Friday, December 31, 2010

Rehab Friend Reunion!

Tomorrow I start the new year by driving down to Nebraska to visit a friend from pain rehab. The trip is gonna take 7+ hours, which I am really not looking forward to. At least I get to use my mom's awesome car.

Wish me luck!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve...And A String of Bad Luck

It's Christmas Eve, and is the general deal for holidays with my family, the bad luck has begun.

It started with the stranding of my little brother's most wanted gift. He loves legos, and my mom had ordered him a Lego Harry Potter set, #4840, The Burrow (The Weasley's Home). That gift has been in Newark, NJ for three days, even though my mom had 2 day shipping. My little brother is devastated.

My bad luck started this afternoon. I was walking back to my parents' bedroom to check on my brother and sister, who are watching a Star Wars marathon, and I stepped wrong, dislocating my big toe. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, but the pain was so much more intense than usual. I currently have a lidocaine patch wrapped around it, covered in gauze and taped on, and an ice pack over top.

Then, as I was making lunch, I dropped a plate, that shattered all over the floor. As I was cleaning the mess up, I got glass slivers in my feet.

I hope Christmas is better!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Birthday Party Called on Account of... Blizzard?!

Last week I turned the big 22. Normally I wouldn't make much of a fuss about it, but being as I'm living in an apartment with my awesome friend/roommate (totally a no-no, but so far we're coexisting very well) I decided that I could throw myself a party. So I hop on the Facebook, and set up an event. Put in all the details, invite everyone I want. People start responding, lots of maybes, a couple for sure. Then comes the day....

And the biggest friggin' blizzard in almost 20 years hits! 
Just my luck.
The storm was so bad that MNDOT pulled all the plows OFF the roads!

And so the party was cancelled. This was in the top 5 of my list of crappy birthdays, and the second official time my birthday has been snowed out. Normally I don't whine about presents, I always get a few, it's not so huge of a deal to me, but I only got two this year. One from my roommate, and another from a friend of ours. Sad, indeed. Either way, makes for an interesting story. Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sick again, oh joy!

Wednesday my roommate, myself, and a friend of ours went to the Mall of America. We had a pretty good time, then went to Old Country Buffet for dinner. I went to bed content.

Thursday morning I wake up early to work on a project, and upon waking, I realize I have a sore throat and no voice. Emailed my professor that I couldn't do my speech, then went back to bed. I slept on and off for a good 36 hours.

Friday I missed class, slept more. That night I was feeling super crappy, so I went to my parents' house for the weekend. I was running a fever, totally out of it, with a laundry list of symptoms.

This morning I went to the doc. Verdict? Sinus infection. Since I've only been sick two days, he said it was probably viral, then gave me a list of over the counter crap to take. So far I haven't slept in almost 24 hours due to the fever hot/cold issue, plus my arthritis acting up on top of it all. I'm hoping this goes away soon :/ I'm already super behind on schoolwork, I don't need to get any further behind!

Also, in my previous post I linked to some wishlists. Don't worry, I'm not soliciting anything from anyone, I just thought it'd be fun to put them up, thinking maybe a friend would surprise me with something. Sorry if I offended anyone!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Record breaking low pressure system in the Midwest...Help!

I feel like I'm being ripped apart.
Since last night, the weather has been getting progressively worse. The temperature has dropped from near 70°F over the weekend, to 39°F this afternoon. It's raining with the occasional ice crystals. The wind is insane, and we are under a high wind warning until 7pm tomorrow. The lowest pressure point in this system is currently over Minnesota...Where I happen to reside. Crap.

I guess it's time to cuddle up under a pile of blankets and avoid the outdoors.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in enhancing my warm, comfort time, feel free to check out:

My MN weather wishlist

And in case I don't post again before it, Happy Halloween :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An update on life, and how you can find friends in odd places - like pain rehab

Pain Rehab kicked my butt. It chewed me up, spit me out, and had me not quite sure which way was up...But I survived, and gained some things. Obviously I gained knowledge of how to deal with the pain. I gained strength from PT. The best part, however, was the fact that I gained a friend. She's 23, and basically me...With a few differences. It was so great just to have someone my age to talk to, who wholly understands the pain issues, and is also living with the same, and wanting some of the same things, mainly some semblance of normality. She doesn't live near here, but the wonders of the internet let me keep in contact with her, and for this I am grateful.

