Breakfast of OLD Champions

2014-04-30  Breakfast of OLD Champions (1)

 

Every morning the routine of having a set of pills that supposes to help. Breakfast of OLD champions! Reminders of age plus the accumulation of physical deterioration, led by the latest syndrome acquired. You got it…you keep it! That’s what modern medicine said. No cure but just symptoms management for eternity, which in reality means pills…lots of them!

When I was a child I used to play with the many accumulated empty bottles of medicine that was said kept me alive. Now I am accumulating more empty bottles to continue the collection or the life trend, who knows. I guess we all are collectors one way or another!

Yesterday I bought a used press bench with weights and all. The weights have surface rust that I have to polish, to then paint them to a new look, like if I just bought them new. I am not a gym rat -never been- but I’m fighting this thing. The intention to trade morning pills for morning gym to reach a point were life looks normal again.

 

2014-04-30  Breakfast of OLD Champions (2)

 

Just the sight of so many medicine bottles makes me sick! I will be classifying; one by one getting rid of them to keep just the essentials…those the body cannot be without. I will be listening to the body, not to the doctors. They know medicine, not my body. I am the rider of the assigned horse of life. I will learn to take care of the horse, as it is supposed to be, so we can travel the land once again; reaching for the setting sun until we loose the race, and darkness becomes the end.

Raul

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Blog Changes

2014-04-26  Blog Changes

From time to time we have to stop to look back and where we are, so to adjust accordingly; I guess this is one of those moments. I’ve decided to change the general direction of this blog, and with it, the general appearance and features it has.

So far I’ve had it set as a social blog; a place to meet and talk. This has been reflected by having the possibility of receiving comments and showing who is doing the comment; while also having a Blogroll to add the blogs of those who visit me.

As you can see, all those features are gone. Instead, now the writing space has two thirds of the width in the screen instead of the half it used to have. This means more room for writing and communicating, and less room for socializing.

The main reason to do that is the intention of dedicating more time to write. This blog will be a place to post writing; and to socialize or talk about the posts and other things I finally opened a Facebook account, which I’m planning to connect with this blog (don’t ask me how, I’m still trying to understand how things work in the cyber world).

The Facebook account is under Raul Ojeda (Alien Ghost); if you want to search for me just write my name, and the green alien logo will be there, so you know is me, and we can be friends there. I set it so there should be no chat in the main page, which means, like this blog, if you want to contact me, you can send me a message on Facebook.

I know it might sound like I’m trying to keep people away, and just lock myself alone to simply write and never socialize, but in reality it is more about creating a one way flow, were I present the different perspective that is this parallel Aspie universe, and anybody wanting to comment or talk still can do it through a message in Facebook, or a note in the Contact Form.

Let’s face it with honesty, most small bloggers (like me) have to spend a lot of time answering comments and visiting other blogs to comment in return, reducing greatly the available time to write valuable content. Have you been in the situation of having to write whatever just to keep the posting schedule? In those blogs where people post an article from somewhere else, or videos or funny pictures, the job is fast, but in this blog, where I try to post observations with analysis, it takes a lot longer.

I chose a more complex kind of blog, were observation analysis and conclusions (which is the base of understanding human behavior) are the main reason for the existence of this blog, and I intend to keep it that way; so having it as a one way flow seems to be the most appropriate way to go at this time.

Hope you like the new theme used, and the simplicity in colors, especially in the reading area, which I hope will make it easy in the eyes of the reader. If you have any suggestion, idea, or comment, please feel free to use the Contact Form, and we can communicate.

Raul

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Sickness (III)

2014-04-25  Sickness (III)

What happened is that the new symptoms went away, and the old ones came back! For a brief moment I thought I was back to square one, but then I remembered my wife’s acquaintance and that she mentioned Lyrica, not Duloxetine. She has high school diploma and no training of any kind in the medical field, but so far she was the only one who found the problem!! No doctor with sophisticated equipment and lots of tests has been able to find the problem, so this lady could very well be right also in what should be the correct medicine!!

So I asked for another appointment with the doctor, and in the meantime I went back to Google to learn more about the sickness. One of the things that didn’t fit previously in my findings about Fibromyalgia is that it is considered a sickness triggered by a deep depressive state in the patient; but I didn’t have depression!!

Reading more I learned that about 90 percent of the patients that acquire Fibromyalgia is because of a deep depressive state, which makes the subconscious brain trigger problems in the nervous systems, which is the responsible for all the symptoms due to be working in a new, different way. But about ten percent of patient with Fibromyalgia acquire it because, basically, the nervous system fails by itself, and not because of signals from the brain due to a depressive state.

