Typical, I’m Ok.

There’s a memory gap, between the time I left the house Friday morning and the time I got the phone call.

I don’t remember what I was working on at the time. I don’t remember if it was before lunch or after lunch, or what time it was when I answered my phone.

At the time, the conversation didn’t shock me. It does, now, though. Because of the way the mind works.

Jeff’s body had already cried “wolf” so many times, it wasn’t too terribly concerning. We were operating under the well-documented and demonstrated assumption that he would rally, of course.

“Jeff told me not to call,” she said. “He’s going to be mad I called you, but I felt I should.”

Typical for Jeff, he had fallen asleep in his squeaky, red-glitter vinyl, swivel chair behind the display case. Importantly, the swivel and squeak would often jolt him awake, if he happened to drift off. They had saved him from falling back, or falling front, or falling off.

“I had a hard time waking him up,” she said. “A really, really hard time. I thought he should go to the hospital, but couldn’t get him to go. He doesn’t look so good.”

Thanking her, I hung up, and immediately dialed Jeff.

I rushed over his typical, jovial greeting. Hi, just calling to check up on you. How’s it goin’? ”

“It’s goin’!” he joked. “Had two customers today.”

“Cool. So … how are you feeling?”

“Oh, I’m, uh, feelin’ ok.” He stammered.

“Really?” I asked. “What’s been going on there?”

After a beat, Jeff huffed. “She called you, didn’t she?”

“Yep. You wanna tell me what happened?”

“Nah. It was nothin’.”

“Really?” I ppersisted. “She thought it was somethin’. Said you scared her.”

He explained he’d arrived there later than he had planned (typical). “Was walkin’  around, then, I was out of breath, and I was sweatin’ real hard. So, I set down to drink my pop.”

“Mt Dew?” I prompted, knowing he’d likely have to  answer ‘yes.’

Knowing I’d be annoyed and prone to not so subtly reminding him, again, that sugar and caffeine were not a diabetic’s friend, Jeff decided to skip right over that rote role-play.

“Aw, I didn’t mean to fall asleep,” he almost whined. Continuing on a sigh, he finished in typically optimistic Jeff style, “… but, it was a good sleep, so, I must have needed it.”

“So, you’re totally fine, now?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “Kinda a little bit dizzy, sick to my stomach.”

“Maybe, you shouldn’t finish the Mt Dew,” I poked.

“Oh, I already drank it, all.” Jeff confessed. “And I think it helped, some. I’m not so tired now.”

“Uh, huh, sure.” I snarked. His expected chuckle sounded a little off, not quite right.

“Hey,” I gentled my tone. “You sure? You feel ok to drive home?”

“I’m ok.” Jeff assured me.

Quote for the Week:2019 06 11 a true friend is willing to go behind your back

intertwention

Years later. One evening after dinner, an intense pain hit Jeff in the gut. It doubled him over, caused a serious sweat but then almost instantly disappeared. He announced he must be extra gassy. I worried about it a little, but he said he felt fine.

About a week later, he excused himself from the den and said, “I’ll be right back.” I watched him walk away and thought he was walking oddly, but so many of his medications caused digestive issues, I shrugged it off as he’d probably just been in a hurry.

The TV show we were watching ended, and I went to brush my teeth. I flipped the light switch in our bedroom, and screamed. All I could see was Jeff’s feet and the top of his back. He was on the floor on his hands and knees, shaking, and sweat was pouring off him.

When I came around the bed, Jeff grunted, “thought it would pass…” Confused, I barked, “How come I didn’t know you had kidney stones!” He put a hand on the bed and tried to push himself into a standing position. That ended  badly, sliding him back to the floor, bent in half. “I don’t…” he wheezed. “Stomach pain.”

“Same as before?” I asked. “Yeah” he gasped, “Water…” I jumped around him and came back with a bathroom Dixie cup. Jeff gulped it, and asked for more. He seemed to be getting his breathing under control, but then reported,  “…getting worse.” “I’m going to call the ambulance,” I told him.

“No! No!” he protested. “I’ll be ok, just give me a minute. It always go away…” By then I had figured out, he’d had more than just the two attacks I knew about. “How many have you had?” I angrily shouted. “Just a few…” he answered.  “How about giving me a number?” I demanded.

