Saturday, July 24, 2021

Weekend Reading: Trying to Relax Edition

I had a scary experience Thursday. I had just sat down to work, a little later than usual because Petunia had slept in a bit. I felt a tickle in my throat, coughed, and then my heartbeat went screwy. I do not know whether to call it an irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations or something else, but I knew that if I didn't lay down I'd probably pass out so I went to the sofa and waited for it to pass. My husband was in the shower. By the time he came out, my heart was beating normally again and I was feeling a bit better. I called my doctor's office, thinking I'd make an appointment for later. They had me talk to the triage nurse, who had me measure my pulse (that pulse oximeter I bought last year came in handy again!) It was still jumping around quite a bit so said I should go to urgent care.

I was seen quickly at urgent care, but even so by the time they took an EKG everything was back to normal. None of the tests they could do told us anything about what had happened, so I was sent home and told that if it happens again I should go straight to either the ER or urgent care so that they can try to catch the irregular rhythm and see what it is. 

So I'm left with waiting and hoping I never know what happened, because the only way to find out is to have it happen again! I am also wondering if the fact that I feel stressed so often and/or the fact that I am struggling to get enough sleep contributed to this event. Of course, whether these factors contributed or not, it would be better to reduce my stress levels and get enough sleep. The trick is in figuring out how to do that when one reason for my elevated stress levels is the difficulty of navigating this ongoing pandemic with one child still unvaccinated and when the reason I'm not getting enough sleep is that same child's sleep difficulties. 

Still, I need to try to make things better. We're trying various things our pediatrician recommended on the sleep front. There isn't much more I can do there, unfortunately, so I'm working on the stress levels. I've started prioritizing my Friday rollerblade outing. I can almost always get away in the early afternoon (this time of year, I want to be done with my rollerblade and leaving Pacific Beach before 4 p.m. to avoid a post-beach traffic jam), I just sometimes have to "pay" for that with an hour or two of work after dinner.  That is not a bad trade at all. Rollerblading again helps, but it is not enough. We have a vacation coming up, so maybe that will help. I am also planning to spend some time in my hammock this weekend, relaxing and thinking about how I can really relax.  If you have some favorite things that help your relax when the world around is so not relaxing... drop them in the comments! I am definitely open to suggestions.

Anyway, let's see what links I have for you this week.

This thread and the linked Lancet article about the cognitive effects of COVID is... sobering. 

As is this interview with CΓ©line Gounder, particularly the part about how much more easily the Delta variant spreads. However, I found her comments on outdoor transmission (still likely to be rare, except perhaps at crowded events) reasuring.

Aubrey Hirsch's cartoon "Not Vax Kids' Summer" is so spot on.

This long thread about what sociology research can tell us about how to deal with anti-vaxxers is really good. Read the whole thing, but I thought this point about how "coolers" (people within the community of the anti-vaxxers who can show them a way back to reality) function was particularly important:

In non-COVID news:

I clicked on this Rachel Aviv article about a German experiment that placed foster children with pedophiles thinking I'd skim or read a bit and then click away but I read the whole thing and am still processing it. It is a really well-written article that made me think about all the ways traumatic events echo through societies.

I have two really interesting podcast episodes to recommend: Ezra Klein's interview with Annie Murphy Paul about all the ways we make it harder for our brains to work and Sean Illing's interview with Michael Pollan about drugs (and his new book This is Your Mind on Plants).

In things that made me smile:

Some Australian cockatoos have learned how to open garbage bins... and more are learning by watching them.

These AI generated images of "LA" are cool:

A recipe I want to try:

Here's this week's rabbit:

Have a good weekend everyone! I am off to try to relax. Well, first I need to take some returns to the post office, but then I can relax!


  1. Socal dendrite3:02 PM

    My great-aunts used to make "cheese biscuits" (UK usage of "biscuit") every time we visited and they were delicious. Similar recipe I think (minus the rice crispies): I always thought of them as a sort of savory shortbread.

  2. I really hate giving unsolicited medical advice on the inter webs but please go to a cardiologist. There are really good ways (like the zio patch) to catch and assess an arrhythmia, and waiting for it to happen again and the. Head to urgent care would not be my favorite. (Again, I apologize if unhelpful but I worry)

  3. Obviously not a doctor but it couldn't hurt to have a consult with cardio as C suggested just in case?

    I'm not great at destressing but I take melatonin to aid sleep now that I'm not breastfeeding anymore, and that sometimes helps. I'm trying to do a lot more deep breathing. Walks with the dog, and looking at cute dog and kid pictures. I share lots of cute animal pics and stories with friends (would be happy to email them to you too if you'd like little bursts of happy!)

    I'm thinking about aromatherapy too.

  4. I sound like a broken record but the 10% happier podcast, book and app have been so beneficial to me. If I’m able to meditate regularly, I can look at stressful situations with curiosity rather than panic/anger etc. Of course easier said than done.

    While I’ve really enjoyed the 10% happier courses, I’ve found the Headspace meditations more practical, I find I can make space for 10 minutes in the evening but any more is difficult and I find it hard to keep up the practice.

    Hope you get some clarity on the heart thing, I think my best friend in the UK had something similar and I don’t think they found anything but it was scary and she did see a cardiologist just to make sure.


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