Monday, July 28, 2014

And Here's The News I've Dreaded

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

Had another post-op appointment to follow up on my third eye surgery.  I knew it was bad news by the look on the doctor's face after he examined me.  He looked so heartbroken, as if it was he who was being told he'll never see again.

OK, well, it wasn't THAT bad...

As usual, when he first walked in and we had our greetings, he asked if my vision had improved since two weeks ago.  I told him it hadn't, that it was like trying to look through frosted glass, just all gray.  He examined my eye both with the biomicrocope and then with the hand held bio tools.  He informed me that I still have some gas as well as some blood in my eye, but they both are clearing up well.

Next he did an ultrasound on my eye and spent some time at this procedure which is what gave me the first inkling that something was wrong.  Usually when he does the ultrasound it only takes a couple minutes and he says things like, "Looks good", etc. and "all is good".  Today he was at it for several minutes, and very quiet.

"OK, let's go back to the other room and we'll talk."  He said.  That's when my heart sped up.  That kind of thing is what you hear when bad news is coming.

Back in the exam room he informed me that my retina is still detaching itself in the same area we've been trying to fix all this time.  "I'm sorry we couldn't get it to stay, it was a 50/50 chance with this last surgery and, well..."  He informed me that I have very little blood flow in my right eye and that makes for a very bad scenario for my poor retina.

"We can try another surgery but I highly suggest waiting for your eye to completely heal first.  You still have the hyphema, gas bubble, and the cataract is becoming more dense, these all interfere with your vision.  You need time to heal."

I agreed with him.

And then I walked home.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

More Doctor Pinball

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

Had another follow-up appointment for the infected abscess on my leg.  I really am getting fed up with my doctor's office.  I rarely get to see my actual doctor and every time I go in, I am seeing a new doctor and have to reexplain everything that's going on.

So, after explaining to this doctor about what's been going on with this abscess over the past three weeks, she examined it and agreed that it probably started from a bug bite.  "I've seen this exact thing before, it started from a spider bite."

I told her there is very little pain now and then showed her a picture of the infection when it was at its worst. "Wow, that is a bad one." She said in reply to the picture. "It's definitely looking better now."

I told her my only complaint is that it itches like hell now.  She suggested benadryl lotion to ease the itch.

She was a little concerned that it hadn't given up much pus, but was happy with the healing progress. She asked about all my other issues: Heart surgery, eye surgery, blood-sugars, blood-pressure.  All is well at the moment.  I did mention that I think the Metoprolol is keeping me from feeling low blood-sugars until they are dangerously low.  She said it is because the medicine keeps the liver from raising blood-sugar and that somehow has an effect on the body's ability to recognize lows...or something to that tune.

After speaking with her attending, she told me to finish off the antibiotic (four days to go), and that there should be no need to follow-up again unless the infection starts to get bad again, or refuses to fully heal.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Abscess Update

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

I had a follow-up appointment today for the infected abscess on the back of my left thigh.  I didn't get to see the doctor who initially helped me last week.  Instead I got a newb.  I don't mind working with newbs, I am more than happy to help them get experience.  I just was a little annoyed that I had to go over everything I have gone through already because I couldn't see my usual doctor.

First off, my blood pressure was 105/68 which is slightly low.  The first thing I thought was that if my BP is this low all the time, maybe that's why I am so tired all the time.

The doctor asked me a million questions about the infection.  I was more than happy to show him pictures I had on my phone of the infection when it first started and when it was at it's worst.  He was happy I had them and took a couple minutes to study them and compare to the wound now.  After examining the infection, he said it looked like a classic staph infected abscess and it made sense that it started from a bug bite.  He also said he wouldn't be surprised if I was a long-term staph carrier (someone who always has a strain harbored on their body).   He said the infection and abscess was well on the way to healing but still required antibiotics.  Since he is a newb, he had to get final OK from his attending.

While waiting for the attending doctor to  come in, the newb went ahead and listened to my heart and lungs and checked my reflexes and eyes.  Just to pass the time.

The attending came in and looked at the infection and said, "Wow, that is a bad one."  He gave it a real good examination and decided to scrape the scab off to allow it to drain better.   Because I am on blood-thinners, he didn't want to fully lance it.  It was a bit painful as he scraped and pulled at  the very thick scab and squeezed the abscess.  The abscess was stubborn and didn't want to drain easily, so he finally made a very small incision.  All of this was done without a local, topical, or any other pain reducer or numbing agent.  It really didn't hurt all that bad.

The attending then agreed that I need to stay on the Bactrim (antibiotic) for another week.  They dressed the wound.  I was asked to return in one week for another follow-up.

Finally, I was given a Tdap booster because I am overdue for it.  That is vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tunnels of Love

Well, I managed to have one really vivid dream before waking up at 3 A.M. and not being able to fall back to sleep.

Post apocalypse, of course, because it's awesome.  The dream did not specify if it was from war or nature, but the world is in ruins and all life is endangered and must either adapt or die off.  Humans are no exception, the worlds population has dwindled and someone, somehow has managed to get a message around the globe urging all survivors to make their way to a city in California.  Nobody knows who sent this message, and the rumor is that North America has the worst and most deadly air, water, and resources.  So why go there?  Most people opt to go, however, because there is no other hope, no other option.

