Here’s what happened to Norm on the April 13/13 weekend.
On Friday evening the 12th: Didsbury’s ER Doctor C. stood patiently by giving decisive but gentle orders to Nurse L and others on what to give me to slow my rapid heartbeat.
On the 13th: ER Dr. J. alerted me he may have to “take over my breathing for me” and that he was coming with me to the Hospital in Calgary by ambulance because the stormy weather didn’t permit STARS Helicopter to fly.
But first: after a week of counseling and construction work I felt a familiar (it gallops in the family) intermittent heart beat. What was different this time was how long it lasted and how blah I felt. I had to stop a game of Crib Wars with Neva, Tammy, and Ro. (Ro, I’ll play later, I promise) “Why don’t you just go to the hospital and have them check it out” was their firm suggestion. “We can see it in your wrist”. (My thought? Ok, maybe this time it will stick around long enough for them to get an ECG read out.)
Whisked and Frisked: I was whisked quickly into the ER… stethoscopes, stickies, printouts, needles…poke…I.V’s…poke…more nurses…When did this start? What are you feeling? Any chest pains? How did this start? What did you do today? … more pokes, more questions. Controlled, systematic chaos. (Sorry to others in the waiting room. I’ll be less impatient next time the nurse says, “we’re quite busy now”.)
That Sinking Feeling: Pain in the chest and arm…syncope’ feelings rushing in (called ‘pick your spot’ in our family because, if we’re lucky, we have 10 seconds to pick the spot where we will collapse when we faint from pain.) Then some power boost under the tongue (nitro glycerin) with a heads up that it will give some head ache…Oh, oh. Better tell them to get an ice back on my neck. I’m fading fast. (At least the spot is already picked.) Hearing them talk but unable to move. ER Dr. C. still checking on me with clear and decisive orders to nurse L, M, and others…the Doc is calling the Heart Specialist, more nurses, gentle yet hectic. Neva, firmly clarifying, giving syncope’ history, speaking when I couldn’t…always assuring, watching.
Sorry: I’m thinking “sorry for all the hassle” (but glad it’s on the weekend so I can get back to work on Monday.) I’m now trying to speak through the faint fog to have Neva let Tam and Trac know. (Strange things are happening to me.)
Finally, some progress: my BP was stabilizing although the erratic beat was continuing and most worrisome was the rapid heartbeat range. He confirmed this is a fib (bad joke) actually called Afib – Atrial Fibrillation. He also confirmed I’d be staying for a bit…and eventually getting tests in Calgary (but if I just got a good sleep, I’ll wake up in the morning, maybe a bit worse for wear but rested and my heart will be settled down.)
All hell broke loose: The 13th started early with a 1:00 am tuck in to the cardiac room next to the nurse’s station…with some sleep and night time BP and temp checks from nurse N and other wonderful staff. I had got my land legs back in the morning, so tackled a shower and shave. After lunch visitors included: Sister Bev, Neva, Tam, and bother Paul. Funny puns seemed to never end. Laughter was good for healing. A snooze for an hour then all hell broke loose.
When I woke for a hospital supper (actually pretty tasty), I was feeling a bit worse than before…stranger things are happening to me… My chest/arm pain was back – you know what pain does to me? BP was up and heart was racing more. My breathing was getting labored.
I don’t remember a lot of what happened next: but what I do is this: The nurse summoned ER Dr. Jackson. He heard fluid building in my lungs then ran and called for help. Nurses everywhere, more pokes, sticky tabs, printouts, IV fluids…
STARS can’t fly: Then talk about going to Calgary… STARS can’t fly (crap) so by ambulance through the snow storm. I’m trying to tell Neva through the oxygen mask to let Tam and Trac know. (Oh Dah! Of course they were contacted – as were so many others).
Mom was right ‘Always Wear Clean Shorts’: the ambulance attendants started preparations for the trip. First things first, they cut off a new pair of shorts. (Thank you mom!) Then good news, Dr. J. was going to come along.
