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Archive for the tag “illness”

Day 112 of Isolation: Health Update

I had my followup with my new doctor today. Not much to really say about it.

My blood pressure was 156/92 while I was there. I haven’t been keeping track of it at home because I’m not sure my cuff is working right, but the few times I’ve checked it’s been between 125-140 over 80-90. She wanted it under 130/90, I think. Of course, the stress of going to the doctor usually raises blood pressure, but she still found it concerning so now my blood pressure meds are doubled.

I was also having a lot of trouble breathing, and it had nothing to do with wearing two masks (mine and the one they gave me). I’ve had the issue off and on since the week before my initial visit to the ER in April, but the last week it’s gotten really bad. Yesterday was probably the worst it’s been.

I admitted that a lot of it could be anxiety making all of my symptoms worse, but she agreed that the tightness in my chest/difficulty breathing wasn’t good. My lungs, though, sounded clear, and I can take deep breaths fine. My O2 was also 98% so I’m getting oxygen.

Anyway, she prescribed me an albuterol inhaler to help with the breathing. My son has asthma so I have experience with these, although I’ve never used one myself. Hopefully, it helps because it was really hard to sleep last night with it feeling like my trachea was coated in wool or something.

That was all we discussed. I didn’t get to bring up the anemia and the after-visit report she sent said I was up-to-date on my labs which look fine (because I had bloodwork done at the hospital). Apparently, my iron deficiency has gone away? But they also haven’t gotten my records from the other office yet to see what my levels were last year when I had special tests done (I’ve never seen them either because we lost our insurance and couldn’t go back at the time).

She also made me feel like she was implying all of my symptoms are psychosomatic and just kept bringing up making an appointment with behavioral health. Yes, obviously, I need to get back on my bipolar and anxiety meds, but my chronic fatigue isn’t being caused by (just) my depression. In fact, my depression is being made worse by the constant fatigue.

My old doctor thought the fatigue was from the anemia, but I guess I now have to hope it’s a symptom/side effect of the hypertension because if bringing my blood pressure down doesn’t solve the fatigue and anemia isn’t an issue anymore, I don’t know what I’ll do. There isn’t really a treatment for chronic fatigue that isn’t being caused by some other underlying condition. You just have to live with it, and I can’t keep living like this. It sucks.

I cried all of the way home thinking about it. All of my hopes and dreams for the future will just be gone if there’s no treatment for the fatigue. I can’t go for walks with my grandson, can’t write, can’t play board games with my son, can’t keep the house clean or do anything. I just sit here. Ugh.

My weight was also back up to 267lbs. It’s kind of impossible to lose weight when you don’t have the energy to take a shower (dear god that nearly left me in a coma earlier today) let alone exercise. The only way I’ll take in less calories than I burn is if I stop eating. I managed to lose four pounds by eating half of a small turkey sandwich with a salad for lunch for a week with a small portion of whatever I made for dinner. But we ran out of lunchmeat so I started eating leftovers for lunch which are much more fattening than the sandwich/salad combo.

The only positives I’ve seen over the last few months is that the swelling in my legs and feet have gone down. That used to happen in the summer when it would get hot but generally went away if I put my feet up and drank a lot of water. And wasn’t an issue at all in the winter. This last year, though, it was nonstop, and if I sit at my desk for more than an hour, my feet swell up so bad, I can’t bend my toes. It doesn’t go away ever and was making it hard to bend my knees (at one point, I couldn’t tuck my legs under me anymore). The swelling isn’t completely gone, but it’s so much better on the blood pressure meds. So that symptom definitely had to do with my blood pressure.

When I ran out of pills a few weeks ago, the swelling came right back and has mostly disappeared in the two weeks I’ve been on them again. So I guess that’s a win.

I have to take what I can get.

Day 105 of Isolation: Food Anxiety

I fear I’m on the verge of a serious eating disorder. I know it’s happening and yet…

The problem is I’ve developed a new symptom of whatever is wrong with me that makes me extremely sleepy any time I eat. Doesn’t matter how much I eat or when, as soon as I’m done, I’m falling asleep.

Think after-Thanksgiving food coma sleepy. Every meal. Every day. I could eat a sandwich or a bowl of cottage cheese or a handful of popcorn and instantly be nearly comatose.

I don’t know what’s causing it. Could be part of the anemia or maybe the hypertension or perhaps the beginning of diabetes?¬† I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I’ve been complaining about it for several weeks now, and only just realized last week how bad it was.

