celebrity · Emergency Room · epilepsy · Healthcare

Adventures in Healthcare: or where is George Clooney when I visit the ER?

Let me just say this first: I hate having to go to the Emergency Room. In the past, when I had no insurance, and would have a seizure somewhere, the paramedics would show up, and about half of the time, even though I was fine, and steadfastly refused to be taken to the ER, they’d end up taking me anyway. Usually this was because I’d had a seizure in a public place,and their insurance insisted I be seen. Of course, for some reason, their insurance always resisted paying that hugely expensive bill: both for the ride and for sitting around in the ER. I’m epileptic; I know what to do after a seizure, and unless I’ve fallen and injured myself badly, the ER docs really can’t do much for me, other than tell me what I already know. They never even gave me any good drugs for the headaches or muscle aches that usually follow a seizure. Getting charged $50 for a Tylenol that doesn’t help my headache at all just pisses me off; if they’d just let me have my purse, I could take my own headache meds, and not have to get charged for them! But every time, it was the same thing–I laid on a cold table for hours, waiting for some doctor to tell me “You had a seizure.” At which point I’d say “Well, yeah, duh. I’m epileptic. I told the paramedics that I knew what happened. I’m fine, can I go home now?” And then i’d get to leave. A month later I’d get a $400 bill for the ambulance ride, and another $1000 one for the ER (sometimes more, depending on how determined the doctor had been to see how I was.). I’ve had to threaten to take them to court twice to make the “Public places” pay these bills; since I had refused to go and they took me anyway, it’s been determined I shouldn’t have had to pay. This is not really why I dislike Emergency rooms, not the money part, anyway. Most of my experiences in them have consisted of being told to wait, and then have nothing done. I realize that there really isn’t that much that can be done after a grand mal seizure–there isn’t much going on on the surface to fix. Afterwards I’m mostly tired, with a headache, and by the next day, some severe body aches. All I really need or want is my bed, a couple of Imitrex (to kill the headache), and sleep. And sometimes sleep doesn’t even happen. It drives my mother crazy–I get up after a seizure and come out to the kitchen for a glass of water, or something to eat, or just to talk. She (and dad) think I should be in bed, sound asleep. For some reason, my body doesn’t want to do that anymore.

When I was 15-years-old, and first started having seizures, I’d have a killer headache after every single one, and would sometimes sleep 48 hours after. That when on for at least ten years, I’d say; I don’t really remember when the headaches stopped being quite so bad after every one, but I do know that by the time I finished college, I was able to get up and do things within a few hours after a seizure. These days, the headaches are back, but not the sleepiness.

I ended up in the Emergency Room yesterday. I was sitting here, watching Downton Abbey online, drinking my tea, and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. It felt as if something was stuck in my throat–like when you swallow a pill, but it doesn’t quite go down all the way. Of course, then this pain moved down from my throat to right behind my sternum, and then radiated out through my ribs, diaphragm and back. I called my sister, and she came down to check on me, and decided that I needed to go to the ER. Mom drove me over to Providence Milwaukie, and they saw me right away. They took an EKG, did some blood work, and chest x-rays. The doctor then gave me a few baby aspirin, and a big ole shot of an anti-inflammatory. That seemed to do the trick, because within a few minutes, I was able to breathe better, and the pain eased up.

While I hated sitting there not knowing what was wrong, and stressing everyone out, I will say that this ER was better than the last few I’ve been to. I was in and out in under two hours, and everyone was so nice! It was fast, clean, and competent. If only George Clooney had been there…..

Actually, any one of these three doctors would have made my visit perfect. Eric LaSalle, George Clooney or Noah Wyle.
Actually, any one of these three doctors would have made my visit perfect. Eric LaSalle, George Clooney or Noah Wyle.

They said everything looked normal, and sent me home with a prescription for Ibuprofen, and told me to follow up with my doctor. I’m seeing him on Friday. I’m sure he’s thrilled–I was there last week, too. Poor guy; he gets to listen to me whine, and tell me nothing is really wrong with me. And then I’ll say something totally embarrassing again, I’m sure, and at least he’ll have something to laugh about over drinks later that day. I will never live down commenting on his awesome purple pants. It wasn’t the pants that I embarrassed myself about. I said, and I quote “I’ve never seen a…well, I’m assuming you’re a straight man,  wear purple pants.” At this point I realized what I’d said, and turned  bright pink. He just grinned at me, and laughed.  Last week I tried to apologize, and he smiled at me, and said “If I’d known you were coming today, I’d have worn the purple pants!” He really was rocking those pants. I feel safe saving this here, because I’m fairly sure he’s never going to read my blog, but Dr Jeff is HOT. And the pants worked for him.

