Epilepsy, 3 Hospitals, 7 Vials of Blood and a Key Lime Martini

So… how was your Monday? 😺

Mine turned out to be a Big Day. Now in this odd little blog, I tell a lot of random stories. But lately I’ve strayed away from my health issues (epilepsy etal.) because I’ve been enjoying a blissful break from hospitals.

Yet, this all changed Monday and now you’re going to hear about it.

FIRST STOP (after dropping my husband off from work) was my neurologist’s office.

Just a “check-in” because for me – an epileptic – a neurologist is my general practitioner because preventing seizures trumps all other physical ailments.

Having epilepsy since age twelve means all other health problems are kind of… “extra”:

I throw out my back? Who cares. I’m not having seizures.

I can’t breathe? I’m not having seizures? I’m fine.

It’s like a hierarchy of health.

My neurologist who is a woman and who changes her hair color “all the time” (her words) prescribed me with a medication (hydroxyzine) to help me sleep because I have visceral dreams every night.

In a single night of dreaming, I feel like I live lives. And they’re not usually fantastical (unicorns and nonsensical strangeness), but rather… just like living another life.

And then I wake up and realize I’m living this life.

I also remember my dreams but they seem more like memories than dreams.

In any case, I don’t get much rest because my brain is enjoying its theatrical off-Broadway career as a theatrical playwright.

So now I’m taking a medication as needed which knocks me out for fourteen hours so it’s not as much addressing the problem as making me sleep so long my brain runs out of material and I manage to get some of the restful kind of sleep.

For the record, hydroxyzine is an antihistamine and isn’t meant to knock a person out for fourteen hours but that’s what one tablet does for me.

I dunno. We are all unique confusing magical little snowflakes.

My neurologist is also going to track down the results from my EMG… 👇

because that other neurologist never officially provided any results from that crazy test.

My neurologist cynically empathized with the fact that many (male) neurologists feel they’re above such tasks as entering the results from a stressful, intense test into any kind of shared system so the data is accessible to others who may be treating me.

Like my neurologist.

So it was lovely see her but then I had to book it from a hospital in Oak Creek, Wisconsin to a hospital in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin to see a pulmonologist about this whole “I can’t breathe” issue because she was the specialist who had an opening before next year.

I’ve often talked about how batshit Milwaukee driving is, but none of that is helped when the powers-that-be close down half the lanes on the highway.

So it took a little time on old I-91 because of the lane closures, the bad driving and also how the state patrol and friends had also closed down some additional lanes on their own to explore a pizza truck.

I lack the patience to draw this scene so here is a half-finished version:

So it took an eternity to get to the second hospital but I still had an hour to spare before my next specialist so I did some hardcore grocery shopping because we have no food at home.

Therefore, now with a shit ton of food in my car’s trunk, I then ventured to the second hospital and found myself waiting in another place.

who chooses the carpeting in hospitals?????

The reason I was seeing a pulmonologist was because I haven’t been able to breathe well for about three years so they diagnosed me with asthma? but the treatment for asthma hasn’t been working.

Oddly, only allergy medication helps when I experience an asthma attack.

Interestingly, my pharmacist at Life Change is convinced I am allergic to something and not asthmatic.

SO I was finally seeing a respiratory specialist who happens to have a rather thick Russian accent and who also spends a third of her time being an ER doctor:

“Last week was the first week we did not have a death from COVID. This is very good. So many people died who didn’t have to die,” she said with emotion.

I liked her.

She was wearing very red shoes.

But back to the suffocation issue, a concern is how my last comprehensive blood panel (ordered by my GP neurologist) showed that my eosinophils were high.

Eosinophils are white blood cells, and their job is to fight off infection but sometimes there are too many of them and they clutter up the lungs. This condition is a severe form of asthma which is suitably called Eosinophilic Asthma.

So my pulmonologist had the lab take seven vials of my blood to get to the bottom of what the fuck is happening.

I looked down while chatting to the lab tech who was managing the needle stuck in my arm and noticed she had filled many vials of blood.

Notably, the epilepsy medication I take which prevents seizures also is known to increase the number of eosinophil cells.

Isn’t that just typical?

I can’t stop taking my anti-seizure medication because it keeps me alive but it could also be the source of my struggle to breathe.

Grimace.

Who knows. In any case, she also ordered a chest x-ray but the person at the desk in the separate building I had to find which contains the lab told me they didn’t accept insurance (?!) but there was another hospital nearby which does and I should schedule an appointment there.

So I did that while on my way and then had a chest x-ray in a room which didn’t have an extra room in which to remove my bra and necklace so I had to do that while the technician turned his back.

And then I was done with all the tests.

