I’ve dubbed this second full week of January 2019 as the week to purge most — not all — but most of the stuff I experienced but didn’t process very well over the fall going into the winter of 2018/19, which may or may not have led to and/or exacerbated my really bad case of hives. Of course, we won’t ever know; ergo, my hives are officially still a mystery. Idiopathic and chronic have been used to describe them by professionals in-the-field; which just means that their cause is unknown and those sonofabitch freeloaders overstayed their welcome — basically, the bastards moved in with me without even asking — and they wouldn’t go away even after I asked nicely. Hell, I even said, “pretty please with sugar on top.” So since my hives, clearly, weren’t in any hurry to go anywhere, I had to turn into a mean-assed bitch and evict them through medical intervention. Motherfuckers!
That is why I’ve been taking shots at the allergist’s office. Knock on wood, but since I received my second set of Xolair shots, nary a hive has popped up — and that is fantastic news and a great relief! However, let’s not get too dizzy with excitement because my allergies are still lingering — I’m talking about the sneezing and more sneezing and itchy, watery eyes and liquid trapped in the ears variety aka hay fever; nor has my asthma eased up — but at least I don’t have itchy hives, anymore. So God bless! I’ll take whatever I can get.
On my last post, I wrote about computer woes— and somewhere in there, I mentioned that David had minor surgery, which leads to today’s
purge post. If I’m lucky, maybe this will be the last of these several thousand word posts. That’s what I’m shooting for, anyway. This is post #3 of the purge.
First of all, I just want to preface this by saying — 2017 was an interesting year for my husband’s face. On July 31, he had cancer removed from his right cheek, which left a wicked, vertical scar. I told him that not only does it make him an official badass, but it also makes him look like an official badass! Perception is so important.
If you’re interested, you can read about that here —
Then in the fall of 2017, David took on a new look — a rash. Yep, poison ivy covered his face. And if you want, you can read about that here —
I was starting to get used to his changing appearance coinciding with the changing seasons — even though I’m sure he wasn’t — but after that fall, David’s face stalled. Matter of fact, David almost went all of 2018 without any facial injuries, rashes, bad sunburns or cancer; and the only changes made were the occasional haircut and beard trim.
So just when I thought that new facial changes were a thing of the past — he gave me this — just in time for Christmas, too! Because my husband is a sweetheart as well as a badass —
Now I get that this picture isn’t nearly as dramatic as the pictures of 2017; but, hey, I believe we’ve determined that at this point in my life, we will take whatever we can get, and we will be happy about it!
Plus, there is a story to go along with this picture. So, are you comfy? Need to go to the bathroom before we get started? Okay, here we go —
This past year, both Ryan and David were diagnosed with sleep apnea. Ryan’s was bad enough that he got the whole C-Pap machine. Plus, he also got a mouthguard because he also grinds his teeth at night (sleep bruxism.) Let me tell you, he sleeps in some pretty expensive equipment! Even so, I could have sworn that David’s sleep apnea was worse because I sleep with him and his snoring is atrocious — information which I was more than happy to share with the doctor. David, however, thinks I shouldn’t be throwing shade because he says my snoring is also horrendous — so, I mean, fair is fair. However, as far as I know, my breathing doesn’t stop for several seconds at a time while I’m sleeping. I mean, it might, but the doctor didn’t recommend me for a sleep study. And surprisingly, their sleep studies showed that David’s sleep apnea wasn’t nearly as severe as Ry’s, so he only has to wear a mouthguard at night, which I guess allows him to breathe easier. At least his snoring has stopped. So what does any of this have to do with David’s dramatic face of 2018, you ask?
Soon after David started using the sleep apnea device, he discovered that he couldn’t breathe out of one side of his nose. Further exploration of his nostrils performed by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist revealed that he had polyps that closed up one side of his nose. So he had two options — live with it or have the polyps removed. Well, when David had polyps removed during his colonoscopy a few years back, that didn’t phase him in the least; so, of course he decided to have the polyps in his nose removed— and, at least, those were in an easier place to get to.
