Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breaking the silence

Sometimes things just get... wonky... and the past month has definitely qualified for that category.

The school year began at about the time of my last post, and I literally had to hit the ground at a dead run just to catch up every day. I did have some time online in the evenings, but I was just able to keep up with the Facebook posts. I just didn't seem to have any oomph to come up with a decent blog post.

I even wondered whether I should continue blogging at all.

But then the answer to my general malaise came in the form of an alarming telephone call right before my first period Art 2 class. It was my family doctor.

I had not felt well for quite a while, and it had all the hallmark appearances of depression. I figured that I was probably due to make a switch in my anti-depressant medication, but I truly had NO free time to do anything about it. Besides, I literally didn't even have the money for a co-pay. I had already cancelled my regular hair appointment because I don't have any money. I have always just bull-headed into the fray and pushed through the depression, and this wasn't any different. I may not feel like leaving the house (heck, even leaving my bed), but I have so many people depending on me, so I do it anyway.

Had several people mention off-handedly that I looked like I hadn't gotten a speck of sun all summer. Which was true; I stayed indoors pretty much the entire time. "I've always been extremely pale," I reassured them.

I finally did decide that if I was going to keep from tanking into a full-blown depression state, I should probably go see my family doc and get her to prescribe a new one so I could start making the switch-over. Plus, I found I was suffering from the absolute most painful hemorrhoids I had ever experienced, and I was hoping she could give me some lidocaine gel to ease the pain so I could get through my days.

She was quite unhelpful, actually. "You're on Prozac. You would have to completely go off meds for 2-3 weeks before starting another one, and I'm not sure this is a good time of year for you to go off meds. I'll increase your dose and we'll see if maybe that takes the edge off for you. As for the hemorrhoids, I can't do anything for you there either."

What kind of medical degree do you have, anyway, hon? How much trouble could it possibly be to prescribe a tube of plain lidocaine gel? Please. I was miffed and irritated and not one bit helped in my suffering. And I had wasted time away from school to go see her.

She did, however, refer me to a good gynecologist to see about my weird periods, and she suggested we do a quick CBC just to make sure there wasn't anything funky going on there. Whatever, I thought, and I stuck out my arm for the phlebotomist. Then I went home.

The next morning I was standing in my first period class when my celly rang. Oh crappola, I thought, I forgot to turn off my dang phone. I yanked it out, apologized to my class, and then saw who the call was from. It was my doctor.

"Hello?" I asked, a little weirded out by now. She told me that whatever I was doing, I needed to stop right then and go to the emergency room because my hemoglobin levels were dangerously low. "Like, right now?!?" And she insisted.

In the ER, after they checked my levels, they hooked me up almost immediately to a unit of blood and admitted me to the cardiac wing for close monitoring.

Five units of A-positive and three days later, plus a unit of platelets, plus a couple of units of straight iron, an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, a visit with a hematologist, a gastroenterologist and a colorectal surgeon, they finally sent me home. I might have celiac disease. Or I might not. They took a biopsy of my duodenum to check it. In the meantime I will be visiting the hematologist regularly for transfusion and/or IV iron supplementation.

My color is definitely better now, but I think I'm already getting low again because I was light-headed again this morning and spent much of the worship service hoping I could remain conscious long enough to play the final hymn. I made it back home and got horizontal on the couch for a while, and that seemed to help.

Any-hoo... it's been a wild month and I apologize for the lack of posting. I intend to resume blogging activities; writing down things is cathartic for me, whether anyone reads it or not. Helps me sort through life's business. I bought a book on Amazon about a strict gluten-free (GF) diet that goes beyond regular GF stuff. It's called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and eliminates starches and all sugars except honey, plus some dairy and some vegetables. I'm still reading it, but I think that even if the GI doc says he doesn't think I have celiac disease, I am probably going to give the SCD a long-term go.

All this, and being a cheerleading coach... well, I sometimes wonder if I'm really completely sane.

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