Thursday, September 30, 2010

My blood test: got an immediate call to ‘discuss with doctor’

I went in for the blood test last Wednesday. The doctor called Friday saying I needed to come in, she wanted to talk to me. She didn’t work again until today, Wednesday.

I had that seed of stone in my chest, and every day it grew, pushing against my breathing, weighing me down.

In some way, my life was going to change: had already changed, I just didn’t know how yet. The nightmares started a night later.

Sunday my computer became inoperable, a Trojan which erupted into endless virus’, cutting me off from restore points. This took my mind off impending medical news, by causing my mind to spin so fast that sounds of metal shearing against metal could be heard if you stood close enough. Without the computer, I can’t blog, I have no voice which can reach the outside world. Worse of all, the computer was thwarting my will. If there was a drop of divine blood in me, that would have been one ‘smote’ computer.

I think we are all glad that I cannot bring the hammer of thunder at will (No, I am still coming after you Jon Hammond, for no one bullies Linda (tsk, tsk, tsk finger waggle): oh no you didn’t!)
I gave up most of Monday in order to switch my day (getting up in the AM) so I could go rolling outside on Tuesday. It was sunny. While rolling I was thinking of ‘rules of three’ and trying to figure out what else had gone wrong to complete the ‘three’. While I had plenty of bad things happen including a strong bout of dementia, in the last few days, few were large enough to be called ‘BAD’ (when moderate dementia putting my life into ‘frappe’ in the blender isn’t “Bad”, that shows how life is viewed: I am not trying for the Booker Award anymore, I am trying for a day without a nose bleed, and to make it to boxing on Thursday.)

I could not help the thoughts, which ran round like pet hamsters on their wheel, “Is it Lymphoma? Another blood disease? With the anemia an elevated white cell count, that could show?” “Or will they have to radiate the thyroid?”

I can’t tell who I hate more: those outside the Ghetto of Loss, who know not of how quickly things can be lost, or worse, hanging there forever until that phone call comes, or is me, who cannot stop the quick jagged breath, fighting the constricting of my throat, that fear?

Tuesday night…wasn’t. I was up night due to cramping. When I finally got to sleep I had Linda promise to wake me in a couple hours to get up for the doctor. One side was the immovable effects of a body (if they had just given me that android body transplant….), the other side was an act of will. Another week of not knowing? A call from the hospital instead of the doctor due to a delay? No thanks.

The sun was good yesterday and today, it felt like the warmth spring gets right before it becomes summer. Today everyone was mowing lawns, after a week of rain the warm sun had made grass happy. Squirrels were out in force playing the ‘lets dig up this and check if it is still here…yup…now let’s bury it two inches over.” Game.

After wheeling to the doctor’s office, I was told, “okay, I’ve got you on the list, now just come back in 90 minutes.”

Blech. Wheel back, drink, rinse and repeat.

The news was grey: neither horrid or great. While nothing in my body seemed to be operating optimally, B12, D deficiencies were of the greatest concern. We knew this from the hospital tests, however the hospital had no suggestions. The doctor explained some of the functions that D affects. My kidney is operating ‘okay enough’ (is that how you want your major organs described?), but the water I was drinking was straining it. The Doctor had returned from a conference and that stuff about drink 8 glasses of water a day: Bogus. The two things that make no difference on your bowels are: drinking lots of water and exercise. The solution to constipation: whatever works!

The doctor was feeling bad thinking of all the people she had advised following the belief that laxatives ‘leave the intestines and bowel weak in the muscles’ and was wrong. So, no longer will I be drinking a minimum of 5 liters of water a day. Anemia, yes; dying thyroid, yes but nothing that wasn’t progressing normally.

I felt oddly cheated: the 90 minutes, the days of waiting, all because of significant D and B-12 deficiencies? I was glad I didn’t have a marrow or blood cancer, and now, after it all, with an adjustment to my drinking and sublingual B-12, and vitamins, life goes on.

AND I got my computer back.
Sometimes it takes work, stress and a lot of effort to get back to ‘routine’.

Oh, on Sunday, we sent out a total of 205 postcards for the month (click on the picture to see the postcards in detail).


wendryn said...

I'm glad you got out a little bit.

It sucks that doctors don't know what getting a phone call like that can mean. "I need to talk to you" or "We need to discuss your results" and then having to wait for days is an awful place to leave someone hanging.

I'm glad your computer has been fixed again! Also, that's an impressive number of postcards! :)

I hope today is a better day. *hugs*

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Gawd, that whole uncertainty thing... waiting for appointments or test results... and yes, I totally understand that weird sort of "let down" response of feeling, well, shit, that's not so dramatic, that was hardly worth all that angst!

Glad that there was lovely weather for your rolling, and that you have managed to exorcise your computer.


Veralidaine said...

I, for one, am really glad the blood test was not lymphoma or anything like that! Can they give you B vitamin shots? I don't know if D is injectable, but I know B is... yes, needle phobia would make that tough, but with enough Valium? Or is your circulation so poor that there isn't a suitable injection site?

