The Physical Ailments Archive

How March 2021 Began

Posted April 15, 2021 By kmarrs

I wasn’t feeling very good leading up to March 1, but I honestly thought it was food poisoning that lingered. After all, I’d just had a set of iron infusions so my hemoglobin should have been going up, not down. And yeah, my stools were black and tarry, but iron can do that. Plus I’m a whole entire dumbass due to brain death from repeatedly not having enough blood over the span of 4 years. That doesn’t help.

After 3 days of feeling rotten and not getting better, and having lost the ability to walk more than 100 feet without having to sit down to catch my breath, I called my mom and had her take me to the ER. Here is a key thing though. Usually, I go to the Ohio Health ERs but I was getting more and more upset with the entire Ohio Health system. So this time we went to the closest Mt Carmel hospital.

Mom found a wheelchair, wheeled me in, and we got situated in the waiting room. Triage called me back and I explained everything. By that point, I was figuring it really was blood in my stool and my hemoglobin was probably down to a 6 or 7. They took some blood to send to the lab, and I sat and waited.

I don’t know exactly how much time passed, but it was pretty much exactly how much time is needed for my blood to go from ER to lab, the test to be run, the alarms start ringing, and the lab to go “Oh Shit!” and call the ER with a stat report. They immediately found me in the waiting room and rolled me to one of the rooms reserved for cases that can’t wait, talking about immediate blood transfusions.

Fam. My hemoglobin was a 4. Now some of you have been here for a while. Some of you are new. I don’t want to assume prior knowledge anywhere. So I’ll go ahead and gently remind you that as someone who was assigned female at birth, my hemoglobin should be between a 12 and a 16. I’ll further remind you that when my hemoglobin dropped to a 6 a few years ago and my doctor called me in the middle of the night and told me to get my ass to the hospital stat, it was explained that at a 6 I basically had half as much blood in me as I’m supposed to.

It was March 1, 2021, and with a hemoglobin of 4, I had about 1/3 as much blood as I needed to survive. I should be dead. That is not an exaggeration. Luckily I basically refuse to die and despite such a low amount of blood, I hadn’t even passed out. I have, however, over the years suffered a consistent lack of blood and oxygen to the brain and this most recent episode really was pretty harsh, so I have suffered some amount of brain death not yet determined. I’m a touch salty about that. I used to be really smart. I can tell the difference. So can those who have known me a while and who talk to me regularly. So I wasn’t passing out but mentally I was suffering.

Anyway, they gave me blood pretty much immediately and found me a room on the surgery floor. The next day they did an endoscopy and found nothing at all. They had a colonoscopy in the plans, but that would have to wait a day so I could do the prep. They decided before they started the prep, they would do a CT of my abdomen.

They found a mass of something attached to my lower bowel and I was immediately scheduled for exploratory surgery the next day, March 3.

The surgeon and co were reassuring that the odds were it was a clump of blood vessels that shouldn’t be there but would be an easy enough thing to fix. It was a reasonable source of bleeding and would likely explain the anemia. So they opened me up to check it out and remove it.

They did not find a clump of blood vessels. They found a tumor that was confirmed to be cancer in the days that followed.

They removed all of it, and along with it, about 5 inched of my small bowel. The pathology shows that it was a slow-growing tumor. On the spectrum of how aggressive cancer can get, this is cancer that isn’t likely to spread and once gone, isn’t likely to come back, since they removed enough of the surrounding bowel. So it’s currently gone, and it is probably gone for good.

As of the oncology appointment I just had on April 13, I consider myself in remission. I won’t even need chemo or radiation. Just the one aggressive surgery and regular CT’s of my belly for probably the rest of my life, just to be sure.

So that’s good.

When I was released from the hospital, after like 6 or 7 units of blood total (along with proving I could use my bowels as intended post op), I had a hemoglobin of 7.9. 6 days later when I checked in with my brand new, Mt Carmel affiliated PCP, I had a hemoglobin of 10.3! Guess who can make their own blood after all! It turns out I’m even really good at it!

Which really pisses me off.

