Physical and Mental Health


In a little less than half an hour, it will be thirty-six hours before I have to be at the hospital for my hip injection. While I’m still worried about going through a general anesthetic, I’m more worried right now about who will be performing the procedure. Well, not exactly. To be more precise, I’m worried about who will be assisting. The nurse practitioner of the orthopedist I’m seeing for my hip is a guy I’ve known since I was 8 years old. We were in the same third grade class, sat at the same lunch table, and went to the same church. He was my third grade boyfriend’s best friend and my third grade best friend’s boyfriend. We used to joke, at our lunch table, about a lot of things we were too young to really understand. One of his and his best friend’s favorite jokes was that they wanted to put their “limousines” in the “garages” of my friend and me.1 Even though I know that he is a professional and is married, it’s very weird to think that he’ll be in the general vicinity of my “garage” on Monday morning. We’ve known one another for twenty-five years. I know his mother. He knows my mother. This whole thing is just very awkward for me, which is a little weird because if he was a total stranger, I would totally be okay with being naked in this scenario.23 But because I know him I feel all weird about all of this. It’s just weird. I’m not usually this freaked out about the nakedness part of procedures. If you don’t get it, think about it. I’ll give you a moment. ↩This isn’t about him being a guy. I was nervous when a high school friend had to put a catheter in me in the ER once. ↩Oddly, there are quite a few people I’m still acquainted with who have seen me naked at some point. Most were in dance with me. ↩

Of Limousines and Garages


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?



I have what feels like a sinus infection, which is quite lovely1 and definitely didn’t happen on a week where I need to be at my best.2 It’s not like I have a pulmonary function test in around twelve hours.3 A month ago, I definitely didn’t schedule my road test for my driver license4 for this coming Thursday.5 So it’s not like this is an inconvenience of the grandest kind.6 Yeah, this definitely isn’t pleasant.7 I would have rescheduled my pulmonary function test, but I’m actually hoping that my inability to breathe through my nose8 will be helped during the test. There’s also the hope that the inability to breathe properly in general will be helped by doing this test.9 If I hadn’t waited until last Thursday to get my driver permit, I wouldn’t worry so much about this impacting the road test.10 It still might be okay, unless I’m unable to practice tomorrow. If that happens, it sort of fucks with any plans that I made for driving myself around after the 15th.11  Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’m determined to do this, even if it is the fucking worst idea I’ve ever had.12 It’s not like I can go to the doctor to get something to treat this.13 So I shall suffer in silence.14 Think happy thoughts for me, and maybe my suffering15 won’t last that long.   Not. ↩Oh, it so totally did. ↩Yep. ↩That thing that I put off getting for almost 17 years. ↩Oh, but I did. ↩If you haven’t noticed, this post is dripping with sarcasm–kind of like how my sinuses are dripping with…Sorry for the imagery. ↩Understatement of the year. ↩Not an understatement. ↩I’ve got high hopes… ↩But I thought that giving myself a week in between would give me plenty of time. ↩Dammit. ↩Surely, it can’t be. ↩Thanks, immune system. ↩I’m going to whine a fuck-ton, so you better get used to it. ↩And yours. ↩

