Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This Just In ...

I swear, sometimes I think I must have slipped through the looking glass because nothing really makes sense anymore. And technically, it's been almost forever since my health did make sense to me.

So, I was at the internist again last week. (And lucky me, I get to go again tomorrow! More on that later.)

We did a bunch of blood tests again, some of the usual suspects as well as some new ones that I'd read about it O, The Oprah Magazine, such as checking my vitamin D levels. Apparently Vitamin D deficiencies can cause fatigue and joint pain.

Anyway, I spoke to my internist today because I've had this weird fever for four days now, although I'm mostly controlling it with ibuprofin. So she gave me my test results while we were on the phone.

I might have the details slightly confused because I took notes but I don't have the printed copies of official results.

Most things were normal. I was happy to hear I don't have Hepatitis C since I've always wondered about the weird liver infection I had when I was 19 that kept me in bed all summer. (And no, I wasn't doing injected drugs nor having indiscriminate sex, particularly with IV drug users. But I could swear someone told me the diagnosis was hepatitis non-A, non-B, and that was in the days before they could test for Hep C, so I figured it's a good thing to rule out.

The parvo results perplex me. As I understand it, IgM levels refer to an acute infection. When I was first tested, they were a high positive. (I used to have the numbers, but they're not handy. If you dig back far enough in my blog, you might find them.) They were normal when I was retested, I think in February. And last week, they were 0.33, well into the "normal" range, which goes up to 1.8. (Don't ask me what the measurement is. I haven't a clue.)

IgG levels refer to antibodies. When I was first tested, they were negative, meaning not at all measurable. When I was tested the second time, they were high positive. My rheumatologist thought that was a good indication that I'd had acute parvovirus but was over it and should soon be feeling better. Last week, my IgG levels were again negative, not measurable.

Shouldn't I have some lingering antibodies to an illness like that, which you're supposed to gain some immunity to? Or is it like how some people get chicken pox as children and then again as adults because they apparently didn't build up enough immunity?

Weird. I see the rheumy next week, so we'll see what his current theory is. Especially combined with my recent development of a knee problem that I thought was an injury but when I went to physical therapy last week, he thought my left knee was swollen compared to my right and that it acted like an arthritis type problem.

Anyway, the vitamin D test results were interesting too. Mine were at 14, while the bottom of normal range is 30. So the plan is I'm going to take a once-a-week mega-dose of vitamin D for I'm not sure how long, and then I need to take regular vitamin D supplements forever. I think. The weird thing is I already was taking Vitamin D supplements. Sigh.

My internist says that while a Vitamin D deficiency can absolutely cause at least some of my symptoms (fatigue, joint pain), that I shouldn't get my hopes up too much because she's had patients with numbers like mine who had no symptoms whatsoever. (I wonder why they tested it then ... )

I also wonder whether the Vitamin D deficiency is a side effect of my being ill for a year and mostly stuck inside. Since I'm extra sun sensitive these days, the rare times I am going to be outside, I try hard to wear sunscreen and to be covered up.

I'm also wondering if I no longer have acute parvo, and I don't even have measurable parvo antibodies, does that mean the parvovirus theory was wrong all along?? Does that mean the rheumy's other theory -- lupus -- is the right one after all?

Lots of questions. Few answers. Stay tuned for new developments.

Oh, and I'm betting that the fever is from a urinary tract infection, although I don't really have the proper symptoms for that either, but I rarely do when I get them.

Why Isn't There A Vaccine for Parvovirus?

There's a lot of people who question some or all the vaccines routinely recommended for babies and young children.

The chicken pox vaccine is especially held up for ridicule because it's considered such a mild childhood illness. Except, of course, for those who get it in adulthood, or for the tiny minority of adults and children who suffer permanent effects or even die from the disease.

My siblings and I all escaped the chicken pox during childhood. I don't know how. My mother used to theorize that perhaps we had some sort of natural immunity to it, since there were three of us, or had had such mild cases of it as children that it passed unnoticed.

I remember at least two different school years when my desk was surrounded by a circle of empty seats of kids who were out sick with chicken pox. I still don't know how I avoided it back then, and for a long time accepted my mother's theory.

But then my sister came down with chicken pox in her late 20s or early 30s. (Sorry, Sharon! I can't remember if I was still in college when you had them or if Becca was already born!)