“‘Bout once a day,” he huffed, resulting in my swearing, a lot. Usually, my creative cursing made Jeff laugh. Not this time, though. I asked if he’d called the doctor, and of course, he said he hadn’t. “Eating lots of Tums” seemed to help, so his plan was to mention at his next appointment. “Tums?” I still questioned. “How many Tums does it take.” “A handful'” was Jeff’s answer. My blood pressure was on it’s way up, when Jeff cried out in pain.

“I’m calling…” I told him. “No, no!” he protested, “It’ll be expensive. I’m getting better.”

“No, you’re not!” I cried in frustration. “Yes, I am!” he insisted. “I’ll call the doctor tomorrow if it doesn’t get better.”

“Listen, Jeff.” I put my hand on his shoulder, squatted down to look him in the eye and issued an ultimatum. “Unless you can get up off this floor in the next 30 seconds, I’m calling.”

He looked at me, looked at the bed, looked down at the floor. He took a rattled breath, hung his head even lower in painful defeat and grunted, “…call…”

Quote for the Week: 2018 02 27 intertwention jakorte

 

 

 

A Dinner or A Doctor

Jeff’s health took many turns, endured many twists. One after another, incidents began piling up.

Jeff had been fighting Intertrigo with a topical medication, but failed to mention it was getting worse instead of better. Right before leaving for a dinner at one of his cousins’ home, he announced he thought he should go to the emergency room. “Can’t you wait until after dinner?” I asked. “We’ll be closer to the hospital and we can go right after.”

“No,” he replied. “I need to go now.” Knowing Jeff would normally never miss an opportunity for dinner and a social visit, I panicked a little, and asked for specifics. I was annoyed, because I really wanted to go to this dinner. I was angry because, if it wasn’t working after a week of treatment, he should have done something about it. “Like what?” he wanted to know. “Like call the doctor!” I threw up my hands.

“Well, this is what the doctor gave me. Doctors know what they’re doing! They go to school for it…” he argued. What followed, as we gathered our belongings to head out, was an argument like many more to come.

My stance is that the patient needs to be responsible for telling the doctor if something isn’t working. Doctors and diagnoses aren’t always correct, and the right doctor won’t be annoyed with you for asking. Jeff was lucky to have a doctor like that. Actually, I was the one who was lucky he had a doctor like that, since I was the one informing her of subsequent non-successes and eventually, other treatments I’d like to see taken.

So, we made the call: explaining our regrets, explaining we were on the way to the emergency room. I felt even worse when I learned that dinner had already been made and a special cake had already been baked. Before we’d even pulled out of the driveway, Jeff’s phone rang. He shook his head, as he told his brother it was true; we were headed to the ER. The Korte Grapevine is the fastest form of communication I’ve ever come across. So many times, I’ve been so very thankful for that.

Along with Intertrigo, a rampant yeast infection had developed. With a blood sugar of almost 700 – the attending doctor checked Jeff’s incoming chart and incredulously demanded, “How are you even still talking to me?” That range is commonly coma and or death inducing. By this time, though, Jeff’s normals were regularly 350-400. That’d be like a controlled or non-diabetic hitting a 400. Not good. 

A spinal tap and a few other tests, lead to an admission. Through it all, Jeff never stopped talking… or joking.

Quote for the week:

2018 02 20 The relativity of medical treatment jakorte

(For example; my norm is 97.3, so when my temperature reaches 99, I have a fever. It’s like a 98.6 hitting 100. If I don’t let the caregiver know my 97 norm, my 99 is considered ‘normal’ – no fever.)

 

 

Nutritional Upheaval

I’m not that old, but like many others I’ve been through countless diets, life changes, recommendations, scientifically based sort-of facts-for-now stuff.

Along the way I have discovered a few things I probably could have gotten large government grants for. Too strict does not work. Too lax does not work. Reasonable works. Reasonable works even better with exercise.

Results are even more pronounced when everything else is in order: chakra, auras, spirits, godliness, centering, being comfortable in the universe. I have a hard time believing anyone is 100% comfortable in or with their own being 100% of the time. The odds just aren’t in that scenario’s favor. But, as long as we are operating with a more-good-than-bad mentality, things can mostly go well.

Five months into an enthusiastic recommitment to my own well-being, well…  I experienced a nutritional upheaval. Not in a good way; in a birthday-triggered sort of way. Celebrations tend to derail me. Luckily they are mostly scattered among weeks of normalcy. Last week, I abandoned normalcy. Back on the “food is fun” band wagon, I barreled straight through the swinging kitchen door of delights and kept going.

