Trip #2 to the acupuncturist

I returned from acupuncture around 11:30am. From that point through this moment, I feel slightly nauseated and headachey cuz I didn’t eat enough before the appointment. I am eating baked salmon, mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms, and drinking rice milk to remedy the situation.

I learned – my appointments from here on out will be in the afternoon.

Also, from the appointments itself, my shoulders feel puffed again – let’s see if I can explain… you jab a needle into a piece of flesh. You electrify it. It will puff a bit. That’s what the doctor does with the acupuncture needles – he hooks a unit to each needle and sends a small electrical current to the needle to stimulate the muscle. Like what I used to have done in physical therapy back in 2001 when I was having repetitive strain in my forearms and wrists.
They used electrodes, this guy uses acupuncture needles. *shrug* same idea.

So I’m stiff from that. The same thing happened on Wednesday. And on Thursday, I felt MUCH better. That’s what I am hoping for, for tomorrow – to feel much better.

Oh, and I asked Dr. Yan today about a face ring or whatever those are called, so I can lay on my stomach on the table without having to turn my head. He said he does have one. I just didn’t see it last time. We decided that for awhile, we’ll do the acupuncture with me sitting in a chair, and then take it from there.

I called my Ma when I got home, and asked her about the cortisone injections she got many years ago. My pain management doctor had recommended cortisone injections as treatment for my bulging disks in my neck, and I’ve been afraid to do it.
Ma has always told me that she’s as deathly allergic to cortisone as she is to penicillin. Since I’m badly allergic to penicillin also, I am afraid I’ll have similar reaction to the cortisone as my Ma did. So I got the story:

She had psoriasis of the scalp, and she kept itching it and it got worse and painful. So she went to a specialist who gave her a “gun type” cortisone injection to the neck. As a result of the cortisone injection, she said she felt drunk and couldn’t talk – her speech was slurred. She said that she lost feeling in her face and mouth, and that if she sat down, she couldn’t get back up again because her legs would go numb. So she couldn’t walk at times, either. She said this lasted two weeks and scared the shit out of her. She saw her primary care doctor, who told her to NEVER get a cortisone injection again, that she didn’t need that just for psoriasis of the scalp. He told her she was allergic to cortisone. This led my mother to believe she almost died from it.
One year, my Ma had a bad case of psoriasis on the arm. She went to the doctor who gave her a cream. The psoriasis worsened, badly. I remember this as a teenager and how mutilated her arm looked. She examined the ingredients in the cream – cortisone. So even topical cortisone is bad for Ma.
Every doctor she’s seen since then has scoffed at her when she says she is allergic to cortisone. They tell her ‘There’s natural cortisone in your body! How can you be allergic to it?’ Typical for doctors to scoff at their patients. I get that about the penicillin whenever doctors try to prescribe cillin-derived alternatives to penicillin if I’m in need of antibiotics. I always have to forcefully tell them NO, I cannot have ANY cillin-derived medicines, either. I projectile-vomit. TRUST me. They scoff. I scoff back and get what I need that is NOT cillin-derived.

Anyway, I digress.

As stated earlier, because of the fact that Ma is allergic to penicillin, and so am I, therefore I am afraid that because she is sensitive to cortisone, that so am I.
So Ma asked me if I have ever used corisone creams. I thought about it and remembered that last year, my allergist gave me a corisone ointment for the atopic dermatitis on my fingers. The dermatitis was caused by eating gluten and yeasty foods. The ointment helped me.
Based on that, Ma says I shouldn’t have a problem with cortisone injections.

My friend Jason G, had cortisone injections to his neck for ruptured disk. He said the first one helped – for two months he was pain free. But the second injection didn’t do jack shit.

My friend Nate says that “High-dose cortisone is the second most common cause of osteoporosis.”

So based on talking to my Ma, my friend Jason and my friend Nate, I did some research.

“The stories regarding the dangers of cortisone come from years ago when it was first introduced and it was used in larger doses (the consequences were not yet recognized).” – John A. Van Houten, M.D.

“…problems came with large doses over time, including a weakening of the immune system.” – Dr. Ephraim P. Engleman.

