Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Hospital?

"I don't know what to do with you, " the nurse told me.  "I'm on the fence."

"What are you thinking I should do?" I asked.

"Well, I might want you to go to the hospital..."


It was Saturday Dec 28th when I started feeling a pressure in my chest.  Like a tightening over my heart.  I gave myself my weekly methotrexate injection and went to bed.  In the morning, I felt better. By the evening of the 29th, though, the pressure was back again.  And went on into the night.

Annika had a nightmare and I tried to get her back to sleep.  My heart started racing even though she hadn't scared me.  It was 5:30 AM and I struggled to get back to sleep.

When I got up Monday morning, the pressure was still there.  Like a giant was pushing on my chest until the pain started to seep into my shoulder blade.  Although I had checked online and found that I wasn't having a heart attack, I also couldn't stop the pain or even figure out why I was in pain.

I called my favorite clinic.  I no longer have a doctor there because she defected to the BYU Health Center, but I felt confident in the staff and tried to get an appointment.  They put me through to the nurse.  She found my case puzzling.

We talked about my family history of heart disease, including my dad's recent heart attacks and subsequent surgery.  That seemed to make up her mind.

"Go to the ER.  They have the best equipment.  They can tell you what's going on."

Over breakfast with my kids, I told them about the pressure in my chest.  I told them that a nurse thought I should go to the ER.  I took a shower, got dressed, packed my laptop, a book and my contact and glasses cases and drove myself to the ER.

I called Wendell, told him what was going on and convinced him not to meet me there.

"I promise I'll call if anything gets interesting," I told him.

At the ER they took my blood pressure, ran some blood tests, an EKG and took a chest X-ray.

"On paper," the doc told me, "you look great.  We could do a CAT scan to be sure."  I explained that I had an aversion to CAT scans.

"What I think you have, is inflammation that's causing pressure in your chest."

"Oh!  From my arthritis?"  I'm very familiar with inflammation.

"Probably not," he said, drawing out the phrase like he was politely considering it.

I figured he'd tell me it was my lack of exercise or my over-eating.  But what he said was, "Take care of yourself."  And he tipped his head in a way that was simultaneously sincere and gentle.

After I left the hospital, I read over the paperwork.  The diagnosis on paper cited stress as the most likely cause of the inflammation.  I was having a physiological response to stress.  And there on Monday Dec 30th, in the hospital parking lot, I knew things had to change.  So I began to think a lot about my goals, my aspirations, my joys and how I want to spend my time.  Because, believe me, I do not want to be in the hospital parking lot at the end of 2014 because of stress. It's time to revamp.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Reviewing 2013

I sincerely apologize for keeping my goals posted on this blog, but it's such a great (and easy way) for me to find them.

Part of me feels really sad when I look at my goals from January of 2013, especially with what happened just a couple of days later.

I didn't write about family history.
I didn't lose weight.
I worked on the organization but with pretty marginal success.
I did get more clients!  In fact by the end of 2013, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I had so much to do.
I did get a new calling.  (I'm now in the 2nd Counselor in the Primary.)

I've been taking my sweet time as I think about my next year's goals.  What do I want to achieve?  What is valuable?  How much of anything is too much?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Note on Nate

We had our usual 6 month retinal specialist appointment last Friday.  Emma is doing awesome.  Annika was OK.  Holding her own, we think.  For Nate, though, things had gotten bad.  Really bad.

I honestly wasn't paying attention to how badly he did at his eye exam because the previous week his glasses had fallen apart. I've actually never seen anything like it.  On one Sunday both of his ear pieces fell off within hours of each other.  We found a pair of back-up glasses from last year.  But I dilly-dallied about getting the replacement as I dealt with the Christmas holidays.  I had, finally, begun the process of getting replacements when we had our appointment.  But the replacements weren't in.  So Nate was not only reading the chart through dirty glasses--a constant in his life, but also with the wrong prescription.

I really didn't think anything of it when his test went really wrong.  I didn't even pay attention to how he scored.  Did he get a 20/40 or a 20/50?  Couldn't tell you.  I just waved it off and told them about the glasses.

Then we got the imaging done.  And I saw the thing I never wanted to see.  One "slice" of Nate's imaging in his left eye looks EXACTLY like Emma's right eye--her blind eye.  There it was.  This bulb like bulge under Nate's retina with a bit of something floating in it.  It is likely that the "something" is some kind of fibroid or calcification or whatever it is that filled Emma's bulb shaped bulge and made her go blind.

Here I sit with another 11-year-old at risk of going blind.  We've increased Nathan's meds.  Again.  The doctor mentioned doing shots. Possibly.  Remembering that it didn't help Emma.  There's a lot a shoulder shrugging.  We're guessing.  And hoping.

We've adjusted Nate's meds and we'll wait 2 months to see what that will do.  Sometimes I think about if it doesn't work.  Do we do the shots in the good eye to try to save it?  Or in the bad eye before he goes blind?  Or (horror) do we do both?  Emma had only one eye to save, so it was a no brainer.  But Nate's case is more complicated.

And so I go the rounds.  Should I try to get Xanax and bring it with me that day?  Is he brave enough to do both eyes?  Can I prep him well enough to go through the pain and discomfort of doing one eye and have him sit do to the other?  If not, (or just in case not) which eye do we start with?

Meanwhile, I posted on Facebook about our quandary and had an outpouring of support.  And I FELT it.  The love.  The prayers.  So many people who are struggling with their own problems and issues praying for us.  When, really, it's not all that bad.  But I'm grateful.  And humbled.

And if you're the praying sort, will you pray for Nate?  He could use it.