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    JCORYCMA   13,602
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Organ Recital


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Back in the day when the television show "ER" first came out, I was talking to my father and he asked me in all seriousness:
"Have you watched that new show err yet"?
"err"??

Now I've always had a love/hate relationship with that show. The acting was great and the personal stories were interesting, but the nurse in me just used to cringe at some of the unreality that the show portrayed. An ER physician doing a c-section in the ER? Hardly! AND the frequency that RARE conditions used to turn up and be diagnosed by the all knowing residents. Uh-huh!

Well lately I feel like a walking "err" patient. I got through the asthma flare-up, survived the severe allergic reactions to TWO antibiotics. I seemed to breeze through sinus surgery. Only to find new symptoms...

The weird swelling in my left ankle actually started last November. No foot pain or injury. No calf pain - but one of the drs. that I worked for had me get a doppler ultrasound to make sure that there wasn't a blood clot. There wasn't. To add to the weirdness, my sister has the same thing but we always thought that was because her left ankle was ran over by a bus when she was a teenager (don't ask...) Around the time the swelling started, my right hip and knee began hurting. I was running so I looked up sports injuries and diagnosed myself with ITB - ileotibal band syndrome - sort of like tendonitis in the tendons that run from the hip to the knee. Maybe my gait was off and THAT was making the ankle swell.
So I backed off from the running and got on with life.

Fast forward to three weeks ago....

I woke up one morning with excruciating pain behind my right eye. It felt like someone was trying to push it out of the socket with a hot fork. The inner corner of the eyelid seemed a little swollen, but the eye itself seemed fine. It definitely was coming from behind the eye. I took 800 mg of ibuprofen that I had on hand for when the hip barked too loudly, and the pain eased up. Maybe some sort of strange migraine I thought. I had the day off so I made an appointment to see the family dr. to discuss the eye and while there I'd corner her about the ankle and the hip and knee.
She encouraged me to see my optometrist to get the pressure in my eye checked and rule out rapid onset glaucoma although she said that is usually so painful and sensitive to light that those folks can't usually open their eyes and they have acute disruption in vision when they do. My vision was fine. She was mildly concerned about the ankle. She thought that I should see a vascular surgeon to rule out and venous insufficiency and/or groin masses or tumors.
Physical therapy for the correctly diagnosed ITB syndrome.
I got right in to the optometrist who dilated the eye and could find nothing obvious. She said if the pain persisted, that I should call the family dr. and have her order an MRI of the brain and eye socket.
Five days later I was still gulping the Ibuprofen to keep the pain at bay so I called for the MRI.
Now if you've ever had an MRI of the brain you will know where of I speak when I say it is miserable. An hour keeping your head frozen straight in a claustrophobic tunnel while you listen to LOUD jackhammer sounds. Before the last 15 minutes they come in and inject dye into your vein. Upon hearing that I burst into tears and sobbed how an allergic reaction to oral medication almost killed me and I couldn't take a venous injection without my husband with me. The very nice tech explained calmly that they needed to make sure that I didn't have a tumor or bulging aneurysm...
She promised to inject very slowly and she was true to her word. I was praying so hard I hardly heard her say that she was done. Not just done with the injection, but done with the MRI. I hadn't even noticed the last 15 minutes of jack hammer noises. Of course no report until the next day.

Well the next day I opened my eyes to the pain as usual which had the pattern of always being worse upon waking. I always assumed that the Ibuprofen had just worn off.
But this morning was different. This morning I had the pain AND everything was double. Nauseatingly doubled and trying to look up was an exercise in futility.
CRAP!! I felt panicky and knew that I needed to get to a bona fide ophthalmologist asap. Except for my load of patients scheduled that day...

My husband came walking back from the bathroom and asked how my eye was. In my attempt to temper the panic I tried a little levity. Looking at two of him standing there in his/their nakedness I smiled and replied, "Well you don't even know it but you just fulfilled a fantasy"...

He popped a cork when he heard about my double vision and even more so when I told him that I planned to drive into work so I could personally reschedule my patients and I'd go to the ophthalmologist as soon as they could get me in. I'd get my MRI results too. He said that he would call in to work but I figured out that if I patched my right eye I could see OK out of the left. I hadn't been wearing my contacts and I had been living almost a week with the pain. What was one more morning?
Driving was a little more complicated than I expected - not being able to check my right side blind spot with the right eye patched, but I got there and asked one of the drs. to get my MRI report. He lit a fire under the radiologist to read it quickly and he called and got me into an ophthalmologist BEFORE he chewed my butt for coming into work. My patients rescheduled without my assistance.

