Case history - What's your diagnosis?

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Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:30 am

This is a 49-year-old woman in excellent physical health. She's a vice president at a well-known bank. Her husband stays at home at their New Jersey farm home (the main building a historic landmark) where they board horses.

Tropical storm Irene came through and did some serious damage. To start with, New Jersey had a record amount of rain for the month of August. Then Irene came through and dumped another 7 inches. The wind blew a basement window in, and flash floods passed through the home like a river. It was a race and a battle to save a 250-year-old home. Leaving wasn't an option, as they had to care for the horses. Power was out. All they had was a large Honda generator to work whatever magic they could with pumps and whatever equipment they could.

Sunday morning I started getting text messages. She threw up, and was hyperventilating. She told me she was scared because if she had a heart attack, only a boat could get to her. She was vomiting. I called her up and talked her through deep breathing. She seemed to calm down considerably as I worked with her. I explained that it wasn't a heart attack, but rather an anxiety attack. I talked her through what her next steps were. Then she got on with her duties like the together person I know she is.

Several days later I hear things are beginning to get under control. They're pulling dead hot water heaters out of the basement, powerwashing the walls, throwing 2 dumpsters worth of memorabilia away, etc., etc.

Then I get this text about 4 days after Irene came through.

Anonymous wrote:
Bill, I have a stupid medical question. The last two nights I wake up in the middle of the night freezing as if I am in sub zero temps with no clothes on. I can't stop the whole body shaking and covers don't seem to help at all. Stress? Menopause? Some bacteria I got exposed to?

Give the diagnosis.

- Bill

P.S. As a martial artist, you should know. And that's a hint.
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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby gmattson » Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:10 pm

Having been in a tough battle (there are all kinds of battles and not all involve fighting) and is now suffering from the afteraffects as her body recovers from the anxiety and stress suffered during the storm. I can only imagine what she went through as she was attempting to save her home and horses. Hope you were able to help her decompress.
GEM
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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby Stevie B » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:43 pm

Agree with GEM... Sounds like PSTD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)..




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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:14 pm

Good guesses, both!

George's diagnosis is right, although he's missing the name. And if you Google it, you won't find squat. I tried (in case someone was going to cheat), and Wikipedia's very brief reference was just oh-my-God wrong.

The condition is temporary (not PTSD), and known to experienced, well-educated warriors as parasympathetic rebound. It's very important to know it exists if you're running a military campaign. Send troops out to battle and have them engage in piss-your-pants stress (literally) for hours on end. At the end of a day of battle where the body is pegged in the autonomic nervous system red-line (extreme of sympathetic stimulation), the body will whiplash into an extreme of parasympathetic mode. To do otherwise would be to prevent the body from recovering. It has been through the worst it can be in, and now it needs to heal and regenerate - both physically and mentally/psychologically.

Smart military leaders know the phenomenon exists, and might send a wave of fresh troops to attack a few hours after the end of an intense battle. If you don't recycle your own troops, you WILL lose. Your soldiers will not be prepared to get back up to the physical and mental state of being needed to wage war.

Those of us who lived through the 60s/70s and had friends who experimented with drugs understand a phenomenon called "crashing" after being on speed. It's the same thing. One is induced by life, and the other by modern (albeit illegal) pharmacology.

If you want to read more, check out Grossman's On Combat.

Or... you could talk to a good systems physiologist. ;)

Or... You might even talk to some Chinese elders, or even read some Greek philosophy. Yang needs yin, and all that.

George Mattson wrote:
there are all kinds of battles and not all involve fighting

Indeed. Recognizing hints of the extreme in the familiar better prepares us for the extreme when/if it happens.

- Bill
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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:01 pm

This was sent 6 days after the original contact with me.

Anonymous wrote:
Thanks for helping me the other day. I was completely exhausted and things just [kept] getting worse! Also my night time sessions of freezing have stopped. Hopefully forever!! Thanks again!


- Bill
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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby KYUechi » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:02 am

Interesting thread Bill.........that explains a lot. 8)
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Re: Case history - What's your diagnosis?

Postby Jason Rees » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:11 am

Right on.
Life begins & ends cold, naked & covered in crap.
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