Friday, July 29, 2016

Who knew?

I knew that me being anemic was something to be watched and thought if I took my iron supplements that I'd be okey dokey.  There was one small problem in that plan.  It didn't have a back up if I lost a decent amount of blood.  When you're hemoglobin gets too low it really can become a problem.  A really, really big problem.  Like it can cause cardiac issues. 

A bit of back story.  My menstrual cycles had been worse ever since I gave birth to Princess Bear (PB) 13 years ago.  Ok, I figured that was just the way it was.  The past year or so it had gotten so bad that it truly had the ability to disrupt my life.  Once the anemia diagnosis was made last month I said enough and made and appointment to discuss things with the gynecologist.  I was a bit too late in making that call.  Last week my menstrual cycle was heavy enough to constitute hemorrhaging.  By Sunday night I was horribly dizzy any time I stood up.  On Monday PB had her craft class at Michaels and my dad was worried about me driving since I was so dizzy so he drove us there.  On the way there we were discussing my grandmother having anemia.  I guess she almost died after giving birth to one of her children.  Scary stuff.  My dad said in a completely off hand way that I should probably call the Dr. that I might need a unit of blood.  After craft class my dad picked us up and brought us home.  PB was supposed to have an orthodontist appointment later that afternoon and I just wanted to take a nap.  My dad bugged me to call the Dr. and the nurse after listening to how I was feeling sent me to the ER.  My poor dad kept PB with him and took her to her orthodontist appointment while my mom met me in the ER (easy since she works in the hospital). 

I got to the hospital around 1pm.  The nurse who helped me from the car noticed that my lips were white.  I was triaged within a few minutes.  Apparently when you're anemic they take it seriously.  They did a quick finger prick and said my hemoglobin was 5.9 (normal is 13) but said that the quick stick test is sometimes wrong.  They did an EKG which at the time I really didn't understand.  The resident game in and started talking about me having a decided lack of color and said that they'd get me in the back as soon as they could.  The ER waiting room was PACKED with approximately 50 people waiting to be seen.  They parked me next to someone and I was waiting for my mom to get there.  As it turns out they parked me next to someone my mom works closely with in the hospital.   She mentioned to us that she'd been waiting for over 2 hours.  We sat around and chat for awhile and in about 20 minutes I was called back to an actual treatment room.  Not the poor woman that had been sitting there sick for over 2 hours.  That was my first clue that things weren't ok.  By the time they got me in a treatment room and in a gown the actual blood test for my hemoglobin came back at 6.6  still bad.  They attending and medical student spent a ton of time listening to me with their stethoscopes and asked a ton of questions.  Did I have any chest pain?  No not really pain.  Some weird pressure.  Was I short of breath?  Yes.   Turns out that they detected a heart murmur and the blood work at shown troponin levels in my blood.  Troponin is the chemical marker that indicates cardiac distress.  My freaking hemoglobin was so low that it brought about cardiac issues! 

Then things get really interesting.  They have me sign all kinds of paperwork to agree to a blood transfusion.  Everyone and their brother is telling me that a blood transfusion will a) make me feel SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better and b) most likely clear up the cardiac issues.  Now I've got to admit that the idea of having someone else's blood in my body was a bit of a freaky concept.  Then I thought about the people I knew that had received transfusions with no problem and I was like bring on the blood!  I just wanted to feel better.  The resident told me that they were going to use 2 units of blood just to be on the safe side since I was still on my menstrual cycle.  So they do a blood typing and the blood bank sends the blood in a cute little cooler and it was game time.  Until the attending on call decided that he wanted to wait since my "numbers" seemed stable.  Mind you I can't walk anywhere by myself because I'm so dizzy, I'm short of breath and I'm still bleeding heavily from my period.  At that point I got a bit upset.  I was desperate to feel better.  My mom kept on telling me if I was upset that I should have the attending called to my room so I could ask him questions.  I said I'd wait and see and laid on the damn gurney watching the Cubs game.  My dad brought PB in for a visit just so that she could see I was basically ok.  Then it was back to waiting.  In addition to being dealt with from the medical team a gynecological team was called in.  They ordered a bunch of tests and started talking about things like a hysterectomy.  I'm really not big on cutting out body parts without very good reason.  I did agree that they could start a medicine that would hopefully make my menstrual cycle stop for the time being.  That didn't seem like a big deal. 

