You know how you hear about people with mental illnesses who are more functional when they are on their medication but that quite often it’s a struggle to get them to stay on it? And do you ever wonder why they wouldn’t just stay on something that makes them feel better and function better? Do you ever wonder why on earth a person would opt out of the medication when they know that bad things will happen?
Well….I have a little understanding about that. I’m not mentally ill, don’t worry (at least not the sort of mentally ill that a person can medicate!) but I do have a heart condition that responds well to medication. Since the severity of my condition is mild to moderate rather than severe, I was told that I was allowed to opt off the medication and then take the pills reactively if I had a flare up. The idea behind the medication is that it dramatically slows my heart down and reduces my blood pressure. Take pill, wait 10 minutes, success. The problem with the ‘success’ part is that I then feel like a giant bag of crap for 24 hours afterwards. I’m exhausted to the bone and freezing cold throughout (to the extent that I feel like even my internal organs are cold)…because my blood is no longer circulating at the same speed/quantity.
Since my actual condition won’t actually kill me, I’ve really resisted taking the medication when the flareups come. They come and go and if it’s a longer version, it will usually calm down overnight while I sleep. Unfortunately the flareups inevitably start to piggyback on each other and become longer and more disturbing. Last night when one of the flareups came and just about dropped me where I stood, Ray decided enough was enough and insisted that I take the pill. And now I feel like garbage (but because of the Kerasilk from my previous post, my hair looks fantastic!).
So why am I telling you this? Because the whole story relates to exercise. The main condition that my cardiologist gave me when he told me that I could opt off the meds….was regular exercise. Why? Because it strengthens the muscle that is the heart. A stronger and more athletic heart pushes more blood with each pump which means that your heart rate is naturally slowed. Weak and flabby and unconditioned hearts beat very quickly but send little blood. This would be bad. Athletic hearts beat strongly, slower and push a good amount of blood. This would be good. So if I can naturally slow my heart then with any luck the instances of the accelerated wonky heart rate would be less. And now, since I think this has gone on long enough, I have to really wrap my head around getting bck to consistent activity…because my other options are lifetime medication (which I didn’t enjoy for the year I was on it and don’t think I would enjoy for the rest of my life) or surgery…which, unless the result is bigger boobs, I’m not interested in having. 😉
Why is it then that when I know the options (just like the mentally ill person in the first paragraph) that I struggle with making the right decision?