The Cult of Melinda

The gAyTM is closed! No gay rights, no gay $$$!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Diary of a Sick Gay Woman

As some of you know, I suffer from a condition known as prinzmetals angina. I became symptomatic when I was 26, but was misdiagnosed for two years. During those two years, the spasms in my coronary arteries led to a ventricular arrythmia and irregular heart block (which progressed to type one second degree heart block a year ago). I also had the good fortune to experience my first minor heart attack at 28.

In the last two years, my prognosis meter has generally hovered around screwed. The difficulty of simultaneously controlling the arrythmia, heart block, and coronary artery spasms has required that I take a combination of meds that is not recommended. (If you hit the link, you can read more about it in the "Not to be used in" and "How can this medicine affect other medicines?" sections. Hint: I'm also on calcium-channel blockers.) Placing me on these meds was a last ditch effort at one of those moments in the last couple of years that the doctors were sure I was going to die. There have been too many of those. (But I... I laugh down my nose French-like at death!)

A month or so ago, however, my prognosis seemed to change for the better. There were no guarantees but my cardiologist thought I should be able to go six months without a visit. Six months without being hooked up to machines. Six months without being topless in front of perfect strangers. Six months without having to wash electrode tape or ultrasound goop off of my chest. The very thought of it was heaven.

I'd still have to take pills every day. I'd still be tired most of the time. I'd still have to monitor my blood pressure and pulse. I still had a standing emergency room order. But it was freedom! Relatively.

Trust me. Your standards for happiness really lower in this kind of situation.

I, however, am Melinda, so things must go wrong. (If you know me, you're nodding your head right about now.) Labor Day weekend, I travelled to New York with a couple of crazy friends, a wild weekend compared to what I've been able to do for the last two years. In the car on our way out of town, I began having a medium-sized spasm, which feels all-in-all like being suffocated for 10 minutes. It sucked, but the look on the Kahuna's face really took the edge off, especially since he was trying to "order" me NOT to have a heart attack in his car. Heh.

It passed, so I decided to just go on with my weekend and my life. Seems like the end of the story unless you know that I'm Melinda. (Remind me to describe "Melinda luck" or "pulling a Melinda" to you sometime.)

Anyway, this Sunday night, as I snuggled down early for bed, I became outrageously nauseous and ended up making out with the porcelain princess. I raged at the Kung Pao chicken I'd ordered for dinner, took some pepto, and went back to bed. Yesterday afternoon, at work no less, I began to feel really nauseous. I fought against the rising tide for hours but the porcelain princess' siren call was too much. So, there I was on my knees the second I walked into my apartment, trembling and sweaty and finally acknowledging what was really happening.

I took the wise course and strapped on the wrist monitor to check out the old b.p. and pulse. Blood pressure: Normal. Pulse: 120. That, ladies and gentleman, is tachycardia. How loverly. After an early dose of my meds, my stats returned to normal and my stomach eventually went back to sleep. But now I wait to find out if my "parole" has been revoked. My sweet freedom may be far too fleeting at last.

Sometimes, I hate being Melinda.


Blogger Stacey said...

:( I'm sorry, sweetie.

And I've seen that look on Rob's face, a few times. It's unforgettable, and a moment of hilarity in a time of horror. Love it.

10:43 AM  

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