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)

I saw the family doctor today about the ongoing knee pain. The family doctor thinks it is a tendon1 or, more likely, a group of tendons in the back of my knee that are inflamed. She wanted to either put me on a round of steroids or send me to the orthopedist for a cortisone shot.  Her attending told her to do a round of NSAIDs first, despite having NSAIDs listed as drugs I cannot take.  ((He told her that if they sent me to the orthopedist now that the orthopedist would do two rounds of NSAIDs before doing a shot. And they didn’t want to do the shot too soon–8 weeks of sharp pain in my knee doesn’t exactly seem like it’s all that short of a time period.)) They felt that the 80mg of Protonix2 could keep the ulcers from forming. So she wrote it for prescription strength Naprosyn two times a day for three weeks. My extra-reflux-y,3 post-gastric-bypass stomach & the brain that controls it decided that prescription would not be getting filled.4 I definitely did not want to risk an ulcer.5 She said they might send me to the orthopedist in 3 weeks6 if the pain was still going on.  Anyway, I came home and was a bit disappointed because I knew that I couldn’t take the espresso-esque dose of Aleve and that that meant the pain would continue for the next 3 weeks. I realized that it could even get worse. And then the realization that I’d have to wait another few weeks for an appointment and that might mean an even longer wait for treatment. I started breaking down and sobbing. I couldn’t see an end in sight and I think my crying worried my mom. We decided I should skip the wait & call the orthopedist.7 I have an appointment for the 14th. Two weeks instead of three somehow leaves me feeling more optimistic.  Once I was back into the less-overwhelmed-by-pain mode, my dad told me about Aunt Phyllis’s response to my GoFundMe page to help with my overdraft/unexpected bill issue. I think she meant to be helpful, but her advice really was, well, unhelpful. Missing one payment of most of the bills would just lead to badness. I saw my parents do the “just one month”/deferral thing. Debt stacked up. Debt collectors harassed us regularly. The reason I own the house we live in is that their bill situation got so bad that they could have lost the house. My debt isn’t that bad. If I skipped a payment, it might get much worse and I don’t want it to get any worse. Besides I have a “don’t take financial, moral, or legal advice from the Morris family” rule. Their solutions can range from bad to sociopathic. I really don’t want to follow in those footsteps. So I may overdraft again this month, but I’ll get caught up soon & figure out a way to pay for what I need and save a little money as I do.  Oh well. I need to start working on the grocery list since tomorrow is Wednesday. She also mentioned that I would need to avoid fluoroquinolones–Cipro, Levaquin–because of the risk of tendon rupture. I told her I couldn’t take those because of the neuropathy issue, so I wasn’t really worried about encountering that issue with them. ↩A dose that requires maximum doses of maximum strength Gaviscon to back it up. ↩Thanks, Dad! ↩Even the pharmacist knew I wouldn’t be taking it. When the scrip got to her, she called my house and said she would not fill a medicine we all know I cannot take without endangering my life. ↩Especially not after reading about everything that Jenn has gone through with her ulcers. And, no, that doesn’t mean I wanted one before. I’ve also seen the pain they’ve caused my dad. I don’t want to experience that, even if it would mean less pain in my knee. ↩My recheck was scheduled for September 21. ↩The family doctor said I didn’t actually need a referral because I’ve seen an orthopedist that specializes in knees on another referral recently. ↩

Aleve-iate Your Pain (Or Maybe Not)

