Article on what Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome feels like

People with RSD/CRPS often end up with at least a mild case of POTS, and I am one of them.  Currently the symptoms are mild, most of the time, but when POTS symptoms really kick in it really levels me.  I’ve recorded increases of 60 beats per minute in my pulse just from moving from sitting to standing, as well as other wacky symptoms.  Another fun part of POTS is explaining the disease to healthcare professionals in the cardiovascular community who’ve never heard of the disease, such as why an EKG won’t show the racing pulse when you’re lying flat on your back.  The skeptical looks like you’re trying to pull a fast one on them really makes you as the patient feel good…

2017 Apr 24


We spent the weekend in Burlington, Vermont for one of my twins’ Accepted Students Weekend at Champlain College.  It is roughly 5 1/2 hours each way of driving to get there from the Bangor, Maine area, and a good portion of it is on roads that definitely take a beating during the cold New England winter months.  Although we upgraded this year back to a minivan from a CRV in order to have more room and be more comfortable on long road trips, the roads still took their toll on my current RSD/Fibro/Frozen Shoulder combination.  The drive, though, is normally something that is fairly quickly recoverable but on Friday the drive was followed by a reception on the campus for new students and their families that culminated in over two hours of mingling in a room with over 800 people.  The noise level was deafening, especially to those of us with hypersensitive hearing due to overactive nervous systems.  Excessive loud noise levels often bring about higher pain levels for us, and this was no exception.

Due to my current battle with my Frozen Shoulder, I have been sleeping in a recliner rather than a bed for several months now.  This makes sleep even more of a challenge when we are at hotels while traveling so on this trip I went out of my way to remember my “Zero Gravity” folding chair to sleep in with not having access to a recliner.  Unfortunately I soon realized that I had grabbed the wrong chair while packing, and had brought one of my mother-in-law’s lawn chairs instead.  This ended up keeping me up a large portion of both nights in the hotel, adding to the growing physical discomfort of the weekend…

The next day was a day of tours, and briefings, and more mingling with too many people.  Not that I’m a huge fan of this anyway, due to being an introvert from way back, but not recovering from Friday before going into Saturday left me feeling pretty beat up most of the day.  Yesterday, Sunday, we drove back to Bangor.  The weather was better so it was a beautiful drive with spectacular views of Mount Washington on our way across, but the route still featured many bone jarring sections of roads.

By the time we returned home, I sought the comfort of my couch and my heating pads for the rest of the night until turning in.  Today I have physical therapy on my shoulder at the VA, which lately has been quite painful.

It was a great weekend overall and it was nice to travel, but as always with these chronic illnesses, it comes with a cost.  Another day in the life of a “Spoonie”…

Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

This was one of the two chambers where I received my hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments for my RSD/CRPS.  Each “dive” subjected me to 2.5 times the normal atmospheric pressure in order to provide pressurized oxygen into my body.  The treatments helped some, but I reached a point where one of my sinuses could no longer tolerate the procedure.  I do recommend the treatments, though.

Flying Before RSD/CRPS


This was taken in 2002 when I was going through the first stage of my jet transition after being a Navy helicopter pilot.  At this point I was still fairly functional, except for only being 6 or so months out from left knee surgery for torn cartilage while I was flying freight in between the Navy and the Air Force.