I was seeing a cancer specialist for 3 years and he refused to run any further testing to figure out what was wrong. He assured me some people just don’t make their own blood and gave me iron infusion after iron infusion along with the occasional blood transfusion. For 3 years I asked time and time again for this test and that, always affirming and reaffirming that it couldn’t be cancer. He assured me it wasn’t cancer, but ran no tests to prove it. Apparently, there is a really simple test he could have run checking for cancer markers what would have told him I had cancer somewhere so that we could have started the search for it. That test was never run.

3 years later, a little over 4 years after this all started, I almost died of cancer. Almost doesn’t even cover it. I was a day or two out from dying of cancer at most. I was down to a hemoglobin of 4 and was still losing blood. I had no time left in me when I showed up in that ER.

Mt Carmel saved my life where Ohio Health left me to die. One of my Ohio Health PCPs even implied my real problem was I was just fat.

So anyway, that’s how March 2021 started. But that was just the beginning.

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Death Had Another Near Max Experience

Posted March 5, 2021 By kmarrs
I’ll tell you all about it next week when I’m out of the hospital.
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Piecing Myself Back Together

Posted February 12, 2021 By kmarrs

This is late because I failed to write a post on Wednesday to schedule for the usual time Thursday, but I’m just going to let that be ok.

Physically I’m on the mend. I got an iron infusion on Wednesday so here soon I should have some blood. I already have more than I did when I went to the ER a couple of weeks ago. Not a lot more, but when I got labs done right before the infusion, I was up a tenth of a point. This means the mass amounts of B12 I’m taking is actually working. There was just no recovering from Covid without an infusion, no matter how much B12 I take.

Ziggy is doing better. We have hired a trainer to give him 4 private lessons. As of this point, he’s just had his third lesson, and while he still has work to do, he’s come a long way. He’s 95% stopped being aggressive and we’ve had the start of a breakthrough with the chewing on people to play and show affection. Again, we have work to do still, but I feel hope.

We had a setback for a couple of weeks there where despite taking him out hourly he was peeing in the house. But it didn’t seem to me like he was marking. It seemed like he legit had to pee all the time and couldn’t hold it any longer so he’d just stop what he was doing and pee where he was. So I took him to the vet so they could check for a UTI. While his pee looked clear and healthy, there was noticeable swelling still from when he was neutered a few weeks prior, so the vet went ahead and put him on antibiotics. And within a day he stopped peeing all over my house. After a week of taking him out hourly, and him not having accidents, we pushed things back to where we were taking him out every 90 minutes, and still, he wasn’t having accidents. We’re now on the first day of taking him out every 2 hours. Here in a handful of days, if he still isn’t peeing all over my house, we’ll inch it back to every 2.5 hours. Eventually, we’ll get to where he can go 6-8 hours without being taken out. I know it’s possible because he can make it overnight as long as he’s taken out at 9 pm and again at 7:30 am. That’s a long stretch and he does it well. I am taking it slowly during the day though because while he’s a dog and doesn’t notice the difference between 90 minutes and a full 2 hours, he will notice the difference if we jump from, let’s say, every 2 hours to 4. I need him to have faith that we are aware he needs to potty regularly and we’re never going to fail to take him outside to do so.

I don’t think his previous owner was as thoughtful. While Ziggy is obviously housebroken, I don’t think he spent his first year of life in a loving and thoughtful environment. If he had, they would have trained him. I think they just bought a dog expecting it to be easy and then when they didn’t train Ziggy became a handful, and then when he was a handful he was abandoned. Now we have an energetic untrained dog with separation anxiety.

So we’re doing what should have happened a year ago. We’re loving him. We’re training him. We’re using positive reinforcement. He’s a good boy and we’re helping him be his best self.

Finally, a story to tie the physical health beginning of this post to the Ziggins update.

Ziggy tends to his momma at night when she’s going to bed. Her anxiety is at it’s worse then and he helps comfort her. But Zigs is aware that I’m not well and he’s very fussy about me. Anyway, when I got home from my iron infusion on Wednesday I sat down on the sofa with him and Sammy and I must have smelled different with that much pure iron coursing through me because he thoroughly smelled me all over investigating the difference. He’s a good boy and will make a good ESA.