"Hmm..." The eye doctor murmured as he looked deep into my eye close enough to make me wish that I had a breath mint. "Very interesting -- I haven't seen a case like this in years"!
By now, I knew that my brain was normal without tumors or aneurysms on the brink of rupture. But there was severe inflammatory changes and swelling.
"Trochleitis". He spelled it out for the nurse. He patiently explained that it is a little muscular ring -- pulley-- that the muscles that move the eye up and down was inflamed and swollen, dragging the mobility of the eye. I could only slightly move the eye, thus the double vision when they eyes didn't track together. The treatment would be steroids. Sometimes long term, depending on the response. The side effects are sleeplessness, increased appetite, and irritability.

Yeah, yeah I know the drill. I've been a tired, hungry bitch before...

Thankfully, a week later the steroids are working. I worried a little when he said that if it didn't respond, the eye muscle could irreparably weaken, but the double vision is all but gone. The eye is moving better now and the pain is slight when the Ibuprofen wears off. I am sleeping well, have lost a pound, and I THINK I'm cheerful. Who wouldn't be? It could have been a lot more serious. I'll be on anti-inflammatory medication for a while but that's ok.

I saw the vascular surgeon and had an extensive ultrasound of the veins from the groin down the entire leg. No clots present.
"Hmm" she replied as she studied my now swollen lower leg...
"Lymphadema"
A condition where the lymph cells are interrupted or damaged and they don't drain appropriately so fluid can accumulate in a limb. Sometimes the whole limb swells to huge proportions. It is more common in people who have had cancer surgeries or radiation to the lymph area. It can rarely be a hereditary condition due to some kind of gene mutation. She says that might be the case since my sister has it too. It could be that we have both had abdominal surgeries and if genetically our left groin nodes are already altered that might have prompted the symptoms later in life. Fortunately so far it's mild. It can progress if not treated. I have to be cautious not to get infection in the lower leg or foot because it might not heal well. No wonder that blister on my left foot from those cute but tight shoes that I bought, won't heal up.
I am now wearing compression hose that give me an aerobic workout just putting them on. I really only need them on the left, but particular as I am, if I can't make a fashion statement, I at least have to match. I can take the hose off in the evening and try to elevate the leg as much as possible. Don't sit or stand too long. Keep running. With the hose on if possible. Exercise is probably what has kept the symptoms in check thus far.
Massage can help. Now you're talking...

Physical therapy for -- oh yeah that pesky hip pain that persists like the literal thorn in the side despite the steroids and enough Ibuprofen to eat the lining of my stomach right out -- starts Thursday!

Geez! This hypochondriac gig is tiresome! I'm ready for a break. In the meantime I'm doing everything the drs. say to do and taking vitamins including extra C & D and fish oils capsules.

I called my 96 year old dad to try and explain why I haven't been to see him for a while at the Veteran's Home where he resides. He doesn't really remember anyway, but I feel bad. Real cheerful like he replied "That's ok, Kaye (my sister) you just get better"! Then he tells me:

"By the way, I watched the best gospel music on the 'bet' channel"....

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
VETMED 6/14/2010 11:22PM

  I will tell you what my dear old Dad told me- ALWAYS GET THE EXTENDED WARRANTY ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF! While I envy the two husband view, it is downright scary to drive with it! Maybe it is time to take a summer vacation for a few days until you get the parts in working order. Close the drapes and rest at home or get your sweetie and vacate- you need it, heck, I need it after hearing about your recent Dr trips!

Praying for you, your Sweetie, Sis and Dad. Keep in there punching! It HAS to get better!

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DAYHIKER 6/10/2010 9:04AM

    I'm glad to know you are finally on the mend! You do get the oddest things! Probably so you can entertain us with your witty blog posts! emoticon I hope and pray that you'll be in the pink very soon, Joanne! emoticon

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MBREWTON35 6/9/2010 11:07PM

    Girl, you are just a hot mess sometimes! Grandpa probably naturaly assumed it was mother if there was a whole mess of symptoms! Lol! Atleast he will think she called him. Glad to hear about the pound lost! Get better!

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CARRAND 6/9/2010 10:01PM

    You didn't even mention the pneumonia.

But it's my right leg that swells, and not the left! It can't be hereditary.

I never had the eye pain though, thank goodness. That sounds really miserable - much worse than the ophthalmic migraines I get.