“…this drug can be mistaken for a miracle cure for their pain. It is true that cortisone injections are effective at reducing pain, but cortisone does not assist in the healing process. In fact, it’s actually been shown to slow it down.” – Laurie Brown LaRusso, MS.

“He also cautions that the cortisone did not fix the problem, it merely eased the pain.” – Laurie Brown LaRusso, MS, quoting Robert Leach, MD, editor of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Cortisone in high doses is the second most common cause of osteoporosis.” – Carol & Richard Eustice, reviewed by Kate Grossman, M.D.

Well!
Dear Dr. Panjabi, my pain management specialist,
I have decided that I will NOT be taking cortisone injections any time soon!
-zept

First ever trip to an acupuncturist

Today I went to see an acupuncture specialist for the first time ever – for the back pain and Endometriosis. Both my pain management doctor and my Endometriosis surgeon have been encouraging me to see an acupuncturist.

When I got there, I described my neck and shoulder pain to Dr. Yan, and told him how the Endometriosis pain also serves to lock up my lower back once a month. I told him it’s not uncommon for my entire back to go out when I’m having the Endo pain. I told him about my car accident. I told him that my back had just gone out last week and was still not 100%.

He then had me lay on my right side. I told him it hurt to lay on the right side because my shoulders are still messed up. I tried tucking my right arm behind my back instead of in front as I lay on my side, to ease the pain, and BLAMMO, the right shoulder went out – radiating pain down to my right elbow.

The needles were removed and Dr. Yan sat me in a chair, instead. My left shoulder, the original source of pain and suffering last week, was feeling much better. My cervical spine was feeling better. But I couldn’t shake the stabby pain going down my right arm to my elbow.

I started to feel that my body was going a bit sideways, even though I was sitting upright, so the doctor called the session done for today. I knew going into this that I could pass out or that I could become sleepy, so I wasn’t alarmed. I’d walked to the appointment so there was no danger of me on the road after the appointment. It’s only a half a mile from my home.

The thing is, as I walked home, my shoulders and upper back began to feel puffed, like the muscles were swelling. Blah. I got home and was in a lot of pain, with the pain radiating down my arm still.

So I took a muscle relaxer. I even used a heating pad on my shoulders about an hour after I got home. I even laid down for awhile. I’m still in pain.

I’m sad that I threw my back again AT the acupuncturist’s office. I see him again on Friday, and I’ll only sit in the chair next time instead of laying on the table. Too bad he doesn’t have a thing like massage therapists have on their tables – a place for the head to lay through an open ring, so the back and neck are all flat – then I could lay on my stomach. Ah well.

pre-emptive move

I felt crappy on Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday was even moreso, with the uterine pain and the sloshy feeling inside growing more intense with the commute in to work. My shift started at 8am and I just barely made it before a ‘tardy’ could be declared, because traffic sucked on the way in again.

After fighting traffic and uterine pain, then I sugar crashed. This, after having eaten a full breakfast, consisting of two eggs, two gluten-free waffles, and gluten-free rice milk. I don’t eat eggs very often anymore since the gallbladder pain I had last month, but I was tired of sausage or flax shakes or tuna pate as my breakfast options. I felt dizzy and nauseated and headachey – classic symptoms of the sugar crash feeling. I hadn’t had any wheat, so it must be sugar crash, which ALWAYS happens right before george. I’d been crashing even after full meals at breakfast and lunch for the past few days. This happened around 9am.

And then, george showed up by about 9:30am. The cramps began setting in, thankfully not at warp speed this time, so I pulled my new boss aside and asked for a word.
We went into an empty meeting room and I told her what I go through each month, how it’s being handled by HR, and that it was time for me to go. Told her I’ll likely be out for two days because of the pain. She sounded really supportive and actually even angry on my behalf, for the way HR has been treating me, making me get a doctor’s note each time. She then told me that she went out on maternity leave twice during her employment with this company, and both times she had to FIGHT to get the pay owed her according to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – and that this company fought her both times in having to pay out, and did so reluctantly.
WHY the hell would she stay at this company? I’m so sorry to hear her story, because the woman who is now out on maternity leave, the one who broke out in hives in front of me while panicking one day – she was RIGHT and JUSTIFIED in her paranoia surrounding the FMLA. And now she too will have to fight to get the money owed her. All because she wanted to procreate.

