IWSG – June 2019

After missing a month (story to follow), I’m back in the game and ready for the IWSG monthly blog hop. Haven’t heard of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group? That seems very strange if you’ve been reading this little blog of mine for any period of time, but I guess it’s possible. Check us out HERE and sign up.


An insane story-

About 4 months ago, my wife and I planned and booked a vacation to New York City. It is our favorite city and our favorite place to vacation. We try to travel there at least every other year.

One thing about NYC- You walk a lot. And I was not in great shape for walking. I’ll blame winter, but really I’m just lazy. In order to enjoy my trip to the fullest, I began walking on the treadmill, uphill, about 45 minutes a day.

Sometime in the middle of April, during one of my workouts, I experienced a strange numbness in my left elbow. I immediately thought heart attack, but when I got off the treadmill, the numbness went away and I felt fine. Not wanting to overreact, I decided against going to the doctor.

From time to time, and only when my heart rate was elevated, the numbness would return. Each time, when I stopped and rested, things returned to normal. I knew something wasn’t right, but my trip to NYC was coming up (first part of May), and I really didn’t want something to get in the way of 8 days in my favorite place.

The first few days in the city, things were fine. I was tired, but the numbness stayed away. Over the next few days however, whenever I was exerting myself, the numbness returned. I was forced to stop several times each day and rest for longer and longer periods before I felt normal. It was starting to really freak me out. Rather than enjoying my visit, all I wanted to do was survive the week, get on the plane, go home.

Wednesday the 8th was the worst. I had several events, and spent most of the day resting in the hotel. After meeting a friend for dinner that evening, Sheryl and I stopped at Whole Foods to get some things for breakfast the next few days. On the five hundred yard walk back to the hotel, I was forced to stop twice, both times requiring 10 minutes of sitting before I could begin to walk again. Back in the hotel, I flopped on the bed and fell asleep very quickly.

I woke with a start just after midnight. For the first time since the numbness began, it manifested during a resting state. It passed in seconds, and my exhausted body fell back asleep. Forty minutes later, I was awake again, numb from my elbow to my shoulder and this time, my chest hurt, as if someone was pushing down on my sternum with tremendous force. I was out of excuses and rationalizations. I woke Sheryl, and at 1:00 AM Thursday morning, we found ourselves on the way to an emergency room.

24 hours of tests revealed the culprit. I had at least one, maybe more blockages in at least one artery. I had been suffering angina from lack of blood flow. Luckily, I did not experience cardiac arrest, but if I’d continued to ignore the warning signs, the chances of a fatal event were very high.

I spent a very stressful 36 hours worrying, wondering, thinking. I’d always considered myself an optimistic person, but most of those hours were lost in depression, the strangest and most intense sadness. All the medical personnel were certain I was a stent or two away from feeling better. Their confidence, and the continual presence of my amazing spouse kept me going.

On the 10th of May, I had an echo-cardiogram which revealed two blockages (one at 95+%) in the LAD artery. Angioplasty was performed. Two stents were implanted, and after 95 minutes awake on the table, I was back in the recovery room. After 24 hours of observation, they released me from the hospital, back to the city, the subway, my life.

We had to stay in the city an extra week, but the difference between the first 7 days and the second were night and day. I was able to walk without pain or numbness, sleep without being awakened.

Physically I wasn’t limited, but mentally, I had and still have some difficulty.

Every twinge of pain or discomfort and I’m sure it’s my heart again. I feel alright, but the side effects of the blood thinner are kicking my ass. I get tired easily, dizzy. Sometimes my breathing is labored (another lovely side effect of the meds). I hope as my body gets used to the medicine, things will balance out.

Writing has become difficult as I’m not sure how to process the strangeness of the past two months. I feel relieved to be alive and mending, but absolutely undeserving. I’ve sat at my desk a dozen times since returning home, hoping to write something, anything, but I don’t think I’m ready. I need more time to think, and while writing would certainly expedite things, there are very few sentences willing to come out and play.

If I’m honest, I’m afraid. Absolutely insecure. And right now, that fear wins out every time. Getting this blog written down has taken me several hours, and I’ve left out a great deal. Most of it is more instances of me ignoring obvious signs of distress. Some of it is the emotional stress of worrying each night that I might not wake up the next morning.

I’m going to get some help, talk with a professional. That seems like a really good idea. Maybe the best one I’ve had in a while.

