Wednesday 5 February 2014

It's Just a Flesh Wound aka I'm a Dumbarse.

A few years back I wrote a post about the internal dilemma I face each time a health issue crops up. Well dilemma is probably the wrong word. In reality the dilemma is token at best. The outcome is pretty well decided from the first stirrings of “hmmm, well that's not normal.” I think it's more to sooth myself into saying,“Well you weighed that one up well, Michelle. You looked at the data provided, did a review of your medical history and the examined all the pros and cons. Well done. You Rock.” Whereas the reality is far more, “Shit that's not right. Should I go in? Nah. She'll be right. It's just a flesh wound.”

Normal is not a word I completely understand these days. It might as well be written in Sanskrit for all I can decipher. My view of health and what constitutes a worry is seriously skewed.

Recently I was in having my IV Saline and notice a MET poster on the wall of the room.

Three of the criteria. Systolic under 90 and HR under 50 or over 130 made me giggle. Both of these indicators are so common in a world of autonomic dysfunction. Systolic of 90 is a walk in the park. A complete doddle in fact. Pre-pacemaker low 40s or high 30s for a hr were a daily occurrence. For my POTS friends 130+ occurs on days ending in 'y'. New or unrelenting chest pain again something most with Dysautonomia contend with on a daily basis. We are a walking (okay stumbling, swaying, staggering) MET call.

Normal is relative.

The combination of a skewed normal and a medical system that often treats you like you are lying when your obs don't make sense (I'm looking at you nurse who took my temperature with 3 different types of thermometer before she would believe my reading of 35.2 C.) means I am not a frequenter of the medical system until I am in “dumbarse” territory, as Mr Grumpy would describe it. And even then it's not guaranteed.

Two recent incidents come to mind.

1) We have only recently moved to a new town. About 3am of the first night in the motel I had excruciating kidney pain. Not a first be any means, but still not pleasant. I tossed up that I was taking more desmopressin than usual to cope with the move and our current heatwave, and that my last few kidney tests had come back relatively okay. I knew I was dehydrated, the skin that still stands up on my hands when I pinch it tells me this. But the idea of negotiating a new, country, ER in the middle of the night was just too much to contend with when I was feeling so incredibly unwell (you have to admire the strength of my convoluted reasoning right there). Plus the whole, “I refuse to start the first day in our new town with an ER trip”. That just feels like I'm jinxing myself. So I road it out. When I mentioned it to Mr Grumpy the next day I got the whole “dumbarse” routine. And he's probably right (don't tell him I said that) I should have gone in. I should probably go in now and get fluids, but here I am sitting tapping away on my dying lap top, laying on bed, not going in.

2) Incident 2 is an ongoing one that started the weekend before Christmas. As regular readers will know I received two new diagnoses (Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy and Gastroparesis) and my beloved Great Dane, Thor, passed away all in the fortnight before Christmas. Merry Fricken Christmas, folks! When that weekend I discovered I could nolonger move the toes on my right foot it was a bit of a final straw. I couldn't take one more shitty thing at that point. I had a day of self-pity and sobbing into my pillow. Then I wiped the snot from my face and hit play on the cassette tape known as “Michelle's Hardcore Denial Hits of the Summer.” ER be damned. That's where really sick people go.

I told myself that it'd come back. It was just the lack of blood flow. Or a pinched nerve. You know, the usual suspects. I did the basic stroke routine (perks of having worked in stroke rehab). Then I pretended like it wasn't an issue. By the time two-weeks had passed and I still had no movement I finally thought it was time to see my GP. Needless to say I received another “you're a dumbarse” lecture and she rang my neuro on the spot. Of course their were no emergency appointments, and given the fact I was neither in pain or dying, I decided not to push it and just take the earliest available.

