Tag Archives: sleep

Emotional and Physical Recovery from a Traumatic Event

Pearls Before Swine Comic Strip for August 07, 2017

Comic, Pearls Before Swine, (c) 2017 by Stephan Pastis

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

On Thursday afternoon my car was run off the road by an inattentive driver with a very loud exhaust system.

I honestly thought I would be better the next day, but late in the afternoon when Judy took me to get the car, I got in the driver seat and I felt sick to my stomach and was trembling. I got the car home and she drove us to Gordon Biersch where we had a nice night.

I didn’t sleep well, lots of nightmares and I didn’t leave bed, except to let the dogs out until about 1 PM. I knew I had to get a few groceries at Kroger and Wegmans so I made the trip. Until I got to the Kroger parking lot the trip went well. Then it seemed that every old lady was trying to crash by cutting me off or taking up most of a lane. I was doing into panic mode, but took a deep breath, regathered myself and instead of going directly to Wegmans I stopped by Gordon Biersch for a one and done to calm the nerves. Since I no longer take a specific anti anxiety medication, I stopped taking the minimal PRN dosage of Xanax a few years back because I was experiencing less anxiety.

The crash has re-triggered that anxiety, something I will talk to with my shrink on Tuesday and my psychiatric medicine manager Wednesday. But yesterday I needed to calm down. I texted Judy and posted my situation on Facebook. A good friend came over and spent some time with me at the bar. I then did a take out order since Judy told me that. Wegmans could wait.

Judy reminded me of the chemical chain reaction that trauma sends through the body, and how it takes time for that to play out. I am lucky to have her.

This morning we planned to go out to breakfast, but since neither of us were hungry we stayed in bed with the dogs. They have been very comforting, especially my girl Izzy. Judy is about to drive us to Biersch for dinner so we can get out of the house.

Tomorrow I am up really early for fat boy PT, then I have to drive to the Naval Medical Center for aquatic physical therapy and to get my antidepressant refilled  since I have gone without it 5 days and don’t want to crash and get suicidal. Then I will go in to work.

About the cartoon. That is how I have felt all weekend. The cartoon is Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis. This particular cartoon ran in August of 2017. His comics can be accessed at GoComics.com, I hope that since I didn’t ask permission to run it that you will flood his site with hits and buy his books.

So until tomorrow, and hopefully better times,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

 

 

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, mental health, Military, PTSD

Perchance to Sleep: A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I found out on Friday that I have moderate to almost severe sleep apnea. I have had terrible problems with sleep since returning form Iraq in 2008, in fact my problems sleeping started while I was still in country. I battle PTSD and that has been a big part of my sleep problems the constant anxiety, nightmares, night terrors, and exceptionally vivid dreams, even those not dealing directly with Iraq, war, or military service.

In 2015 I had a sleep study that did not detect the apnea, though it did link my sleeplessness to neurological issues related to the PTSD. That being said different medications have only marginally helped me sleep and over the past few years I have had two emergency room visits from flying out of my bed and smashing my face against nightstands, including one that my face broke. My dad always did say that I was hard headed but I never thought about it being that hard.

Anyway, for over a year Judy had been complaining about my loud snoring, this is something that had become worse over the past couple of years. She is profoundly deaf without her hearing aids and she even tried wearing ear plugs that would give her and extra 30-40 decibel protection. Since without her hearing aids she has a loss of something over 70% the decibels should have allowed her to sleep, but my snoring still intruded. So we moved me into our guest bedroom while I waited to see the sleep doctor and get set up for another sleep study. I did the study in the middle of August and got the results Friday. I will be getting a CPAP machine in a week or so and I look forward to at least not struggling to breathe in my sleep even if I still deal with the other PTSD related issues. It is no fun waking up exhausted and hopefully the use of the machine will help me sleep better.

Admittedly a machine will not help much those nights when my brain refuses to shut off and I cannot get to sleep because I am either in a state of anxiety or creativity, but that is life.

Anyway, on other subjects I am thrilled that the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees and I do hope that they will go on the defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. As far as the remarks of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on the controversy created by President Trump involving a Gold Star mother I have a number of thoughts from different angles, clinical, social, political, constitutional and historical that I hope to explore this week because the controversy has exposed some issues that could threaten our republican form of government and our democracy. Because of this and to avoid writing something quickly that could be interpreted wrong I am going to reflect and read some more before I write about it.

So until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, PTSD

Fireworks, PTSD, and Memories of Iraq

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Sorry for the late posting as I did not sleep well last night. Fireworks and explosions tend to trigger my PTSD and send me back to Iraq.

Now we had a great 4th of July spending time with each other and then going over to a small get together at a friend’s house for dinner before the city started shooting off its big fireworks show about a mile from our house. We got home just before it began and even though we were inside we could hear the explosions even as neighbors shot off fireworks around the lake that we live near.

I tend to avoid fireworks but they seemed louder than last night than in the past. Eventually I went to bed planning to get up early and run but my sleep was rather awful with a lot of Iraq memories intruding into it. When I got up this morning I realized that I hadn’t posted what I had originally written for today, and then had the realization that it was 10 years ago today that I got on a bus to Fort Jackson, South Carolina to begin my journey to Iraq.

That was startling and maybe my unconscious mind was more aware of it than I realized.

The war and memories of it are still very real to me and as I read about what is going on in Iraq, Syria, and North Korea, those memories become more inflamed as I worry that many more of my brothers and sisters, could soon be in harm’s way. U.S. Army General and hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gouverneur Warren wrote to his wife after the Civil War was over, words which I understand more than I ever wanted:

“I wish I did not dream that much. They make me sometimes dread to go to sleep. Scenes from the war, are so constantly recalled, with bitter feelings I wish to never experience again. Lies, vanity, treachery, and carnage.”

So anyway, until tomorrow,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under iraq, Military, PTSD