Strawberries on the Edge of the Abyss

Newcomers to ETEV probably haven’t spelunked the archives, so it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that I’ve got clinical depression and anxiety. They’re both kicking up one hell of a fuss at the moment. You might not know it from a few recent blog posts and my Facebook feed, especially not since my feed has been full of my comments on the Supernatural marathon I’m currently running and precious little else. I’m pretty good at covering the worst bits up. That’s such a weird thing about these disorders: if I haven’t hit absolute rock bottom, I can look pretty bubbly and bouncy. I might even appear to have my shit together.

I don’t. But I’ve been dealing with this for a long time, and I know how to put the mask on so I can function in the outside world. And I know what to do when I’m no longer going to be able to fake it to make it.

So. I’m going to tell you a truth: the reason I’ve been mainlining Supernatural is not just because it’s an entertaining show, but because I’m using it to stave off a major depressive episode. Tell you what, teetering on the edge of the abyss is about the most unpleasant sensation a mind can feel. There’s a reason why we turn to things and cling to them, whether they be drugs, alcohol, a teevee show, or whatever. When you’re going over the edge, you’ll grab at anything that appears to give you a chance of not going over.

And sometimes, all you’ve got is a strawberry. Continue reading “Strawberries on the Edge of the Abyss”

Strawberries on the Edge of the Abyss

Lies the Medical Establishment Tells About Trans Kids

I just got done reading a jaw-dropping, rage-inducing article on the lies some people in medicine tell about trans kids. This is one to keep around in case you run in to some jackass claiming that the majority of trans kids change their minds. Newsflash: they don’t.

The studies that say overwhelming numbers of trans kids change their minds about being trans? Horribly flawed. I mean, super mega flawed. Such as: Continue reading “Lies the Medical Establishment Tells About Trans Kids”

Lies the Medical Establishment Tells About Trans Kids

Please, Please, Read These Stories Before You Choose a Midwife-Assisted Birth

I’ve spent part of the night reading about babies who didn’t have to die. And I don’t want their stories to be yours. If you’re pregnant or planning, and considering giving birth outside of a hospital, please stop right now and read Grant’s story. His mother Rachel had to tell it. He didn’t live. He didn’t have to die.

Let me remind you that when I first arrived at the birth center for the second time that evening I was offered a transfer for not being able to handle my labor. Why, now with my baby dying were they not offering us a transfer? Why were they trying to make me push when I wasn’t dilated?

I was moved from the birthing stool to the bed… still not 100% dilated. I was told that I needed to get this baby out now. I’m still trying to push. I’ve never pushed so hard in my life. The pain is so bad that my vision is becoming blurry. I was given oxygen. When I look back at this scene I still wonder why no one has called for help. The baby has been in trouble and I’m having a hard time… why?

My husband and I were so focused on pushing this baby out as fast as possible and so focused on what we were doing that we couldn’t stop and tell her to call 911. We weren’t sane. We were relying on all of those midwives to do that for us if need be. We were counting on them to make the decisions that would need to be made when necessary. We were still all on our own as our baby was losing his struggle to breathe.

Read her whole story. Read about her having to leave the body of her perfect baby boy in the arms of crying nurses. If your heart didn’t shatter into atoms, you had no heart to begin with.

People, I have read far too many stories about dead babies. Continue reading “Please, Please, Read These Stories Before You Choose a Midwife-Assisted Birth”

Please, Please, Read These Stories Before You Choose a Midwife-Assisted Birth

Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out

I think I may be a bad person for loving this so much. But I have my reasons!

I’ve never given birth, but I’ve experienced pain verging on it. When your menstrual cramps are worse than kidney stones, and your doctor tells you that women who’ve had both babies and kidney stones said the stone were worse than labor, you can be relatively assured you’ve survived something approximating the most painful experience uterus-bearing people typically face. I’m willing to bet that there’s worse things, like maybe being on fire, but childbirth is generally considered to be pretty awful. Yet our culture tells women it’s beautiful, and wonderful, and they shouldn’t ask for pain relief because that will somehow cheapen the experience or something.

You know what, fuck that. Continue reading “Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out”

Hapless Dudes Try Labor, Literally Tap Out

So Wrong… So Not Funny… But Entirely Hilarious!

I don’t often break into great gales of laughter. I’m usually not reduced to helplessness. There are few things that get me laughing so hard my stomach hurts, I can barely breathe, and I start sob-laughing. Usually, I can get through funny stuff with just a grin or a guffaw. I’m pretty restrained like that, especially when I’m alone and don’t have someone else’s mirth jamming its foot on my funny bone.

I can’t really remember the last time I lost it. It might come to me someday. I can tell you this is the hardest I’ve laughed this year, and I really feel like I shouldn’t. I mean… it’s not a funny subject. Not a bit. I’ve got to give you trigger warnings right now: if you’re at all squeamish about graphic medical stuff, if you’ve ever had a prolapse or been traumatized by someone else’s prolapse, this piece may not be for you. You may be permanently scarred. Continue reading “So Wrong… So Not Funny… But Entirely Hilarious!”

So Wrong… So Not Funny… But Entirely Hilarious!

Hooray For Clean Blood

I don’t have to go live in the hospital after all – my blood came back clean, so oral antibiotics will finish the job nicely. In fact, I’d be feeling almost myself again if it wasn’t for 8 liters of IV fluid swelling me like sausage. Oy.

I visited our UW Urgent Care down the road so they could make sure I wasn’t gonna die of pulmonary edema, and get advice on how to make this wretched fluid leave me. It was gratifying to hear the doctor talking to the nurse in the hall before he came in, incredulously repeating, “Eight liters?”, which words have been my mantra whenever I look at my incredibly ballooned abdomen, my bulging ankles, my bratwurst legs, and my lil smokie fingers. He determined that my lungs and heart were holding their own despite the reduced room, so all we need to do now is let nature take its course. We’re not trying drugs because my poor kidneys are already unhappy enough, so it’s best not to antagonize them. We’re going to check them again on Friday, and if they’re recovered but I’m still Water Balloon Woman, we can drug the fluids out then.