Groups of people arrive from all directions.  They are met by border guards wearing protective suits.  These guards tell the people that the rumors are true about North America being the most deadly of places on earth...on the surface.  But tunnels have been dug below and if the people want to survive and be apart of the new human race, they must take the tunnels to the Promised Land.

By the thousands, people began their trek through the tunnels.  these were not the kind of tunnels the people had envisioned.  These dark, dank crawl spaces were barely two feet tall but vast in wideness.  The humans had to lie on their stomachs and crawl on elbows in order to maneuver the suffocating space.

It did not take long for them to realize that this was not a short trip.  Days and then weeks passed of endless tight, cramped, and wet crawling.  There was an occasional cave-in that would kill a few travelers and slow down the progress of others.  Some panicked from the ever claustrophobic environment, screaming and begging for rescue from the darkness and endless crawling.  All were starving, all were slowly suffocating.  None could see a thing.  They crawled on, never knowing if they had been tricked into death or if the world would soon open up again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Somtimes it Wears You Down

Type I Diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, coronary artery disease, acid reflux, frozen shoulder syndrome, staph infection, poor leg circulation.  these are the health issues I deal with daily.  Usually I take it all in stride and find some release by talking it out via this blog and Facebook.  But sometimes the constant pain and the constant "time for more medicine", the constant vigilance,  and constant doctors visits to only be told I need yet more treatment and/or surgery, and the constant realization that I am only half as capable and independent as I used to be...sometimes it all just wears me down.

I had a third surgery on my right eye back in June.  From that day on I was sleeping a lot, it seems that no matter how much sleep I get and what I do in my waking hours, I always end up taking a nap or two during the day.  And I mean real one to three hour naps.  As my eye healed and I felt much better, you would think the tiredness and naps would end.  You see, I am not a napper by nature, I loath naps, I dispise them.  The only time I ever take naps is if I am ill (or healing from surgery).

I told myself it was the healing process.  I told myself it was because I didn't sleep well at night because of my pained frozen shoulder. I told myself a lot of things.

Then the other night I was in bed thinking I shouldn't be so tired because I had taken a three hour nap earlier that day.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was so obvious that I couldn't believe I had missed it until now.

I am depressed.

I mope around the house all day, take naps, feel pain no matter what I do, look at the world through one good eye, no matter how hard I try..everytime I fix a health issue something else falls apart.  I've lost my driver liscence and can't walk far because of leg pain (poor circulation), I can't work because of the surgeries (healing from them) therefore we are down my portion of the income....

It is understandable to experience depression under such circumstances, and now that I have realized I am depressed, I can work to come out of it.

But first, a nap...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Abscess Upset

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

Being type I diabetic, it is ritual to check my entire body every evening for any concerning things such as sores, cuts, discoloration, rashes, etc.  really, anything that can grow into infection and turn my world upside down.  You see, diabetics, especially unhealthy ones like myself, are at much higher risk for illness and infection, so it is a very good habit for us to thoroughly check our bodies every day.

One day, July 3, 2014, I found a red mark on the back of my left thigh, just above my knee.  It was just a red mark, no bump or lump, no pain or itching or anything like that.  Just a red mark, so I didn't think much of it but made a mental note to keep an eye on it.

About twelve hours later, when I woke up the next morning, I felt immediately that the red mark had developed into a bump.  It looked now like a pimple with a dark scab on top and surrounded by red skin.  It hurt a bit as well.  I thought to myself that it might be an ingrown hair.  I have had many an ingrown hair so I treated this the same way I treat all ingrown hairs, I pinched off the scab and squeezed the "pimple".  Nothing came out, no puss, no clear fluid, no blood.  It was dry.  I cleaned it and left it alone for the next 24 hours.

The next day the red area had grown, and so had the pain and swelling.  I am so very bogged down with health issues that this just didn't sit well with me.  I really don't need or want yet more health problems, so what did I do?  I ignored it and told myself it would run it's course and go away on its own.

Over the next couple of days it ran it's course alright.  It grew, became more red, more swollen, more painful, and eventually warm to the touch.  I showed it to my mom and some other friends and family because, you know, I just like to gross people out...and get their opinion.  I got many a different reply, bug bite, ingrown hair, abscess, infection, etc.  And, of course, all of them told me to go to the doctor.

Finally, one week after I first noticed the red spot, I gave in to common sense and realized there was no getting out of seeing the doctor for yet another health issue.

At the doctor's office it was the normal routine: register, weight, height, blood-pressure (117/83), pulse, temp., "when was your last menstrual period?", etc.  Then see the doctor.  She told me the sore looked like a bug bite that had become abscessed.  When I admitted to trying to pop it, she said that was what caused the abscess.

I am on blood-thinners because of heart surgery so she didn't want to lance the abscess.  Instead she opted to put me on a double-dose of bactrim and reassess me in a week.

Being diabetic is hard game.  Never put off going to the doctor just because you are unsure if you really need medical attention or not.  Any good doctor will understand that a diabetic needs to be extra careful and vigilant.   Better safe than sorry, right?