A lovely opinion by someone identifying as Priscila that I encountered while reading the Buzzfeed story on Project Harpoon:1 Fat people will be like “yeah is my thyrode or my genes”. No sweety, is you not doing excersise or eating your veggies So much denial here. EDIT: For starters, when you are fat you are not healty because if you fall your own weight will break a bone that normally wont if you are skinnier. And my response: I’ve always been obese and I’ve fallen a lot in my life. None of those falls resulted in a fracture. That’s even with a pretty severe vitamin D deficiency and with connective tissue diseases (Ehlers-Danlos & UCTD) which cause more fragile bones. God, even PCOS, which I also have and was diagnosed by a specialist, can lead to fragile bones, but, big shocker, no fractures while falling for me.The only breaks I’ve ever had were when I was 13, 14, and 16. That was one stress fracture that just took a long time to heal, which would have been true even if I had grown up at a healthy weight. (People with EDS have a harder time healing from injuries.) And to the people who bring up the high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, etc. stuff: Yes, obese people can develop those things, but not every obese person does. I have low blood pressure. I have normal blood sugar. I have some cholesterol issues, but I’ve been working on that without medication and it’s been improving. If you saw me, you wouldn’t know that I eat an extremely low sodium diet and only take in, at most, 1500 calories. You wouldn’t know that the only things I drink every day are water (64-96 oz./day) and milk (8 oz./day). You wouldn’t know that I really hate fast food. You wouldn’t know that when I can exercise regularly (I have an ongoing EDS-related knee injury that’s got that sidelined for now) that I walk 2 miles a day (split into a mile or less per session per doctor’s orders) or that when I can’t, I’m still getting in more steps in a day than my more able-bodied friends. And you wouldn’t know that because when you look at me, all you see is the fat. You don’t see the person. So your “concern” over my health or over the health of other people who look like I do really seems fake. My mom’s obese2 and breaks bones every year, but it isn’t the obesity that causes the breaks. It’s the combination of connective tissue disease and a vitamin d deficiency. My 82-year old grandmother is obese, falls down quite a bit, and doesn’t break bones.345 Being obese and falling doesn’t mean someone is going to break a bone. Weight problems and falling down aren’t uncommon in my family, but fracturing a bone with every fall is. And guess what?! Even with the obesity and obesity-related issues, a lot of my relatives have lived until they’re in their 80’s and 90’s. Lifespan isn’t determined by weight alone or with the issues related to it. Maybe the non-experts on the internet should lay off the medical advice.6 Under this comment. ↩Yes, she’s also diabetic, has high blood pressure, has had issues with cholesterol, and has kidney failure, so on that she hit the fat person quadfecta. ↩She also doesn’t have issues with her sugar. ↩Her blood pressure being high is a relatively new thing. ↩I’m not sure about her cholesterol. ↩And the experts should know better than to give medical advice without a proper history. ↩

Sticks, Stones, and Unbroken Bones

Rachel Cooper / rachelc78 2
I love when people who know nothing about my life or my health decide to negatively comment on them. Actually, no, I don’t. But I do tend to like telling them off. Maybe a little too much. From Rachel of Nottingham: Or perhaps Dottie is just sick and tired of your never ending requests for things, and your never ending appointments and can spot a time wasting, hypochondriac! And IT IS outlandish that you have anything done, since you don’t work and don’t pay for anything. Go Dottie! First, we’re going to talk about Dottie and how this happens with every single patient that has to deal with her. When she used to be stationed at the nurses’ desk, she would not do her job. There would be four people in the little waiting queue for her. It would take an hour to be seen by her and many times she still wouldn’t finish the referral while the patient was there. Not because she couldn’t, but because she chose not to do her job. She would spend her time talking and complaining and just being a pain in the ass. When she would talk to the nurses, they’d roll their eyes at her. They don’t like the woman either. The referral person on the other side of the same practice was never disrespected in that way & she was almost always able to get a referral completed within minutes. Dottie doesn’t deserve any praise at all. Second, if I were a hypochondriac, it still wouldn’t be acceptable for Dottie to behave this way. If anyone was going to say no to the referrals then it would need to be the doctors who want them done. And hypochondria is a recognized mental health condition. It doesn’t deserve the kind of crap that people (like you) like to say about it. People with hypochondria are people who believe that there is something wrong with them because of how their brains work, not because they just want to be annoying. They don’t choose to be the way that they are. It’s a condition that itself needs treatment. You would know all of that if you would bother to spend any length of time reading up on it before you started throwing it around to shame and disparage people. If you can’t have compassion for people with that sort of issue, knowing the anxiety that they go through every day, then that says a lot about you–none of it is good. From the Mayo Clinic: When you have hypochondria, you become obsessed with the idea that you have a serious or life-threatening disease that hasn’t been diagnosed yet. This causes significant anxiety that goes on for months or longer, even though there’s no clear medical evidence that you have a serious health problem. Hypochondria is also called hypochondriasis. While having some anxiety about your health is normal, full-blown hypochondria is so consuming that it causes problems with work, relationships or other areas of your life. Severe hypochondria can be completely disabling. Although hypochondria is a long-term condition, you don’t have to live your life constantly worrying about your health. Treatment such as psychological counseling, medications or simply learning about hypochondria may help ease your worries. Third, I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m not making never-ending requests. The constant appointments you’re speaking of? No. Sure, I have more appointments than a really healthy person my age, but I’m not really healthy. I have actual health conditions–physical and mental. And they are, according to experts, not internet trolls, actually disabling conditions. When I talk about my health issues on my blog, which is my right, I am talking about what I’m going through as a person with chronic illnesses that have been diagnosed by actual medical professionals, not by internet trolls. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I have been diagnosed with it. I have been told that I have to be extremely careful about the things that I do because of it. People with it can have regular issues with sprains. It can also impact non-joint parts of the body. I may end up having to go through some form of physical therapy regularly for the rest of my life. That isn’t because I’m lazy and putting off working or because there’s nothing really wrong with me or whatever silly idea you have about me. The need for physical therapy is due to defects in my connective tissue that are a result of genetic condition. And when you have issues like EDS, aquatic therapy can actually be better because of the type of resistance that it offers. It lowers the likelihood of other injuries. From experience, it also hurts less in general. Again, from the Mayo Clinic: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provides strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body. People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them. A more severe form of the disorder, called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can cause the walls of your blood vessels, intestines or uterus to rupture. If you have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, you may want to talk to a genetic counselor before starting a family. You know the February referral issue that I mentioned in my post yesterday? That was the resident’s decision. Not mine. I went in for knee pain. She could tell there was something up with my knee, but she couldn’t treat it, so she wanted a specialist’s opinion. That’s what doctors are supposed to do. If they don’t know what’s going on, then they send you to someone who does. The knee pain was in part from a fall I had taken last year, but it was […]

