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The search for a new shampoo has ended with success, at least if my patch testing can be trusted.

Since April, my hair has looked electrified.  I suspect that there is a combination effect of my poor nutritional status (you don’t lose 10 pounds in a few months due to constant pooping without there being some ramifications for micronutrients), stress, and bad shampoo.  By “bad” I mean shit I’m allergic to.  I have since stopped washing my hair daily, stopped brushing or combing it when it’s wet, and modified my diet (removed the evil non-dairy creamer I was using and hey, like magic my gut has improved by about 60%!).  But still, I need a shampoo that is not going to turn my head into an itchy, bristling nettle patch.

Inspired by the allergist, I started patch testing.  Tried one my hairdresser recommended without a proper patch test and promptly had to rewash my hair about 5 times to stop the itching.  Tried a so called “hypoallergenic” one by Suave that burned my arm.  And finally, my lovely sweet darling husband went to a fancy store and got them to hand over two tiny pots of Kiehl’s shampoo, Olive Fruit Oil and Superbly Smoothing.  Patch testing the olive oil one and had a reaction. Did TWO patch tests with the smoothing one and DING DING DING!  WE HAVE A WINNER!  Woo!

And boy let me tell you, when I react to something, I really react to it.  It’s been nearly a month since I had the patch testing done at the allergy clinic and I still have red patches on my back.  In fact, one of them just reactivated (one of the Nickel patches) and is now all up and itchy again.  I saw my primary care last week, Thursday, and showed him.  He said, “Oh wow, look at that!  Can I take a picture?”  I said yes and he bolted out of the room yelling for the nurse “Get the camera!  Come and take a look!  You gotta see Dyspatient’s back!”  LOL.  Too funny.  He wants me to see a dentist at the B.A.T.H. he’s affiliated with to talk about whether we can remove my metal fillings now that we have some clear, controlled evidence that I am indeed exceptionally allergic to some of the metals that are likely to be in an amalgam mix.  I told him I had mentioned it to my current dentist.  “What did they say?” he asked.  “He said What?  you think there’s something wrong with amalgam?  Lalalalalala I can’t hear you!'” I said, with my hands clamped over my ears.  “He was kind of a douche” I added.  He said “Let’s see if we can get you in to see someone who’s not….” “…quite so douchey?” I prompted.  Not that I’m looking forward to having the metal drilled out of my head, and how they’ll do it with me being allergic to the shit they put in dental dams (yup) will be anyone’s guess, but I’m game for looking in to it.  I’ve been wondering about it for a while now, what with all the mouth pain, blisters, swelling, sores, and GI symptoms.

new boss and other not very newsworthy news

Yesterday was the first day of my new boss. I am utterly relieved the nightmarish person who had been my boss is now out. She’s still around, lurking like a bad smell, but she’s not MY problem anymore.

Truly, it was magnificent to walk away from her yesterday giggling to myself when she approached me about some triviality which had struck her fancy.  “Sure, that does need to be done,” I said.  “I had even been planning to do it.  Remember that thing I made and showed you and asked if I could have permission to print on our account?”  (The thing she said was nice but told me not to print and questioned if it really was the best use of my time)  “That’s what it was for.”  And then I walked off.  I really enjoyed that.

Especially since she had screwed up my sick time last week.  She approved the request, then failed to approve it in my timecard.  I only found out because payroll called to ask me what was going on with it.  “What’s going on is that she has been pulling passive aggressive stunts with my timecard for way too long now,” I told the payroll worker.  “But hey, she’s not my boss since today!  I have a new boss!”

I have no idea if the new boss will engage in similarly themed if not executed harassment.  I hope not.  I haven’t really gotten a handle on him.  One day is hardly enough for an assessment.  We’ll see how it goes.  And I’ll have an opportunity to test this soon since I have that standing IV appointment to schedule for this week in the next day or two.  Yes, I finally got it scheduled.  It took four calls, one to registration, one to the ambulatory care unit where they do the infusion, one to my doctor, and then one more to registration.  Sheesh.

The doctor’s office also gave me the report on my ultrasound.  “It confirmed three nodules and they said ‘follow up scan as indicated’.”  The nurse told me she had no idea what “as indicated” meant and said she’d look into it.  I asked “ok, so I’m not sure what we are doing going forward here.  Can you ask if he (my primary care) also wants to check any thyroid function tests?”