I'm so glad you shared. You have such a good sense of humor, it makes the rest of us feel better. Hang in there. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

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MILLISMA 6/9/2010 6:38PM

    You're amazing! I love your sense of humor and with all you've been through. Glad your eye is better and that things are looking up. I've been wearing compression hose for a number of years and had to laugh when you mentioned putting them on the first time. I thought I needed another shower but that would have meant taking them OFF again - no way. I'm use to it now and wear them when I walk. When it's humid, that's a real challenge - by the time I get home to jump in the shower, I have to peel them off. This would make a good comedy routine! emoticon

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LOSINGITALL4ME 6/9/2010 3:10PM

    I hope you get feeling better real fast. You have been through the wringer.

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THEQUEENBEE333 6/9/2010 2:21PM

    Wow - hang in there - take care of you - and here's to less problems for you in the future :-)

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HAPPYSOUL91 6/9/2010 12:09PM

    OMG, you sure beat any story on ER! I am glad it wasn't a clot but you really did pull a rare diagnosis.

Glad you still retained your sense of humor, will say a prayer for your speedy healthy return

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BUGLET- 6/9/2010 9:34AM

    May God bless you and help you through this hard time. I am so thankful for the good health that God has given me and I realize that each time I hear how others are suffering. Double blessings on you!
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SHERLYN-WILL 6/9/2010 9:00AM

    Boy you have been through it now... I am so glad you have lost your weight.. can you imagine all of this with the weight on... and most of it they would blame on your weight... and not find the real reason... although I am sure extra weight WOULD aggravate it!

I will pray for you!
You have a great attitude.. and I love your humor!
I bet your husband appreciates those 2 things in you marriage!
Thanks for sharing!

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/9/2010 8:47AM

    OH MY!! I'm thankful that you are OK (in the long run) but what a ride you are on! I'm praying for full healing and for patience and good spirits through the process! Glad you shared - and Hooray for Losing 1 pound!! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 6/9/2010 8:41AM

    Joanne, aging can be an adventure, huh? Good grief, you are falling apart my friend however it sounds like you are now picking up the pieces and the dr's are duct taping you back together. What a year its been and hopefully, you will be 125% again soon! Be well!

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MDEAL72 6/9/2010 8:32AM

    What a time you've had! I'm sure that being a nurse has helped you cope with all of this a little better, but I'm sure you've been extremely frustrated all the same. I'm glad things seem to be on the mend for you!

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DDOORN 6/9/2010 7:29AM

    Whew! What a tortuous TREK you've been through...!

Been there, done that, re: worrying so about clients when I've needed to take care of #1...! You are so fortunate to have a DH who is looking after you and your docs have done admirably without any misdiagnoses or other screw ups which often delay proper treatment!

Keeping you in my prayers for a quiet, restful summer ahead filled with SPARK! :-)

Don

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WISLNDR 6/9/2010 5:43AM

    You're just getting your tune-up for summer! I'm glad everything's back in order!

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SLENDERCLAIRE 6/9/2010 5:42AM

    I am so impressed with the way you have managed to stay positive in a horrible situation. Hope it all resolves rapidly now you've got a diagnosis (or two!) and with any luck proper treatment.
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PRINCESSNURSE 6/9/2010 4:43AM

    I always say nurses make the worst patients because once we get out of our areas of expertise we know just enough to be dangerous-lol. What a terrifying situation! I am so glad it was something (relatively) simple to fix. Take care of YOU...we nurses are not so good at that, son I thought I better remind you.

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KRITTERKEEPERS 6/9/2010 1:31AM

    Joanne, I'm glad to hear the MRI was normal. Now that you have a diagnosis for all your ailments, they can be treated so that you will start feeling better. Hope you are completely well again soon!

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DASEEMAN 6/9/2010 1:16AM

    Wow Joanne! When it rains it pours, doesn't it. Sounds like you are handling everything admirably! Hope all gets better soon!

Deb

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LADYFOLDER 6/9/2010 12:27AM

    Joanne, sometimes I feel like I'm the car that breaks down just after the warrenty expired. Age has it's challenges!
Marie

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/9/2010 12:21AM

    Oh my! I'm so sorry to hear you've been through all this. And still with your sense of humor shining through. I hope it all vanishes soon and life returns to normal for you. Whatever normal is... (smiling) Take care and feel better soon. Big hug.

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SUZAN3 6/8/2010 11:58PM

    You really have had a run of bad luck, and I hope it is over now. You're right to remember things could have been more serious. My run of bad luck is not anywhere as varied as yours, but I have had a number of unexplained falls that resulted in an MRI (results normal). I'm now taking a balance class at the local Y in hopes that will help with the falls. I really liked your father's attitude; he seems to be living in the moment and I think all of us would be better off if we did more of that.

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