Monday, July 22, 2013

I didn't realize I still had draft posts. Oh well, I haven't looked at this thing in ages, and why?

December 14, 2011, I had a venal right parietal ischemic attack. That's right ladies and gentlemen, less than two weeks after finally getting a job I had a stroke! right in the middle of dress rehearsal for a Christmas handbell concert. One minute I'm a little dizzy and the next my left arm won't work right and I can't talk.

I had a fun ride to OHSU in an ambulance (2 hours!) spent nearly three days in the ICU, spent quite a bit of time inside the workings of the MRI machine and ended with a sonogram of my heart taken through my esophagus (gag!!).

While the stroke wasn't very debilitating it did have some fun effects. Total loss of energy. confusion. loss of function in my left arm. occasional bouts of stammering and sentences coming out of my mouth all wrong. (I think one word and something else comes out: guitars instead of ladders, dogs instead of pencils) loss of spatial ability (I have a lot of trouble following a drawn plan to set up tables and chairs in a room) and my ability to remember names has been shot all to hell.

I'm doing fine now, but for a long time I could get so confused and carrying a sack of groceries would wear me out. I still don't remember names and faces. Three people said hello to me today and I have no idea who they are. Most days I sound coherent, but every so often I have An Attack of the Aphasics (duh duh duuuh) and say something weird. I still can't do a Sudoku puzzle because of the need to arrange numbers spatially. I can play handbells four-in-hand (two bells in each hand) but it is harder now. I confuse which hand is which.

I can work. I still have my secretary job at the church and two months after the stroke I took another part time job doing bookkeeping for a local non-profit. I can certainly continue to pet sit (speaking of which, my cat is snoring!)

The big problem now is keeping ahead of the occasional bouts of fear that I'll have another one. I'm supposed to avoid any serious stress or strain (no high-stress jobs, high drama relationships, iron man triatholons, no competitive weight lifting) I have to keep calm. Or at least try to keep calm. Reasonably calm. Calmish? This could be bad.

I'm still here.

I keep expecting this thing to disappear because I never seem to use it. but here it is! still accepting my password and letting me write things for whatever reason.
What's up? not much. After 19 months of unemployment I have a job, part time but work nonetheless.
Health? going to hell in a handbasket. My psoriasis has been making me miserable for two months now. Going to see my derm in two weeks.
I've also been having this fun problems with my vision. They are called ocular migraines. It's basically all the visual symptoms of a migraine but without the following knock yo ass down headache. I've been having them every day, sometimes two a day for a week or more so my doctor had me go in for a CT scan. Now anyone who says my head is empty or that I have no brain or I am an airhead can be refuted with empirical evidence. There is a picture of my brain.

Your burning bush

What would you do if you found yourself called by God to do something drastic? Free thousands of people, start a new country, stand before a crowd and say things that will get you tortured and killed badly. Leave everything of your own life behind. Watch children die. Be the one to announce their death is coming. Be hungry, cold, poor, homeless, forced to rely solely and completely on God to provide food and shelter. Watch the skies and trust the crow or manna will come again tommorrow. How would you do? Would you dive in like Samuel or try to run like Jonah? Make excuses like Moses? Even Christ pleaded to be excused from what was asked of him. What about you?

It's an idea that frightens me. I want a quiet and safe little life with a small house, a couple of pets, a small circle of family and friends. I want three meals a day and a hot shower, clean clothes, cold Pepsi, central heating, indoor plumbing and internet. The only kind of calling I want to hear is the easily answered kind: "I've always known I was meant to . . . .(be a doctor, fly airplanes, design bridesmaid dresses). While I would love to see an angel, I don't want it giving me any instructions.

Now I'm not talking about going to another country for a few years to build schools or help the sick or save the rainforest. I'm talking about being sent to do something dangerous and complete, something irrevocable like Paul turning from Christian hater to pillar of the church.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Whats so memorable about riding a bike?

Wow. It has really been a whole year since I posted anything on my blog. I think that may qualify as heresy. So what's up? My hair grew back and it grew back curly. The infection is just a bad memory but the psoriasis is still around. I got laid off back in April 2010 and openings to apply for are far between, which is discouraging. I've been earning some income watching people's pets but my 2010 resolution to have an apartment by the end of this year was kind of shot to hell.

I spent today uploading Christmas cds to Itunes (we have a lot of Christmas music at this house). I found out that one of the cats I sit for was put to sleep this afternoon. He had cancer. Then I had a two hour handbell rehearsal this evening. I've got three performances with the group I play with regularly plus I'm substitute ringer for another group. After that I went to a house to let a cat in for the night, feed him his supper and give him a good itch around the ears. (Purr purr purr)

Whoa! Mark Mothersbaugh followed by Josh Groban. Brain hurts, brain hurts! Maybe I shouldn't have put my holiday library on Shuffle.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Double yeah

12 days and no bad reaction! I think I may have found an antibiotic I can actually take. At least for this time. Maybe I can get this bacteria out of my system finally. Then I can focus on this stupid Psoriasis.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Downdate

O.K. now this totally sucks! I have Psoriasis. Recurring. chronic. Immune system disorder. Question is did the two different reactions to those two anti-biotics have anything to do with it? After all, each one fouled up my immune system for weeks and there was no time at all between them. Now I get to look forward to my skin going haywire here and there as it chooses, coming and going as it pleases for the rest of my life. Nice. Red patches with peeling silver scale. Fun. Itching and peeling and oozing. Just ducky!