My first activity post-rehab was the Warped Tour. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it's a summer concert tour, of mostly rock, pop-rock, screamo, electronica, punk, and ska music. It's outdoors, and has upwards of 50 bands playing on about 6 different stages. I've been going every year since 2004. A friend of mine, who also went, told me she was glad that I came, because July was a very difficult month for me, and I needed something fun. Oh, and it was fun! Despite the 90+ degree weather, I met up with and hung out with friends, saw my little cousin enjoying her very first Warped Tour, and saw/heard some amazing bands. It really did start August on a high note.

August 3 I had surgery to remove the plate in my left leg. My surgeon, whom we'd begun to dislike following my first surgery after he took over for my previous surgeon, proved that his ego is more developed than his bedside manner. After beginning to backtrack on plans we'd made months prior about this surgery while I was in pre-surg, I knew this was going to suck. Post-op in the PACU, they could not get the pain under control. They started with Dilaudid, 5mg doses, every 5 minutes, with a max of 500mg. They maxed me out, and I was still extremely uncomfortable. So, again, 5mg, every 5 minutes, with a max of 500mg. When they finally got the pain under control, I had received a FULL GRAM of Dilaudid. Keep in mind that I am a 144 pound female with no history of drug use/abuse. My surgeon then didn't decide for several hours whether or not to admit me (it was supposed to be a same-day surgery, but it never is for me, because I have complications). When I finally was admitted, it was 6:30pm, and the hospital kitchen was CLOSED. I couldn't get anything more than a turkey sandwich, and when you haven't eaten since 12am, a sandwich isn't gonna cut it. Thankfully, me being a resourceful college student, who attended school in the area last year, I knew of a good order online Chinese/Cambodian place, and we got food from there. The rest of my stay in the hospital included talking with many of the nurses who remembered me from my previous surgeries, and getting increasingly angry with my surgeon. He doesn't know it, but at my 6week follow-up appointment. He's getting fired. If I ever have to see a doc at that hospital again, it will not be him.

Anyways, I'm still healing, and my body likes to shoot my temp up to 99° and sap my energy, so it's off to bed with me. Hope you're all well!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center 3 week program, Unofficial Day 3, Official First Day

Day 1: Evaluation
Day 2: More eval, then testing the waters by going to group.
-Weekend spent at home-
Day 3 (Official Day 1): Day starts with team meeting. We set our goals for the day. After only 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before, my goal for the day was to stay awake. Follow meeting by morning stretching. OT afterwards. At 10am I had my Biofeedback appointment, it went well. 11am was group again, the topic was okay. Lunch was at 12, had a pretty good time just sitting around talking with everyone. After lunch was group 2. After group 2 was group therapy. Last event of the day was hearing from some program graduates.

Honestly, so far, my favorite part of this program is being completely understood. Not having to explain everything. Being in a room full of people who know what I'm going through.

Still recovering from my crash, not 100%, but getting there.
Thank you all for your well wishes and support!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Being hit at 35+ mph is a terrifying and painful experience.

It was Thursday, July 1st. I was on my way to my orthodontist to pick up my retainers. I was literally blocks away. I was making a left turn, the light was green. I checked and rechecked for oncoming traffic - Nothing. I started to turn, and out of nowhere, I was hit. The main and side curtain airbags deployed. It took a second for the pain to hit. The car was full of smoke, the horn was blaring. The minute my airbags deployed, my car began contacting OnStar (thank you, GM). The crash had happened directly in front of a police cruiser. He turned on his lights and called for backup. The OnStar call went through. Was I okay? No. Did I need an ambulance? Yes. At that time, the officer opened my door. Was I okay? No. Did I know what happened? Sort of. I asked if I could call my mom. Did I have a phone? Yes. Could I reach it? Yes. I called my mother, hysterical. I told her I was in a crash. She asked if I was okay. I said no. Then I had to hang up. OnStar woman said she would contact police and rescue. Officer told her they were already there. He asked for my ID if I could get it. I shakily removed my wallet from my pocket and handed it to him. I told him about my EDS. He told me to stay calm, but people would be coming and asking the same questions. Told me not to move my head.

The next few minutes are hazy. Fire rescue inspected my car for fire, shut off the horn. Began scattering cat litter to absorb the fluids draining from my engine. A fireman came and asked the same questions as the police officer. Officer came back and asked where my insurance info was. Glove box. He said he'd get it. Then the medics arrived. Asked me my name. Suddenly someone was behind me, and they put a C-collar around my neck. They asked me what hurt. Neck, head, back, shoulder, chest, arm. I had been reflexively cradling my arm since just after the impact. Was I trapped? No. Did I think I could walk? Maybe. The police officer and a medic helped me out of the car. I made the dazed walk to the ambulance.