Are you still with me? Because this is when things start to get
Before his surgery, David was required to get a pre-op examination to clear him for this procedure. What that meant was that David had to go back to our regular doctor’s office, where they ran tests to make sure that he was medically sound enough to handle this simple, out-patient polyp removal. As David observed, he didn’t have to go through all of this when he had his colonoscopy and they removed the polyps in his poop shoot.
However, I suppose there is a difference between a proctologist and an ENT doctor. I mean, it’s true that they both deal with body orifices; but, in the end, I suppose there’s a real difference in those different body cavities. The bottomline was that the ENT doctor required David have a pre-op exam before getting sinus polyps removed. So blood was drawn, they did an EKG — all of the stuff that you’d expect to go through in a pre-op exam. All of that happened in mid October; and on October 31, the clinic electronically sent his paperwork over to the ENT’s office, giving David the official A-OK stamp of approval.
So far, so good?
David waited patiently to hear back from the ENT’s office so he could be scheduled for surgery. Then, I don’t know — maybe I asked him or maybe he was bitching about not hearing from the ENT — I don’t even remember anymore — but either way, it was right around the time I graduated from grad school, which would have been early mid November.
When they did speak, the ENT’s office asked David if he could find out why the clinic hadn’t sent over his pre-op paperwork they needed. According to them, they’d repeatedly requested this information and were, basically, ignored by the clinic. That’s why they hadn’t set up a date for surgery. So David called the clinic and spoke to whoever handles that stuff, and he was told that they had sent the paperwork on October 31, but they would re-send it again.
Then there was more waiting.
The following week, David called the ENT’s office again to find out — “When are you going to schedule me for surgery, ENT?”
That’s when the ENT’S office told him, again, that they still had not received the necessary paperwork. So David called the doctor’s office again and said, “WTF, Doctor’s Office!” And he was assured, yet again, that the paperwork had been sent twice now; but they would re-send it a third time. I mean they keep records of this stuff and when they send it; but then you have an office that is adamant that, no, they did not get it.
By this time, Thanksgiving had come and gone; and on December 4, Ryan and I had our annual physicals. (We all go to the same doctor.) During that visit, David, who was with us, mentioned to the doctor’s assistant that he wasn’t able to get his surgery scheduled because their office still had not sent over his pre-op paperwork approving him for surgery. So the assistant made David a hard copy and when we left that doctor’s office, we physically drove the paperwork over to the ENT’s office and hand delivered it.
Now just so you understand something here — I was aware of all of this stuff going on about his surgery hold up and the paperwork snafu, but I was also in and out of it with Benedryl. I figured David, being the grown-assed man that he is, could deal with this. So other than hearing about it, I wasn’t involved because during this time I was either asleep or miserable. Also, December 4th was the doctor’s visit where I got lectured (nicely) by my doctor for, apparently, not taking care of myself as well as I should, especially when dealing with stress, which he believed was causing my hives. He decided that I needed to talk to a therapist instead of taking expensive shots.
Okay. Just a second while I take a deep breath.
Now I’m ready.
So while David drove us to his ENT’s office, I was a miserable mess. I’d actually cried at the doctor’s and Ryan and David were a little freaked out about my crying; and so it was kind of an intense but quiet drive to the ENT’s because I was still weepy, and no one wanted to say anything that might set me off, again; plus, I took that moment to text my retired therapist, who was about four to five hours away, to see if I could come and see him. So, when we got to the ENT’s office, I didn’t go in with David. Ryan and I waited in the car. I mean, really, all he was there to do was to hand-deliver paperwork. But guess what? They also scheduled his surgery for the following Monday, the 10th.
Anyway, early Friday, December 7, David talked on the phone to his ENT’s office, and they told him not to eat or drink anything after midnight on Sunday, which he discussed with me later. David told me about his restrictions before surgery, and then asked me whether he should take his meds on Monday morning. I said, “You didn’t ask whoever you talked to on the phone?”
He said, “No. I didn’t think about it. Was I supposed to?”
I said, “And they didn’t ask you about the meds you were taking?”
David said, “No.”
I said, “But you’re on low-dose aspirin as a blood thinner. Did they at least tell you when you should stop taking that?”
