Thursday, In The Emergency Room…

I’m fine now. Okay, maybe not one hundred percent fine but so much better than I was on Thursday. I just FEEL like I’m alright in comparison with…you get the idea.

The left side of my head was wracked with searing pain, I could only describe it (and again this makes NO sense)  as oozing green jello on crack cocaine wearing a choker collar, fastened way too tight. The black collar was sharp, with metal triangular studs bursting through it about to swallow my skin. I have never had a headache, a one-sided headache, that bad, deep and unrelenting before in my life. And yes, in my imagination, there was blood, messy, crimson, creepy blood dripping from all my veins into my wide open mouth.

It was the headache that went on and off for weeks but got progressively worse.  Anyone living with Fibromyalgia is no wimp, let me start by telling you that. I’ve known all kinds of chronic pain but this was new. “Join the club” did not seem like an appropriate greeting. This stabbing, shooting misery aimed directly at the left temple and whole left side of my face were like launched missiles hitting their target every single time.

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

I was also nauseous and my left arm tingled. I was my in my war zone. Finally, after a few hours of this non-stop torture, I agreed, I even urged, to go to the Emergency Room where luckily there were no lines of people waiting ahead of me. I was so grateful that there was only one family before me that I could have started sobbing at the registration desk.

I was already dizzy, so that when the security guard on duty started asking me questions,  I just had to pry my aching head, from my folded arms on the counter, and squint to answer what my name was, my address etc. that was all I could handle.

“Have a seat” never sounded so good to me before. My husband rushed in after parking the car and with his arm around me, my head nestled into his neck, I tried desperately to hold on to my sanity with all the pain.

When they finally called my name they led me to a room which happened to house another patient with the same symptoms, it was so odd. The nurse, the lovely and sweet nurse, was amazed at both patients’ similarities and if we could have laughed, we would have but at that time we still hadn’t received  pain relief and we had no sense of humor.

Grey's Anatomy (season 1)

Grey’s Anatomy (season 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After what seemed like hours, the ER doctor breezed in and while questioning a few things on my chart (not confidence inspiring At ALL)” What’s a stapedectomy mean? What does the drug Savella do?” 1) ear operation 2) a drug for Fibromyalgia.

Finally, FINALLY they gave me shot of some heavenly drug with a dose of benadryl and a huge bag of saline solution. They took me for a CAT scan and insulted my brain and my age which were not the same (never mind)  as they should be and left me to doze.

The medicine wore off quickly and while all I wanted was to get out of the hospital, away from potential staph infections (I watch way too much Grey’s Anatomy) my neighbor chose another shot (not that I blamed her) and slept it off. At one point I actually wore small blue hospital gloves that embarrassed my husband, shocked the ER doctor and amused me immensely.  I left to just get out of the hospital germ zone and they gave me a Percocet to swallow on the way out. All of this is true.

We left at 1:30 am and I stumbled to bed. The next day I had three, yes, three doctor appointments: First with the Rheumatologist that my husband was hell-bent on me keeping (I regretted that. 2) My Internist (follow up from the ER and 3) New (bad-ass) Neurologist because I had no choice and I lucked out with a great doctor!!

She was an impressive, straight forward, to the point and very, very nice and I begged to be her patient to which she smiled and said she didn’t care who I made my post office appointment with and half winked….We love her. (A big thank you to my friend Phyllis.)

So, now I wait, until eleven pm, a more decent time to go to bed than 8pm. I’ve been waiting for this time, this pain pill, and my pillows all day and night. I think of it this way, nothing could be worse than the headache of yore. It won’t happen again, I hope.

*All typos and grammatical errors are due to prescription drugs that I am NOT abusing.

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The Fibromyalgia Sorority- Update

Ping Pong game by Parker Brothers, The Childre...

