My Anginophobia

I have fairly certain I have a condition known as anginophobia. It where one has fear of choking or being smothered. They say that phobias even this one are irrational (unfounded even) but I do not see it that way as mine started due to a botched surgical experience that traumatized me. Then after having to get several of the same procedure without therapy after that experience, each time being in crisis mode for MG (meaning I was usually having a breathing issue making it hard to breathe) it simulated the anxiety of the first experience of choking on my mucus. I start to panic each time. Then each time you get a central line catheter place they have to apply force near your neck to insert it and again the anxiety gets the best of me knowing that this is coming. They have to crank up the medication.

Before MG I had only had my wisdom teeth taken out. 9 years ago. Since MG I have had several small outpatient surgeries. The only ones I get anxious about are the ones that go near my neck. Don’t get me wrong I get nervous about any surgery right before hand, but when you even say you need to go near my throat or neck now I honestly start showing signs of anxiety starting with the heart rate, sweating, and tension through my whole body.

One example was an IVC filter I had placed after pulmonary embolism that I suffered due to my birth control while in MG crisis. It was placed using my femoral artery near my inguinal crease area (the fold near your hip flexor and abs). When they said they had to removed it I figured they would retrieve it the same way…WRONG! I got a huge surprise while in the hospital that day for that outpatient procedure. They said they had to go in through my neck to get it and I instantly freaked. I called the doctor in and told him my concerns and he checked for scar tissue since he did not know about my previous central lines in case he had to use the ‘long way around’ route which freaked me out even more. I promise you, my husband who NEVER (at this point in my medical appointments) sat up and looked away from his phone because he heard him say put it out through my neck. He knew my fears. At the end of the surgery b/c once again I was awake during the whole thing I made them laugh when they showed me the filter and I asked if I could keep it and they said no, lol. They said it was the first time I smiled the whole time.

They always want you to talk and try to keep you mid off it which does help but I just cannot I am so afraid after my first experience. I was at a learning/ teaching hospital in crisis mode where it took them forever to start a central line procedure. I had my trusty suction tube because I was producing quite a bit of mucus. This caused me to cough often when lying down. I asked if I could sit-up until they were ready to start and they said no. It was frustrating. So then I kept coughing and then nurse took my suction and was barely paying attention and I couldn’t cough forcefully enough because I was in crisis mode. Then she kept jamming it in the wrong areas. Then every time I tried to sit-up because they were not ready yet, she would hold me down making me more anxious. Then they strapped me down because the table is so little. I seriously almost lost it then. I just was not doing well. When they finally started it and got it over with we got back to my room and I was complaining that I could not breathe and someone to help and no one was coming and I began to vomit on the floor over the rail of my bed. My neck hurt I was trying to suction myself and being in a learning/ teaching hospital a ton of newbies just sat and stared at me as I gasped for air. Eventually someone came into the ICU and gave me some medication and cleaned me up and they put me on a this strange c-pap type machine that forced oxygen in. I had to breathe in rhythm with it or I felt like I could not breathe again. I could not get out of that hospital fast enough.

Though I know logically I should seek help and therapy due to my educational background, I have been procrastinating in hopes that I can somehow get myself through this without that. I figure I may find a way that will not require a professional’s help but I may not have that luxury much longer if a cure does not come quick and I have to continue with MG and hospitalizations since they like to do central line ports so often. I do not get hospitalized nearly as much anymore but when I do I know they are going to use that method which sucks and that means I need to be able to tolerate it better. I am working on this…WE will say that based on my favorite model the stages of change, I am in the contemplation stage as I have began to research and try some methods be continue to relapse. I will not call anything action though until I am honestly seeing either a professional or a sound method that should work that I COULD stick to for 6 months or more if I tried. Pray for me guys! I do want to change but I am honestly scared…I do not know if anyone can help me since this was due to a trauma and not a made up fear of the unknown like some phobias (as this comes from someone who had no known phobias before this).

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