That was last Thursday.  I’ll call today if they haven’t called me.  Reason being I have a standing blood draw with the standing IV order and if the doc wants me to get poked for thyroid tests, I figure why not consolidate?

Oh and I am still in the market for a drink that DOESN’T strip the enamel off my teeth and aggravate the reflux/heartburn.  Did I mention that I think this is the link regarding why my BP took a nose dive?  Sounds a bit silly, no?  But my primary was asking things like “had you been taking a lot of NSAIDs then stopped?”  “no more or less than usual, why?”  Apparently some of them have sodium in them.

So here’s the drink thing:  I usually don’t drink enough water.  I am one of those people who could go nearly all day without drinking any.  I have to remind myself to drink.  Well, to drink anything other than gingerale and coffee.  But the gingerale is totally killing my teeth.  After a day or two of drinking gingerale at what used to be my normal levels, I found my teeth were super sensitive for days, sometimes weeks.  So I stopped.  It was hard.  I’d find myself craving a gingerale in the evening (my prime gingerale drinking time).  There had been an especially difficult gingerale “withdrawal” the week before the BP drop.  My teeth had been killing after a weekend of high gingerale consumption so I went back to the ultrafloride toothpaste my dentist prescribed (I really am wearing all the damned enamel off my teeth…that’s what 30 years of barely controlled acid reflux will do) and switched the gingerale for water.  “I need to drink more water anyhow,” I told myself.  And after a week, my BP was in the basement.   I’m still covered with bruises from the clumsies.

Now before you shake your head and say “Oh dyspatient, what’s gingerale got to do with your blood pressure?” remember that I am under orders to push salt.  The cardiologist wants it, the nephrologist who did the dehydration work up (which showed I lose too much salt in my urine) wants it, and my primary care laughed and said “good!” when I told him about my “orange chip” habit.  How much sodium was I getting per day from my gingerales?  50 mg per can, and on a moderate consumption day, I would usually drink about 4.  I could easily (and often did) drink more.  And then I just took it all away.  No more 200 to 400 mg of sodium, and as my husband pointed out “It might not be so much how much you were having but that you were essentially on a low dose sodium ‘drip’ all day.”  Hm….  Interesting thought.

I’m resolved not to go back to the gingerale.  I’ll still have one occasionally, like if I’m out for lunch or dinner.  But in the meantime, what to drink?  Gatorade is as bad if not worse on my teeth and throat.  Right now, I’m trying out various “electrolyte enhanced” waters.  Of course, guess which one they don’t include in their electrolyte mix?  Yep.  Sodium.  Because it’s bad for you, if you’re a 50 year old overweight man with hypertension.

wtfFriday

On Wednesday, I sent an email out at work to the faculty and staff list letting everyone know I’d be leaving early (boss lady having approved my leaving early for medical procedure) so they would know that I wouldn’t be available for student walk ins.  It’s been a busy week, with it being the 1st week of classes.  “I need to leave at 12:30”.  At 12:28, my boss walks in with a student.  I have my bags on my shoulder, am turning off the air conditioners, and am literally halfway to the door.  She stops me and asks if I have a moment to meet.  “Oh, no, I’m so sorry, I don’t.”  She looks around.  “Well can we sign up for a time to meet with you?”  “No, I do that electronically and I just signed off…” I tell her.  I give the student my card and tell him that if he emails me I would be happy to set something up for next week.  “Are you leaving?” she asks, all alarmed and taken aback.  “Yes.  At 12:30” which by that point, it was.

At 2:00, I had an appointment for an MRI of my brain (with contrast) and my “orbits”.  I’ve had an MRI of my brain before.  Twice.  Once diagnostically without contrast in 2005 and god only knows where because I tried to track it down in 2008 and I think the place closed.  And once in…oh, maybe 2004? for a friend of a friend who was doing research at Yale and desperately needed a fill in subject after one canceled on her.  I don’t mind them too much, just the laying still part.

