Wednesday, August 30, 2023

August Catch-Up and Preparing for September

 August is one of those months that will seriously go down in my own personal history as a month that I feel grateful that I survived.  Literally.

A ton of things happened during August, unfortunately none of them good.

It all started when I went to the doctor the last days of July.  I had gone out to talk to a Estonian exchange student about educational materials he was selling in my driveway.  It was a nice day (which was a nice change of pace) and I had worn a t-shirt.  Honestly, I didn't think much of it at the time.  Later I noticed bug bites popping up, but this isn't really a new thing to me.  It is a horrible year for mosquitos and no-see-ums, so when the bug bites popped up and started to welt, I wasn't alarmed.  The last few years I've noticed I'm swelling up a lot more with bug bites...figured it was the result of getting older and just dealt with it.  

Fast forward to the next day and I noticed that the back of my right hand was swelling up and I had a series of what looked like bug bites between my fingers on that hand.  I cleaned it up the best I could and let it go.  Until Saturday when I woke up with my hand really swollen on the back and the "bites" actively seeping fluid.  So, I went to the doctor.  He looked me over, decided that I did indeed have an allergic reaction the bug bites and he thought my hand was probably infected.  He gave me a small steroid shot to help with the welts and gave me a script for antibiotics and sent me on my way.

Everything was going great.  Until the steroid shot wore off.

What followed next was an absolute nightmare.

My body went completely bonkers. I became a big, itchy, hiving, human welt from the top of my scalp to the bottom of my feet.  I welted and swelled to the point my breathing got impacted in the middle of the night from my throat and face swelling that I ended up having to use my son's epi-pen on myself.  My arms and legs swelled up twice their normal size to the point I was having a hard time moving my wrists, elbows, ankles and knees.  Every morning I'd wake up and immediately get my husband (if home) or my daughter to check out my back and areas I couldn't see to see how bad I was going to be that day with how the welts were going already in the day.  My face swelled constantly.  My ears swelled and I had welts down into my ears so everything sounded like I was listening through a swimming pool.

Nearly two weeks, a visit to the ER, three Urgent Care visits and two visits to an allergist later (thank you to my mother-in-law and my husband for everything as they drove me everywhere and my mother-in-law kept the kids company a LOT), along with copious amounts of antihistamines and way more Prednisone than one person should ever consume, and the welts finally subsided.  I'm still on quadruple the dose of Zyrtec than a normal person normally takes and a double dose of Pepcid AC a day (turns out, it too, is a antihistamine...go figure), but today I am finally starting the long, very slow, process of weaning myself off of the antihistamines so that I can hopefully start to feel normal again.  If I swell up or welt up again during this time, my diagnosis changes from "freaky weird event that happened" to something more serious that will result in a lot of allergy testing and trying to figure out what I'm suddenly allergic to.  From what the allergist was telling me, once she assured me that the odds of dying from what was going on were extremely small and rare (which did a lot for my peace of mind, honestly), was that this type of event was usually caused by some type of infection.  

This whole period of time has been confusing and utterly terrifying for me.  I am used to my husband having allergies with his asthma, I am used to the kids having allergies and I can navigate eczema like a champ, but this entire *waves arms* ...thing that completely outside of anything I've ever dealt with in my life and I am hoping and praying that it does not come back.  I was going to show some of my wonderful reel of facial swellings and welts popping up first thing in the morning (I had to take pics for the allergist), but instead I just decided to take a shot of my instruction sheet.  Here's hoping weaning off the meds works and I can feel normal again.  I have to admit I'm worried.  My blood pressure has been running high through this entire thing.  The allergist assures me that while elevated, my blood pressure isn't bad for the amount of meds I'm on, but I still worry I might have to re-evaluate my health after this and make sure my heart and things are okay after this.  I was on a LOT more meds than a normal person should be on and I do worry about the long term impact of that.  

All I can do is pray and see what happens.