In the early 1990s, two of my co-workers at the Charleston, W.Va., AP bureau came down with chicken pox. There's up to a 21-day incubation, and the second woman to get the chicken pox broke out itching on the 21st day. Which essentially means I had sympathetic itching for 42 days as I waited to see if I would develop chicken pox. (After all, when the second woman left the office sick with what turned out to the pox, I got shuffled over to her desk, using her keyboard and telephone that were probably covered with her germs. I can't believe I didn't catch it then either.)

Then, while waiting for a prescription at a Wal-Mart pharmacy in 1995 or so, I noticed a list of vaccinations required for children entering kindergarten mentioned a chicken pox vaccine. I immediately requested it from my doctor. But I never was tested to see if I had developed immunity from it.

Then in 2001, on the eve of a fancy reception in Brazil to celebrate his wedding, my brother broke out with chicken pox at the age of 39. They decided to warn all the guests but to go ahead with the party anyway. I made sure not to embrace Mitch, but I wasn't too worried because, after all, I'd had that vaccine. I was immune!

Yeah, well, then came 2003 when I went to the OB for a "pre-conception" visit. As is customary, she went ahead and tested me for immunity to measles and rubella. But when I mentioned I'd never had chicken pox either, she decided to test me for immunity to that too. And guess what? I had none. So I had to go get the chicken pox vaccine again because it can be dangerous if you come down with it during the first trimester, and was told that we had to wait 90 days after the vaccine before trying to conceive. (I then got tested and finally was told that, yes, I was immune to chicken pox. At least for awhile, since they don't know how long the vaccine lasts.)

Anyway, I guess that's a big, long digression about how I'm 41 and I've never had the chicken pox. And I don't want them. And I'd rather that my 3-year-old never have to have them either. Some of the moms I know talk about attending chicken pox parties, where you expose a group of kids at once, but not me. Ellie got that vaccine at 15 months. And if she needs a booster in a few years, well, she'll get that too.

Because even though the vast majority of people, especially children, who come down with chicken pox recover with just a few scars from where they couldn't resist scratching, there is a real danger to the disease. Even kids can die of strokes, develop encephalitis, meningitis, Reye Syndrome or very serious pneumonia, and there's even a risk of that "flesh-eating bacteria" that the media love to write about.

So "they" came up with a vaccine. Even though the risk of serious side effects from chicken pox is rare, scientists worked for years to develop a vaccine. And reports say that chicken pox, and its rare but serious side effects, has greatly diminished since the availability of the vaccine.

So why isn't there a vaccine for parvovirus? Nor, as far as I've been able to discover through online research, any serious work being done on it?

Like chicken pox, it's thought to be a very mild childhood disease. But parvovirus also can have serious side effects.

There's documented cases of parvovirus causing infections of the lining of the heart that can be, and have been, fatal. There's also evidence that parvovirus can attack the kidneys. And for some unknown percentage of people, it appears it can cause a chronic, auto-immune type disease causing disabling fatigue and joint pain and other symptoms.

Thanks to my net.friend, Sherril, I found my way to an online support group for people dealing with parvovirus. It apparently was founded by a woman whose young daughter died from it. The Miranda Mission was named after the little girl, and now offers a place for people trying to get information about the disease, symptoms, treatments and emotional support have a place to go to network.

Some people who still have an acute infection of parvovirus are finding some significant symptom relief from IVIG treatments. But of course it's considered a somewhat experimental treatment and therefore frequently not covered by insurance.

And in my case is probably too late because my last IgM results showed my infection was no longer acute. (Doesn't that mean I should be all better now?!) But thanks to another woman with chronic parvo, I have some medical journal articles to show my doctors about research they didn't seem to know about it. (Another reason to go to to Denver! Her doctor is based in Castle Rock, Colo.)

If a vaccine ever is created for parvovirus, I'm sure there will be plenty of parents who don't see the need to inoculate their children against it. After all, it's a couple days of cold/flu symptoms, followed by a non-itchy rash, and then it's all over. No big deal, right?

I remember that after Ellie appeared to have parvovirus, aka Fifth Disease, (while I was already sick with double pneumonia last year), I sent out an apologetic email to the moms in my playgroup warning them that she was probably contagious the last time we saw them. I was particularly worried about one mom who was in her third trimester of pregnancy.

