My Dr. is a great guy. He greets me with a warm handshake, looks me straight in the eye and really listens when I talk. He repeats things back to me to make sure he has heard me correctly. He takes meticulous notes. He is smart, speaks softly but confidently, and always makes sure all my questions are answered. He doesn’t pooh-pooh some of my thoughts about what may or may not be wrong with me as some doctors do when nurse/patients suggest diagnoses or courses of action. Together we are a pretty good team – usually.
After my near death experience I was making slow, but steady, progress toward recovery. I came home from the hospital after 13 days, most spent in the intensive care where I’m told they called a code on me at one point. I was weak as a kitten. I could not open a bottled water by myself. I required roughly 20 hours of sleep a day, and since I couldn’t eat, sleeping seemed like a pretty good fall back plan. I was off work for 10 weeks altogether, and when I went back – I was still very weak and extremely tired.
I kept putting one foot in front of the other in an effort to get through each day – I changed jobs to get rid of my ghastly commute. I was in a mental fog. Doc said – “give yourself time – it will get better. You’ve been through a lot. It takes 6 months for the anesthesia to leave your body completely.” Even my surgeon agreed. All my nursey friends said the same thing…You don’t recover from a serious illness like that so easily. I listened to them all – but I knew something wasn’t right. I was sleeping 10 hours or more each night, and most weekends were spent curled up on the couch. I’ve never been one to nap, but it became a daily necessity. But all the sleep and naps did not leave me feeling refreshed at all. I’d wake up just as tired (and sometimes more tired) than when my eyelids slammed shut. I was so weak I couldn’t have pulled a sick whore out of bed. (For the record, I have NEVER tried to pull a sick whore out of bed, but it is a saying I’ve heard many times over the years and have grown fond of).
And still with the mental fog. I had to concentrate on every word singly (thus my Scrabble addiction), then string them together in a phrase or sentence, then try to comprehend the conversation or text I was confronted with. I didn’t joke around, insult people (my husband) just for the sheer joy of it – or contemplate trouble to get into. Writing – hell, even sitting upright long enough to write – was totally out of my realm of possibilities. If I stopped moving I fell asleep.
I drove to work two weeks ago, sat in the car in the parking lot, and wondered where I would find the strength to drag my sorry ass into the building. How I would face my students and deliver 2 lectures, each 2 1/2 hours long? The meetings? Lesson plans? Dear God in heaven, just take me now, I prayed.
I called Doc and made the appointment. I told him it had been 6 months and I was ready to try anything – exorcism, bloodletting, amphetamines – ANYTHING to feel like my old self again. Together we looked at this whole year. It had started with a concussion, a little depression, hypertension and progressed to major surgery….WAIT – WAIT JUST A DAMNED MINUTE.
I had started a new blood pressure medication shortly before I became so ill. One notorious for zapping patients’ energy and stamina. Neither of us had made the connection. He ordered a bunch of lab work (because he could and because I have great insurance). We switched medications. Within a couple of days I felt like my old self. The new medication made my hands and feet swell and hurt, so I quit it after a few days. I also halved the dose of my antidepressant, then switched to half doses every other day, then quit those, too and became pharmaceutical free. And alive, once again.
I spent Thanksgiving in Key West – walking miles, laughing, drinking, joyous and so very glad to be alive. My husband, who must have enjoyed the peace and quiet of my long, drawn out convalescence at least a little – welcomed me (and my insults) back.
I don’t really blame my doc for the problems with the medication – I myself did not make the connection and I almost always look to a patient’s medications as the culprit for a change in health status. But I needed a title and “I was too drugged to know and too tired to care” didn’t sound quite as fun…
Anyho0000 – I am glad to be back – I haven’t been able to keep up with the multitude of blogs I follow, but hope to join the fun and games again.
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This is my 200th post – I kept looking at the 199 and wishing I could scrape up the energy to knock out just one more! I finally did it!