06 February 2015

Chronically Ill, Chronically Chill

A lot has happened in the past year or so since I've updated this.

I don't know if I ever blogged about this, but I quit my job. After I broke my ankle I gained a good deal of weight and it made my depression and anxiety even worse than it was before. I did what I thought was right for me and decided to seek help. I was put on several different medications, and they made my moods a little unpredictable. I also decided it was the right thing to tell my employer about what I was going through. Instead of being understanding about what was going on they started to subtly punish me and push me out rather than directly firing me so they wouldn't have to pay unemployment.

After my second "coaching" and "vacation to rest", I took my key back up there and essentially told the guy behind all of the punishment to take my key and shove it up his ass.

Since then they have been lying to all of the customers asking after me, telling them that I quit because I was just too ill to handle the job anymore, not because they pushed me away. I was one of three people that quit that day because of how they were treating all of the employees. One more was going to, but we encouraged her to stay because she didn't have much of a choice - it was the only thing keeping her rent paid. She has since gotten another job.

That was in January of 2014. I took the time to really start to get used to my meds. In the end, I decided to stop taking them. They messed me up more than they helped.

I enjoyed the time off with my family and returned to school in August, studying nursing.

School was short lived, no matter how much I loved it.

My first class, Medical Terminology, wasn't as bad as I had assumed it would be. The teacher was my age and it was primarily done online. I am down with that, save for the fact I failed to see the point in driving seventy miles there and back to sit through a half hour lecture only to do all of the work online. I worked it out so I could do it all online to save gas.

The second class, Introduction to Medical Professions, was an AMAZING class. The teacher was absolutely amazing. She has this grandmother vibe that makes you just want to hug her. She's also got some amazing liberal thoughts and ideas when it comes to the healthcare industry.

I missed my first class with her because I got all the way to campus, a fortyfive minute drive, only to puke in the parking lot.

And that was just the beginning.

I made it through most of the course, but my health started to get rough. I spent most of my time dizzy, rapidly losing weight, unable to eat without getting sick.

As much as I didn't want to, I dropped health professions.

I was going strong until it was time for midterms, when I had to be on campus to take the test instead of doing it online.

I made it all the way to Ft. Pierce before I pulled over in the McDonald's parking lot and passed out in my car.

I was stuck there for almost three hours before someone was able to come get me and my car. I almost called EMS, I just didn't want to get stuck in the hospital in a different county. If it was that hard for someone to come get me and my car, I don't want to think of what would happen if I actually got stuck in the hospital.

My mom and aunt finally came to my rescue. I spent most of the drive home in tears because I had missed my test, and I was sure I was going to fail the class. I didn't, thank blob.

I did get a little upset due to the fact that my mother refused to take me to the emergency room upon our arrival back to our town. Because she just wanted to go home. I'm thinking "that's wonderful, I want a bag of fluids and maybe a CT to see why I dipped out in the car".

I waited two days, two days of vomiting and general stomach ickiness, before my sister took me to the ER. They determined that there was nothing life threatening going on after giving me two bags of fluids for my dehydration and doing a CT of my abdomen.

If you haven't ever had a CT with contrast done, it's a strange feeling.

I was warned that the contrast they put into my IV would taste strange and make me feel like I wet myself. Those two things were very true.

I wasn't prepared for the contrast to make me feel like I had some crazy heartburn and dragon breath.

I wasn't admitted that day, but released after being in the ER from around 11AM to 3PM. They referred me to a gastroenterologist and sent me on my way.

It took FOREVER for me to get into the GI doc, not counting the illness I experienced to get there. Since my passing out episode, I cannot drive or ride in a car. I've tried my hardest to do the driving, it just doesn't work. To ride, I have to drug up about an hour ahead of time. Zofran and an ativan, meclizine and an ativan. It does the job and I can make it to my destination.

Once I did get into the GI, it was decided I needed a colonoscopy and endoscopy to see if I had celiac or maybe even chron's, since chron's runs in my family. Ulcerative colitis was also a possibility.

Two months later I got my results and apparently I do have GERD and an icky case of gastritis. My intestines, according to my GI look healthy and nice.

I may do a post later on my colonoscopy experience, since it wasn't as terrible as everyone has said it would be. As a matter of fact, aside from the vomiting, it was alright.

After getting a clean bill of gastro health, aside from my two little issues, I went on to make an appointment with a otorhinolaryngologist, or an ear nose and throat specialist, as recommended by the nurse at my gastro doc.  He said it was useless, but with my balance and vertigo issues the nurse was behind him nodding rapidly and mouthing "yes, make an appointment".

I had my consultation with a nurse practitioner, which went well. I got to watch Milo and Otis in the exam room while I waited. The nurse checked out my ears and eyes, and he has a hunch that the crystals in my inner ear are out of place, thus causing all of the nausea and dizziness.

I took a hearing test, part of the three or four part test that they are going to do to see if it is the crystals like the nurse thinks or if I may have a larger problem that they can't solve. My hearing is perfect, they said.

I go for my other tests on Friday the 13th of this month, in the next town. It's going to be difficult. I have to drug up to ride, and I'm not supposed to take any medications because they can skew the results of tests. Most of the testing simulates movement, something that scares me. Movement is a trigger, and I don't want to hurl all over myself.

One perk of the location of the ENT: it's right across the street from the hospital. If things get too bad, they can just cart me across the street and let the emergency department take over.

That just about brings you up to speed!

My future posts are probably going to change quite a bit, given my health problems. I am going to start blogging more about my illness as a way of documenting what is happening to me, and maybe helping other people that are dealing with the same things. I will be making posts about my tag along bag that has my supplies in it, things that work for me for managing symptoms, and my life with an undiagnosed chronic illness.

One thing I can say is don't take your independence for granted. I haven't been shopping since last October. I can't go grocery shopping anymore, I have to send others to do it for me. The only places I go now are doctors offices and hospitals. I can hardly do housework without suffering from crazy fatigue, so I have to rely on my family to help me. If you are healthy and able bodied, live to the greatest extent. Find some trouble to get into. Go spend the day outside and soak in some sun (with proper skin protection, of course!). Go out to lunch or dinner with friends.

Love and spoons~


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