They all said, "Oh, it's no big deal!" And the pregnant mom checked with her OB despite not being worried and the OB assured her that it would only have been an issue if she were early in her pregnancy. Of course, since then, I've found several reports online of women delivering stillborns after being infected with parvovirus around 35 weeks that the doctors attributed to the parvo. So it may not be a common risk, but even there an OB didn't warn a patient of the possible risk. S/he may not have known about it since there's so little actual research done.

Those women are good friends, and I'm very relieved that none of them or their children got sick from exposure to Ellie or me. But what I read now says that 40 percent of adults who contract parvovirus (and only 50-60 percent of adults are immune from childhood cases, which shocked me) are going to develop severe joint pain lasting anywhere from two to four months. Even that, to me, would be worth avoiding with a vaccine.

Of course, I still don't know for sure that parvovirus is the cause of my lingering illness. But even if it isn't, I think someone out there should be working on a vaccine for this. It's not just a mild childhood rash disease.

Hm. Well that was quite the ramble. Can you tell I'm sleep deprived? I'll have to check back later and decide whether it's even lucid.

The 3-inch memory foam mattress topper is not to blame for my poor sleep last night. It has definitely helped immensely with my pressure points, making it easier for me to sleep longer with less additional pain.

I highly recommend trying it to anyone else who has problems with joint pain from lying in a position too long. Or even anyone who wants to feel like the princess in the story the Princess & the Pea, but without the pea. :) It's only been on the bed a couple days, but I'm totally loving it. And, so far at least, my husband doesn't seem to mind it either. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Mantra

I'm doing better than I was last summer.

That's my mantra. Everyone wants to hear that I'm all better, back to normal, over this mystery illness that has plagued me for nearly a year.

I wish I could tell them what they want to hear. But I can't. Not yet, at least.

My repeated response to questions about how I'm doing: "I'm doing better than I was last summer."

Of course, it wouldn't be hard to be doing much better than I was last summer when I was hospitalized for eight days and then could barely function once I got home.

There were times last summer that I was convinced it had to be easier to die than to live with whatever the hell was the matter with me. (Don't get me wrong -- I was never suicidal or even wishing I'd die. It was just so damn hard to function even at minimal levels.)

My illness has morphed so much since those early days that it's hard for me to believe it's even the same illness.

And I guess in a sense it isn't since the first thing that knocked me on my butt last June was double pneumonia, and then this autoimmune whatever kicked in after the pneumonia was technically gone but I never got better.

But the reasons they admitted me to the hospital last July were primarily my skyrocketing heart rate, which has mostly normalized albeit at a higher-than-previously normal rate, and my blood oxygen rates which plummeted when I was mobile, which doesn't happen any more.

About the only thing that's the same is the chest pain, which after getting my heart checked out repeatedly, we've determined is most likely joint pain in my rib cage. I apparently have fluid in at least one of the joints near my sternum that causes me pain. There's a name for that, but I never remember it.

Oh, and the fatigue. I guess I've had that all along since even before the pneumonia diagnosis.

But all this joint pain -- fingers, wrists, elbows. knees -- I didn't have any of that until a couple months in. And it started slowly, gradually building in intensity and quantity of joints affected.

The acupuncture, which I've dropped back to doing just once a week, seems to help some with my energy levels, which is awesome. But I still get wiped out embarrassingly easily. (At least I can stay awake for an hour-long visit, but I do end up heading to bed for a nap immediately after 60-90 minute playdates when friends bring their kids over to play with Ellie on weekends.)

Some people just assume I must be better by now, although you'd think they would wonder why Ellie is still in full-time daycare if I'm so healthy now. And sometimes I try not to correct their assumption because it gets so boring to talk about my medical issues. It's also kind of nice when new acquaintances don't know about my illness and assume I'm fine and "normal."

I miss being "normal." At least health-wise. :)

So my mantra is for my benefit as well. It helps to remind myself that no matter how small the increment is, there has been some improvement in the year of my illness.

And that gives me hope for the future.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dreaming of Memory Foam

One of my favorite websites/blogs, But You Don't Look Sick,recently had an article on the benefits of memory foam mattresses for people with chronic pain who are having trouble sleeping. (Isn't that redundant? I have yet to find anyone with chronic pain that doesn't have trouble sleeping!)

Apparently, the memory foam helps prevent pain in a sleeper's pressure points.