He said, “None of that ever came up.”
I said, “Then you’d better damn well get back on the phone and find out! Because I don’t know much, but I don’t think you’re supposed to be on blood thinners when you go in for a surgery.”
He said, “Well, it’s too late to ask them. They’re already closed for the day. They leave at noon on Fridays and it’s past 12:30.”
I said, “Surely, someone’s there.”
He said, “Okay, well, why don’t you call them?”
So I did. And no one answered, but their phone message gave the number for the on-call doctor. So I dialed that number and waited for over 15 minutes before I realized that no one was going to answer the damned phone at the on-call doctor’s office either.
Then I went to Plan C, wherein I called the hospital where David was going to be having his surgery to see if I could talk to someone there — another doctor, a nurse, maybe — not the janitor, just to be clear — but a qualified medical person who could answer the question, “When is David supposed to stop taking his low-dose aspirin?”
As I told David, and everyone else I talked to from that point forward, “Life is hard enough as it is, and I will be damned if I lose my husband on the operating table because he bled out during an optional surgery because no one thought to tell him to stop taking his damned low-dose aspirin ahead of time!”
I mean, WHAT THE FUCK!
Anyway, I ended up talking to Tanya, one of the out-patient nurses at the hospital, who told me that I needed to call David’s doctor’s office. She wasn’t authorized to give me that kind of information and that needed to come from his doctor or the doctor’s office. Oh, and by the way, everyone I talked to had to talk to David first so he could verbally okay that I could talk to them as I was going through this fucking ordeal!
Anyway, I explained to Tanya that I’d tried to reach David’s doctor and the on-call doctor to no avail. I asked whether she could try. Maybe she would have better luck or access to a different phone number to reach someone directly. She said she’d try. She would call me back one way or another. Well, wait…she actually said she’d need to call David back and speak to him directly. I said, whatever, that was fine. I told her, though, that if we didn’t hear from someone, then the surgery was going to have to be postponed. She said she understood and she’d do the same thing.
By this time, I’d actually googled my question and the answer came back — One should stop taking blood thinners seven days prior to surgery.
SEVEN FUCKING DAYS!
Well, fuckity-fuck-fuck — here it was the Friday before Monday’s surgery. I mean, he’d only been scheduled since the Tuesday before. So the timing was just off from the get-go. And if they’d told him on that Tuesday to stop all blood thinners immediately; well, then we would only have been off by a day or two from the seven-day rule.
Still, I thought that maybe, just maybe, the seven day rule might not apply to a simple polyp removal. Maybe it would be okay. Maybe if he didn’t take his blood thinner on Saturday or Sunday, that would be enough time. We just needed assurance from his doctor.
So during my conversations with the hospital and Tanya — David, Ryan and I were having lunch at Chili’s and running errands. I was exhausted, but I had shopping to do and Christmas was coming up too fast and I didn’t know what was going to happen after David’s surgery — so even though I was exhausted and felt like hell, we ran our errands and took Ry for lunch. Well, while I was in one store, David and Ry waited out in the car; and that’s when Tanya called and talked to David.
When I got back in the car, David kind of laughed and relayed the conversation he’d just had, which was — Tanya said that she’d gotten in touch with his ENT doctor, who told her that it was up to the doctor who performed the pre-op tests on David (at our regular doctor’s office) to go over his meds with him and they should have told him when to stop taking any meds before surgery.
Let me tell you — there’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush from anger coursing through your body to stop any and all pain. If I had hives at that moment, they didn’t register. All I knew was that was one bullshit answer if ever I heard one. Even so, we called our regular doctor’s clinic.
It was after 3:00 p.m. by this time. We talked to Angie, who’d answered the phone. She told us that all but one of the doctors were gone for the day, and that doctor was about to leave. Then she put us on hold. When Angie came back on the phone, she said she talked to that last doctor, who had just left, and the answer to our question was, “Well, it’s usually seven days prior to surgery when you stop your blood thinners, but it was really the ENT doctor’s call because he was the one performing the surgery. So, it might be all right for David to continue to take his blood thinner, but he couldn’t say that with any certainty. We should get direction from the ENT doctor or his office.”
