Well, it has been a month and I did fairly well. I managed to blog every day but 2 days and some days I made multiple posts. I think I had a pretty good reason for not managing two days as I was hospitalized.
So, on to NaBloPoMo for December. The theme is Mitzvah – which is defined as:
to give something, to someone, every day of the month, and then blog about it. The goal is to act with kindness, obviously — I don’t want to be responsible for people giving each other black eyes. Your gifts can be as large as volunteering or donating to charity, or as small as a kind word to someone who needs it.
So, I am going to take this one on! I am not sure I will make the challenge giving something everyday but I will try. If I don’t blog on the mitzvah topic I will blog about something else. So, here we go – another month of NaBloPoMo!
In a week or so Deb and I will have been together for 11 years. For almost our whole time together we have argued about one thing: air fresheners. She would buy them and I would them. It didn’t matter what scent it was I generally had some kind of a reaction. I would usually get a sore throat and a headache and then I would complain, loudly. But that didn’t stop her from buying them! When you have as many dogs as we do there is bound to be some odour – especially when you factor in our incontinent ones.
Well, it would seem that the battle is finally over. A couple of weeks ago we were at TAP because I needed a massage and with all of my illnesses lately I have not been able to see my regular massage therapist. While we were there we found these scent ball diffusers that allow you to put a couple drops of essential oil and then it works just like a Glade Plug-in. Using essential oils means that we are not putting chemicals into the air that bother me.
The other day we bought an electric diffuser. Basically you put water and a couple of drops of oil in it and it steams out the scent. We have even agreed on a scent! So if you ever come to our house and smell eucalyptus you will know why!
When I first got my new iMac I absolutely hated the mighty mouse. I found it to be clunky and slow. The trackball wall but useless and apparently the ball got dirty very easily and had to be cleaned regularly. I was using the bluetooth version of the mighty mouse and found that when the screen saver was deactivated the connection was lost.
I went looking for another alternative. The only thing I could find made for the Mac was the Rocketfish Mouse. Overall it tracked way better than the mighty mouse. But it still had the problem of losing its bluetooth connection. It was so bad that I had to plug in a corded mouse at time to repair the connection.
I was quite excited when I heard about the new Magic Mouse. It works like a regular point and click devise. In addition, it has some features of the MacBook Track pad. You can scroll from anywhere on the device – horizontally and vertically. I have to admit that the scrolling function is nice. However, one of my complaints is that the scrolling is too sensitive – especially in Excel. When entering text or numbers in the last active cell, if you click below the mouse jumps way over. Perhaps it is just a function of getting used to it. I like the ability to easily zoom feature as well.
The Magic Mouse is slick. It’s really a work of art. It is comfortable to use and appears to be quite ergonomic. It runs on batteries and you can easily see the percentage of battery left through system preferences. Most importantly, the bluetooth connection has not been lost at all since I started using it.
I had blood work done Wednesday afternoon, the day after I left the hospital. I could not believe how much higher my counts were. The two I have been keeping track of are the neutrophils and hemoglobin. On Tuesday afternoon when the did blood work at the hospital my neutrophil count as .7 and my hemoglobin was 81. One day later my neutrophils were 1.6 and my hemoglobin was 91! What a difference a day makes. I think it was because I was home and I could cuddle with my sweetie and my poopers. I had more blood work today and I cannot wait for the results!
Pancytopenia is the official diagnosis of why I ended up in the hospital for a week. The reason I developed it is because I was taking imuran for my colitis. Imuran depresses the bone marrow. My dose was doubled 2 months ago to help cope with a colitis flare that was brewing. I am not sure if it was completely the imuran that caused the problem or if the H1N1 flu I had exacerbated the situation. I guess we will never know.
Dealing with pancytopenia has not been a walk in the park. When I was admitted into the hospital I was in critical condition. The scariest thing was my neutrophils (a form of white cells) were at .2. The normal range is 2.0-7.0. Given that these white cells are among the first to respond to any kind of infection it is a miracle that I did not come down with anything. My hemoglobin was at 81. Normal hemoglobin is between 120-150. While in the hospital, my hemoglobin plummeted to 68. At that point I was given a pint of blood. The experience of getting a blood transfusion was rather surreal. It took about 4 hours to run in because they were not sure that my IV would hold. Watching blood that was once in someone else flowing into me was a bit bizarre. If you can give blood, I urge you too. You never know when someone you know or love will need a blood transfusion.
