Have I mentioned on here before that I’m allergic to raw onions? I think I have. It’s something I discovered about five years ago when I ate something with raw onion on it & broke out in hives across my face. I confirmed it a few times after that to make sure; usually I had Benadryl on hand.1  Since then, I’ve been extremely careful about not consuming raw onions. I try to make sure to only order onions that I’m sure have been thoroughly cooked. And before you ask: Yes, it is absolutely possible to be allergic to raw onions and not to cooked ones.2  Today, I went to Quizno’s and had a sandwich that had “sautéed onions” on it. I took a bite & found they had the taste & texture of raw onions. I spent minutes taking apart my sandwich. My dad talked to the manager/franchise owner who said the onions were “sautéed” in the microwave. I know you can do that to a certain degree in a microwave, but the onions on my sandwich were either raw or barely cooked. Either way, they were a danger to me & a lesson learned.  I should just skip all onions & mention I’m allergic to them when I’m at restaurants—advice that was given to me a few years back by Anna. She’s a smart lady.  Because I’m me. ↩The theory is that the things that cause the allergy are broken down by the heat of cooking it. ↩

Locked Me Out and Threw a Feast

Well, I got in the tube thing for my pulmonary function test. I will find out what’s causing my shortness of breath at the beginning of January.1 I watched as the chart filled in and the numbers popped up. I assumed that black numbers were normal and red were abnormal. There were quite a few red ones, which isn’t that weird since I have asthma. What was weird was that my breathing got worse after they gave me a nebulizer treatment. They give patients a bronchodilator to see if it improves the breathing, which is the expected result for anyone who takes a bronchodilator. Hell, even being ineffective but not worsening it is an expected result. Paradoxical responses are, well, paradoxical. They aren’t expected because they’re the opposite of what is supposed to happen. It’s kind of like if a mug of pens fell and the pens floated to the ceiling. Okay, well, not really because that might mean that the universe is broken, but it’s freakish. There is one instance where the reaction makes sense: if the test was done with theophylline. It used to work fine for easing my breathing issues, but, as my caffeine allergy worsened, my tolerance threshold for theophylline got worse and worse. Theophylline and caffeine are both types of xanthines. Theophylline doesn’t always cause the allergic angina, but it does cause a headache, paresthesia/buzzing, and some other unpleasantness. Today’s treatment caused all of the non-angina unpleasantness, so I guess that’s what they used. If it is, that was pretty shitty of them. I mean, seriously. It’s like if I told them that I definitely had a penicillin allergy and they injected me with penicillin without telling me what it was.2 And the results could have been just as severe. It only worsened my breathing, caused a headache, and caused neurological symptoms. It could have killed me. When I say it was pretty shitty, I mean it was fucking dangerous as hell. Eventually, I’ll find out the results or my doctor’s office will kill me. Fingers crossed, right? Unless I find out sooner. ↩I have had doctors prescribe penicillin even after I told them I was allergic, but no secret injections. ↩

Who Needs to Breathe?

Well, I’m anemic, but I’m not. It isn’t my iron that’s low.1 It’s my B12. It’s around 300 pg/mL right now, which is low for most of the world,2 but it’s not low according to American standards.34 Fortunately, the hematologist’s office realizes that those standards are messed up and that a person who takes monthly injections of B12 shouldn’t have a level that low. They also realize that the gastric bypass surgery and my family’s predisposition to the B12 deficiency makes me more likely to have issues absorbing it and maintaining high enough levels. So now I get to re-load on B12. That means 1 shot a day for 7 days, then 1 shot a week for 7 weeks, then 1 shot a month like I’ve been doing for years. Fun, right?5 The nurse practitioner also wants me to be checked out by a pulmonologist6 and, possibly, a cardiologist.7 She definitely wants me to undergo a pulmonary function test. She said that it could be that when I fell  at the pool several weeks ago, the water that I breathed in may have caused some issue in my lungs that I’m just not over yet.8 The other possible thing was the day that my dad put Clorox in the toilet. I didn’t think and I peed in a toilet bowl full of Clorox which led to a rather enjoyable release of chloramine gas.9 I coughed for days afterward and felt like something had scorched my lungs and throat.10 Well, technically, there are other possible reasons for my breathing to be so rough. I do have a history of severe asthma and severe allergies. Vitamin B12 deficiency itself can cause shortness of breath, but it’s a rare occurrence when it happens. Of course, rarities are my specialty.11 I need to go shoot up12 with some cyanocobalamin.13 The magic of birth control pills. ↩The low end of normal elsewhere is around 500 pg/mL. That’s where symptoms like fatigue, pale skin, dementia, etc. start occurring. ↩The low end of the American range is 200 pg/mL. ↩Bad standards. Very bad. ↩If you say yes, then there’s something wrong with you. ↩Lung doctor. ↩I guess because I have ongoing issues with tachycardia. Shortness of breath is linked with tachycardia. ↩Face-planting in the water is dangerous, yo! ↩Yeah, science, bitch! ↩A sane person might have gotten checked by a doctor after that experience, but I’ve never been a sane person. ↩As are face-plants, social awkwardness, and gourmet cooking; a lady must have an entire repertoire of mad skillz. ↩My thigh muscle. ↩Don’t call the cops. It’s totally legal. ↩

