All I Want To Say

Today was the day I thought I was going to lose everyone I love…or, actually, they were going to lose me.

I’m still not sure what happened. One minute I was packing backpacks and getting kids out the door, the next I was asking my brother to drive because I could feel something wasn’t exactly ‘right.’

Dismissing it from my head and telling myself i was just being safe, we got in the car and headed to school. My brother driving, the kids chattering away in the back seats, and I on the passenger side slightly annoyed I asked my brother to drive because I should have just taken the car and run errands instead.

Then I got woozy. Really woozy. 

I was glad he was driving, but I still wasn’t sure something was wrong. So along the freeway we went, all the while with me slumping further in my seat. The voices in the car feeling like they were getting further away.

Then I got dizzy, and I tried to shake it off telling myself maybe I was hot – as I tend to get sometimes if I don’t take enough of my bioestrogen cream (I lost my uterus to Lupus) or xanax or… the weather. Who knows.

We drove along and things in my body got worse. I could feel the tips of my left fingers begin to tingle (was I getting a bad migraine? that happens a lot with my migraines).

But then something new happened…it felt like there was a brick on my heart. Not like I needed a Tums, but like I needed a crane lift to get it off. It hurt. And I wanted to tell my brother but I didn’t want to scare the kids and I couldn’t get the words out even if I decided to scare the kids.

So as calmly as possible, and without looking at him, I told him something was wrong. I’m not sure it came out as English. As calmly as possible I told him I was telling Aaron to turn around. I told him to get the kids to class. I told him to take me to the hospital.

At least, in my mind I was telling him to do all these things. I have no idea how much of it came out of my mouth and made sense to him.

I saw the kids walk into school. I saw my brother walk them in and them out of school. I remember thinking ‘they didn’t get walked all the way into class’  and the rest is a blurr.

I remember my brother trying to get me out of the car, but my body wasn’t working. I remember crying, trying to tell the doctors what was wrong, I remember a doctor telling me I was taking xanax and I must have horrible anxiety. I was trying to explain I was on xanax because I was on steroids, but he kept saying this was probably my anxiety.

All I could think was ‘anxiety? anxiety means you can’t lift your left arm or speak clearly?’ and I wanted to make a fist with my weak left arm and punch the doctor. I really did. I’ve met some really jerky doctors in my life, and I’ve had them tell me some pretty stupid things…but this doctor was NOT listening to me. I wasn’t taking anti-anxiety medication because I had horrible anxiety issues, I was taking them because I was was on PREDNISONE which made me agitated. Steroids do that. He was a doctor, he knew this, right?

Then things got worse. A nurse was looking in my face trying to calm me down, I could feel my mind going in and out of being awake, and I could hear my brother and husband crying.

I thought I was going to die.

And if I wasn’t going to die, I was convinced if I fell asleep, I was not going to wake up for a very long time. So I was fighting it. I was popping my eyes open as hard as I could and the nurse kept telling me to focus on her. I didn’t want to focus, I wanted to get up and punch Mr. Anxiety Doctor. With my left hand that wasn’t working.

All I could do was think about the kids…how someone would have to pick them up and tell them I was asleep. I didn’t want to let go of what I thought was my husband’s hand, but it turns out it was the nurse. I think.

I also kept wondering why no one would get this brick off my chest. No one seemed to care because the test showed no brick. But I could feel the brick.

In comes Mr. Anxiety Doctor who says, very casually, ‘wow, you are on a lot of medication, it might be the medication’ … no kidding asshole. Have you heard a WORD any of us have told you?

Ok so maybe my words came out as ‘ladglahdgahdfakdhgakd’ but I know my husband and brother were making sense.

I also know I was petrified this was the last time I was going to be able to talk to anyone I love, and I couldn’t talk. I was screaming in my head, but nothing was coming out. I’m not sure I can explain a more frustrating feeling, especially when all you want to say is ‘I love you.’




  1. I’m just glad that you’re okay and that you have two amazing men to advocate for you.

  2. oof. Scary as hell. And I will come punch that doctor for you.

  3. Erin, this is so terrifying! I know I hate the feeling of being out of control, and especially at the mercy of doctors like that who are so damn patronizing. I just want to say I’m so happy to know that episode passed and you got back home. And Fuck Lupus!

  4. Oh, Erin. I’m so sorry you went through this! How scary. I can’t even imagine.

  5. Oh, Erin. I can’t even begin to imagine how bloody terrifying this was for all of you! I would like to accompany Suebob so I can junk punch Anxiety Doc while she regular-punches him. What an ass.

    Sending love and prayers and speeding healing vibes and all that other good stuff.