So hard to breath: I struggled to take a breath…”breath deep, slow” … I called for Neva, she came, whispered calmness in my ear… more pokey needles, and IVs. Then a mask with the alert “I may have to take over breathing for you” (Mouth to mouth:)? With whom? Oh well “Do what you have to” …that they would be inserting a catheter… ouch, and bolted up in bed. I overheard “…think there is a clot in his lungs” (that brought me back to my ambulance days and knew that was not good news…people can die from that)… and “may have a blocked artery in my heart”. As we left for the ride, confirmation came from blood tests that it wasn’t a blood clot in my lungs. (Relief, but knew Neva didn’t know that yet as she made her way to Calgary.)
The stormy ride: a long and tedious drive…accidents along the way (…offered to get out if someone needed it worse)… letting fire trucks pass. (I used to drive ambulance and know that quick is not always safe.) Lots of water drained (so glad I was “hooked up”) which was apparently noteworthy. Feeling a bit better as I came out of the syncope’ zone. (It would seem an ambulance ride is my place to come fully alert – some of you remember about a ride after a dentist appointment).
Family and friends gathered: arrival at Peter Lougheed ER: Doctor D and J recognized each other from earlier practice years. (This gave me calm assurance-trust was growing that I was in good hands.) More poking around, tubes of blood, CAT scan, X-ray, sticky tabs. The monitor was behind me so family was telling me the readings. The heart rate had finally slowed. The medicine was working…finally. What a relief. So encouraged to hear of a dozen family and friends having gathered in the waiting room (so sorry for their inconvenience and that there wasn’t enough time for all to come into the ER but grateful for their reassuring presence).
Shift change at 11:00 pm on the 13th: a new doctor, new nurses. Then a heart specialist gathered details and went away to ponder and consult. She returned with good news that I didn’t meet criteria for needing to be admitted to the cardiac unit. I could go home. (Whew, I’m good to go?) Close to 2:00 am Dr. D said he had gathered all the information.
A little paddling is good sometimes: Dr. A. said his review of all the information is that I have a healthy heart, only an electrical problem. (Well, we all know Quantz’s are wired differently…that wasn’t new news:). If I was sure I never had Afib prior to 5 pm Saturday, that was within the 48 hour window to allow the paddles to be used without fear that clotting had occurred in the atria (top chambers of the heart). I agreed, as did Neva, and I was given sedation so I didn’t have to remember the experience.
The Once Over: Zap! When I woke up after about 3 minutes, the “once over” was done (only needed one zap) and Walla! It worked! A regular heart beat for the first time in a long time and only 68 beats per minute. It couldn’t be better. After a few more test results and I could “go home” with my weary crew.
It’s bad out there: As we left many expressed caution to be very safe on the highway…it’s really bad out there. We sort of got home. Close to 5 am, we made it into our driveway, the bumper was pushing snow and we got royally stuck. After being shuttled by the 4X4 to the house – Home At Last.
A Good Ending to a long April 13/13 weekend. No, I don’t believe 13 is unlucky. If anything, I’m lucky!
Postlude: So many people to be thankful for…Neva, Tam, Ro, Trac, family, friends, the nurses, doctors, lab techs, support staff, everyone’s support and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my healthy heart:)) Remember, always listen to your mom!
Norm L Again
I invite you to debrief with me by blogging what you went through because of this. No pressure/obligation of course but I invite those affected by my incident to write and share your story… I love the humor/puns. What happened to me may have affected you and I want to give you an opportunity (good therapy for all of us) to tell your side of the story. This has been a time to cry and a time to laugh. We’d love to hear from you.
Consider who you trust. When trust is low, suspicion will grow.
Controllers abuse by lowering your trust in others and suggesting doubts in your mind. Then your suspicion grows and you lose more trust in others while depending more on the abuser’s strong opinions.
Don’t fall prey to just accepting what an opposing view is, just because it is strongly stated. Remember it’s easy to decide what you don’t like. Much harder to discover what is worth believing in.
I’ve heard reporters covering an important event then finding a dissenting opinion to meet their obligation to give other points of view. But the weight that the reporter puts on the dissenting opinion can sew seeds of doubt in those who can’t see the forest for the trees or don’t have their own opinions.