It’s so bad that I’m now avoiding eating because I don’t like napping all day. And by “napping” I mean lying in bed like a slug, unable to do much of anything but also not sleeping because my brain won’t shut off. I end up just simmering in anxiety over everything and get up four hours later just as tired as when I laid down and usually with a killer headache.

It’s actually, funny enough, exhausting. My whole life is exhausting. Being awake is exhausting, being asleep is exhausting, being alive is exahusting. WTF body? Why?

So now I don’t want to eat. I have so much anxiety over the lethargy that comes after eating that I can’t eat even when my stomach is rumbling and I feel sick from hunger. I wait until dinner and even then I don’t want to eat because 5pm is too late for a nap and too early for bed. I hold off eating until 7pm if I can then try to stay awake a couple hours after.

I managed the other night by downing half a pot of coffee at 8pm. Caffeine really does nothing for me.

My husband says I should just eat and sleep if that’s what my body needs, but I don’t know how to explain this lethargy/exhaustion. It’s not a fun kind of sleep. It’s more like being trapped in a body that can’t really do what I need it to do (stay awake) but my mind is racing all over. It just causes so much anxiety that I don’t rest. I can’t rest. I lie there, tossing and turning (when I can gather the energy to roll over) with my thoughts tumbling all over.

Normally, I fall asleep by thinking of story plots to focus on. I can’t even do that. I can’t grasp on to anything in my head. It’s a tornado of thoughts that won’t ever settle. Occasionally, I pass out from exhaustion but wake at every noise. I wake randomly in a sheer panic (heart racing) over nothing. I started taking old anxiety pills at bedtime just to get any rest.

I’m stuck in this cycle of being too exhausted to stay awake but too awake to sleep but not awake enough for my brain to make sense.

I literally cannot explain it. I feel like I’m going crazy. More crazy than I already am. I’ve suffered from severe chronic insomnia before (lasting years). This is different. It’s terrifying. And food seems to trigger everything so I’m afraid to eat now.

On one hand… that’s bad. You need food. On the other hand, I weigh 263lbs so I could stand to eat less. Except I know it’s still bad because starvation diets are just bad for your health. But but but… ugh.

I go back to the doctor on Thursday. I mentioned the food/sleep thing right at the end of the last appointment, but I’ll be bringing it up more this next time because it’s out of control and scaring me. I am no longer a functioning human.


Day 97 of Isolation: Health Update

I finally found a doctor and got an appointment. Ended up going to the doctor my husband sees. When we first moved here with both went to the clinic in town but saw different doctors that worked there. Then mine retired and his wasn’t accepting any new patients at the time. Basically, everyone that had been seeing the retiring doctor had to go somewhere else. I went a few years without a doctor until the kids started seeing our previous one. I liked her, so made myself at home there, too.

And then COVID-19 and she downsized her practice and we were left out. Just as I was needing care for an urgent matter, of course. Read more…

Day 65 of Isolation: Poor Baby

arroweaster_041220My grandson is sick. He’s just 11 months old. I guess he was up all night with a sudden, high fever that just would not go away even with Ibuprofen so my daughter called her ex’s mom to take them to urgent care (my husband was already at work with our only car so I couldn’t help even if I was awake).

His symptoms were sudden, high fever, rash, and peeling palms. Very bad signs. But my daughter refused the COVID test for some reason.

Now it’s a waiting game to see if he develops any new symptoms of those get worse. He’s currently staying with his other gramma while my daughter at work because she’s better equipped to deal with a sick baby. I don’t have the energy and my husband is still at work.

She said he seems to be feeling better already now that the Tylenol they gave him has finally kicked in. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and just one of those things kids pick up randomly. It’s concerning that those symptoms happen to be the main ones for this Kawasaki disease kids are getting related to COVID-19.

My heart does not need this extra anxiety.

Day 56 of Isolation: Is That a Cough?

Woke up feeling not so great today. My head is hurting, throat a little scratchy, nose completely stuffed up, and every once in a while, I get this little cough. I feel like crap.

Normally, this wouldn’t faze me. I’d ignore it and hope the symptoms went away, but with COVID-19 out there, any time I feel the tickle of a cough, I start to worry.

Of course, having just spent two weeks in quarantine on the off chance I picked something up while in the ER, I’m even more paranoid. The last thing I want (or need) is two more weeks in isolation.

I was planning on going outside and doing stuff because I finally can, but now I’m low-key freaking out. What if it’s something more than just my allergies acting up because I have the window open? What if I get other people sick?

