Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Medical Cluster-You-Know-What

I've not written much in the last three months here because I had severe asthma from Jim unsealing the storage room and hauling the boxes out, followed by a cold I picked up from him, followed by a two week bout with the flu, followed by mrsa - AGAIN!!

But nothing could have prepared me for the almighty hellacious cluster-eff that my bright and early Monday morning appointment with a new pulmonologist at UVA morphed into.

Back history. My recent local pulmo closed her practice and quit giving everyone three days notice. I'm replacing her, deciding finally that I need to just bite the bullet and go with the research hospital folks, but not as far away as the doctors I was seeing at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I love Baltimore but that 3 hour one way drive three times a week for vocal cord therapy, allergy testing and evaluation for a possible bronchioplasty took a big chunk of my life for three months.

My new doctor is a youngish woman with a Chinese name and she seems very nice. I was in her office for 90 minutes for this initial consultation. She's referring me to the allergy team and several other specialists. I also ended up being re vaccinated for some childhood vaccinations before leaving and having a pile of blood drawn.  She also wants to do a reevaluation on doing that bronchialplasty. And there are newer better biologic drugs at her disposal besides my old standby of Xolair.

Here's where it all went shitty and truly horrible, which ended up with me leaving the UVA ER against medical advice before the day ended. When I walked in and they took my blood pressure it was high, not just normal white coat syndrome high, but stroke and heart attack level high. They took it no less than 4 times over that visit and it only came down a few points.

I tried to point out I have an active mrsa infection in my eye and that if she'd read my medical chart she'd see I sometimes have crazy ups and downs with my blood pressure in reaction to allergies to various meds and/or chemicals. She kept asking me if I had chest pains and a headache, swearing I must have had a horrible headache. I explained except for the pain of the eye infection and my sniffling allergies I felt fine. I just wanted to go home.

No dice. I was handed a prescription for mild blood pressure drug and frog marched down to the damn ER to be treated for high blood pressure before leaving. After a lengthy wait and some intern trying to march in there and give me various drugs including a whopping Ativan injection I realized they were not going to let me go, their plan was to a) dope me stupid so I could not drive and b) keep me till my blood pressure came down.

Now I live a good hard  ninety minute drive by backroads from the hospital and they're about to fill me with things that are likely to affect my ability to drive? Not happening! I felt fine.

Ended up leaving them and driving home. Had my blood pressure taken at the local pharmacy and it was about  15 points down, still too high but easing out of the danger zone. Once I got home I checked it again and it was down from that. By the end of the night I was safely well below the stroke level.

Risky, I know, but I think I made the right call on it.

I realized climbing into bed that the only other time I had that crazy high blood pressure reading was when my cpap machine malfunctioned five years ago and I had to replace it. Examined my machine. The stupid mask and tubing are old and have hairline cracks. Fortunately I had recently gotten replacements and I had to replace the mask and tubing. The next morning my blood pressure was much much closer to normal.

I usually have low blood pressure, in fact I've had problems with low blood pressure in the past. One of the reactions I have to meds I'm allergic to is that my blood pressure will drop too low and I'll pass out. Years before when I'd also popped that insane high level I was put on the lowest amount of the mildest pressure med. Three months later I was in the hospital with a bout of low blood pressure so bad I could barely walk much less sit up.

This is all so damn irritating. I was also told to 'cut the stress' in my life. How in the hell do you do that and keep on living and dealing with life? I did immediately jettison some of the things that are stressing me out, working on counting the offering, helping lead the team and a pile of other things. Dropped cold. I don't need the hassle while I'm feeling like crapola.

Tomorrow will be interesting. I'm spending the meal with Jim, a very fundamentalist couple that love Trump from our old church, her lesbian daughter, the daughter's career military wife and the military woman's mother who is supposedly a horrible trouble maker and assorted semi religious folks. I asked the hostess if she cared if I had tequila in my purse. She laughed. It will be interesting if nothing else to watch people who think homosexuality is the worst sin ever mix with two lesbians. A family member told me I had to go, if for no other reason than to observe and report on the chaos. How do I get myself into these things. Three Thanksgivings ago I attended the potluck filled with relatives and wife-swappers and I thought that was the weirdest most uncomfortable holiday this side of the ones fueled with alcohol and simmering resentments from my Louisiana childhood. Tomorrow's holiday just might steal the weirdness crown from Turkey and Swapping. I think I'm going to have to have a pre-turkey tequila shot or three.


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