This doubt generates low trust which grows suspicion. We are so accustomed to hearing this scenario play out in the media that the truth in the matter is hard to discover.
I wish we had more reporting that is committed to pursuing what is true, what is wholesome and beneficial and then put an emphasis on that. We might find that we can start to trust the media again.
You’ve decide it’s your time to move on…to get healthy…to get well. You’ve been stuck and you are ready to move on with your life. To find relief from the depression and anxiety that has been plaguing you for so long. You’ve tried so many things. One of the things that you are sure of, it’s now or never. I’m moving on to make my life the healthy life that I’ve always wanted to have.
You’ve maybe to other therapists and possibly disappointed about how little they know or understand about the power and control dynamics in your relationship. You haven’t been able to make the progress you have wanted to make.
Here are some actionable steps you can take personally and that will enhance those around you that try to help you.
First, be committed to yourself. There are things deep inside of you that you have now decided you need to take a stand on. Be committed to make the changes necessary to do what is right.
Second, be able to develop a mature mindset. You have had a concept of healthy for a long time. Now you can take a stand for what is healthy and live that out in your life. You’ve come from childhood. It’s time to become the adult/grown up that you want to become.
Third, acknowledge why you are so vulnerable to being abused. People generally don’t realize why they are vulnerable. There are certain ideas/beliefs that they carry with them from childhood that hold them captive.
Finally, refuse to be abused and do not abuse others. Stop the abuse that is within your power to control.
Remember that change is a process. It’s not an incident in the moment of time. It’s happens over time. You have decided to move forward, realizing this process does take time. What you don’t know today you can find out tomorrow. To see what is ahead of you requires you to round the next corner and to see beyond that you need to round the next corner and so on. Your understanding will grow exponentially as you make the changes in your life towards healthy.
Unfortunately, there are some who don’t change. They have stopped someplace in their development. They may now be stalemated at 4 years old or 16 or 25. I understand there are those that will not move. So what can you do? You can accept that fact. It’s hard because you have believed in them – in the likelihood they will change. But it’s time to accept the fact they are not going to change. It’s up to you to move on because you are committed to healthy, no matter what it takes.
You may be coming from a very unhealthy place. You may be concerned that you have been damaged when you were young and that it is for life. I have watched many people who have felt they are stuck make the decisions for change. They have come out of their damaged state. They are living healthy, whole and well. The impact they are having in their relationships is life-giving, it’s sustaining, it’s substantial. You can have that too.
It’s important to understand the power that you have and how you live that out in your control. What control do you have that will use your power for good. Just coping, putting up with life as it is doesn’t make sense.
You really need to move from coping to conquering where you need to understand an incident from within its context. Not just simply from the narrow focus of that situation. You’re ready to come at this from on top, determined that you are going to live healthy in this situation, and the next one, and the next one. For all of your life! This is going to be your chance to change.
Separation and divorce is not your only option. You can learn and understand the power and control dynamics that influence your relationship. Understand the cause of where that comes from. Understand what your foundations have been built on to know what your early childhood mindsets have been built on that are so powerful in your life now. These you can change by improving and maturing those mindsets. It’s time to move on, right now, from where you are at.
You may need to relook at what love really is.
It may have been exclusively that soft, tender, kind, always doing things for other people. You need to also realize that love also has the component of being clear on boundaries, very determined that you will not be taken advantage of. That also is love. The highest principle in love is that you are absolutely committed to pursue what is healthy and whole. Then you can live increasingly full, free and whole, because that is what we are designed and created for. It’s time to move upward, onward, and outward. Up, on, and out, using your power for good – constantly.
If these video clips/scripts have sparked an interest in you taking the next step towards counseling, please use the Contact Me tab. I offer a 15 minute free consult.
Thanks for listening.
Everyone has one. We emotionally fill that buffer zone up when we are unable to keep our emotional load in balance. One of the things that can happen when we go beyond a full buffer zone is a rapid descent into chaos, distress, exhaustion, and emotional troubles. This can lead to anxiety attacks, depression, etc.
