Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Only when it hurts

Linda here… again…

Elizabeth asked me to fill in for her again tonight. She was feeling somewhat better this morning – well enough to have a shower, roll to the video store and make it back in one piece. She hadn't been outside since Saturday and wasn't going to be able to get to the video store for a few days so took a calculated risk and when to pick up some DVDs. Her fever had gone down to the level it was on Sunday. Things were starting to look up. But then she went for her afternoon nap and woke up feeling worse. She has slept 12 of the last 24 hours.

She asked me to thank everyone for your input and advice. She’s taking the ibuprofen orally (said thanks, but no thanks, to the suppositories - I'd say the same if I had a choice) and has been wearing the cool packs pretty much constantly all day.

Elizabeth: "My fever is getting worse."

Linda: "You don’t feel very hot." I touched her chest and face and it wasn't that hot. But then, I didn't take into consideratin she had been wearing cold packs for 24 hours and burning through them very quickly. As her normal temperature is lower than mine, her fever was about the same as my normal temperature.

Elizabeth: "My eyes are burning and my head hurts. That happens when I have a fever. My temperature is up too." She explains the stuff I can't see in hopes I'll understand that she really does have a fever.

Linda: "How about I run you a warm bath?" I'm thinking we need to get her temperature down and we could start with a warm/tepid bath and gradually make it cooler.

Elizabeth does not like that idea. She's been covered with cold packs all day and the thought of being submersed into more cold does not appeal. She remembers that I've never had that experience before nor have I put a cold pack on my chest or worn her cooling vest.

Elizabeth: "How about you take off your hoodie, t-shirt and bra and take the cooling vest out of the fridge and put it on." She asks, trying to help me understand what she's going through.

Linda: "Okay." So I did. It’s like putting on a wet bathing suit after it has been lying around for an hour. It was cold and clammy. I'm beginning to understand how she's feeling about these cooling devices and why she looks at me with dread sometimes as I approach with one.

Elizabeth: "How would you like to have that on 24 hours a day and sleep with it like I did last night?"

Linda: "Well, if it were a summer heat wave I don’t think it would be too bad. But if I had a fever I don’t think I’d like it at all." It made by boobs cold just wearing it for 5 minutes - what would four hours do to me? Note to self: take it out of the fridge well before Elizabeth needs it.

Elizabeth (taking off the towel wrapped around the cold pack and reapplying): "If it’s just cool (wrapped in the towel) it doesn’t work. It’s only when it hurts that it’s cold enough. And the fever still won’t break."

We compromised and an hour ago she moved from the study to the living room where we have the air conditioner blowing steadily. We thought we’d try cooling her off this way as the study generates heat from the computer and the air coming through the window wasn’t all that cool.

We decided sitting in the hospital in an un-airconditioned room for 5 hours didn’t seem like a good idea. If we need to, we’ll go to our GP’s office and see one of the doctors there.

Will keep you posted tomorrow on her progress.


yanub said...

Since the fever still hasn't broken, you really do need to get to the doctor's. Please.

And, there needs to be popsicles. Preferably ones with lots of artifical color that will melt down your chin and turn it blue. Why not get cool from the inside out?

Tayi said...

Popsicles are a fabulous idea, as are pirated movies online if Elizabeth can get in view of a computer when she's feeling so ill. I'll email you some websites in a minute!

SharonMV said...

Yes, I agree - off with you to the doctor tomorrow. I've been sick in bed since Sat. When I get a virus or infection & lupus flare, my temp modulation abilities don't work too well. I usually have an icebag (wrapped in a thin cloth) under my neck to help release the heat. My lupus flares affect my skin causing intense flushing & heat. I can melt that ice in 10-15 minutes. Then, when I also have chills, I need a light comforter to cover me - one that can be easily tossed off if I get too warm. And then, when the raynaud's in my feet acts up, I need a heating pad or hot water bottle at my feet. And then a fan in the room, if it's warm. Well, it's time to freshen my ice & go back to bed.
Hope elizabeth is better in the morning.


Lisa Harney said...

Yeah, I'm sort of with Yanub - it sounds like she needs to see a doctor as soon as possible. If the fever's just getting worse, and she can't sweat it off, and the cooling vest and ice packs aren't helping, then it's probably time to get help.

I'll be worried over here - I hope there's good news when I can check back. Healing thoughts, best wishes, everything.

On a lighter note, I got the second postcard from Japan - thank you again. :)

cheryl g said...

I'm with yanub...

Time to go to the doctor and popsicles would be a great idea.

Neil said...

Elizabeth: I agree with Yanub; you should see a doctor, but the hospital waiting room can't be good for you; talk to your own doctor if she(?) is available.

I worry about frost-bite if you put cold packs directly on your skin, Elizabeth. Wrap it in a bandanna or some equally thin fabric, but cushion the pack somehow.

Linda: you're truly wonderful to put your self in Beth's cooling vest to find out what it feels like. But she's your spouse, so of course you have a vested interest in keeping her healthy and happy. I'd do the same for my wife, I think.

Remember to look after yourself too, Linda. We don't want both of you sick!

em said...

I know you guys are doing a good job with your medical decisions. Thanks for writing about what the cooling vest feels like. It's easy for me to think of it as necessary which is true, but not the whole story at all. Popsicles sound delicious.

Gaina said...

Have you tried keeping the soles of your feet cooler than the rest of your body? I have to take my left sock off at night or I overheat and feel really groggy in the morning. If it's hot in the summer, putting that foot in cool water is very effective too.

I got another post card this morning, thank you so much! The weather is really dreary here today so it was nice to get something pretty :)

Hope you feel better soon xxx

Donimo said...

It does sound like a doctor's opinion would be helpful at this point. Can you call Elizabeth's doctor's office and ask that he do a phone consult? I think most GP's will call a regular patient. It'll take them hours to get back to you, but I don't think you're going anywhere. This would save Elizabeth the physical stress of getting out to an appointment.

I can understand Elizabeth's desire for you to try on the cold vest. It's really hard occupying the same living space as somebody but actually living in a completely different universe somehow. It's important to try to bridge the experiential gap once in a while.

Thinking cool thoughts...