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.
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.
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. 🖤