All I had left to do on my health quest was to pick up my prescriptions but they had been erroneously sent to two different pharmacies so… I chose to avoid the highways and instead drove through Milwaukee’s arguably worst area (the “North Side”) because – and this may sound shocking – those streets are calmer during the day to me than the highways are.

And oddly the drive back to Milwaukee through the city’s Highlight Example of Disparity was somehow relaxing.

And my pharmacist was able to fill all my new prescriptions at the location I frequented which saved me a trip to the other location.

So all I had left to do was drive home to our own bad neighborhood to unpack the groceries, clean the house quickly and go pick up my husband from work at 4PM.

After I collected him, we jumped on I-94 at rush hour to meet a couple friends for dinner and some art business at HiWay Harry’s which is an unusual and amazing little restaurant right off the highway at the midpoint between Milwaukee and Madison.

And this is where I enjoyed a Key Lime martini which was heavenly.

Life is one big crazy chaotic drive through madness so it’s important to finish your day – when you can – with a martini and fine company.

And, if you can’t, then at least sit back and listen to some good music.

Because life is too short to not keep it all in perspective.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of my mother’s death and I swear it feels like she died forever ago and also last week.

Because grief is a trip.

Life is short and grief is a trip so…. I guess I’m leaving you five readers with some metaphors this week.

Take care and stay safe, everyone. 🖤

14 thoughts on “Epilepsy, 3 Hospitals, 7 Vials of Blood and a Key Lime Martini

  1. “I swear it feels like she died forever ago and also last week.” Yes. THAT. My mom has been gone a year and a quarter. Time is the paradox, Eternal/Instantaneous. I feel it both ways, too. (Much like parenthood.) Is it weird to say I’m really looking forward to my mom’s funeral? Next month, finally.

    Your day seems to have been productive! I’m glad, and now step closer that I may give you such a smack. You scared me to death. >:/ The conclusions I jumped to upon reading your headline. Listen, lady. I’ve come to love you, my friend I’ve never met. I need you to take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart goes out to you, Lisa. Grief is… well, I always verbalize the drawing of the grief stages which has a chaotic string of lines going to all of them in no particular order, all the time. Losing my mom and dad and cousin who was like my twin was heartbreaking plus my grandmother in a three-year period is still something I’m reeling from.

      So my heart goes out to you. And… funerals don’t give us the closure they’re advertised as giving but they do represent a completion of some sort and so… no, I don’t think it’s weird at all to look forward to it.

      Praying for you.

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  2. Key Lime martinis are *essential* when replenishing the loss of almost all the blood in your body. Anybody who has watched a medical drama on TV could tell you that!

    Life IS short, and grief IS a trip. We call that weird feeling that something just recently happened and happened a lifetime ago “accordian time”. Which makes me think of a little old French man in a beret playing a concertina, which usually makes me feel better. Hope you do as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Accordion time”!!!! I love that! Such a perfect phrase to describe this. And I love the visual of the little old French musician… oh thank you so much dear Emma! 😘🖤

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  3. Wow I cannot believe you packed all of this into one day. You have a truly remarkable amount of energy. I hope this nice Russian pneumologist can find something that works to help your breathing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it crazy dear Naomi? Hot damn. I was so tired by the end of the day… but happy to get it all packed in there.

      Also, the Life Change pharmacist (the nicer one) is convinced my breathing issues are due to an allergy and recommended Singulaire and, interestingly, that’s what the pulmonologist prescribed as she waits for the test results. And… so far so good! But it’s only been two days. 😉 Hugs!

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    2. Haha OH MY WORD! Singulair – according to the reviews on Drugs.com – make one psychotic and fat. 😂 Well… I’ll keep my eyes open. Oh pharmacology. Sigh.

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  4. Whisky, Pastis, Wine, anything with anything is a good cocktail with AEDs 😛

    Oh, hope you don’t mind me saying, but stop calling yourself an epileptic! You have/deal with epilepsy. You are not your condition, that f’ing bar-steward has done enough damage as it is without you being it’s partner in crime. Okay? Lots of love xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahhhhhh I’m proud of being an epileptic, dear. If it wasn’t an epileptic I wouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars to see a neurologist or three on an annual basis, do all these crazy tests, spending last year as lab rat or be taking 1000mg of this wretched medication which makes my hair fall out because… the last time I missed a dose I had a terrible seizure right in front of my hospice mom at her center.

    So…. Does epilepsy define me? No. But it took me many years to own it so I’m not going to stop now. xx

    Hugs and love dear. 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you’re proud, you are a fighter, a warrior, so you should be and I understand, from my point of view, where you’re coming from. Sending you love and hugs in return xx

    Liked by 1 person

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