Also, I really want to go back to NYC. All this craziness hasn’t diminished my love of that place.




And I would be very ungrateful if I didn’t mention how outstanding my cardiologist in NYC was. He saved my life. Angioplasty is a modern miracle. A little hole in the wrist is the only wound required. And that has already faded away.







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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

23 responses to “IWSG – June 2019”

  1. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor says :

    I am so, so glad you are okay! What a stressful, scary thing to go through. The impact of that experience cannot be underestimated. Talking with a professional seems like a really smart idea. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  2. Sarah Foster says :

    That’s incredibly scary! Glad you’re doing ok now. It’s a great idea to talk to a professional and don’t get too down about not writing. Sometimes life has to come first and you went through something huge.

  3. Patsy says :

    Crikey, that sounds scary. Glad you discovered the cause and got treated in time.

  4. Jemi Fraser says :

    Yikes!!! Scary stuff. take your time to process, adjust, and recover. Your mind will let you know when it’s ready to write again. Take care!!!

  5. Meka James says :

    Oh man, that is some scary times! So glad to hear you’re doing better. Let yourself have the time you need to process everything that happened.

  6. Mary Aalgaard says :

    So sorry to hear about your health scare. You were wise to get help. And, what a memory from the greatest city in the world? I also love NYC. I’d love to go back soon. I was there two years ago. All best to you as you heal.
    Mary at Play off the Page

    • Ryan Carty says :

      Thanks for the kind words. As for NYC, I love it so much I get envious of others who get to go there when I don’t. So if you really wanna get my goat, send me photos when you go. I’ll pretend to be happy, but stew inside. *Wink*

  7. Sylvia says :

    Oh my goodness! So very scary, and no wonder you’re full of anxiety now. I should think it’s similar, if not an outright form, to PTSD. Happy recovery and hopefully you’ll be back to writing more soon. It may serve as therapy.

  8. Damyanti Biswas says :

    This was a terrifying experience, and it is so good to know you’re okay. Anxiety is normal in such circumstances–with support and by opening up the way you have here, things will get better. All the best wishes for your health and writing–take care of you. And NYC is on my bucket list. Some day, It is so darn far from Singapore.

    • Ryan Carty says :

      Thanks for your comment and kind words. I keep trying to remind myself that these emotions are normal and that things won’t always feel like this. I’ve got great support, and am leaning on that. Best wishes getting to NYC. It’s well worth the travel, says the guy who gets nervous thinking about how far away Singapore is. Hah.

  9. Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh) says :

    Good thing you went to the emergency room and took care of it before the unthinkable happened.
    You’ve just been through a major life event. Let your body heal and strength return and the writing will come back as well.

  10. Michelle Wallace (@mishy1727) says :

    That is a scary experience!
    Fortunately, you had the necessary treatment and everything seems to be back on track.
    Rest… read… maybe write some light poetry. I’m sure the words are there, just waiting to be unlocked. but all in good time.
    Health comes first. Take care of yourself.

  11. Liesbet @ Roaming About says :

    Thank you for explaining that scary event a bit more, Ryan. It helps to understand what you went through and are still going through. I actually think that if you really wanted to write something, you could start by letting the words, thoughts, and worries flow on paper/the screen, the way they come to you. Like a first draft. No editing required. It’s the first draft – free flowing – to a healthier mind.

    You had me really worried with that Facebook post and once again, I’m so glad you recovered, physically at least. The mental part will come, over time! The impact of your experience is not to be underestimated… Similar to having had cancer (Mark), every time something feels out of the ordinary, your worries go back to “the event” and a possible repeat of it. Time, my friend. Not necessarily patience (as long as you keep yourself occupied), so you’re saved. 🙂

    • Ryan Carty says :

      I really like that idea of letting things free flow, unedited, just to get things out in the air. I might try that, if I can get myself to cooperate. Lately, I can talk myself out of the best ideas. I’ll keep fighting.

      Also, sorry to scare with the Facebook post. I almost didn’t say anything, but that seemed selfish. I would want to know if any of my friends were going through a health scare, something frightening.

      Thanks for your concern and your friendship.

  12. lisabuiecollard says :

    OMG. So glad you’re okay. Please take care of yourself and get the help you need. It’s so important, as you say, to take care of your body. I hope you’ve been able to get back into writing, perhaps as a way to help with the stress? And, hope you’ll post something this month, in July. Have a happy 4th! http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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