May 6, 2009

This Message Brought to You by the Makers of Albuterol and Sleep Loss

Exactly where should I begin with all this?
Okay...I think I'm awake now. For now.
I had a regular checkup with my doctor yesterday. Actually, I saw the P.A. I hadn't seen my doctor for a regular physical in a couple of years, I guess. Since my cholesterol tends to be on the high side and my feet swell and diabetes runs so thick in my family, I thought it best to get checked out. When I made the appointment, my feet were swelling like crazy. Of course, they couldn't get me in right away. Actually, I have this strange anxiety thing when it comes to going to the doctor. I can think of a thousand things that are probably wrong with me. I call my doctor to make an appointment, but panic at the last minute and just tell them I want a checkup. So, they got me in within a few weeks.
Since then, my ankles have returned to their normal swelling routine and I've felt fine. At least, I thought I was feeling fine!
I almost cancelled yesterday's appointment. The doctor is 35-40 minutes away from home. It just seemed like such a hassle, you know? A friend of mine offered to watch 3YO while I went. I still felt silly driving all the way out there just for them to tell me that I'm fine.
Anyhow, I went. I hadn't seen the P.A. before. I don't have a problem seeing the P.A. instead of the doctor. In my experience, the P.A. or nurse practicioner or whoever is right below the doctor is more thorough anyhow. So, I walk in and she introduces herself. She sees that I brought a list. (I had finally decided to write everything down so I wouldn't blank out and forget something that really does bother me in everyday life!) We went over general stuff and she typed most of my questions into her little laptop and made notes of things she'd order tests for. Most of my list was taken care of by routine bloodwork. I had already been fasting since I didn't want to make the trip TWICE when I could get it all done with in one shot.
As she started examining me, she did the usual eyes, ears and nose thing.
"Do you have allergies?"
"Yes. They're bad this time of year."
"Oh. Because your ears are red and so is your throat. And your eyes. You can definitely see it in your eyes. And-"
She looks up my nose then and says, "you have a sinus infection! Did you know that?"
" sinuses were bothering me a few weeks ago, but they feel fine now."
She does that little thing where she taps on different areas of my face to see if I feel any pain. No pain.
"Hmmm...well you still definitely have a sinus infection. And your lymph nodes are swollen."
She prods and poke around a little bit and listens to my lungs.
As I am inhaling and exhaling on command, she says, "Have you ever had asthma?"
"Yes. I do have mild asthma, but I haven't needed my inhaler in like forEVER."
"Well, your asthma is out of control right now. I'm only supposed to hear like 25% of your exhale. I hear 100%. Are you tired?
"Ummm...YEAH! I have three kids. Aren't I supposed to be tired?"
"Not this tired. You aren't getting enough oxygen! I'll bet you're anemic too, so we'll check for that in your bloodwork."
And I thought I was just lazy!
Well, I probably am still lazy. But, for now I have an actual reason. WOW. That P.A. found more wrong with me in five minutes than any doctor ever has. Maybe I'm just getting older or something. Most of the time, the doctors and nurses make me feel like a whiner or a hypochondriac!
This woman was thorough! She checked my legs and commented on the varicose and spider veins that covered them. She told me that was probably the reason for my swollen ankles, but she was checking for liver and kidney function anyhow. She then scolded me for my constantly being barefoot or wearing flip flops. She told me I should be wearing tennis shoes--ALWAYS. All day long, whether I'm home or not! She also wants me to wear COMPRESSION STOCKINGS!
UGH! Summer's coming, and I know have one more reason to NOT feel young and attractive!
Anyhow, since diabetes runs so heavily in my mom's side of the family, the P.A. wants me to start eating a 'diabetic-style' diet now. It's actually really reasonable. It's the same diet she followed when she was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. It's really just counting carbs, but not really a 'low carb' diet. It's more of a 'controlled carb' diet, instead. She warned me of the dangers to my liver when I follow a diet that is low in carbs. I can have 30 grams of carbs for breakfast and 30-45 grams of carbs for lunch and dinner. I also get two snacks in between that are 15 grams of carbs each. She wants me eating every 2-3 hours.
My breakfast this morning wasn't actually much different than usual. Add a piece of whole wheat toast to the two eggs I usually eat and I'm there. The rest of the 30 carbs I get comes from the half and half I put in my coffee. And I can eat again anytime within the next hour. I've finished my coffee for the day, which I never put sugar in anyway. She's thinking that eating this way now could prevent diabetes from ever coming. And once diabetes has been diagnosed, she says that the damage to the liver and kidneys is already done.