Look at these three emotional places:
- Normal balanced range – where you are making decisions for change, living life from on top, handling life as it is.
- Buffer Zone – your life is stretched beyond what you want. You know you are in the zone where you know it’s more than you can handle for very long. You are going to make sure you will come back to a place of balance and stability. You can handle it maybe for a day, a week, or at most a month, but when you come to a point when you continue to lose traction and can’t get back to normal life, you are at risk of slipping past your buffer zone to the next level.
- Blowing the top off the buffer zone – This is where you slip into a rapid descent to emotional instability, and the resultant anxiety and depression such as panic attacks, loss of energy, bipolar/manic depression, etc.
After going though the buffer zone and beyond, you know it is a serious problem. In fact, in later life when you experience living in the emotional buffer zone again, since you’ve experienced going beyond it before, it’s easier to slip into the instability and angst again and again. For some, this becomes the pattern of their life.
One thing that’s important as you look at your life right now, if you have several major issues crossing your life at the same time that emotionally drains you, you are at risk of getting pushed into your buffer zone and beyond. You recognize it because you get overwhelmed and can’t live with that level of emotional overload for long.
To prevent you from going into the buffer zone and to continue to live in the balance of a healthy emotional state of mind, your life is usually characterized by making decisions, acting on those decisions, setting clear parameters for the goals you are going to hold to, and drawing lines in the sand with how much you can handle. It’s not as important on what you draw a line in the sand about but that at some point you draw a line in the sand…this far and no more.
When you go past the normal into the buffer zone, be determined that it will only be for a short time. The timing decisions being made inside you are important, ‘this can only go on so long and then I’m going to come back to the parameters/boundaries I’ve set before – I see clearer now that I’ve gone too far’. If you do this it will help prevent you from going past your buffer zone into the chaos beyond.
If you’ve been to the top and beyond, don’t allow that to become the new normal. It’s those people that end up suffering from long term anxiety and depression, emotional trauma and struggle. These people tend to allow themselves to be misused and abused in their relationships, those that give the control of their life over to someone else, living dependently on someone else and allowing others to define who they are.
Staying away from living at the top end or beyond your emotional buffer zone will keep you from experiencing a lot of chaos and emotional destruction in your life.
Take charge of your life. Decide what you want to do. Make the wise choices for your life and hold to it. Make your decisions that “this is my boundary. This is where I’m able to live, and move, and have my being, and act responsibly.” You will be a healthier person for it.
Is Your Marriage Falling Apart? If it is, is divorce your only option?
Before that happens consider the Power and Control dynamics at work in your marriage. It has helped many couples get to the root of the conflicts.
You are at the point you must do something to turn that slide to divorce around, to build a healthy, wholesome relationship, one that you really like. I know that you have tried hard. You have been the best you that you can be in that relationship. You cringe at the thought of the Big D. This divorce word that has happened to so many of your friends and relatives – you didn’t want it to happen to you.
You are up against some tough statistics. Close to 50% of all first time marriages end in divorce. That is hard to take. The chances of that happening are more likely when you don’t understand the Power and Control dynamics that you are up against. Note: To learn more about those dynamics, review the earlier postings in this series. ( Part A, Part B, Part C)
You now finally realized that Divorce is the only way that you can stop the abuse in the relationship. You may have been staying together for the kids, but realize now, IT’S OVER. There is no turning back.
There is a familiar pattern to the slide towards divorce. Over the years of my counseling I’ve observed this pattern. Note: For a fuller coverage of this, see chapter 12 in my book IT’S ALL ABOUT POWER AND CONTROL: Why Relationships Fall Apart and What it Takes to Put Them Back Together Again. Here is an abbreviated version.
It’s as if the guys have read the same book on how a marriage breaks up because they follow very similar patterns. It goes something like this:
This is a very familiar pattern. She has tried hard to get him to listen to her. He has refused over and over again to look at his personal issues. Instead of him dealing with the issues and going the distance, he just blames her.
So she has finally called it quits. She is ending the dying inside. She’s ending it b/c she can’t stand it anymore. She’s put up with the abuse so long she can’t see that this will work. He then realizes how seriousness she is and starts promising and bargaining with her.
