Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Back to my fascinating health story....

When last we discussed my health I told the story of my inability to walk in a straight line. For the majority of the last 2 years this was my biggest health problem and once I found out that I didn't have a brain tumor I didn't really worry about it. Aside from running people off the sidewalk and the occasional "shuffle off to Buffalo" move to get me back on track it really wasn't that big of a problem. At least not for me. Now my mom or my sister might have a different take on the matter since they are usually the ones I'm running off the sidewalk or grabbing on to as I veer off of the beaten path.

But let's go back to about August of last year. My sister and I got back from our trip to Europe and I was sooooo tired. I had the worst case of jet lag EVER. I did what I could to catch up on my sleep but I just couldn't get over the heavy feeling of complete fatigue. I got sick with the flu in late August and it just kicked my butt. I missed a couple of days of work and did nothing but sleep. I went to the doctor and was told, "It's a virus. There is nothing we can do. Go home. Drink plenty of fluids." So I went home and went to bed.

Then September rolled around. I got the flu again. I thought this was strange. I usually get sick once a year and then I'm fine. But to get sick twice in two months was a bit much.

October. By this time I'm not going to lunch at work any more. When 12:00 comes around I am dragging myself out to my car and going to sleep. This makes the afternoons much more tolerable. If I don't take a nap by the time 2:00 rolls around my head is actually bobbing from trying to stay awake. And I got the flu. Again. I went back to the doctor and was told the same exact thing by a different doctor.

November. Now, not only am I sleeping in my car during lunch I am going home directly from work and going straight to bed. On a big day I'm able to stay awake until 7:00 and watch Jeopardy. And of course...I was flat on my ass in bed with the flu, again.

December. Everyone is out Christmas shopping, decorating, eating, drinking and being merry...and I'm sick in bed. I was so sick that I seriously considered skipping Christmas all together. I was afraid that the rest of the family would get what I had. I decided that I would totally regret not being around my family for Christmas and went out to my sister's house. No hugs, no kisses. I kept my distance from everyone. I spent most of the Christmas eve and Christmas day asleep on my sister's couch. I get the time between Christmas and New Years off from work, (Thank God.), so I got to sleep, sleep, sleep. I felt a little bit better just after Christmas but by New Year's eve I was down and out again with the flu. I saw yet another doctor and was told that I had a virus and there was nothing anyone could do.

January. The two weeks off of work really helped me out a lot. I was able to rest up and get some of my strength back. I was no longer sleeping in my car at lunch and I was able to stay awake at night until the crazy hour of 9:00. Just when I thought I had been able to rise above this relentless virus I GOT SICK AGAIN. I thought I was in bad shape from September to December...HA! This time around was about the sickest I've ever been. I had a whopping fever. I had chills. I didn't eat. When I slept I had nightmares. I coughed until I thought my lungs were going to come flying out of my chest. My head was killing me. But all of this paled in comparison to the ache in my back. If I didn't know better I would have thought that I was having a gall bladder attack. (I had my gall bladder removed in '05.)

On Superbowl Sunday I was at home. I had depleted my Gatorade and my Tylenol. I was burning up from the fever. I didn't know my temperature because I didn't own a thermometer. I knew that I needed to do something about my fever before my brains started to melt out of my ear so I called my sister and asked her if she would go to the store for me. Mind you, my sister lives like 50 miles away so this was a pretty ridiculous request. She told me that she had a house full of people but if I was totally desperate she would go get me fluids and medication. I realized that it would be silly for her to have to leave her party and make a 100 mile round trip so I told her that I would be fine. After I talked to her on the phone I felt a little better so I decided that I would just throw on a jacket and go to the grocery store myself. (Mind you..I haven't bathed in approx. 4 days. It wasn't pretty.)

So I got my down jacket and a scarf and bundled up. I went to Albertson's market and got Gatorade, Tylenol and a thermometer. As I was standing in line to pay I started to feel a little light headed. When it got to be my turn to pay I started to get my wallet out of my purse and suddenly I was blazing hot, the room started to spin, my heart started to beat in my throat and I knew I was going down for the count. The lady at the cash register asked if I needed some help and I couldn't even answer her. I stumbled a couple of steps away from the cash register and sat down on a bottled water display. By then I was sweating and the room was spinning like I was riding on a Tilt-O-Whirl. I couldn't even hold my head up. Several grocery store employees were trying to ask me questions but I couldn't even speak. They asked me if I was on any medications and I tried to tell them that I wasn't on drugs nor had I been drinking. (with it being Super Bowl Sunday I assumed that they assumed that I was probably drunk.)

