The last couple of days have dragged my health back to the front of my mind.. not in a way I am familiar with though, because this time it doesn’t feel like a weight. Denial and a complete inability to care about anything right now, have both swirled together beautifully to take the sting out of the wasp of my health (I would call it a bee, but bees only sting once, and my health likes to sting me over and over and over again in various different places and ways). This is my way of saying that this post is going to ramble on about my health a lot (for which I apologise). I said I’d change this blog, that I wouldn’t let my posts go back to being focussed on my health, but I was in an extremely bad place then and I do’t really want to restrict myself with what I blog about – I want to let my thoughts go wherever they want to go.
Due to the fact that I’ve run out of diuretics (I meant to fix this situation before it became… a situation, but I have been unable to human lately) I have blown up like a balloon. Multiple kilograms of water molecules have decided to extend their stay within my body, and my kidneys can’t be bothered to kick all the additional water out. Weight is a confusing thing with me normally in light of this issue, but I didn’t realise how helpful diuretics had been in sort of stabilising the whole problem until I ran out of them… and within a day looked like I was heavily pregnant and had eaten a small dinosaur. I also
probably definitely didn’t appreciate the difficulty of walking when I decided that at some point I’m going to run again.
Since the round of acidosis my body went through the other day (I call it a round because my body really took a beating), my heart has been annoyed with me. It has been so determined to pay me back for this annoyance, that if it were a person, I would have stopped talking to it at this stage. If I were its neighbour, I would report it to the police for partying too hard. Because Skippy (my heart) has been partying (having palpitations and skipping beats) a lot more than normal. A LOT more. The chest pain I’d shaken off has also mildly returned. Neither of these things concern me in the slightest, but they are a little annoying.
Yesterday, after being forced to let my body take a little time out and fully get over the small health hiccup that occurred the other day, I finally went for a walk. I blogged about it here, and it was awesome, because it meant that I had finally started moving in the right direction in terms of building my fitness. It did however, take its toll. I have an old knee injury and some messed up cartilage in one knee; I was impatient, sick of my body not just getting over itself, and that knee hadn’t dislocated itself in a while (and therefore I decided it must be fixed, or that it was a case of mind over matter), so I walked without any strapping on it for the first time in months. Turns out that my kneecap does still like to wander round to the side of my knee as I walk, and the tape/ strapping (/ knee support that I’m meant to wear but don’t) were probably stopping it from doing that. I returned home in pain, pretty annoyed at my knee but also kind of sorry for annoying it. I left the house a human and returned a (very happy) zombie. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I had no energy left, I couldn’t really think straight, and my heart was FAST and partying away. I slept. I blogged. I beached myself on the sofa and sort of just stayed there watching Julien Solomita vlogs for hours (more on this at some other point – this guys vlogs have been a source of awesomeness through so much rubbish, and were the videos that introduced me to vlogs in the first place).
My surgery is scheduled in for Wednesday, and I’ve spent the morning trying to figure out how I’m actually going to get to London for 7:30am with extortionate train fares and rubbish Kentish public transport. My parents have plans and can’t give me a lift (my dad is taking my 13 year old brother to school even though there’s a bus that goes right there, and also wants to watch some chimneys get demolished – hardly anything important. Having said this, he really has a problem with me at the moment, makes me hate myself more than any other thing that ever existed ever has or could, and therefore I don’t actually want him anywhere near me). If I don’t have someone there to take me home from the hospital then they won’t do the surgery. I’m not fussed about having nobody there with me beforehand – Uni Pal will be there with me until about 9am when she has to leave to go to work, and I’m used to there being nobody there before I go for surgery anyway, it has never bothered me. In fact, I think it would be kind of awkward, I like to go into my own little zone. The surgery itself is minor, just a day case, but it is the anaesthetic that gives cause for concern. I’m not bothered by it, or worried, but I am growing a little wary.
Because my heart is a poop, the surgical team requested that I go to the hospital near my uni to have my heart checked out before they give me drugs which may upset it. So that’s what I did today. In the pre-assessment clinic they just sent me off to cardiology. As we were walking to the lift I asked the nurse what was actually going on, like what time would I have to get to the hospital before the surgery and what should I do with my medication etc. She was pretty horrified that I hadn’t been told this. She went and found out all of the information, and then asked if any bloods had been taken. I said no. She was even more appalled. Several wild goose chases later, I was laid out with a woman chatting away at me as she stuck ECG leads on my chest. And then she stopped chatting.
“Oh?” Was the only thing my brain could think of to reply,
“Is a laying heart rate this fast normal for you?” She was clearly concerned,
“Yeah.” My instinctive reply was to say whatever had to be said in order to get me out of the room.
“This high? I need to know whether or not this should concern me.”