The anxiety is eating me alive so I’ve stayed in my room most of the day worrying because I cooked dinner last night and what if everyone gets what I have.

Then there’s the “sane” side of my brain that says this is just allergies because Occam’s Razor. Allergies makes a lot more sense than suddenly showing symptoms for COVID-19 after two weeks or maybe catching it from my husband or daughters who are also showing no symptoms.

If only I could make the crazy side of my brain listen and calm down so I can go get something to eat. Ugh.

Day 41 of Isolation: ER Trip

me_042320So, I got an up-close and personal look at how our local hospital has things set up during the time of coronavirus. It went rather smoothly, and I was only there a few hours, so I give them a high rating.

I think I might have mentioned last week that I had a weird tightness in my chest after doing some work in the garage. It was really weird and came on suddenly. I remember just standing there for a few moments considering the feeling and finally understanding what people with the virus meant when they felt tightness. Every time I’d been sick and had trouble breathing it was because my chest was congested (or I ended up with pneumonia). This was different.

But it wasn’t painful, so I finished what I was doing, took a nap and went about my life. I noticed the tightness off an on over the last week and had this weird feeling of being bloated like I just ate a full Thanksgiving meal and couldn’t catch my breath.

Last night, I was sitting here trying to ignore the feeling when I noticed a new ache in my right shoulder/neck area. It didn’t seem related to a muscle or joint–just the entire area felt tense and ached. Something clicked in the back of my head from an article I read years ago about symptoms of a heart attack and how they differ for women.

Then this morning our local health department put this out:


I shared it with my husband who immediately called my doctor and they recommended I go to the ER right away. My husband left work early to drive me over there.

I hate hospitals (I mean, who really likes them?) and doctors give me all sorts of anxiety. Never mind, as a woman, we’ve had this idea ingrained in our heads over centuries that we’re overreacting to whatever ails us and being hysterical even though we now know women have been suffering with way more pain than anyone imagined without saying a word (cramps anyone?). Still, whenever I’m sick, I get this overwhelming guilt if I ask for help or need to get checked out. Is it really that important? Am I wasting the staffs time because I’m making the symptoms out to be worse than they are? Ugh.

Anyway, my husband insisted I go get it checked out.

Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be anything glaringly wrong with my heart. The EKG was clear and so was my chest x-ray. They couldn’t find anything wrong with my heart or lungs in any of the tests they did. The only issue I had was my blood pressure which was 191/92 when I got the ER. Yikes!

So, after a few hours, they sent me home with a prescription for some blood pressure pills and an order to contact my doctor for a follow-up to monitor that. Of course, if I have any worsening symptoms or new ones I should go back.

There’s also a very minute chance this was the virus which I highly doubt. I would have had to catch it from my husband or one of my eldest daughters (oldest works a few days a week at the dollar store and the 17yo has been babysitting when her friend’s family also has to work). No one in the house is sick, and although people can be asymptomatic carriers, it doesn’t seem statistically likely in this case that I’d be the only one sick when there are seven of us in the house. But who knows. On top of that, I’ve now spent several house at a hospital so I’m supposed to quarantine myself in my room and wear a mask if I go into the other rooms.

It also means I shouldn’t be cooking or the family anymore. Great. That means we won’t be eating anything for the next couple weeks since I do 99% of the cooking. My husband and kids have no problem living off of cereal and PB&J, but I can’t do it. I need real food, preferably stuff with iron in it. My husband did bring me some dinner when we got home (the first thing I’d eaten all day) but no one has checked on me since then. It’s been like 3 hours.

So, today has been tons of fun. /sarcasm

Hopefully, the blood pressure meds do the trick and that’s what’s causing the tightness, and I don’t develop anything else COVID-19-related. I don’t think I can handle that right now.

Day 40 of Isolation: Getting My Shit Together

Last night (well very early this morning), I laid in bed, unable to get comfortable and feeling like a twenty-pound weight was sitting on my chest. It was not a pleasant feeling. Actually, it was kind of scary.

Ever few breaths, I’d have to suck in really hard to fully inflate my lungs and all over, I just feel bloated and fat.

I mean, I am fat. I’ve always been fat. I was 190lbs in high school/college and then started gaining weight steadily after I met my husband in 1999 because he had a vehicle so I no longer needed to walk everywhere, and also, I had kid after kid.