Bad things: Possible disfiguring lesions on my hands or face where the public at large can see them. Possible discrimination during those times due to fear of contagion. People with psoriasis are turned away from restaurants, beauty parlors and pools. They lose jobs. The old Biblical "unclean, unclean!" Leprosy is actually easier to treat in this modern world than Psoriasis. Psoriasis has a lot of variables. Every person is different. Symptoms, triggers and treatments vary widely. What works for one patient will make another worse. Psoriac Arthritis. A rarer form of the condition. Hopefully really and truly rare because I sure as hell don't want it. It is a chronic degenerative joint problem. They compared it to rheumatiod arthritis, which I have seen and it is awful.

Just the idea of itching more and more often. Having to toss all my pretty toiletries because I can't use them. The thought that I may have thin dull hair for the rest of my life when my hair has always been thick and nice. The discomfort, occasional burning or stinging. Ointment and lots of it.

Good things: Just because it can happen doesn't mean it will. I also don't have to lie down and take it without fighting. Dead Sea Salt can help, which is cool. I kind of like having short hair. I get all new toiletries. They aren't quite as fun, being fragrance free and not in pretty packages but I can deal. There are online support groups where you can post questions and get opinions. Cats and dogs don't care if you are red and scaly so my animal friends won't mind a bit. Maybe I'll tell people I have sand trout. "My skin is not my own". hee hee.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, crap!

Forget it, I can't take anti-biotics. I guess I can't ever get any infections unless they are major enough that the reaction is worth it. On Day 7 of taking the sulfa I had a massive migraine style headache. Day 8 I had fever, chills, nausea, headache and general achy-ness. That afternoon I broke out in a rash. Not hives, like last month, a totally different kind of animal on my arms and legs. By dinner time I was in bad shape, everything was pulling towards the right. Walking to the bathroom was like walking on a ferry in a storm and even after several hours of sleep and warm blankets I was still freezing so I had my Mom take me to the Emergency room. My heart rate was 120 and my temperature was 103.2. The doctor thought I had swine flu, but the blood they took out of my arm said otherwise. So what was it?

Serum Sickness! Not an allergic reaction, but an immunilogical reaction. In an allergic reaction you release histamine and a bunch of other chemicals from your mast cells to combat something your body has decided is an evil invader. That's what causes the hives and the itching and the stuffy sinuses etc. etc. This new reaction, however, is caused by your white blood cells making anti-bodies against whatever your body has decided is bad and they catch the molecules of whatever it it and then hook onto cell walls. I'm simplifying here, but you get the idea. It's kind of annoying to realize just how much of "being sick" has nothing to do with the virus or bacteria and is, in fact, your own body reacting to them that causes you to feel so lousy.

Serum sickness is when your body decides that proteins in your bloodstream are really viruses and attacks them with antibodies. It is mostly experienced by people who get anti-venom for snake or spider bites and people who need rabies shots but it can, on rare occasions, be caused by anti-biotics. Mostly Penicillin but Sulfa drugs can cause it too. It feels like you have the flu until your system manages to flush out the offending proteins and stops the reaction. Eight days I had a high fever and was taking delightful cocktails of Advil, Tylenol, Antihistamine/anti-nausea medicine and Orange Gatorade. For days I couldn't stomache anything but popsicles, saltine crackers and poached eggs. Even chicken soup made me sick. Hot turkey dinner sandwiches ended the fast and they tasted so good!

Now I'm just waiting. The first anti-biotic I took knocked the infection down, but it came back five weeks later. It's been three weeks since I stopped the Sulfa and hopefully this time it's gone. I'm hoping whatever the Sulfa didn't kill the fever did.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More I forgot

So I'm a little out of it. I've been feeling like overcooked sludge. My labs results are in. I have a bacterial skin infection and the bacteria in question is resistant to Clindamycin. That's right. The anti-biotic that put me through weeks of hell doesn't kill it. Congratulations!

Oh I forgot to add . .

I forgot to mention in the previous installment, when my infection came back, my hair started falling out in great globs. No bald spots yet, but it hasn't stopped shedding. Good thing I can make knit hats in a hurry. I may need some indoor weight ones and soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Please please please

I have very high hopes for these anti-biotics. I'm on day two and I'm already seeing a decrease in the oozing. Very very nice. Now please, immune system, don't see this one as an invader and flood my system with mast chemicals.

I'm off the bleach baths too and my skin is starting to return to normal instead of feeling like sandpaper. I won't be happy if it turns out that the bleach prolonged the infection instead of helping it. Oh well. Modern science.