Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Still Kickin'

I knew it had been a while since I've posted on my blog and when I looked I was embarrassed to see how long it had been...  A lot has happened since my last post and nothing really has happened since my last post.     Let me explain that statement.

In August I was pretty much tired of feeling like the hamster in the wheel, running and running to nowhere on the medical side of my life after getting my blood drawn every month and going to the G.I. and having virtually the same conversation about getting the liver function down to somewhere near normal.  I was having some side effects that I attributed to the Imuran, the liver medicine that I had been taking, along with prednisone (steroids) for months.  My doctor was getting frustrated, also I think, because my liver readings were not getting down to where he thought they should be and I was thinking if the dang liver med hadn't kicked in to deal with the problem and get me off the steroids then why am I taking it?  We talked and I told him that I felt some of the problems that were putting me in the dirt were side effects of the Imuran and I wanted to know if there were other options.  He was honest with my that he really didn't know as it was pretty much all he knew to do and he would prefer that I go to a liver specialist that would be more knowledgeable about it all.  Fine with me but I'm getting off the Imuran and he said that was fine but would you not go off the prednisone.  Well, I thought what is 7.5 mg every other day going to do for me but for now I stayed on it.

I went to Ft. Worth for the weekend of August 24th.  My sister-in-law was going to sing for her first time with a gospel group and 6 or 8 songs solo in the program.  The concert program was at a large church in Benbrook, a bedroom community in the south part of Ft. Worth.  My sister that lives in Weatherford, TX, west of Ft. Worth drove in and we got to visit and sit together during the concert and that was fun to get to catch up with her.  It seems we don't get to do that often enough.


This was the flyer for Diane's first professional appearance.  Gloria Diane Gardner or as we call her GG or Diane. She also went with Praise, Inc. to Vermont for 4 days of concerts.  My baby brother went with her and Praise, Inc. on their Vermont trip and they got to visit with my cousin and her husband that live close to where the concerts were being held.  I was jealous that they got to visit my cousin as it has probably been 15 or 20 years since I've gotten to see my cousin... but I wasn't cognizant enough to fuss too much about it.  I, once again, have digressed from my post...

Meanwhile back at the ranch... The Evening Of Praise was wonderful, but also very long.  Anyone that has ever gone to a gospel singing evening knows it will go at least 2 hours and more likely 3-4 hours. Since I went with Bennett (baby brother) and Diane we were at the church so they could get set up and do sound checks and all that pre stuff and then we were at the church for the tear down and all total we were there from about 3:30 in the afternoon until 11 p.m. that night.  I was wiped out.  I slept for the better part of Saturday.  Praise, Inc. was going to sing at a car show and I was looking forward to getting to see all the older cars and enjoy some more music but I was so exhausted that I told Ben he was going to have to go without me.  Diane was also pretty wiped and was staying home until little brother called and smooth talked her into going to the show and doing some more singing both solo and with the guys. I slept, watched a little t.v. and slept some more and some more.

I had planned to get up and go to church with B. and D, on Sunday but I didn't wake up until almost noon on Sunday and when they got home from church we all basically crashed, napping and watching t.v. until Sunday night when we met two of my nephews at the movie, the first one I'd been to at a movie theater since I went with Ben and Diane to see "Elf" when it came out several years ago.  I got up on Monday and drove home. Exhausted.

Somewhere during that stretch of a few days I decided in one of more disastrous decisions that the prednisone wasn't doing any good no more than I was taking... 7.5 mg every other day.  The doctor hadn't told me that you have to step down, way down before you quit taking it and I figured there wouldn't be any problem.  I was so very wrong as any of you who have been on an extended steroid regimen know.

NEWS FLASH... Sometimes I just amaze my own stupid self... I just now in talking with Carol realized I lost almost two months.  I was thinking that I just lost about one month, but I'd been thinking that the concert was in September when they were in August. I got home on Monday even more tired than usual from my trip. And from there things pretty much started heading south.  I slept, got up to eat, maybe get on the computer a bit, maybe not, back to sleep and the next day repeat.  Then the pain started.  I would take pain pills when I got up to feed the dogs in the morning, go back to bed and when I'd get up again I'd take more pain pills just to try to keep the pain at a manageable level... it wasn't working very well.  I went to my regular doctor about getting stronger pain medication until I could see the liver doctor.  I had my first appointment with him on Sept. 20th I think.  Before he did anything medication wise he wanted to get lab work and then we would get down to the business of figuring out what he was needing to treat.  He order 15 different blood tests. I got the bill for them the other day... over six thousand dollars of tests.  Thank God for Medicare otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation because I'm one of those that has no other medical insurance.

In the time after the blood tests until my appointment to see him again, the pain really kicked in.  I would wake up one day with hot, searing joint pain in maybe my elbows one day and then in my wrists and hands the next. You could see the swelling and almost feel the heat coming off whatever area was hurting that day.  My hands looked like I had been in a fight.  My knuckles would swell up to almost double normal size and the swelling would go halfway up my arm. When the pain traveled again it went to my knees.  I was in such pain just trying to walk from my bed to the bathroom (about 12 steps) that I had to use Carol's cane for several days and thought about getting her walker but I didn't get quite that bad. As the days passed I got to being almost analytical watching the pain traveling from one area to the next in my body.  Almost as if I was on the outside of my body looking in and observing what was going on.  For example I figured out when the low grade fever started coming on the pain would start intensifying. The pain meds my family practice doctor gave me that were stronger than what I normally take for the fibro pain and they would afford me some time where I wasn't curled up in a whimpering blob on the sofa or asleep in the bed on an average of 12 hours out of the 24.

I'm going to make this a two-parter because I'm getting worn out trying to remember what all went on since the end of August.  I can remember 40 years ago great, just don't ask what I had for dinner last night and here I'm trying to recall what went on in my drug induced state for almost two months.  I promise not to make you wait for two days, much less two months but I have to take a break for now...


17 comments:

Sara said...

You have had a horrendous couple of months. I am so sorry to hear this. Been wondering if you were OK.

joanne said...

Oh Helen, I wish I had known. Sending love and prayers for you, may you get some pain relief and some answers. Always in my heart dear lady...;j

Paxie said...

Oh my goodness! I wish I had known too, not that I could have helped, but GEEZ. I hate you've been going through all this. I thought you were taking a FB break.

Oh hon, I sure hope the liver specialist will be able to help you out. Please keep us posted okay?

I will keep you in my prayers, hon
xoxoxox

Robynn's Ravings said...

Sorry to just now be stopping by to read this. WOW. What a nightmare and I'm off to read the next part.......In case this doesn't publish my name right this is Robynn.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Sorry to just now be stopping by to read this. WOW. What a nightmare and I'm off to read the next part.......In case this doesn't publish my name right this is Robynn.

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