Monday, January 31, 2022

A set of poems I likely won't turn in for my class, but which I wrote anyway:

Haiku on Airways and Postpartum Anxiety and Depression:

Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration

My grey-blue baby
Failed her first apgar exam
But soon blossomed pink.

Robert Munsch Effect

Every night I crawl—
Ninja roll—to their bedside,
Assess their breathing.

Apnea Bradycardia

Premature infant—
I had to do CPR
Every time he nursed.

My heart trips, scatters
Clattering heartbeats along
A long empty hall.


When my baby breathed
He honked like a goose flying
South for the winter.

Globus hystericus I

Pharyngeal phantom—
A bolus causing distress,
Engineered by stress.

Transient Tachypnea

She failed to absorb
Her amniotic fluid;
Choked on it for days.

Globus hystericus II

There is nothing stuck
In your pharynx. Just relax;
It’s psychogenic.

Bodies are seriously so weird. I have been feeling for weeks now like I have a lump stuck in my throat. It felt as if a pill was lodged in my throat or like I was holding back tears even though I wasn't (or maybe I had been and simply didn't realize it and exhausted my throat muscles?). But there was nothing wrong with my throat. Not really.

It wasn't sore, just disconcerting.

There was no lump, and yet there was a lump.

It wasn't difficult to swallow or breathe or talk or anything.

It was super annoying.

So I looked up my symptoms to chase away fears of throat cancer or thyroid issues. Again, doctor friends have warned me not to look up symptoms online because I'll always find something worse than what the issue probably is (it's always cancer). But here's the thing, Doctor Friends, my brain has already jumped to the worst case scenario. Looking things up has rarely made things worse than what my anxious little mind can conjure.

So, anyway, I looked up my symptoms and stumbled upon "globus pharyngis," which is simply the feeling of having something lodged in your throat even though nothing is wrong in your throat. Frequently attributed to anxiety and/or depression, it's like your body is saying, "Since you're so good at feeling anxious, we'll throw in a little feeling-like-you're-choking-all-the-time as a treat. But don't worry! You're not choking; it'll just feel like it."

Thanks, body, for coming up with that. Genius move.

I told Andrew about it last night and, as it turns out, naming the beast has tamed the beast, because I woke up feeling just fine this morning.

As my mom said, at least my body seems smart enough to let go of things once my mind was aware it was purely psychogenic. Here's hoping it stays away.


  1. This is why I love your blog! You have the most elegant way of writing!
    Also, nope, your body will figure out some other fun way of speaking it's own mind. I had a profound experience with the Emotional Resilience Self Reliance Course, chapter 3. (it's a really long PDF, so I won't link it here) Our bodies are a gift because they are telling us things! Sounds like yours was trying play speed bump, lying down in the road telling you to slow down. (Like that's possible!)

    1. I like that idea—that my body was giving me a speed bump.

  2. Oh, I had that years ago. I thought I was dying of something stuck in my throat, but I would talk out loud, even sing, and be like, oh, hey, I am breathing. Later I found out being anxious could cause that, and it was like a circular thing: feeling of lump in throat --- anxiety because -- feeling of lump in throat -- anxiety because ... YOU KNOW!

    And, yes, "naming the beast" can be cure enough. That and for me, I was often chanting, "God has not given me a spirit of fear..." stuff like that. :)

    1. It's SO disconcerting! And such an ironic loop of anxiety. Haha! I'm sorry you've had to go through it as well! And, yes, I believe God really does want us to be at peace; it can be so hard to find that peace, but I'm sure your affirmation helped!

  3. I'm so glad you're feeling better! Here's another story of how I had a similar experience:

    To add to our collection of hospital visits right after Prima was born, Blake and I both came down with something my doctor called "geographic tongue." Blake's doctor didn't give it a name just said it wasn't anything to worry about - we had appointments around the same time. Just benign grey-ish splotches all over our tongues likely brought on by stress. To add to it, they brought attention to my blood pressure. "It's a little high." Yeah, no shiz, Sherlock. "Yeah, I know. I'm going to up to MIU (maternity infant unit) right after this for (yet) another blood pressure check." My BP was why I was induced so early, after all. I ended up on blood pressure medication on the morning of Day 8 of her life, had a bad reaction that resulted in the worst headache I've ever had and had to borrow a neighbor and their car (Blake drove, the neighbor had had a beer with dinner) to go to the ER because after all the red flags for preeclampsia they had been questioning me about for the week before and after her birth, a terrible headache was the first thing on the list. Luckily, just a bad reaction and I get new meds. I'm sure finally getting my BP to calm down a few months later in California had nothing to do with any of this stress. :-/

    Bodies are just so fun.