Monday, October 03, 2005

This Blog is Brought to You by Mylanta

Recently, while still in a weekly partying mode, it became very clear to me that I was suffering from some sort of nastiness. I ignored the smaller signs over the last two years. But a monster attack sent me to the doctor upon which it was revealed that I have Acid Reflux. No big deal, right?

Oddly, my mind, instead of handling this quietly and calmly, turned this into the worst thing that could have ever happened and I became quite anxious which eventually lead to actual panic attacks in the backyard, followed by howling and crying. Lucky for me, my State-of-California-Recognized-Domestic-Partner, Adam, was quite lovely about the whole thing and didn’t have me hauled off.

During one other period in my life I suffered from panic attacks. It was when I was nineteen and I was dealing with coming out of the closet. The change, stress and revelation were too much for my adolescent mind to handle. I grew terrified and it took me quite a few years of therapy to calm the hell down.

So, I got to wondering, at 43 years old, with a very solid understanding of who I am, why would I be panicking so much? And after many hours of restful meditation, the pieces started coming together...I am probably going to die at 86. So I am facing the downward slide into the grave, with no guarantee of anything. I recently visited my parents and though they look pretty much the same, they are more fragile. My favorite Great Aunt Helen is 81 and in the final stages. And then there was that whole Katrina thing. Plus, I am just about finished with my book and this is terrifying. We are in the middle of a real estate deal that has been dragging on for four months. And lastly, being diagnosed with something as stupid as Acid Reflux, I assigned to it the marker of, “Last stop for a good slice of cheese before you die.” It also didn’t help my anxiety that the strong pills they make for this affliction totally disagreed with every single organ system in my body not to mention my complete aversion to the idea of a lifetime of medication.

Not being shy, I told everyone about my plight who would listen and I would like to thank everyone who had the patience to endure my repetitive, hypochondriacal woes.

Dan and Leslie listened to me cry. Jeff took me for a walk. John, Adam’s brother-in-law, assured me there is great surgery if I want it. Megan told me I’d get totally better. Todd was completely supportive. My mother was actually very helpful, “You have always had an urgency about everything that you do. It’s your wiring. Try to slow down.” Mary and John held my hand. Claudia looked into my eyes with love. Margot told me hilarious stories about spitting up her own acid into the street. The whole thing was just one big festival of goodness. And though I risk a very corny blog entry, I am very thankful for such friends and family and so in some weird way I kind of have to say, “Thank you Acid Reflux for making me panic and then showing me how cool and supportive and funny people are.”

And lastly, I have to thank my very high wired friend Sarah in Minneapolis whom I always call with affairs of the panicked soul, who, as it turns out, also has wretched reflux and cannot handle the medication and has also been known to have a little panic of her own. And she said, “Listen to me. This is what you do. Get yourself some Mylanta. It’s the only one that works that doesn’t make you crazy. And get yourself some Atavan. You don’t always need to use them...but knowing they’re there in the closet is the only way you’re going to manage this shit.”


Todd HellsKitchen said...

Hear all that advice. But follow your heart!


Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
And I Quote Blog

Dan said...

I'm getting to the point with my stomach woes that I'm thinking about going on an IV drip. I had one tiny bowl of ice cream on Saturday and it feels like a family of weevils are gnawing their way to my belly button.

We all love you Don - bad stomach and all. Your insights in life, George Bush, and public transportation are well worth your occasional obsession with working your way through the Merck Manual one bodily system at a time. And just because your affliction sounds mild – it still causes pain, and pain is a pain, or so Gertrude Stein said. She also said “there is no there there” about Oakland; obviously she was never in Rosemead because there is a lot more there in Oakland than here.

I think going public is part of your healing process. Now that you’ve “come out” as a Acid Influxian, I except a full recovery – at least until a bout of pink-eye is mistaken for glaucoma.

Get well soon.

Rebecca Waring said...

I have the same thing. The panic attacks and the GERD. It's getting better though. Not to burden you with my duodenal remedies, but I do find that over-the-counter Pepcid is the best. 20mg twice a day. It is the only one that didn't give me side effects. The Mylanta was useless for me, but everyone has their own valves. I can drink a large latte and all that happens is I talk too much. But I also started doing much less of what I don't like and much more of what I do like.

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