My Trip to the Hospital

8 days ago, I passed out at work.

I wanted to share the experience with you all as a way to be honest and open about my mental health, and to show that you are not alone.

It happened so suddenly that I had to ask someone who was there to walk me through what happened. It was like any other day for me, usual commute to work, standard breakfast, and regular work tasks to be done. My boss and I were going over some costs for some marketing materials we wanted for an event coming up. That was when my whole body began to tingle. It was like the feeling of when your foot falls asleep but all over my body. I still had a sense of touch, which meant I didn’t have paralysis or anything like that, just a tingling sensation all over.

Then the tunnel vision kicked in. Everything in my peripheral vision disappeared almost immediately. I began to have a claustrophobic feeling like my body was stuck inside a plastic bag, and I was struggling to find air.

In a panic, I slowly got up out of my chair to try and “walk it off.” Thinking all I needed was to get my blood flowing. Turns out, this made things much worse. My legs felt like jelly, and my thoughts were in slow motion. Eventually, I managed to say, “I don’t feel so good,” before tumbling right into my boss’ lap. Thankfully I didn’t hurt her or myself, but I lost consciousness nonetheless.

A few seconds later, I hear my coworker asking me questions.

Coworker: “Jeff? Jeff, are you okay? Jeff, are you diabetic?”

Me: “No”

C: “Can you call 911 Cheryl? Jeff, do you have any heart history?”

M: No

C: Does your family have any history with either?

M: No?

C: What year is it, Jeff?

M: 2020

C: Can you get in a chair?

M: I think so.

C: I was then helped off the ground and onto a chair. I was given some water, and I took a few sips.

“What happened,” I asked my coworker, who happened to be medically licensed and a volunteer firefighter.

“You went down, man,” he said, “out cold. I can’t find a pulse on you, and you’re white as snow.”

“I can’t afford an ambulance. Please don’t make me go in one.” This was my first thought after passing out for seemingly no reason. Not being able to pay for potentially life-saving healthcare.

The paramedics came, and they checked me out. My blood sugar was normal, my pulse eventually rose to normal levels, and my color came back as did my sense of surroundings. After being coerced to accept the help of the paramedics, I took a ride to the hospital. In the ambulance, they put me on an EKG, pulse monitor, and attempted to put an IV in me unsuccessfully.

Ten minutes later, I arrive at the hospital, where I am put into a room and wired back up to an EKG. I am alone and terrified, thankfully my wife answered her phone after I initially went down and had left work to come and see me. My guess was another 30 minutes until she would be there.

Before she arrived, they took my blood to run several lab tests to see what is happening. In the meantime, they gave me a TV remote with no batteries in it and told me to “try and relax” while they monitor me. After that, they left.

After closing my eyes and doing meditative breathing, my wife comes into the room. Once she is there, I do what I always do when I am in stressful or uncomfortable situations: make really inappropriate jokes. It is a defense mechanism that I’ve used since high school. Most of the time, it goes over well, but there have been times where I managed to make things worse with my jokes, thankfully, this isn’t one of them.

My tests come back normal across the board. No heart issue detected, and nothing in the blood work they ran came back with anything definitive as to what the hell happened to me.

They tell me it was something called vasovagal syncope. Basically, my heart rate slowed, and my blood vessels opened up too much, causing the blood flow to my brain to slow, which is what caused the tingling and tunnel vision. Turns out that when I got up to “walk it off” I accelerated this and released enough blood flow in my brain to cause my body to lose consciousness.

After some time with the doctor, he tells me that if I get these kinds of symptoms again to “go horizontal and breathe.” That’s it, that’s all I was prescribed: a simple breathing technique and allowing gravity to do the rest. I wanted to tell him I went horizontal after I lost consciousness, so I had that covered. I thought twice about that, though, one of the things I learned about comedy is to know your audience, and this audience wasn’t in the mood for laughing.

On the one hand, I am relieved my morbidly obese body didn’t have a heart attack or anything related to diabetes. On the other hand, I was hoping to get something more than a prescription to “go horizontal.”

After the doctor came, I was discharged shortly after that. A nurse gave me my papers and a handout on vasovagal syncope for me to read and look into. Turns out, it is actually quite prevalent, and it can be triggered by an onslaught of things. The one that caught my eye, though, was a stressful situation and/or anxiety.

The only other time I had similar symptoms (minus the losing consciousness part) was when I had a panic attack at my doctor’s office after throwing my back out. I went white, had severe tunnel vision, and had a tingling sensation across my whole body.

Eventually, I put two and two together and realized that this entire thing was because of my anxiety. The problem was I had nothing triggering the anxiety. I wasn’t under any stress at all. We weren’t going over anything that was above my knowledge or capabilities, it was just some numbers and costs.

So now I can apparently have an anxiety attack for no reason, which may or may not result in me having a vasovagal response making me lose consciousness.

