Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rescue Me

I'm supposed to take my rescue inhaler every 4 hours as needed, 2 puffs. But whaddya do when you have intense shortness of breath, a 103 fever, you make loud noises in your lungs when you exhale (rattles) and your doctor is booked for the next 2 days? Back at Balderdash & Verities (my new nickname for the medical practice), we'd advise the patient to go to the immediate care center or, if it was really after hours, the dreaded ER, unless they waited for a call from the doctor (which I am now). I know what'll knock this out of me--a strong antibiotic, a week's worth of Prednisone (a steroid), and lots of rest. My cough is productive, so I don't want a cough suppressant. I can never just catch a cold like Luke does....colds go right to my lungs and I have asthma and I smoke, so that's a whammy of ick stacked against me and I end up like death within a quick shot of time. Had I been working, this would've definitely been a sick day. But alas, I'm offered the luxury of staying home in my multiple clothing layers left alone, except for my mom, who is so germ-a-phobic, she handed me a cup of soup with gloves on.

Poor Luke. He was extra love-a-riffic this morning. I woke him up at 7:15am, and told him to please be a good boy this morning and get ready for school because I was really sick. I told him how high my fever was, and I could barely move. I got his clothes out and he got up like a trooper, didn't dawdle and got ready for Grandma to take him to school. "Is this my fault?" he asked me, because he had a cold all last week. "No, honey, it's not your fault," I sympathetically replied. "I'm asthmatic and I smoke, so any cold I get goes right to my lungs," I told him. (I was TOO SICK TO SMOKE THIS MORNING. That's pretty fucking sick.) I was falling asleep on the couch as he got ready for school, so when he left he kissed my forehead and said, "I hope you feel better, Mommy." I thanked him and he worriedly left for school. He's coming home in less than an hour and I hope when he at least sees me upright (for the moment) that he'll be reassured that I'll be ok. My fever went down to 100.4, which is better, but I still feel like crap.

Depending on how late Stosh calls, I might end up at Immediate Care tonight. That would suck, but I'd get a breathing treatment out of it, which would be nice. Every time I cough, it hurts my broken tailbone. This is so not-pleasant.

I had no idea this was coming on, apart from the slight runny nose I had over the last week, that I thought was either a) just being out in the cold or b) a little cold from Luke. I had no idea it would transform into such a severe case so quickly.

I felt fine at school last night, which, by the way, turned out to be a total bust. The class patiently waited half an hour for the professor to show up, only to be stranded. A student went down to the office and asked what we should do. We were instructed to all write our names on a piece of paper that we were in attendance, and come back next week, turning that sheet into the office, so we all did. Got an email from the professor this afternoon that she "transposed" her class days, thinking she had class on Mondays and not Tuesdays, and apologized for not being there last night. She still assigned the first 2 chapters of the book to read for next week. Great. Between that and her 13-page syllabus attached, this is one tough cookie. But come on, the only prerequisite for Abnormal Psychology was to get a D or better in Intro to Psych, and I got a 99%, an A. I should do just dandily. Poised and ready to go to school last night at a campus I've never attended, I arrived an hour early, parked strategically near the smoking-friendly area, walked up the stairs and magically, my classroom was right there. It couldn't have gone any more smoothly. Well, except for that whole no-professor bullshit. That wasn't cool. But I got caught up on my texts for the early evening while waiting, and while one student was busy perusing the textbook, I leaned over and said out loud, "You know, I *have* half of what's in that book, just sayin'." Already labeling myself as the class lunatic. That's ok, I came out to my class as an alcoholic during my oral presentation on Antabuse the 2nd week of Intro to Psych last spring.

Despite my coy sort-of-warning, my blog stalker (see "I Love My Blog Tracking Software, Part 3"), who is too dense to apparently realize that I'm watching her, still checks in on my blog like 4-5 times a day, which seems excessive, doesn't it? I write a lot, but sheesh, give me a chance to do an update already, sister. I've chalked it up to either a) she's really, really dumber than I gave her credit for being in the dumb department, knowing I'm tracking her visits, or b) she's doing it just to fuck with me and be a bully and creep on my blog. She's over at Balderdash & Verities and I honestly would hope she had better things to do than creep on cute pictures of my nephew, pour through comments about my Luke birthing story or whatever-the-fuck it is she thinks she's looking for or wants to incriminate me with. My cousin Paul was right, the internet is free and public and I have no right to police who reads my blog or anything, but I know who this particular person is, and frankly, she's icking me out. And she KEEPS Googling my name misspelled. I don't know what's the most irritating about the whole situation--her creeping or not being able to get MIKLASZ down after spying on me since the first week of January. Seriously, today alone there were 7 visits from the office ISP to my blog, the longest being a 19 minute visit. Hmm, well, when we'd get caught staring out the window of the office for 20 seconds, we'd get into trouble, but I guess since she's in charge, it's ok for her to spend half the work day (and you'd think they'd be swamped without me--I guess I was that expendable!) creeping on my blog.

