Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Laughter is the best Medicine

I am not fine. I am flaring really badly and I feel awful. For the last few days I’ve been sleeping pretty much ‘round the clock, sometimes on the floor because it felt more comfortable than my bed. I’m back to the stage where I’m having falls ‘cause the joints in my legs won’t support me so in general, I am not fine!

Rather than going on about how not fine I am, I thought I’d follow my friend Mary’s suggestion and do a post of random stuff that has very little to do with autoimmune disorders and loosely connect it under the guise of ‘laughter is the best medicine.’

Mainly this is just going to be some lists of things that I think are funny. You may or may not find them funny also.

Weirdest Compliments I’ve Received

“You have eyes the colour of blue M&M’s”
From: A girl at school.
My reaction: I think I laughed at the time. Now every time I look at M&M’s I think of eyeballs.

“I like your necklace and I like your bust.”
From: A friend of a friend who I was having dinner with.
My reaction: At first I thought I’d misheard her, then I thought maybe it was a lost in translation situation as English was her second language, but no, that is what she meant. She went on to tell me why she liked my bust and that she wished she had a bust like mine. At that point I wished I had worn a less revealing top. I also think it’s funny that she tacked “I like your necklace” on the front of that.

“You look like the Virgin Mary”
From: Random drunk guy.
My reaction: To be fair, I was handing out promotional stuff for a Fringe play that had a picture of the Virgin Mary on it and he was really drunk, so I suppose it wasn’t that weird…

“I like your dancer’s calf muscles.”
From: Guy in my class at drama school
My reaction: What strikes me as weirdest about this, is I can’t remember why he was holding my calf muscle in the first place. I suspect it was some weird drama game that I’ve blocked out. Anyway, he decided I had the calf muscles of a dancer. It’s a pity that’s about all I’ve got of a dancer in me.

Misheard Song Lyrics

Song: Matchbox 20, ‘Disease’
Real lyric: ‘All my life, oh, was magic’
What I hear: ‘All my life the phone was magic’
Thoughts: I made up this whole story in my head about how he’d always loved talking on the phone to this girl until they broke up and had lots of arguments over it. I thought it was some kind of phone phobia reference. Clearly I have an active imagination.

Song: Eskimo Joe, ‘Black fingernails, red wine.’
Real lyric: ‘All of us stand and point our fingers’
What I hear: ‘I don’t understand the point of fingers.’
Thoughts: It amuses me greatly that I thought this made sense. Personally I think my version is more interesting.

Song: Bush, ‘Little things’
Real lyric: ‘It’s the little things that kill, tearing at my brain again.’
What I hear: ‘It’s the little pink pill, tearing at my brain again.’
Thoughts: I really thought this song was about antidepressants. It kind of disappoints me that it’s not.

Song: Alanis Morisette, ‘Princes Familiar’
Real lyric: ‘Please be philosophical’
What I hear: ‘Please be ever so fickle’
Song: Alanis Morisette, ‘8 easy steps.’
Real lyric: ‘I’ll show you how leadership looks, when taught by the best.’
What I hear: ‘I’ll show you how widdershins looks when taught by the best.’
Thoughts: I put these both down to the fact that Alanis takes forever to get a syllable out. It did intrigue me as to how you could teach widdershins as I’m pretty sure it means anticlockwise.

Weirdest thing I've found I’d written in my beside the bed notebook

"He smiled, exposing wisdom and teeth."
I’m pretty sure I thought that was brilliant at 3 in the morning. Not so much when I read it again when I woke up.

OK, so that one is not really a list but I thought this post was getting a bit long.

Check out Mary’s blog for her lists:

Yay! Shameless friend promotion!

Anyway, hopefully I'll be inspired to write something more autoimmune related soon.

Little Miss Autoimmune

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interpreting the "I'm fine's"

I will always say I’m fine when asked. I can be bawling my eyes out, half unconscious in hospital or unable to breathe, but if you ask me how I am I will answer with the traditional “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
My supervisor at work has taken to having conversations with me that go something like this. Her – How are you? Me- I’m fine, thanks. Her – Yes, but how are you really?
I find I am not alone in this. Several guys have asked me why girls do that (though I’m pretty sure guys do it too.) So much so, that I included this conversation in my novel:

“You OK?” He sounds uncomfortable. His voice comes out with a laugh in it.
I stare in the other direction. “I’m fine.”
He scoffs. “Why do girls do that?” He pauses. I’m pretty sure he wants me to ask ‘what’ but I don’t bite. When I don’t say anything he sits down next to me.
“I’m fine, I’m fine, really I’m fine.” He mimics a high-pitched voice then laughs at his own joke.

It always seemed strange to me that people couldn’t figure out why I’m saying ‘I’m fine’ when I’m not. Then I thought about the myriad of reasons behind my ‘I’m fine’ and realised their problem.
I can’t answer the question why do girls do that, but I can explain some of the things I’m thinking when I do it.

