Physical symptoms are frightening me

After losing my hubby on 15th May from Parkinson’s and frailty, I felt as though I was coping well with everything on my own. I did have one episode of chest tightness and pains which lasted about 15 minutes, but I had been rushing around trying to get things done and it happened when I sat down to relax for a little while. It was very scary at the time and I just sat there doing deep breathing exercises and it passed. I don’t think it was a panic attack as I did not feel panicky. Then last Thursday the 25th June I had a really bad day, woke up thinking of all the things my hubby had said the morning he was taken into hospital, one of them being he did not want to go. I was in tears. Then in the late afternoon (one of my worst times of day) I found his old black joggers which I had said I was going to throw out as they were so tatty but he loved them so much and I just cuddled them and cried and cried. Then last Saturday I took the dogs out in the morning and did not feel too bad but found I had no appetite to eat any lunch and then started to get a tummy ache which went on for days and nights, leaving me feeling weak, shaky, nauseous, dry mouth, achy legs. Today the tummy ache as eased thank goodness but I still feel very weak and wobbley. Wondering if it is delayed shock? My poor dogs have not had a walk since last last Sunday as I am feeling so poorly. I panic now if I feel ill, as I am now on my own and still have things that need sorting out.

Hi,

Yes, it is quite normal for things to get worse after a few months, and then the worse things get, the more we worry, and that can make us even worse, and so we end up in this vicious cycle.

Losing your husband is clearly a very upsetting incident for you, and at this site you will find people who will always be willing to listen to you. However, a medical diagnosis can only be made by a medical professional, so it would do no harm in contacting your GP and talking your symptoms through with them.

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Dear Country Girl,
All your symptoms are perfectly normal during the grieving process such as nausea, lack of appetite, panic attacks and tummy aches also chronic fatigue due to lack of eating and also because of grief which is the weak wobbly part. However abdullah is right you should phone the doctor if these symptoms are getting worse. I totally understand the panic and worry about being on your own and having an illness and what happens to your dogs if you have to go to hospital or in case of an emergency. Think of someone you know a relative or friend they dont have to be really close but they have to be trustworthy and ask them to be your in case of emergency and put them on your phone. Sort out your will not that I am saying anything will happen to you but that it will give you peace of mind saying what you want to happen to your dogs if anything happens to you. Do you have a kind trustworthy neighbour who would be willing to walk your dogs if you got sick. If not perhaps there is a local dogwalker who could put you in touch with someone who would only walk your dogs if you are sick. Maybe you could find others in the same situation as yourself locally and maybe you could share dog walking duties. You could also look into having your shopping delivered by a local supermarket. While at the moment you are worrying about these things because you feel ill lost and alone you may have solutions to these very things that you cant see just now. I too know these worries from having a longterm illness that plays up sometimes, But now having lost my real connections to the world I too understand these worries. I personally put my cousins exwife as my case of emergency. She is very reliable and local and drives. Maybe you have someone you can ask to keep an eye out and check on you even if it is only an odd text. If people have offered to be there for you at this time then ask them and let them help. Choose carefully. Take care.

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I experience lots of these symptoms but also what is worrying me so much is that I am losing so much hair on the brush when I wash it
My hair is short and I m really scared

It is so understandable that you were scared, But I’m wondering if it’s a physical result from your grief,Great shows itself in so many ways. One of mine was I come out in these itchy rashes and I know it’s something in my brain that’s making it happen but we can’t help it
just try and get an appointment with your GP because it must be so upsetting for you
Take care

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Hi Meebee, Thank you for replying. I hate feeling poorly, it’s just not me. I am always very active and this just threw me. All I want to do is sleep in every morning and then lie on the sofa watching TV. But my mum said to rest and I certainly have felt like I needed to! Slightly better today, but tummy still does not feel right and I keep getting bloating all the time. I have made friends with a lovely lady who lives in the same road as me and she has agreed to act as dog guardian for me (the Dogs Trust will take my dogs should anything happen to me). This is all stated in my will as well. Also, I have a brother who lives nearby, we have not spoken for years but he did ring me, so I can turn to him in any emergency. My shopping is delivered as I do online shopping, but I so miss going to the supermarket with my hubby. My computer is my lifeline, I could not manage without it. I live in a small village in a rural area and do not drive. When my hubby died I had lots of cards etc. now nobody even bothers to ring or even message on Facebook to see how I am. My mum rings regularly, she lives quite a way away from me. Also, I do not have a mobile phone (shock horrors!) My hubby and me just had a basic pay as you phone but this was never returned from the hospital, so I am left without one and to be quite honest don’t know where to start when it comes to mobiles or computers for that matter! I just muddle through.

