I’m not sure if this has anything to do with being Bipolar or not. Maybe it is, I don’t know. This is my life right now. For a year now I have been having shortness of breath which has gotten worse. Three months ago I started coughing and I haven’t stopped. I have been to the doctors for both of those things. My doctor sent me to the pulmonologist for the shortness of breath. They said maybe allergies. My doctor was in a really bad car accident, so we never followed up on that. I went to a different doctor when she was out about the cough. That doctor gave me an antibiotic and said if it didn’t work it might be allergies.
On October 22nd two days after my 36th birthday I coughed up blood for the third day in a row. At first it was specks of blood, but this time it was a lot of blood. I took a picture and sent it to my Dad. We tease him all the time that he thinks he is a doctor. I wasn’t really being serious. He freaked out and made me promise to go to the doctor. Since I had the day off anyway I decided to humor him. He thought I had a blood clot in my lung. Over dramatic much.
Neither one of the doctors I normally go to had appointments. I saw a guy I haven’t been to in a while. He makes me feel like a hypochondriac. I told him about the cough and what my crazy Dad thought. We kind of joked about my Dad. He said we take blood to show your Dad it’s not blood clot. We talked about my acid reflux. We both agreed that it might be were the cough and blood is coming from. Awesome, reflux medicine. I have wanted that for a while. Before I left I asked if he wanted to see the picture of the blood. He was like sure why not. I showed him and he ordered a TB test. Also on the safe side a chest x-ray.
I left there feeling pretty good with my acid reflux issue handled. I go get the chest x-ray. The doctor calls just as I’m leaving work, so I miss his call. My lungs look great. Awesome! But he wants me to call him back to discuss something they saw on the x-ray. It was the end of the day so the office was closed. I returned his call after a stressful night. I was at work. Just stepped outside for a quick call. He said I had a chest x-ray two years ago that the radiologist compared to my current one. My heart is significantly larger then it was two years ago. I talked to him more about the things I have been going through for a year. Including chest pain the goes down my left arm lasting two days that I thought was really bad heart burn from garlic.
He has me schedule an appointment for an EKG later that morning. I was fine. I promised my Dad I would let him know what the doctor said, so while I was out there I called him. That is when I broke down. My Dad offered to go with me to the doctor. Then I called my Mom and a coworker was just getting to work. She saw me standing outside crying on the phone with my Mom. She went and let my boss know. I asked a friend/coworker to come outside for minute. She did and then my boss came out too. They both hugged me and I told them what was going on.
My work family is pretty great. They had me go sit in one of the exam rooms to calm down before I went home. A few people came in the check on me. My boss boss came in too. We talked, and she tried to help. It was all very sweet. One of the nurses who is a friend came in when she heard I was upset. She sat down in her way and was like “ok tell me what happened’. In just a few minutes she had me laughing. Abby is great, and we have the same dark sense of humor. She likes to startle me a lot. I keep telling her she is causing damage to my heart every time she does. When I was waiting on the phone for the appointments person and the news hadn’t really hit me yet I was thinking ‘I’m going to tell Abby it is all her fault, and I told her she was doing damage to my heart.’ I told her that and she burst out laughing. Thank God for Abby. She calmed me down enough so I could drive home.
My Dad decided to drive me to the doctor instead of meeting there just in case it was bad news and I couldn’t drive home. My EKG was normal. He had me walk around the office a bunch of times then checked my oxygen. My oxygen levels were great, my breathing not so much. So, we ruled out my lungs being the cause of my shortness of breath. My lungs are getting oxygen just fine. He referred me to get an echocardiogram which is scheduled for November 7th. After that I will go for a consult with a cardiologist.
My boss boss said yesterday that I am handling this so much better. I said yeah I am. What am I suppose to do? Sit and cry at my desk all day? I have a job to do. Life goes on. You put on your work appropriate mask and do your job. I’m still freaking out, but after years of pretending I’m ok I know how fake it. If I can go to school or work when I’m depressed then I can go when I am stressed out of my mind. The thing I’m scared about most is all the medical bills in my future. I’m going to fucking need my job. My mask is hand crafted over many years. First comes the freak out then comes the mask.
In some ways I think being Bipolar has prepared me for so many things I never knew were coming. The strength I have built over my life to fight my own mind has made me strong to fight this too. I have my family. As soon as I found out I went to them. When I was falling apart at work I asked a friend to help me. I had a good cry then I had a good laugh. I am strong enough to get up everyday and keep fighting. It doesn’t matter what I am fighting, I know I have the strength and the support to do it.