I finished my first term at OSM with flying colors. There were a few touchy moments when I was worried that my body was going to “give out” on me, but it pulled through, and the term went really well. During the break between that term and the next, I was able to complete my hospice volunteer training so that I could be involved with hospice as well as NODA. It was the perfect way to spend my break, and I found myself falling head-over-heels in love with the fullness of end-of-life care. It was like discovering part of who I am – without even looking for it – like everything I am and all I’ve been through had led me to this purpose. I began looking into different certificates for, “Death Doulas,” “Midwives for the Dying,” and “Soul Midwives” – all basically the same thing, with different programs putting them together. Their goal is to expand on the NODA and hospice volunteer training, but none of them are actually credentialed, since there’s really no national or international agency that could oversee them. All of them looked really well done though, the people involved take their roles very seriously, and I found myself drawn to what they do…
Then things took an interesting turn.
The first day of my second term at OSM I was really excited to be back in class. Many of my friends from the first term were in my class that day, and it was really good to see everyone. I was able to partner with one of my favorite classmates, and we had a great lesson. I noticed during the practice time that my body was having a few issues, but didn’t think much of it. I should have been paying closer attention. There was one point when I noticed my heart was behaving strangely, but I was focusing on learning the new information and shrugged it off… I mean, it does weird stuff semi-regularly, I have Dysautonomia issues – it happens. At another point, towards the end of class, I felt my heart seriously “cramp” or something “rip” inside – thankfully it was just at the point when it was my turn to lay down on the massage table, so I was able to just lay there and kind of regain my composure. It’s funny, when something like that happens, the last thing I want to do is let anyone find out something is wrong. I laid there facedown, feeling my heart thud into the table, and just let myself relax while my partner practiced the lesson on me.
By the time class was over I was basically feeling okay again, I was light-headed, but that’s normal after I get up from a massage table so I didn’t think anything of it. We stayed after class to practice some more, but by the time we were done I knew something was “wrong”. Once in the car, I sat for a second to catch my breath and try to get the pain in my heart to back off, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to get home as soon as possible. I don’t remember anything about the drive, except that it seemed to take forever.
I could barely walk when I got out of the car in our driveway. I was dizzy with low blood pressure, and my entire right side was drooping — I could barely see out of my right eye. I knew I wasn’t going to be making it back to OSM the next day, in fact it was weeks before I was feeling myself again… And even now, it’s a weaker version of myself. Somehow I managed to do something to my heart — I’m pretty sure my mitral valve issue has been exacerbated (the pain is in the right area) — I’m just not sure how it happened, or what I did. I wish I had been paying more attention, but it looks like it’s back to the world of cardiologists and other specialists again.