So that wasn’t what we wanted to hear. We had two professional doctors’ offices, and doctors, pointing fingers at each other and saying that they weren’t suppose to talk to David about any of his meds, it was the other office’s responsibility.
SONSOFMOTHERFUCKINGBITCHES! ALL OF THEM!
So that did it. I called the hospital back and talked to another out-patient nurse and explained that David would not be coming in for surgery at the asscrack of dawn on Monday because I wasn’t willing to risk his life over something that should have been dealt with at least seven days prior by medical people, who at present, appeared to be incompetent and who, clearly, weren’t willing to hold themselves accountable for what they did and didn’t do! That nurse fully agreed and said she’d let the “Powers that Be” know about the cancellation.
Well, on Saturday evening, David received a phone call from the hospital’s in-take representative, who needed to go over David’s information with him prior to his Monday morning surgery — you know — insurance details, medical history, living will, etc. We told this person — again, over the phone — that David wasn’t coming in on Monday. The guy said he wasn’t aware of that but he understood. Still, he suggested that when we got everything straightened out with the doctor and the surgery was re-scheduled, this part would already be done, so we might as well answer those questions now! And, yeah, he made a good point. So we gave him all the information he needed with the understanding that DAVID WOULDN’T BE THERE ON MONDAY!
God bless efficient in-take staff!
Sunday, the anesthesiologist called and left a message for David to call him back because he wanted to go over a few things before David’s surgery the next morning. David called back, but that doctor didn’t answer and he never returned David’s call.
Monday morning, David and I slept in and were rudely awakened before 8:00 a.m. by the ENT’s office calling us, wondering where the hell David was since he wasn’t in the hospital where he was scheduled to have his surgery.
Yeah, that happened.
David handed the phone over to me and I talked to Vicky, the ENT’s office manager. After explaining that we couldn’t get in touch with the doctor or any of his staff the Friday before, even though we’d tried for several hours to reach anyone who could assist us before Tanya at the hospital reached the doctor and reported to us what he’d told her, I made it clear that every person we talked with via the hospital after that were told that we were postponing this surgery. Vicky’s response? She wanted to know — why hadn’t we called their office and left a message on their recorder saying that David wanted to reschedule his surgery? And who was Tanya?
There were crickets on my end before she asked if I was still on the line. I said I was.
At that point, Vicky decided that she would just let the doctor know what had happened and get back in touch with us. I told her that, yeah, she might want to do that. I suggested to David that this ENT’s office and this doctor seemed to be just as arrogant as they were unprofessional. Was he sure he didn’t want to let someone else do this operation?
David said that when he’d met with this doctor, he really liked him; which made everything else going on fucking ridiculous. Anyway, he didn’t think he could get re-scheduled with another doctor before the end of the year and that was his goal, and so he was willing to just go forward with this same surgeon.
Since I was now fully awake, I called to talk to the office manager at our regular doctor’s office as well. Whoever answered the phone wanted some initial information before she connected me. Once she realized who I was, she told me, “Oh, yes, Angie left detailed notes explaining your situation from Friday. I just want you to know that our office is not responsible for what happened, and the ENT doctor should have been the one to talk with David about his meds.”
So, this person was annoying — and defensive — giving me “What For” — in a tone.
When I finally got a word in edgewise, I told her that I didn’t believe that she spoke as the authority for their office if she was the one answering phones; and secondly, I wasn’t really interested in her thoughts on the matter, especially since she didn’t know exactly what or everything I wanted to discuss with the office manager. However, since she asked what I was calling about, I’d told her. But unless she was the office manager — was she the office manager? No? Okay, then. I didn’t think she was; could I please just speak with the office manager; and by the way, I also didn’t like her argumentative tone she’d taken with me — of which she objected the moment I called her on this — and I said, “See? There you go wanting to argue with me again. This time you’re wanting to argue about your tone of voice. I bet you didn’t know that at school, I actually study people’s voice tones and behavior. So I know when someone is using an argumentative tone” — and then the little bitch backed down and apologized for being antagonistic because that wasn’t her intention.
