Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD
It’s been seven long days.
In the span of 14 minutes, I lost my dad, my best friend, my fiancée, my health, my sanity and my money. In seven days, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that was first recognized in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Today, it’s prevalent across the globe and touches more than a billion people. In the U.S., it affects up to 9 percent of the population.
The condition is caused by an event, which can be any traumatic event (like a fire, a disaster, a car accident, etc.), or a series of events over time (like the loss of a close relative, a move to a new city, or divorce).
Post-traumatic stress disorder is the brain’s response to an event that alters the way a person’s brain thinks about danger and the world. Some events cause PTSD in some people, while others cause it in others. Some people recover well from the condition, while others remain in PTSD for the rest of their lives.
My dad died when he was 93 years old.
My beloved, kind and funny dad did not die of old age. He died of a sudden heart attack. His doctors said it was a miracle no one had died of a heart attack in years.
When my dad went in for a routine checkup, doctors found he had an abnormal heartbeat. He was rushed into surgery within minutes to find out why.
My dad received two stents. An internal artery blockage caused an abnormal heartbeat. An abnormal heartbeat causes an abnormal heart rhythm. An abnormal heart rhythm causes the heart to beat too fast or too slow, which causes an abnormal heartbeat.
The stents repaired the abnormal heartbeat. It