So, sucks to say it but it’s good to know that I’m not alone in the harrassment. I’m not singled out.

I got home from work by around 11:30am yesterday and took my medication. I spent the rest of the day in the usual drug haze, with a heating bad on my lower back and another one on my pelvic area. I was stubborn though and couldn’t lay down – was too fidgety – so my pain lasted that much longer as a result, and my entire back felt like it was locked up from steeling against the pain all day.

Eh, good thing I didn’t go in to work today, either. It’s the first rain and traffic is screwed. I’d have been late to work, anyway. Check out the speed limit on south-bound 880 – it’s only 25MPH right now:
wednesdaytraffic.jpg

I’m actually feeling pretty good right now, but I’m nearly over feeling guilty about work. I’m not beating myself up over it. I acknowledge consciously that although I’m not in pain at the moment, I made the right choice by staying home because it is likely, given the consistency in my pain cycle, that I will be in grave pain today, and I don’t want to be at work when it does happen, because the ride home would be grueling and I’d be crying. Been there, done that. Multiple times in the past ten years.

Oh, on the forgetting note:
Monday night, I RSVP’d with my health counselor to meet her after work on Tuesday. Tuesday night came around and I was lying on the bed with a sore lower back due to george when she came knocking at the door. Whoops. I forgot. Although I really must blame this on the pain meds and medical condition rather than on just all out forgetting. So I’ve forgiven myself. Good thing the health counselor was understanding, too. Good thing she only lives next door.

brain whack

Today at work I had to create a Help Ticket for a customer who needed a domain renewed because it had expired when their account had closed due to non-payment.
They just updated their credit card today, so the billing hasn’t gone through yet, so I can’t submit the ticket to renew the domain until the payment goes through.

Ok, so I created the ticket and left it open and assigned to myself so I can remember to check on the billing for this customer tomorrow.

After creating the ticket, I wondered to myself how long it would take before I forgot I had an open ticket that didn’t need addressing til the next day.

I shit you not, it took less than ten minutes.

I had just ended another support call and went to check the inbox. I saw that I had two tickets – one was escalated so I didn’t need to touch it. But … what’s this? A new open ticket? Where did that come from? Did someone assign me a ticket?

I opened it up and there it was – my face flushing with embarrassment even though no one might know why.

A veritable HAHA! GOTCHA!

It was the ticket I’d created myself less than ten minutes earlier.

And I’d forgotten.

:(

In george news, steady uterine pain all day. The Checking… all day. I betcha five dollars george will be early this month.

Forgetting – recording

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 11:20:23 -0700

this morning i couldn’t find my cell phone.

looked everwhere.

the last time i had it, it was in my lap in the car.

went out to my car, there it had sat in the driver seat all friggin night. i’d forgotten i had it in my lap while driving home.

good thing it didn’t fall into the street.

good thing no one broke into my car to get it.

________________________________

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 11:24:26 -0700

my man just told me last night that he would not be on chat today because he’s not at work today (2 days off! go him!).

i didn’t remember and started messaging him at work. i just remembered that he’s not logged into chat today.

________________________________

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 11:55:55 -0700

i was on my way to make lunch when i remembered that i was supposed to take out the bag of food recycles this morning. I’d set the recyles in the bag and set the bag at the door of the kitchen on the way to the front door just this morning.

And i STILL forgot.

i also forgot i was supposed to work 7am on friday til my boss just reminded the team.
i am now setting a calendar popup for end of day thursday to remind myself again.

________________________________

I’ve been emailing myself every time I have an episode of remembering that I’d forgotten something. I still have post-it notes all over the house and in my pockets to remind me of things.

I want so badly to make time to research forgetfulness, and to research brain injury in depth. I have no time til Sunday.

________________________________

In other news, george pains last night while eating dinner. Pain radiating down my legs to my knees, feels like soft tissue pain. Can’t explain better than that. Happens every month right before george. And the uterine cramps – mild to moderate. Not ovarian. Uterine.