Monday: Max & Erma’s, lunch with friends, and a little pre-birthday celebrating last year plus one.  Economically, it didn’t make sense to avoid the lunch special – tortilla soup and a cheeseburger and fries and a cookie. About half of the fries were abandoned. Afternoon sluggishness isn’t uncommon when I indulge. I argued myself out of my evening walk, and took a 4:30 PM intentionally short nap. I define an intentional short nap as one that I set an alarm for, fully expecting to be productive later on.

Waking up at 6:00 pm is disorienting. My two most common mistakes are napping and not eating. I wasn’t hungry for dinner, so I grabbed a homemade chocolate-chip Miralax muffin. There’s that age birthday-connected thing again. Fiber: I need the stuff. Might as well enjoy it.

Tuesday: The Buffalo Wild Wings experience: Margarita, Salted Caramel, Honey BBQ and Fiery chicken flappers, split 4 ways with one basket of onion rings, and an iced tea. One took a slippery jump and did a terrific tumble down my dress shirt. While unsuccessfully attempting to minimize the disaster, I slapped the iced tea sending a wave across the table into a lap, and ended up letting the sticky blob plop onto my pants. Coincidentally, I had difficulty dressing for the non-Michigan summer-fall routine we have going on here. I grabbed an extra, slightly heavier, long sleeve shirt just in case the air conditioner didn’t get the 65 degrees in July memo. The change left me too warm, but less embarrassed. Tuesday is a dedicated non-walk day, and I didn’t. I also didn’t eat much again. I was excessively thirsty. I was also up stumbling around a few times taking in and letting out liquids.

Wednesday: Rising earlier than usual was harder than usual after my interrupted evening. I noticed my ankles weren’t looking like ankles. I couldn’t even see my ankle bones. Obviously retaining fluids – the wings were covered with sea salt, so that made sense. Still, I was sore and headachy and unenthusiastic. I mustered.

Long, unusual, and unpredictable days demand early morning substantiality. At 7:30 AM, armed with a Sausage McGriddle (no egg) and a diet coke (no hash browns) I parked in my usual headed-to-Detroit ride-share spot at Sam’s. The first three hours of paper sorting, cardboard piling and kilo-watt generating were followed by baked ziti, a nice salad, a glass of sugary punch and a cookie. I skipped the roll and butter. The second three hours of learning, watching, doing were interesting and a bit nerve-wracking. The wind-down dinner break was a planned roll to Corktown’s Taqueria Mi Puebla (on Dix.) The headache never really cleared, and I didn’t have the energy to care.

Hard work makes me less hungry, but I know by now I have to eat even if I don’t feel like it. The big meal thing wasn’t going to happen but splitting one meal and adding a small dish seemed like a good idea. Even shared, there was still plenty of food. I didn’t finish my halves, and experientially ignored the rice, mostly likely, because I was introduced to Horchata. Ordering a small was a good call on my part, as was adding a request for water. I loved it. It was creamy and sweet, and would have happily helped me avoid dessert, except for the even sweeter kindness of a friend and the cooperation of waitresses. One 30 gallon red-velvet, silver embellished sombrero, a serenade en Espanola and half a piece of Tres Leches cake, I was pretty happy. And pretty buzzy, too. And a little teary-eyed. And achy. And sore.

Before falling into bed, I munched on another convenient homemade chocolate-chip Miralax muffin.

Thursday: I woke up with donuts on my mind. Actually, I woke up a little nauseous and carb-crazy. The only way to get out of bed was to slither to the edge. My ankles were still pretty solid. My rings didn’t fit on my fingers so I didn’t wear them. An incoming call about the availability of vase, determined that I would not be stopping for donuts. I did, however, stop for a medium iced Mocha, and a diet Coke. The diet Coke wasn’t for me.

Donuts. I can never resist donuts. It’s well-known enough that I am frequently offered post-meeting baked goods. I know I ate two donuts. I think I might have had an extra half. I know I added jittery and spacy to my list of growing symptoms. But, that didn’t deter me from the boarding the next celebration train. Pulling into Red Lobster, I decided to eat sensibly. Another round of round-shape inducing food ensued. One cheddar biscuit, two cheddar biscuits and a “can’t count this as vegetables” creamy Caesar salad later, I realized I wasn’t even trying. After the side potatoes, salad and biscuits, only 3 coconut shrimp (no pina-colada sauce) were consumed. Dinner, 3 more shrimp.

