This past month has been filled with highs and lows. My primary doctor has decided to “fix” me. There’s a lot of stuff that hasn’t been exactly right for a long time. Blood sugar numbers that have continuously crept higher, blood pressure readings that are higher than ideal, cholesterol figures that are not what they should be (You mean there’s something called good cholesterol and I don’t have enough of it?), sodium levels that are too low and well, you get the picture. My doctor is being very thorough and sent me to several specialists. (And I thought it was all part of getting older. With each birthday, the numbers increase? Apparently not.)
First there was the sleep study. An appointment to chat with the doctor and then return for the actual study. They attached a gazillion wires to me, and then told me to get comfortable and go to sleep. Really? I’m in a strange room where nothing is the same. There’s no dog snuggled to me, just me in a big bed, all alone with wires leading to the oddest of places and things that went beep if I tugged on a wire. And just when I’d drift off to sleep, they’d wake me and tell me to roll over or something. Eight hours later, I was able to leave feeling as though I needed a good night’s rest. Then I went back to see the doctor, again, who tells me I have sleep apnea. Of course I do. I knew that. Return again to have a new sleep study with a CPAP machine blowing air into me. Several times I woke up feeling as though I was being suffocated in air and trying to remove the mask from my face so that I could breathe out. Return to the doctor a week later to be told I need a BiPAP machine. I’m to pick that up this month. Apparently the continuous air is too much for me and this BiPAP machine has a high and low pressure that will allow me to exhale. How nice.
I’m being told that proper sleep will do wonders for me. My blood pressure is apt to fall along with my blood sugar levels. How all that is tied together is beyond me, but I like the idea. No one needs those numbers elevated. (Of course this is all deflating my checkbook, which already has problems with increasingly low numbers!)
I was also sent to the endocrinologist. Seems low sodium levels are not good, nor is the fact that my thyroid has quit working. Hmm. Aside from doing a ton of modern bloodletting (fasting blood work which is sent to a lab), I’m not too certain what is going on there. But apparently that doctor has plans for me.
But what my primary doctor didn’t touch was my biggest problem, trigeminal neuralgia. That’s a fancy name for the malfunction of the nerves to my face which creates horrendous pain. I had surgery for it nine years ago and it relieved 90% of the pain. But there has been a lingering amount of pain which is controlled with some drugs, one of which tends to drop my sodium levels. After urging from my daughters, I called that doctor and decided to go through more surgery to completely kill the nerve as it leaves the brain stem. That was done March 31.
Sounds gross, right? It really wasn’t. Any surgery has its dangers as did this one, but this doctor is one of about three in the nation who specializes in trigeminal neuralgia and the hospital has a whole wing just for him. It was outpatient surgery done by “robots”. (My girls went with me.)
I’m a little out of balance, and I won’t drive until I feel better. But that neurosurgeon intends on taking me off the medication that I’ve taken probably since I was in my thirties and that should “cure” my low sodium levels. Who knows what else it will do, or what other changes I will notice. And I’m willing to bet that I’ll be back in the lab for more bloodletting.
So smack in the middle of all this medical hoopla, my dear friend called me one evening and asked if I wanted to go to the Outer
Banks of North Carolina with her. Her mom owned a timeshare there and wanted to utilize it. Except…well…the mother asked her daughter if she’d like to bring some friends.
Just how fast can I do laundry and pack? I grew up traveling. I’m fast. We left the following morning. We were only there a few days, but it was pure heaven. The odd thing was that I’ve never done such an unplanned crazy thing in my adult life. This was the ultimate pajama party! All of us write and I spent my time writing. No one whined about what I was doing or called me a party-pooper for not going to the indoor pool, they just left me to write because they all understand the need to write and how I felt about having the opportunity give my muse such complete freedom. Besides my glowing white legs, that haven’t seen the light of day in years, might have blinded the other swimmers.
One of the gals loves to cook and she did most all the cooking only asking me occasionally to make one of my sauces as though I was some sous chef for a restaurant. The other gal handled the dishes, and I washed the pots and pans. The food was delicious. No one counted calories, but we also didn’t tempt ourselves with cookies or other unneeded foods. I take that back – one of the gals put a half gallon of ice cream in the freezer and it was empty when we left. I have no clue who ate it, but I had probably a tablespoon’s worth that first evening. Actually I do know who ate it, but I’m not telling! What happened to all things in moderation? Never mind. How can anyone eat that much ice cream?
Seriously, when the thyroid is not functioning, the most dangerous thing I can do is shovel food into my mouth. So I’m very careful or I’d turn into a butterball. I don’t deny myself all the yummy things, but I do force myself to be content with a taste. I try to keep my carbs low and my protein high. Yet I still gain weight. My endocrinologist told me when he gets me straightened out, I’ll be able to eat normally and I’ll lose some weight. Yippee!
Anyway with the sounds of the surf pounding the sand and that
beautiful view from the balcony of the timeshare, I started my next book, Loving Zadie, and spent a little time thinking about what I will write for the Authors of Main Street’s next Christmas boxed set. At the rate I’m going that might be all I’ll manage to write this year. But sitting there on the balcony with my laptop was absolute heaven!
I’ll be teaching some classes starting the end of this month for the Portsmouth City library, and I’ll have a book signing at the Suffolk City library on April 23. Then in September, as usual, I’ll be busy with the local Isle of Wight County Fair, and another set of classes on writing for the Portsmouth City library. (These classes are FREE! The library does not charge.) (I promise all these places are in Virginia.) And there are several more book signings planned for this year.
Wish me luck, because I’ve never before had a book signing. It’s exciting and almost terrify! We’ve all heard of those signings where no one comes. Where you sit and finally eat all those cute chocolates that you put in a dish to entice people to visit. Then you begin to make origami sailboats with the books marks that were printed for the event. And eventually you give up and begin to plot your next book, a murder mystery titled Assault with an Author’s Pen, Book One of Ignored Authors.
So March is behind me. It was filled with highs and lows, and the highest was that wonderful writer’s retreat with two poets and another author. (Which for the record, my friend’s mom said she had more fun with us than she’s had in years of going down there.) April has arrived. I’m looking forward to some some exciting events and the beginning of a new healthier me. Maybe I’ll even jump on my treadmill and work my way up to walking a few miles each day.
And as for that new novel, I’m having fun writing it. I’ll tell you all about it next month. But in the meantime, the hero and heroine are having a battle of wits and I’m trying to keep up with them!
My backyard is filled with yellow dandelions. I don’t care if they are a weed, they make me smile. No matter what happens, the sliver linings are there we only need to look for them. They can be as simple as a pretty yellow flower to brighten the day.