“No that’s normal.” I didn’t actually look at the heart rate she was discussing, but the ECG peaks looked their usual sort of distance apart, and I tend to run along at 120-130. Anything below 100 and I feel seriously awful. She double checked and triple checked, and then decided that my reassurance was enough for her to not have to do anything.
After being led to multiple different entrances of the hospital, the blood test clinic was finally located. As I sat in the waiting room, a member of the surgical team phoned me, and started talking about another doctor as if I knew who on earth she was talking about. She was asking whether or not I’d had bloods done and I had to wait for her to check that they had requested another specific test before I let the phlebotomist attempt to take my blood. She started rambling about medication and stuff, but the signal was really bad and the call kept cutting out, so we both just gave up.
My veins would not play. They are very, very scarred, and even though they can be felt, in most places the lumen is too small to take a needle due to a build up of scar tissue. This time however, a tiny vein actually appeared in my hand. It gave enough blood to fill the line, and then when she connected the bottle, the vein blew and a large lump began bubbling up near where the butterfly (needle) went in. This is what my veins do, on the rare occasion that they can be located – they collapse at even the thought of being stabbed, it would seem. This process was repeated (after the application of a hot pack to try and make other veins appear), with exactly the same outcome. The soundtrack to the whole process was the sound of the phlebotomist saying things such as:
“How on earth do they ever get lines into you?”
“I never have problems like this, your veins are really something. They’re just so used.”
“Your arms are so cold, the circulation mustn’t be very good.”
“Oh you poor thing I’m so sorry about this.”
“You’ve been so patient, thank you so much, you didn’t even flinch.”
And then, eventually, inevitably, as always…
“I’m going to get my boss.”
I kind of just sat there through the whole thing. The phlebotomist took the whole situation as a personal failure, and I felt really bad for her because she was visibly quite disheartened and very apologetic.
I left, and got to walk back along pavements I know, out of the hospital that saved my butt on many occasions over my first year at university. I met my mum in the carpark of a supermarket, and headed back to Kent. My nephew and little brother started school today. My nephew has lived in Dubai since he was 9, so he was starting at an entirely new school. He had a free, so messaged me, and we had a very long chat, which was kind of awesome. He’d managed to get completely lost, have a small panic, and walk through an assembly by accident. I knew what it is like to start in a year of sixth form as a fresh face when everyone else already knows each other (I got held back a year at school due to spending a couple of years in hospital), so I could sympathise.
Because of my other health hiccups complicating even such a simple minor little procedure, I got another phone call from the hospital just now. It was one of the doctors talking me through what to do with all of my medications, which ones not to give etc. Because I have type 1 diabetes, I have to be hooked up to IV insulin and stuff before the surgery, which means I don’t have to do my first injection of the day on that morning (which is long acting insulin), and can also disconnect Bob Jr. (my insulin pump) and leave him at home. She asked about my heart and double checked that I’d had it checked out today and they’d taken an ECG, and asked if my heart had been ok lately or if I’d noticed any increase in symptoms or whatever. My mouth said no before my brain even had time to step in and say “Actually yes…” Go brain… NOT.
Also, if you’ve been unwell within 2 weeks of the surgery date, you’re supposed to inform them so they can delay the surgery. I found out I was having this surgery less than a week ago. I also kind of almost died a little bit within the last couple of weeks (my mum is still going on about how she cannot believe I am ok after managing severe acidosis myself, without all the IVs I needed or any hospital input at all, especially as I ended up unable to move or open my eyes or talk. She just keeps shaking her head in disbelief and sighing and saying she can’t believe I managed to save it)… What they don’t know can’t hurt them (but I’m pretty sure it could bite me, and I currently still don’t care enough about anything to bother about this).
I’ve been told not to swim at all (my cardiologist even wrote in a letter that my heart cannot tolerate swimming, and in my last appointment he told me not to swim any more). But I like swimming. I no longer feel like I need to do it as my only outlet, because I have the focus of working up to running… but I do really want to go for a swim. I’m not really acknowledging or being limited by my health at the moment (because hey, I don’t care about anything at all, such is my emotional state right now – broken). I’m through with doctors telling me things and turning out to be wrong. I’m through with people trying to guess what I can or can’t do and telling me not to do stuff because something “might” happen. So, to kind of make up for the fact that I’m having surgery on Wednesday, I’ve decided that I want to go swimming tomorrow. The day before surgery is probably not the best time to upset my body, but I just really feel like it needs to happen. I want to be in control, or at least give myself the opportunity to feel in control of my body. My main thought towards being careful for a body that goes wrong no matter how much I sacrifice to try and keep it right is… Screw it all. If you won’t work with me, you’re going to have to work for me. Deal with it body, you had way too many chances to be part of the team.
Ignorance isn’t exactly bliss, but it is significantly easier than caring and facing up to things alone.