Down With the Sickness

So the last time I checked in I was talking about the difficulty of dating when you have a chronic illness, and of course the decision to inject Humira when you potentially have an active infection. I did have a viral infection, however, the bronchitis I had was more the result of inflammation than the virus. I refused to take the antibiotics, instead opting for steroids, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

I had a stomach issue back on the 7th, and by issue I mean one bought of diarrhea, followed by cramps and nausea.I felt better, and the guy I’m seeing came over, but ultimately I started feeling sick again and he left. By Monday the 8th I was feeling better, but he was having issues. I thought about it but I didn’t feel like I had an infection, at least not your standard infection, and neither did he. I spent the week terrified I was getting sick, and hardly hearing from him. Then I found out he had diverticulitis and abscesses. He dodges surgery, and wasn’t contagious, so I did the irresponsible thing, and visited him in the hospital.

Okay, so I was responsible about it. He had a private room, and I wore a mask until I got into the room (he wasn’t contagious anyhow). When he got out of the hospital after a few days, he invited me over. It was the 14th, and I was depressed. Not because it was Valentine’s Day, I don’t as a rule recognize that holiday, I was just having issues with my family, and with life in general. (The ex wasn’t making any of that easier.)

Monday the 15th I felt fine leaving his place. I hadn’t had an appetite, which was something I hadn’t experienced for nearly two weeks! I went home and ate some vegan, gluten free, Pad Thai, a safe food for me, and some coconut chips. Now, because of the issue on the 7th, I hadn’t really had a good bowel movement. I’d gone once or twice, they were odd, and bloody, but I wasn’t concerned because that’s not abnormal for me. Well, TMI, but within 20 minutes of eating, I had to rush to the bathroom, and I didn’t make it. I told myself it was just too much fiber, but the pain was excruciating. After several rounds of diarrhea, I downed some extra strength medication, and made my way to the living room. By now I was dehydrated. I hadn’t eaten much for several days, and had even lost the urge to drink, but had been forcing myself to at least try. The worst part was that even water burned going through my system.

I ended up having to call 911 because I started to black out. My blood pressure was high, until I stood up then it plummeted, while my pulse did the reverse. I don’t remember much in terms of getting to the ambulance, I know they carried me down stairs in a special chair. I remember even less once I got to the ER. I was told later that I’d had two seizures. Without even seeing the doctor a second time, I don’t remember even talking to him the first time, I was being told I was being discharged. My abdominal CT was normal, despite my pain, as was my urine and blood testing. I explained that I wouldn’t be able to drink water at home and would just end up coming back in, but they refused to admit me.

Later I found out that my urine tested positive for THC. I had smoked the night before in an attempt to spur my appetite or at least my urge to drink water (it did make me thirsty thankfully), and I explained to my doctor, who was annoyed upon seeing the results, hat I had recently begun occasionally using marijuana, with a medical card, to try and spur my appetite and thirst. From there it was a total wreck. My doctor wouldn’t stand behind admitting me to the military facility (which is the only hospital I can be admitted to anyhow) but did a least have a theory for what was wrong with me. He suspects based on low grade fever, symptoms, and recent series of infections, that I have C.diff colitis.

Initially I argued with him. I only had a couple instances of diarrhea…but he reminded me that I’m chronically constipated. Also, I took medication to stop both instances, but had pain and nausea, and all the other symptoms between bouts. Of course this infection, caused my antibiotics, requires more antibiotics. (Joy.) It’s super contagious, but I told the guy I’m seeing it isn’t because really, unless he’s sticking his hands in my butt (he’s not) he’ll be fine. I wash my hands constantly. Until I finish the antibiotics, the bathroom gets cleaned with bleach, too.

Today the fever was down, so I’m going to go ahead and inject my humira tonight. My rheumatologist said if I notice an improvement in symptoms associated with that, she’s ready to push the insurance to cover weekly injections, but she may still have me do every 10-12 days to start out. The theory on her side (and my primary care doctor’s) is that I likely have ulcerations  in my intestines, colon, and rectum. I know I’ve had rectal ulcers before, but the doctor wouldn’t say they were definitely Behcet’s because I’d suffered an impaction a week prior to the exam. (Lame. Nobody will call anything Behcet’s because you can’t test for it. I have it. Deal with it!)

The guy handled sick me well, though I fear I’m making a bad impression. I suppose he did spend several days in the hospital and nearly need surgery, and they did tell him he will likely suffer a recurrence of this in the future, but it’s definitely a different thing. It was odd being on the other side of the hospital curtain though. I brought him an extra fuzzy blanket because I know how scratchy the hospital blankets can be. I also talked him through what the various abbreviations meant, and how his diet would be managed. When he asked how I knew so much, I shrugged, “A combination of personal experience, and work experience,” was the reply.

For what it’s worth, dating someone with an illness can work out for you, too, even if you’re just casually “dating” or you know, whatever…

I always say life is what you make it, but sometimes I forget how hard it is to be sick. When I have periods of being well, I get complacent. Being sick and single is a whole new thing to try and work through. This feeling that, no matter how kind and good I am, it won’t be enough to overcome the reality of my illness.

Down With the Sickness

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