For me, I sleep best normally if I can sleep on my side. I use a ton of pillows -- it's a good thing we have a king-sized bed or either my husband or I would be relegated to the guest room! -- one between my knees, two in front of me to cushion my top arm, and one of those contour pillows under my head.

But since I got sick, within just a few minutes, I get severe pain in the shoulder and hip of the side I'm sleeping on. Those are joints that really don't bother me except when I'm trying to sleep on them.

So my solution is generally to sleep on my back (I'm sure Scott loves the increase in my snoring!), with a neck roll supporting my neck and two to three pillows under my knees. (My chronic back pain kicks in almost instantly if I try to lie flat on my back without pillows under my knees. I'm thinking of buying one of those foam wedges to prevent the pillows from sliding while I'm sleeping, which means more pain and stiffness when I wake up.)

The mattress on our bed is still in pretty good condition. (Scott bought as high a quality one as he could when he bought the bed before I knew him. It came with a 25-year warrantee, although I've warned Scott that that doesn't mean he can really wait 25 years before buying a new mattress!) And I didn't really want to pay for an actual memory foam mattress, which is fairly expensive, when I'm not sure that it will really make a difference.

So we decided we would experiment with a much cheaper mattress topper. I did a little Internet research, including checking Consumer Reports Online and a few other consumer-oriented sites, and found that a 3-inch-thick topper was pretty much the thing to get. Anything less, 1- or 2-inch toppers, weren't thick enough to offer real benefit. The 4-inch toppers were deemed an unnecessary expense without a real increase in benefit over the 3-inch ones. The consensus was also to look for a density of "4 pounds." I don't even know if that's 4 pounds per inch or per foot or what. Certainly, a 3-inch-thick, king-sized mattress topper weighed a lot more than four pounds!

So I went shopping online. I'm definitely not capable of visiting a bunch of stores to comparison shop these days, and I don't even feel well enough to make the tons of phone calls I would in my pre-illness days. (Scott used to laugh at me when I'd call every bark dust supplier in the phone book to compare prices and show him my spreadsheet to make our decision. :)

I ended up choosing to buy from based on both purchase price and their really cheap shipping rates.

I ended up not buying the cheapest one, but splurging for one that's supposed to be cooler to sleep on because it's "breathable." Several reviews I'd read about these mattress toppers and mattresses commented that sleeping on them was warmer than sleeping on a regular mattress. Since I almost constantly run a low fever these days, and I get uncomfortably warm very easily, I thought that one that keeps a sleeper feeling cooler would add a lot to my comfort level.

Anyway, it arrived this week, and has been airing out in our guest room for a few days as recommended. I'm hoping we'll get it on our bed this weekend and see if it really does help me sleep better.

And I'm really hoping it doesn't interfere with Scott's sleep either. It would really suck if it made a big improvement in my ability to sleep but made it hard for Scott to get a good night's rest.

We'll see. I'll definitely report back after I've had at least a few nights on it to get used to it.

If anyone else has already made the switch to memory foam, whether mattress or topper, I'd be interested in hearing whether you found it helpful or not. And also whether they really do run hot and if the ones they claim are "breathable" and therefore cooler really are worth the extra money.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So Much For That Idea!

I've always been a little claustrophobic. Not very badly. Not enough to interfere with getting on elevators or even traveling from Chicago to Pittsburgh in a tiny sleeper car with a friend once upon a time.

But I've always found MRIs challenging. Even the so-called Open MRIs. For some reason, it doesn't really help me that it's open to my sides when there's still this big metal thing three inches from my nose running the length of my body.

I used to get through them by counting the seconds when they would announce how long each scan would last. "This one will be three minutes!" "This one will be five minutes!"

I was usually pretty close on my count to when the scan actually stopped.

But since getting sick and having so many places that hurt, it's hard for me to concentrate on the counting. I get distracted by all the places that start hurting worse because I'm lying on a hard metal thing with very little padding and I'm supposed to stay perfectly still. Hell, I can't even stay in one position to sleep in for 45 minutes, I don't know how they expect me to lie still for an MRI!

So I went yesterday, armed with my 5mg of Valium. I don't know if it's that I had to wait an hour past when my MRI was scheduled to start and therefore my Valium wore off too quickly, or if I was just to stressed and too achy.

