more than this quote? The blog I found it on had,
 "god knows who the author is… google him?" Sad, but also highly amusing)

Today's guest poster is fellow Australian Bobette, the lovely Belinda. Luckily her love of Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy, outweighs her slight jibe at my beautiful Victoria, which we all know trumps Adelaide anyway. You may have lovely churches and Cold Chisel, but we have a festival named after the Aboriginal word for 'anus', Moomba. Top that, lady! But state rivalries aside, I'll let Belinda tell you a little bit about herself.

"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste" - Oops, hang on. Not quite accurate but if you're going to quote the Rolling Stones, concessions need to be made. I am neither a man, nor that wealthy, but I do like to think I have a little bit of taste (bad pun jokes aside). So obviously, female, 36, Adelaidean married to gorgeous cycling obsessed Victorian (won't hold that against him) and we share a house with a rabbit (Peter) who thinks he's a dog, 2 budgies who think they own the house and in recent weeks a cat, who has adopted us as its new family, mainly because whoever its owners were had stopped feeding it and it had become so skeletal that I couldn't in all good conscience let it starve to death. I am an ICU nurse despite the fact that I haven't been able to work for nearly a year and a half but technically, I am still employed by them and I refuse to be defined by my illness. I am hopelessly obsessed with the TV shows Friends and Spirited and I think that music has never been as good the alternative/Indie/grunge 90's era (having written that I've just thought of a whole stack of current bands and artists that I adore). I love to read (favourite book: Pride and Prejudice - who doesn't want a Mr Darcy?), I love to cook (when I can stand up long enough) and as something positive about this POTS thing and having to spend hours lazing around on the couch I have recently learnt to knit, so am completely prepared for the harshest of winters despite never having seen snow in my life.

The Tale of a Garden-Variety POTSy Lass
Well, here goes. A replacement post for the irreplaceable Rusty Hoe. I shall temporarily call myself The Wonky Spirit Level because that seems to be where my head space is at most days. Constantly trying to get that little bubble in my head to stay between the two black lines so I don't fall over or walk into walls ("Oh, it's nothing, I just walked into a door...").

My husband and I have both had dealings with pots. Him - when he went to the GP for vaccinations for an overseas holiday and promptly fainted at reception, fell backwards and smashed a terracotta pot with his head, earning himself an ambulance ride and a head CT. My one great regret about this is that it happened before I knew him and I missed the opportunity to laugh and mock. Turns out it's not as funny in retrospect. Me - recently diagnosed after being unwell for two years and eventually demanding a referral to a cardiologist because I was damn sure the symptoms were not all in my head as many doctors tried to tell me.

My workmates will tell you that POTS is an appropriate diagnosis for me. They will wax lyrical about how they've always known I was 'Potty' and I know to them that it must sound like a bit of a joke diagnosis. I imagine it to be wearing a red nose, big shoes and riding a tiny bike. And, like a clown, I have decided to laugh in its face (except on really bad days, because it's too much effort and quite frankly, sometime clowns just aren't that funny). Despite this I am now on a pathway of learning. Learning things about my body and my self that I never would have got the 'opportunity' to otherwise. Learning that I'm stronger than I thought. Learning that I can laugh despite being subjected to autonomic testing (Mum said she could hear my laugh drifting out across the day ward from the cardiac suite. Weird, because I don't remember it being all that jolly). Learning who my true friends are because they will stick with you through the bad times and let you know that they are thinking of you. And, not wanting to get too "Oprah" on everyone here, wondering if because of all this I will emerge a better person and, if I ever get to return to work, be a better nurse. After being healthy for 34 of my 36 years, I've never known life on "the other side". Apart from a few minor coughs and colds, I've never been a patient. I now have new insight into just how helpless and overwhelming it all can be and I look at patients now with new understanding and marvel at their bravery. Being a patient sucks and when one day I'm able to be the carer again, that's exactly what I'm going to do - care.

But above all I've that through all the sickness, tests, misdiagnoses and metaphorical kicks to the bollocks, that I still have hope. Hope that I will one day get better. Hope that my hope is not misplaced. Hope that I can once again be the wife that my husband deserves (ooh, hard to see, tearing up a bit here) and hope that I will one day see my POTS lying on the floor, smashed to pieces, like that other terracotta pot that has long since gone to Potty heaven.

The Wonky Spirit Level

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