If you would just come to counselling with me – jointly – we’ll work on this together because you want this marriage to work, right, that’s what you really want. Note this as his way of saying she is the problem with little to no insight into his abusive ways. He uses his emotional appeal and bargaining to persuade her.
She’s heard it before. It has happened so often. She responds to him so coldly. It’s not going to work this time.
When that doesn’t work, he finally realizes that this is over and goes into protection mode. He blames and accuses her. His true colors show. He even takes a wide sweep to garner support from her friends and relatives. She may fear at this time for her safety and put in place some things to protect her and her children to keep them safe as he ramps up his anger. But she has determined that it is over and she pursues the divorce in order to get free from the mind games and the abusive control that’s been going on.
This process – from pursuing divorce until it is finished – is usually about a two year process.
In conclusion, when the big D really happens, here is some candid advice. Be careful to not jump from the frying pan into the fire.
People often jump into another relationship too quickly. Deep in the new relationship it may still be masking abuse with a different storefront. For example, they may jump from their X that is very rigid, all or nothing thinking – that is black and white and domineering – to someone that is real easy going, suave, or maybe even passive. They do not realize that this storefront may mask them being non committal, hard to move, or being unable to make or keep a decision. The reverse of this also may be the case. It’s really about jumping from a frying pan into a fire.
How do you prevent that? The best chance is that you fix what is broken inside of you. What is the problem? Why do you allow someone to treat you that way? Change is hard and possible if you will only take a deeper look inside of you. You may not be the primary abuser in the relationship but as a primary victim you can learn how to become the best person you really can be and learn to live whole and not as a victim.
Divorce is a wakeup call to discover what the foundations are that make a great relationship. You can learn about Power and Control in you. Take ownership of your power and control. Use it for self control and how to benefit the relationship.
Work on you, to be the best you that you can be.
When Trying To Identify An Abuser Look At Their Actions Compared To Their Words.
Neville Chamberlain emphasized TALKING.
He was the negotiator. From his agreements with Hitler, he declared “Peace in our Time”. Hitler used Neville’s willingness to negotiate to advance his conquest of Europe towards his goal of world domination – actually to become the “Messiah” that reigns for a 1000 years.
Winston Churchill emphasized ACTION.
He believed in words matching action and tried for years to warn the British and Europe of the likelihood of war to stop Hitler. He prepared Britain for that war, believing that was the only way to stop Hitler’s abusive ambitions.
History has lessons for us today.
NEVILLE was the British Prime Minister from 1937-1940 and known for seeking peace through appeasement, pacifying an aggressor.
WINSTON followed as British Prime Minister from 1940 – July of ‘45 after WWII, again from 1951-1955, and was known for supporting war if the aggressor’s words didn’t match his actions. He believed in stopping aggression by force, if necessary, based on their actions.
In my 3 decades of counseling, it amazes me how long victims take before they act against abuse. I know it’s hard for people to identify abuse in its different forms. In my book “It’s All About Power and Control”, I take a new approach to that in hopes it is easier to recognize. I categorize abuse at its core as psychological in nature expressing itself through withdrawal, deception, or crisis-risk. Whether these three have components that are physical, sexual, spiritual, or emotional, victims dutifully adhere to the words of their controllers and turn a blind eye to the long patterned destructive actions that characterize their abuser. The weight of a victim’s belief is towards their abuser rather than establishing what is true, right, and whole in themselves – and then putting weight on that.
Winston overcame his failure at language and even his stuttering problems to become a master at words. Although Winston failed English in school, he understood the power of words and learned to express himself well. In fact, he went on to write many books.
But when action was needed, he did it. In Britain’s desperate hour as Belgium surrendered to Hitler’s Germany on May 28th, 1940 after Germany’s attack on Denmark and Norway, they turned to Winston who promised, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” And that is what happened in defence of Britain.
Winston said to the people, that even though all of Europe might fall, “… we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end…we shall fight in the seas and oceans…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…” On June 22nd, France surrendered to Germany but the Brits held fast, and with the help of the allies, defeated Hitler in the spring of 1945.