I did mind the one yesterday.  See, the body’s “new” or at least new relative to head MRIs, trick is overheating.  And MRIs make you just an eentsy bit warm sometimes, more so if you have metal fillings, which I have.  I did NOT go in there thinking “I’ll be my metal fillings will heat up.”  No I did not.  I went in there thinking “I hope I can lie still long enough for these pictures” and “I hope my head doesn’t hurt too much while I’m in there” and “I hope the sound sensitivity isn’t too bad because these things are loud” so this wasn’t some self induced symptom set.  Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone (i.e. the techs) when I got so damned hot I felt like I was going to puke and pass out in the tube and had to come out three times before I finally said “take the headphones off, take the sheet off, take my socks off, and roll up my pants.  If that doesn’t work, I’m taking off my pants because I want to get this done.”

This god damned blew.  But minus some items of clothing (and snuggly warm headphones), I was cool enough to get through the rest of the scans including the contrast just fine.

Now I know how microwave popcorn feels.  Except minus the buttery goodness.

Ok, out into the not hurricane (I live in land of B.A.T.H.s, remember?  According to the major news outlets, we were going to get a HUGE hurricane yesterday.  It turned out to be a mild to moderate rain storm that barely registered on the head/joint pain scale).  Then home for some food then off to the PCP for the follow up on many things.

And that did not go so great.  In retrospect, I don’t think it could have gone great.  I was thinking of writing this as if it did go great and then transitioning it with a reveal, a “tada” moment where I pull away the table cloth after setting out all that fine china and silverware so nicely (in case you aren’t following my very tortured analogy here, I’m going for the settings being my expectations for my visit, which I had arranged just so).  But I decided I’m just too drained and tired and, well, yeah.  Just too pooped for that.  Overall, it was productive and that’s good.  But ugh.  It was rough.  For everyone.  Poor PCP.  Poor me.  Poor husband who was taking notes.  Poor nurse who had to stay until after nine PM (yes, you read that right) when we finally finished.  Poor lab tech who will have to make sense of this req.  Poor ambulatory care staff at the local hospital who will have to administer the IV fluids with Mg and vitamins (yes, oh god thank god finally). Poor neurologist who will get the aftershocks of this appointment in the form of “wtf am I on this CMD for? It’s not doing shit and it’s making several things worse and I had a total breakdown in PCPs office and I think this CMD probably was a part of that”.  Did I say poor me yet?

And did I say poor PCP?  My celebrex rant, triggered thusly:  he suggested a consult to ENT for the sleep thing, I asked “ok but I have to tell you, I’m a little less game on this right now.  I’ve been catching some crap from my boss about missing work and so I’m sort of trying to prioritize what I miss work for.  So would the ENT be a consult where they have really specific directions for what to do or would it be a consult where they would be like the endocrine attending, like ‘um, I’m not gonna do anything really useful right now while you have time to do anything, so I’m gonna send you to someone else who also probably won’t do anything useful, i.e. a dietician, and then I’d like to see you in two months’?”, truly, I did say that.  And he looked taken aback.  So I went on.  I need to learn to do something about that.  I apologized and explained it’s been a rough summer.  I referenced some crappy history with doctors (being told I was having seizures all through adolescence when really I was probably just fainting from hypoglycemia and no one thought to check my blood sugar), that I’d had some things happen recently that kicked that up.  He asked what.  I said the neuro’s nurse had been crusty.  He said “nurses don’t count”.  Then I told him about the celebrex thing.  And he listened.  Then he said very quietly “and here I thought I was doing a pretty good job”.  It made me feel really, really shitty.  I apologized.  But he went on.  He told me that the insurance companies play games with them.  I said I know (but the nurse didn’t even submit the authorization for a month).  He told me that it’s hard to know what it is that they want you to say.  I said I know (but she didn’t ask me what it was I took it for) and that I didn’t think to tell her what I took it for.  His manner was not accusing or angry, but defensive.  It made me, well, I suppose scared.  I thought about this alot later.  Well, honestly I’m still thinking about why it would scare me and I suppose it’s because of parents (sorry, quoting Mel Brooks, High Anxiety).