More questions, from medics and the officer. I was sobbing, pain, fear, terror, they all contributed. I was laid on a backboard. Buckled in. The ambulance moved to a parking lot to let traffic flow again. They started an IV. More questions. Poking and prodding. Does this hurt? Yes. An ice pack was put on my arm. Morphine was given. I made sure they had gotten my glasses and iPod from my car. I carefully removed my EDS info card and handed it to her. Informed her that I metabolize morphine very quickly. She game me more as it wore off. Made sure I was comfortable. Pulse ox, BP cuff. What hospital was I to be transported to? I gave her the name of the one connected to my orthopedist's hospital. We were en route.

Time passed, hazy for me. Dizzy, confused, in pain. We arrived. I was brought in to the ER, transferred over to a bed. More questions. My family had arrived before me, and they were brought in. I was relieved. More medications, Dilauded, Valium, things I can't remember. Blankets, a new ice pack. Then they threatened to cut off my clothing. Regardless of my current state, I refused. I loved the shirt I was wearing. The nurse agreed to attempt to remove it sans scissors. It worked. X-rays. Nothing broken. C-collar and backboard removed. Finally allowed a glass of water. Percocet given. A second gown to cover my back, and a trip to the bathroom before leaving. The morphine had caused urinary retention (I've dealt with this many times before) so I asked to be cathed before leaving. That done, I was finally free to go, prescriptions for percocet and valium in hand, right arm in a sling.

Final diagnoses? Whiplash, concussion, severe bone bruising over collarbone and sternum. Bruises on chest, hips, legs. muscle strain/injury in shoulders, right being more severe. wrist sprain. And what I considered one of the worst injuries? a 4" second degree burn from the deploying airbag on my right arm.

It's been 3 days, I am still in considerable pain and can't do much at all. I get to endure daily bandage changes on my burned arm. I can't sleep at night due to my chest bruises/pain. I get dizzy and nauseated if I am up for too long/move too much due to my concussion. My muscles are extremely tense, and I have to wear a sling and wrist brace if I am going to be doing anything where I can't keep my arm and shoulder relaxed and supported.

As for my car? She was a 2010 Pontiac Vibe, gorgeous black with a sunroof and amazing sound system. She is now a partially twisted pile of metal in a towing yard. We think she may be totaled, but that is for the insurance adjuster to decide.

I am also terrified to drive now, and have been very panicky as a passenger in cars. I know it could've been worse, and I should be thankful, but it still kills me inside.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When Mayo doesn't refer to a sandwich topping, or, how I'm moving to another city for a month.

After countless exams, poking, prodding, new diagnoses, and doctors, I finally got the referral I was looking for. After going in for an eval and countless phone calls, I was in, and the date was set. What does this all mean?

Next month, I will be moving down to Rochester (MN) to spend three weeks in the Mayo Clinic's outpatient pain rehab. This program can be really difficult to get in to, but thanks to our close proximity (we're only an hour or so from Rochester) I was able to be put on the short notice list, which meant if they had a cancellation, I could be down there immediately.

I'm kind of scared, as I really don't know what to expect, and this is a very intense program that starts at 7:30am and goes until evening. As a kid, my family lived in Rochester for a few years, and I can tell you now, it's not the most fun place to live. I will be living in a long term hotel room, by myself, with no family or friends in the area. I'll miss my little brother's 7th birthday, and several events I wanted to attend, but hopefully in the end it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The desert does a body good.

I've been here since last Friday. The difference from home is unbelievable. My pain level has dropped significantly. I have been far more active than usual, and it's nice. However, I miss my family, and my pets, and I really can't wait to get home. I fly back on Friday but will be staying in a hotel overnight because I get back rather late, and it'll be a 5 hour drive home.

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

Well, not exactly Vegas, but somewhere nearby.
I haven't posted until now because I didn't want to jinx it, but I leave tomorrow for the great state of Nevada.
One full week of desert weather!
Enjoy your Memorial Day, folks!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Results, storms, and the possibility of warmth.