I was scheduled to have back-to-back MRIs of my lumbar and cervical regions. They booked me for 90 minutes, and I think just knowing I was going to be expected to lie still that long had me stressed out before I even got to the hospital.

I did feel the Valium kick in as I sat in the waiting room. But man, if it helped, I hate to think of how it would have gone if I hadn't had any medical help!

I barely got through the lumbar MRI. In fact, after what they told me was the last scan, I begged to be pulled out of the tube because I felt like I wasn't getting any air in there. The guy then told me that I'd moved slightly during the second-to-last scan, so they had to do one more 5-minute scan or the torture I'd been through would be for naught.

The tech did give me a choice that I could walk away without doing the last one, and it was tempting. (He insisted he had no meds that they could administer nor any medical professional who could be contacted to give me some help.


Well, I managed to get through that last scan of my lumbar area, but I was sobbing by the time they pulled me out. It was just awful.

And then the incredibly cheerful tech asked, "Are you sure you can't handle doing the cervical MRI now?"

Um, no.

So I left. And today I called my neurosurgeon's assistant and told her my sad story. She told me I'd have to talk to one of the PAs about what other medication they could give me to get me through the cervical scan. (She sort of sounded like she had never heard of someone having a panic attack during an MRI, but I know it's not that unusual.)

So someone's supposed to call me tomorrow (Thursday), and once I have something set up that I can face getting back in that tube again, I'll call the hospital to reschedule the cervical MRI. I hope they'll be able to fit me in during the next week or so, but it's not a big rush because I don't see the neurosurgeon again until mid June.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's Up With My Thyroid?

I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism back in 1999 or 2000 during a routine exam when my then-internist noticed that my thyroid seemed enlarged. Sure enough, the tests came back showing hypothyroidism.

I didn't start taking medication for it for another year or so after monitoring suggested it wouldn't rebound on its own. But I never had noticeable symptoms from it.

When I was first trying to get pregnant in 2003, we discovered that my prolactin levels were elevated and that's when I first started seeing an endocrinologist. Turns out that even though my thyroid levels were within the normal range, increasing my dosage until I was at the high end of normal fixed my prolactin levels and allowed me to get pregnant in 2004.

Anyway, fast forward to my getting sick last summer and my hospitalization last July. One of my internist's partners was the weekend on-call doc and visited me to check my condition. He announced that my whole illness was probably caused by my thyroid dosage being too high and lowered me from 137 mcg to 88 mcg. I remember telling him that I wanted my endocrinologist to be consulted -- or any endocrinologist consulted -- because my levels were tested a week before I was hospitalized and were normal then.

But like a lot of doctors, he didn't listen to me and drastically changed my medication level. And as we've seen, it didn't make me all better.

I finally got in to see my endocrinologist last September or October, and he said that acute illness can cause thyroid levels to change but that's not necessarily a reason to change dosage levels. Also, he said, the sudden drastic decrease in my thyroid medication could have been very dangerous to me, although he very carefully noted that he would not call what the on-call doc did malpractice. :)

So he has very slowly been raising my medication dosage until I reached my original 137 mcg per day. I went for my 8-week blood test a couple weeks ago and expected him to say I was now where I should stay since I'd been at that level since 2003 except during the later part of my pregnancy.

But I got a note on Friday from him, with a new prescription enclosed, telling me my levels were still low and raising my dose up to 150 mcg.

I wonder sometimes what role, if any, my thyroid is playing in my illness. I do find it odd after being so steady for so many years that it's fluctuating so much now.

And of course, I'd just refilled my prescription on my last dosage so once again I'll have a bottle of pills in a drawer waiting to see if I get told to go back to that dosage again!


Good news -- I think I'm finally over that nasty bug. I took my last antiobiotic dose last night. I still have a little pressure in my sinuses, but I think it can wait until I see my ENT again in a few weeks.

Also, I go for a 90-minute MRI today, essentially back-to-back MRIs of my lumbar and cervical region. I'm very happy they gave me some Valium to help me through it. I'm mildly claustrophobic and while I can usually get myself through a regular/single MRI, I'm a bit frazzled by the time they pull me out. The thought of back-to-back ones just made me shudder.

