Breathing The Smoke Of Fear

I am unbearably anxious to finish my late father's loss of leg due to nursing home neglect lawsuit so that I can sell my house and move to senior housing in the state where I wish to be. Each breath feels like the smoke of fear, and it is hard to get it all out of my lungs when I exhale. Suffocating.


Twice this week my heart skittered and kept on skittering, alternating between irregular beats so slow that I could not feel them in my cold, cold body, and episodes of fast, pounding, irregular beating that hurt my chest. Frightening.


I do not want to pay tens of thousands of dollars to lay for days in the bed of an intensive care unit like the first time I suffered a heart attack twenty-five years ago in 1995, especially as there is still no noninvasive treatment available in 2019, so my alternative was to lay in my own bed and wait to either die or for my heart to pick up its pace. On the first day of my heart malfunction I patiently, fearfully waited twenty hours for my heart to resume normal beating, but it did not. Finally I gave in to my better judgment, and took one sublingual nitroglycerin tablet (Nitrostat, 0.4 mg), and within minutes my heartbeat was normal, well, normal enough for me. I slept for a long time afterward, a day perhaps. The second time my heart malfunctioned this week, I took Nitrostat within a couple of hours, and then slept. My hesitation to take Nitrostat is that when doctors have prescribed it for me they have been so overbearing in telling me, "Don't take this unless you are absolutely sure you need it. You really should not take this." Then why did they prescribe it? I have had this heart problem all of my life, it just gets worse and more difficult to compensate for with age. According to old studies from half a century ago it was primarily men who were prescribed sublingual nitroglycerin and they were encouraged to take it immediately as needed. Women were thought to be much less likely to have heart failure. Illinois has always been out of date, it still is in many ways. I see significant backwardness in the health care that I receive, and in the manner in which I receive it. This is infuriating because when physicians diagnose and treat me through a “gender lens” of the patient is female so it can not be a serious heart problem, it could cost me my life early.


I calmed myself between these fearful events with bedrest, quiet amusements, easy distractions, and by progressing a little each day toward my goals, but I fear that I am too old and too alone to succeed in these last life tasks that I have before me. I am breathing the smoke of fear.


And in the end is the smoke of cremation.

Caption: Breathing The Smoke Of Fear

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019

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