All I Know Is I Know Very Little

Healthy lungs

Healthy lungs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does that make sense?  Oh, who cares, right? I haven’t made a lot of sense for several weeks now…

I saw the pulmonary specialist yesterday (yes, I showed up at the right time and on the right date…how about that?).  I still don’t have very many answers although the answers I do have sound pretty good.  I know that I don’t have cancer.  I know that I don’t have COPD.  I know I don’t have emphysema.  That’s what I know.

What I don’t know is what’s wrong.   Why I can’t breathe.  Why I can’t move without having a prolonged coughing fit.  Why I’m still so sick after such a long time.

They performed some tests…something to measure lung capacity, another to measure lung function, something else that I’m not really sure what it was supposed to test…anyhow…for now the doctor is terming what I have as an acute long-term upper airway infection.  (Is that another term for “we don’t really know”???).

His prescription to treat that was multi-faceted…one inhaler to administer steroids, another inhaler to open the airway,  a different antibiotic, an old-fashioned antihistamine (he said he’s had better luck using these rather than the more modern ones to treat conditions like I have), and something to relax the muscles in my chest and back.  Fortunately, he had samples to give me for both inhalers and the antihistimines…enough to get through a month…which is when he wants to see me again.

He told me to keep kind of a journal detailing how the different meds affect me, when I get to feeling better (or worse), what I’m doing when I have one of those coughing fits, if I have a fever (how high, how long it lasts), and so on…That kind of tells me this is still a mystery to him and that he’s looking for clues as to what’s really wrong and what we can do about it.  But he did spend a lot of time with me, asking questions,  making notes, explaining things, and talking about what we can do if all of this doesn’t help.

My next appointment with him is in the first week of April.  He did say that if this “cocktail” doesn’t work, he’ll want to do a CAT scan of my lungs as well as some other tests.  In the meantime, guess what!!  I’m off work…and before I publish this post, I’ve got to call my boss and let him know…whew!  I know he won’t be happy about it, but I don’t know what else I can do.  I can’t imagine that they want me in the store scaring the customers with that constant barking cough (and really, I’m not able to do anything that involves any kind of physical activity and that’s what most of my job consists of).  Now I don’t want anyone to think that Chris is a bad guy because you honestly could never find a nicer boss anywhere.  He’s said, on multiple occasions, that I just need to get better.  But I also know having a manager out for a prolonged period of time makes it rough on everyone else…and I do feel guilty about that.  I know, I know…it’s not like I got sick on purpose, but you know what I mean.  I care about the people I work with (most of them…haha…you know who you are) and hate that I’ve not been able to be there to do my job.  Hopefully, what we’re doing now will do the trick and I’ll be able to return to work after my next appointment…keep your fingers crossed for me, would you?

Advertisements

Dazed and confused…adventures in medicine

Old hospital

Old hospital (Photo credit: urbanlegend)

Seems to be my permanent state right now…confusion.  I lose track of what I’m saying when I’m trying to talk to someone (who knows what my writing is like…I reread it multiple times and am still not absolutely certain that I’m making sense, so…if you can’t figure out what I’m talking about, now I have an excuse), I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing (thank goodness for lists…just write it down when I think about it), and the date?  Oh my!  The date, even with the date displayed prominently on my computer and  calendars all over the place, I still can’t keep the days straight.

And today exemplified that.  I had a doctor’s appointment with a pulmonologist today.  I’ve had the paper my doctor’s office gave me, with the info, on my fridge since my last appointment so I wouldn’t forget it.  I woke up feeling pretty awful, wishing I didn’t have to go see a doctor today, but knowing that I did.  So I eventually got ready and left in plenty of time to arrive early enough to find my way to the office.  You know how it is when you go into these big buildings and don’t know your way around, right?  So I knew I was going to have to stop and ask for directions and then find my way to pulmonology.  No big deal.

I stopped at the desk right inside the entrance and asked the lady there where I could find this particular doctor.  She looked at my paper (the one they gave me last week at my doctor’s office) and told me I was in the wrong building, would have to go out and drive over to the next drive and go in that building.  Well, okay.  I walked back out to my car feeling more than a little confused.  The next building over is where my doctor’s practice is.  I was pretty sure (even in my confused state) that the specialist I was supposed to see wasn’t in the same building as my doctor.