I finally understood how people can “have anxiety about their anxiety.”

Anxiety was something I didn’t have before, at least it wasn’t such a presence as it is now in my life. Two years ago, I started to notice instances where I had an irrational fear that something terrible was going to happen to me, it felt like I was dying. This ongoing stressor that something is about to happen to me hung over me like an anvil. I learned later that this was anxiety, and have since taken measures to cope with my stress when it begins affecting my day-to-day life. For the past 2 years, I have been taking anti-anxiety medicine for it.

Some days are great, others I am on edge for no reason whatsoever.

So as I sat there wondering what the hell I can do to thwart this from happening again, I began talking to my friends about it. Thinking that panic attacks weren’t common, I felt like my recent encounter with them would be nothing they would understand. One by one, they all came to me to share times where they also had anxiety-related panic attacks. Some were caused directly by a stressful situation, others simply came out of the blue. The more I heard from the people I am lucky to have in my life explain their perspective, the more I realized that this is relatively common.

That is when I learned that panic attacks can happen without being triggered at times, and they can occur when you are perfectly relaxed in your home. For the past week, I have had more doctor’s appointments and encountered more medical staff than I’d like to see in a year. They all have told me the diagnosis I received at the hospital is correct.

Almost every single one of the people I spoke with about this had stories similar to mine where they had anxiety-related attacks, and they each offered me different things to try if/when I feel anxious again.

I am yet to try most of them, but I do intend to try them soon.

I write all of this not to ask for pity or sorrow, I write this because had I not had my own experience regarding anxiety I would have never had the veil lifted from my eyes. I would have never found out just how common anxiety is among Americans, and among my friends. I also would not have learned that you don’t need to be in a stressful situation to have anxiety.

I want to hear more stories and allow for others to connect in any way they want with others who also have had instances of anxiety. So please, share yours. You can mention me on social media I am @iamJeffPerry, DM me on Twitter (they are always turned on), or you can email me at me[at]jeffperry[dot]blog.

The more we confront this hidden beast lurking in the shadows, the less scary it becomes. So please, shine a light if you want.

Say Hello to Clicked, My Weekly Newsletter

After a lot of thought, I have decided to start writing a newsletter. In fact, it is going to be my primary avenue of content. Say hello to Clicked.

Before I break down what the differences between the newsletter and this blog will be I want to explain why I decided to do this in the first place.

Sign up to get a weekly email from me with more content than I would ever put on my blog. Things like original essays, interviews, videos, Q&A, and interactive things with my subscribers.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jeff Perry, PO BOX 566, Davison, MI, 48423, http://jeffperry.blog. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Why a Newsletter?

One common thread I have harped on over the years on my blog has been consistency. I tried to blog everyday for one month, which got me about 6 days in a row before I fell off the wagon. The way that I see it is that if I have a deadline I will make it so I meet that deadline. I have always worked better under pressure, and I think the having a weekly newsletter is exactly what I need.

What it will have

One thing that I am most excited about this newsletter is that amount of added content I can put in it that I didn’t put in my blog posts.

My blog mainly consisted of link posts and the occasional original essay, but nothing more than that. With this newsletter I can do things like a Q&A, Siri Shortcut Requests, and other more interactive things with those that subscribe. Not to mention the fact that because I am dumping everything at once every week it is going to be stuffed with other things like quick links, short reviews, and small pieces that otherwise wouldn’t make it on the blog.

With this newsletter does come some downsides for those of you who don’t sign up for the newsletter. I will only be posting a month-old original essay once a week on my website. The reason is because this newsletter is my new way of connecting and sharing the things that I want to the people that want it.

 

When does it launch?

This newsletter will launch Tuesday, January 21st and will come out every Tuesday thereafter.

Sign up to get a weekly email from me with more content than I would ever put on my blog. Things like original essays, interviews, videos, Q&A, and interactive things with my subscribers.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jeff Perry, PO BOX 566, Davison, MI, 48423, http://jeffperry.blog. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Blogging workflow

Manton Reece:

You might think because I created Micro.blog that I have a perfectly simple blogging workflow that will work for everyone, all the time. Nope. I use a variety of different apps depending on what I’m trying to do:

  • If I’m posting a quick microblog post and know what I want to say, I type it into the Micro.blog app for Mac.
  • If I’m posting a single photo, I use Micro.blog on my iPhone.
  • If I’m posting a bunch of photos like this post from Toronto, I use Sunlit to write a little something for each day.
  • If I’m writing a longer post and have it all in my head, so I know I will post it very soon, I type it directly into MarsEdit and publish it to Micro.blog from there.
  • If I’m writing a post and I’m not totally sure where it’s going, or when I’m going to post it, I type it into Ulysses. This is the majority of my posts. Then I copy it out as Markdown and paste it into Micro.blog.