Have a happy dog cuddling his grandmother.
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Falling Apart

Posted February 4, 2021 By kmarrs

Life is a struggle right now. My hemoglobin is an 8.8 and I’m just so tired. And I’m overwhelmed with dog stuff. I’m not getting enough sleep most nights, considering I need 10-12 hours a night which just isn’t possible. I’m stressed. I’m tired. I’m depressed.

Things will get better. But in the meantime I just want to hibernate.

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Covid 2020

Posted December 17, 2020 By kmarrs

This has been a difficult month. First the car accident. And now Covid.

The thing is, I knew I’d get Covid.

I’m not well, still. It’s been about 2 weeks. So I’m going to go ahead and just copy/paste up into here what I told someone else. It makes it crystal clear how I got Covid. Then I’ll follow up with a PSA.

I’m an in-home caregiver for the elderly and we’re being as careful as can be in general but my client… red as the sea. Her son flies in from California every month to spend a week with her. He does not wear a mask. He goes to parties. He took her to a huge Thanksgiving gathering. He won’t let us wear masks around her. My coworkers are all like, “It’s fine!” Meanwhile, I’m trying to get assigned to another case but I really need this job. Then she f’ing starts coughing a week after Thanksgiving and no one reports it they simply started giving her Nyquil. I reported it immediately when I found out but you’ll never f’in guess what I’m sick as a dog with. Go on. Guess. F me, I guess.

So yeah, it’s no wonder how I got Covid at all. Now for a PSA.

Ok, I’m going to put this out there and I hope y’all are listening because this could save lives. My household has 5 cases of covid and all 5 are presenting differently. Looking at that covid vs flu vs head cold chart you’d diagnose only 1 or maybe 2 of us with covid. If that, since there is little to no coughing happening as far as I can tell. I’m presenting with mostly sinus bullshit. According to the charts going around, that’s not covid. That’s a head cold. Sammy is puking with a sore throat. That’s flu. All of us have random combinations of various cold and flu symptoms. We can’t even all agree on running a fever. So I’m telling you here and now, it doesn’t matter what your symptom looks like. Don’t wait for a cough or shortness of breath. If you have any cold or flu symptoms show up please isolate and get tested. No one is going to get upset with you if you get tested and it turns out to be just a cold. But you could kill someone if you assume it’s just the regular seasonal crud and it turns out it was covid. I wish I had known this a week ago. I would have made some different choices that I can’t unmake and must live with. (I didn’t know Marge was coughing at the time.) My only solace is that I ALWAYS wore a mask.

That PSA is also a week and a half old. Since then the kids are much better, though Iris and I are still miserable. I myself have had every single cold and flu symptom there is. But it all started in my sinuses. I honest to God thought I had seasonal crud because I was comparing my symptoms to the chart. My Covid test was more routine than anything else. And I could have gotten someone very very sick. I, in fact, easily might have. I don’t know. I’ll never know.

Anyway. Work is paying me to stay out for 2 weeks. I just hope and pray I’m actually better at the end of the two weeks because right now I still spike the occasional fever and my cough is atrocious. Y’all know by now my coughs linger. Hopefully since this isn’t bronchitis that isn’t the case. I can’t afford to miss more work than what work is willing to pay me for.

I also just really don’t like being this sick. I can not stress enough that you don’t want Covid.

So wear your mask. Social distance. Don’t gather for holiday gatherings. That includes Christmas at Grandma’s. Don’t kill Grandma. You don’t want that.

And if you have to work because capitalism, don’t beat yourself up. But do take care of yourself and get tested at the first sign of any symptoms.

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A Post

Posted December 9, 2020 By kmarrs

I’m vaguely aware I’m overdue for a post. However, due to someone else’s bad choices that I had to live with, I’m riddled with covid and my brain cells were the first to die off.

I’ll try again next week or the week after. I dunno man. I’m doing my best.

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