Hope arrived last night.
After 10 months.
I suspect it could take a year to explain, but I also suspect it could take three. History could repeat itself you know: a year of memories could take… umm…. 5… and counting. 😉
I didn’t get the target-specific drug because… insurance. It took 10 months of tests, two weeks after the last results, one more week and a few meltdowns, but I got the 2nd best-recommended antibiotic, instead. And I was damn happy about it because I was desperate.
For months I’ve been in pain and exhausted. No mere fatigue – physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. I’ve been overwhelmed, confused, forgetful, unable to recall or say the correct word. I would pick up a pen and by the time I blinked, I had no idea what I was after.
Last week, I realized I’d forgotten to complete a crucial work task, had a mini melt-down, scrambled pre-holiday to make it right, only to discover I had not forgotten. I’d done it the previous week. Completely, correctly and with absolutely no recollection of doing so. But the proof was there with my name on it, and after 10 months I was suddenly scared.
Maybe I’d had a stroke? Daily for months, I’ve been teary. Some days, tears would trickle out. Some days, I cried. My balance was off, I stumbled into walls and desks and doors. My ears constantly rang. I dropped things no matter how hard I tried not to, sometimes repeatedly.
I had a lot of tests, a lot of scans. The most ridiculous was the supposition of a fractured hip. I doubted I had a fractured hip, but I had enough non-answers and medically-induced doubt of my own knowledge of my body that I subjected myself. My self-diagnosis had been kidney stones. I was correct about that part.
I refused a good number of tests, as well. I declined two of the last three offerings, one of which was eating a radio-active egg so it could be tracked through my digestive system in real-time. I declined the other because we didn’t have a diagnosis, so what sense would seeing a specialist in that field make?
I accepted the seemingly innocuous Hydrogen Breath Test, and it completely wrecked me. I wasn’t expecting side-affects from spending three hours breathing into bags. My symptoms got worse; way worse. Meltdown I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on, spontaneously-bursting-into-tears worse.
The day after Christmas meltdown was due to a recorded message from my pharmacy informing me that they could not fill my prescription because… insurance. I went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried.
Friday morning, I went to Meijer, where I did happily run into someone I adore who shared some much appreciated yet sad information. I had my third meltdown of the week after dropping a jar of tomato sauce, splattering shards of glass and globs of red goop all over the woman in front of me. She tried to wipe her white cable-knit boots off and ended up with slivers in her fingers. Phrases like ‘pay for this,’ ‘liability insurance,’ and ‘I’m sorry,’ flew back and forth between us. Things changed when I burst into tears. She and her friend hugged me. She told me not to worry, that it could have just as easily been her because she drops things all the time.
I cried all the way to the car, went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried some more.
Friday afternoon, I received a robo-call that my antibiotic was ready for pick-up. At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting the other one, hadn’t expected to get anything until after the holidays, so I ecstatically accepted what I could get.
I decided chicken wings would help – no sauce, of course. Only salt & vinegar, carrots, celery and blue cheese. I took my to-go order home, and following in the theme of the day, sadly discovered I had no blue cheese. I did have someone else’s smooshed chocolate cake, lumped into a bowl. It was gross, so I threw it away and moved on.
Dose 1 of the Augmentin horse-pill made me more nauseous than I already was.
Dose 2 induced 24 non-stop hours of volcanic belching and prolonged gassing, alternately terrifying and offending HBlu.
At dose 3, it sounded like I’d swallowed the MGM lion and he really wanted out of my internal mess.
By day 3 (dose 4 & 5), the expected antibiotic effects kicked in, the lion was still protesting and it occurred to me that not as much liquid was coming out as I was forcing in. I gave myself a pass. Recliner and mindless phone games all day.
Day 4. I could… think. I thought about my ambitious list created pre-holiday time off. I thought, figures. Major projects thwarted, again. My biggest achievement was taking out the garbage and sleeping in 4-hour segments.
Yesterday, I did some minimal straightening up. Which after months of not doing any straightening up was monumental for me.
I put away my Christmas-themed socks to make room for 6 pairs of Christmas-gifted socks. I took a shower.
I read the provided one-sheet on SIBO diagnosis. It had been explained to me and was easy to understand. Bacteria is a normal part of large colon health. It is not normal in the small intestine. The small intestine bacteria eat your food, then excrete hydrogen and methane. You’re being robbed of nutrients and energy and infused with gasses.
Small intestine bacterial overgrowth symptoms: abdominal bloating/distension, GI issues, nausea, vomiting, body aches, malabsorption, malnourishment, brain fog, mental confusion, poor short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, severe fatigue, slurred speech, gait disturbances.
That’s when Hope showed up.
It might as well have been a physical flick of a lighter in a cave. I got it. I suddenly got it all, connected the dots. Low food absorption – low absorption – of everything. Low absorption of the extra vitamin D and iron and ibuprofen I’d been taking to help combat symptoms. Low absorption of allergy medications, fibromyalgia medications.
10 days from now, treatment for this bacterial monster will be complete. Realistically, it may take another dosing, it may take months until my body’s re-absorbed optimal levels of nutrients. That’s not ok.
I’m already impatient with Hope, so I will go one step further.
Lord, I ask you for healing with faith that it will come.
So, here’s to reasonable medical explanations, modified diets, and a healthier 2020 than 2019.
Oh, Billie Eilish, right? Day 5, partial re-possession of brain, getting lost in hours of video, interviews, raw music, concert footage, fanzines, endless articles. Oh, and Bellyache, yeah.
Quote for the week:
ps. rock painting by paula pruitt