So I called my doctor’s office and spoke with one of the receptionists.  She laughed about it and said that lady must have been confused…there is a Doctor Trueblood in their practice, but she is definitely not a pulmonologist.  So I told her where I was and she said I was in the right place, that she didn’t know exactly where the pulmonology department was but she was pretty sure it was upstairs.

Alright, I walk back into the building, stop and ask the same lady where the pulmonology department  is.  She tells me to take the elevator upstairs and then she points down the hall and says I need to go all the way to the end of that hall.  I find the elevator, go upstairs and start in the direction pointed out for me.  Then I stop and look at the department listings and arrows.  Hmm…if I do what the lady downstairs says I’m headed in a different direction than if I follow these little arrows.  How about we try the arrows?

That just might be the only good decision I’ve made all day.  I walked right to where I needed to go and stopped at the desk to let them know I was there for my appointment.  The very nice lady there looked it up on the computer then looked at me.  She said, “Well, unfortunately your appointment’s for tomorrow.”  And she apologized…like it was her fault that I’m a dork.  And to compound how goofy I must have seemed, I asked her what today’s date was.  She told me it’s the 7th…hmm…the little paper in my hand tells me my appointment is scheduled for the 8th…what do you know?  She’s right and I’m crazy.  So I thanked her and told her I’d see her tomorrow.

I guess a couple of good things came out of this…now I know where I need to go tomorrow…and the lady at the pulmonology department desk will have a funny story to tell her co-workers and family…

I’m telling you, all of these drugs I’ve been on have to be messing with my mind…or am I confused about that?

Feeling accomplished

Yep, you heard me.  I actually feel like I accomplished something last night and this morning.  I finished my first infinity scarf!  Of course, I had to have pink in it…

scout and scarf 009

I’m not really sure what yarn this is.  I’m thinking it’s Loops and Threads Impeccable…what happened was I came across this afghan I’d started but never finished.  I don’t even know what pattern I was using.  So I decided to tear it out and reuse the yarn.  Then, when I decided to make a scarf, I figured why not use this yarn…hey, it’s got pink in it, right?

scout and scarf 008

I like that you can wear these scarves in a variety of ways…long, wrapped, cowl, tied…whatever.  I think I may make a little tie to match it with some beads on it…what do you think?

scout and scarf 010

This was so easy to make…finished it in less than three hours…chain stitch, single crochet, and double crochet…that’s it.  Oh, and I found the free pattern on ravelry.com.  I can’t believe I waited so long to check out that site (thanks for bringing it to my attention, Donna).

So now, after not working for a month, I finally feel like I’ve accomplished one small thing.  I suppose now would be a good time to start making scarves for charity, wouldn’t it?

Just another Monday

Come Monday

Come Monday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not a manic Monday, not a hated start of the work week Monday…just Monday.  I guess I never thought about how we give certain days special significance when we’re working. It seems like just about everyone hates Mondays. I suppose because most people don’t work on the weekends, Monday means a return to the dreaded work week. Now I’ve pretty much always had jobs where I’m required to work at least some weekends, so there have been times when I really liked Mondays because that would often be the start of my “weekend”.

But still being off of work on medical leave kind of changes how I look at things like that. I woke up today thinking that I could be going in to work today on truck day…a hectic, active, yet kind of fun day…it’s all what you make it! If only I could actually be going in to work…but…nope! Still off, still struggling to breathe, wondering what’s going on and what’s going to happen. I have to admit, it’s more than a little scary. I’ve always worked, since I was 14 years old. So not being able to work has me questioning myself. I mean, how am I going to cope if I don’t get better? What in the world would I do?  I have some money saved up, but not enough to get by on for the rest of my life.

No…stop…I’m not going to go looking for trouble where it might not exist. I see a pulmonary specialist Thursday afternoon and we’ll go from there. It’s not like worrying about it between now and Thursday will do anything to make it better anyhow. In the meantime, I’m off for this week and next week, and then we’ll see. Hopefully they’ll be able to figure out what’s going on and then correct it.