So I went to the doc on Tuesday. The test results were as follows:
-Cholesterol is still high (307 total, Triglycerides 209, LDL 166, HDL 99)
-Vitamin D is still low despite 400IU/day supplementation. Upped to 800IU/day.
-Blood inflammation levels above normal but not high enough to be worrisome.
-Holter was inconclusive.
-MRI results aren't back yet (MRI was Wednesday)

So that was my Tuesday/Wednesday. Then on Wednesday night we had our first Thunderstorm of the season, and I was in a world of pain. I haven't slept more than 5 hours out of the last 36. As for the possibility of warmth, I may be going to Nevada to visit some family friends for a week or so. I love NV because it can be 105 degrees and be perfectly comfortable, because unlike the weather here, the heat there is dry. Last time I was in Nevada I felt amazing and had energy to spare. Hoping I get to go!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's almost like a medical miracle.

Today I took my first dose of Lyrica.
Within two hours, I started to feel...Different.
 I haven't been this mobile and at this (very low) level of pain since I was about 8!

I actually started tearing up at one point, because for the first time since I remember, I felt normal.
My hope now is that this medication continues to help me, because so far, the change in my pain and attitude towards my life has been drastic.

To those of you who have yet to find a treatment that helps, keep your head up, you never know what's around that next corner. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doctors: Throwing every test they have at me, and seeing what sticks.

My day was, to say the least, eventful. Even though it was a normal visit to my primary care doc, some of the things that have been going on with me recently concerned him enough to bring in the big guns.

He agreed with the diagnosis the Mayo Clinic doctor made of Fibromyalgia. This was a diagnosis that sort of sneaked up on me. I knew it was probable, but I really didn't want to hear it confirmed. However, that's what happened. Thankfully, because of this, he agreed to switch my pain meds from Gabapentin to Lyrica, which I am excited to try.

We addressed my current new symptoms, and they could possibly have several origins. We also discussed my random occurrences of tachycardia, and I am wearing a Holter monitor for the next 24 hours. Hopefully that sheds some light on those issues.

The rest was an EKG, blood tests (cholesterol, liver enzymes, thyroid, inflammation levels, CBC, vitamin D, potassium, and anything else he wanted), making me set up an appointment for the brain MRI I've been avoiding, and x-rays for the toe I ran over with the bathroom door.

Just another day in my life.

Tomorrow I get the Holter monitor taken off. Next week I have a meeting with my doc to go over the results of all the testing, and the day after that I have my MRI. I have a feeling this summer will be interesting.

Oh, and finals and moving are next week, as well. I'm petitioning the scholastic committee to have my grades scrapped for this semester, because my GPA is so low that if they don't, I will be on academic suspension. I know I should've taken medical leave, but I was stubborn, and I'm paying for it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The call every pet owner dreads.

This morning, I slept in, as I am wont to do on weekends. At some point I was awoken by the sound of the answering machine, and someone leaving a message about one of our cats. I thought she'd just gone to someone's house, and they were calling us to come get her. I was wrong.

The message told me she was gone, found by someone in their driveway, already expired. My world collapsed, my pets are my babies. I called the man back, asked him his address as my voice cracked and the tears fell. After that call I went through the motions, getting the kennel into the back of my car, the pain paralyzing, sobbing. I drove just to the street behind us. Parked sloppily, the hurt, the need to see her prompting me to rush.

The man stood in his driveway, the sadness obvious in his features. I walked up to him, hair wild, barefoot, in my pajamas, the tears streaming down my face. He explained to me that he'd found her there, in his driveway, not a scratch on her, but somehow lifeless. My heart broke as I looked down at the box he'd lain her in. I couldn't take it. I thanked him for his kindness and picked up the stiff body of my little girl, not bothering with the box, wanting to put her somewhere more familiar, more comfortable. I laid her gently in the kennel, on the blanket she'd come with from the humane society.

The young girls who live in the house behind us, and directly across the street from the man who found her, took notice of the situation as I carried her lifeless body to the car. They cried out her name, surrounded me, knew my pain. She'd spent lots of time making friends with them. I was hugged, consoled, but it all felt so foreign and uncomfortable. I just wanted to take her home. Eventually I escaped, driving home practically blind, unable to stop the cascade of tears and the sobs that wracked my body.

I got home and brought her into the yard. I sat, stroking her fur and examining her for any injuries. There wasn't a scratch, no signs she'd been hit by a car. Her body, however, showed me that she did not go peacefully. It was then that I realized that something more sinister may have happened to her. You see, not everyone is good. Some people are monsters. One of those monsters lives quite near to us. He has voiced his opinion on our cats, aimed kicks at them, and has even been seen harming his own dog. I am hoping I am wrong, that someone would not willingly harm such an innocent creature, but the signs are all there.