That I Shall Never Breathe Again


My father’s anger issues are something that I’ve mentioned a few times over the years. Whatever is causing the dementia/memory issues seems to have made those issues even more prevalent. Any time that my mom opens her mouth, he yells at her. She could be talking to me and he will snipe at her. He’s thrown things. He is mad over everything and convinced that the world is out to get him. I can’t talk him down. I used to be able to be the voice of reason between the two of them, but his rage gets worse when I try. That rage has had ongoing consequences for me. He grabbed my right wrist months ago and I had some pretty bad bruising; it’s still weak and painful, and it pops when I move it. I told my therapist, but I refuse to get it checked out by a doctor because I know that they might have to report it to cops.1  My mom told me that it would be better if, when he’s acting out, I didn’t say anything to him about it. If he does something, we don’t confront him because the blame falls on us–even if it doesn’t involve us in any way. I thought he was scary before all of this, but I never knew just how bad he could get. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. I keep making excuses for him because I know that even though he’s always had anger issues that something else is making him like this. This isn’t my dad. This is like my grandfather and I don’t want my dad to be like that man. I want my dad to be himself again. I want him to talk to his doctors about what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling; and I want him to be honest about his symptoms. He has lied to them and that’s impeding his treatment. I want him to let one or both of us talk to his doctors. How are they going to know about the rage? How will they know about the anxiety attacks he has every week when he goes to the grocery store with my mom?2 How will they figure out what’s going on in his head if he won’t tell them? Mom tried to ask him what she could do because she’s trying to figure out how they can get along. He doesn’t want her to try because he doesn’t think that anything will make their relationship better. In other words, he wants to be angry with her and take out all of his anxiety & aggression on her. This isn’t healthy and it isn’t right. I just want things to be better. The code of ethics for a social worker prevents her from sharing the information. ↩He won’t let her go with me instead of him. ↩

Tales from the Angry Side



Today was my last daily injection of Vitamin B-12. Now I’m going to weekly injections. Eight weeks from tonight, I’ll be back on monthly injections. So far I can’t tell that the shots have done anything. I only know that every time I give myself a shot, I feel more exhausted. It’s a paradoxical effect, but it’s one I’ve always had with B-12. My breathing is still crappy. My heart rate is through the roof. My dizziness and tendency toward disorientation has gotten worse. I was dizzy for about 3 hours last night after hearing a cowbell effect on a Mississippi State sports story; I wasn’t dizzy before the effect played. Sounds have often thrown me off a bit, but never quite that bad. I still have a couple of weeks before I’m supposed to go to the pulmonologist. Keep your fingers crossed that it won’t get worse. Speaking of appointments, tomorrow is dad’s appointment for the neurologist. Since his MRI, EEG, Doppler, and standard memory tests all came back normal, he’s convinced that he’s not got dementia. He thinks it is all just regular age-related memory loss. I’m afraid the doctor will feed into that. I don’t think he’s told him how dizzy he gets or about his headaches. I don’t know if he’s told him just how bad his memory loss has been. I don’t know if he’s told him how angry he’s gotten. I know that there is something wrong with him and I don’t know what it is. And I have this horrible feeling that it’s only going to get worse.  

A Bruising Hiatus


1
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I am currently rather pissed at the Huntsville CBS affiliate, WHNT, for their planned special tonight called the Dark Side of All Hallows’ Eve. In the ads for their story talk about Huntsville’s police department once having a special occult crime division. The ads also feature images of Jeffrey Franklin and comments about the crimes he committed on March 10, 1998. Jeffrey killed his parents before trying to kill three of his four siblings on that night. He also attacked the best friend of his 14-year old sister. I can tell you a lot about the night. More than a lot of people can. His sister was my friend. His sister’s friend was also my friend and on Yearbook staff with me; she talked about that night in class. My mom was the person who carried the medical records of his sister to the hospital. She stayed there until my friend was in the ICU. We went back to the hospital on a regular basis until it was time for them to leave town. From the start, Jeffrey was painted as evil by the media. Even when the evidence came to light that he had 10 times the normal dose of Ritalin in his blood twelve days after the crime.1 Even when people started mentioning that he was mentally ill. Even when the state of Alabama thought he was mentally incompetent from 1999 until 2001, and even though the state of Alabama has had him in the mental healthcare unit of the prison since his sentencing began, instead of in general population, he has been portrayed as this supernatural killer. That kind of stigmatizing attitude is damaging to the whole community and it needs to stop. Personally, I’m tired of reliving that night. It’s been almost twenty years and local news outlets are still pushing it. They keep trying to make a buck off of the suffering of my friend’s family. They keep trying to profit on the suffering of the people I grew up with, of the choir that we were in together, of me, of my mom. This has to stop at some point. I know that the story was shocking and gruesome and that it sticks with people. It’s stuck with me, too. At a certain point, enough is enough. I wish he hadn’t made the choices he did that night. I wish that a lot of things were different about that whole situation. But forcing us to go through it over and over is cruel. He had been in jail since the night it occurred. ↩

And then I fell down yelling, “Make it go away!”