And my forehead and temples are broken out in a pile of zits again – likely because I’ve been overdoing it on chocolate again, and corn syrup-ladden foods. I know I’ve violated my own rule of never eating corn syrup again. I’m in major craving/dietary self destructive mode just before george. He’s due by next Wednesday.

Forgetting, pre-george, work-related

Monday night I realised I forgot to email my health counselor to let her know that I had a work function on Tuesday, so I’d be late to my appointment with her. I said I’d mail her in the morning, knowing full well I’d forget.

Tuesday morning, I was at work and checked my mail, and she’d written to me to remind me of the appointment that night. I wrote back, telling her I was sorry for the late notice but would likely be late.

She wrote back, saying I could meet with her on Saturday instead, if that worked out better for me. I consulted with my man, asking about our schedule on Saturday. I had time to meet with her.

Of course, then I didn’t write back to let her know this – I forgot.

I didn’t remember until I was done with my work event. Then she got an apologetic voicemail.

The work event – they are celebrating their yearly anniversary, so they had us all gather at a brewpub and the CEO gave a ra-ra speech and people were nominated as best cow-orkers, and there was free beer and wine. Everyone got a bonus representative of the months or years they had worked there. This month marks 12 months but not to the day for me – not til the 16th, but still… I MADE IT TO MONTH 12 AT THAT PLACE!
I am proud of me. Now I just need to make it to the 16th without being fired for having a health condition.
I drank 2.5 glasses of wine at the work event. Of course this made me get all chatty and not so shy and socially freaked out.

Regarding george – he’s due a week from today, but as of this past weekend, I’ve started to have symptoms. The symptoms cropped up when I ate certain foods. I had coffee during the day, and ice cream in the evening on Saturday, and within 2 hours of each consumption, I was having light uterine cramps. This lasted through the next day before subsiding. I’ve had gassy stomach SINCE Saturday, of the likes that normally appears within 3 days of george.

On Monday, I drank 1/3 cup of coffee and again got pelvic pain.

Just now I got a sharp stabby pain in my left lower pelvic region – probably ovulating.

Right now I’m eating cheese with my breakfast sausage, so that’s not helping with the gassiness.

That’s the brain, employment and uterine report for the day. I’m off to work soon.

It’s like deja-vu all over again….

I went to work this morning with a bad gut feeling. There was very little pain again, so I went with it. There was also very little bleeding this morning. The 37-mile drive to work was uncomfortable again – I still have the water-balloon sloshy feeling inside.

I was able to work from 8am – 12pm this time before calling it quits due to the return of heavy bleeding, clots, extreme fatigue, dizziness and severe cramping.

Again I had to clean up my blood from the FLOOR every time I used the bathroom. All I’d do was take down my pants to sit on the pot, or rise from the pot after, and spillage was inevitable. Again I felt nauseous from all the bleeding.

On the way out of work, my boss told me to get that doctor’s note for the HR department. I felt like telling her to piss off, but I know she’s only the messenger. It’s that other manager who started shit yesterday that I want to tell off.

When I got into my car, I sneezed, and filled a pad just like that. I began to cry as a result. How the hell was I going to make it home? But what choice did I have? I certainly didn’t want to stay at work where everyone would be staring at me. Management doesn’t care about me – I feel like they think I’m a big drama queen, causing a scene.

I wept in my car for a few minutes, pulled myself together, and drove home. I felt every bump in the road and today it wasn’t sloshy balloon feeling – it was sharp pains that made me gasp. And I had the return of the anal pain, too. I cried out in pain several times on the way home. I got home and went directly to bed.

Did I mention that I threw out my shoulder again last night while turning over in my sleep?

Yeah, so my right shoulder is hosed. I did this several months ago too, also when stressed out from missing work due to the endo. So now I’m on muscle relaxers on top of the ibuprofen and tylenol 3.

I don’t want to go back to work tomorrow, even though I know that this will all be over by tomorrow. I missed a full day of work due to pain on Monday, a half day yesterday and a half day today. Tomorrow is the fourth day, which most of the time means I’ll be better.

But I’ve just had it with the workplace. I’m so depressed over this. I want to be taken care of right now but there’s no one with money to take me on as a dependent. I just feel like giving up, anyway, and not caring that the bills and rent would pile up immediately.

stuff

Came home from work last night and cried again.