  6. Holy crap, just reading that made my heart pound! I’m sending healing vibes your way (I can’t vouch for their effectiveness, but it’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂

    I know your brother and husband will take good care of you!

  7. WHAT?! I’m in such shock right now at the doctor. Such shock. I’m so sorry. And SO GLAD you can write this right now.

  8. Ginger Kenney says:

    I’m speechless, but so glad you do have great advocates. Storming heaven even harder for you…all of you but mot especially you.

  9. Yeah, and after you are finish punching that fool tell him that there is such a thing as dual diagnosis. You can have anxiety and a heart attack. Or appendicitis. Or damn painful gallstones.

    I hate when they want to pin shit women go through on just “anxiety”.

    Hey babe, maybe we need to come up with a special “Likin” stick for the medical profession. Seeing how some are kinda hard headed I’m thinking mahogany wood.

    I’ll leave it to you to work out the design. We don’t want to kill them but whack some of that medical school and compassion knowledge forward.

  10. So glad you are OK today. Very scary to go through. Your fighting spirit amazes me.

  11. Yikes that sounds incredible frightening, I’m glad some advocates where there on your behalf.

  12. I’ve been there and not. My doc sent me to the ER for an active asthma attack that couldn’t be controlled. When I got there (by myself), the ER doc thought that I was having a pulmonary embolism (which had killed one of my friends only a month before and within an hour of going to the hospital). My kids were at school and daycare, my husband was out of town. I had no problem communicating like you were but I thought for sure I was going to die without talking to anyone I loved and it was devastating. (hugs)

  13. This is why The Nice Lady, despite being a former ER RN, dislikes telling doctors that don’t know her history that she takes any drugs like that (for issues that are not anxiety). I love it when you’d rather be asleep and they’re saying it’s probably a panic attack.

    We’re glad to hear that you’re doing okay. Sounds like they at least finally figured out that any anxiety had a basis in a REAL medical problem. Eustice is baking you cupcakes.

  14. That really sounds awful! I hope everything is okay and you feel better soon.

  15. Oh, Erin, how awful! And then to have a doctor like that on top of everything else…if I lived closer I’d come and punch him for you. What a dick! Somehow I doubt he’d suggest anxiety as a dx for a man with identical symptoms, and that makes me want to fly out there and punch him even more. Did they ever figure out what caused this? Are they calling it a TIA? Did they do an echo? I am worried about your heart, in more ways than one.

  16. All patronizing docs deserve a junk punch – sign me up for that brigade please. And *hug* I’m glad your brother was there with you. I’m so very glad you’re here posting to us, and I hope you’re feeling a bit better – keep us updated when you can my dear.

  17. Sounds scary. I’m glad you are feeling better. Was it a drug interaction or was it something blood pressure related? I once had a bee sting and ended it up in anaphylaxis and I remember so clearly that feeling of being in the passenger seat and just feeling consciousness sliding away, it’s terrifying. I know doctors are trained to deal with panic but sometimes their calmness in the face of trauma can lead to an inability to really hear what the patient is saying.

  18. They did every test in hte world. They found only the old stroke on the MRI. thank goodness. They took me off off drugs for my colonoscopy the week before- and I had been off them a week, so they think this tipped the scales. The problem is now I am on so many drugs it’s hurting me and when I go off it hurts me- so we have a lot of decisions to make.

  19. All I can say is FUCK.

  20. ah babe, thats just awful. (which you know, but I want you to know I heard you)

  21. Ahh, Erin. I just read this. How f’ing terrifying! Thank god for your two advocates and support.

  22. Lupus and autoimmunity are so complex…more complicated than my uncle w 2 forms of rare cancer. I am so sorry you went through that hell. Having not been able to move my hand from an allergic reaction to an rx:….I feel ya, like u’re trapped…in your body. I am so over every dr chalking everything up to anxiety! I wish all rhumatologists had 1st hand experience w it, maybe they’d cut us some slack.
    Your brutal honesty rocks, as a mama who battles autoimmunity everyday…we are on the same page, so unfair to our precious kids and loved ones. They deserve to be worry free and just be.
    Sending you good energy and prayers.

  23. Shit, that is very scary and frustrating. I’m just glad you made it through and are well enough to tell the story.

    Keep on keepin on,sista!

  24. Girl…I am so glad you are here to type this tale up but wow, how scary. And as much shit as people talk about teachers, what the hell was wrong with that doctor???

  25. Damn condescending doctors. I wish you’d punched him. Brick on the chest symptoms, and he thinks you’re just a wee bit anxious? Grrr.

  26. Christ on a bike Erin! I levee you a lone for a couple of months and this is what happens?

    I hope you’re feeling better now. Hugs to you and Aaron and the kids. Maybe more Ginger Shortbreads are in order …


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