14 June 2009

Backed Against a Wall...

Married to the Sea

(This was today's actual cartoon from Married to the Sea- totally fitting, and I am glad I didn't have to go searching through the archives).

I am in a quandary. I am sick again... again. I have a head cold/sore throat/general ailment... again. I am pretty sure I brought it home from work- tucked away in my day planner. Unfortunately, Heather and I started showing the exact same symptoms within hours of each other. I don't really see it becoming very serious, I find myself in three very different predicaments.

The first predicament is plain and simple- and already stated. I am sick... again. It is getting really old. It seems that monthly now I am coming down with some sort of cold, flu, bronchitis, etc. It is never bad enough (knock on wood) to land me in the emergency, but it has in more than one occasion landed me back at my General Practitioner's, paying the $30 co-pay and then the other $15 for a prescription of antibiotics to clear up whatever the flavor of the month turns out to be. Every time I show more than an hour of clear sniffling or chest congestion , coughing, headache, fever, I am off the methotrexate for at least a week. Diseases- 1, Rachie- 0.

The second predicament is related to the first and puts me in the quandary I feel I am in. My liver panel from last week came back with "elevated levels of transaminase" again. That's the second time in as many weeks, and now the third one in three months. My doctor is showing reserved concern- trying to act like there is nothing to worry about, but never the less bumping my folic acid intake up from two pills to five pills a day. The down side of another bad liver panel (aside from the obvious "hey my liver isn't functioning properly" part), is that he cut my intake of Excedrin in half. I used to take two twice a day. I now I can two a day. Period.

The Excedrin was doing a lot of things for me: it was helping with the overall pain management of the condition, and it was controlling the almost constant headache I usually have. I could have withstood this for another week until I took another liver panel- but me being sick has thrown a real wrench into it. What do I do? Heather and I are trying to control this "cold- or whatever" with homeopathic remedies, but as of right now, my sinuses are packed full, my head wants to explode, my throat is raw and burning with knife of fire slicing down its' tender skin every time I swallow, and my ears feeling like someone poured itching powder deep into them.

In this sort of situation, I would take some Tylenol severe cold and harbor the storm. I haven't had a methotrexate shot in two weeks anyway, so this would be the opportune time to kick the crap out of the the crud that has shacked up in my head. Herein lies the problem: the reason why my doctor wants me off the Excedrin is because of the acetaminophen it contains. Acetaminophen is notoriously hard on your liver...

...the next round of tests he ordered to check my "liver levels" also included a "BUN test." Blood Urea Nitrogen test. Me being the faithful google disciple that I am found out it is to find out how well the kidneys are functioning. I sort of wish my doctor could have been a little more straightforward with me, because of course I am now going to wonder until my next blood test on Wednesday if there is really a cause for serious concern. He is not the kind of doctor to order unnecessary tests. So what now is this about my liver AND my kidneys...

Okay so, the filtration system for my body is having some technical difficulties. Excedrin, Tylenol, etc. only cripple that filtration system even more. What do I do?

My body itself is already feeling the effects of cutting my Excedrin dosage in half. The headache can be contributed to the head cold I have. The leg cramps, on the other hand, cannot. My fucking body hurts. It is bullshit to find myself backed into this corner. Diseases- 2, Rachie- 0.

I am just happy that I have a three day weekend this week so that I can try to kick it without taking any sick time, because I am just this side of useless right now. This brings me to my third predicament.

As I mentioned before, Heather and I started showing signs of this ailment within hours of each other. We have been swapping colds and bugs all winter, spring and now into the summer, however, there has been enough of a delay one way or the other that we can usually care for the other. I have already held a tremendous amount of guilt over the past few months of us living together that when she is sick, I am unable to take care and pamper her the way she deserves because it seems that I am always fighting some fucking health battle of my own. Inevitably, I wind up getting what she has, and the last few days of her recovery are the first few days of my battle with it.

Now, though, she is in the bedroom trying to sleep, just as congested, headachy and in pain as I am, and I feel totally worthless. I have come out to the couch so that she can try to sleep without my tossing and turning. Last night while she sneezed and wheezed and grimaced every time she swallowed, she was still rubbing my feet, legs and back. I am eternally grateful for her genuine concern about my overall condition, it makes me feel so impotent when I cannot take care of her.

Yesterday afternoon, the only solution I could come up with to treat my excruciating leg pains, headache, sore throat and sinus congestion was to take a valium out of cycle. I was hoping I could "sleep it off." I did sleep for about two hours, but when I woke up, I was drugged half out of my mind and still in the same physical state as when I took the damn valium. So poor Heather, sick as I am, had to deal with a moody, drugged, sick and Sick girlfriend. She must be a saint, because I don't think I would be able to put up with me like this.

I will recover. Most likely without any sort of co-pay to my GP and another round of antibiotics. I am trying not to lose the overall good spirits I had when I wrote a few days ago, but I feel like crap and I am shamed at my inability to step up and be the provider I need to be to Heather during the occasional times she is sick like she does for me EVERY SINGLE DAY.


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