Ping Pong game by Parker Brothers, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 5, 2012

I promised an update and I keep my promises but it’s nothing “earth shattering” as my Mom is fond of saying. It’s just the same old, same old. I did go back to the neurologist for results but everything was fine. To me, that was good. He figured out that the tingling and imbalance could have been caused by the drug Topomax, but why I fell flat on my face for no reason he couldn’t answer. To him, he looked vaguely disappointed a) because he couldn’t help me and b) I was no longer of interest to him. He made that VERY obvious. The difference between the first and second appointments were like night and day. I stopped Topomax which now leaves me to go back to the Rheumatologist but I am not in any hurry. He was the one who prescribed Topomax. (Did he not know better?) From one doctor to another, I feel like a ping-pong ball.

Today, it is beastly hot and humid and I can barely get from the house to the car, this weather is not ideal for those of us with chronic pain, imbalance, weakness. There’s only a couple of days during a few weeks when we have ideal weather but that does not guarantee feeling well.  The winter is really rough, icy winds and snow but the summer’s humidity feels like I’m suffocating.

I went with my daughter to one store for shopping for college and there was no way I was going to miss it but I sure wish there were more chairs and benches to sit on for those of us who need a break. I’ve found holding on to a carriage is helpful and sometimes, if I really feel bad while I am there I can use the electric carts. I didn’t want to do that with my daughter but that’s a blog post of a different kind…..I’m sure those of you with teenage daughters understand.

How can we look forward to any day when we don’t know how we will feel? I used to set things up in advance, make plans with friends, go into the city, or to a movie or a museum. Now, it’s like the earth has to be aligned in 940 ways before I even think about it. Not too hot, not too cold, not humid, not torrential downpours and then we have the symptom assessment. What hurts, what doesn’t (rarely an answer there) have I slept well? Everything is so complicated now. I envy my old life, pre-Fibro, but I have accepted it is gone. I wish one or two of my family members would accept that too.

People still say stupid things and most people, unless they have Fibromyalgia, JUST DON’T GET IT.  Those of us who have it are unlucky members of a very big club. We understand EACH OTHER.  Fibro sufferers, if nothing else, be glad we have each other. Perhaps we could all become sisters (and some brothers) in a Fibromyalgia Sorority. Fi Kappa Fibro anyone?

Fibromyalgia Update: It Just Gets Worse?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Human brain side view

Magnetic Resonance Imaging – Human brain side view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 30, 2012

My Fibromyalgia update is not full of rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust, it’s plunking along through a slow and painful process, apparently it goes on forever. Now, in addition to Fibromyalgia and the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I’ve had to deal with Nuerological issues as well. Imbalance? Ah yes, you know it well.  Now I have another doctor to include to my semi-annual repertoire  and I have a feeling it isn’t ending here. Just a feeling though…..

I’ve already had a brain and cervical spine MRI, the results were fine. My new Nuerologist (yeah, now I have one of those too) sent me a note saying that everything was normal given my age. “MY AGE” as if I don’t feel old enough. I do remember in the exam he exclaimed” So, what you are telling me is that you were basically a healthy woman until you hit the age of 50.” That grounded me, but it is so true. I know we weren’t supposed to trust anyone over 30 when we were young but no one said anything about falling apart when turning 50. You would think that would be written somewhere, or at least a warning sent when you are 45, (“ENJOY YOUR NEXT FIVE YEARS!!!!) not that we would have believed anything so preposterous.

Whoever says 50 is the new 40 does NOT have Fibromyalglia, I can pretty much bet on that. Tell a person who has Fibromyalgia that 50 is the new 40 and you are most likely to get a response like “my ass it is.” I couldn’t agree more.  I am so frustrated with different doctors and medications, I’m tempted (merely tempted) to talk to my Rheumatologist and see what he says about stopping Savella. I know, I’m ALL talk, Savella helps me, at least a little. However, my Rheumatologist put me on something called Topomax which he said would help me and I took it for many months.  I took it until my balance was so off kilter (even more than usual) and my forgetfulness was at an all time high AND I was getting tingling in my feet and hands; that scared me. One look at my medical history and the Nuerologist immediately said: Topomax: First two side effects are tingling and imbalance. Seriously, Did my Rheumatologist not know that? You would think that my Internist would be involved in some way but if it isn’t strep throat or a sinus infection, “it’s not her job.”

