Hey, Mir, how’s your week been?
OH WELL I HOPE YOU HAVE SOME TIME TO SPEND! Pull up a chair! Grab a cup of tea, and maybe a few benzodiazepines. Whatever.
Let’s start last Saturday, because why not? Monkey has had a cold which has morphed into a sinus infection, and Otto has remained healthy because 1) Otto never gets sick and 2) Otto is rarely actually home, and I spent most of my spare time since the first sniffle washing my hands every ten seconds. Because I would NOT get sick, damnit! I have no time! And this time, I would escape it! So:
Otto and I puttered around the house for a while, and then headed out to run various errands. I enjoy forcing Otto to do things like go to the supermarket with me, because then we can engage in romantic activities like arguing over what kind of lettuce to buy. It’s an exercise in resilience. We hit the drug store, big box home improvement store, two different grocery stores, and concluded our fascinating afternoon with actual plans for me to cook an Actual Planned Mealâ„¢ the next night, so that was my reward for standing my ground about the unacceptability of Iceberg. Also, we picked up a giant take-n-bake pizza so that Otto and Monkey could have an easy meal after I headed out to work at the theater that night.
Saturday night I was house manager for a show, and the printer was out of ink and we didn’t have enough volunteers and I apparently screwed up multiple things while I was there, but hey, at least I was getting to see a show for free! I watched the first act, then handled Concessions during Intermission because of the whole no volunteers thing, and then I realized that I was feeling… sort of… unwell. Gross. Stuffy. Hot. BAD. When Intermission ended, I cleaned up and went home to go to bed.
When Otto and I entered our bedroom that night, we discovered one of the dogs had left us… ummm… some presents. All over the floor. Surprise!
Sunday morning I had a Board meeting for the theater but I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, so I messaged my apologies and stayed home and mostly in bed. Late that night Chickadee came home so that she could go to several doctors’ appointments the next day, and she also felt terrible and so within about five minutes of her arrival every single member of the house felt angry and unloved and misunderstood, so Sunday night was a great big ball o’ fun, lemme tell you.
I still felt like garbage. I called to postpone a meeting with our accountant so that I could go to doctors’ appointments with Chickadee, because she wasn’t looking so hot. Med changes were made, we were told one new med would probably be “pretty expensive” and given instructions on how to sign up for a discount card. We did the sign-up for it through my phone, got confirmation and about twelve different gobbledygook strings of characters for the pharmacist to use, and—try to contain your shock—when we went to fill the prescription, the card did not work. Because of course.
I sent an email to my fellow theater board members to ask a question about something I’d done on Saturday night before I left, was summarily told I was Not Supposed To Do That Thing, and I apologized and said I had no idea that was not a thing I was supposed to do, and the next email said that it had been discussed “at the meeting yesterday.” You know, the one that I had skipped because I was sick. While I doubt this was a true chastisement I took it as such, because I felt gross and also I am a delicate flower with many feelings.
Chickadee ended up staying until the evening, which was nice, but her health—always a bit precarious with her various diagnoses and issues—was especially worrying me and I was sorry to have her go. She promised to take good care of herself.
Woke up with a head full of snot (you’re welcome). Managed to take a shower and get out of the house and do some things. Went to therapy, mostly talked about the Mystery Poop from Saturday night. (I like to alternate panicking that something terrible is wrong with one of the dogs and panicking over my human children’s health, but worrying about Chickie lately has been exhausting and only the dogs had crapped on the floor this week.) My therapist is a dog person and asked a lot of questions and then suggested I take Duncan to the vet to have his anal glands checked. (Shout-out to my insurance company for paying for me to discuss my asshole dog’s anal glands with a trained professional.) Because yes, Duncan and his bedding both got a thorough washing last week when I noticed that they smelled UnGood, and Duncan is usually our Stealth Floor Pooper when such things occur, and now that I think of it, Licorice seems to spend a fair amount of time sniffing at him these days when for years she preferred to pretend he didn’t exist. I said that sounded like a good idea and that I would get that scheduled ASAP.
I went home and got back into bed. I texted Chickadee and asked how she was doing, and she said she felt a little better.