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Hi. CountryGirl. Anxiety almost inevitably follows bereavement, and the symptoms of acute anxiety are very close to those of grief. The first thing I suggest you do is see your GP and get some reassurance that your physical problems are the result of stress.
ALL the symptoms you describe are also symptoms of anxiety. Panic, chest tightness and short lived pains. Taking deep breaths and breathing exercises are a good idea when we get near panic. 'Weak, shaky, nauseous, Dry mouth etc are all symptoms of stress. I do know, been there. I wore out the ECG machine in my doctors from having so many check ups. :smiley: That was years ago. Panic comes about by us feeling trapped. In our natural state we have the choice of either running away or standing our ground and fighting ‘IT’. Our ancient ancestors handed this feeling down to us, and thank God they did, because it’s self preservation. But when it gets out of control it frightens us because we can not run or fight. The adrenaline, the fear hormone, has a limited life, so panic will always die down eventually. But we can prolong it by panicking because we are panicking. It’s what is known as ‘second fear’. We add fear to fear and thus prolong the spasm. There is no Sabre Toothed Tiger chasing us as with our ancestors!! Yes, it could well be delayed shock. I believe that so many of us suffer from PTSD without realising it. After all, we have suffered a major life trauma. Be kind to yourself. Deep breaths and go slowly. Try and accept how you feel without adding ‘second fear’.
Blessings.

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CountryGirl, in the early weeks of my grief my GP told me it was crucial that I eat food, because ones body is going through so much. It needs to energy.
I also make sure I went to bed an hour earlier than usual to allow for any loss of sleep. Self care is crucial.

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Hi CountryGirl, it is the responsibility of the hospital to keep all personal belongings of a patient and give them to the family if the patient dies. It is totally unacceptable that they have not given back your husband’s phone, and if they did that with my dad, I would have been very upset and escalated it.

Hi Abdullah, Yes I know, I was extremely upset. It wasn’t just the phone missing, his lovely really smart glasses were gone and I received a pair of cheap, tatty reading glasses with a lense missing! Also missing were his clothes which he went into hospital in, a pair of joggers and a navy polo shirt of the London 2012 Olympics which I was planning to keep as it was a happy memory of one of our last days out together. I contacted both hospitals he was in but no luck. I even contacted PALS but all they did was get the hospital where he died to ring me. I was dreading getting his things back anyway as I knew it would be so sad and upsetting but this made it 10 x worse. Apparently the funeral director told me that sadly this issue is common and when jewellery and other valuables are concerned it’s quite possible criminal but very hard to prove.

That’s awful, and what kind of a response is that from the PALS team? It is THEIR job to investigate why the hospital made this mistake, not get the hospital to phone you.

They destroyed my brilliant dad’s clothing due to Covid, but even then they asked me if they can destroy it. I sadly said yes as I was stressed, and that made my mum very upset as she wanted it back and we could have got it back. The only thing we got back was his phone.

How are your physical symptoms now? Any better?

Hi Abdullah, I am so sorry about your dad’s clothes. I don’t think they realise how much even some clothes mean to us. I keep ringing our mobile phone number and have left a message with our address on it, so you never know. When my hubby was in hospital I had left loads of messages on it pleading with him to ring me and I don’t think he ever got them, so I wonder what happened to it. So upset about his clothes too, things don’t just vanish do they. PALS were useless I’m afraid. I have been feeling much better over the weekend thank you and have been walking the dogs and did a bit of gardening but trying not to overdo it!

Hi CountryGirl,

That’s great that you felt better. What breed are your dogs? I am a cat person, my dad used to have a cat in Pakistan and he loved cats, but I don’t mind dogs, and my dad really liked Alsatians, today in the park I was playing with an elderly couple’s dog!

It is awful that your husband’s mobile phone has gone missing. Either it got lost and is just lying somewhere, switched off, or someone stole it and is using it. Do you know what the IMEI number is? It’s usually written on the box when you purchase the phone, if the phone is on and someone is using it and you know the IMEI number, you can actually trace the phone.

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Hi Abdullah, my dogs are both cross breeds, a cockapoo and a sprocker! The little boy sprocker (cocker x springer) is completely bonkers, he is 10 now and the cockapoo is very lively, she is 6. I love cats as well as all animals. We did used to have a rescue cat. Thank you for the info about the phone. I have found the EMEI number on the box, so I will see what I can find out. It is only a pay as you go phone but I would still love to have it back. I still keep getting the tummy aches off and on but I think it is just all the stress. Hope you are okay xx

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Wow, looks like they keep you busy, which is what I guess you need when you have suffered a bereavement and there is no routine to your life anymore.

Good luck with the IMEI number - mobile operators should definitely help when a hospital has lost a phone, in the worst case scenario it has been lost and never switched on after the battery was discharged, in which case you might not ever find it, but if someone stole it and are using it, then at least you can find out about this and maybe get it back.