Around 7pm there had been a shift change and the new attending came in.  He simply did not understand why the previous attending had been waiting to start the transfusions.  In the amount of time I had been there my hemoglobin had dropped some more.  So it was back to the transfusion game plan.  Did you know it takes 2 hours to get one tiny bag of blood introduced into your body?  That's crazy!  Somewhere between the first unit of blood and the second it was decided that I was going to be admitted since I was evidently having some sort of gynecological emergency and they also wanted to make sure there wasn't any lasting damage to my heart.  That call was made around 8:45pm.  Then it was a waiting game for a room.  Sometime shortly after the second transfusion I started feeling better.  Much less dizzy and not short of breath!  WooHoo!  I was sent up for a sonogram around 10pm.  The sono tech could possibly be the sweetest person in the whole wide world.  She tried so hard to keep my mind off of everything.  I got back to the ER about 11pm and my mom said they had a room for me we just had to wait for transportation to take me there.  Cool.  Not even 10 minutes later the nurse came in and said that the bed had been given to someone while I was getting the sonogram.  Seriously?????  Finally about 12:45am they opened up the Short Stay Unit and I had a bed there.  It was also decided that another transfusion would be a good idea (that's #2).  

Fast forward to the next morning.  The gynecology resident who'd been following me came to see me at 6:45am.  It was decided that more meds to hopefully stop my period would be administered.  She also wanted general medicine to be following me since there had been cardiac issues.  My poor mom was in full on mama bear mode asking tons of questions and not backing down.  It would have been funny if I felt better.  At that point she'd been in the hospital for over 24 hours since she'd started work at 6am the day before.  The gen med guys decided that even though the heart murmur was no longer present and the troponin levels had dropped that an ECHO and heart Xray would be a safe call.  The guy that did my ECHO was so incredibly cool.  He said there and explained everything to me as he was doing it and telling me results of what he was seeing.  So nice to not have to worry.  My ticker is in great shape!  We still hadn't been told the results of the sonogram though.  We asked the Gen Med attending but he didn't want to give me the results since it wasn't his area of expertise.  Grrrr.  So my mom started asking when the Gyne attending was going to round so they could give me the results.  3 phone calls later she finally showed.  There was a 3cm mass of something in my uterus.  It could be a fibroid, it could be scar tissue from my c-section or it could be endomitriosis.  A biopsy is needed to find out for sure.  Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that the entire time my blood pressure was very, very high like 180s over 160s which is completely abnormal for me. 

My dad brought PB up for another visit on Tuesday.  I really think it helped reassure her that everything was going to be ok since she was allowed to visit me.  I was completely bummed out for PB because the library summer reading program party was that night.  My mom had been at the hospital with me for 36 hours.  I convinced her it was ok to go home and sleep.  My blood pressure seemed to be on the decline and I was much more stable all the way around.  So my mom left and she and my dad took PB to her swimming lessons and bribed her with dinner at the Olive Garden as a way to soothe not going to the library party.  Around 8pm the blood work that had been drawn a couple hours earlier came back and my hemoglobin had dipped into the lower 8s.  At that point the powers that be decided that another transfusion was a good idea.  So transfusion #3 was started around 9pm.  They also told me that I was being moved to a different room since they were trying to close the Short Stay Unit.  I was told that I'd probably be moved around 11pm.  Ok.  Not bad considering they moved my sister at 3am when she was there for something.  During the 3rd transfusion I started running a temp again so it seemed like they were checking my vitals every 30 minutes.  11pm came and went.  Midnight came and went and I still hadn't been transferred.  I was  so tired.  I did wind up getting transferred around 12:30pm.  I was sent to a cardiac floor since they still had cardiac telemetry on me to monitor everything even though all the tests had been ok.  It was so frustrating because the freaking leads came off all the time and I was always worried that the dang thing was going to go swimming when I went to the bathroom!