Bones · books · Dexter · epilepsy · Harry Potter · migraine · seizures · Sherlock Holmes · True Blood

Blah Blah Blah

It’s been a painful week for me. Since last Monday afternoon, I’ve had neck pain, sore shoulders, and increasing headache pain. From the basic dull ache at the base of my skull (which always comes with that sore neck), to a series of intense stabbing pains. This afternoon I felt as if someone was repeatedly piercing my temple with a red-hot ice pick. I’ve spent hours days curled up under my quilt in bed, all the lights off, praying for the pain to go away. Never have I been so thankful for my sleep mask and ear plugs, because lights, and the sound of sports from my father’s television, have nearly killed me. And then, Sunday night, around 10:30, I had a seizure. First one since February. Which means that after that, I had a bigger headache, my tongue hurts where I bit it, and I’m tired. As well, I am sore all over; my legs hurt the most, and just moving kills.

keep-rambling-nonsense-and-drive-everyone-bananas-640x640

So. Instead of spending this week helping Charlie move into his new apartment, like I had planned, I’m sitting here in my room, watching television, eating jello. Reading. Right now I’m waiting for the season premiere of one of my favorite shows to begin on TNT. Rizzoli & Isles is a crime drama based on a book series, as most of my favorites are. I’d read all of the books by Tess Gerritsen, long before the show began.

Most of my favorite shows are based on books. Sherlock. True Blood. Dexter. Bones (although I don’t care for the books).  My favorite movies, too. Cold Comfort Farm. The Color Purple.  Bridget Jones Diary. The Harry Potter films. Sense and Sensibility. And Pride and Prejudice. Oh, and To Kill A Mockingbird!

Yes, I’m babbling. So what. Go read a book if you don’t like it. Or watch a television show based on one.

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome · crazy · Crystal Light · epilepsy · fat · food · headaches · Internet · medication · migraine · neurology · pain · seizures · stress · triggers

There’s A Word for That?

Migraineur:

mi·grain·eur

mēgrəˈnər,ˌmīgrā-/
noun
 someone who suffers from migraine headaches.
Earlier this week, I was doing some research online, trying to see if there was a connection between the two glasses of pseudo-Crystal Light I’d been having now that the weather is warming up and the massive migraines I’d been having, when I learned some nifty things. Such as the word migraineur. Makes sense that there’s a word for people like me, but it had never occurred to me.
Reading about triggers was rather enlightening as well. I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that artificial sweeteners are a big migraine trigger, since they cause all sorts of problems. I try to avoid them, preferring natural sugar, really I do. But for some reason, every summer, I go through this diet drink frenzy where I consume Crystal Light, or the fake store brand equivalent, in all it’s many flavors. No more of that for me. I’d rather be fat than in pain. Sugar is a trigger for many people, but I have to consume a huge amount before it gives me a headache; same with caffeine. Alcohol, on the other hand, give me pain within an hour or two of my first cocktail. No big deal, since I’ve never been a big drinker. Some of the other common food triggers are chocolate, cheese (hard or fermented), processed meats, and gluten. To the best of my knowledge, none of these are triggers for me. Good thing, too, because I don’t want to give up chocolate. Life is hard enough. Other triggers include weather changes, bright lights or loud noises, perfumes, lack of sleep, stress, missing meals, dehydration, hormonal changes, and crying. Yep, one reason I avoid the cosmetics counter at department stores. Those perfume samples are killers. Same as the laundry detergent aisle in the grocery store. First I sneeze, then I get a headache. No fun.
Migraine Triggers infographic
Here’s what really came as a surprise to me, however. In an article called ‘What’s Your Strangest Migraine Symptom?’ I learned that several things that have been happening to me for years are likely migraine-related. And here, I thought I was just crazy. Or had a brain tumor.
One of these symptoms, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, is a disorder that causes a person to believe that body parts (and in some cases their environment), are changing shape or size. For me, it usually means that I feel as if one hand is growing larger and larger, as if it’s a huge clown glove, filled with air. It never lasted very long, but felt as if it did. Once, when a migraine was so bad I had to go to the ER for treatment, this happened after they gave me the fun shot; that time, I felt as if my ears were getting bigger and bigger.
The first time I remember this happening I was eleven-years-old. I had been reading in the afternoon during summer break, and suddenly, my right thumb began to grow. It didn’t last long, or get very big, and I don’t remember if a headache followed it, but I do remember being totally freaked out. Until recently, I never told anyone about it.
When I was in junior high, I read Stephen King’s ‘The Dead Zone’ for the first time, and one thing from that book has stuck with me ever since. The neurologist asks Johnny if he ever smells anything unusual, like rotting oranges, or feces, when there is nothing there; apparently this  a sign of a brain tumor. Well, it turns out these types of sensory hallucinations are also a migraine symptom, one I’ve had often. I was pretty sure I didn’t have a brain tumor, because I’ve had my fair share of MRI’s & CT scans, thanks to the epilepsy, but thanks to Mr. King, I was always scared. Now, I don’t need to.
I do wish that one of the neurologists I’ve seen over the years had pointed some of this stuff out. I’m especially cheesed that the migraine specialist I’ve been seeing for the last year never mentioned any of this. I appreciate that there are all these online communities, but shouldn’t a doctor have said something?!
I’m sure there’s a word for how I feel.
migraine-art
book reviews · Drarry · epilepsy · fanfiction · Harry Potter · Internet · seizures · slash

A Few Reccomendations

I promised some fanfiction recommendations, and here they are. I’ve read so many, but these are just a few that I truly liked. I’ll add more later. All of these are in the Harry Potter universe, and are mostly Drarry stories. I confess, I do like those slash stories!

