One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

June 21, 2010

Too Much is Not Enough

My appetite is still gone. But I really don’t seem to be suffering for it.

However, related or unrelated, Thursday night I had the strongest spell of feeling quite divorced from reality. I was trying to get Hannah out of the house to go to my dance rehearsal and she gave me some two-year-old dodge regarding putting on her shoes (“No, I hafta put this thing in this other thing,” or some such) and I couldn’t handle it. I just lay down on the bench by the door and closed my eyes until she came and patted my face to wake me up telling me to get on with putting her shoes on her. When we finally left the house, something about the way the wind hit me felt off. I felt drunk or drugged. My limbs felt far away, my head felt wrapped in cotton.

I stood there for a moment wondering if I should really drive to the hall, but although I felt like I shouldn’t be able to control my limbs, I was walking in a straight line and my motor responses didn’t seem delayed so I chanced it.

On twelfth, I tried to walk Hannah to Booster Juice so I could get a smoothie for supper, but I couldn’t make it the whole way and I was so out of it that the thought of trying to behave normally while ordering and paying for a booster juice was too scary to handle. So we sat down on a bench. Hannah climbed into my lap and put her arms around me and her face down on my chest and rocked me back and forth until Ian arrived to meet us and claim Hannah for the evening.

That night it was so intense, I was really upset about it. I was trying to explain it to Ian, I felt drugged or poisoned. I felt like I’d been wrapped in cotton and hung upside down for a week, and now, flipped right-side-up everything looked right but felt wrong.

I got my smoothie and went to dance. Had to phone it in for the first few runs, but after a couple of hours I felt much better.

The next day, the same thing happened to me in the evening when I left the house to go pick up our supper order. Not remotely as intense – just a sensation on leaving the house that the wind was roaring past me in a vacuum and that my limbs might, at any point, stop obeying me.

Saturday when we walked down to Broadway to get a marriage license, same thing, but I was starting to get used to it, and to know that I would still be able to function through it, so when they were mild, I quit even mentioning it to Ian. Saturday night, while sewing, I noticed that my fingers were clumsier than usual. I was trying to sew and I kept knocking things over or dropping things. When my thread got tied in knots, it took all my concentration to make my fingers obey enough to untie them. Once, with my hand under the fabric, I dropped the needle. And as I fumbled for it, found it and was lifting the fabric so I could see it again, my hand involuntarily closed hard on it and I stabbed it into the webbing at the base of my finger. At the end of the night, I accidentally jabbed the needle into my finger and didn’t really feel it. I sat there experimentally pushing a pin against my finger pads and the heel of my hand and, indeed, did not remotely feel any sharpness in my fingers. I quit sewing and went to bed.

Sunday, the kids went over to hang out with my mother and aunt while Ian cleaned and I sewed. I was feeling more of the same, but not really concerned about it. Each time it came on, it felt like it should be debilitating, but then I would try to do whatever I needed to do to function, keep sewing or keep walking or keep driving or keep conversing, and I seemed to be functioning. I was choosing the right words, walking straight lines, sewing properly. And no one seemed to be stopping conversations to ask if there was something wrong with me. I googled some, and I read about temporal seizures and I didn’t think it was probably that, but I gave Ian the list of symptoms to watch for that I would probably not notice if I were having absence seizures and then I went back to sewing.

But after picking up the kids, and coming home, the numbness and feeling of distance was so acute. The lack-of-sharpness on pressing a pin into my skin had spread to my whole hand and much of my arm. My feet were numb. My tongue and mouth felt numb. I thought to add lack of appetite to my internet searches and found aneurysms. So I called the Saskatchewan health hotline and talked to a nurse who asked me a ton of questions and then told me she was very concerned and I should call an ambulance. And I was like, “I’m glad you’re taking this seriously, but reeeeeeeaally? It’s been 4 days, surely it could wait the extra half hour for us to get someone to stay with the kids while Ian drove me?” And she said, “if you really want to do it that way, but if you’re having one of these attacks right now, I think you should get to a hospital and get looked at immediately.”

