Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'health issues'

Mistakes I’ve Made: The Wee Hours of the Morning

We had a lovely Thanksgiving here. The food was ready on time, everything was warm… and a lovely time was had by all!

Only I made the mistake of eating all the side dishes, two of which had dairy in them. Usually I (TMI territory here) wind up with cramps and other urgent type digestive issues. Back before I had the diagnosis, it would occasionally get worse, and I’d vomit for hours until my stomach was completely empty.

Around 1:30am, I woke up from a dream where I was in a world of LEGOs that kept vomiting little LEGO pieces. Every little minifig was puking. It was surreal. And woke with the feeling that I was going to throw up. And I did. Again and again. I went back to sleep, and woke up a half an hour later with the same feeling. And so it went up until about 4:30am. (Weirdly, the worst part wasn’t the actual vomiting, it was the panic when I’d wake back up with the feeling I was going to puke.) Somewhere in there, I was laying on the floor of the bathroom with a plastic container to puke into. Pretty pathetic, I know.

It was an excellent reminder that food reactions aren’t always the same, and that cheating on restrictions just isn’t worth it.

So please, while this was my own damn fault- this is proof positive that if a friend or family members says they don’t eat something… believe them. Cajoling them into trying just a little (and trust me, I didn’t eat a lot) could wind up putting your loved ones in a lot of pain. Just not worth it, no matter how good you think the food is.

I have a bunch of small Le Creuset baking dishes, and I think that for these shared holidays, I’ll just make my own smaller versions of side dishes and do what I do with LK- make them the night before, and reheat in the microwave. Because frankly- I love cooking, so a few extra dishes to ensure my own sanity won’t be much of a problem.

Don’t be that person.

I went to my gastroenterologist yesterday. Things are good. No flare ups. I’m still anemic, but so far as health issues go- I’d rather hear that my anemia is my only problem, as opposed to needing more tests. (this is the initial post about my health issues for those who are newish here)

Today, however, I’m here to share you the story of the woman (I believe she was at or about her mid 50′s) who had the appointment ahead of me. As a cautionary tale for anyone seeing a specialist for the first time.

Now, the walls in this office are painfully thin and this woman was loud. While I was busy trying to read Mansfield Park, I was having a hard time focusing on Mr. Crawford’s shenanigans (and Fanny’s polite outrage) because I could hear every detail of this woman’s health history.

I won’t go into the details, but this should give you a rough idea of how it went.

“Here’s the file from my general practitioner, and here are the test results from the tests that he ordered.” That’s how it started. Promising, right? Then she veered off on a long tangent about how she was so worried that her medically necessary tests were going to give her cancer, and that they hadn’t done the right kind of ultrasound- since her girlfriend had another kind. So he looked over the results and started to talk about what seemed to be the likeliest cuplrit and how they could test to rule it out. All while she suggested diseases. Because she’d done research on Web MD.

“Oh. I forgot. Just last week, I fainted at the store and the paramedics said it was vertigo.”

So he went back to the beginning to discuss her symptoms. That’s when she mentioned symptoms that worsened in the last month. So he asked if there had been any changes in her diet or lifestyle. “Oh no.”

So he started to re-evaluate where to start. “Oh. I just remembered.” That’s when she mentioned that for the last month she’d been on one of those fad diets where you drink shakes for two meals and only have one solid meal. “But that shouldn’t change anything.” (This is the point where I had a hard time keeping quiet, because it’s a gastroenterologist! Diets can change everything!)

At which point he told her to go back to regular meals, and that losing weight was less important than ruling out her diet as the cause of the symptoms.

THIRTY MINUTES of this. Don’t be this woman. If you’re seeing a specialist for the first time, give them the tests and then tell them ALL your health problems. All at once. Not one at a time.

And stay off Web MD.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with weird stories like this…

3 months!

It’s basically been three months since my hospitalization. In that time, my blood has almost gotten back to the normal iron range (1.0 more for my hemoglobin and I am there). My cells are still tinier than they should be… but bigger than they were when I was hospitalized.

And I don’t have to go back for a few months!