DracoHarrySlashDemot

 

Jonna’s HP FanFic Recs, Part One

 

The Bound Prince series by slash perv and sayingsorry_hh                                       (7 volumes, Harry/Draco, ADULT)

This seven volume series is extremely well written, and is available on slash perv’s website as a free pdf download. Beginning with that pivotal moment in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince where Harry finds Draco crying in the bathroom; in this version, instead of hexing each other, they kiss, and from there, things escalate. Serious m/m slash, with lots of explicit sex: really, in nearly every chapter after the first couple, Harry & Draco are shagging, sometimes on a life-or-death basis. Some of the best long reads out there.

 

A British Summer by Omi_Ohmy                                                                                (One Shot, Harry/Draco, Explicit, Smut)

Ice cream.  After the war, and a very public breakup with Ginny, Harry has become a recluse. Draco is surprised when he runs into him scooping ice cream in a Muggle town on a summer afternoon.  I love ice cream (and sorbet, and gelato, and frozen yogurt…) and this story called out to me. It is yummy–but be warned, it’ll have you craving a frozen treat!

 

Vale Sanare by RurouniHime                                                                             (Draco/Harry, one shot, angst)

This is not a happy little fic, but it speaks to me.  Draco suffers seizures as an after-effect of something that happened during the war (we never find out what), and Harry helps him to find ways to cope. Turns out the war left Harry with some physical issues of his own. I am epileptic, and I seldom read anything that talks about seizures, simply because most writers cannot get the way seizure disorders affect a person right. This author does a spot-on job of describing both Draco’s seizures themselves (from his POV), and the way he feels after; I especially like the way the author describes his aura:

“Everything is the colour of plums, so dark and so opaque that Draco doesn’t know what happens next. He could be falling. He could be standing. He could be breaking his nose on the floor right this instant, this eternity, and bleeding over Harry’s floorboards—”

 

Not Only Fine Feathersby fantasyfruitbat                                                                 (Harry/Draco NC-17, one-shot, veela!)

I confess to a liking for veela fics, and this is a bit different from most. After the war, a mistreated, caged and feral veela is discovered in a Death Eater safe house, and will only respond to Harry. Of course, this veela turns out to Draco. The Ministry wants to put him down, but Harry fights to save him.

 

Checkmate by Naadi       HP_Slash___Checkmate                                                                                    (Harry/Draco, romance/angst)

Set during their seventh year at Hogwarts, this is a multi-chapter fiction that is canon through Goblet of Fire. Draco challenges Harry to a game of dare chess, and throughout the fiction, an actual game of chess is played. But is his ultimate goal love or betrayal?

This is a very popular fic, and even won some awards. The fan art for it is numerous, and includes a Lego version of one chapter, linked here.

 

Sex, Lies and Veritaserum  by lettered                                                            (Harry/Draco, one-shot, explicit)

The warning on this story states “This entire fic is one long conversation about sex.” And it’s the truth. When Draco spikes the wine with veritaserum, he and his husband Harry begin a conversation about their sexual fantasies and desires. This gets rather explicit, and hot. Hey, they aren’t all love stories, folks.

 

And An Owl Named Romeo by Rickey                                                                   (Draco/Harry, romance)

Draco breeds owls, Harry is an Auror, and an owl brings them together. The characterization in this love story is wonderful, and so is the romance!

 

Nothing Like The Sun by Lomonaaeren                                                            (Harry/Draco, angst/romance, NC-17)

Don’t go into this one expecting happy happy joy joy. In this story, Harry has been convinced by his past lovers that not only is he too ugly and lousy at sex to keep a wizard lover. He tries to get better, and compromises by wearing glamours, and finally, deciding to be content with one-night-stands with Muggles. Then along comes Draco, who messes everything up by wanting a relationship. This was a difficult story to read–Harry’s pain is palpable. But stick with it. It’s worth it.

 

It’s My Life by Fyreheart                                                                                                   (Harry, AU)

This is an alternate universe fiction, and one of the best I’ve read. After his second year at Hogwarts, Harry realizes that things aren’t quite what they should be, and he decides to change them. He does this by becoming pro-active in his life, and making huge changes–including leaving Hogwarts, and England. It’s an interesting idea, exploring “what if?”