As I lie here today I have minimal movement back. But minimal is some, in my deranged mind. I'm choosing to ignore the accompanying reduced movement in my ankle. What reduced movement? What toes? What ankle? (See, I'm good at this). I have an appointment booked for two weeks to review things. But the idea of having to drive the 2 ½ hrs back to the city so soon after the move is not inviting and I am thinking of cancelling as I have another appointment with her a month later. When I factor in the lack of pain and dying, I can easily reason that it's not that important.

And so I sit here in “dumbarse” territory again.

The place where past negative medical experiences and an impressive ability to normalise the completely abnormal meet.

But you know, it's all okay. It's not like I'm really sick. It's nothing but a flesh wound.

Michelle :)

Update: Since I wrote this post I have had a moment of sanity and have decided to go to my neuro appointment next week. 

Denial is my weapon of choice.


  1. I feel ya. I've been having a LOVELY issue where- let's call it a preceding event that involves uterine contractions that happens spontaneously in my sleep- causes a charlie horse type cramp that has now become so severe I lose control of my bowels (thankfully thus far have made it to the toilet each time) and then lay on my bathroom floor shaking uncontrollably! With the MG I am worried it might send me into a myasthenic crisis, but so far have just done the "oh crap this again" made it to the toilet and "breathed" through the 30-40minute episodes. Everyone that I've told looks horrified & I am kinda like- yea, it just happens and I get through it. It started much milder and I ignored it, it literally got to the "lost control of my bowels" stage before I went to the doc. Who is totally perplexed, as per usual :)

    Best wishes for a productive as possible neuro visit where they give you a tiara and vote you queen of all things. xoxo

  2. Ooo a tiara would be lovely ;)

    Argh, happy I'm not the only one, but big suckage that you are dealing with that. Loosing control of bowels has been a trigger for a doc visit for me too, it's just one of those bridge too far moments. The horror in other people's faces is always an interesting one. Anything can become normal after a while. The look on my GPs face said it all when I finally went in but even now I feel a bit meh about it and don't expect much from the appointment. Does make you wonder how many of us are living with conditions that would be shocking to others?

    Fingers crossed and butt cheeks pursed that they can find a solution for you and soon xx

  3. Oh sweetness, sounds like you have joined the Royal Family of Denial. We are all Queens and get a fab tiara to look at while we ignore all symptoms until they scream at us.

    Ooooh so pretty!

    Love your face off.

    1. Woo Hoo! Queens all round. Must now master my royal wave.

      Big hugs to you Kelley hope your pee gathering was helpful xx

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  5. I'm impressed with your level of denial. I have not reached that level. I bow at your feet, master. While I'm bowing I might steal the image of that poster and share it. How hilarious that it basically defines our normal numbers. I hope you will find answers and perhaps you could keep the new appointment and let us know how it goes.

    1. Use the poster. It's worth it for the laugh value alone. I don't recommend my level of denial, though my perfectionist nature likes to go all out with everything I do ;) I'll let you know how the appointment goes. I could be shocked and there may be solution for once, you never know :)

  6. I must confess that I share in your dumbarsedness and am reminded of it often by my hubby and recently my doctor as well. I completely understand how you feel. Might as well save on the mortgage and just pitch a tent in the medical center parking lot if I want to get all of these "flesh wounds" checked out as they roll around seemingly daily. :)

    1. Maybe we can start a Dumbarses Anonymous group. Seems to be a few of us around. :)

    2. Woo Hoo! We'd be a fabulous group :)

    3. I like the acronym for the group ;-)

  7. Sometimes it's simply just too much to deal with yet one more thing... My past few months have found myself experiencing some radiating jaw pain with chest heaviness/pressure. Fully aware this is a seek treatment immediately situation, however I shrug and say "just a flesh wound.. I can make it one more day". Hang in there Ruby Slippers.

    1. It is so many factors isn't it? And the one more thing issue is huge. I know when my brady got bad and I had the jaw and chest issues, at first I was scared and then it became 'normal' makes it so hard to know when to go in. Hang in to you too Judy xx


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