I think I’ll go rummage around in my yarn stash and sit back and crochet a scarf…take my mind off my worries for a while.

Very unsettling dreams…

Watford

Watford (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)

…okay, for many of you, these dreams might not seem all that unsettling.  But for my IU basketball loving–living-breathing-fanatical-friends…well, you’ll understand.

I watch the games from home even tho I live right in good old Bloomington…not that easy to get tickets, plus feeling way too sick to make the trek to the real Assembly Hall.  Anyhow…I’m always on twitter during the games…you know twitter?  Facebook is about the people you actually went to school with but twitter is the people you wish you’d been fortunate enough to go to school with…read that on twitter the other day and thought it sounded pretty much right.  So…back to the story.  On twitter, you comment back and forth with IU fans all over the country (world), some who happen to be sitting inside Assembly Hall (again, the real one…not the imitation one in Illinois), others who are sitting in sports bars all over the place, and mostly those who are, like me, watching the game at home.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve even been known to be hooked into twitter at work on those rare occasions when I’ve had to work during a game…shh…You cheer together over the great plays and groan over the what-might-have-beens (Dipo missed-dunk, anyone?).

There are some IU fans who have made comments about one of the guys on the team..one of the seniors…one of the guys who stuck it out through the tough times…leading active scorer in the B1G…all around talented big guy…originator of the WatShot…yep, Christian Watford.  Seriously, I love this guy.  I think he has played a huge part in Indiana’s return to greatness.  So what issue do some of these other fans have with CWat?  They say he looks like he’s always sleepy.  Some folks even go so far as to say he always looks stoned.  Jokes, right?  I mean, really…most of us can’t help how our eyes turn out genetically…so they’re kidding around.

Try telling that to my sub-conscious, my dream-center…yep….that’s what my nightmare was about last night.  CWat.  In my dream, I walked into the auditorium where I work (I don’t work in an auditorium in real life, this is a dream, remember?) and join my boss (who happens to be my real life boss, Steve) in trying to figure out what we’re going to do about the incident that transpired the night before.  Indiana is just about to embark on its championship run…we’ve got this in the bag….ready to hang banner 6 up on the wall in the Hall.  And then what happens?  Well, a couple of things, one of which I’m totally clear on, the other is a bit fuzzy.

The fuzzy incident concerns Cody Zeller (huh, just noticed how I worked his uncle into this dream…you know, Fuzzy Zeller?  Oh, never mind…)  I’m not sure what happened with Cody, so I’m going to set this aside for another day.  But I’m absolutely certain about what happened with CWat…he got arrested for, you got it, drugs….NOOOOOO!!!

Steve and I are frantic!  What in the world are we going to do to get this kid out of this mess?  We know he doesn’t do drugs, has nothing to do with drugs.  It has to be a set-up (and my guess would be some of those punk Boilers are behind it…they still haven’t gotten over the fact that we whooped all over them, not once, but twice this season).  We’re discussing our options when a young lady walks into the auditorium with a key piece of evidence…thank you, Lord…just what we’ve been looking for…the broken and nailed back together skateboard…hallejuhah!! (Come on, it’s a dream…I’m just trying to tell you about it…I can’t help it if it doesn’t make sense.)

We take the skateboard to CWat…and then, what?  I wake up?  Are you serious?  I can’t help the kid if I’m not in the dream!  I shake my head, half-smiling about the crazy dream, turn over and go back to sleep.

And what happens?  Holy moly, I’m right back there in the same dream.  Have you ever had that happen?  Usually, the dreams I want to go back into just disappear forever and the ones I don’t ever want to see any part of again are the ones I find myself stumbling back into.  Not really sure where this one falls on that spectrum, but anyhow…back into it I go.