Which is a relief, because his office is so disorganized. It took two attempts for this appointment. Two weeks ago, I showed up for my appointment and left after waiting for an hour without being seen. This time, I was taken back promptly, but it still took 40 minutes of sitting in the room before he talked to me.

The kicker was that the door was open slightly, so I could see into his personal office and see that yes, if he wasn’t with a patient he was doing the paperwork for their case… and also talking to a pharmaceutical rep.

As badly as his office is run, he’s a good doctor. He’s one of the few people to actually accept that I am the size I am, and that underweight for some people isn’t necessarily a major health problem for me. So for that, I’ll try to get as early an appointment I can and expect to wait.

In related news, as I was telling the Oldest Kidlet about my day today, he started in on how he had to write a personal narrative about his day. As he loves to tell anyone and everyone, a personal narrative is a true story about your day. He looked at me and asked me to tell my personal narrative.

He interrupted with this rhyming version.

“I went to the doctor. I had to wait. I was sad sad sad.
But then he said I was better, I am glad glad glad.”

I told him I might write about that. Then he looked at me. “You mean, you write personal narratives? That’s what you write? I’m going to tell my teacher on Monday that you write personal narratives for a living.”

I was so happy that he understood the concept of my blog, that it didn’t even occur to me that he’d tacked on “for a living.” Guess he has big dreams for me, too.

Hospital Trip #2

Or, What it’s like to have a colonoscopy.

To catch everyone up, over the last year or so I’ve felt pains in my abdomen that come and go, usually after eating. I’ve had mysterious fevers that come and go. The most important issue was my weight loss. I lost some weight, and on my slight frame (I’m only 5’2″), that meant a lot. Then, I was hospitalized in December with severe anemia.

In the latest part of my journey to figure out what the heck is wrong with me, I had a colonoscopy (and endoscopy) on Tuesday. Which basically involves putting cameras inside me through either end of my digestive tract to look for certain kind of damage that comes from certain disorders/diseases. And no, you aren’t conscious for any of it.

Since more people are likely to have a colonoscopy (they’re recommended for anyone over 50) than the endoscopy, this is what to expect. You’ll be put on a clear liquid diet (broth, clear juices like apple or grape, non-red Jello, popcicles that aren’t red, purple or green) for the entire day before. Then, the night before, you’ll have to drink a “prep liquid” which clears out your bowels. Honestly, sitting on the toilet for the bulk of the night wasn’t the problem. It was the hour in which I had to drink 32 oz of a salty liquid that tasted a little orange and metallic.

The next morning, I woke up and had to drink another 32 oz of the liquid. Followed by 16 oz of water, and then nothing for hours before my appointment. At my hospital I went to fill out paperwork and was ushered off to a waiting area where I stripped into a hospital gown and waited on a gurney. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Then, I was finally taken into the procedure room where they positioned my body and started to inject the sedative. It’s done while you’re in a twilight stage so that they can talk to you and do things like ask you to relax. But you don’t remember any of it. The only thing I vaguely remember was the start of the endoscopy- and that was just because they were putting something down my throat, and I only remembered a second of it. Afterwards, I was taken to the recovery room where they waited for me to wake up and gave me juice (this is an assumption of mine based on what I saw happen with other patients). Then they called TheBoy (my ride home) to say I was ready to be picked up, and had me get dressed and wait for him.

The kicker is that they probably explained the pictures taken during my procedure. But I don’t remember a thing. I remember an orderly (who TheBoy confirmed as the orderly who’d been telling me about his brother living with ulcerative colitis) wheeling me outside towards the car, and TheBoy standing there in his Pac Man shirt, looking as adorable as ever. I remember a moment in the car ride home where TheBoy told me that the Oldest Kidlet had gotten in trouble at school for pushing a boy. Then the next thing I remember, I woke up in my bed probably about 3 hours later. My day was a bit fuzzy around the edges. I can’t really explain it, but it’s not that my vision was literally fuzzy. It’s that my brain function was a little hazy. I could almost put together complex thoughts. There was a lot of me standing around trying to remember what I was doing.

But I wasn’t in any pain from the colonoscopy- in fact, the only pain I had was the endoscopy. My poor tender esophagus.

I’m fine now, and in a week I’ll be talking to my doctor about the results. Here’s to hoping that I finally get some answers.

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