Anyway, apparently, I couldn’t speak to the office manager right then because she, the doctors and other staff from the clinic were in a meeting; and so the office manager would have to call me back. I said that would be fine.
Eventually, I laid out the entire set of problems we’d encountered to both doctors’ offices. We got a lot of apologies. David was rescheduled for surgery for the following Monday. The ENT’s office eventually admitted that they were the one’s that should have talked to David about his meds. Their office manager (Vicky) told him that she didn’t know how any of what happened had happened, how something as important as talking to him about his medications had slipped through the cracks, but it sure had turned into a cluster — and yeah, he should have stopped taking his low-dose aspirin a full week prior to surgery. It was a good thing that we’d caught that. David told her he would have added an additional word to the end of “cluster” — and she giggled and he laughed and it all got worked out.
So the surgery seemed to go off without a hitch. There was literally one drop of blood on David’s gown when I found him in the recovery room. The doctor talked to me and said everything went well, and he expected David to be up and about once the anesthesia wore off, “give it 24 hours,” he said; and he apologized again for the
fuck up misunderstanding and took full responsibility.
He said they hunted down Tanya at the hospital, whom he had never spoken with, so he had no idea why she thought she had spoken to him or why she’d told us what she did. He also said his office manager had tried to call the on-call doctor, and found out that no one was answering their phones. She hung up after holding for over thirty minutes — so he wanted to thank us for letting them know about this issue, as well as the other issues. They were dealing with them one-by-one. So that was nice.
David, of course, was alert and seemed just fine in the recovery room; even though I could tell that he was exhausted. I’m not sure why he just thought that he could walk out of the hospital and pick up where he’d left off because that didn’t happen. For one thing, he had an eye doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next day. Before the surgery, he didn’t see why he shouldn’t just keep it. Well, after the surgery, he was in pain and there was no way he needed to go to this eye appointment. I mean, I can’t even imagine if they’d accidentally touched his nose during the eye exam, how excruciating that would be. So he didn’t object too much when I called and canceled. I told the eye doctor’s office that when he was feeling better, he’d call and reschedule.
And it was true that 24 hours later, David was back on his feet — but you could tell that he wasn’t feeling his best. I won’t go into details about what he had to do for aftercare. But let me tell you, almost immediately, he started having drainage down the back of his throat that settled into his chest. He quickly developed a deep but unproductive cough. We didn’t know whether he was sick from the surgery or whether he’d caught a bug or whether he was developing an upper respiratory infection; but he certainly wasn’t feeling well.
David decided to wait until he went in for his follow up doctor’s appointment the following week, the day after Christmas. The day he went, I wasn’t well, and so I didn’t go with him. I probably should have. He came home and told me that they wanted him to be more aggressive about keeping the inside of his nose rinsed, but he was doing well and the drainage was expected. It was just going to take time to heal. The topic of his cough didn’t come up during his visit.
On Thursday, the day after his ENT visit, we called our regular doctor because David had developed such a bad wheeze that he sounded like he had a death rattle. They, apparently, didn’t have an opening until the following Monday — they were backed up because of the holidays, apparently. So, he and Ryan headed off to PrimaCare, where David was prescribed something for his cough as well as an antibiotic.
By the next week, his head was splitting it hurt so bad. And he was dizzy. His cough was better, but he’d developed a headache that just wouldn’t go away; and by the following Thursday, he’d start retching whenever he stood up. He’d taken four napraxon at 7:00 that morning, and before noon, he wanted to take more. He said he could hear liquid swishing around inside his head. I told him that didn’t sound normal to me, and that he needed to call his ENT doctor. He didn’t want to, his excuse being that he was already on meds from PrimaCare, so there wasn’t anything more they could do, so why bother calling?
