Saturday, February 3, 2007

Physical Manifestation of Someone Else's Stress

Some years ago, I developed an eyelid twitch.  This totally weirded me out, so I called the eye doctor about it.  Once he confirmed that it was the lid doing the twitching, as opposed to the actual eye, he told me that it was just a physical manifestation of stress, and that it would calm down when I un-stressed.

This turned out to be true.

From time to time, when I'm particularly stressed, I go all twitchy-eyelid for a while.  I kind of like it -- not that I enjoy the actual twitching, but that I have this stress-meter that lets me know when things are getting too dicey.  Eyelid starts twitching and I know it's time to sit down and breathe me some kitty-filtered air.

Today, I did something new and exciting.  I had a physical reaction to stress when I wasn't actually, y'know, stressed.

Interesting factoid about me:  Eye surgery ooks me out.  Now, I had eye surgery as a kid, and I was not ooked out by it at the time.  (Convenient for me.)  I only actually developed the whole ooky reaction to it some years later when my mother had eye surgery.  Cannot describe why, exactly.  I just know that I went from, "Oh, eye surgery; that's nice" to "Eww" in no time flat.

My sister tells this story about when she went to the eye doctor to get lasik done (or whatever it is that makes it so she doesn't have to wear glasses anymore) and they sat her down to watch a video of the procedure.  A little ways in (somewhere around "remove the cornea") she stood up and said, "That's it.  I'm done."  And they said, "You don't want the surgery?"  She replied, "No, I want the surgery.  I just don't want to watch the video."

I find this story amusing.  I also note that I was done just hearing her say "remove the cornea."  It's just my way.

So, anyhow, today, I'm talking to a friend at work who is going to be undergoing some eye surgery.  It's a fairly big deal -- not a "gee, I don't want to wear glasses anymore" sort of a surgery but a "it would be awfully nice to preserve the sight in that eye" type of deal.  I'm trying to be supportive.  She's a friend and it's scary and, hey, I'm a member of the Eye Surgery Sisterhood and can compare notes with her on how to attach an eye patch to your glasses and where to best park at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA.

And then she starts going into detail about the fairly unpleasant (but medically necessary -- and, ultimately wonderful) things that are going to be done to her eye, and, in fact, some of the unpleasant things she's endured just with the examinations leading up to her upcoming surgery.  Generally involving medical-type things going inside her eye.  And I'm standing there in her office nodding, and I'm thinking, "Does she notice I'm turning green here?"

And then, I actually have what may well be an anxiety attack.  Totally unprecedented in my life on the planet.  I start feeling light headed and I can't hear anything except the sound of my (rapidly increasing) pulse.  She's still talking and it's fading into the background of the sounds of my circulatory system.  I try to make a proper exit as I think it wouldn't look good if she's the one having the surgery and I pass out in her office.  I book down the hall to my office and sit with my head between my knees for a few minutes until it passes and life sounds normal again -- although the light-headedness doesn't completely pass for ten or fifteen minutes or so.

I guess she's taking her upcoming eye surgery a lot better than I'm taking it.


helmswondermom said...

Whoa!  I believe you were about to black out, lady.  At least your eyelid didn't start to twitch, though ;)

lanurseprn said...

I like your "stress meter."  LOL!