I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just a Little Unwell

My veins suck. They have all kinds of structural issues and when combined with my chronic dehydration and other chronic health issues, they don’t like to play well with needles. I don’t expect blood draws to go smoothly. I’ve learned over the years that most phlebotomists (and some other medical professionals) aren’t going to believe me about just how bad they are. I’ve also learned that if they stay calm, it takes a shorter time, so instead of chewing them out about what’s going on, I smile and reassure them. But if I could tell them a few things, I would tell them: Stop hitting me. You may classify it as tapping or slapping, but it’s painful and it won’t help you. Slapping does not make it easier to find the veins. It doesn’t make them pop up. For me, it seems to make them “hide” because the stimuli is so painful; also, I have a connective tissue condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so I’m prone to bruising, which make it even harder to spot the veins. The tapping/slapping/hitting also can damage the blood that you’re attempting to draw and mess with the results. I know I’m in my thirties, but my veins still roll. Every time I specifically tell one that my veins roll, they say that I’m too young for that to happen. Veins rolling is mainly associated with the elderly, but it is also associated with people who have connective tissue disorders. This is why you don’t continue a saline drip into an already blown vein. (Twitter) If I tell you my vein is blowing, then you need to listen to me. I know my veins better than anyone else, and I should since I’ve had them my whole life. I know what a blowing vein feels like, and I know what it feels like once one has already blown. For me, if I get a really cold burning sensation right where the needle is, I know that that needle better get out of my arm. I once told a nurse that the vein was blowing and she ignored me. She continued to work with the vein and even tried flushing it to start an IV. If you’ve never experienced the joy of saline flushing through an infiltrated (blown) vein, then consider yourself to be extremely lucky. I already drank the water. I am aware that being dehydrated impacts whether or not your veins are visible. Before scheduled lab tests, I make sure to drink even more water than I normally do. It doesn’t help. Stop being cocky and trust your patient. I know that some of these people are really good at their jobs, but the cockier they are the more likely they are to have problems finding my veins. And I’ve talked to other people with bad veins who have noticed this to be a common trait. Like I mentioned with blown veins, I know my veins better than anyone else. If I tell you that my veins suck, then I’m probably telling the truth. Even if the patient doesn’t actually have bad veins, the phlebotomist needs to behave like the patient does. What is the worst that will happen? Be confident. Yes, I want people who aren’t cocky, but if you’re nervous, you will miss the vein. Just be calm and respectful. Forget the gadgets. The only thing that was ever learned about my veins with a vein-finder was that they had more branches than most…and that they have are super-deep and really small. Using heating packs might help a little, but a warm towel or blanket works just as well. Oddly, a blood pressure cuff works better than a tourniquet. Tourniquets should die a painful death. Okay, back to the connective tissue disorder and its complications. If you’ve watched many episodes Law and Order or CSI:, then you may have heard of petechiae. It happens when the capillaries (really little blood vessels) explode and spew their bloody guts into the tissue that makes up the skin. Petechiae isn’t painful, but tourniquets are. (Blood pressure cuffs also cause petechiae and pain, but veins pop up quicker with them than with tourniquets.) Ask me about my allergies before you stick me. I know that it’s the patient’s responsibility to tell the phlebotomist and I try to get across that medical adhesive and latex are a no-go, but if they aren’t listening or they forget, it helps if they ask again just to make sure. Again, this is one of those what’s the worst that will happen things. Prepare your needle and equipment before you go hunting for a vein. A lot of people like to hunt for my vein before they have the needle ready to go in, which means they find one, walk away, grab their stuff, wipe me down, and then go to stick me. Veins that roll are not veins that you can just walk away from and expect to still be there when you get back. My veins have other plans. Stop digging. It hurts and it typically leads to a nerve being hit. That is pretty unpleasant. And by “pretty unpleasant” I mean that I would rather walk barefoot for 5 minutes down in Antarctica than have a needle hit a nerve. Sharp pointy things do not play well with nerves. Oh, so now you think they’re too hard to find? No shit, Sherlock. The exclamation of “these are hard to find” is always one of those things that makes me want to roll my eyes. I know that some people might lie about the difficulty, but I don’t. I don’t need your affirmation that they are hard to find. I know that they are. I’m the one who has been stuck in the palm of the hand and the top of the foot when safer/better areas were not found. I’m the one who has had to wait for the charge nurse to come do the stick or for the anesthesiologist […]