And this only scratches the surface. There’s Wavelength for podcasts, and some people prefer apps like Icro, Gluon, Dialog, Quill, or automation via Shortcuts. This is why we link third-party apps from the posting screen in Micro.blog.

One of the things I’m most proud of with Micro.blog is that the API supports standards so you can use a variety of different apps for posting. There are so many different types of blogs out there, there shouldn’t just be one way to post.

Micro.blog is always a platform I love because of the openness to third party apps.

Also, it’s refreshing to know that Manton, the creator of micro.blog, also hops between several blogging apps. I don’t feel as bad for writing and posting things from a plethora of apps.

I Have an iPad Again

Thanks to Best Buy having an incredible deal yesterday I went ahead and added the iPad back into my life. I bought a 128GB 10.2” iPad and I am very happy with the decision.

The 10.2” isn’t exactly the super-powerful 12.9” iPad Pro I once had, but that was when I was using my iPad as my main computer. Back then, I wanted a machine that was top of the line. Now, as my setup and needs have changed I think that the regular iPad is a perfect fit for me. I say that knowing it is basically the 10.5” iPad Pro I once had. Aside from some cheaper speakers and screen, both the size and specs are practically the same. Hell, even the Smart Keyboard is the same size as the one I had for the 10.5” iPad.

The Smart Keyboard is exactly as I remember it from when I had the 10.5” and it works just as well for me. I was concerned I was going to find it cramped or too small for me as I was so used to the full sized keyboard on the MacBook Pro. Alas, that wasn’t anything I should have worried about. In fact, I write faster and more consistently on this Smart Keyboard than I do on the mechanical keyboard Keychron K2.

This iPad isn’t my main machine, but it can absolutely be an ultra-portable option for when I am on the go or don’t want to travel light. In fact, I have left my laptop at home when I have gone out to write or do work because this iPad suits all the needs I have for a typical day-to-day operations. That said, I am sure there will be times—like there were for me in the past—where I just felt like a MacBook would be a better solution for a problem than the iPad.

This isn’t me saying that I am going back to the “iPad-only lifestyle.” In fact, one of the big reasons I got this iPad was because I wanted something that was compatible with Sidecar.

So far, I have tried Sidecar exactly once in the past 24 hours and it was very seamless. I can’t wait to use my iPad as a second monitor when I am doing things at my desk like podcasting or working on a long post for the blog. Having that extra screen real estate is going to help me when I really need it.

It is encouraging to me to see things like Sidecar work out of the box with Catalina. I am also thrilled to see this type of synergy between the iPad and Mac, where it isn’t just macOS and iOS (or iPadOS) working together but it is also the hardware.

Finally, I am elated to be able to use Siri Shortcuts on something bigger than my iPhone 11 Pro. It was nightmarish to use just my iPhone to make and edit shortcuts. I love Shortcuts and I love the team behind that app, but the user experience on the phone is less than optimal. I have dived back into Shortcuts with this iPad and it has allowed me to play around with automation on iOS again. A someone who hasn’t played around much with the additions and changes iPadOS brought with Shortcuts it has been quite a lot of fun to learn and play with this app.

Overall, I am excited to see what having an iPad again will be like in this post iOS 13 world. I am sure I will have more thoughts on the iPad as time goes on, but for now I am going to play around with it some more and see what this thing is really capable of.

ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case for the iPhone 11 Series

From their IndieGogo campaign:

The ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case is a compact, integrated multi-lens iPhone case, now available for the iPhone 11 & 11 Pro, that switches lenses in fractions of a second — adding unparalleled versatility and quality to your iPhone 11 & 11 Pro cameras.

This case looks super bulky but I think it would be a great option for those occasions you plan to take lots of photos or go somewhere.

I am backer #83 on this and I intend to try the hell out of this once I get in a month or two. Until then. I will be drooling over the photos on their IndieGoGo.

ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case for the iPhone 11 Series – 2

From their IndieGogo campaign:

The ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case is a compact, integrated multi-lens iPhone case, now available for the iPhone 11 & 11 Pro, that switches lenses in fractions of a second — adding unparalleled versatility and quality to your iPhone 11 & 11 Pro cameras.

This case looks super bulky but I think it would be a great option for those occasions you plan to take lots of photos or go somewhere.

I am backer #83 on this and I intend to try the hell out of this once I get in a month or two. Until then. I will be drooling over the photos on their IndieGoGo.

Keep Moving Forward

I know this is cheesy, but I think a lot about this scene from the movie Rocky Balboa. I mainly think about it when I am in a rut and can’t think of anything to say or do creatively. I tell myself that all I need to do is keep moving forward and a solution will rise from the ashes. That isn’t always the case though.

Sometimes I need a long hiatus or just a changes of topic. I have done both to an extent here on my own website and it has helped a little. Those, to me, are the exceptions to the rule. A much larger part of my problem lies with these lulls of writing and posting because I don’t write consistently.

