I’m Just Frigging Sick! Autoimmune Disease, Immunosuppressants and Viruses Don’t Mix
- January 13, 2017
- Theresa Bertuzzi
I haven’t written in a while because I have been so friggin sick that I couldn’t handle sitting on the computer for more than a few moments at a time and was in no mood to find the positive in the situation anyway. LOL I don’t know what is going on but there are so many viruses flying around right now and it seems like I have caught every single one of them. I know you all know what I mean because I read your social media posts and everyone in the world seems to be sick this year. In the past three weeks I had a sinus infection so bad that my nose literally was oozing blood and I am pretty sure that it has now returned. My nose is on fire and all I can smell is ammonia or spoiled meat that has made my stomach so sick that I even gag on water do to the horrible taste this smell is causing. It is like having a piece of spoiled meat shoved in my sinuses and I can’t describe the disgusting feeling. The only thing that I can get down are popsicles and I am getting so dehydrated that my skin is like crinkled paper. The sinus infection was followed immediately by the kids bringing home the stomach flu which lasted about 24 hours for them and pretty much a full week for me. Then just when I thought I was going to start feeling better the entire family comes down with some sort of horrible plague, virus in Florida and we all dropped like flies leaving everyone with body aches, shakes, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and horrible cough. It also caused my immune system to go after my knees so I have been limping in pain for the past two weeks. Just as this virus hit, my poor mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, although she was one of the only people who did not catch the virus, so the rest of the vacation was pretty much a haze of various illnesses and worry. She was so sick that she had to be flown home by a med team but, no worries, she is feeling much better now and the care she got in the hospital in Florida was amazing. Thank god for insurance!!! I won’t write too much more about my mom though, not because I am not concerned or worried about her but because she will kill me as she hates being the focus of any fuss or attention. Here we clearly differ. LOL Now it seems my sinus infection has returned as the bloody nose is back to accompany the horrible smell and taste. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to my IVIG treatments this week as I was going in already feeling like hell.
Wednesday and Thursday were my second rounds of IVIG treatments. I explained to the nurse that the body aches and headache were really bad the last time and she said “Well yeah, you are getting a very high dose so you are absolutely going to feel sick.” She then pointed out that while the other IVIG patients were receiving four to six bottles of IVIG infusion over two days I was receiving 16 bottles so it was expected that I would feel pretty sick afterwards. Then she asked me if I wanted to keep the drip going as slow as last time and I said I would because the faster they put it in the more likely you are to feel terrible afterwards. I asked her how fast she would like to do them and she laughed and said well it would be easier for me to put it in twice as fast as we are going and get you out of here in half the time but then you will end up in emergency with meningitis by this evening. This must be some sort of nurse’s humor??? LOL She is pretty funny though so she had me laughing as I pointed out that I would prefer not to do that. So they loaded me full of Benadryl and Extra Strength Tylenol and hooked me up for the day.
Day one was pretty uneventful but there was a slightly more interesting crowd having treatments today. First there was the man sitting beside me who spent at least twenty minutes telling the nurse all about his puss filled, infected, ingrown toenail that was killing him. It was her own fault; he limped into the room with a sorrowful look on his face and she asked what happened. Big mistake! He pounced all over that and gave her a horrible description of how he used a knife to try to fix it himself and he even had pictures that he flipped through on his phone for her viewing pleasure. Being about two feet from him, I was forced to listen to all of the gory details but I was saved from the horrible pictures, or so I thought. My sense of relief was soon replaced with pure disgust when he then flipped his lazy boy chair leg up, propped the offending foot up on one of the pillows and then pulled off his sock to air out the horrible mess he had made of his toe. Blah!!!!!! You have to remember that I am still nauseous and having the constant smell of rotten meat in my sinuses and now this is only about 4 feet from my face. It was like a train wreck that I couldn’t look away from. The only sweet relief I got was when the Benadryl kicked in and I fell asleep. When I awoke though, his toe was the first thing I saw only now he was also eating an egg salad sandwich which makes me gag even when I don’t have the smelling issues but this almost pushed me over the edge. By the time I woke up my blood pressure had also dropped significantly so the nurses were forcing me to eat and threatened me with having to eat an egg salad sandwich, I guess they noticed my expression at the sight of it, if I didn’t get down the cheese and crackers and apple juice; pure torture!