I'd actually been looking for a better way to eat, anyhow. It's totally worth a shot...and I might even lose a few pounds in the process!
*knocking on wood*
Mostly, I'll just be happy to keep so many of the headaches away.
I am not looking forward to all the albuterol I'm supposed to be inhaling in the next day or so. That stuff makes me feel like I want to crawl out of my own skin and she wants me to use it...A the next couple of days. I'm also on Advair, which I've taken before. My asthma gets crazy when I'm pregnant, so I've needed both albuterol and Advair for the first trimester of my last two pregnancies.
It really all hit me how tired I was when I was getting ready for bed last night. Both David and I were in bed by 10:30. No television, no computer...just straight to bed. 10:30 is early for me, but I knew I needed it. I was really looking forward to getting an hour or two more of sleep than I usually get!
At 10:31, 3YO started screaming from her bed.
Fan-freakin-tastic, right?
I took her to the bathroom, which is part of my nighttime routine with her. She usually wakes up dry if put on the toilet anytime after 11:00. 10:30 was close enough. I then brought her to bed with us. She writhed and screamed like an infant that couldn't talk. She was completely inconsolable. After about 5 or 10 minutes of screaming, I was able to get that her tummy hurt. Well, that and her nose was a bit stuffy, making it harder to breathe and pissing her off even more.
I watched her like I was watching a scary movie. A little voice inside (the paranoid MOMMY voice!) was telling me to scoop her up and rush her to the E.R. Her appendix was probably rupturing at that very moment and time was crucial. Luckily, I also had the logical side of me pointing out that she had no fever and was not vomiting. Also, she calmed down when we rubbed or patted her tummy. The pain came and went every few minutes. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. She finally settled down by about 4:30 or so. I was able to get her to drink some water and blow her nose then. Neither David or myself were able to get a single bit of quality R.E.M. sleep in that first six hours. We were both in and out of sleep every few minutes. After 4:30, she calmed down and we were all able to sleep like rocks until 7:00 this morning. (Which came WAY TOO SOON, in my opinion!)
She popped up this morning like everything was fine. She might feel a tad warm this and she is definitely coming down with a cold now. Last night, I can only assume that she was suffering from a killer case of GAS paired with a slightly stuffy nose. I'm glad I was able to listen to the logical part of my brain. If I hadn't, we might have run to the E.R. in the middle of the night and caught SWINE FLU or something from the waiting room! (I know the pork industry would prefer we call it 'H1N1' but 'Swine Flu' still sounds so much cooler and bacon is STILL just as large a part of my life as it was before!)
3YO has spent the day so far alternating between playing on the swingset out back and "nuggling" with me. I finally peeled her off me and she is happily watching a Dora DVD from the recliner. I'm supposed to eat again, but I'm not sure what to eat.
I guess my goal for today is to try to stick to the meal plans and try NOT to let myself lie down and go to sleep. I get the feeling that taking a nap today will only make me feel worse. I'll just be sure to to bed early (or try anyway!) and get more rest tonight. I'm not sure what else I'll get done today besides the bare minimum. While it wasn't runny yesterday, 3YO has had a couple of good sneezes today where she has those snot rockets that look like walrus tusks fly out of her nose.
In a perfect world, this would be a good day to stay home all day. In the real world, we have to pick 6YO up from school, take her to church tonight, and find a way to squeeze in a few errands while we're at it. Of course this would be the day where I discover that we're down to our last roll of toilet paper and 13YO will DIE without a tie dye shirt to wear to school tomorrow.
Of course it would!


Felicia said... boyfriend and I are thinking of getting married and having a baby, but this post just drove it all home to me again. My son is 13 now, how easily we forget. I think you did the exact right thing, going to the doctor with your concerns. I don't think you had any reason to feel that you were Hypochondriacasaurus Rex. You're doing good!

Maria said...

You definitely made the right call on seeing a doctor, as Felicia said. Of course, you don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but if you are legitimately concerned about something, then the best thing to do is usually to put your mind to rest about it by getting more information. The stress that comes from not knowing what’s wrong can take a real toll on you.

As to the three-year-old with gas pains, that must have been really tough to deal with. Gas pains are hard enough for an adult suffering from them to tell from something serious. I’ve had a visit to the doctor end at least once with “No, you’re just really constipated; your insides are not going to explode.” It must have been really hard with a three-year-old!

Good luck getting some more sleep!

Maria Blogging Team