Yeah. Right. I told David that the last thing he needed was to get some kind of infection that was so close to his brain. He didn’t want to suffer brain damage, did he? Of course he didn’t. So I called and explained the situation to the ENT’s office. After a bit of a back and forth discussion regarding his symptoms, it became clear that David, indeed, had an infection from the surgery and needed to be on antibiotics. They couldn’t see him that week — they were booked solid, but they would call in an antibiotic and that should do the trick. I told them he was already on an antibiotic that was prescribed by PrimaCare. Well, they didn’t know that he’d been to PrimaCare. So then there was some more back and forth before they decided that he should stop using whatever antibiotic PrimaCare had prescribed and start taking the Augmentin they prescribed.
When the ENT saw him the second time, which I believe was the following week, his headaches had mostly subsided, but his nose kept dripping and it was driving him a little nuts. The funny thing — not really all that funny in hindsight — but I’d kidded him that it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he was dripping brain fluid out his nose. Yeah, well, that’s exactly what his doctor also told him; however, his doctor felt that this should stop on its own. Otherwise, he declared that David was doing fine.
David told me that if he’d known then what he knows now, he wouldn’t have gone through with this operation. It wasn’t as minor as he’d initially thought. However, his nose did stop dripping; but as of yesterday, it started up again. As he said, “It comes and goes as do the headaches.” He’s more or less resumed his normal life — except, he just doesn’t seem himself — he just seems like he’s much more exhausted, even a month later. He says he’s not depressed, just trying to recuperate. So, yeah.
I’d like to say that I’m not depressed either, but this whole fucking fall has taken its toll on both David and me. While I’m not suicidal by any stretch of the imagination, there is no if, ands or buts that I’m depressed. I should know. I didn’t go to school for nothing. Anyway, I, too, am trying to recuperate.
I have a lot of catching up to do. I have friendships to smooth over. I was blunt with people throughout most of November and December. I probably also need to call my therapist sometime soon and I need to re-begin studying for the NCE, which I put on hold because of Benedryl brain. I still haven’t gotten my computer to the repair shop. I seem to keep making excuses for not doing this. Maybe writing all of this feels more important right now. And while it is needing repair, no question, I can at least blog on it. Maybe I’m just afraid that it won’t come back to me in better shape. Once bitten, twice shy, you know?
I think that I’m just tired. At the moment, I don’t feel like having to fuck with anything else or anyone else. However, that is not my life. I have to deal. I have to deal with doctors and insurance tomorrow if I want to continue getting my Xolair shots — I’m out of time — it has to be dealt with. Then there’s the computer, of course. Also, I’m still keeping an eye on David. I did finally take him to his eye doctor’s appointment on Monday. Ryan has his stuff that we have to continue dealing with. Plus, there’s plenty of other things and people I need to catch up on and with. And I still need to get my sleep schedule back to being awake during the day and actually going to bed at a decent hour at night. That’s not tonight, though.
As I look back, I realize that I’ve blamed this past fall, maybe unfairly; because when I look at how summer went and also the spring — well, I’m just not going to go there because y’all would freak out. As it was, I typed it all up on this post and was reading it to David and he said, “Enough. No one wants to hear all that shit!” And he’s right, so I took it out. Let’s just say that there’s a lot of additional fodder for potential writing projects — the point being, there’s been stress. Lots of it. There still is.
However, the funny thing is that when the time comes, I won’t mind earning a living working with others, which usually involves dealing with some type of bullshit, whether it’s self-imposed or external. That’s the thing. I truly enjoyed my practicum experience and working with clients. I enjoy working towards solutions and acceptance and resolution. It brings me joy. Ironic, huh?
Anyway, for whatever it’s worth, I am a warrior and my sidekick is the wind — it helps to blow a lot of shit out of my head — and then I start sneezing, again — so there’s that — and so it goes.
Huh, and to think that when I was a little girl I was known as “shy.”
Lastly, I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the friends I’ve made in the world-wide blogging community as well as my local writing community. You all know who you are. I don’t want anyone to feel like I left them out or that they were not first on my list here, so I’m not going to actually name you, but anyone who’s interested can look back over the comments on my posts and see how honored I am to have met and gotten to know such amazing and creative people! I admire each of you and adore you all!
PS — Y’all know that music is really the soundtrack of my life, right? This post brings up this song in my head. I hope you like it —