With medical bills, this has been so stressful on top of everything.  When I was sick, we ate out...we just didn't have an option with everything going on.  My husband picked up the grocery haul I had scheduled the first week I got sick, but a lot went to waste because I wasn't up to making anything and none of us were really hungry around here.  We didn't have an allergist in network out in the Valley, so I ended up basically having to cash them out.  I've paid half of it, but am still waiting for the other bill to come in from that (the first visit was 400.00 so I'm hoping the second will be cheaper).  And then there will be the ER visit, which I'm sure that bill(s) will cost me a bunch.  I put one Urgent Care visit I had onto the credit card as they bill fast and don't take payments, along with medications and other things.  I am scared to see what my balance is going to be next month.  I still have other medical bills to pay off that are on my credit card from other stuff earlier in the year with the family, my husband ended up having to go to the doctor's last weekend due to his lungs and he might end up having to get a CT scan on those to check and see if there is something the doctor isn't catching.  Medical bills never seem to end, do they?

And the fun didn't stop there, oh no.  When it rains, it monsoons, as well all know.

Our TV broke, so we had to get a new one in the middle of everything because Alvah was already not taking me being sick for so long very well, so we sure didn't want another upset to his normal environment going on.  My computer died (as you got from my last post, I'm sure) and we are still trying to get it to stop getting stuck in update mode, so I had to get a new computer and other things so it would work for what I needed it for.  Thank goodness I was finally able to get the sourcing for Alvah's ILP done and get reimbursement stuff into the home school so I can put the money back onto the credit card from where I ordered his school books (at least once they finally approve the reimbursements and cut me a check).  As soon as that happened, our old router died, so I had to replace that (thank goodness we were able to get one quickly so Alvah wasn't without the internet for very long...that would have been a VERY bad time for us as a major source of his sensory input comes from his I-Pad).  The daughter's phone, the battery suddenly swelled something terrible so the battery pops the case off and pops itself out of its housing.  The phone is old enough they don't make replacement batteries for it, so I had to order her a new phone so she has one for work, which wasn't cheap.  My husband had car trouble that took him a good two weeks to get figured out and fixed, but thank goodness he did as if he had taken it to a garage we could have been looking at thousands of dollars in repairs.  Then my tooth broke while eating cantaloupe last week so I ended up having to go in and get seated for another crown on Monday.  

Honestly, I was really feeling like I had won the anti-lottery.  My hair is even falling out as the scabs from the welts starts to heal, but at least a pony tail covers it.  When I watched the news coming out of Maui, I felt so awful for what those folks have gone through  and are going through (I do NOT want to even imagine what they are going through with so many missing, nor would I ever want to) that I somehow felt worse, but at the same time I felt like I should just be grateful that I'm alive and it helped me from getting too depressed.

It's been rough, but I'm hoping, at least, that things will improve and I'm hopefully better.  I'd appreciate any prayers people can send my way right now as the next three weeks are going to be pretty stressful for me still in weaning off of the antihistamines and praying that nothing bad happens.  Today was my first dose of three, versus four, pills of Zyrtec and so far, so good *knock on wood*, so hopefully this continues to go well. 

So, yeah, that's how my August went.  I sat down today and made a list for September, so watch for me to post more in September, if everything goes well.  One thing I'm definitely going to have to address in the coming week is the garden.  I'll give full details on how it did in the next few blog posts, but I got plants that are dying back and the weather is switching to fall very quickly, so I want to make sure I get things put to bed before I'm trying to find space to dump frozen planters on the property (not that I'd know anything about that...ahem).  I've got a few more things to preserve up for later use and stuff, but the garden is definitely winding down for the year.  

So, yeah, now that I have a computer that works, I'll talk to you folks soon.  Take care and I certainly hope your month went better than mine (and prayers for those in the South with that new hurricane are definitely sent...I pray any of you that live there are doing okay).

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Quick note

 Hey all!

I’ve been getting worried e-mails, so wanted to drop a quick note about one of the things going on around here (yes, one…it’s been rough..I’ll fill you in later).  The one thing is that my computer died on me a week ago.  New computer came in, but I didn’t realize that it doesn’t have an SD card reader.  I ordered one and it should be in Friday, but in the meantime I’m computer-less essentially.  So, I’ll get back to blogging as soon as I can.  I am making this note on my phone, so I hope it posts okay.

See you all soon,