Anyway, I won't see the neurosurgeon until mid-June to discuss his interpretation of the results of the MRIs, so we'll see if he still thinks fixing my tethered cord could really resolve the rest of my symptoms. (And if he thinks so, I'll then be seeing someone else for a second opinion!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Destiny: 13 Years Lucky & Counting

Thirteen years ago, I was living in Yakima, Washington, and absolutely loving my job as an AP correspondent.

That was in the days when I didn't think twice about driving 150 miles roundtrip to Seattle for lunch. I was 28, and life was good.

Well, except for a rough break-up in March 1995 with a guy I'd been dating long-distance. (He lived in Urbana, IL, and I lived in Yakima. We would pick a city to meet in every six weeks or so and have fabulous weekends together. For about six months. After which he suddenly decided overnight that he didn't want a girlfriend and never had. Whatever.)

So on May 6, 1995, I found myself in Portland at a large party where I only knew a handful of people, including a guy from Seattle I was casually seeing who turned out to be the Date From Hell. I won't go into the gory details of how it was the Date From Hell (other than to mention that after it was all over, I still had to drive him home to Seattle. But rather than spend the night in Portland as planned, I insisted on driving directly to Seattle when we left the party at 2 or 3 a.m. I was determined to get him out of my car and out of my life as quickly as possible.).

But on the upside, I met this kinda cute guy wearing his motorcycle leathers. We just met in passing, didn't even talk more than 10 minutes or so. But somewhere in there I found out his parents lived within my coverage area in Washington state and I suggested he let me know the next time he was going to be there and maybe we could have coffee or something. I also discovered the coincidence that we both had accounts with the same Portland-based ISP so it was easy to remember his email address with his unique nickname of Szott. (Apparently it was a nickname dating back to high school when there were a bunch of Scotts on tech crew for the drama department.)

Keep in mind this was the dark ages of the Internet practically, when it was just coming into common usage. I think that might have even been in the early days of the AP even having email, back when we couldn't email anyone outside of the company. (Like that was useful!)

So when I bumped into a guy named Szott on a MUSH (acronym for multi-user shared hallucination, essentially a primitive version of Second Lifeback in the day when everything was in text and nothing was visual; you could "look" at people or rooms and get a text description of what you were "seeing."), I immediately asked if he were the Szott I'd met a few days earlier at a Portland party. It was sort of like in all the chat room possibilities on the Internet, even then, you had to wander into mine ... but in a good way.

We chatted (flirted!) online, and then eventually he invited me to another (smaller!) party in Portland the first weekend in June. As May stretched on, we decided we couldn't wait for June, so he decided to drive up to Yakima for part of Memorial Day weekend, arriving on May 26.

But then, a week before our date, I managed to trip and fall while covering a story about a landslide at a rock quarry near Wenatchee, WA, that killed a 5-year-old and an equipment operator. That May 19 injury, that I didn't even go see a doctor for until the next day, turned into a 5-year-plus chronic pain problem that didn't go away after two shoulder surgeries. (Things improved drastically when I finally quit the AP and stopped aggravating by spending long hours at a keyboard without adequate breaks.)

I remember suggesting that maybe we should postpone our first date until I was healed because I figured I wouldn't be any fun since I was hurting so much. Scott, being the kind of guy he is, said it didn't matter, that he still wanted to see me.

So we had our first date in Yakima, and the second date planned the following weekend in Portland. I'm guessing if things had gone bad over Memorial Day weekend, we both would have found better things to do in early June. :) But it was great. And it was amazing how much this quiet, introverted guy had to say when you got him one-on-one or in the masses of email we sent each other each day we were apart. (All of which I still have archived on my computer, one reason I'm loath to give up using Eudora. :)

When I was packing up my stuff after that second weekend together to head back to Yakima, I sort of thought that was going to be it since neither of us were looking for anything serious. So Scott caught me by surprise when he asked, as I was packing, "So what do you want to do next weekend? Do you want to come back here, or should I come up to Yakima?" Wow!

Of course, I immediately told him he was my transitional fling and that he shouldn't get too attached to me because I was still getting over the March breakup. In fact, I insisted, we should definitely see other people. And Scott said he was good with all of that and promised he wouldn't get too attached.

Every once in a while now, he reminds me of that and asks what I do in serious relationships if this is how my flings turn out. :)

Anyway, we made that 200-mile long distance trip every weekend that weather allowed for 4.5 years until I finally managed to get myself moved to Portland. We married in September 2001, and I know when you get married you're "supposed" to stop counting those dating anniversaries, but I can't help it.

