Saturday, April 18, 2009

Updates from earlier in a busy week

(I drafted the following post last Wednesday, April 15th, but have been too busy to revise & publish it until now. I'll bring things up to date in a separate post.)

The Easter long weekend was very quiet. We decided to do all the cleaning on Good Friday. I was in my grub clothes, unshowered, with my uncombed head stuck in one of the kitchen cupboards, reorganizing, when I heard dh talking to someone at the front door. Lo & behold, it was my 80-year-old FIL!! He hasn't dropped by like that in a long time.

He hugged me & then gave me a puzzled but concerned look & said, "Laura!! [He calls me Laura, Italian-style.] What happen to you??" I KNEW everyone would get their shorts in a knot when dh told stepMIL about my food reactions. I reassured him that I was OK, but I needed to be careful about what I eat, at least until I can see my dr again.

I was only half the reason he was there, of course. He produced a bag for dh & wished him a happy birthday. I know he was feeling guilty that we weren't going to be together for that, or for Easter. In it was a new golf shirt -- & a big package of sausages, lol. I could tell dh was totally tickled. I put down the dust rag & made them both espressos. I'm glad he came over.

*** *** ***

Many ideas for posts zoom through my head in a day. These last 2-3 weeks, however, I've been preoccupied with what the heck is happening to my body. Since Saturday, March 28, I have 9 (count 'em) reaction episodes (including three in a row, on dh's birthday Saturday, Easter and Easter Monday). Most of them, especially the last several, have thankfully been on the milder side.

Still, they take their toll. I've been going to bed early, & not sleeping too badly. But I've been having lots of weird dreams, & I still feel exhausted a great deal of the time. And HUNGRY. I've been trying to be very careful with what I eat, stick to the tried & true, eat very simply, not eat anything remotely questionable -- certainly not anything I've reacted to before -- at least until I can see Dr. Allergist again (this Friday). Which means my diet has been pretty narrow (not to mention monotonous). I've been taking leftovers for lunch to work most days the last two weeks. A lot of pasta with broccoli or peas or zucchini with garlic sautéed in olive oil, since I've been able to eat that without incident to date. I know I haven't been eating enough protein, or fruits & vegetables.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I went to see a counsellor from my company's employee assistance program to talk about the stress and anxiety I've been feeling related to my allergic reactions. I specifically asked to see a counsellor dh & I had seen about two years ago. She was really great in zooming in on the fact that both of us were basically dealing with midlife crisis issues (!) -- so I figured she would be sympathetic to this particular phase of mine (!), & she was. She is a social worker & not a psychologist, & so really can't "treat" anxiety -- but said she could provide me with a referral, if that's what I wanted. She said I'm doing all the right things to try to deal with this situation -- encouraged me to get more exercise & cut back on the caffeine, & told me about some mind-body meditation/relaxation programs I might investigate. I am going back to see her next week, after I get through this week's appointments.

Today (Wednesday) was my annual checkup with Dr. Ob-gyn. I hadn't given it much thought before I went… and his office is not in the same location it was during my pregnancy. Nevertheless, the entire floor he's on is devoted to reproductive biology, maternal-fetal medicine, etc. To get to his office, one must walk down a series of loooonnnnggggg, winding corridors -- all lined with pregnant women & babies, both in real life & in the posters on the wall. Eeeekkkk!!

In the waiting area, I deliberately sat in the first row of chairs, where I didn't have to look at any of the waiting patients & their pregnant bellies behind me, & buried my nose in the magazine I had brought with me… but I still saw them coming to the desk. I also found it hard to ignore a rambunctious toddler & his dad, who was carrying his newborn brother or sister around, waiting for mom.

Eventually I was called from the large waiting area to a row of chairs closer to the dr's office & the examination rooms. There was a pregnant woman in the room across the hall. The door remained open while the nurse took her blood pressure, & I could hear every word of the conversation. She was asking a great deal of questions, & then she said, "You see, I had a baby die inside of me before and…" and I froze. Another reminder that we never know what is going in the lives of people around us.

Even so, my bp was 120/80! I am glad the nurse took it when she did because, when she left me alone to get undressed, put on a gown & wait for the doctor, I could actually hear the unmistakable sound of the doppler in the examination room next door. I could hear every friggin' beat of that baby's heart, & while I am very glad that is what the mother got to hear, I thought it was going to drive me nuts. :(

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long for Dr. Ob-gyn to arrive. Internal was normal. I told him about my weird food reactions -- & the fact that so many of them seem to take place around my period or my PMS phase. He said they really know very little about the connections between allergies & hormones (& whether they in fact exist). And since my periods & cycles are still pretty much normal, he very much doubts there is anything hormonal going on. "You are NOT in menopause," he emphasized. He said he didn't think bloodwork would be worthwhile at this point, because hormonal levels fluctuate so much from day to day. He told me pretty much what I expected to hear, but I thought it was worthwhile tossing it out anyway.

Friday: Back to Dr. Allergist.

1 comment:

  1. This Doctor---oy...there is ALWAYS a point in doing blood tests to confirm, and he also should have ordered an ultrasound because sometimes hormonal hot flashes and swings are caused by solvable issues, like fibroids or cysts.

    He can't make assumptions with tests!

    Lori, I know you like this guy, but if you had any allergy problems they would show on the scratch test, and I can see from the post above that they are not showing. And hon, after a lifetime of allergies and 8 years of menopause, I'm sorry, you are in menopause and there is lots that can help. I have NEVER heard of an allergy acting like that.

    Do you want to see another Doc? I know a bunch, especially ones who deal with menopause. Say the word, I'll be glad to help you get a second opinion.

    I just hate to see you suffer. You have gone through enough in life.