Monday, May 26, 2008

Well, Long Time No See

Here I am... alive and... well, not well, but alive! So that's always a plus!

Actually I am much improved: A very short story version of the time that has passed since I was here last is this: The wedding was fantastic, wonderful, fabulous, stressful, awesome, beautiful, powerful, great, and I am thoroughly embracing my role in the creation and enabling of that day and the real blessing that it was. I am also a big fat idiot. Because, as usual, I am unable to not just see the warning signals that my body is sending me, but also HEED them.

The intensity of the past, oh 8 months, combined with the hard push of the last let's say 5 weeks (Christening, 1st Communion, Shower, Bachelorette party, Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding plus planning and crafty times): Honestly, there were times in there that I was really congratulating myself on how far I had come, in the past three years or so, in order to be able to accomplish all that. And then there were other times when I knew I was going way to far and should have put the brakes on.

Like when I couldn't shake this stupid sinus infection that I've had since January. Oh, it went into hiding for a week or two here and there, but it hasn't been killed yet. It just decided to be sly for a bit, try to fool me.

Or the fact that I've had a rash since November that should've been cleared up with a few applications of a certain medicine. That's still here 9 months and 4 tubes of medication later.

Or the migraines that have been more frequent, or the fact that my pain level, even on the medication that slightly helps, was bumping up a notch or two from normal.

The sad part is that, for the most part, I expect to pay these prices: higher pain for more activities, less energy because I've used it all up, more headaches because I'm out in the world around all of the smells and sounds that cause the headaches. These are the consequences I am used to, ready for, and willing to put up with in order to do the things that are important to me. It's just a part of living with chronic illnesses that you have to accept: if you want to do things, you have to pay the price.

Well, the price was slightly higher this week than I had expected to pay, as I manged to downplay a pretty serious infection for the better part of a week, thinking it was just a typical post-party flare up. Flare up of pain, an increase in fevers, a sore throat that wouldn't quit. And, that's how I wound up in Urgent Care on Friday, and barely talked my way out of being hospitalized.

Because I just can't read my own body: It lies. Everything it tells me is misleading, and it's impossible to form conclusions based on past experiences.

Flare up of pain & exhaustion: yes, totally expected after all the heavy duty excursions in the past month. Dialing the pain up from a 8 to a 12... not exactly what I'd hoped for, but still: not totally unexpected. (And so, another warning sign missed.) Because...

Higher than normal temps: Also expected - inflammation makes my temps higher and my pain worse. PLUS I was around all those people, and all those people were kind enough to share their germs with me and my 'can't fight off invader cells' immune system was trying to work overtime to help me out. Not unexpected either (and yet... you've got an abnormally low temperature, normally... so if the thermometer is reading over 100 degrees... you're kind of in trouble. Stop pretending that you're not... that's like 102 for normal people)...

And a sore throat? Run of the mill, for me. Can't remember a pain free day, or a soothed throat, anymore. 14 years later, it's hard to recall that there used to be times you could wake up and not have to think about all the reasons you should keep on going in spite of how much it hurts. (But wait... do you realize that you're wheezing? More than a little? And that you have been unable to swallow food for like.. days now? Soup broth ain't cutting it, sister... Call the doctor)

And so I did, as my fever climbed higher and my tonsils decided to once again meet in the middle (I am an evil spirit, apparently, keeping those two destined soul-mates from their true loves) and my pain became so great that I was forced to wish it was just a normal 8 or 9 day for me. And guess what: Surprise surprise, I have a huge freaking infection! In my tonsils! And my chest! And my sinuses! And am seriously dehydrated! And dangerously feverish! Fabulous! And also... insane for having waited this long.

But here's the thing: when you're expecting to suffer, it's hard to know when you've crossed the line. At least for me. Suffering is part of my world, I keep it tabulated in my everyday columns: trying to figure out a balance I can live with. So when something like this happens, it's hard to say "oh, well... this is more than I thought it would be, it could be something different." Because the prices? They're subject to change without warning or notification, and this is certainly not the first time I've had to pay more than my fair share.

But I am doing MUCH better now: got myself hooked up to some strong antibiotics and fabulous drugs (ok, not fabulous drugs - steroids and lidocaine for my throat, which don't exactly suck, and some opioid for the pain which are laughingly slight, but I'll take what I can get) and the thermometer no longer does that obnoxious "You're on fire" beeping, as evidenced by the fact that I can string words together in fairly cohesive sentences (mostly). (I'm even back under normal: take that stupid germs!) My tonsils are still doing their best impression of Siamese twins, but we're working on that.

And still? If I knew then what I know now: that I'd have to pay this price in order to be there for my family at all those important times? I'd do the same thing, I suppose. (Although maybe a little bit smarter next time? Hopefully? Please???)

So, that's the long story (supposedly made short), and I'll end just by saying that the wedding was really wonderful and I had a great time, and I'm going to get pictures posted here ASAP. Because I refuse to think about my tonsils anymore, and because I want to share the happiness with all of you. (Or... anybody that's still here anyways - blog posts were definitely one of the first victims in the "I have absolutely no more energy for anything extra" run up to the wedding. But I'm hoping to have more to say and things to share for a while now. Yay!)


Anonymous said...

I can totally understand how an infection can get that far without it really registering.

My last viral infection I was wheezing and breathing was so hard and two doctors visits were met with a shrug and "it's a virus". So who knows how bad I'm going to have to feel before the next time I 'bother' the doc.

I'm happy to hear that things are improving albeit slowly and that the wedding was blissful :o)

Laurie said...

Totally, totally, totally hear you. Great point. It's so true that when you're used to symptoms and expect things to worsen, it's hard to tell when things are *really* bad or just bad. Definitely found myself in the trauma unit before for mistakes like that.

Can't wait to see wedding pics! Glad it went well!