Monday morning I will take my sweet kitty to the vet one final time, to see if her demise was the result of a very despicable act, or a mere accident. And when she is buried, a piece of my heart will go with her.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The cost of keeping a dog

At this point, they're very high.
My little mini Dachshund, Oscar, has just been diagnosed with Cushing's.
Due to my medical bills and tuition, and my lack of a job, I cannot afford to pay for the final set of tests, let alone treatment.

This kills me, he's my baby :/

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First week back, revisited.

The first week back at school was difficult, I won't lie, but I survived. Here's a recap of how my week went:

Sunday: My family helped me move back in. It took two trips and a little bit of yelling, but we made it.

Monday: Martin Luther King day, no class. Spent the day sleeping, relaxing, and watching TV.

Tuesday: First day of classes. My only class was at 1:15pm, on the East part of the other campus. I made it, only a couple minutes late.

Wednesday: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are my busy days. I had to get up at 7:45am to make it to my 8:30 class. I got an hour and fifteen minute break before I had to get on the bus to make it to writing. Immediately after writing, I had to walk a block to my Math class, in a huge auditorium. I sat at the top because there was no making it down those stairs.

Thursday: Two classes. First I had my lab for my Animal Science class, followed soon after by my peer led math discussion. After classes, I went to the poster sale that was being held at the student union. I ended up leaving with three different House posters.

Friday: Basically a repeat of Wednesday, only we actually started working on things and I had two assignments due. I took a nap between Animal Science and Writing, but for some reason, my alarm didn't go off. I was almost 30 minutes late for my 50 minute class. Thankfully my writing teacher is pretty awesome, and he let me slide. Math peer discussion was uneventful.

When I got back to my room, I found that I'd missed a phone call, and the caller had left a message. As I listened to the message, I realized that this could be the biggest coincidence in a while, but that's for another post.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recap, back to school.

So, after a nice, long Christmas/New Years holiday, and 2 surgeries in under two weeks, today I must return to school. I am not looking forward to it. My lovely new dental implant hurts like nobody's business, my foot and leg are still not even remotely up to par, and I get exhausted at the drop of a hat.

I, for a fleeting moment, considered filing for a medical withdrawal this semester, but realized how much further behind that would put me.  So tonight, with considerable help from my wonderful family, I will be moving back into my dorm room.

C'est la vie.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The hits just keep on coming

Aside from everything else I've previously mentioned, I have a new ailment to contend with - oral thrush. I've lost nearly all of the skin on my tongue, and it hurts like you would not believe. There's going to be a call in to the doctor when they open.

I just want this over already.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Updates from back home.

After one night in the hospital, I am pleased to report that I am home. The bladder issues resolved Friday morning, and I was discharged that evening. On my way home, my mother and I stopped at my favorite high-end grocery store, to pick up sushi. The sushi chef, who knows my order by heart, asked how I was doing.

By the time we got home, however, I was in excruciating pain again. I have been sleeping most of the time, only waking to eat and take my medications. I only get out of bed to go to the bathroom. For some reason, my throat is very sore, so I'm keeping an eye on that.

Seeing as I'm highly medicated, I apologize for this rather disjointed post. I shall leave you with a picture of myself and my hardware. One 2" plate and 4 screws that were removed from my right leg.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not So According to Plan

Everything did not go as planned.
Due to pain issues, as well as post-op urinary retention, my outpatient surgery is no longer.
I will be staying the night, and possibly tomorrow if things don't resolve.

The worst incident so far was when something went wrong with my foley catheter. I was in excruciating pain for a good five minutes while the nurse administered my meds, then got everything ready. I'm better now that the foley is out, but I have to pee like you wouldn't believe...and I can't.
Here's a picture of me just post-relief of the foley pain:

I'm very pale in this picture due to the amount of pain I was in. My heart rate increased to 102bpm during the incident. I am better now, but I'm hoping no other things happen.

Thanks for all the kind thoughts! I appreciate it.

Pre-Op Pre-Op!

Yup, posting from inside the hospital.
Scared as heck, but I should survive.
Still not looking forward to another cast >.<

At least I get good drugs!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Under the Knife

It scares the hell out of me.
On Thursday, I'll once again be going in for surgery, this time to remove the plate from my right leg and shave some bone overgrowth from my heel. Surgery scares the crap outta me, regardless of how many times I've endured it.
So wish me luck, 'cause I'm gonna need it.