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Monday, January 26, 2015
High Anxiety: GERD, GAD, and Winter Perforations
I have been battling with Acid reflux for a year and a half. I have had it before. Back in the day, about six years ago, I was diagnosed with GERD, which means gastroesophageal reflux disease. This disease caused acids in the stomach to want to travel back up the throat and otherwise cause pain. I took Nexium to control it, and when I lost my weight the condition completely went away. A year and a half ago, it came back, but manifested differently. This time I had severe chest pain related to the gas my body was producing. I had my heart checked out thoroughly to rule out cardiac issues (always an area of concern for me). What was left was a return of the GERD.
I expected to battle the condition on a daily basis, like the last time, and my PA prescribed Nexium again. I did expect not to have symptoms as long as I used the drug, but the symptoms continued. They were less severe, but I experienced chest pain almost daily. When I went to my PA (a different lady, same office) to get a new scrip, she became alarmed at my symptoms and ran a blood test. .Guess what? It turns out I have an ulcer. As the French would say, “Quelle surprise!” I have another condition, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). I worry. I worry a lot. I worry about everything. It’s how I’m wired. Someone might look at my truly blessed life and say, “What do you have to worry about?” Well:
Getting the work done. Not getting the work done. Will people read me? Why won’t they read me? How do I get them to read me? Will I be home when Steven Spielberg calls to buy the movie rights?
Getting to my job on time. Getting up in time to get to work on time. Sleeping through the alarm clock. Did I set it? Did I set it correctly? Not being able to sleep for worrying about getting to sleep and getting enough sleep.
Death (the Big One). The state of the world my grandchildren will inherit. The price of propane in January. The cost of gasoline. Why the cost of gas is tanking. How long that will last. The age of my car. The reliability of my son’s car. Driving in the winter: can I get down the hill without sliding into a ditch? Can I get back up the hill? Taxes (just thought I’d throw that in here). In particular, I worry about Di driving down to work in the middle of the night on icy or snowy roads. I sleep better when I do the driving.
The heat in summer. Forest fires. The cold in winter. Will my chickens freeze to death? Wait – I don’t have any chickens – but if I did, would they? Will the roof hold up under all that snow? How much snow? When will it be Spring? And what happened to the rabbits?
What’s going to hurt next? Kevin’s health. Jane’s behavioral issues. My health. Diane’s health. My hip, my stomach, my eyes. Cataract surgery – will I blink?
Are my kids happy?
When will Doctor Who return? Wait, that’s anticipation, not anxiety.
Not having money to travel, which means not being able to see people I love dearly for years at a time. Oh, yes, and I’m afraid of heights. But not airplanes.
Ronald Weasley might ask, “How does anyone hold that much inside his head?” I worry about that, too, so I make lists. Like Santa, I check them twice. Unlike Santa, then I check them again, reworking and reworking daily. I scratch off each item I have done with great satisfaction, then think of three more things that require my attention. My lists are famous. I even have lists to tell me where my lists are. I just hope my pen doesn’t run out of ink!
I’m not fearless, but I do what we all do: push through. Obviously, for me, it has taken a toll physically. Oddly enough, “You have an ulcer,” is good news. It’s curable. Anxiety, however, not so much, and that worries me.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..