Winston understood how just words would not be enough to stop a persistent Abusive Controller.
Neville used words to persuade, but struggled to recognize when “words were just words” from the silvery, slippery tongue of an Abusive Controller.
THAT’S THE ACTION vs. WORDS FACTOR
THE WIN (Winston) vs. NEGOTIATE (Neville) FACTOR
When there is a pattern of words not matching the actions, you’re up against a manipulator-someone that is misusing the power they have.
They are giving off mixed signals. They lack integrity which is the cornerstone to trust.
Your ACTIONS ALSO SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY.
The Actions You Take In Response To What An Abuser Does May Include:
- Distancing yourself by withdrawing membership, refusing to be around them, divorce, etc.; or
- Legal action as in a “no contact order” or “emergency protection order”; or
- Acting on behalf of the helpless where you need to rescue others from the tyranny of a dictator.
Like Hitler, dominators who say what you want to hear but do not live it are showing a pattern of mixed signals and are not to be trusted. Negotiation won’t succeed with them. They use their words to appease, blame, and lie.
What they do rather than what they say is a better read on who they are.
Stand up for what is right!
There is a difference between freedom to choose and bondage. Freedom gives options to stay, change, or leave. Slavery’s only options are servitude and submission.
Winston Churchill Paid Attention In WWI To What Hitler Was Like.
Neville Chamberlain Believed That Hitler Had Changed.
In your relationships remember that actions speak louder than words and this factor applies whether it is to the individual, the couple, the family, to friends, to a community, a country or around the world.
To Identify An Abuser, Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
TO STOP ABUSE – WHEN WORDS FAIL – TAKE ACTION.
Here are two wrongs I want to correct.
First, you may be told by your abuser and his family and friends that if you report the abuse you will cause the breakup of the family. I want you to know, that is a most twisted concept. You are the messenger reporting the one that caused it. The results are to be laid solely on the abuser and those that coddle that type of behaviour.
Secondly, you may feel that you are bad because reporting abuse must mean you are vindictive and you only want to be good. You need to learn how to be angry at what is wrong. This is part of maturing. You will not be able to please everyone.
Abusers want you to be happy with them so they can keep getting away with abusing. Be angry at that. Those who remain silent allow evil to flourish.
When you have found the courage to tell your sexual abuse story to the police here are a couple things you may find helpful.
- Make an appointment to Report. This will allow the corporal to designate a seasoned officer with this speciality to take your report. It will also mean one less thing to worry about when you enter the detachment because they will be expecting you. You won’t have to awkwardly explain it to the front clerk. The transition will be smoother between walking in and being interviewed.
- Write out your experience. Write it out prior to going to the police interview. This will allow you time to write down all the facts including the context surrounding the event/s. Handing a copy of this to the police in the interview will help them ask suitable questions to your situation, even if they prefer to write their own notes as they interview you.
By reporting the abuse, at least it is now out there for something to be done about it. It is what you can do to help curb this terrible thing in our society called sexual abuse which is ripping away at the heart and mind of people causing deep depression and anxiety. Just go do it. I believe you will have a listening ear hear your report and be empathetic to you.
With You in Mind,
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
Yes, it takes courage to report abuse that has or is happening to you. I trust this will help you garner the courage to do it. It’s important to report but you may not feel ready.
Your hesitancy may be in part because you heard reports of bad experiences such as those that were not believed. Police are trained now to know how to investigate sexual abuse cases. The stories many say are the reasons to not report are from years ago when police were not trained to know how to investigate sexual abuse cases. The police now have departments that specialize in this field of investigation plus have a passion to help people walk through the legal process. Step out and report it no matter how long ago it happened. This isn’t the only way to find healing, but it is one of the key components to your healing.
Note: if you know or are suspecting that a person who is a child now is being sexually abused, it is the law and the right thing to do to report it. Help stop the abuse. If you as an adult have been abused as a child, I encourage you to report to the police as part of your healing journey.
Reconsider your decision to not report. Help curb this horrendous problem in society called sexual abuse.