Dealing with the low hemoglobin is quite difficult. I find it really difficult to walk any distance (think to the bathroom) without feeling like my limbs are moving through concrete. I am sleeping a minimum of 12 hours. My pallor is grey. I have very little motivation – especially to eat. However, I need to have good nutrition so that I can continue to make all the blood cells. I find that doing too many tasks in a row where I am moving around is impossible. Luckily, I have been able to sit and work this week. I even worked in the hospital.
The big question is what is going to happen with my colitis. The answer is unknown at this time. I have a new GI who has started me on a new protocol and we shall see what happens. Hopefully this break from my immune system will allow my colon to heal. I have to admit that I am simultaneously cautiously optimistic and deathly afraid.
So for now, I am not supposed to go out except to the lab when I have to wear a mask. I can’t really drive until my hemoglobin is up. But being in isolation at home is way better than the hospital!
It was a bit of a saga this morning. When they did my morning blood test my neutraphils had gone to .5 which was most frustrating. I had so hoped to go home today, I was missing being with and I was desperately missing the dogs. So when I got the news that they had gone I just about lost it. They gave me the injection that is supposed to encourage their growth. We decided to do another test at 2 and they had gone back up to .7.
Then the issue became getting a hold of all doctors involved to let me go. The resident had to talk to her senior, then the attending for their unit, the hematologist and the gastroenterologist all had to agree. It seriously looked like it would take until tomorrow but she was able to pull it off and I am very grateful.
I have to say that my experience in the Royal Columbian was quite good. I didn’t get to see much of the place as I was not allowed to leave my room, ever! As a lesbian couple we always expect some kind of homophobia when dealing with large institutions. The staff there were so good that I didn’t realize until we were coming home that there had been no homophobia. All the staff who worked with us knew because Deb and I are too big to fit into a closet.*
I am still pretty week. My hemoglobin is about 81 which makes me fall asleep when I am comfortable. Walking from one end of the house to the other is trying. My limbs feel like lead but this too shall pass. Last week I was noticing I having trouble walking from the car to the office and thought I better get back on my treadmill. I am holding off on that at least until I hit the low-end of normal for hemoglobin.
I am off to go and cuddle with my dogs and my sweetie if the dogs will let us.
So I have a team of doctors here – they call themselves the CTU. When I was first admitted I was told I was being assigned to the CTU team and there seemed to be some reverence in that statement. The team is comprised of 2 residents and one senior doctor. They seem to argue but generally they get things done. Now I am wondering what came first – these teams of doctors or House?
This post is still brought to you by me from my hospital bed. And who says I don’t take my commitments seriously!!
Today I would like to talk about well-meaning people. You know the ones. Your arm may be falling off and they suggest that you get some herbal remedy for that. Well today it was about a naturopath. I am sitting in the hospital because my white blood cell counts are so low that I would likely not be able to withstand an infection or bacteria should I come into contact with it. My hemoglobin is at 71 and, well, you get the picture.
I get this email from someone who says while she knows I was really sick and in the hospital had I considered a naturopath. I just about died. Ya, k, I will get right on that! Now before all my friends who are proponents of natural healing get all mad it me let me make something clear. I am not against natural healing methods. I know that herbs etc have natural healing properties. I know that massage therapy works because it works for me. I know people who have had great success using naturopaths etc.
My point is that it is all about degree and severity. You see a doctor and go to the hospital when your arm is falling off and you see a naturopath when you need help feeling better overall or dealing with allergies.
I am still in Royal Columbian and finally got out of emerg after 2 days. Most of the nurses have been good, a few have been outstanding a couple could give lessons to Nurse Ratchett. I have a really bad case of flush which is what happens in your mouth when you do not have an immune system. It is very painful. I asked for some more of this mouth rinse that would numb it for a bit and give me some relief. She would not fucking give it to me. I could have morphine or tylenol 3 but not this rinse made no sense. I now had it beside my bed.