Most people think I should be a lot angrier at my Tatus than I am, given he was one of the kingpins who worked to get me fired on a technicality, and the more I think about it, it was sort of a gang-up, minus the one guy who had the issue with me in the first place, who magically had thrown his back out that day and wasn't in the office to give me the boot. Had he been there, I probably would've had it out with him, if the shock had worn off, and I would've defended myself a lot better than I did at the gang confrontation with all the doctors, my Tatus included.

But I'm not mad at him. I wanted to go to school and get my doctorate and do what I was meant to do, not stay there for the rest of my life in a go-nowhere position and this was the time and opportunity for me to leave and be forced into jump-starting my REAL career. Instead, I miss him fiercely, though we talk pretty regularly, though we haven't seen one another since that awful night, when I flat out asked him if he still loved me, and he told me he did, but that he was disappointed in me and thought I had my shit together more than he thought I did. An unfair statement to make, since in the historical annals of Annie Having Her Shit Together, I'm about at peak performance right now. Time is flying in January and it's looking like my Tatus and I won't have until February to get together, despite our best efforts at scheduling, when we're getting together to celebrate my 4 years of sobriety with dinner and my first tattoos at some point when he's not on a men's retreat with his church. A men's retreat for Catholic guys? Sounds like a lot of beer drinking and ice fishing and a chance to get away from the missus for a few days, I don't know. I wonder how much of the Bible will get employed. None of my business; I'm just curious. I'm holding him to the promise of never abandoning me and still being my friend. I took those sentiments very seriously.

It was a simple lack of or miss-communication that I couldn't have any refills of a mild, innocuous diarrhea pill that's more effective when over-the-counter Immodium doesn't help your atomic diarrhea that's the bottom line at Balderdash & Verities. I researched the drug in question, Lomotil. You'd have to take like 30 at a time to get any kind of buzz off them, and the other inert ingredient in Lomotil, atropine, would give you a heart attack in the meantime, so the drug is marketed as nearly abuse-resistant. I found that on the internet in 5 minutes. The doctors I worked for didn't know that off the top of their heads? I guess when you get your medical degree in Guadalajara, like the one with the thrown out back...

I have some meager profit sharing due me, and I'm having trouble getting it out. This-broker-needs-to-talk-to-this-accountant-then-call-me-back bullshit. So I wait. I was only vested for a few months, so I'm sure I don't have all that much saved in it, and I could honestly use the dough to live off of now, as opposed to rolling it over into an investment, even given the hefty 10% tax from the IRS.

It was great at Luke's birthday dinner at TGIFridays on Monday night with me, my mom, Luke, Craig, his girlfriend, and The Other Grandma, who is fucknuts. After being told she wasn't welcome in my home until she apologized to my son for yelling at him when he was coughing and had no control over his actions, she didn't show up to his kids' party on Sunday. At dinner, we were forced somehow to sit next to one another, whereupon she decided to order a Jack Daniels on the rocks just to irritate the fuck out of me. Had she ordered a more socially acceptable drink like a glass of wine, I wouldn't have seen it as a big deal at all. But no one else was drinking. It was a 12-year old's birthday dinner. Don't think her gesture went unnoticed by either myself or my sharp son: he came up to me as I was getting my coat on and said, "How about Grandma's gratuitous cocktail?" and I just shrugged. I texted my best high school friend, also a recovering alcoholic, to tell her what was happening, and she just responded, "Bitch." Exactly. The whole dinner was tense, though when I'm out with my ex and his girlfriend and Luke, I do just fine. I really like the girlfriend, it's just The Other Grandma that drives me crazy, because she's bipolar and refusing treatment, relying on voodoo shrinks and new-age seminars that don't seem to be working terribly well. We started talking about her Twitter account, where she keeps up with other fans of American Idol winner Lee DeWyze's life and garbage, and tweets to him like she's a teenager in love with David Cassidy. Luke asked her how many followers she has, and she said something like "28." "And who are they?" Luke asked. "All 'Lee People'," she said. She can't tell that I, with my full, real name, am following her on Twitter and laughing hysterically at her posts? Silly, silly woman. Maybe she can't see I'm a follower since my Tweets are protected and secured, and only people given permission by me can see what I tweet (you think I swear a lot here and on Facebook? Fuck.)