Despite everything going on in my life these days, I can't help but feel blessed that Scott and I found each other and found a way to make a relationship work.

Happy 13th anniversary, Scott!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Antibiotics Again!

Well, I'm hopeful that my lingering bug will be dead soon since I started last night on a powerful, newish antibiotic (Avalox) that I've taken before for pneumonia and bronchitis.

The weird thing is my doctor called in a 30-day supply of pills for me, so I guess on Monday I get to call her and ask if I'm really supposed to take it for 30 days or if she's just giving me a home supply for the next round of bug since I can't seem to kick these cold bugs on my own since I got sick last year. Too weird.

The good news is my killer sore throat is finally gone and the bug seems to have settled into my sinuses, which are excrutiating if you press even lightly on them, and my left ear. I can tell it's definitely affecting my hearing again because it's once again tough to understand Ellie. :( I think I hate that part worst of all because it seems to bewilder her when I can't understand what she's saying. I try to explain that Mommy's ears aren't working very well right now, but she still thinks that a kiss should make them all better. :) I do enjoy the kisses. :)

I'm feeling pretty worn out today because we had a little excitement yesterday after it appeared Ellie had dislocated her elbow for the third time, the second time at school and within two months. They keep shuffling teachers around at Kindercare so every time we turn around there's a new teacher who needs to be warned to be careful of Ellie's right elbow.

Anyway, the injury happened Thursday, but it didn't seem as severe as the previous two times. She was protecting it against her side and favoring her left arm, but she wasn't making pain noises and crying at the slightest jarring motion. So we decided to wait and see overnight how it looked. When she woke up with it still tight against her side, we decided that Scott's work time was worth the extra co-pay for going to the ER rather than waiting for the pediatrician's office to open. I had already taken my pain meds and didn't want to drive myself, but Scott promised he'd drive me home afterwards because he really wanted me there too.

Just before we arrived at the hospital, Ellie's favorite song came on the CD player and suddenly she's lifting both arms up in the air and moving her fingers like she's tickling someone. Scott parked at the ER, and then we coaxed Ellie into a series of movements and decided maybe she was OK after all and took her to school.

Of course, when we got to school, she was back to protecting her right arm and not using it and complaining it hurt, which left us waffling. We ended up leaving her at school after telling the teacher that we wanted a phone call if she got any worse. Meanwhile, I stayed awake until the ped's office opened and got one of the few remaining openings with her doc for 2:15 p.m.

Scott works very close to Ellie's school, so he asked me how I felt about dropping him off and driving myself home, then picking him up on the way to get Ellie for the doc appointment. I agreed because I thought I felt OK, but before I was even a third of the way home, I had this wave of exhaustion and could barely keep my eyes open. That was just kind of scary, and I won't do that again. :( But I did make it home safely, went back to sleep after making Ellie's doctor appointment, and essentially woke up four hours later, just in time to grab a quick bite for lunch and then head out to pick Scott up.

My pain levels are very high upon waking, then respond well to medicine but climb throughout the day. I generally need another dose of pain meds by 2 p.m. at the outside, so it was hard driving to pick up Scott and then having to wait until we were in an examining room to get a drink of water to take another dose of pain medication.

Meanwhile, Ellie's arm was completely better by the time we got her picked up. Scott wanted to cancel the doctor appointment, but since it was just 15 minutes before our slot, I didn't think I could do that without charge anyway. So we went, and got some advice for how to re-locate Ellie's elbow if we're absolutely sure there's no chance she broke anything. (Yeah, like you can ever be absolutely sure without an x-ray!) We also got some reassurance that Ellie's repeated dislocations don't doom her to a lifetime of elbow problems as I'd read online. (A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!)

We had planned to visit Costco after work/school last night, so we went after Ellie's doctor appointment. Which I think was a mistake for me because even with those electric scooters they have available (thank G-d, because I'd never be able to shop there without them!), I was completely and utterly worn out when we got home.

And of course it carried over into today, and will probably last until early next week because I never seem able to catch up on my rest over the weekend when Scott and Ellie are home.

Of course, it could be a lot worse, and I probably shouldn't whine about it. But it really helps to have a place to vent, and I appreciate anyone who's reading not telling me I'm completely lame for doing so. :)