In the 90 percent who gets it because of depression, the best medicine is Duloxetine, which is a medicine to treat depression; but in the 10 percent that gets it because of a failure of the nervous system without depression, the medicine is Lyrica, which is a medicine to treat the way the nervous system works, without interacting with the brain.

So the lady from the front desk was right! I didn’t have depression when I got sick. I became depressive because of all the consequences of the sickness, so my problem was a deteriorated nervous system and not a depressive brain, so I should take Lyrica instead of Duloxetine.

With this, at the doctor’s appointment I insisted in getting a prescription of Lyrica, and a letter from her explaining that the diagnosis was Fibromyalgia and that I was in treatment and still not able to work. I bought the medicines and started to take them, while also gave the letter to my employer, so they would know, they would believe me, and I could be able to get short term disability, to at least compensate in part my lack of paychecks (they pay 66%).

I’m still waiting for a resolution from the company that provides short term (The Hartford), so after almost four months I’m still without income, but at least after trying Lyrica for ten days, the results were awesome! I recovered about 80 percent of my energy; the pain was reduced to about ten percent, and was only a moving pain (one hour here, then one hour there, etc); the original dizziness was almost gone, and finally I was able to sleep like 4-5 hours a day!

Before I couldn’t walk without holding myself with my hands; with Lyrica I could run the stairs up, going two steps at the time! Before it was very hard to hold a knife to spread butter in a piece of bread, while then I was able to even chop firewood with an axe! It was just wonderful to know that I could have a normal life again; I could retake my job at some point and even retain my original plans for the future, because I could recover, at least to 80 percent of what I used to be!

There was a trade off though; at one hand, I will have to take Lyrica for the rest of my life, which means two pills a day, at a rate of about $ 300 a month! And also there are some side effects from Lyrica. Approximately after one hour of taking the medicine I got dizzy like if I was in drugs (I know is like drugs because I tried marijuana like 30 years ago, and is the same feeling), and it lasted for about 4-6 hours, then about 1 hour later I had to take the other pill, which brought the dizziness again.

The other thing is that the pain was not completely gone, and I had a slight pain that moved all around the body, like one hour in my hands, then one hour in my shoulders, then one hour in my knees, then one hour in my hips, etc. And that moving pain didn’t go away, ever, day or night.

And the last thing is that my energy was back at about 80 percent; meaning by that, I could do heavy work, like chopping wood, but I did it panting, and after about ten minutes I had to stop and rest for about 30 minutes to recover. If it was light work, like sweeping the floor, I didn’t have to stop to recover. It wasn’t like I used to be…it was less, but at least with some little trades here and there; maybe the help of more machines to do things, and a positive mentality, at least I still could have my life back and didn’t need to forget my original projects for the years to come!!

So in the last appointment with the doctor I got a one month prescription of Lyrica at 300mg per dose, twice a day, and after a month I’ll have to go to another appointment to see if everything goes fine; if so, she will give me a three months prescription, and after than, maybe a year prescription.

Financially I’ve been complicated. I blew out all the savings (a couple of thousands) and even got to the point of living in borrowed money from my son, but tomorrow (26th) I’ll be back to work, so that would bring back normal paychecks in about a month, and if the company providing short term disability pays, then I even will be able to pay back to my son the money I borrowed from him! (So far another thousand).

A couple of days ago my wife an I went to gave a present to her acquaintance, the lady who told us my sickness must be Fibromyalgia and that the right medicine should be Lyrica. She was the only one who gave the right diagnosis, and with that, she saved me from going from doctor to doctor and test after test, probably for months (if not years!), and from taking the wrong treatment for Arthritis and Lupus instead of Fibromyalgia, which probably meant I would be taking my own life for no real reason, but just because of the incompetence of doctors who are more worried about making big money than helping people.

In future posts I’ll tell you about the reactions of my body when back to work, how I was testing the medicine (Lyrica), in a way that no doctor would have ever allowed, and even got my wife worried, and also will tell you about how close we are between my son and me, and why I’m so proud about him for his reactions in this past couple of months when I was so sick.

Raul

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Sickness (II)

2014-04-24  Sickness (II)

 

At that point I started seriously to consider suicide! There was no answer; no solution; no money, and only expenses and bills accumulating. All the savings were gone and I had to borrow money from my son to pay bills, from his savings to pursue a Master’s degree; I was using my son’s future to pay my present bills, just to survive!. What was the point on remaining alive! To be sick and in pain? Unable to work and even sleep more than 1 hour a day? To leave family in the streets because of the giant expenses without any income?

