There are some things I do in my daily life that people give me weird looks for. What a lot of people don’t know is most of these things are because of my chronic illness. Most of the time, if I’m doing something out of the ordinary it’s because of Dysautonomia or POTS. Now, I leave some room for error. I am somewhat weird sometimes. I can’t blame all of my odd habits on POTs but I will blame most things on chronic illness. So here’s a list of five things I do because of POTs:
- Pick Stuff Up With My Feet
This is probably the weirdest. People make fun of me all the time. When I don’t use Crush to pick stuff up, I often just pick stuff up with my feet. I’m not lazy. I get very symptomatic when I bend over. Often, it’ll cause my blood pressure to tank. So, I just pick stuff up with my feet. I think most people do this on occasion but it’s a daily occurrence for me.
- Eat Tons of Salt
Salt helps maintain blood pressure. I couldn’t give you the exact anatomy of how it works. My doctors tried to explain it to me multiple times but it didn’t stick. Either way, it really does work. I eat tons of salt intentionally to raise my blood pressure. Even with medication to raise my blood pressure, it’s often below normal. So the salt just gives me an extra boost.
- Drink Tons of Water/Gatorade
When I’m symptomatic 90% of the time I’m drinking a Gatorade or Liquid IV. I drink at least 3 liters of water daily. If I need more on top of that, I drink something with electrolytes. It helps lower your heart rate. Often if I’m symptomatic, my heart rate is too high. So, I drink water to offset that. The combination of salt and water helps bring me back to a relatively normal state for me.
- Wear Compression
I’m almost always wearing compression. It’s not because I’m self conscious, it’s to help keep my blood where it’s supposed to be. Without compression, my blood will pool in my legs or abdomen. Likely, it will still pool even with compression. The compression helps keep the adequate amount of blood in my brain and in my heart. When my heart doesn’t get enough blood, it starts to go faster to compensate. This makes me dizzy. When my brain starts lacking oxygen from a high heart rate, I start to pass out. In order to keep everything flowing properly, I compress my abdomen or legs.
- Use a Mobility Aid
I talked a little about this on Monday. I use my service dog to help give me a sense of where the ground is. When I don’t have Crush, I tend to use a mobility aid, such as a walker. I always have it with me just in case. I struggle to associate where I am in space. Giving myself something to hold on to helps my brain understand where I am and where the ground is. The higher my heart rate the more disoriented I get. It’s best to have a plan when I know my heart rate will be raised and I’ll need help.
These are just five things that I do because of POTs. Let me know if you do these things as well! I think it’s easy to feel weird when you’re surrounded by people who don’t have the same issues. You’re not alone and you’re not any weirder than I am.
I hope you’re having a great day. I hope your day is filled with joy, positivity, and laughter. I hope you find peace, love, and happiness.