Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Adventures in healthcare

Sometimes I feel like a walking disaster, especially medically. For my entire life I've had various conditions that have been at best, a pain in the ass. At worst, they've ranged from just plain annoying to potentially life-threatening. Though I have always described myself as pretty healthy, I have to now wonder if I can continue to say that. I'm thinking no.

I am a walking pharmacy.

My current prescriptions are as follows:

Norvasc 10 mg – QD
Diovan 80 mg – QD
Aspirin 81 mg – QD
Triamterene/HCTZ 37.5/25 – QD
Spironolactone 100 mg – QD
Multivitamin with Niacin – QD
Astelin – 2 sprays each nostril BID
Flonase – 2 sprays each nostril QPM
Effexor – 225 mg QD
Klonopin -- .5 mg (1/2 to 2 tablets QHS, .5 QAM and .5 PRN)
Trazodone – 50mg (½ to 2 tablets QHS)

And, temporarily:
Skelaxin 800mg TID
Lodine ER 400mg QD

So, if you made it through the whole list, you may ask, what all is wrong with you??? Well, here's the list: chronic sinusitis (lifelong -- had sinus surgery a few years ago that helped, but am having problems again), hypertension, under good control, even without meds (developed after my husband died -- prior to that, I tended toward low BP, and at worst, normal), mitral valve prolapse, sliding hiatal hernia (mostly controlled), depression (under good control now), anxiety/panic disorder (under control), left ventricular hypertrophy (as the result of hypertension), carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands (had surgery scheduled in January but had to postpone due to sinusitis and psych issues at the time, now resolved), and now, some musculoskeletal pain and headaches bothering me since January, about the time I had a "pseudo flu" that rolled over into acute sinusitis, that don't seem to have a particular cause.

I discussed these issues with both my psychatrist and a nurse practitioner in my family doctor's office. Both, independently, stated that it's possible that I may have Fibromyalgia. I am not happy to hear this, although the nurse practitioner did state that it might be nice to have a name for all of these seemingly unrelated symptoms. The symptoms include:

  • Depression (more under control with Effexor)
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet (paresthesia)
  • Difficulty concentrating (not constant, but bothersome enough)
  • Mood changes (more under control with Effexor)
  • Chest pain
  • Irritable bladder (have to urinate frequently)
  • Dry eyes, skin and mouth (definitely skin & mouth, maybe drugs-related)
  • Painful menstrual periods (not sure if it's the "normal" pain)
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety (under control with Klonopin)
  • Widespread pain (neck, shoulders, arms, hips, thighs, calves)
  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances (not as bad with Trazodone)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (occasionally, and life-long)
  • Headaches and facial pain (right temple, site of shingles previously, bridge of nose)
  • Heightened sensitivity (sound for me)
I have 13 of these symptoms from time to time, some almost always, some just occasionally. So, I'm hoping that since I don't have a lot all the time, that means I don't have this umbrella syndrome.

Today I go for an X-ray
to determine if there's any reason I can't have physical therapy.

I truly hope I can have the physical therapy. I think I would benefit from that in a number of ways, including pain management. I truly don't want to hurt. I truly want to be healthier. I truly want to be able to use my body the way it was designed to be used.

I am also obese, in case I haven't made that clear in the past. But, as a result of living with a man who actually cares about being healthy (he's been doing Jazzercise for 18 years now) and knows how to eat correctly, I've lost weight and become healthier in the process, I believe. My cholesterol is under 200, my blood sugar is normal, my heart rate is normal, bp stays normal, and even the stress test I had a couple of years ago, before marrying healthy hubby was normal. I even walk/do physical things more than I used to.

Overall, I'm pretty fortunate. There are no major diseases on either side of my family, other than the fact that my father died of lung cancer at age 46. His father died in his 70s of complications from atherosclerosis, but his mother died at age 89 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm that she'd had for many years. My mother's father died at 89 from complications of a stroke he'd had more than 10 years before (that's all the info I have -- I'm sure there was more to it). Her mother, age 88, is still alive and doing well. ALL of them consumed tobacco products, either by smoking hand-rolled cigarettes or dipping snuff. My Dad smoked, and so did my Mom for a long time. I smoked until a little over 9 years ago, when I quit cold-turkey.

So, here I go to get my x-ray. It will be interesting to see A) what kind of xray(s) I'll have, and B) what they'll say, and finally C) where we'll go from there. Naturally, I'll put it here in the blog.



neuroticillinifan said...

Fibromyalgia, hmmmmm. . .
Looking at the symptoms is making me think maybe I have that (although I can be something of a hypochondriac so maybe not).

Let' see:
Depression - yep, right here

Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet - hands often, feet sometimes

Difficulty concentrating - huh? yep, that fits

Mood changes - oh yes, just ask Hubs

Chest pain - occasionally

Irritable bladder - finally one I don't have

Dry eyes, skin and mouth - not much

Painful menstrual periods - absolutely

Dizziness - yep

Anxiety - another yep

Widespread pain - pain in the shoulders & arms, not sure I would call it widespread

Fatigue and sleep disturbances - yep again

Irritable bowel syndrome - off and on, less when I'm eating right

Headaches and facial pain - I've had migraines most of my life

Heightened sensitivity - light bothers me

Seems like I have most of these. Now if I could just make myself see the doctor.

Julie said...

Oh good, comments are working.
I suffered with Irritable Bowel for years and recently cut out caffine and milk...the improvement has been remarkable.
I'm not sure how Starbuck's is staying in business...I'm sure they are seen a 1st quarter loss because I've cut back so much.
Caffine free Carmel Macchioto's are good too - but made with Soy milk..not so much!
Hope you start to feel well soon!
Julie in Memphis :)