Good thing I don’t love salt, because he recommended I keep my sodium low. I’ve already cut back drastically, because carbonated sodas and I aren’t currently on speaking terms. And I don’t salt my food, so I’m basically free to eat what I want. Now if I can only free up enough abdominal space to eat lots of it…

I managed a trip to Target all by my lonesome, and was able to haul everything upstairs without total collapse, so it’s Dana’s Independence Day. B would’ve done all that, but he’d been awake all night worrying after I sent him home for rest and didn’t sleep until I emailed at 4am to let him know mild fever all gone. Then he slept through the morning, and his brother took the car, leaving him stranded. It was a nice, sneaky way to force him to take the day off, really, and he needed it. If I’d needed help, there are other people I can tap, but I don’t think he quite believes that. That poor kid is getting so much TLC from me when I’m fully functional again.

So now, it’s just a matter of tottering around on swollen pins, and grazing throughout the day rather than having meals, and trying to be patient while the last of the infection is murdered and the excess fluid goes away. I anticipate long periods of napping. I’ll probably take several days off from the blog now, unless one of those suddenly-better events happens, in which case we’ll get right back to it. And, of course, either B or I will update you if anything goes wrong. So don’t fret at radio silence.

I love you, my darlings, and can’t wait to be really-for-reals back!

Image shows a cat face-planted on a bed. Caption says, "I will nap... HERE."

 

 

 

Hooray For Clean Blood

Home for Now

Writing from me own bed, yay! I checked out against medical advice because my body was telling me it would conspire with the bacteria to murder me if I didn’t get real sleep. You cannot do that in a hospital, especially when they spend half the night fast-pushing fluids to try to raise your blood pressure. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds or so of liquid under my skin. I’m swollen all over and my poor lungs have limited room to work, so I sound like a Victorian woman in an extra-tight corset when I talk or breathe. I can’t crouch down to get thing without my legs feeling like they’re gonna pop like water balloons. Luckily, my kidneys are functioning fine and doing their best to deal with the situation. Continue reading “Home for Now”

Home for Now

The Joye of Sepsis

Greetings from my hospital prison! Turns out this wretched little illness wasn’t just a kidney infection. No, the little bastard bacteria escaped into my bloodstream, after pretending they’d gone. I went to urgent care, and they pumped me so full of fluids I nearly popped, topped me off with antibiotics, and shipped me over to the hospital next door. Fun times. At least my female nurses have been unrelently awesome, my one male nurse was hawt, and all of the doctors so far rock, even though they won’t let me return to my memory foam mattress and cat.

B’s got me covered for fetching things and transport. He’ll also watch over my very upset felid. If all goes well, I’ll be going home tomorrow sometime. Probably will not be back to full Dana for a few days, though. Sepsis is srs bidness. However, I already feel miles better and am happily sucking down fluids, so I’m hoping recovery won’t take forever.

We shall see…

Thanks for your patience and well-wishes!

Gray kitten in scrubs walking toward right, caption says, "Dr. Tinycat to the OR, STAT!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joye of Sepsis

Currently Ill. Back Soon!

I’m so sorry, my darlings, but my body has gone into full rebellion. First, Aunty Flow showed up, then I developed what’s probably a kidney infection. Alas, of course, it didn’t make its wretched self obvious until after every Urgent Care clinic closed. Sigh. B is a complete angel and rushed over with necessary drugs and fluids, so I’m feeling much better and the fever’s going down. If it’s still a thing in the morning, or worsens unexpectedly, he’ll whisk me off to brave the indignities of the American health care system. Whee.

I’ll be posting again ASAP, but it might take a few days. Apologies to those who are languishing in moderation – I am definitely not up for admin duties, but hopefully tomorrow! I’m now going to drink a gallon of green tea and pass out.

Gray kitten in scrubs walking toward right, caption says, "Dr. Tinycat to the OR, STAT!"

 

 

Currently Ill. Back Soon!

Adventures in Mental Health Care

You may have noticed from the fact I’ve flaked recently, but Wellbutrin stopped working in a big way. It did a great job removing depression at first – which unmasked an underlying anxiety that increased and increased and increased. Then it stopped working on the depression. Sigh.

My day job has spent the past several months jabbing the rage, depression, and anxiety buttons nearly constantly. It’s got to the point where I have nightmares about it, which added insomnia to the list. Double sigh.

And my doctor is on sabbatical so she can spend time with her kids. Triple sigh.

Image is a cat collapsed face-down on the back of a sofa. Caption says, "I love you, couch. You understand me."

It’s really hard to cope with change when you’re super-depressed and anxious, so it took me a while to work up the courage to go through the process of getting a new doctor. Luckily, a friend at work went from all storm clouds all the time to near-blissful happiness, and her doctor was accepting new patients. I saw her Tuesday. I bloody love both her and the new clinic. She was a lot more prompt and thorough than my previous doctor. She found me something that will, with any luck, destroy both the anxiety and the depression in one go. We’re phasing out Wellbutrin. I’ve got some Xanax to fill in the gaps while the new stuff gears up to full effect. She listened to me when I told her my tiny little body burns through ordinary doses of drugs in a flash, and dosed accordingly. And she also sent me down the hall to the lab to get my thyroid tested, which I’d meant to ask for and completely forgotten. I love docs who actually look for other underlying causes rather than just assuming you’re mental. Continue reading “Adventures in Mental Health Care”

Adventures in Mental Health Care