Thank goodness we had some excitement to distract me from the nausea. One of the elderly women had a stomach ache from her iron infusion and raised such a fuss that they had to call an ambulance. Now this really is not funny and I was pretty worried for her but her daughter was killing me she was so funny. This same duo were there with me the last time I had my infusions. Both times the daughter dutifully wheeled in her mother for her treatments. She then sat in a chair across the room and waited for her to finish. Her mother does not feel comfortable being alone so she isn’t allowed to leave but needs to sit there for three hours waiting. She doesn’t read, look at her phone or anything but just sits in the chair staring and sighing and you can tell that she is thinking “shoot me now or get me the hell out of here.” Now when her mother started howling about her stomach and complaining of nausea the nurses began running around with concern while the daughter rolled her eyes with a look on her face like “oh lord, here we go again.” The nurses were discussing sending her by ambulance to the ER and she tried her best to talk them out of it but they called anyway. So in came the ambulance attendants who explained to her that she probably had gas, lol, and off went the mom and daughter to spend the rest of the day waiting in an emergency room for probable gas pain. I smiled at the daughter as she left and she gave me a sheepish smile back and a shrug as she dutifully trudged out. I swear I could read her mind that was saying “save me! I now get to spend the entire day waiting for my mom to fart in an overcrowded emergency room.” Her day was far worse than mine, although looking back at this I may take that back as this was really the most amusing and exciting part of my day which is just plain sad.
Day two of infusions never goes as smoothly as the first. By the time I arrive I am already sick and exhausted so I normally sleep through the entire day and that is pretty much what I was doing when I was suddenly awakened by the nurse who was asking, “do you feel alright because you are flushed.” Hmmm I felt sick and tired. I went to the washroom to check out this flush and my face looked like an inflamed tomato and the hives were starting to form. This meant even more Benadryl, enough to make me very uncomfortable and nauseous. I had a better neighbour that day though who kept his socks on and the only excitement was when an Italian family arrived, bringing in their Nonna for an Iron infusion. There were eight of them accompanying this one teeny tiny old woman. They were quite the loud group too and made sure that everyone knew that she was 97 years old and sharing all of the details of every medical issue she has. She was adorable though and spent an hour ordering them all around, which was hilarious because she must have been about 4 feet tall and couldn’t have weighed more than 60 lbs but she ordered her family around like a drill sergeant. I loved it although it was hard to fall back asleep with the entire Italian family clustered in chairs at the end of my chair, since we are in a very small room and they were a very loud group.
Last night I was up all night with a migraine from the treatments but the body aches were not as bad as last week and my sweet husband sat and rubbed my head for me until my dog came along and sat on my face so that he could get the pets all for himself but I still felt really loved. My husband, Danny has been so good to me during this whole ordeal and has kept me laughing. Last week, after a particularly sick day I fainted in the kitchen. I am not a fainter at all so it caught us both by surprise. I do get light headed from my meds but this time I was going down. As I started to collapse I could see my face heading towards the floor but could not work my arms to get them to stop myself. Danny managed to move like lightening and grab me around the waist as I slumped down. By the time it was all said and done we ended up in the most hilarious position. I was upside down in his arms, with my head between his legs and my own legs hanging down so that when he looked down my bottom was pointed directly in his face. He started laughing and apologized for not catching my more gracefully. I personally did not care at all and yelled for him to hold me there for a few minutes so the blood could rush back to my head. So the kids found us in the kitchen, Danny holding me upside down and my but stuck up in the air. My daughter of course wanted a turn too. The dog wanted to lick my face and it all ended in a hilarious mess. So much for the movie star swoon that I always imagined fainting would be. My husband is still my hero though as I would have landed smack on my face if he hadn’t saved me.
Today I am taking a day to recuperate, sleeping on and off as the migraine continues. I will have to get to the doctor next week to see about this sinus infection but I am hoping it will pass on its own this weekend because my stomach can’t handle anymore meds. All in all, not a really positive post but it’s the best I can do for now. The truth is I am so sick of being on all of this medication that I am barely keeping it together these days. I drag myself where I need to go and do all of the things that I need to get done but the meds are taking their toll on me now and I feel like I am dragging myself through each day. Hoping that I get over these viruses soon and that the kids don’t bring home any new germs for me to enjoy. I will post a much funnier and enjoyable post from the healthy beginning or our Florida vacation but I needed to vent and let out the crappiness of the past month so that I could let it out into the universe and try to find my happy again. It’s never far away though!