Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The truth about my summer-I had a scare but I'm back on top

I want to share some reality of my summer. I haven't posted about it, but I'm going to, because it ties into why I'm so excited about the Love Mobile. Last June, on a Saturday morning, I did not have my usual yogurt breakfast, I had a toasted scone, and instead of only eating 1/2 of one [my norm] I ate an entire scone. Half hour later, doing chores, I had the most intense heartburn. Now I've had heartburn in the past from food, and from stress-I know how it goes. But this felt a bit different. I alerted Martyn, it felt that weird.

I had also been coughing for months from the fact I work in granite dust that has silica. And, I had Jabbed my elbow into my under sternum so hard that it knocked me backwards and I lost my breath for a minute [I was giving llama shots and Harry shoved me which is what llamas do]. I'd also had a sever bronchial cough for over a month.

At the same time, I had been searching for a new GP and it is hard to find one taking new patients. I finally found one, and signed up but it would be two months before I could get it.

The heartburn subsided, but it also kind of lingered in my sternum for a week or so. I was mentioning it to a friend, and how it would be two months to see my new doctor, and she suggested I go to the ER and they could give me  a blood test that can detect heart attacks. I wasn't so sure about that, but decided to go in. It was a very naive decision. I explained the situation, that I did not have chest pain, etc, and just wanted to have this blood test [again, that was naive!] but they whisked me in for an EKG, blood tests, chest XRAYS...strapped me to a bed and wouldn't let me out. My blood pressure was very high-which is the norm for me at a doctor. In fact, I'd been taking my BP daily for a few weeks because I knew I'd be going to a new GP soon and wanted them to see my BP since it is always high at the doctor [any doctor that denies white coat syndrome is wrong].

Well, all the tests were fine. The ER doctor was someone I hope I never see again. He would not listen to my symptoms, he would not look at my BP diary, he would not listen to the stress that was going on all month-how that very day old Matilda was cast, she could not get up without my help, and I knew her time was coming. He did not care that heartburn over my adult years nearly always came from stress. There had been multiple deaths of people I knew that month too. We'd lost some other animals too. But he was hell bent on making me think I was about to have a heart attack and had to stay in the hospital. He said even though I was in the lowest part of the lowest percentile for dying of a heart attack in a year, I still could. I refused to stay based on my tests.

I did not have a heart attack, and my tests were good. But I did agree to go on BP medicine. I just wanted to get out of there. Within days, I became groggy. I was taking two hour naps. I was very angry too. Short temper. And I was having sternum sensations I'd never had. My BP was so low it seemed unreal. I began researching the medicine and saw I was not alone. By the time I got into my new doctor, I felt like I had slept walked the entire summer. I was unmotivated, even depressed. I could not focus. I could not create. The new doctor switched me to another med, and the first couple days were ok, but then the night terrors and hallucinations began-like lying in bed at night and seeing a man come in and cut Martyn's throat and then killing all the animals. They were not night mares, they were sheer terror. One night I looked over at Martyn and his body was see through. It was hard on him too to have me go through these things.

I told my doctor that was it, I would not live like that. I asked her why I was even on these meds. She agreed the ER doc had done what many docs do-throw you on a pill, and he did it just becasue of a high reading at the ER.  She agreed I should wean off of this med, and see if my BP is as normal as my diary says it is. So far, it is. {By the way, I like my new doc a lot, she LISTENS].

The day I went off that med, I was myself again. It made me realize how out of it I was, out of it as in my creativity and soul were being drugged. There were mornings I didn't want to get up. During my summer daze, I began seeing my life as almost finished. I am 64, I began to feel sort of...old. I always figured 78-80 was a good life. And I thought, man, that's only 14 more years. Is this how it's going to be, drugged up on some doctor's idea of good medicine? I want to be me again. I need to be me to write and paint and create and help people.

The day I went off the drugs, every symptom I'd had disappeared and has not returned. I hope they don't. And within a couple days, my ideas started coming back to me, as did my energy. I bought a Nordic Track so I can make sure my heart gets exercise [my work on the farm is more upper body strength],  I made some slight changes to daily eating even though I eat well, and I bought a new dress!

And that is when the idea of Love Mobile came to me again. And I went online for vintage trailers, and came upon the Happier Campers. And just like I had felt this enormous feeling back west that we had to move, not later but ASAP, I felt this enormous push to invest in this little camper. Moving to Maine was the greatest thing for us, and me, and I feel my little Love Mobile will bring great things to me, and others.