We go find CWat, who is being held outside on campus, with all the campus co-eds gathering around him (hey, these guys are basketball gods in the center of the college basketball universe, what can I say?).  After finally managing to shoo the girls away, we sit down to talk with Watford about the skateboard.  He’s very thankful to see it, but doesn’t explain why.  He only knows that this particular, nailed-together skateboard will result in his release and the dropping of all charges…and then he can go on doing what he came to Indiana to do…helping the Hoosiers win their sixth national championship.

Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got…I woke up again…and didn’t go back to sleep.  Hmm…wonder if I just might be able to lull myself back into that same dream again tonight…stay tuned…in the meantime, go Hoosiers!!

Health update?

"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases - As ...

“Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases – As Dangerous as Poison Gas Shells”. U.S. Public Health ad on dangers of Spanish Flu epidemic during World War I. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sitting here wondering why they call it an update, when it feels much more like a downdate to me.  Not a lot of change for me as far as my ability to move and breathe at the same time.  Still coughing uncontrollably with the least little activity.  It still hurts to breathe.  But, hey…there is some good news in all of this doom and gloom.  No sign of cancer.  I hadn’t mentioned that possibility to anyone…guess I was falling back on the defense of if you don’t talk about it, don’t acknowledge it, it isn’t real.  Silly, yes.  Childish, yes.  Ostrich-like, yes.  But…but…that’s often how I dealt with bad things in my life.  It’s not the most effective coping mechanism, but at least in this instance, it turned out okay.  So don’t jump all over me and tell me that I should have handled it differently, that’s for another day.

I’ve never smoked (something that every doctor I’ve seen since this began has asked me), but I did grow up in a household with heavy smokers.  And this was back in the day when folks didn’t think a thing about smoking in an enclosed space with their kids breathing every bit of that second-hand smoke in.  So, has that affected my lungs?  Who knows?

The labs came back okay.  Most things were normal to good.  They said there was evidence of whooping-cough infection, but that I didn’t have it now.  I’m not sure what that really means, I should probably do a little research on that.  Anyhow, with no clear-cut diagnosis, my doctor scheduled an appointment with a pulmonary specialist for next week.  There has to be something wrong that they can uncover…right???  There’s got to be some reason why I can’t breathe, why I’m still coughing to the point of pain.  Hopefully we’ll get some answers next week.

In the meantime, I’m feeling pretty drugged out.  I couldn’t even tell you how many different medications I’m taking right now.  I did take the time to print out a schedule of what to take when, so the fuzziness in my brain won’t cause me to miss a dose or take an extra one (hey, I have good ideas every once in a while).  My step-sister sent me a message on facebook yesterday and told me I had to get better soon so we could have my birthday lunch.  When I read that, my first thought was when was my birthday…oh, ha, hasn’t happened yet.  See what I mean?  That can’t be a good thing.

I’m just going to hope that we get some answers next week and can come up with a treatment plan that finds me outside gardening and walking in the woods in the next couple of months.

650 Posts…who would have thunk it?

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: courosa)

Haha…650 posts published…that’s with several months of daily writing and a few months of very little writing, guess it all averages out, huh?    I’ve been at this for a while…not sure it’s helped anyone else, but I’m pretty sure I’ve received the equivalent of several months of therapy sessions from my writing…not going to complain about that…didn’t cost me anything and didn’t have to turn anything in to my insurance…not too shabby, huh?

I think writing about whatever is going on in my life, or whatever has happened in the past (and how it still affects me), or my hopes and dreams, well…writing about anything enables me to step back and view things from a different perspective.  You know how everything seems to be in crisis mode when we’re in the midst of it?  Well, taking the time to think it through enough to write about it let’s me take a deep breath and understand that most things aren’t as dire as they seem at the time.

Combine the benefits of writing with the “wisdom” of getting older (stop laughing, this grey-underneath-the-hair-color has to count for something) and I think life is somehow smoother now than it was 20 years ago, the waves aren’t quite as choppy…or maybe I’ve just figured out how to ride them out a little better without fearing for my life.

So I figure I’ll keep writing…for my own well-being, for fun, for a way to reach out to others and share a little corner of my world, and maybe I’ll eventually get around to getting those books published.  Set those goals and work toward them.  You can’t do it all at once, but you can do a little every day.