1) I actually am fine. It confuses me greatly that you keep asking. Do you think I’m lying?
2) I’m mostly fine, but I’m hungry/tired/nervous/cold/bored/headachy. This may look like I’m not fine but it’s not really an issue
3) I mistook your genuine inquiry as to how I am for the customary greeting so I’m replying with the customary “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
4) I’m really not fine but I don’t want to talk about it. This is not your fault. You don’t need to do anything
5) I’m not fine, I do want to talk about it, but I don’t think you really want to know/don’t think you can deal with what’s going on for me so I’m just going to say I’m fine
6) I’m in a lot of pain. Talking about the fact that I’m in a lot of pain will make the pain worse so I’m just going to say I’m fine.
7) See number 5 – replace “in a lot of pain” with “nauseated” and replace “the pain worse” with “me throw up… possibly on you.”
8) I’m NOT fine. I have PMS. I am angry at everything and everyone right now, especially you because you keep asking me if I’m fine. I do not believe at this moment in time that my anger if irrational and if you keep asking me I may hit you (this one is recognisable by the murderous rage in my eyes.) Again, this is not your fault but I may not realise this right now. Fell free to avoid me until I’m less hormonal.
9) I’m angry. Not because I have PMS but because you have done something. Because I have issues with conflict I don’t want to say anything so I’m saying I’m fine.
10) I’m tired, sick and in a lot of pain but I feel I’ve told you that too many times over the last day/week/year/lifetime. I’ve decided to just say I’m fine so I don’t feel like I’m burdening you. Or, I think that I will feel better if I pretend I’m fine even though I’m not (go positive thinking!)
11) I’m very sleep deprived/low on blood sugar. I’m starting to think maybe you are a sea monster in disguise who will eat me if I don’t say I’m fine (OK, that one has never happened, but I do get a bit out of it when I haven’t slept/eaten so I may very well think I’m fine even though I’m clearly not.)
12) The reason I’m not fine is so incredibly stupid/embarrassing I can’t possibly tell you without you loosing all respect for me e.g. I’m crying because that pigeon over there looks sad.
13) I am fine, I’m just walking very slowly/can’t eat anything ‘cause I allergic to everything here/have hay fever or this is the first time you’ve seen me walking with a stick. These things may look to you like I’m not fine, but this is a daily thing for me. Thanks for your concern but you really don’t need to worry.

There are many more reasons but this post has gone on a bit long. Hopefully this will help with some of the “I’m fine” confusion, but probably not. They all look pretty much the same and most of the time I may not know myself which one I am.

Little Miss Autoimmune

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dramas (and a whole load of thank yous)

It's ranting time again, this time about myself not about anyone else. I've had a dramatic couple of weeks with my health. At one point I was convinced I was dying of fibromyalgia (which was interesting, since fibromyalgia isn't a fatal condition) at another I was in hospital having an allergic reaction, and to top it off I had an incredibly classy moment and threw up in the kitchen sink.

All in all, not the best couple of weeks.

As you may have guessed, I was rather sleep deprived when I thought I was dying. I had incredibly bad nausea from my medication so couldn't eat, sleep or at times form a coherant sentence (thanks to all the Warmliners and Writing Group for putting up with me) and the pain was really bad so I was loosing the plot.
I got to the point where I thought taking an entire pack of panadol would be a good idea. I wasn't suicidal, I'd just got to the point where I couldn't make sense of what I was doing. When two panadol didn't make the pain go away I thought maybe the whole pack would (thanks to Kim for talking me out of that one.)

I saw my GP a couple of days later and she and my rheumy nurse were really good. They got me switched to the injection MTX instead of the tablet, which has none of the nausea side effects. Drawing up and injecting myself wasn't anywhere near as hard as I thought it was going to be apart from my hands shaking on the first one. Unfortunately....

I woke up a couple of days after the first injection covered in hives and with my lips swollen to about four times their normal size. I wasn't terribly worried by this at first (in hindsight, I probably should have been) until Healthline told me to go to the hospital immediately and told me that I may stop breathing, so someone else needed to drive me to the hospital (thanks to Dad for the early morning run to A&E.) Fortunately, I didn't stop breathing, and the doctors told me it was unlikely to be the injection 'causing the reaction as it seemed to be a contact allergy. This was a relief for me as I'd noticed my arthritis had improved with the switch. I'd actually even run up the stairs in my house without holding on to the handrail which a few weeks ago would have been impossible (I did, of course, trip and face plant into the stairs, but let's not focus on that part...)

So, for the next week I woke up every morning with hives and looking like I'd been punched repeatedly in the face. I went through a trial and error process, trying to find out what I was allergic to. It seemed to have something to do with sleeping as it only happened when I woke in the morning. Finally, I realised what it must be. My Dad has many allergies and food intollerances. I'd inherited all of them except for his allergy to rubber... until now. Everynight I had a hot water bottle and everynight I was reacting to it. Somehow, the injection must have triggered this allergy. I'm kind of annoyed I now can't have a hot water bottle and that all my clothes with elastic in them are going to have to go, but it's nice to have an answer.

Finally, the throwing up in the sink... Not really sure what 'caused this. It's pretty unusually for me as I don't normally throw up (I'm not exaggerating, I didn't throw up for 14 years before this, even when I had food poisoning in that time.) I think it was just a combination of generally not being very well and some rather gross gluten free bread. Oh, yes, and for the record, it was the waste disposal part of the sink and I did disinfect it afterwards.

I'm hoping this is the end of the health dramas and that the next few weeks will be a lot calmer. Thanks to everyone who supported me through this.

:-) Little Miss Autoimmune