Within 5 minutes of parking it on the bottled water display an ambulance and a fire engine arrived. (I've always wondered why the fire department accompanies ambulances. Nothing was on fire and we didn't require a ladder.) My hands were completely numb and drawn up towards my torso. The EMT asked me a bunch of yes/no questions. I could nod or shake my head so we were able to communicate. They needed to take my pulse so they tried to take my jacket off. Unfortunately my scarf was caught on the Velcro on the jacket so I managed to get strangled as they pulled on my jacket. It was sweet relief to get that down jacket off. They put me on a stretcher and loaded me in to the ambulance. Even as sick as I was I still could not believe that I was being put in to an ambulance. It was scary!

They put the "pulse ox" thingy on my finger and we headed out for the hospital. They asked me if there was anyone I wanted them to call for me. I managed to get my phone out of my pocket, which was not an easy task for someone with stiff and contorted fingers. I hit the redial button and they were able to talk to Tori. Looks like she was going to make the trip out to Huntington Beach after all. After they hung up from talking to Tori I asked them to call her back and tell her not to tell our mother about this. As nice as it would have been to have her there for comfort, I didn't want her to be driving on the freeway with all the Superbowl Sunday partiers, in a panic.

The EMT took my blood pressure and told me that I was having an anxiety attack. By this point I could form words and told him that I knew from anxiety attacks and this was NO anxiety attack. I told him that I had been sick off an on for the last 4 months and that I had a fever and was obviously dehydrated. He continued to tell me about anxiety attacks and that I would be ok and blah, blah, blah. I finally asked him if he'd ever heard of an anxiety attack happening to someone who was taking Lexapro on a daily basis and also....did he ever hear of an anxiety attack causing a fever...? He had to admit that the answer to both questions would be no and then thought about what else could be happening.

The entire ambulance ride didn't take 5 minutes. We got to Huntington Beach Hospital and they handed me off and rode off in to the sunset.....with my cell phone.

Once I got in to the emergency room they took my temperature and blood pressure. They monitored my heart and took a chest xray. Temp=high, blood pressure=low, heart rate elevated, chest films=clear. They gave me 2 extra strength Tylenol and hooked me up to an IV and told me to rest. The fever was giving me the chills but they wouldn't give me a blanket. They told me that the fever was doing it's job and if they warmed me up then I would be defeating the work of the fever. Well, Mazeltov!

Tori and my niece Rebekah made it to the hospital in record time. They got to come back and sit with me and listen to the lunatic in the bed next to me. She had been in a fist fight with her male neighbor. She wanted to talk to, cry to, whine to, complain to, ramble on incessantly to anyone who would listen. She snagged a police officer who listened to her as long as he could until he finally asked her what exactly did she want him to do for her. She wanted her neighbor arrested but the cop told her that if the neighbor was arrested then she would have to be arrested, too. She had her two little kids with her and she wouldn't allow the nurse to take them to the waiting room. Those kids were all over the place playing and fighting and wandering around. Just what people who are sick enough to be in an ER want; two kids whooping it up and a rambling idiot who doesn't know how to shut up.

After freezing to death in the ER for about 5 hours they told me that my blood work came back and everything was ok. I simply had a virus and there was nothing they could do about it. I just needed to go home and go to bed and follow up with my primary care physician as soon as possible.

I honestly thought that the hospital doctors would be able to find out exactly what was wrong with me so when they gave me the same virus speech that I had heard 5 times before I was a tad disappointed.

The next day I had to fess up and tell my mom what had happened because I needed a ride to the doctors office. I couldn't get an appointment with my primary care physician so I had to see someone else in the practice. I have failed to mention that through out this whole ordeal I haven't once seen my primary care doctor so I never even dreamed that I would get to see her this time either.

To be continued....



Blogger Busy Bee Suz said...

Tami-this is just horrible. You poor thing. Your case reminds me of one of those shows my husband watches on TLC (the health and medical version) about people with mysterious illnesses. I am so sorry that you have been so sick and still have NO answers. How depressing for you.
Do you have a neighbor that can help...or check in on you?
Do you think you picked up something in Europe?
Ughhh...sending good thoughts your way. I hope you feel better soon and get some answers.
Take care, rest. Suz

5:16 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Welcome back stranger :)

This explains A LOT.

I feel like making you some chicken soup but I haven't figured out where to get vegetarian chickens :) :)

My hope is that this saga ends with you on the beach in Hawaii because after all of this, you deserve a trip there w/ IMOM.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Diane F. said...

I am anxious to hear where you are with this. I, too, feel like I should have been there for you! What a story. Truthfully, you should write for a living. You have a lot to say and wonderful style. Please continue this story, I want to know more!
P.S. I spent some very precious time with my daughter last weekend in San Diego, so we didn't see old friends, we just reconnected with each other.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous big hair envy said...

I'm hoping your PCP was able to give you some answers....

Just catching up - POOR Elijah! I can't imagine how frightened you must have been when your baby was so sick.

I still LOVE Lorenzo!! Any update on Willow??? I know there was a Willow sighting around Christmas...

10:30 AM  

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