Friday: Disgusting. That’s how I felt. My previously control fibromyalgia was solidly uncontrolled. Every joint was swollen, every limb puffy, and my tummy uncomfortably bloated. My mind was cloudy. My head was approaching migraine achy. I did not pack a lunch. I had nothing readily available to eat in the house, and I was out of those easy-eat muffins. I’m really not that fond of smoky burgers, but it seems Burger King has turned into a semi-regular Friday lunch run with a few women I don’t see very often. So, of course, I went with justification. There are always coupons to be used. A Whopper with cheese, a small fry, a small diet root beer and what I considered to be my last fling of unreasonableness, a rather small hot fudge sundae, filled my eat-in tray.

So, there you have it. A week in a non-dieting mode had ended. Voila! Done with the episodic nutrition-lacking stupidity!

Shortly after sluggishly returning to my desk, a coworker arrived with a salad bowl full of individual ice cream cups from Stucchi’s. Luckily, I didn’t care much for the flavor I was offered. Unluckily, I was feeling feisty enough to go back to the break room and trade it in for another flavor. To my food-dazed credit, I realized that it probably wasn’t in my best interest to have another round of ice cream.  I stuck it in the freezer, for the moment, and then lugged it home at the end of the day. Why? I guess, because, I could.

Before that, before I could make it safely home, before I even left the office, there was one more opportunity for obstinate denial. The birthday celebration cake: Busch’s really does make a tasty sheet-cake. Have I mentioned my birthday? Yep, I went for cake. By the time I got there was no longer a determinable decorating theme, but it didn’t matter. There on the counter, cut into unusually large pieces, were dozens of pieces of cake. I did not choose the petitest marbled piece. It went down quickly in a completely unmemorable kind of way and left me with a sugar cough, incredible thirst and a deep blue melancholy tinged with a little anger.

I hadn’t even made a serious half-attempt at control. So, I rounded it out for good. Dinner was the 4 remaining left-over coconut shrimp, the last homemade chocolate-chip Miralx muffin and the formulation of a repair the damage plan.

Saturday: I spent a lot of time prone. Switch the laundry; lie down. Make the bed; lie down. Empty the dishwasher; lie down. That’s when it occurred to me. I had food poisoning. Not the traditional kind, but my special brand of “keep ignoring the signs and symptoms, dummy.” Within one week, I exacerbated every quirk physical quirk and concern I have: high sugars, low sugars, rampant FM weakness and pain, headaches that turn into migraines, thirst, exhaustion, fluid retention. It was also hard to breathe after one staircase, and more than once a leg felt as if it would buckle. I dropped a lot of things. It brought back memories of 298 and misery.

I weigh myself Monday and Friday each week. Monday, at the start of this debacle, I was something something 4.2. Friday, I was something something 8.6. In one week, it seemed I had lost almost everything I had accomplished in the last five months.

I also devoted two days to detox. Not in the traditional way, but in the chicken-fruits-vegetables-antioxident tea and water routine. Two days of reasonableness helped somewhat. Monday, I began to feel less cloudy; more awake. I almost ruined the day with a sweet coffee drink, but saved it with a veggie laden lunch at Leaf and fruit salad and more chicken for dinner.

Tuesday: today. I made myself walk to work. After work, getting out the door to make the short loop around the neighborhood took longer than the trek. 40 minutes to mentally prepare for 26 minutes, 1.2 miles, 19:33 pace and a measly 180 kcal wasn’t a bad restart. It also isn’t the 42 minutes, 2.47 miles, 19:13 pace or 336 kcal of the dance/walk two weeks ago.  I delayed weigh-in by one day. This morning I was something something 4.6. Net, not so bad – everything else, not so good.

Sometimes, when we do unintelligent things, we console ourselves with the thought that we will be too intelligent to ever make the same mistake again.

Sometimes, we aren’t. More importantly, sometimes, we are.

Quote for the week:

You are strong when you know your weaknesses. You are beautiful when you appreciate your flaws. You are wise when you learn from your mistakes. ~ Unknown

Enjoy this week’s Discovery Links:

Determining Pace: http://walking.about.com/od/measure/f/howfastwalking.htm

“Fibroglycemia”: http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/effect-of-carbohydrate-consumption-on-fibromyalgia

Drop the Fatitude: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1366

Sometimes, when we do unintelligent things 07 29 2014