Consistency has always been difficult for me, as anyone that has been a reader of this blog can probably tell. That is partially why I decided to take place in Blogvember. I want to get better at being consistent, and writing everyday for me has always been a goal I wanted to achieve.

Now that I already missed a day this month I feel somewhat defeated but I also know that the reason I didn’t write was because it was one of the 2 half-days I get to see my wife in a given week1. So I am more than happy to put my family in front of my creative process and with that I have zero regrets. This isn’t to say every time I don’t write it is because I am putting more important things first, I catch myself in YouTube rabbit holes all the time and I kick myself for it a lot.

I am not sure if this post has a real “point” or not but I think that sometimes I just need to sit down and write even when I am not sure what I have to say. I used to think that when I didn’t know what to say meant that I shouldn’t bother writing. Without a topic what was the point? I couldn’t be more wrong about this if I tried.

The thing I realize now is that my brain, like pretty much anyone who writes, needs time to warm up and get the engine going. For some it takes a few minutes others say that their first hour of writing isn’t good and it is just useless.

I think I am somewhere in the middle of those two. When I do write I make it a point to never go back and edit my mistakes or mistypings the first go around. I just want to trudge on and write until I feel the thought I had is gone and on to the page. Which I guess is where I am now with this post.

My point is that even though I may have missed a post yesterday and I didn’t keep my streak alive, I am going to keep moving forward.

  1. Long story short on that, we work different hours and I work 90 miles away from home.

You Choose

Brent Simmons:

Here’s the thing: there are good blogs to read. Some old ones are gone, but new good ones are created all the time.

And there are good RSS readers which you can use instead of (or in addition) to Twitter and Facebook.

And — most importantly — nothing is stopping you from writing joyfully and creatively for the web! You can entertain, you can have fun, you can push the boundaries of the form, if you want to. Or you can just write about cats as you develop your voice. Whatever you want!

Chris Hannah:

I agree, all you have to do is join in.

There is a reason I come back to blogging time and time again. Even after bouts of mental health issues and life events getting in the way I come back because it’s mine.

I own this website and the things written on here and I enjoy the self expression that goes into it for me. It is therapy, art, entertainment, and craft all joined together in a beautiful ball of dough.

Today is the day I quit the iPad

Greg Morris:

I have tried really hard to carry on as long as possible but iOS 13 has made me realise I cant continue any longer. I’m afraid friends, today was the day the end finally arrived, I’ve ditched an iPad altogether.

During my time working on the iPad I always needed a Mac around to podcast and edit things properly – you know do real work. It was pretty few and far between and during this time the iPad got better and better. Adding in a better keyboard, a pencil to write and Draw as well as constantly improving the OS. My reliance on Shortcuts (then Workflow) and third party apps started to dwindle and iOS become a powerhouse – at least for a while.

Then iOS13 arrived. I cant point to one specific event or one particular bug, but iOS13 has been like death by a million paper cuts.

I hate to say it but iOS 13 feels like a regression for iPad power users. I’m sure the people at Apple meant well but in hindsight it’s clear that they bit off too much than they could chew.

Here’s hoping iOS 14 is akin to iOS 12 and it’s sole purpose is for fixing bugs and improving the features already in place. It also wouldn’t hurt if they made good on their promises with iCloud.

I Need to Use My Task Manager More, but I’m not Sure How

As I said recently I have decided to start things off with a clean slate. My task manager, calendar, email, notes system, etc. have all been wiped clean for a fresh start.

I stated in my article that I was going to use Todoist as my task manager, then I decided on Things 3 on my podcast instead, but now I think that my issue isn’t what the app I use is, it is instead how I am using my task manager.

For me, what’s necessary is to go a higher level and really consider what it is I want out of a task manager and figure out what to use to match those things.

That’s obviously much easier said than done but I think I have a few questions in place to help me get things started.

  1. What is it you want to prioritize in your life?
  2. What do you currently track in your task manager?
  3. What are your pain points in a task manager currently?
  4. Aside from task app features what do you want in a task manager?

I am not sure if these are the best questions to ask myself. Hell, I’m not even sure this is the best angle to take things. That said, as someone who has very little in order with their life at the present moment, it’s a start

So, here are my answers to those questions asked:

  1. Family, Hobbies, Career, and Work in that order.
  2. Day-to-day things to do, but even then I rarely open the app to see what I have on there.
  3. I don’t check my app regularly, and I don’t do much after capturing.
  4. I want something that can compartmentalize things when I need to but also be able to open everything to me for an easy review process.

For now, I think I need to figure out what to do to have my tasks in my face regularly so that I can capture quickly, clarify regularly, and organize things instead of just being on a list without any semblance of when things are do or what is more important than others.