Friday, February 14, 2014

The Poison Miracle

It does exist.  AND I WAS AWAKE FOR NEARLY FORTY EIGHT HOURS AS LIVING PROOF.  Its name is Solumedrol and it is a steroid. 

The Miracle Part:  I have been virtually incapacitated since I got out of the hospital before Christmas.  Walking was agony. The soles of my feet have been on fire due to neuropathy.  Having anything press against them, even brush against them, was torturous.  My legs were too weak to swing up onto my bed anymore, so what little I slept was either in a recliner or sitting on the side of the bed, leaning against a pile of pillows.  Because it hurt so much to take even a few steps, I could not sew at the sewing machine.  Or get to the bathroom promptly.  I have been getting progressively shorter of breath.  Even though I am using the ventilator, I am gasping for breath with the least exertion. Getting to the kitchen to make so much as a cup of tea brought me to tears because it was just so darn hard. As a matter of fact, that is practically all I did, sit and weep in spurts as I brooded over everything and anything.  I was frantic and terrified about having metastasized cancer.  I sobbed over the children I miss so much and prayed desperately I could make things right again.  I don’t like television, and couldn’t focus anyway, so I didn’t watch it.  I couldn’t concentrate on reading.  Wondering how long I even have left, I just saw a lifetime of this humiliating  suffering ahead of me, knowing despite what some people believe, I am neither brave nor dignified.

It finally occurred to me to call the doctor and ask for some help.  Thursday I started a course of intravenous Solumedrol at approximately 3 p.m.  By 4:30 Friday morning, I had significantly less pain on walking.  I was already a little less short of breath.  My feet were not burning as much.  I did spend the night in the recliner in the sunroom (even though I didn’t sleep), but I was relatively comfortable for the first time in months.  I watched two British TV series (Broadchurch and Collision, both fantastic) and actually was able to concentrate.  I even made a cup of tea without crying.  This won’t last forever, relapses are inevitable, but steroids truly are a miracle for now.

The Poison Part: Steroids affect every part of your body, just like MS, only in different ways.  They cause weight gain and salt retention.  (Although I am the only person in existence who could develop a wasting disease and not actually waste).  It causes increased blood sugar.  A higher likelihood for infection.  Lowered immunity.   Hair loss.  Mood disorders.  Skin problems.  Increased blood pressure.  Weakened bones.  Kidney problems.  INSOMNIA.  Is that enough?  Ironically, I don’t get a common side effect that I am prone to when I am not on steroids: depression.  Perhaps it is simply relief, or maybe I am going nuttier than usual, but I am positively giddy with happiness right now.

Belated Holiday Update

Christmas was lovely, thanks to my daughter, who, despite being eight months pregnant, made it a peaceful, blessed holiday.  She decorated the house beautifully and we had a fun Christmas morning with Maddy.  The only pall over the season was the absence of my other three children.  I miss them so much sometimes I literally cannot breathe.  Just talking about them or looking at their pictures, those beautiful, precious faces that I love so much, makes me cry.  I lived for them.  Without them I often feel I have nothing left to live for.  I try to force myself to remember to focus on what I do have, my God, my daughter, the two grandchildren I know, my fifth grandchild due any minute, my friends and loved ones.  They are my blessings.  I must be grateful for them.  I am grateful for them. But I am truly bereft at what I am missing.

Computer Issues

Because I sleep so poorly and because I am on this wild cacophony of medications, I am notorious for spontaneously falling asleep.  I fall asleep talking on the phone or in person, it makes no difference, and there is usually no warning.  At least twice I have conked out on my dear friend Robin, who is a perfectly interesting and entertaining companion.  But to my humiliation and regret, I have managed to lose consciousness despite her many charms.   She has let herself out.

The worst part of this is falling asleep with a cup of something in my hand, whereupon I will wake up bathed in the substance.  This is not fun.  Thank goodness I have not had a boiling cup of tea in my hands, but I have had many a tepid one.

Not too long ago I dozed off holding a small cup of ice cream.  It melted and seeped under some of the keys on the left side of my laptop.  When I did finally wake up, the keys were sticky, but functional.  After two weeks of this I got a brilliant idea.  The ice cream didn’t hurt the laptop, but the stickiness was irritating.  So, I thought I would try a few drops of water to wash away the ice cream.  Yes, that is correct, I, the product of approximately 22 years of education, decided to wash out my laptop with actual water.   

It took me roughly 30 seconds to completely destroy it.

I tried blowing on the keys to dry them (I have a lot of hot air, as anyone who reads this blog is aware).  I tried the hair dryer.  I tried the ever popular shake-it-real-hard and its cohort, bang-on-it.  Finally I admitted defeat.  Mary Kate took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, but they couldn’t salvage it either.  I had to get a new lap top, although I did get a bargain and the Geeks transferred my hard drive to the new one.  But something must have traveled with the old files, as I am having tough time with the new computer.  I cannot access my e-mail, Foxfire or Facebook.  I am working on cleaning it up, but it is taking long time.  Lucky thing time is one thing I have plenty of right now.


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