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Doctor Day; Or, Why Immunosuppressants Improve My Outlook On Life

February 15, 2013

Today was another doctor day, but I am going to start this post a few weeks ago.

I started taking some heavy-duty drugs in January.  After a few months, hopefully these drugs will slow the progression of my disease.  Sadly, they may also cause me to lose my hair.  It’s a glass half empty vs. glass half full scenario.  My disease hasn’t flared up in two weeks.  That is something to celebrate, but during those two weeks I have been constantly sick!  Apparently the drugs are beginning to suppress my immune system.  Yay?

I have had two different cold bugs and some random weird infection.  I was able to fight off the first cold bug after a few days.  The weird infection responded to treatment quickly.  This second cold, however, is knocking me for a loop.  I am not seriously sick, but I am seriously miserable — sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, well, basically the whole NyQuil commercial.  I am not one for taking medicine (which is hilarious considering the number of prescription medications I currently have to take), but I am a pitiful wreck of a person and need some relief.  I took a cold tab last night and the whole world went away for 11 hours.  This was good news and bad news.  I was super happy to get some rest, but I had to wake up this morning for another Doctor Day!

I finally pulled myself out of bed and went to the doctor.  I was having CT scans this morning.  I was not allowed to eat or drink before the test so I was nice and dehydrated when they started the IV.  The nurse spent a long time slapping the veins in my arms and hands trying to find someplace to stick her needle.  We were chatting while she was waiting for my veins to cooperate.  She asked about the test and the medications I was taking so I got to explain this disease to yet another medical professional.  This is always a tricky time for me.  Medical types and non-medical types both respond the same way when I describe this disease:  they look stricken.  “So, what can they do for you?” the nurse asked me this morning.  “Try to slow down the progression of the disease,” is the best answer I can give.  I always feel great ruining someone’s day in this manner.

The nurse kept apologizing to me about my awful veins.  Why should she apologize?  They are my lousy veins and I should be apologizing to her!  I started telling her stories about giving birth in a teaching hospital and how I really felt like a human pincushion then.  I felt better about ruining her day once I could make her laugh a little.  The vein she finally chose was the back of my hand.  It was a difficult stick and I’ll be reminded of it for a few weeks to come.  She apologized, but this cold is making me have a “whatever!” attitude about life so I’m not terribly upset about it.

The CT scan took about 20 minutes.  I had some scans done, then they administered the contrast.  If you have never been injected with dye for a CT scan, then you have not yet lived.  The burning sensation started in my hand where the IV was, then spread through my body.  I got a horrible taste in my mouth and was rather uncomfortable.  The dye produces a whole-body flush that fortunately passes quickly.  The nurse was again apologizing for causing this, but again, my dreadful cold had already ruined my day.  “Do your worst!” I challenged her.

After forty-five minutes I was back in my car and going about my business.  My business today was taking more cold medicine, pushing fluids, and taking a nap.

If I have to keep catching dreadful colds, having them on Doctor Days might work to everyone’s advantage.  They can insert tubes and cameras and lights in all manner of places and cause me pain and embarrassment, but if I have a beastly cold, I am in “I just don’t care about anything!” mode.

Stay tuned for the next Doctor Day.  It’s going to be a doozy.  Maybe I can catch the ebola virus before then?


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One Comment
  1. So I was thinking about this. That rush is like a hot flash. A hint of what’s coming up down the road on top of the RP.

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