Wednesday was pretty low key until that days gyne attending came in to see me.  Although I talked to the resident about wanting to try one more day of the progesterone too stop my period he came in and announced that it didn't matter whether I was scared for birth control pills I needed to be on a double dose immediately.  He also announced that if that didn't work they were scheduling a hysterectomy for the following afternoon.  The Dr. was a complete a$$hat.  I tried explaining that I didn't want to be on birth control pills because one of my closest friends had been on them and had pulmonary embolisms.  He totally disregarded me.  I told him that I'd rather take out the 3cm "whatever" that was in my uterus before we did a hysterectomy.  He then proceeded to tell me that I was 42 years old and did I really want to get pregnant at this date and have a child graduating high school when I was 60.  Whether I do or not it really wasn't his call!  I was so pissed after he left the room.  I called me mom and filled her in.  She suggested calling my regular gynecologist and seeing if the idiot from the hospital would consult with her.

 Also somewhere along the line on Wednesday my hemoglobin dropped again so they decided that another transfusion would be a safe call.  I dozed off shortly after my transfusion and woke up later to my dad, PB and one of the Deacons that works at the hospital having a conversation.  My mom works in the the Pastoral Care department so anytime any of us are in the hospital there's usually a steady stream of visitors.  Deacon gave me a blessing and we all received Communion.   There is something deeply comforting about having your faith to fall back on in troubling times.  After the second dose of birth control pills my menstrual bleeding finally ceased.  Then the new focus because IVs.  The IV I originally received in the ER was in the crook of my elbow.  A few times during the day on Wednesday (usually while I was sleeping) the IV catheter became kinked and set off the alarms.  It also had been hurting me since it had been placed.  The nurse on duty thought that having one on the top of my hand would work out a lot better.  I was totally ok with that plan.  The nurse was a great stick and they IV placement was great.  It also meant that I could take a shower since I could hold my hand out of the shower!  I don't know when I've ever been so glad to take a shower!  I have extremely thick hair that is past my shoulders.  I'm still not sure how I washed it but I did- twice!!!!  In addition to my dad, PB and my mom visiting my sister came up to the hospital for about an hour.  I felt bad because it was my youngest nephews birthday and they'd been running around all day.  She brought some essential oils that were supposed to help stop bleeding.  I think I would have tried anything!  Sometime around dinner time that night the IV in my hand started backing up with blood and my hand because really swollen.  Not quite sure what happened but the IV had to be pulled.  The nurse on duty tried once to place an IV but couldn't get it to work so she called the charge nurse.  The charge nurse tried twice and it still didn't work.  This was in my right arm which usually has great veins!  At that point they decided to call in a crisis nurse.  Those are the people that are supposed to be needle geniuses.  She came in and basically swabbed my entire arm with alcohol and started poking around with her finger.   She decided that the best spot to place it was my upper inner arm.  Not exactly comfy but she did get it on the first try.  Then the orders came in to stop IV fluids.  I didn't need the freaking thing anyway!  They kept it in just in case I needed to start fluids again or would need another transfusion. 

My friend Kristy came in to visit.  She lives about an hour and 45 minutes from here.  I was so glad to have company that I could just relax with (my family was always kind of hovering wanting to make sure everything was ok).  Kristy and I just chilled and visited for a couple of hours.  It was nice to block out the lady that was in the other bed in the room too.  She was a very nice but not very with it old lady that would always lose her call button and yell at me to call the nurse for her.  She was also "lojacked" to her bed and any time she tried getting up an alarm went off.  She really liked to do that a couple of times per night!  After Kristy left my mom's boss came to visit for a little bit and then I completely fell out.  Me asleep by 10:30pm! Well around 12:30am the lady in the next bed tried getting up and set off all the alarms.  I was consequently up until 3:45am.  Thank goodness for YouTube! 

On Thursday my hemoglobin dipped again but was still in the 9s so I was discharged.  We didn't tell PB that I was coming home.  My mom picked me up and brought me home.  I was getting settled in my pj's when my dad & PB stopped at home to pick something up before going to Morton to babysit my nephews.  To say that PB was incredibly excited that I was home would be putting it mildly!  She saw me through the front window and I'm pretty sure the entire block heard the cries of "Mommy!  Mommy you're home!!!".  Things have been going fairly well since I got home.  I've slept a ton still and I'm having some symptoms that are freaking my family out.  I was still somewhat dizzy today and I have a temp that is slowly but surely rising.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not a big deal.  My dad drove me to the Dr's for a blood test earlier today and I'm really hoping that my hemoglobin is holding it's own. 