Truly though, it’s the left overs of my mother’s emotional fuckery – the constant threat that she would leave and her leaving meant leaving me, us, to the physical abuse of our father and the sexual abuse of our grandfather (who lived with us).  Not that she was exactly a champion but (a) less abuse happened in her presence and (b) she was a potential champion to me (I think, not sure about that one…still working on it).  Anyhow, sorry for that detour down psych lane, but it was/is quite relevant.  So I was/am scared by my PCPs defensive, distancing reaction to my feeling that I was “abandoned” (his words, not mine) by his office this summer wrt the celebrex and pain management.  And please keep in mind, when I talk about getting authorization for my celebrex, we’re not talking about me being unhappy in a customer service sense, it’s not the kind of let down you have when the RAM chip you ordered by mail doesn’t arrive the exact day UPS said it would – we’re talking about not having something to take for the fuckloads of pain that go with having your period when you have endometriosis on/in your rectum and growing into the walls of your uterus, growing into the ligaments holding your uterus in place.  A spot on a ureter too.  Yes, they cut it out of some of those spots (not all).  But it grows back and it’s been three years.  So this is a significant amount of pain.

I went through two periods this summer with inadequate pain control, on top of the vertigo, the headaches, the fatigue, the…everything.  There are stretches of many days of this summer that are a shaky smear of shit, blood, pain, nausea and grief.  And if you don’t know why grief, you and I are at different points in the whole being sick thing.

So.  He’s telling me basically how hard it is to be a doctor and I do feel for him, but I think it’s triggering all this “eek, he’s going to abandon me more now because I made him feel questioned/less than perfect/less than adored!” feeling and so I start crying and then just fucking SOBBING uncontrollably.

Husband, who says he can handle all this, is still sitting in his chair.  Later he tells me that he didn’t know what to do.  I tell him gently “I think that it was good that you didn’t say anything because he was clearly feeling defensive and that could have made it worse.   But I definitely could have used some comforting.  I think a physical presence would have been nice.  A touch – in the future – god I hope there isn’t a future.  But you can come over in the future and touch me.  That would be nice.”  Husband thanked me for telling him that.  He sounded sincere.  I don’t think I’m resentful for him not moving while that happened.  I hope I don’t become so.

And now, it’s Saturday.  The sun is out.  The heat has broken.  My fillings finally don’t feel hot.  I have a script for IV fluids and various things I am deficient in from the local hospital’s ambulatory care although I left rather quickly in the nine-PM hour from the PCP’s office last night and only realized as we turned onto the foggy main road that I had totally neglected to ask how to access this service.  I guess I’ll figure it out.

My new dentist is a poet, but the other guy isn’t

“How did you find us?” Well my husband works at one of the B.A.T.H.s in the city and he was seen in the dental clinic there and he asked if there was anyone they recommended here in town and they recommended this dentist here.  So here I am.

With the poet.

Who is quite nice and has Sunday hours, of all things.

What kind of a freak would schedule a dental cleaning in the middle of two months of migraines?  The kind who is convinced that nothing she does or doesn’t do is going to change whether or not she has “vert” or head pain so why wait?  I mean, I could wait and end up having a dental cleaning the week after a spinal tap and won’t that be fun?

The reason for today’s appointment was in fact that I was overdue for a cleaning.  I was overdue for an appointment, overdue for a dentist.  I liked my dentist in the New England Outback quite a bit.  There were exactly three things I liked about the New England Outback.  My vet, my dentist, and one other thing that slipped my mind but which I know existed and I will probably remember as soon as I stop blogging and think for a minute.  Anyhow, I liked my dentist down there in the land of Martha Stewart and Lyme Disease.  And then I moved up here to the land of Lobstah and B.A.T.H.s and I got a real stinker right off the bat.  He sucked.  Turned out he knew my cousin.  In fact, my cousin’s college roommate (and best friend) turned out to be the dentist’s daughter (who worked as one of his hygenists).  I should point out, my cousin and I are not and never have been close.  Of that set of cousins though, she was nice.  A good kid and the most sociable of the set.  But we were not close and that not closeness only grew as we became adults.  I’ve seen her sisters only at funerals over the years.  I haven’t seen her in nearly 15 years I think.  So the dentist’s daughter’s connection was a passing curiosity, a “hm, small world” thing.  It was not enough to overcome how much he stunk as a dentist.  I’m sure he was good if you are a healthy and hale robust person but I’m just not.  So I had my cleaning and first appointment last year in the Fall and he remarked that I was on “too many” meds.  Um…how about a big dose of Fuck you, BID?  Nah, I was polite.  But taken aback.  I was not happy about that.  It made me feel bad.  Yes, I know, I get angry when I am hurt (hence the swearing and whatnot).  It feels better than just feeling hurt.  But I went back because I figured whatever, I don’t need to love the guy, he just needs to be competent.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t.  First time he did work on a tooth, he put the needle in and it didn’t take.  Ok, so he put it in again.  And he put it right into the joint.  And wow, that felt very unpleasant.  It wasn’t pain like stabby, pinchy shooting, sharp, or burning sense.  It was pain in the very bad pressure in a very bad place where there isn’t supposed to be pressure like that and wow your body just does not like that one bit at all sense.  Ever had that?  I think the only other places I’ve felt something similar is when something is coming out of joint.  My toes pop out of joint on their own sometimes (ouch) and my hip did a little thingy back in 2006 that started all this hip pain stuff.  So it was like that.  But in my face.  And it was very, unpleasant.  And I passed out.  Slowly.  As usual.  Because I always go out slow and ugly.  It starts with sweating and a bit of groaning, that’s the noise of “alert” I think.  As in “shit, hey I’m going down”.  Then I pull in, arms in legs up and head down which in a dentist chair means head up because hey it’s just a not very consciously mediated reflex.  Then the gagging and wretching starts and after that I’m not much for an eye witness.  I’ve been told there is convulsing.  In this case, there was O2 and pushing me back into the chair so my head was down.  That helped and I was back fast.