Dear CountryGirl,
Glad you have some of your situation sorted out at least with regards to the dogs and the shopping. It will take the worry off you a little if these things are taken care of while you are ill. Many people will get in touch in the beginning and then tail off you need to be a little more proactive if you want them to stay in touch and continue with their support I know that that can be very difficult but unfortunatley it is the natural order of things if you dont tell people that you need or want them they stop bothering and get on with something else but grief is strange when it is someone very close it happens in waves and at different times. Maybe you need to get a wee mobile phone when you are feeling up to it you dont have to get a contract or a fancy touch screen you can get whatever you feel comfortable with. When you do go to get one make sure that everyone has your number like your mum brother and dog guardian woman. Also you can learn to text them all its basically just like typing , you can still use full words and type slowly I have one that has a small full keyboard its very old but now you can get a full keyboard on a simple touch screen.
Also when you feel up to it why dont you go for a driving lesson in an automatic car and see how you get on having a goal and something to aim towards when you are ready of course will give you something to go on for. I started to learn to drive after my dad died and the lady who taught me was a wonderfully supportive and warm woman who not only helped me learn to drive but was a wonderful person to talk to at that time. I was older when I learned (I had been scared when younger because I suffered from blinding migraines) However I got an automatic car and It gives me great freedom that I wished I had learned many years ago. The thing is passing this test will also give you an amazing feeling of confidence and it will let you go and drive to visit your mum or take your dogs for a walk somewhere different. A wee day trip (once COVID is over will do you the world of good) . My instructor also taught a lady who was in her early fifties and had just lost husband (he did the driving) she was so empowered it really helped her ( I know because I work in the same place). Give yourself time, take things at your own pace and give new things a try. Goals even if you don’t always feel like them can help with grief. Take care of yourself.

Dear CountryGirl,
How sad about your husbands clothes and phone (the hard thing about the phone is all the contacts stored on it plus photos that could be lost). Clothes of my mums were also lost while she was in hospital. Sadly sometimes there is criminal activity from other patients and their visitors but it is very hard to prove and also some patients accidentally because of dementia take what isn’t theirs. Its hard for the nurses to do anything. One of the local hospitals my mum was in writes and logs all possessions in a log book to stop other patients doing this and so nurses can return rightful possessions if they find them. I am so sorry that you lost something so sentimental though.

Dear Abdullah,

What great advice about the phone. Sorry about your dads clothes but at least they asked. I read you said your dad was from Pakistan maybe you and your mum could visit were he was from long after this COVID is over of course, it might be nice for your mum to visit with you and reminisce. Of course it might be safer just now to use google maps and lots cheaper of course. When I was ill I would travel the world from my bed using google maps. Some of it is kinda cool. Maybe your mum would like that. Take care.

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Hi Meebee,

Sorry for delay in replying but I have been very poorly, I have had very bad IBS and although have suffered with it for years it has been a long, long time since I have had such a bad flare up. Had to go to bed it was that bad and at one point felt faint which is a bit frightening when you are on your own. I am feeling a little better today but weak and shakey. Thanks for your suggestions and I did buy a little basic mobile a while ago but I couldn’t even get started with it! It just kept coming up ‘no sim’ even though I put the sim card in every way possible! In the end I gave up and put it away. I am not good with technology. As for driving, my hubbys automatic car is still in the garage but it has some damage to it which I cannot afford to get repaired and as my income has dropped dramatically now I don’t think I could even afford to drive. At the moment I just have enough coming in the pay bills and buy food, but hopefully this should improve a little when I get my pension in November. Hope you are okay, sending hugs xx

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Hi. Country Girl. IBS, tell me about it!!! I have always been subject to it but not as bad since my wife died. They say there is no known cause, but in my book there is. Stress!! I have had numerous physical problems and it’s all down to anxiety. I know because I have seen so many like it after a stressful situation. The mind can play many tricks on the body and it does for sure. IBS doesn’t necessarily just result in dashing to the toilet. It affects our mental health too. It can make us depressed. Have you been to your GP?
I don’t go because I do know all the symptoms over the years. It can be frightening when alone. Have you looked up IBS on the web? I am not one who advocates going to Dr. Google for advice, on the contrary, it’s usually a big mistake, but with IBS you can get some good advice about diet and living styles. I am sorry about you financial situation. It’s all we need after such a loss. There are often benefits that we don’t know about, and a lot of help can be got from the Citizens Advice people.
I was doing well with my basic mobile phone, then decided to get an iPhone. Well, it’s driving me nuts. So darn complicated, well to me it is. A five year old could probably manage better then me. My brain just can’t get round all the intricate workings. So it’s back to the basic stuff.
Now take care of yourself. We need to remain physically fit to cope with all the mental problems that crop up. Blessings. John.

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