Who in the hell knew that anemia could cause so many problems?????

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Time to get political? Yeah, I think so!

Now I didn't get to hear Ted Cruz's speech at the Republican National Convention today.  Princess Bear (PB) had bible study.   I was somewhat upset because I wanted to see how Cruz was going to handle the to endorse or not endorse issue.  I'm so damn sick and tired of the politicians that will turn on a dime and endorse a candidate that they were trying to convince the US population was evil incarnate only a short time earlier.  It might get you a cabinet seat but it also makes you look like a shameless sell out.  I've got no respect for the likes of Chris Christie and Bernie Sanders that turned around and endorsed those that they'd been trying to take out previously. 

I had really hoped that Cruz wouldn't endorse.  I don't think we're done seeing great things from Ted Cruz.  In a perfect world in an election cycle or two there will be a Cruz/Gowdey ticket.  I'm glad that Ted Cruz didn't cut off his nose despite his face and sell out.  From what I've read online Ted Cruz was booed extensively when he did not endorse Trump.  I say good on him!  He obviously still cares a great deal about the Republican party and wants to serve the country but doesn't want to stand for something he doesn't believe in.  His stock with me went up.  In a day and age when it's so damn hard to respect politicians this man still has my respect. 

On a side note since I did take so many blog breaks this year I didn't get to post any pics from when PB and I were volunteer workers at the Ted Cruz rally here in Peoria.  It was one of those things that they called and asked if I could do it and I initially said no because it would have been a conflict picking PB up from school.   Then I thought about it and decided it could be a pretty cool experience for PB.  I text her teacher and asked what she thought of PB missing an afternoon at school to volunteer and she was completely on board.  So we got to experience it and I'm so glad that we did.  There were also some perks.  The first row of the rally was reserved for volunteers so we had great seats!!!  Consequently we got to meet him and get his autograph.  It had a pretty profound affect on PB.  She's become more interested in the history of the country and what is going on with the election.  She is not a Trump fan at all but is learning that sometimes you have to vote for someone you don't like in order to not lose something important such as Supreme Court control.  There is a TV series on Fox News by Bill O'Reilly called Legends and Lies.   Last year it was about the Real West.  This season it's about the Patriots.  PB is loving watching this show and I'm loving that she's learning!  Here are some pics from the Ted Cruz rally.