Last Monday, I moved my appointments with the hematologist up. The lab tests were done on Tuesday afternoon. My actual visit with the hematologist is tomorrow. Well, I assume it’s with him. It could be a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. I’m actually worried now that I’m not really anemic. Sure, my skin is looking a bit more gray than it usually does, I’ve been covered up under a blanket on 80°F+ days, I crave protein like a person on a planet made of lettuce, and I get winded by just picking up a book,1 but I could just be crazy. I mean, we all know that I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. What if I’m just going further down the rabbit hole that is my brain? That could be all it is. But I know that this freaking out feeling that I have right now is the same sort of thing I always go through when I’m actually sick. I know that I have a tendency to worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about, but I’m also pretty damn certain that my anemia is something that is worth worrying about. And if I’m not in an anemic state, then I need to figure out why I’ve felt so shitty for so long. So if I’m not anemic,2 I need to know that. But I know that it is pretty unlikely that I’m not anemic right now. According to labs, my serum iron has headed downward at a steady rate. That rate was meant to hit the anemic stage in December, but I had two periods over the past several months that lasted at least 2 weeks and were extremely heavy. That would have sped it up slightly. Medically, the diagnosis is in the bag. Maybe I’m just worried that it’ll be low and I’ll have to get an infusion and those scare the shit out of me. Ugh. I try not to freak out like this, but I’m like sitting here shivering3 trying to convince myself that I’m either not nuts or totally nuts when it comes to this very issue. Sometimes I hate my brain and my body. It feels like they team up to make me miserable. And in the past 32 years, they have gotten quite good at accomplishing their goal. Photo credit: euthman via VisualHunt / CC BY No, really. ↩And I probably am. ↩It’s 76°F outside right now. ↩

What If I’m Just Nuts


After I nearly fainted after getting out of the pool, I quit exercising. It’s not a permanent thing. I will start back after I get cleared by my doctor. That will probably be after an infusion or two. Between the wooziness that day and the constant shortness of breath, I just can’t justify the risk right now. And somehow I feel like I’m a failure for not being physically able to do this one little thing. What’s that about? I know my body has limitations, but I don’t like what those limitations mean. I don’t like that my body seems to be fragile compared to most. I know, I know. Being disabled means that there are things that are more challenging to me than to able-bodied people, but knowing that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to deal with.

I Haven’t Been Exercising Lately




I could say the title is about Nigel Farage’s ode to xenophobia or, as it is more commonly known, UK’s EU Referendum or Donald Trump’s ode to xenophobia, better knows as his candidacy for president—and it could honestly apply to both or either—but the title actually refers to something I did today.1 I hadn’t been to the pool in a while. My family has been a bit busy with Nana’s nursing home situation, dad’s potential for dementia, & other issues that are a tad more pressing than exercising in a pool. Unfortunately, not going to the pool tends to reinforce my anxiety issues, which makes it harder on me emotionally to leave the house. Basically, as not-pressing as it is, it’s still important. So today I went and… I TALKED TO SIX PEOPLE.  Six.  Not one or two,2 but six.  And I wasn’t related to any of them, nor had I had any real contact with any of them before. Even though a few have been in the pool when I’ve been there, I hadn’t really tried talking to them. But today I did, and one of the ladies actually came back to talk to me (with her husband) afterward. It was just…wow. And, in most of the cases, the first person to make the attempt at conversation was me. So this attempt at acting like a social being was even more significant.  My family was proud. My therapist will be proud.3 I’m proud.  Fist bumps and happy dances for the introverted, agoraphobic, socially phobic ginger.  Photo credit: Fouquier ॐ via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND But, seriously, what the fuck, UK? Did you really need to out-crazy Trump & the Republicans? Congratulations, you did it. I just hope your fuckery doesn’t get him elected here. No, that’s not me being paranoid, that’s me being realistic. Your dumbfuckery is so not what we need right now. Kindly go fuck yourselves. ↩or three or four or five ↩She’s happy when I manage one a month, so six in a day will thrill her. ↩

Nigh is the End