Outlandish Medicine

My letter to an attending at the family medicine: I am very disappointed in my appointment from today. I requested Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, & Parathyroid tests. I have a history of B6 def. and an ongoing issue with Vitamin D def.; as for the parathyroid test, I understand that vitamin D and hyperparathyroidism are related. While the B6 & D test requests were accepted, the PTH test wasn’t. Instead, I’m getting my TSH level checked, which gets checked every year and is always normal. The PTH request was to make sure that that isn’t playing a part in the D deficiency. My mom has a D deficiency that has caused many fractures. I want to prevent that from happening to me. I also requested a referral to pool therapy. My knee has continued to buckle when I’m exercising. I also feel like the muscle in my leg has gotten weaker. I would appreciate being able to do pool therapy so I can exercise more often. The therapy could also prevent injuries that the D def. & my EDS could cause. A nurse said I had high blood pressure again. It’s funny how I have geographical hypertension. If I’m in the family medicine clinic, I have it. If I’m across the hall at the gynecologist or down the street seeing the rheumatologist or the hematologist or the ER staff, it’s on the low end of normal. The “hypertension” I get there is related to the machines and a lack of competency on the part of some staff members.1 I was also a bit annoyed that the doctor looked at my chart and declared me to be a prediabetic. My chart doesn’t indicate this. My A1C is normal. My random blood sugar levels are low to normal. My fasting sugars are normal. My glucose tolerance test is always normal. The only “prediabetic” thing about me is the insulin resistance and my weight. My sugar is normal. I’m a bit disgusted that I’m always given the fat girl treatment. I went in, said what I needed, and why I needed it. I was then told on the PTH that I was wrong about what I needed. I want my parathyroid checked because hyperparathyroidism is linked to vitamin D deficiencies, especially ones that are long-term, which mine is. She thought I wanted my thyroid stimulating hormone checked. Considering that most of the tests they do for hypothyroidism don’t even work with people who’ve had it confirmed via antibody tests, I really don’t want unnecessary thyroid tests done.2 She also ordered tests for cholesterol, which is typical. I get it done every year, even though it is recommended once every five years for someone at my age & risk level. Doing it so often is wrong, especially if you factor in that every unnecessary test puts unwarranted stress on my fragile veins. The test is done multiple times on the same arm within minutes and seconds of the last test with the wrong size cuffs. None of the nurses know how to do a manual check. In addition to the faux hypertension, always leave with redness, petechia, and bruises. I’ve also been given blood pressure medicine before for it. Taking that medicine caused me to become hypotensive. ↩To be honest, my TSH levels are closer to what you’d expect for someone with hyperthyroidism, not hypothyroidism. Always have been, except the time that I actually had medicine-induced hyperthyroidism. ↩

The Fat Girl Treatment

In a little while, I’ll finally be going to the appointment with the orthopedist for my knee. It wasn’t scheduled until yesterday because Dottie “was out”. For three weeks. Again.1 Anyway, I was just connecting my online health record with the family medicine and OB/GYN office.2 I got a chance to look at the levels. I still don’t see why the doctor was so quick to want to put me on meds for high cholesterol and diabetes now. Actually, I’m even more flummoxed by her rushing the idea. In 2013: Cholesterol: 219 Triglycerides: 204 HDLc: 36 VLDL: 41 LDLc: 142 Hemoglobin A1C: 5.7 Glucose, serum: 94 In 2014: Cholesterol: 204 Triglycerides: 155 HDLc: 37 VLDL: 31 LDLc: 136 Hemoglobin A1C: 5.6 Glucose, serum: 95 While the numbers are still too high for total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDLc and too low for HDLc, most of the levels, except for the HDLc and glucose,3 have improved. In fact, the VLDL is now in the normal range. The Triglyceride had a significant drop and is very close to being normal, too. I still have work to do for the rest, but I’m getting there on my own/without medicine. If she had simply compared the levels, she could have seen that. Of course, she was on her “anti-fat” kick and decided to go with the “medicate! medicate! medicate!” way of thinking. But that way of thinking isn’t always the best. And when you have a patient who is not only improving without the medicine, but whose family has a history of bad reactions to both diabetes and cholesterol medicines, then the medication option isn’t always that great of an option. If those things weren’t true, then medicine might be a great thing to advise for me to try, but it’s just not the time to suggest them right now. As for how much my weight has changed from 2013 to now, I am absolutely certain that my doctor was wrong to get upset at a little stalling the weight loss. Oh, well. It’s almost time to go and I need to make sure my jeans will work for the examination. Yeah right. And I’m the Wicked Witch and have a bunch of creepy little monkey dudes. ↩UAB offers the service for free. ↩And the glucose level would change daily. ↩

