Out of Nowhere

About an hour ago I had a panic attack. I mean, it kinda caught me off guard, so I didn’t make note of the exact time. But I’d say, give or take, it was an hour ago.

You wouldn’t know it from looking at me. Although, I feel a little bit like I may have that thousand yard stare. But, for the most part, I’d look “normal” to you.

I had that panic attack, the first panic attack in more than 20 years, just outside my car in the parking lot of my endocrinologist’s office. Well, it started outside my car, but thankfully I made it inside for the worst parts. The heaving parts, the hyperventilation, the grasping. The actual panic, as it were.

People parked their cars beside me, not noticing. Perhaps not wanting to or not knowing what to do. I sobbed while fighting to catch my breath that had somehow, inexplicably been stolen from me. That fast. Out of nowhere.

I couldn’t breathe fast enough even though I knew it meant I might faint.

I couldn’t focus on anything good or anyone kind.

I didn’t call anyone or reach out.

I knew the terror would subside. I remembered that from 20 years ago.

Then I dug for a tissue inside the chaos that is my purse and I cleaned my face up, dried up the tears and wiped away the snot. My husband had texted me in the madness. He wished me well at my appointment. I told him it was over. I was fine. Heading home now.

And that’s what I did. I headed home. Expressionless, exhausted, unfocused and confused. I just had a panic attack, I said to myself in disbelief.

I came home, walked the dog, congratulated him on a bowel movement done well. I put on a pot of coffee, chatted with my son about our school day. I buttered my toast.

I’m numb.

I had a panic attack today.

Nothing bad happened at the doctor. It was a simple blood draw for an upcoming appointment.

But there was the one thing.

“The lab on the fourth floor is closed,” she said with a bright smile. “You’ll have to use the one on the third floor.”

The one at the cancer center.

I tried to hold it in and I almost got through. I had the same woman that drew my blood last time, the one with the southern smile. We talked about tattoos when I drew my sleeve up to give her my vein.

“You’ve got good veins,” is always nice to hear.

And it was quick and it was painless. Out I went. Until I got to just outside my car and the terror set in.

No matter how long it is with good news, no matter how I marvel at the way my body has healed itself, it never really goes away.

I had a panic attack about an hour ago. Oh, I suppose by now it’s been an hour and a half. I made it, and I needed you to know.