Woke up coughing. Began to wonder if I would ever be healthy again. Checked my calendar, tried to get up and motivated for the MANY things I was supposed to do that day, felt horrendous and spent most of the day on the couch. Did not call the vet; begged off of a rehearsal I was supposed to be at; skipped an event I’d promised to attend. Felt pretty sorry for myself. Texted with Chickadee, who said she was doing fine.
THURSDAY (Valentine’s Day)
I coughed half the night, probably keeping Otto awake, but that did not stop him from presenting me with chocolate at 7:30 in the morning when I was still trying to sleep. Because I love Otto and chocolate is delicious, I accepted his offerings instead of punching him in the face. He kissed me goodbye and and we reviewed our dinner plans and then he headed off to work.
I got up shortly thereafter and bathed in Sudafed, because I had to go to the (rescheduled) accountant appointment to give him all our tax stuff. Arrived at the appointment to an empty reception desk and waited for someone to come back and check me in. And waited. And waited. And after 10 minutes I EMAILED THE ACCOUNTANT FROM HIS LOBBY to say “Hi! I’m here! No one is at reception!” Turns out he doesn’t get push notifications from his emails. After another 10 minutes someone came out and saw me and was very apologetic. I tried to be gracious about it but probably failed. But it all worked out because we had the meeting and I turned over the tax stuff and then I got to go home again.
Got home, let the dogs out, and Duncan came back inside and promptly started dragging his butt on the carpet (ewwww) and I remembered I was supposed to take him to the vet. Called the vet; scheduled an appointment for the next day.
Chickadee texted me “Hi can I talk to you” which is not a thing she does, ever, because 1) unlike most of her generation, she nearly always uses proper punctuation when she texts with me and 2) she never ASKS if she can talk to me, she usually just launches into a conversation, assuming I will be at her beck and call. So that was… weird. I responded with, “Sure…? You ok?” And the next thing she sent was “I’m not sure.”
I don’t know if you know this, but when you have a kid with a chronic health condition, “I’m not sure” as the response to “You ok?” is NEVER THE RIGHT ANSWER.
To make a very long story only slightly shorter, I am pretty sure I have shared here before that Chickadee has POTS, which is a common comorbidity when you have Ehlers-Danlos, and although it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, it’s not dangerous. Her heart races when she stands, her circulation is wacky, and her ability to regulate her body temperature is poor. Not fun, but not life-threatening. And she wears a heart tracker so she can keep an eye on what’s happening. WELL. After a Very Bad Week, and after swearing to do better about communicating when she’s not feeling well, but nonetheless spending her time since heading back to school assuring me that she was fine, on Thursday, Reader, She Was Not Fine. Because while she knows how to deal with Heart Stuff and Other POTS Stuff, on Thursday, her heart rate kept spiking while she was just sitting there, which is already weird, but then she started having chest pain and jaw pain and pressure in her head along with the heart rate spikes.
I called the cardiologist and talked to a nurse, who basically said YEAH OKAY PLEASE PROCEED TO YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM AND DO NOT PASS GO. Because no, 20-year-old women do not tend to have actual heart attacks (comforting), but sometimes 20-year-old women DO have heart problems, especially if they have other underlying disease (wait what shut up, you were supposed to tell me she’s fine).
The nearest emergency room in Tinytown is… not our favorite. Chickie wanted to come home and go to the hospital here, so I got the okay from the nurse, we got her home, and then I took her to the ER. (Otto and Monkey had pizza for dinner. I had a granola bar in the ER. Happy Valentine’s Day!)
Chickadee and I hit the ER just ahead of the evening rush, which meant we only had to sit in the waiting area for about an hour. We saw an elderly man who appeared to have done a spectacular face plant and a LOT of small children who clearly had the flu. (Chickadee wore her mask and for extra protection I periodically hissed at her not to touch anything.)
Eventually we were taken back and she was hooked up to a million things, and they did an EKG and stuck her three times before they could get some blood and hang an IV, and the doctor who came to talk to us was very nice but somewhat puzzled by why we were there, because Chickadee looks like a fairly normal, if underweight, college student. Lucky for us, though, things move at a glacial pace in the ER and so even though she’d begun to grouse about how she actually felt pretty much okay now and they were going to think she was making the whole thing up, we were mid-conversation when Chickie said, “It’s about to happen again.” And because she was hooked up to a million monitors I was able to look from her terrified face back to a screen that showed her heart rate going up, up, up, and you betcha I mashed the nurse call button and then a repeat EKG was happening while my very distressed kid tried to breathe and stay calm.