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500 + 1

Wow!  I didn't realize it but yesterday's post was my 500th blog post!  I really wish it had been a happier one.  My posting this year has certainly been hit or miss and mostly miss.  The biggest reason for that is some health issues that have popped up.  I'm trying my best to get things results.  I'm damn sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I'm still have big issues with my sinuses.  The referral is in for me to see the ENT and it can't happen soon enough!  Last week I had a sinus infection that morphed into an upper respiratory infection.  Hello Prednisone.  That led to some problems as well.  About 2 months ago I had a horrid migraine.  For a week afterward I had severe pain in my neck and up the back of my head and around my left eye.  After sucking it up for a week I went to the Dr.  Turns out the neck/head pain was from my sinuses (seriously could the be more of a pain in the a$$?!!?)  The Dr. was somewhat worried about the eye pain and did a neuro exam but things seemed fine.  They they decided that an emergency appointment with the opthamologist was a good idea.   So there I was was in the waiting room with my Dad & Princess Bear (PB).  My dad decided me driving after having my eyes dilated was a scary prospect so he drove.  I go back and am explaining why I'm there and they start doing stuff to my eyes.  At one point the nurse, tech, whatever the heck says I'm going to go ask Dr. something I'll be right back.  Ummm- ok.  Little hairs on the back of my neck raise up.  She comes in and says the Dr. said to go ahead and dilate your eyes and he'll see you then.  Ok.  So we're off and running.  Well it turns out that my IOP (intraocular pressure) was high like much higher than it had even been at my last exam just 2 months earlier.  The good news is that it had not affected the optical nerve but it was still dangerously high and I was in danger of losing my vision.  CRAP!!!  I kind of like working with all 5 senses.  The Dr. did some more tests including running this thing all over my all ball checking to see how my eye drains.  It's so freaking weird to know that something is on the surface of your eye and you can't feel it!!!  So the first course of action was to start eye drops that lower the pressure inside my eye.  I had some side effects so the timing was switched around but all in all the drops were ok.  It is a bit freaky when I use the drops every once in awhile the liquid from inside my eye really starts exiting and it looks like I'm crying.  I went in for a recheck 2.5 weeks later and the drops were working.  My numbers went from being in the 30's (I think both eyes were at a 32) to one eye being 22 and one 23.  Still high but the Dr. is happy with it and says that the immediate danger to my eyes is gone.  I'll have to be rechecked every 4 to 6 months for the rest of my life since this jump happened in a bit over 2 months.  Now I mentioned that being on prednisone kind of threw a monkey wrench in things.  Prednisone can do really wonderful things for the body but it can do really horrible things as well.  It does mess with the IOP so I have to make sure anytime I'm put on Prednisone it's very necessary.  As the nurse said respiratory does beat vision so there is that.  I was also diagnosed as being severely anemic.  When I saw my PA to discuss the ENT referral I was telling her that in spite of the Hashimoto's and my fibromyalgia being treated and monitored very closely I was still exhausted almost constantly.  She did some routine blood work and I asked her to check for anemia as well since I have menorrhagia due to uterine fibroids.  Ding Ding ding!  We have a winner!  What I also didn't know is that my grandmother was very anemic and had to get blood transfusions on a somewhat regular basis.   My hemoglobin came back at 7.4.  So I'm on iron supplements and a high iron diet.  My friend Susie reminded me that cooking in cast iron would also help so our skillet has been getting a good workout.  I go back for my follow up blood test the end of next week.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!   There have also been some big changes with my fibromyalgia meds.  I was taking gabapentin which really was working for the pain aspect in a lot of ways.  I wasn't pain free but it was most definitely helping.  I did notice some nasty side effects and then my sister shared some information with me about what gabapentin does to your brain.  I may not have a whole hell of a lot going for me but my brain most definitely works well and I'd like to keep it that way.  So now the search for a drug that can keep the pain levels down while having a minimum of side effects including long term is on.  Again- keeping my fingers crossed.  So that is the current situation here.  Just hoping to get all the pieces lined up!

Monday, July 18, 2016

RIP Saint

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Today we lost this sweet, sweet soul.  I can honestly say that I've never had to deliver such sad news to Princess Bear (PB) before.  Yes, we also lost our Dalmatian, Spot, 6 years ago.  A few differences though.  Spot had been born deaf and didn't deal with fast movements well.  Therefore, on the whole, PB was not allowed much interaction with Spot.  The occasional petting but not much else.  I also think there is a huge difference between losing a pet when you're still pretty little versus having a dog for 13 years.  Saint (and this dog acted so Saint- like especially with kids) was very much a huge part of PBs everyday world.   She was responsible for Saints water bowl.  She would take Saint out to play in the yard whenever she could.  It brought about so many tough questions.  I still have no idea how to honestly explain cremation without scaring the hell out of my child.  She was very upset that she didn't get to see Saint this morning before my dad took her to the vet but I honestly didn't think this was going to be the outcome.  She did ask if I would take her to the vet and let her pet her one last time.  I didn't think since Saint was already gone that was a good idea.   Our vet did make a plaster print of Saint's paw for PB to have.  We have a few days to decide whether to decorate it or not before "baking" the print to make it solid.  She has already asked when Saints ashes are coming home.  She's working on making the cat bat shit crazy since she's mourning the loss of Saint and doesn't want the cat to be out of her sight.  Unfortunately the cat isn't a fan of most humans.  It killed me that she didn't want to come home because her dog wasn't here.  I know that in time she'll move on from this and start remembering all the little things about Saint that she liked or even made her crazy.  I just wish she didn't have to hurt in the mean time.