Stop Hitting Me

 Well, I survived my surgery.  Yay! I got to the hospital on time & got checked in/taken to pre-op almost immediately. Of course I had to do the required pregnancy test.1   Eventually, a nurse2 came in to set-up an IV—she only stuck me once, thus allowing her to join my unofficial Hall of Fame—while my nurse3 reviewed my medical history, medications, allergies, and the results of the unnecessary pregnancy test.4 I praised Candi for her achievement and tried to interact with Danielle. I was more calm and relaxed once the IV56 was set up. Danielle said the change in my demeanor after the IV was very noticeable.7 She wasn’t really thrilled, at first, with my mom saying that she was there to mock me while my IV got set up, but my mom explained why she does that.8 But she didn’t need to.  One big fear down, a couple more to go.  The antibiotic they used was clindamycin. It’s amazing how my old acne medicine is one of the few antibiotics my atopy-prone body has not declared war on. I guess it’s because it’s not really used that often. Danielle said that typically they’ll give Keflex9 and, if the person is allergic, they’ll use penicillin.10 Or the other way around?  Having a Keflex allergy while having a penicillin allergy isn’t exactly normal, despite their being related. It probably happened in me because of genetics11 and because my first antibiotic allergy was Ceclor, which is related to both Keflex & penicillin somehow. Anyway, Danielle made sure I was not allergic to clindamycin before they officially hooked it up.  When the anesthesiologist came in, he insinuated that I wasn’t allergic to the medicines I listed. That changed as I explained the reactions.  Each person who reviewed my list, including him, did not understand why I listed my orange juice allergy12 under the section for food allergies. Hmm. I wonder why a person would list a food allergy as a food allergy.  Maybe because: Oranges and other fruits contain proteins that are chemically similar to pollen; eating these can cause itching and irritation of the mouth in certain people, many of whom also happen to be allergic to pollen… (via Newsweek) That article points out that orange juice allergies can be worse for asthmatics because of our already inflamed airways. There are also some who believe that orange juice allergies can be a result of salicylate (aspirin-relatives) allergies/sensitivities.13 Basically, this orange juice allergy stuff is serious as fuck.  But I digress…again.  Before taking me to the OR, I was given a dose or so of Versed, aka midazolam.14 In some people,15 there is an unexpected reaction16 and medical professionals can go into denial mode over it because it is pretty much the opposite of what the drug is meant for. Eventually, I was rolled off to the OR. Special latex precautions were taken, which was expected, and was the reason my surgery took place at the hospital instead of an outpatient surgery facility. I think I was the last surgery on the schedule and there may have been a good reason. The anesthesiology team consisted of the anesthesiologists ans 2 nurse anesthetists—the 3 were monitoring me for allergic/adverse reactions. Seriously. The patient board in the OR also mentioned I had multiple allergy issues.17 Eventually, the sleepy-time doc gave me the propofol and I zonked out. My parents said the surgery took five minutes and that my orthopedist, who I saw one time today…before the surgery, said my meniscus and fat pad were fine, but that the debris in my patella was made of bone flakes and that I definitely have arthritis. He also said I need to start exercising and trying to lose weight. I got pissed when he said that because this particular doctor always dismisses that I do exercise. I told him with a previous injury that I was injured while exercising. I told him this issue became noticeable while exercising. As for trying to lose weight?    I’ve lost around 27% of the weight I wanted to lose. I’ve lost 32% of what I need to lose to reach a healthy weight. I would have lost more if my knee hadn’t been fucked up since Spring. Being fat doesn’t mean I should be dismissed like this.  Pretending like all of this is due to weight and weight alone is also bullshit.18 I’m having a hard time believing that the meniscus and fat pad1920 are totally okay, given the symptoms. I just think he’s used this to tell me that he thinks poorly of me for my weight. And that’s pathetic and superficial crap. If he’d ever bothered to listen to me, he could have come to that conclusion on his own.  After surgery, I started talking like crazy21 to the nurses in the recovery section, including Danielle, who was literally keeping watch over me afterward. She got so busy talking to me that she almost forgot to give me a dose of Fentanyl.22 And she almost forgot once again with my Demerol dose. At first, I wondered if she wanted to give me the pain relief injections because she thought it would shut me up. It just made me worse. It wasn’t long before I was getting discharged; we did have to wait for a drug-induced23 vertigo spell to pass.  I also had the lovely experience of a different nurse doing a bad job of removing my IV. She was trying to take the tape off without tearing my skin. I would be grateful for that effort except that, while doing that, she ended up removing the catheter24 rather violently. It started bleeding. A lot. As I mentioned earlier on Instagram, removing an IV so violently is not only painful and dangerous to people with conditions like Ehlers-Danlos or any other chronic health issues, it is painful and dangerous for able-bodied, healthy folks, too. And if you factor in the time it takes to stop the bleeding, taking it out […]