I was then lectured about not leaning forward when I’m feeling like that.  Yes, that’s exactly what I needed then was a lecture on how to act when I’m passing out from Dr. Stabby on controlling my impulse to put my head “down” (hey you try explaining to your body that forward is actually up when you’re already down on your back).

I decided I wasn’t going back to him.  When they called me to schedule my cleaning a few months later, I told them I wasn’t coming back and I told them why – the medication thing and the passing out thing.  I wasn’t horrible and screechy about it but I didn’t hold back either.  I was not having a very good day and that kind of made it feel a little less bad.  I asked my husband to ask his dentist (who he liked) for a recommendation and I got this new guy.  I didn’t make an appointment.  I said “hey I need to do that” many, many times.  But didn’t.  And my teeth would hurt sometimes and I’d think “I should make an appointment” and I wouldn’t.  And my mouth would break out in blistery things and raw bits and I would think I should make an appointment” and I would swish with salt water and benadryl and left over lidocaine (yes, I got the good stuff baby) and maalox (my very own magic mouthwash) and I wouldn’t.

And then then other week, my teeth hurt like hell.  Ok, I thought.  I don’t need that on top of everything else.  I’m calling.  So I called and told them I was having a lot of tooth sensitivity and they got me in at 6:30 (wow, they have 6:30 appointments?!)  And I got the poet.  I found this out by reading his bio.  I do think this is rather cool, in case you can’t tell.  I have a bias for the literate, I do.  And of course, on my way out they hit me up for a cleaning.  Ok fine.  I scheduled it.  And I kept it because like I said, why not.  There is no reason at all to believe that I will not have a headache next week or the week after, or that even if it goes away for a week or two that it won’t come back and, well, you get the idea.  I don’t put things off.  Remarkably, I felt pretty decent while I was there.  I think laying back in an air conditioned chair was a help.

The person I’m not overly enchanted with is the other guy.  We’ll call him the “not poet”.  I asked Dr. Poet DMD if he knew anything about whether my metal allergy would be a problem with the metal fillings I had.  My previous dentist had put in a really deep one that was right on the gum line and took up a lot of tooth.  I’ve been having some mouth sensitivity and blistering for a while now.  I don’t know if they are related but I’d like to find out and I don’t know how to go about checking.  “What do you do for that?  I mean, can I get a piece of amalgam and just see if it gives me a rash?”  He said he’d check.  He checked with the Other Guy, who came to talk to me on my way out and who basically grilled me on why I wanted to know about this, what my mouth problems were, and lastly, in detail, why I thought I was allergic to metal?  Was the reaction right away or was it after a few hours?  I swear,the guy was acting like he was cross examining the hostile witness.  Did I stumble into some kind of crazy controversy thing here?  It was as bad as if I had said “I think I might have chronic Limes disease” or something.

So.  I like Dr. Poet DMD but consider me not enchanted with Dr. Other Guy Esq.

Hey, at least my teeth are clean.  And my vert and headache levels were only moderate today, only a couple moments of severe and the nausea is manageable – which I count as stellar.