Then she asked to talk to Ian and told him to make sure I go to a hospital.

Well, the rest is as anticlimactic as all my trips to the ER have (thankfully) ever been. Ian got his mom to come stay with the kids. We went to the hospital and sat in the waiting room for hours. Suppertime rolled around and Ian called his mom to tell her to order pizza. Then I got put in a bed and examined thoroughly. I waited more. They took blood. I waited more. Bedtime rolled around and I was 99% sure it wasn’t anything serious and I’d be sent home as soon as they looked at my bloodwork, so I sent Ian home to relieve his mother saying I’d just take a cab home. And then the resident came back to say “the good news is that we didn’t find anything. But that’s also the bad news ’cause we don’t know what’s causing it.” Amazing. I think that’s the nicest anyone’s ever been about telling me they didn’t find anything.

Based on the questions they asked and the tests they did, I think an aneurysm or a stroke were the big things they were trying to rule out. But right off the bat my blood pressure was fine, heart rate was pretty normal. And when the resident was examining me, as I had already observed, aside from the numbness, everything seemed to be behaving, neurologically speaking, as it should.

So when the resident was all concerned that they couldn’t give me an answer I was like, shit, everyone had me pretty scared about what this could be. Having been assured that it’s not an aneurysm, I’m happy to go back to my regular discussing it fruitlessly with my GP and being treated dismissively by the medical profession.

I did mention the loss of appetite and weight loss as well. So when the resident was going over my blood work with me, I was interested to note that pretty much everything was perfect. Clearly I’m not perfectly conversant with what would be out of whack if my body was starving – but I’m pretty convinced that the lack of appetite is just another symptom and not the cause, and I think my stellar bloodwork has to back that up.

We also discussed whether these states could be the result of mold exposure. He started by saying, “well anything’s possible,” which made me want to ask if he thought it could possibly be from unicorn exposure, cause I am deathly allergic to unicorn dander.

But we went over some of the symptoms he would expect to see if someone were exposed to and allergic to molds and I talked about some of my symptoms from this spring and he seemed to think it definitely merited investigating with my doctor.

And then I went home.

And I was so exhausted after all that that, even though I am not having an aneurysm, I called in sick today. I am still feeling, physically, very numb. So I suppose I should call my doctor and make an appointment for her to shrug at me.

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4 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. gish

     /  2010-06-22

    Your symptoms kind of made me think of Guillain-Barre, but I think it gets severe pretty fast, so probably not. Have you been checked for Epstein-Barr? The fatigue is a big red flag for that, in addition to some of your other symptoms. You might not have acute mono, but if you’ve ever had it, I’ve heard it can cause EB/chronic fatigue later. It could be mold, but molds tend to affect pets and children before they affect adults. (The kind that grow in Florida, anyway.)

  2. Yeah, they did a mono test a couple months back and it was negative. I don’t think this can be Guillain-Barre. It’s so bizarre, my reflexes were good, there’s no neck pain, no abdominal pain, no headache, no stiffness, no fever.

    But I was intending to head back to my doctor once hay fever season was over (since that was the “it’s probably this” brush-off they used on me last time) and make a bigger stink. Point out that, even if there aren’t any symptoms to point toward a specific course for diagnosis, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some non-specific investigation.

  3. Alison

     /  2010-06-22

    Okay, well, this may be a stupid question, but if they dismissed it as hay fever before, have you taken allergy medication to see if it makes a difference? (I don’t remember you ever talking about it, which is why I ask.) Allergies can take on a variety of forms and I know a couple of people who get knocked right out by the fatigue that goes with their allergies and one who feels like he has the flu. The other thing is that allergies might be covering up something else, because the symptoms are inter-twined so they can’t tell what is what. Just a thought. I know I started developing allergies in my 30s and it took me several years to figure out what was going on.

  4. Yeah, I’ve been taking antihistamines daily for the last month or so.

    The only thing I really noticed is that if I skipped a day my sinuses were itchy.

    And now I’m off them and my sinuses are fine, so I think my allergy season is over.


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