Good news: This kind of weirdness can actually be a (not dangerous) part of POTS, and she has no heart damage and she was not, is not, having a heart attack. (Also I told her if she has a heart attack, she is grounded.) The bad news is that this is totally new for her and feels awful and scary and there’s no way to know if this was a one-off kind of episode or if this is going to be her new normal. So, you know, we got home around 1:00 in the morning and I’m worried sick (and still actually sick) and Chickadee is miserable and everything is terrible but she’s not dying. Yay! Mostly!
This morning I am pretty sure I have a sinus infection, but I am too tired to care much or do anything about it. I got up after about five hours of sleep, did some work, showered, and took Duncan to the vet. I will spare you the full story but suffice it to say that YEP, there was… an issue. In the… you know… butticular area. Said issue has now been remedied, although I have to bring him back in a week for a recheck. Duncan was not amused by this morning’s violation so really I wanted to bring him home and feed him treats and let him do only his favorite things (eat treats and sleep), but because he and his bedding are not so sweet-smelling I first had to give him a bath—yet another indignity!—and dry him and brush him out and wash all of his bedding. Again. Duncan was super pissed but I fed him carrots throughout his ordeal and now he is clean and fluffy and snoring here in my office.
Chickadee is still in bed. Half of me wants to go wake her up and half of me wants to crawl in next to her. I get to keep her for the weekend and some more appointments on Monday before I have to take her back to school, so that should give me enough time to figure out how to encase her in bubble wrap before I let her leave.
By the time we got home Thursday night, Licorice was asleep in Monkey’s room, but Chickadee insisted she “required a dog to help keep her heart rate down.” (Totally a thing! She said so!) Licorice was invited to switch rooms and settled in on Chickie’s bed while she got changed and took her meds and such. Once she was ready to sleep, I kissed my girls goodnight and went back downstairs. And then she texted me, because of course she did:
The end. How was YOUR week?
I had forgotten that your dogs had left you a surprise so when I read that you talked about Mystery Pooping in therapy, I briefly thought you were talking about yourself. Imagine my relief when I realized you were referencing the dogs.
LOL! Oh dear.
Oh, and P.S.-That is not to gloss over the terribleness that was the rest of your week. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with, well, everything. Just thought you might like a laugh at the thought of someone out here horrified that you were talking about your bottom system to a therapist.
I too thought you were discussing your own…mystery. Did provide a laugh but so sorry about your week. Maybe time to research voodoo or other types of magic to help? ðŸ˜‰ wishing you all healthier, boring days ahead.
Weâ€™ve never met and therefore this is probably a bit odd but Iâ€™m sending you a giant virtual hug anyway. Hope everyone feels better next week. But I am super chuffed that you are posting regularly again too x
I’ve spent the last week and a half (and over a thousand dollars!) dealing with a constipated cat. But my daughter is home and NOT because she needed to go to an ER, and I do NOT have a sinus infection, and now I feel relatively much better about the number of $$$ I had to pay for someone to physically remove…never mind…and the many different types of meds I have to subject our 16-year-old feline to. So…thanks? Xoxo
Using calm pets to stabilize heart rates that are going wacky (even for non-anxiety reasons): this is indeed a thing that works for many people. Drinking a full glass of cold water also usually drops the heart rate (unless it increases it; if your stomach cramps, then your heart rate tends to zip up again), but is not nearly as soporific and comforting before bed. :-)
The autonomic system is so weird.
Oh my goodness WHAT a week. Here’s hoping you are feeling MUCH better and that next week is healthful and eventless.
Ugh, what a week! Hope you and Chickadee and Duncan all feel better next week.
Why is your bad life stuff so fun to read? I feel guilty because i end it thinking, “phew..at least THAT level of crazy didn’t visit me this week”
Kids are scary baby adults. Mine drove on sheer ice roads this week while i pretended valiantly not to be freaked the hell out. He’s fine, and also it would have been STOOPID to suggest i come get him because he’s very grown… so…