Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Anxious Person

Would you like to take a little trip down crazy avenue? Let me walk you through what's usually a simple trip to the doctor office for most people. For me, it's a anxious person's nightmare.

I found myself feeling really crummy this past week and had a hunch it was strep throat. Instead of calling the doctor and making an appointment, I obsessed about how much I dislike going.  Negative memories of blood pressure and pulse rate readings, swirled through my mind.

After suffering three agonizing days of a raging sore throat and total lack of energy, I finally made an appointment to see my primary doctor. You know I'm miserable when I get to this point.

Here's how my trip to the doctor went:
Luckily, I didn't have to wait long for the nurse to call my name. That's always a good thing, because the longer I wait, the more I think, which increases my anxiety. First stop: time to step on the scale. Oddly enough, this is the easiest part for me, even as a larger woman.  Things get tough for me once we step into the examination room.

Me talking to nurse: "I have to give you my anxiety disorder shpeel. I notice you have one of those electric type of blood pressure machines in here."
Nurse: "Yes, is that a problem?"
Me: "The first time you guys tried this new equipment with me, I ended up screaming and pulling the cuff off my arm. It put me in a state of panic. You'll need to roll in the old fashion blood pressure machine for me."
Nurse: "Not a problem, I'll go get that as soon as I finish my patient assessment."
Me: "Oh, by the way, I don't always agree to let you take my blood pressure or pulse. I'll let you know my decision when you finish with your checklist of questions."
The nurse begins going over my medications- and then...Decision time!

I find that this particular nurse has a calming demeanor that makes me feel comfortable. I decide to go ahead and let her take my blood pressure. Just as she's preparing to take my blood pressure, I see a twinkle in her eye and she loudly exclaims, "Wait, I just remembered-Have you ever experienced the wrist band blood pressure gauge?" "It would be perfect for you." She leaves the room to fetch the newest technology for her neurotic patient.

Before she puts the band on my wrist, I tell her that although I'm letting her take my blood pressure, I don't want her to tell me what it is. I'll look at it in my own time when I leave the clinic. Pheew-rules are all out there. Let's get on with it.

I go to my happy place (usually a tropical beach) and begin some deep breathing. Boom! it's done. I can't believe how easy this was.  Usually when it's the cuff on my arm, I can feel my pulse when it gets really tight, which is what puts me into a panic.With the wrist gauge, I felt none of that. I felt so confident afterwards, I even asked the nurse to tell me what my reading was. It was pretty good for someone like me with white coat syndrome. Icing on the cake-She said it took my pulse at the same time.

Once this part of the visit is over, it's smooth sailing. They swabbed  my mouth to check for strep and the results came back negative. I was told I had some virus that's common in the summer months. The doctor explains there's no antibiotic to treat it, but he can prescribe something to ease the pain of the sore throat. It's called, "magical mouthwash." It basically numbs the throat so your not so miserable.  He writes me a prescription and I'm on my way home, feeling extremely proud of myself.

I know- anxiety is exhausting, isn't it? Next time you have a doctor appointment, think of me and feel grateful your not in my body.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Trip to New York City was Incredible

I recently wrote about my sister and I winning a radio contest from "Cities 97." We won a free trip to go hear John Mayer's new album, "Born and Raised." This is my follow-up story to share our incredible experience.

Going to New York City for the first time was a gift in itself but being invited to a private listening party to hear John Mayer's new album, was icing on the cake.

We took a taxi to the party on May 16 at about 6:15PM as we needed to be to the "Electric Lady Studio" by 7:00PM. We unfortunately got a taxi driver that didn't speak good English and he took us in circles for the about a forty minutes. My sister, who I named 'Samantha' on the trip (the gal from Sex in the City) was dealing with the situation with the taxi driver. When the driver asked my sister for the address for about the third time and followed with, "where is this place?"- My sister firmly pointed out that we were from Minnesota and he was from New York. When it was obvious this man was totally clueless and lost, sis rolled down the window and asked a passerby on the street if she could quickly Google "Electric Lady Studio" and point us in the right direction. Thank goodness Laura thought to do this because that's the only reason we made it to our important destination.

We were a little worried about being late because they asked winners to be there promptly at 7:00PM. We were pleasantly surprised to get a personal greeting when we arrived. The gal from promotions was at the front door and said, "Hi, you must be the twins from the twin cities?. We apologized for being late and told her the taxi driver wasn't familiar with the Greenwich area. She reassured us  it wasn't a problem, we hadn't missed much, and led us upstairs. She pointed out the bar and said to help ourselves to wine, water or soda. We each poured a glass of white wine and walked to to the studio room.

We were handed a book of John's songs from the album as we sat in the back of the room. As I looked around the room, I noticed that people seemed pretty nervous. How can you sit so seriously when their playing John Mayer tunes over the speakers. The acoustics in this studio were amazing and I couldn't help but sway to the music. Laura and I were softly singing along to the lyrics in the book and moving to the beat. As a forty-nine year old cancer survivor, I make every moment count and was taking it all in.

Once every song from John's album played, it was time to meet John. He must have come through a secret back door, because the next thing we knew, he was standing in front of us, center stage. It was surreal to see John in the flesh.

John talked about what inspired his new album and then took questions from his fans. Being John Mayer fans and strong extroverts, Laura and I had no problem asking him a couple questions. After the Q and A was over, they lined people up to get their photo with John. During our photo with him, he was told we were twins, and he said, "cool, hi twinners." I thought it was such a cute comment and was impressed he was so personable.

After the listening party, some of the winners gathered outside the studio and talked. It was fun hearing where people traveled from. There were 15 winners from different states, and each winner could bring one friend or spouse. Eventually, we all went our separate ways to check out the night life in Greenwich Village. Laura and I headed to a well known Jazz club a few blocks away.

The trip to New York City was pure magic and an experience we will never forget. Please enjoy some pictures from our adventure.

Camera man setting up
John answering questions

Band @ 'The Garage Jazz Club'
Front door of Studio

Posing with John