At the other hand, I have almost $ 200,000 in life insurance, which would pay the balance of the house off, and still leave like $ 30,000 for other expenses. They wouldn’t be set for life, but at least in a better standing, especially with the house finally paid off. And for me there would be no more pain, no more dizziness, no more lack of energy that kept me most of the time lying in the couch; and I would avoid the future deterioration (even more) that would probably means going to a nursing home in just a couple of years, to never get out alive. What was the point on keep on living?!

I seriously considered suicide!!

But most of my life I’ve been fixing things, and since the doctors couldn’t find my problem to fix me, I decided to give a last attempt at life and try to fix myself. So made a list of all my symptoms, body and mind, together with a chronology, and started to research the net (Google is my God!!!) trying to find sicknesses that would match, or at least would have the same symptoms.

My search wasn’t successful since I searched for Arthritis, Lupus, Under Active Thyroid, Low Testosterone levels, etc, and all of those should be detectable with blood tests; and so far all those tests had already been performed, and all of them came back negative, so I didn’t have any of those.

You might call it chance, luck, destiny, I don’t know, but since I needed a certification of what was my diagnosis, so I could present it in my job, and there was no diagnosis, I decided to ask for an appointment with my first doctor (the one who never called back), and ask her for a release, so I could go back to work, try to make some money, and try to last as long as I could before I collapse, and maybe then they would believe me, especially if they had to call 911 and the paramedics could certify that I had “symptoms” like short breath, muscle spasm and things like that. It wouldn’t prove what I have, but at least it’ll prove in my work that I did have something, and I wasn’t lying! (The lady from human resources at my job had a very “unfriendly” attitude with me so far).

Well, as I said, it could be luck, chance, destiny, whatever! The thing is, the day we went to the clinic (my wife was going with me most of the times to help me) to the front desk to ask for an appointment, there was a lady working there that my wife knows personally, they are not really friends but more like acquaintances. We all said “Hi” and chat for a little bit, and then I asked for an appointment with the doctor. She asked what problem I had, so we told her what was happening and the symptoms I had. She said: “Maybe it could be Fibromyalgia; we have several patients with that syndrome, and they are prescribed Lyrica

Now, the reason I decided to go back to the doctor that didn’t even call back is that she is a PA (Physician Assistant), which I understand is a doctor that is not completely certified, so has to have a certified doctor signing for her. She is very young and unsure of what she is doing, so is easily manipulated into what the patient wants. It happened when I asked her to fill out the forms to get family leave at my work; she didn’t know what to write down in the forms, so I told her almost “word by word” what to write!

I was going back to her so she could write a release form for my job, so I had in a paper what she should write. But after talking with this lady at the front desk, I decided to search the net for Fibromyalgia and its characteristics, before reaching the day of the appointment with the doctor.

To my surprise, my wife’s acquaintance was right! Everything was there; it was often confused with Arthritis and Lupus; it couldn’t be detected with blood tests because the test still show everything is normal, and most of the times the patient, together with having the symptoms I had, are thought of being lying and nobody believe them because the “evidence” (tests) show no sickness at all!!

The article in Wikipedia was describing my situation!! (Good old Wiki!!)

So with more hopes than ever, I went to the appointment with the doctor; explained everything to her and asked her for a prescription of Lyrica instead of a release form. She insisted (after using her phone to Google the sickness and the medicines), that I should start with Duloxetine, since it was the number one medicine prescribed for Fibromyalgia. I said OK and went to buy the medicine. I trusted her, not because she is a doctor, but because I saw her with my own eyes she Google it!! (Isn’t that so ridiculous?!).

After taking the medicine for five days I was feeling a lot better, to the point of being able to do things around the house! Still with pain and low energy, but definitely better, so I could see light at the end of the tunnel (and I wasn’t dead yet!). But by the tenth day new problems developed: Shaking in my legs that made very unstable to walk; to then add the shakiness in my arms, to then add it to my chest. At some point by the twelfth day my whole body was shaking and my heart was racing, even if I was seating or lying in bed! I got scared (now I didn’t want to die) so I simply stopped taking the medicine and waited a couple of days to see what happened.