Operation: Get My Life Back (& My Knee Fixed)

If you considering seven years a long time, then I’ve been using Twitter for a long time. Even if you don’t, that’s longer than most people have been on the site. It’s probably longer than the user @AdmForrestal has been using it, but he’s brought the weirdness in a major way. I would applaud his weirdness or laugh at it if it wasn’t so ridiculous and, to some degree, frightening. This racist human being1 has decided that I defend the opinions that I have so vehemently because I’m working for someone. That’s right. I have a particular opinion because I’m a shill for some company or government agency. Yes, just what any contrarian would do with their life: conform to a particular idea to make money. Because contrarians are all about the Benjamins and not about the whole thinking-for-themselves thing. Uh-huh. But really this guy claimed I’m a shill. @janersm You clearly have been told to ind this post on the internet and make shit up who do you work for? — JamesForrestal (@AdmForrestal) November 9, 2015 And why did he do this? Because he’s nuts. No, I shouldn’t say that, especially since I would chide anyone else who promoted stigma when they were encountering someone who behaved in a difficult manner. His reason was that he believed that I lied about my experiences in hospital emergency rooms. He said that patients don’t get visitors until they’ve been stabilized. That’s not always true. One of my examples of that not being true was back in July of 2012 when a mound of fire ants decided to make me their bitch. I was at the park with my mom and my dad waiting between doctor appointments. We sat under a shady tree because it was hot as hell outside and we happened to sit next to a fire ant mound. We didn’t know that my predisposed-to-atopy2 body had decided that fire ants were just so out of style and that it wanted nothing more to do with them, so it just had to respond with anaphylaxis. Clearly, no other reaction would have been appropriate for that situation. My parents, as witnesses to my fall and the first people that I mentioned the ant bites to,3 were essential to my care that day and to keeping me alive. They were the ones who told the doctors about my medical history. And they were the ones who eventually told the doctors about the ant bites. Before that happened, they thought that my fall and my two fainting spells were a result of the heat4. But the fainting, the hospital visit, and everything associated with that day was all clearly a part of a conspiracy to upset @AdmForrestal. When I mentioned before I “fainted” that we were hanging out at the Park, I was clearly just setting up this ruse. Dad decided we could spend some time under a tree at the park; so did the birds — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 24, 2012 The geese in the picture included with that tweet were clearly provided by PETA and were part of a liberal media conspiracy to upset this one random Twitter user over three years later. The original caption for that faked picture was “More lazy geese”, which, again, was all part of my clearly faked fall. No one in their right mind would ever insult geese by calling them lazy.5 My first tweet from the ER? Clearly, it was also a big old hoax. I know absolutely nothing about having anaphylaxis. Took 7 or so sticks to get IV started. Pulse being monitored. It was 139 at the park. — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 24, 2012 Obviously, I’ve never ever talked about being a hard stick over the last almost 15 years of having this website. And I’ve never mentioned that I have tachycardia. Those were all totally new occurrences and haven’t happened since. Except on that one day. That’s how you can totally tell that I’m a shill. Because that isn’t an ongoing issue for me. @janersm Idiot, the shock of hives and vomiting is not life threatening after stabilization them bringing them into a room after that haps — JamesForrestal (@AdmForrestal) November 9, 2015 If I did know anything about anaphylaxis, I would have vomited instead of just fainting, having my heart rate go up, developing hives, and being extremely dizzy. And my life wouldn’t have been in danger even when my parents were in the room with me. And when I mentioned that I hadn’t been tweeting during the rest of my visit? Clearly, that was me covering my ass. I must have needed some time to come up with the whole story. I wanted to update when I got discharged but my phone was completely dead, so it's been charging for a few hours. — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 25, 2012 When I talked that night about how hard my father took the trip, I was obviously continuing the hoax. When he had to be hospitalized the next day for stress that included that ER visit, I was also continuing the ruse on this poor Twitter user that I wouldn’t talk to for another three years. Other than that, I'm itchy, sore, have a headache, and have been trying to reassure my dad that it isn't his fault this happened. — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 25, 2012 When I talked about the people who helped me after I fainted, I must have been making that up, too. Oh, and when I fell the principals of Ed White & Hampton Cove did the first aid while Dad called 911. They also helped keep me from — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 25, 2012 getting up. I was stubborn enough that I kept thinking I was okay to get up. The four of them managed to keep me still. — Janet Morris (@janersm) July 25, 2012 I mentioned two random schools in Huntsville in my shout-out for shits and giggles. […]

A Conspiracy of Ants