Glad your computer is better--viruses are awful. I had a similar one this summer and I still get anxious and short of breath remembering the couple days where I thought the whole laptop was toast.

Linda McClung said...

That darn computer! Reminds so much of taking my old car to the repair shop. I'd go in with one problem and come back with 3 more. Brought me to tears more than once!

When we got the call about coming into the office for the results, I was tempted to delay telling you because I knew you were going to worry. But if I did that as a habit, you would be worrying every day about me springing something I've been hiding on to you on short notice.

I've really enjoyed the sunny and warm weather. It's pleasantly warm, not too hot to cause you to overheat, but warm enough that you don't get frostbite. Seems a lot like spring with all the green grass, but the falling leaves and horse chestnuts make it impossible to deny fall is here. Those horse chestnuts, with their spiky outer shell are lethal. I almost had one drop on my head this morning. Missed me by about a foot. I think if someone got hit by one, they'd need stitches!

I'm hoping that by not needing to drink as much the swelling in your legs might go down a bit. You might not feel so bloated either from all the liquids.

Bonnie said...

Hey, I got your postcard! Lovely, and fun as usual. Have I told you I use them for bookmarks in my textbooks?

I wondered why we hadn't heard from you. Having your computer crash would definitely account for that. I'll be hoping the darn thing keeps working right from now on.

Raccoon said...

Doctors like that...At lease she got back to you in short order?

Vitamin D, I've been told, can be gotten by using the lands that they use for lizards. But don't use them to close or for too long, because you can get sunburned.

I got both a postcard and a gift today. Real cool lenticular pictures.

SharonMV said...

I've been worried about you Beth, with no comments on prior blog, & no new blogs. But I tried not to innundate you e-mails.
It's awful when you get that call about blood tests & have to wait so long for answers.
Are you on the mega -dose of vit D? It's 50,000 units - only via RX here. I had no improvement in my vit D levels until I was on double that dose per week. Getting your vit D up could help reduce your pain levels & protect from some kinds of cancer.
I don't know too much about B 12 deficiency, but I hope an increase will help you feel better.
What a huge pain having your computer invaded & inoperable! I didn't think of that, I was worried that you were too sick to post. Especially when the computer is so important to you - for your work & for communication. Not to mention your readers & friends. How dare it disobey you! I don't think I'd have the nerve to try & thwart the will of EFM.


Olivia said...

whoa. If only the doc could just talk to you on the phone. Perhaps it will be easier not having to drink so much each day. I'm glad it wasn't one of the catastrophes you were imagining.

Laura said...

That doctor was awful leaving you on the hook like that but at least the news wasn't really bad. Both can be treated rather easily.

So glad that you had the opportunity
to get out. Yes, watching the squirrels can be rather interesting when they are checking their stashes.

Sorry to hear about the virus your computer caught. I figured that you might have had a few really bad days or something like that but I'll take the computer going down anytime over that. Still missed you though.

JaneB said...

YAY you got your computer back! It's bad enough when mine gets sick, and lord knows I get too much people time, not too little, now the term has started again.

Waiting bad, news good (if a let-down), sunshine and busy squirrels definitely good... sounds like life as normal, all up and down.

Baba Yaga said...

I'd think that B12 deficiency would exacerbate dementia issues, as well as neuropathy in general, so sorting that out would be a Good Thing. & hopefully not such strong bouts ahead (particularly if people refrain from scaring you silly, instead of just telling you what needs to be discussed: nothing like added - ! - stress to make things more difficult).

Did the quack tell you *why* you're deficient in B12? It's fairly unusual. More autoimmunity?

My grandfather had pernicious anaemia, and was given sulphuric acid (why not hydrochloric?, I've always wondered) to drink and a diet of liver (raw, if I remember rightly). Sounds a little drastic!

Glad you got to see sun and squirrels, even if rather under par when you saw them. Both rather good for the spirit, I find.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Computer, what computer?? 2 hours after this post it went back to the shop and is there now. GAH! I hope it gets fixed as we already spent the emerg money and food money on it, allowence, and shampoo money.

Wendryn: Usually they don't even call me if it is something minor because they know they will see me for prescription renewals.

Computer 'fixed' which means it is in the shop since nothing works. Ha!

Lorna, Bob, and Liam: yes, and I supposed to be happy I am sicker, just not AS sick, or upset that I am not having something REALLY bad?

I am trying to get out every day it is sunny, as I think rain will come.

Veralidiane: Hi! Since my grandmother had Lymphoma, I worry about that, particularly as she had the preceding anemia. Thankfully research has shown that sublinqual B-12 is as good as shots. So NO NEEDLES.

Right now, I just want the computer back to do basic functions the tech failed to ensure would run - It is away, I am on a borrowed computer for an hour - but the DVD player does not work, software error, nor the photo downloader, or many other things - just want things back to normal.

Linda: I forgot about frostbite, I know when it is cold outside I get it in a few minutes, it is nice that the short memory means I remember no rain and no frostbite.

The computer has so many problems but I think one root problem, which will take them time to fix, I hope they do - and don't just go for the 'easy' solution = if in doubt reformat and install operating system - gee with that, I could open a computer shop.

