In which MJ might whine a little or a lot
I like to process my life through humor. If I didn’t, then I would turn into a mushpile. It’s just too intense. So, we laugh a lot around here. Laughter and humor are probably one of the best ways to process intensity. There are only three ways to rid your body of stress hormones: tears, sweat, and laughter. I choose laughter every time. Crying ruins your make-up, and sweating ruins your hair. I kid. Sort of. Besides laughing is just more fun.
I’ve been judged by a few people because I don’t see the intensely moving films at the cinema anymore. I don’t go see the documentaries like “Waiting for Superman”. Why would I? I’ve already had to testify in front of a judge in the case of a dismissal of a school principal. I’ve taken on the school board. I don’t want to sit in a theatre and relive it! It’s hard for me to read intense fiction as well because real life is over the top around here. I don’t want to enter into more fictional intensity in my free time unless it’s going to be truly meaningful.
So, yesterday I watched the first episode of “The X Files” with Doireann. She was home sick, and I was on the couch feeling very weird. I had to see my neurologist yesterday for my six month check-in, and I predicted before I went that I wasn’t going to leave her office unscathed. I’ve had some weirder than my normally weird symptoms for the past few months. I am a known under-utilizer. I don’t call my doctor if I’m ill. I won’t even go to the ER if I’m having an anaphylactic reaction. I just stab myself in the leg with my Epi-pen, down two Benadryl, and keep going. I don’t know why I’m like this. It annoys my family to no end. It may be that it’s because I have a family of already very needy kids who need a lot from the healthcare system. I don’t want to be another reason that we’re paying more medical bills, and I just finished paying off that surgery and hospital stay associated with that “idiopathic” kidney stone! (Psst…it was caused by a 6-week vitamin D blast prescribed by my PCP) I also don’t like the attention. I was sick for most of my childhood and adolescence. I hate seeing doctors. HATE.
So, when I had to tell my neurologist yesterday that I suddenly can’t see very well out of my left eye, I’ve had two weird phantosmia events wherein I’ve smelled something burning accompanied by extreme vertigo, and last fall I had about three weeks of searing pain and tearing in my left eye going into my jaw all occurring at 3:45 AM, I knew that she was going to make her annoyed face. I was right. She looked irked.
“It’s stress, right?”
“No, your chronic migraines are stress. You are not describing migraines. This is different.”
Well, fine. I tried to roll my eyes, but my left eye won’t quite roll. It sort of gets stuck if that’s possible.
She mentioned the words “seizure”, “optic neuritis”, “cluster headaches”, “MRI with contrast”, “EEG”, “prednisone” and some other medication that was entirely new to me. I whined a lot.
“Not another MRI! I hate them! With contrast this time? NO!”
“You knew coming in with all these symptoms that you weren’t leaving without an MRI and an EEG, didn’t you? It’s been a few years since you’ve had a scan. An EEG is easy. I want to be sure you’re not having breakthrough seizures. That burning smell you’re smelling is neurological. I need to be sure I don’t need to tweak your meds.”
I whined some more.
“I’m putting you on a coarse of prednisone and verapamil to stop these cluster headaches. You’ll come back in six weeks to wean off the verapamil. Side effects aren’t too bad. Nausea, dizziness…constipation.”
“I want that MRI ASAP. I need to make sure that you don’t have optic neuritis. Your symptoms are bothersome. I’ve got to rule out MS.”
“Aw, come on!”
What can I say? I am a horrible patient. She smiled at me. I did all the neurological testing like heel-toeing it for her, touching my nose and her finger, and all the rest of it. I did well. No drunk walking here!
I am, however, not enjoying my prednisone and verapamil. I feel WEIRD. Sort of wired, hot, and tired at the same time. My eye still feels funny, but the good news is that the trigeminal nerve that was causing those cluster headaches does not hurt this morning. I can directly press on it, and I don’t feel a thing. Thank you, prednisone! For the past week, it has been throbbing and keeping me up at night! Okay, okay, so my neurologist knows what she’s doing.
Now it’s just a matter of showing up for the testing. Ode to joy. I really don’t like EEGs. At least it won’t be a sleep-deprived EEG. At least I don’t think it will be.
Okay. I’ve whined. I’ve complained. I’ve taken my morning prednisone dose. Hey, it’s Buy One Get One Free at Caribou today in celebration of spring. I think I’ll get a coffee involving lots of whipped cream! It’s not cheese, but it’s dairy. That counts, right?