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  • Kathryn R. Biel

Moment of Panic

So, the last six weeks or so have been pretty stressful around here. I had a God-awful situation at work that almost cost me my job (well, my big fat mouth almost cost me the job, but I was standing up for what I believed in). Pat's big fat mouth assisted in him parting ways with his job. He had another one lined up (phew!), but it is a year-long contract, so he'll be in limbo this time next year (not phew). The week or so in between Pat's job transition was not smooth sailing and he had some crises about where his life is going, how will he support the family, and what does he really want to be when he grows up. And the fact that he can't really answer that question in his mid-40's added more stress. To say he was a little grumpy, irritable and overall unpleasant would be putting it mildly.

Pat started the new (old) job, and things calmed down there. I headed into my busiest weeks at school with annual reviews coming out the wazoo. And then Jake got sick. Really sick.  He had an ear and sinus infection that knocked him out like nothing I've ever seen. And it apparently was viral, not bacterial, because the antibiotics did diddly squat for him. It was 6 loooong days of a miserable little guy who was up every 2-3 hours during the night because his ear hurt so badly.

By Monday of the week before break, he was finally better and we were cautiously optimistic. I still had annual reviews coming out the wazoo and had to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, bright and early we were hitting the road for Ohio. So, I'm in my frenzy, OCD driven state of planning and packing and writing reports and getting stuff ready for Easter when, WHAM, I have to put my cat down. Tuesday night. At like, 11 pm. Needless to say, sleep eluded me that night, and only found me the night after thanks to the help of my good friend Xanax. I somehow got us all packed and we were on the road by 6 am Friday morning.

We were back by Tuesday night, and I had a few days to recover. The day before school started back up, Jake had a horrendous allergic reaction that caused his eye to swell like Rocky Balboa's. He seriously could have used a good cut man. We were worried that he was going to have an anaphylactic reaction. With a lot of care (and Benadryl), we got him able to go to school in the morning.

Just before I went to school Monday, I learned that the mother of one of my students had died. It was a tremendous shock. She was only 25, and left behind 3 children. It has really hit home with all of us. I just want it not to be real, but, sadly, it is.

Friday of last week, Jake got his palate expander put in. We had prepared for the worst, but the kid came through it like a champ. He is doing a great job with brushing and cleaning, and we've only had one incidence of food stuck that took us a while to clean out. I feel horrible when I have to turn it morning and night, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

However, my own teeth are becoming a problem, as I either lost a filling or broke a tooth Monday night. I can't really tell which. I haven't been to the dentist in a very long time, as the last guy Pat and I went to was a shyster (hence the current dental problem). I kind of knew who I wanted to go to, and am going in tomorrow. But the thing about the broken tooth--it really freaked me out. For years, I have had dreams where my teeth either fall out or literally crumble. I awake with such an unpleasant feeling. And now, here it is happening in real life.

So, it leads me to yesterday. I didn't sleep much again Monday night, even though I felt like I was coming down with something. By Tuesday morning, the chest pain I've been experiencing on and off for four weeks was pretty steady. Overwhelmed by a feeling a impending doom, I realized that I was having a panic attack. I am not prone to them and have not had one in years. I can't figure out why.  I mean clipping coupons is really not that stressful. The only thing that I can think is that this week is a relatively quiet one (before an incredibly busy 3 week stretch), and my body and mind finally had time to react to all I've been through.

Pat talked me through some of it and gave me advice. I was able to talk to some friends and exercise, which all seemed to help. Today is better, with only fleeting moments of anxiety. My husband has been awesome throughout this, and he really came through for me (including cooking dinner and cleaning up!). In my time of need, he was just what I needed.

Sometimes I think that I just try to do too much. I think it all caught up with me. I'm very sad over the loss of my cat, and I think it's more related to the loss of my grandmother six months ago. I'm very shaken over the death of a very young mother.

I'm trying to breath slowly, enjoy life and relax.  Oh, and a good night's sleep would be good too.  

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