The upshot of the TGIFridays experience was that we got Luke's annual "How Tall Am I in Comparison to Larry Hagman" photo, as seen here. He was measured at the doctor on Saturday, where I took him only to find out he indeed had a cold and there was nothing I could do about it, and he's officially 5'3" at this point. No wonder he's got growing pains in his knees. Big fella, our Luke's gonna be.


Anonymous said...

A personal message for your CyberStalker:


'Nuff said.

~Miss Thang II

Anonymous said...

Annie, you don't have a Small Volume Nebulizer (SVN) for home use, do you?

"Hookah pipes" allow ALBUTEROL (and several other meds) to be nebulized. While an MDI contains the same active ingredient (ALBUTEROL, etc), the delivery system of a SVN is superior.

Certain SVN models are so incredibly small they easily fit into a handbag. Some of my pts even take theirs to work, ball games, etc.

Your PCP can write the rx; I recommend you discuss it with him. Along with the SVN rx, you'll need a rx for tubing and ALBUTEROL solution 0.083%. (Other meds can be nebulized, but this is by far the most common one)

Insurance covers SVNs with minimal fuss and bother. Lincare or another durable medical equipment supplier can fill the rx -- they even deliver the unit to your home and teach you how to use it (which takes all of ~15 seconds).

SVNs can be rented, but I recommend your MD simply indicate your anticipated length of use will be for "99 months". That means "forever" in insurance-speak, and the unit will be purchased by your insurance carrier for you to keep.

Anyway, I've been meaning to suggest this to you, but have been swamped in the office. Unlike Ms. CyberStalker, I've been too busy in the office saving lives and stamping out disease to spend much time on your blog during my work day. Thus, I humbly beg your forgiveness.

~~Miss Thang II

Annie Miklasz, Offbeat Drumming Lunatic said...

No, I don't have a nebulizer, Miss Thang II. If I want a breathing treatment, I have to schlep to immediate care. I will call my PCP today to see if can Rx one that Medicaid will cover. I feel better today--woke up with a lot of rattles and wheezing, but when I do cough, which isn't constantly, the cough is very productive. So he doesn't want to give me a cough suppressant. The doc did say I'd probably still be having breathing trouble after Monday when the Prednisone tapering is completed and the last dose of the zpack is completed. So perhaps a home nebulizer would be indeed a wise idea. I can't believe I didn't think of that! I guess I just thought I couldn't afford one.

Think nothing of it, Miss Thang II. I know you're busy and I appreciate all the help.

My stalker has moved onto stalking the blog at her 2nd job at nights, and will likely at home too. That still doesn't mean I can't follow her comings and goings, and if she's THAT interested in the blog, I suggest she go to the bottom of each blog page and subscribe rather than creeping on me all day long at the office, for which she got a royal bitch slap last night from the doctors @ Balderdash & Verities for using the internet for private use on company time to spy on a former employee. Victory, thy name is mine!

Anonymous said...

Miss Thang I, one is so glad you are starting to feel better.

Next suggestion: have you ever had a PNEUMOVAX immunization? You, my dear, should have one ASAP after you recover. It won't prevent all pneumonias, but it will help prevent certain future ones -- not to mention sinusitis and other miscellaneous creeping cruds. It can also help boost your immune system. It is basically a 1 or 2 shot deal, not annually, like INFLUENZA vaccines -- the booster protocol varies according to the pt's age.

I believe highly in this immunization & make a point of offering it even to my low-risk patients. So, Ms. CyberStalker, my professional opinion is that if you haven't had a PNEUMOVAX shot yet, you may wish to discuss it with your own PCP. (On your own time, of course.)

~~Miss Thang II

Annie Miklasz, Offbeat Drumming Lunatic said...

I will look into getting a Pneumovax shot with my PCP after I'm better. It should be covered by Medicaid, especially w/a DX of recent pneumonia. I did not get a flu shot this year.