Thursday, February 3, 2011

This week, for now.

I've had a lot of things come up in the past week that made some major changes to my plan for the semester. My next attempt at going to class was another miserable experience. I laid on my bedroom floor, feeling that I couldn't move. My breathing became so labored that it reminded me of the weeks following my blood clots. My stomach was churning. I felt it was physically impossible for me to even move. All I could think about was not throwing up. It became clear to me this was a problem that was not going away. It took hours for the feeling to subside. The panic attacks come on so strong and the onset is so unpredictable that it's become a worry that the next attack is around the corner, in a crowd, or around people who simply won't understand and will think I am insane. If I was a celebrity, this whole panic attack thing would be considered chic. Doesn't it just sound better? Oh, She's in her trailer having a panic attack. She will be out in a bit. See? Reason #938592085 that I need a reality show.

Tuesday was my all day appointment at University Hospital Transplant Center. First begins with check-in at admissions, and then labs. Labs used to be simple until they poked, prodded, and ruined all my veins. Now I take a trip to the Oncology wing of the hospital. A PIC specialist takes an ultrasound machine and along my arms. Once he finds a vein, we use a large needle to get deep into the vein. We got all of the important labs before the vein blew out.

The next trip is to the Pulmonary Function Lab for PFT testing. This basically consists of normally breathing into a machine for several seconds, then taking as deep a breath as you can and pushing it out of your airway for as long as you can. They are painless, but my whole appointment rides on these things so it's easy to get anxiety about them. The results were better than 2 weeks ago (though only slightly) which made me smile and not so hesitant to go to Radiology.

Radiology at this hospital is like a black hole. Some of these people have probably been in the waiting room for days, watching soaps, not even realizing that it's a different day of the week and it's snowing outside. I am always getting normal chest x-rays so I get called pretty quickly. I always have the discussion about putting the gown on or not. I wear a tee shirt and a tee shirt bra for a reason. I'll slip the bra off for the x-ray if you want to be really careful, but don't make me totally undress into a gown that is meant for someone 600 lbs (aka your normal sized patient). Once that battle is solved, the real war begins begins. THE PREGNANT/ NOT PREGNANT discussion.

You tell them that you are not pregnant and their first reaction is to say "you know, you can tell us, we won't tell anyone" . So you say it again "I'm not pregnant" and you have to write the date of your last period and sign that you aren't lying. I imagine most girls are like me and just make up a day. Like, I don't know. It's one of the few things NOT stored in my iPhone. Not to mention, the way I look and dress for these early morning hospital visits, I don't see why the technicians are thinking I'm getting impregnated every time I turn the corner. WOOF!

So I finally get into seeing the doctor. The famously helpful, Dr. Luis Angel. It's pronounced Ang-el (like "the" in Spanish) if you're wondering. I expressed to him all my problems and I am happy to say that he sat and listened, really listened to all my pains and complaints, both mental and physical. At the end of our conversation, we had the beginnings of a game plan. It was stressful to think of the new treatment I will be starting and having to put school on hold (AGAIN), but also so comforting to know I am in the hands of a doctor who truly believes that I am determined to get better, motivated to have a life after this illness, and smart enough to make a difference in this world, given a chance to get back into the game of life. If a man who has seen hundreds of sad and hopeless cases to says that I am not one of them, who am I to second guess him?

I'll post more as I know more. Hope you are all staying warm as Abel and I am!

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