Saturday, November 13, 2010

This is going to be....

a long, boring story...mostly about my current health issues. Reading it will sort of be like being trapped with your crazy Aunt Mildred at an Easter luncheon listening to stories about her blood sugar fluctuations, ingrown toenails, and halitosis. Fortunately for me, I'm still writing this blog as some sort of cathartic journaling for those of you that expect me to be entertaining or offer some sort of useful might want to just skip this post..that or SUCK IT UP!

Anyhow, for THREE weeks now...I've been mostly sitting around my house. Mostly sitting around my house and occasionally being driven to the medical center by my husband or my mother for one doctor's appointment or test or another. I've been having a very serious PITY PARTY. It sucks.

It all started out with the really bad allergy attack that came on as soon as I crossed the state line into Texas on the drive home from fat camp in Utah. I have determined, without a doubt, that I am allergic to this state. Someday, God-willing, we'll get to move....good economy and cheap housing be damned.

The allergy attack turned into a sinus infection. The sinus infection turned into an ear infection. I called my family doctor, but was unable to get an appointment right away with him and had to see one of his physician's assistants. The physician's assistant put me on antibiotics for my ear infection, Nasonex, and told me to stop taking the Benadryl (that's been working for me my antihistamine of choice for DECADES!) and to start taking Zyrtec-D. I figured, I haven't been to "physician's assistant school" I listened.

My ear infection cleared up (seemingly)...but I continued, as instructed, to take the Zyrtec-D. A few weeks later, my ear started to hurt again. It felt similar to the pain, all those years ago, of a diving injury. I was (am) also having issues with severe vertigo and can hear everything from my heartbeat to my sound of my breathing inside my head...strange stuff. This time, I was able to see MY DOCTOR. Strangely, he found no signs of an infection. NONE. He sent me to my Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor.

The ENT tested my hearing. It's improved significantly since my diving days. He looked in my ear and also didn't see any signs of infection. He gave me a preliminary diagnosis of "patulous eustachian tubes"...which means, in a nutshell, that the tubes in my ears that are supposed to open and CLOSE stay open all the time. Then he sent me off to a cardiologist to find out why I'm getting so dizzy because he thought it might have something to do with my blood pressure being low.

So off to the cardiologist I went. I had an EKG. I got to take a "Holter" monitor home and wear that for 24 hours. My mother and I had an amusing discussion because we were certain that they'd misspelled "halter"...because of how you wore the damn thing...but it turns out it's someones name. Oh well...can't correct everyone all the time. On one day I had an echocardiogram. THAT reminded me how long I'm capable of holding my breath. I think I was making the nurse nervous.

On another day, I got to have a "tilt test." The test consisted primarily of spending about an hour and change being velcroed to a hospital table held upright at about 80 degrees, like Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. I spent the time chatting with my cardiologist about diving and spear-fishing while they did various and sundry stuff to me, including but not limited to dosing me with nitroglycrin and trying to make me faint. I didn't faint. The only time I felt dizzy was when they initially moved the table. I tried to explain that if they wanted to make me dizzy they needed to move the table back down and back up again...quickly...but, apparently, that wasn't the point of the test.

Based on the results of all these tests, the cardiologist has determined that there isn't a hill of beans worth of anything wrong with my heart. He told me that my vertigo is most likely caused by something in my inner ear and that I should return to the ENT. Go figure. FML.

I have yet to return to the ENT. I'm frustrated with my ear, nose and throat doctor for sending me to the cardiologist in the first place and seriously considering trying to find another doctor. Mostly though, I'm distracted and moderately freaked out by the "surprise" news I got from the cardiologist. "Surprise" in, "Oh by the way, when we were doing your echocardiogram, we noticed a CYST ON YOUR LIVER." You need to get that checked promptly. So, now I get to go see another doctor. And now I get to get another test. And now I have another health issue to worry about. I would sincerely like to NOT have any sort of problems with my liver. I would sincerely like to NOT have any health problems AT ALL, but that's probably too much to ask.

I'm having a little bit of trouble counting my blessings right now, but I'll try. My knees aren't bothering me anymore. My back isn't bothering me anymore. I am the ONLY person in my house that doesn't need glasses. According to the ENT (whom I'm still very irritated with)...I can supposedly hear again too (although I wish I couldn't hear my own heartbeat). We still have private health insurance. I am almost five years thyroid CANCER FREE!

So, like I said, I've been sitting around having a pity party. I've been going down the "worst case scenario" road....the "oh crap, what if I have cancer in my liver?" road. I've been sitting around feeling really sorry for myself. I've been using the vertigo as an excuse not to work out. Yes, I get really dizzy. Yes, I might fall off the friggin' treadmill. (What's new?!) Yes, it's not really safe for me to drive. (How about hauling my fat ass upstairs and using the thousands of dollars of equipment I have at my disposal at home?) If none of that, how about not using everything else as an excuse to "snack" on just a few too many simple carbs. Yeah, I know. I've been letting my ass take the reins. No more. It felt too good to get up off of my ass the past two days and do something. (We painted.) It's time to get back to work on my ass. I'll cross the rest of the bridges when I come to them.

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