Fat Ass Perspective

A few weeks ago, I went back to the doctor with my knee. I had hurt it back in July when I fell one night. The doctor I saw a few weeks ago thought it was a soft-tissue injury and that I needed an MRI, but knew that the insurance company would not allow it until after I had an X-ray, so she ordered the X-ray. She told me to come back in three weeks and we would go from there. She also gave me a prescription for three weeks of Mobic, an NSAID similar to Celebrex. I tried to tell her that the Mobic was a bad idea for a variety of issues, including the gastric bypass surgery and the reflux that can’t be controlled with 80 mg of Prilosec and maxed out doses of Gaviscon every day. She said if I had any problems to stop taking it, so when the acid started getting worse, I did just that. I had my X-ray, tried to ignore the pain, and waited. On Friday, I went back to the office and was seen by a different doctor, one I’d seen before.1 She didn’t know why I was in before and went on the assumption that it was related to my tendinitis issues from walking. And she had decided that those issues were from…wait for it…my weight. She informed me that I’m obese because apparently I didn’t realize it and was deluded into thinking I had washboard abs. She was upset because my weight loss had slowed down between November and now–and we all know that every other person in the whole world has no problem with losing weight in November, December, and January.2 Her solution for this very unique problem? To go back to losing weight. This weight loss would be aided by Metformin, exercise, and dieting. She asked if I had been on Metformin before. I told her that I had. She asked why. I told her PCOS. She said, “Yeah, some people try take it to help their fertility.”3 She started looking through my records and got super obsessed with the cholesterol again for a moment. You know, the reading that was literally just a few points off the normal levels.4 She then decided that I needed a well-woman exam done by her, despite the fact that I have a OB/GYN–one who is providing me birth control and over-seeing the care of my PCOS & dysfunctional uterine bleeding–to do the exam. I smiled and nodded. I didn’t feel like funneling my annoyance into the massacre of an ink pen. She went back to the weight issue. She asked me if I had been exercising. I wanted to laugh in her face. Most of the injuries that I had been to their office with over the last six months have involved my exercise routine. I told her that I had been. She asked how much. I said that I was working just under a mile twice a day. This finally shut her up on the idea that I wasn’t trying to lose the weight. She just wants me to try harder, or she will bring up the drugs again. She decided that she would send me to an orthopedist for my knees. She thinks that I just need more physical therapy and more pool therapy,5 but she didn’t think she could get me in for either quickly enough. So I get to wait weeks for Dottie6 to refer me to the orthopedist or, more likely, to tell me that I need to call around and find out what my insurance will cover.7 I bet that wait will be fun. Anyway, her big focus during the appointment was not the knee injury that is still causing problems around six or seven months later, but my weight. That’s all that I really was to her in the appointment. My weight. I left feeling like I wasn’t a real person to her or to anyone else. It was a familiar feeling and it was one that I know from experience that I do not enjoy. It’s also one that I know is a bit of a trigger for me. And it is something that has happened with a lot of doctors over the years. I don’t understand how they can feel like they are treating a patient when all they’re doing is breaking that person down. I think she may be my assigned family doctor for now. ↩I had lost 20-30 pounds from November 2013 to November 2014. At least 15 of that occurred after June 2014. ↩When I took it, I wasn’t exactly going for the improvement of fertility right at that moment. ↩Her attending told her that none of my levels warranted Metformin or any cholesterol medicine, especially given my age and, in the case of the cholesterol medicine, my desire to one day have kids. The attending then told her that it is also a bad idea to put me on them because I may have inherited my mom’s rhabdomyolysis reaction. ↩She said that my knees feel like they’re getting weaker. ↩Remember her? ↩In other words, she might want me to do her job for her. ↩

I am Not My Big Fat Ass

You know what’s totally ridiculous, but still happens? When you’re sexting with someone you have had sex with and you’re getting all stressed over sending pictures that show your body’s flaws. The other person has seen you naked and is attracted to you and may have even asked for pictures of you, so it’s not that they’re the ones who have problems with your body: it’s you. via Tumblr