I’ve steadily been about 240-248lbs for most of the last fifteen years until recently. I lost a ton of weight in 2017 because we ran into financial issues that left us unable to buy groceries for a good month. I stopped eating so the kids could have at least one meal a day. I lost 25lbs over three weeks. Not the healthiest way to do it, but I felt so much better when I was down to 225lbs (the lowest I’ve been since I had my oldest in 2000).

Of course, when we got money again, I started to gain the weight back but plateaued somewhere around 235lbs which was acceptable at the time considering this was also about when my anemia became unbearable and I stopped doing all housework.

But since then, my energy has gone down so much, I can’t do anything. Just my normal activity was enough to keep my weight in check. Yeah, I was overweight, but I didn’t really gain anything since I was cleaning the house, doing laundry, or other normal everyday things. Now I don’t do any of those things. I get up, sit in my chair, go into the bathroom and maybe make dinner.

I’ve ballooned up to 270lbs (last time I weighed myself). That’s 20lbs heavier than my normal weight. And I feel it all over. I’m retaining a lot of water which makes my skin feel tight. My joints ache. My knee pops and squeaks when I go up and down the stairs. I sleep with a heating pad because if I don’t have heat on my back, I wake up so sore, I can’t move. Even with the heating pad, at this weight, I still wake up sore. Everything hurts all of the time and now I’m having trouble catching my breath.

In the time of COVID-19, this is not good. I don’t need more issues but in the last week, I’ve noticed more and more. Like in the last few days, I’ve spent all day feeling like I’m overly full. Like you do after stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving to the point you can’t inflate your diaphragm all of the way so you’re wheezing and taking little breaths as you wait to digest some of the food. Except I feel like this even if I don’t eat and it only gets worse if I do eat. This is new. I don’t like it at all.

So this morning, I decided I have to do something or I am going to die.

The problem is I’m also horribly depressed/anxious and without any meds. And my depression has always manifested in overeating because it gives me a slight bit of joy while I’m doing it. All of this–the depression, anxiety, anemia and isolation–are just killing me right now. I also survive pretty much on junk food and coffee at the moment.

I told myself I could have my coffee this morning, but I also had to drink a full bottle of water (I believe my bottle is 32oz). And any time I feel like eating, I’m going to chug some water instead. And I’m no longer going to take giant portions of food then go back for seconds. And no more chips and candy.

Today went… better than expected I guess. My husband brought me a breakfast of two sausage sandwiches with cheese on English muffins. I didn’t eat any of it because I really wasn’t hungry. Normally, I’d eat it simply because he put it in front of me and I appreciate him taking care of me.

Then for lunch, I had a bowl of leftover chicken & dumpling soup but I had it in a small bowl. I still felt hungry after so I downed a bottle of water and tried to distract myself.

Then I went a bit off the rails. At dinner, I had the rest of the leftover taco meat. Which probably wouldn’t have been a big deal except I added way too much cheese and sour cream then tossed a handful of tortilla chips on top. I wasn’t even that hungry and should have stopped half-way through but kept eating it out of habit. And I have felt like crap ever since.

And just a bit ago, my oldest brought in some Easter candy and I took 3 pieces of peanut butter/chocolate eggs. Ugh.

But, on the plus side, I finished 5 bottles of water. I have to pee every fifteen minutes, but it’s more water than I usually drink in days.

I did let my husband know that I’m cutting back so he’ll stop trying to “fatten me up” by giving me snacks he knows I like. He even remembered I said I was going to use the kiddie bowls to eat out of because they’re way smaller.

I know I can do this because that summer when we had no food, eventually, I got used to eating next to nothing. I didn’t feel hungry or like I needed to eat whenever I was bored or depressed. I just found other stuff to do. It’s just a lot harder when there is food in the house.

This is life or death, though, so I don’t have any more choices. I’m going to try and go for more walks once it stops raining again. Last summer, I could do 2+ miles. Right now, my energy is so low, I can barely do a few blocks before I’m so fatigued, I want to lie down in the street. But it’s something.

Day 32 of Isolation: Breakdown

Not having a good day today.

Things are hard for me all of the time, but today, I’m just overwhelmed by it all.


Yes, I’m crying in that picture. From pain and frustration. See, I have a chronic illness. I was diagnosed with severe iron anemia (among other vitamin deficiencies) last year. I was waiting for the results of some more detailed blood tests to see if there were any underlying health issues causing the anemia, but my depression got the best of me. I just stopped caring and never called about the lab work. Then we lost our insurance while my husband was on worker’s comp. Read more…

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