I’m at the point now where I want to cry just thinking about having to go back to work the next day.

The good news is that I’ve hired a health counselor to assist me in eating properly, getting the right exercise, and dealing with my stress.

Speaking of exercise, I started exercising again – been lifting 5lb hand weights and doing situps before bed for the past couple of nights on my own – without the health counselor’s advice.

Today at work, my neck locked up *while just sitting there* talking on the phone to a customer. The warm pain dripped down my left shoulder, down my arm, and pooled in my elbow to make it tingle. I popped 600mg Ibuprofen on the spot and began slowly working my posture to try to “pop” the pinched nerve out of its crimp (it’s worked before).

Now I’m on muscle relaxers. Go me!

I’ll uh, be speaking to the health counselor to figure out WTF do do instead of situps and hand weights, since those seem to irritate my bulging disks in my neck. I know she’s not a gym trainer but any advice is a start. My man recommended that instead of situps, I try leg lifts, for example.

better today

Today was bad and good.

I woke up feeling like shit. My eyes were puffed and stinging from all the crying the night before. My shoulders and neck were stiff and sore, despite having taken a muscle relaxer the night before.
I didn’t have an appetite so I grazed on stuff here and there instead of making a meal.

I went outside to my car and it was a lot colder than the previous day or evening had been, due to the storm that had rolled through. So I bundled up with my scarf, put on my gloves, and took off, heading towards the gas station.

I drove right past the police station, and a motorcycle cop shot out and followed me. He pulled me over. I had no idea why until I came to a stop, rolled down my window, and went to unbuckle my seatbelt.

That’s when I realised I’d not put my seatbelt on.

I always put my seatbelt on, ever since my car accident in 1994.

The cop was apologetic. He ran my license – clean. He came back and apologised – said it’s “click it or ticket” month and he HAD to give me a ticket. I took the damned ticket and had no way to explain myself. “But I just forgot this once” doesn’t cut it when they’re on official quota for a specific violation. The ticket will cost me betwen $78 and $89.

I nearly cried right there after the cop left. I nearly turned my car around to go back home and sob again. But for some reason, I put on my seatbelt and continued on my way.

“I have no choice” rang in my head again.

I got to work and began my day. I felt like I could have a nervous breakdown at any moment. My shoulders continued to tighten.

Just before lunchtime, a disgruntled cow-orker of mine informed me that one of our cow-orkers had been fired.

Well, last Friday, another cow-orker was fired (I later found out she was threatening management to hire her full time so they told her to feck off), and another cow-orker quit without another job lined up because this company is that stressful to people.

Later on, I was told that the cow-orker who was fired today was told it was for poor performance. I was told she’d had more than one warning. But the thing is, how is it poor performance when she was taking between 33 and 48 calls per day? That’s about what I take.
Well, another cow-orker told me that good performers take up to SIXTY calls per day.

So now I wonder if I’m next to be fired.

“There must be better ways than this, I ask you” – 1000 Homo DJs

I worked through lunch and left early to go to another MRI appointment. This is the one that was denied, then accepted by the insurance company. It’s for my neck/shoulder pain and is related to the car accident. Sounds sick to say but I was happy that my shoulder felt like it was about to go out, and I was in pain laying there for 20 minutes in the MRI tube. Because that means something was going on and something will show up on film for the doctor to look at.

When I got out of the MRI office, I had to take an anti-anxiety pill. I HATE the noise from those things. This time, the attendant was nice enough to tell me how many minutes each iteration would last. So I counted the seconds and tried not to let the loud noise of the MRI machine take over the counting. .. if that makes sense. The noise made different pitches of sounds. And as I count, I tend to get OCD with counting sometimes. But on top of the OCD, I tend to let sound get in the way of counting. So instead of a steady “one one thousand, two one thousand”, my brain lets the sound dictate how the seconds will be counted, and they’ll draw out longer or be shorter. I amused myself by fighting against that, and freaked out less by the sounds this time.