Raul

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Sickness (I)

2014-04-23  Sickness (I)

One of the reasons for my long absence from writing in this blog is that I’ve been very sick, unable to work for three months, and even unable to type in a computer! So now that I am recovering and feeling better, I can tell you how things went spiraling down so quickly in just a matter of three months. But I’ll have to divide this post in three parts since it ended up longer than 3,000 words! (I don’t want you to fall asleep while reading, LOL).

What happened is that, in December last year (2013), I was at work when I felt a very sharp, stabbing pain in my right hand. Since everything seemed to be fine up to that moment; I was feeling tired all the time and with very low energy levels, but also I was sleeping no more than 3-4 hours a day, I didn’t think I had a sickness, and the short amount of sleeping time (I thought) was due to having a very changing schedule, that forced me to sometimes sleep early at night, other times late, while others during the day, in the morning or in the afternoon. I thought, as soon as I can get a more stable schedule, I’ll be able to take a rhythm and then will be possible to sleep more hours, which will mean more energy and less tiredness.

So when I felt that sharp, stabbing pain in my hand, I thought it was a work injury and filed the report. They sent me to a doctor of Work Compensation, but that doctor, after just touching my hand and not finding anything, derived me to a specialist after prescribing some anti inflammatory. Clearly she didn’t believe me and thought I was pretending, so to get paid for not working, but I was in pain!

A week passed and the pain extended to my arms, shoulders, knees and hips, the tiredness became extreme and couldn’t do anything, and wasn’t able to sleep more than 1-2 hours a day!

The specialist order X-Rays and blood tests that came back negative; there was nothing wrong with my body! He couldn’t explain why all my body ached and I had no energy, so his conclusion was that I had Arthritis and Lupus!! And he prescribed a different anti inflammatory. And since it was not work related, he couldn’t do anything else, and had to report to the original doctor, and I had to go to my regular doctor to continue the tests and start a treatment for Arthritis and Lupus.

He said that I should change jobs and consider changing my plans for the rest of my life! That I will not be able to use my hands and legs normally ever again, so I should adjust my plans accordingly.

After the appointment I went back to my car walking like a duck due to the strong pain and stiffness in my legs, and with much difficulty I seated in my vehicle and started to cry like a child! All my plans, the thing I wanted to do, the things I postponed because of obligations, but always kept hope because at an older age I would be free to pursue those activities, all went down like in an earthquake!

About a week later I received a letter from the company which provides work compensation, explaining that the first doctor I went to see had sent a report to my job saying my injury wasn’t work related, so I was released for “full duty with no restrictions!”

Up to that point I was out of work for already a month, so my paychecks came zero, I was in extreme pain in my whole body, extremely low energy levels and dizziness that prevented me from even walking, and wasn’t able to sleep more than 1 hour a day. No money and no possibility to do anything, while bills kept piling up, and the only diagnosis I had so far was Arthritis and Lupus, which suppose to make things even worst in the future!

So I went to my regular doctor who run more blood tests. She said as soon as the tests come back she would call me to set an appointment to discuss the results. She never called! After a week I went to the clinic and asked at the front desk for a copy of the results, which were negative!

Needing a diagnosis because at my work they were also believing I was lying and I needed proof that I was really in pain, and urgently needed a certification to turn my absences into family leave so not to loose my job, I went to another doctor who run even more blood tests, which also came negative. Even though this last doctor admitted he couldn’t find anything, he insisted it must be Arthritis, so he prescribed new medicines and derived me to a specialist. I went to the Arthritis specialist and asked at the front desk how much was the appointment, and they told me it was almost $ 500! And that the tests (which were performed “in house”) could amount to several thousand dollars!!

Up to that point I was almost two months without working, so zero money from paychecks; my medical insurance cost me almost $ 300 a month, but it has a $ 2,500 deductible, so all the medical appointments and medicines were paid from my pocket, with no help from the medical insurance (and no result from any of the different medicines!)…and the bills kept piling up; and I was feeling worst and worst with more pain and extremely low energy levels, dizziness and unable to sleep! And everything, at this rate, suppose to become worst if I had Arthritis and Lupus!

At that point I did understand how some people can become homeless and sick, sleeping in the streets!! I can’t deny I was very scared and upset; not only with my physical problem, but also disappointed with doctors, and the medical system, which in their attempt of just make more and more money, they simply don’t care about the medical condition of the patient and his/her feelings. It seemed, as long as you have money to pay, you get service, and they will suck all they can as fast as they can, until you have nothing left, and then they will simply drop you and discard you as useless and a liar!!

I just cannot understand why some people admire them because they are “doctors”, without considering first if they are good doctors or just money suckers!

Raul

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