Once in awhile I have taken to using a cane, especially when walking our really strong 5 month old puppy, but with an 18 year old daughter, who embarrasses easily, I think I will use it more in three weeks when she goes to college. Wednesday, I am going back to the Nuerologist for results of my tests, I will see what he has to say. I’m bringing my husband along with me to listen; I am a horrible “listener” at a doctor’s appointment. I think it’s called the “white coat syndrome” whatever the doctor says, I seem to only remember the one or two bad words. My husband is much better at things like that than I am.

Next week I will go to the Rheumatologist and try to straighten things out. I would ask one doctor to talk to the other but in the past few years I have noticed they really don’t like to do that. I know, “LIKE?” I will insist, because the only one who can manage my healthcare, let’s face it, is me.

I’ll keep you posted.

Worried Sick: One Big Crazy-Ass Blog Post

Emotion: Fear

Emotion: Fear (Photo credit: Cayusa)

I. Am. A. Robot. I have no affect. (Great psychology word, so expressive for non-expression) I lie on my bed with my computer lounging on my bulging stomach, my legs are crossed at my ankles. I still have a French manicure on my toes. I have no extreme emotions, neither sadness or happiness. No smile on my face, no frown. This is not me. I have felt like this for about a week; what has happened to me and why? The last few weeks have been busy and exciting, my daughter graduated from high school, she went to her prom, we went to her pre-prom party; all that was wonderful. I had feelings then, why not now? Here I am, not loving my new dog, not hating her, just coexisting. I don’t feel any emotion in any extreme way. “It’s a phase” I say to myself, “It will pass…you are tired.”

I try to analyze myself: am I hiding emotions, protecting myself, WAIT, I did feel something the other day that felt like strong responses. I felt RAGE and I felt IMPATIENT. But, now I’ve forgotten why–oh no, forgetting things again!! That IS indeed scary. I’ve also been worried lately about my health: I think I have Multiple Sclerosis, (which is now considered an autoimmune disease like my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? really?) Ovarian Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease (both for me and my husband) and various other horrible illnesses. All life threatening. I feel scared of the unknown, yes, it is known as ” anticipatory anxiety,” I am fearful. Should I just take a xanax (anti-anxiety medication) and shut up? I’m thinking maybe it’s time….I bet my pal, Jenny Lawson, Bloggess, extraordinaire, would urge me to take one…okay, maybe two. I should take medication “as needed” the trouble with anxiety is that while you are going through it you think you are sane…..when you are REALLY NOT thinking clearly (little crazy voice in your head says “but maybe you are….”) at all.

Am I just having a full-fledged anxiety attack? (sounds like it) Probably (now on paper too!!) You know, ever since I made that damn appointment with that neurologist it’s been hounding me like a dog with it’s smelly barbecue flavored chew toy. I should know, I have a dog, and let me tell you she does not let go of her bones, she grips it with all her meaty strength. She will bite me or anyone who gets in her way of food. I can understand the love of food but those bite marks hurt.  They make us all look like heroin addicts with her baby teeth bite marks. Where was I? Oh yes, neurologist: my internist suggested I go a few months ago for tingling under my feet and in my hand. I don’t think I even have those symptoms anymore but it’s one of those things I can’t cancel…..(because it’s bad luck) because I should check it out. In my mind, I see Ellis Grey from Grey’s Anatomy one of my favorite television shows and that scares me. neurology, neurologist, even going for an appointment scares me to death.  I may indeed have a diagnosis; I believe it’s called FEAR.

I don’t feel anything yet I worry, not a good life to be living. My own post is scaring me. I’ve been there before, I will get out of it again. Maybe I just need more sleep. Or take Albuterol since climbing up all those flights of stairs today at my daughter’s orientation at college made me wheeze and it won’t go away. (I have no medication for asthma). I just need to slow it down, in my body and in my mind. I have a solution: a nap; that would do me a lot of good and some herbal raspberry tea. It will put all my FEARS to rest and give me the sleep I’m lacking. I can never sleep well, the first night someplace new anyway. Maybe they have a term for that, I can add to my list of phobias.

p.s. the photo scares me too.