But as I said, I still needed an anti-anxiety pill when I got out of there. I had remembered to grab the camera this morning, and so I drove straight to the estuary after my appointment, and snapped pictures of ducks, geese, sandpipers, seagulls, foliage, the shoreline, and ground squirrels.

Special note to Mel: I didn’t feed the ducks but I did enjoy watching them. They make me think of my sister, who loves ducks. :)

I’d post the pix but I STILL don’t have photoshop on the new machine. I keep bugging my boyfriend for a crack of it.

I got home and the depression set in again. I wonder if it’s the friggin house, or just the fact that I’ve come home and that’s the end of my day and I’m on the countdown before bed again. I’m so stressed out by time regulation it isn’t funny.
So I started drinking.

I only had two drinks. It was enough to get me nice and fuzzy. I chatted online with friends for a bit, then took a shower.

Now it’s time for bed.

Time off work

I get anxiety at work. I stay home from work. That causes anxiety cuz I fear I’ll be fired for taking time off.

I can’t win.

I had my mental breakdown on Wednesday. I went in to work on Thursday. I lasted til my first break at 10am and asked to go home. I was told I could go after I finished the email support.

Well. There were 19 emails assigned to me. Plus several escalation cases I had to get back to people on. So even though I was relieved of phone duty, I still had to do email support, and this took another hour and a half.

I got home and took a nap. That alone seemed to help, and the swelling in my eyes lessened considerably. I then called my neurologist and asked again for the referrals to the MRI and EEG tests. I’d requested to see the neurologist a few months ago to finally address the non-english speech outbursts I’ve had (think of it like Tourette’s) ever since the car accident in 1994 when my head bowed out the windshield.
I think the only one who’s ever heard my outbursts is my man. It’s very embarrassing even when it leaks out in front of him. I’m pretty good at controlling it but I’m tired of having to constantly monitor myself consciously like that. It drains me to be on continuous self filter mode.

I got the phone numbers and to my fortune, was able to score both appointments for TODAY. That seems like that never happens – I jumped at the luck and called my boss back to let her know I’d be off work Friday, too.
I never got ahold of her directly, thus adding to my anxiety. “What if she didn’t get the message? What if the other managers weren’t informed that I’m not coming in today either? What if I get pegged as a no-show?” etc.
And yet, I felt so much better to be taking care of an outstanding issue.

I had to be up at my usual time (5:30am) today to get to the MRI appointment at 7am in Berkeley. I got there really early. I never know what traffic will be like, going in that direction.
During the MRI, I didn’t get claustrophobic like many people have described, but what I wasn’t expecting was the noise. UGH.
Even though I had earplugs, the noise really rattled my nerves. My mind flashed back to Drew Barrymore’s character (Charlie) during the MRI scene in the old movie Firestarter, heh. I finally understood why she was so upset!
At least, I *think* I remember that being the movie and the character…hmm, maybe I should buy it.

The good news is that they gave me the films to take to my neurologist. The bad news is that I can’t get a followup appointment with the neurologist until MAY.

I came home, worked on some genealogy stuff, and then a few hours later had to go back to Berkeley for the EEG. They put nasty gritty gel in various places on my head, and put the tight-fitting hat with electrodes on me. I had a ‘belt’ across my chest to monitor my breathing. I had to lay down during the test and close my eyes and just relax. Then after a time, it was announced that there would be a strobing light, which would increase in frequency to over 20 strobes per second. I tried to ponder that and prepare for it, mentally.
I normally don’t like strobing lights – I began to get irritated with them in the clubs back around five years or so ago. But the strobing light during the EEG traumatised me. I had tears welling up in my eyes not just from the flashes, but because I was ready to have a panic attack. I had to keep telling myself the same thing I did during the MRI, “just be calm, just be calm, just be calm…”

The good news on the EEG is that I can call my doctor to get the results in a few days.

Yasmin update: I haven’t had an appetite for any food, despite a starving, rumbling stomach. I get hungry, look at a world of food options, and don’t want any of it. I’ve been getting the point of wanting to throw up before I force food into my gullet.
Also, george is due tomorrow, and I’ve been feeling some tiny pelvic pains, like george is buried deep down, going ‘WTF?’ in a straitjacket.

HAH. GOOD.