Bonnie: Good - if you tell me what it is, I might be able to picture it, I can only keep a list of the people each week, not the description so I don't know unless you let me know. Thanks.

I hope it works too - it went along fine for a long time and is now supposed to be fixed, but isn't - when things I use all the time stop working it is very stressful until they start working again.

Raccoon: It was the short order that worried me as it would have required a phone call from the lab who processed the blood, as neither she or we had paper copies yet - I guess that is standard for tests with 6 'out of range' problems - as for regular people that might be the start of something, but for me, this is not that big a deal.

I pointed out that I go outside but since I need 2,000 mg a day additional, she just laughed. I am glad you liked the book.

Elizabeth McClung said...

SharonMV: thanks for your concern. I am on 15,000 mg a week until the next blood test - apparently D deficiency causes falls in elderly, so a new study shows - so it is needed for more than we know.

Yes, having the computer taken away (and due to them not double checkiing the job, got back only that one evening and in the shop all week) is stressful, as I can't read or reply to emails or blogs.

Olivia: Yes, glad it wasn't a cancer, but I must have looked horrid as Linda asked if I needed to come in for other letters and stuff and the doctor looked at me and said, "No, no, you can come in for her." - gee, flattery!

Laura: Yes, I don't like the 'wait for the bad news' - I don't know if I had a bad week earlier, as I remember the computer as it is in my thoughts always! Particularly when it works, then not, then this doesn't work, then that doesn't work.

Jane: It was a short lived Yah, sadly, I hope today is the day I get it back! Yes, some you time amoung all the people time - though I would like people time more I think, but that is cause I am only the lonely and the plushies don't talk to me except when I take the pot brownies.

Baba Yaga: This has been a particularly long week of 'scaring beth silly' with 'oh we have no money' yesterday and a few other little explosions. Perhaps while the sun is out I can be there with my tin cup - went out and a homeless guy said, "putting on the pounds I see" about my pot in front which is about edema and CHF, and strange how I both hate being objectified, but how, since I am noticed so little, how such a comment can hurt - that I am undesirable in ANY way, since females have no use once not pretty or AB?

tinarussell said...

GAHH I become terrified when my computer stops working, too. Right now, it works, but the fan is super noisy. I’m waiting on the replacement fan to come in, grr. (Then I’ll have to disassemble the whole computer to put in the new fan... yes, my warranty has wayyy expired)

Lene Andersen said...

Do doctors have no imagination AT ALL? Don't they know that people in general get nervous when called in to discuss tests and when you're sick, even more so? Fer fuck's sake...

205 postcards? Wow! That's impressive!

So glad you have your computer back. It's torture without the beastie...

SharonMV said...

yes, the importance of vitamin D is just recently being recognized. and the fact that more people than previously thought are deficient. I can't go out in the sun at all because of my Lupus, so can't get any that way. At least your doc is treating you for the vitamin deficiencies. Next time a timely phone call with the results would be nice.
Did you here about our heat wave down here? LA had the hottest day on record - 113 degrees! Not quite as hot down here, but I was very grateful for our air conditioning. The really hot weather only lasted for 2 days.


FridaWrites said...

One never knows with those kinds of calls whether to panic or not. I generally panic. When people are that ill, giving them results from something like this over the phone is helpful so that don't use up so much energy coming in. Vit D can help some with bone pain--calcium is not effective for bone density, researchers are now saying!

*Huh* with the constipation issues--I guess I will stop feeling guilty. Medicines can also slow down the bowel, as can dysautonomia itself.

Neil said...

I hate the phone call that says the doctor needs to see you, but the opposite - NO phone call - can be worse: have my tests come back yet? Has the doctor forgotten me? Do I NEED to see her?What did they FIND?!?!?

I hope your computer comes back fixed right this time.

Love and zen hugs,

Raccoon said...

"Vitamin D, I've been told, can be gotten by using the lands that they use for lizards. But don't use them to close or for too long, because you can get sunburned."

That was supposed to be "lamps," not lands. UV lamps, to be more specific.

I'm real sorry to hear about your computer dying again. Let me know if you keep having problems with it, after you get it back again.

deadrose said...

I'm so glad it was nothing too serious. I've had the opposite problem: Waiting on biopsy results on a removed mole - one the doctor looked at then removed with a wide, deep margin, which made me awfully nervous right there.

The results didn't come and they didn't come and they still didn't come. Finally someone checked my chart and discovered a new girl had filed the results without leaving them out to be reported.

After weeks of worry, it was only pre-cancerous, and I was able to stop worrying about who could raise my children for me!

I've been MIA a lot lately, there have been a lot of things going on here, some of them not very nice. But it's all getting better, and I'm not so fraught with worry any more.

I'm glad you got to enjoy the weather and the squirrels. That reminds me - I got a squirrel feeder to put up in the yard. Maybe I should put it up now that I'm no longer living the night shift!

Miss Fairy Sparkle said...


I am low in Vit D, and was taking 500iu perday to raise it. However, recently upped that to 2000iu, after more research, and the pain levels in lower back have dropped significantly. Vit D affects immune system, and bones - v important. FS