Tag Archives: wrist pain

Of Beta Blockers, Side Effects and Unreturned Calls

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The cardiologist kind of wowed me with this, “Of course I know about EDS, a cardiologist has to.” Also, where she said, “This is not in your head, you have a collagen based disorder and this is how your disorder affects your body.” She first said I needed to see an Electrophysiologist. Then she said that well, we’d try a beta blocker first. She asked me to stay on it for one week, even if I thought it made me really tired–which is the expected result when adjusting to beta blockers. The other weird thing was that she noted my blood pressure was pretty high, and even as I showed her the last month’s worth of daily readings, it was never particularly low–something it has always been in the past. She checked my ankles for swelling and found none.

The next day I hid from work and stayed home, ostensibly to rest. Instead the busy, busy monkey that is my brain started wondering, was she checking for heart failure? Oh, and, OH OH OH (my brain gets really excited about freaking me out), what about that ten pounds you’ve gained so mysteriously in your belly? You’ve never put weight on your belly. Let’s ask Dr Google if mysterious belly weight gain is a sign of heart failure! So we did……and it is……and my brain celebrated this exciting possibility all damn day long. “Remember how you’ve felt really tired? Yeah, yeah, fatigue is a symptom.So’s high blood pressure!” All day long.

The cardiologist had put me on Metoprolol ER, the lowest possible dose, which is 25 milligrams once a day, taken in the morning. Day one, I noticed that I was nauseated pretty much all day, and found it curious that my urine seemed dark (urine, I said, did you have a multivitamin when I wasn’t looking?). The next day I got on the scale and was five pounds lighter than I had been the day before (my brain scribbles this down, “see? it’s water weight, you’re in heart failure.”). I was, also, completely uninterested in food and noticed that the wave of nausea seemed kind of regular, like they were happening each time the drug released throughout the day.  Day three I was still the same weight as day two, meaning I apparently didn’t imagine that new number. Also, I was nauseated all day long, but I could find windows where it ebbed after a release.

Now, if you’re saying to yourself that obviously I should have called the doctor rather than googling side effects and such, allow me to politely suggest you shut the front door, because I did. I called yesterday around 10:30 am. I reported that I had a question about a medication and that I was experiencing nausea. You know as well as I do there’s no reason to give the receptionist a list of things, they are there to send the message. She said that the doctor was in surgery all day but the message would go to the medical assistants. (Then I got a shitty email from work and my blood pressure went up to 145/110, which I think if I had a fancier monitor it might have called 911 for me. But I don’t so I closed the work email and avoided it the rest of the day and the numbers went back to the new normal of not low).

Of course no one called me back, right?

Right.

We went out to dinner and I was hella nauseated all the way there, then it cleared for a second and I ate, but about a third less than normal. On the way home I started to have intense stomach and chest pain. This lasted about an hour, then resolved around the time I was thinking okay, if you have to ask yourself if you are willing to sit in the ER with all the people who think they’re at the daycare for their neglected children, then you do not need to go to the ER. Got it? Oh look, my stomach stopped hurting as much, cool.

I suspect there is zero chance I will hear from the doctor’s office before Tuesday, and one cannot just go off beta blockers. You can have a heart attack if you don’t taper down very slowly, so I’d kind of like some direction from the expert before I do anything differently. But, how good does another few days of nausea sound? Not so good. No me gusta, honestly.

Of Shoes and Fragility

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I think it’s safe to say that we all have things that we hold up to ourselves as things we will never do or actions we will never take that are actually a way of saying, “I am so afraid that I will have to do that” or “I am so afraid that will happen to me and I’ll be like people I used to think I was very, very different from and would not choose to be.”

One of mine is shoes. I will never wear ugly shoes. By “ugly” I mean shoes that are closed by means of velcro, or marketed as stable, secure or orthopedic. SASS shoes. Sneakers with a dress. I’ll never do that. I may well be wearing supports for my ankles, and orthotics in my boots, but I draw the line in the sand at sneakers or SASS or grandma shoes. I have one pair of boots by Earth Shoes and they are furry and muklukk-y and I only wear them at home, never out. But if you came by, you wouldn’t think I’d given up and gone to the dark side. I have given up heels for anything other than “evening out” type appearances already, so I feel like I’ve made enough concessions.

On Thursday I wore a pair of boots with a “reasonable” 1.5″ heel, and my left ankle felt like it was being stabbed all day, and the balls of my feet hurt, and the ankle supports rubbed my heels and my left ankle ached in competition with my left hip.

Perversely, I prefer that to what I am terrified of, which is becoming  less attractive, less fabulous; becoming clunky and old and infirm. So sure, I’ll have to stare at the ground to make sure I don’t fall, and I’ll stand in the elevator and curse my aching joints, but someone will tell me that I am wearing great shoes and somehow, that is preferable to me than walking comfortably about in a pair of crepe-soled loafers that are style-free but stable.

Because, it’s not just the shoes. It’s the loss of myself-the potential of myself as much as the actuality of myself. I think those shoes look stupid and clumsy and gross and I notice when people wear them, and I fear that I will have to, as well, someday. So I would be disingenuous to say that I don’t judge people for the shoes they wear, but it would also be untrue that it’s that direct–I have never wanted to rush gratefully into middle age and settle into clothes that aren’t fashionable, but I don’t pick my friends based on how they dress, either. I am determined, committed, maybe even obsessed with not “giving up,” even as, maybe, a glimmer of a possible upside–or, not upside, but, relief– occasionally presents itself.

Invisible illness is a double-edged sword; one side allows me to appear as if there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. The other side, not a news flash, is that no one knows that there is something wrong with me. They might think my asking them to hold the door is affectation, the same as the ring splints (“Oh, she’s always wearing fabulous things that are over-the-top, those are just a new thing she’s into.”), or long skirts (always a big part of my look, now adapted semi-permanently in case the threatened knee brace materializes), or boots (they lend that edge of toughness to my girly-fem skirts) because they actually lend some ankle support. Surprise, I am not always in love with my combat boots.

It’s been a rotten weekend of having to cater to my body, which is just refusing to be in sync with me in any way, and at this moment it’s possible I’ll be wearing an ugly brace to work for my left wrist for the rest of the week, something I absolutely dread (it’s velcro, feel me?) and want to hide. It’s possible I’ll have moments, like last week, when I think that I might need to pop over to the ER and visit with them about my heart rate, or I’ll have to take a call from my PCP wherein I struggle not to cry because my emotions have decided I am not their master at the moment. How much do I not want to cry at work? SO FUCKING MUCH. So, so much. I’ve only done it once since all this started, and that was in my boss’s office behind a closed door.

Each time I get to a point where I accept something; okay, I will always sleep with a heating pad; okay, I need to take a lot of hot baths; okay, I need to wear the ring splints everyday; okay, I’ll wear the CMC splints for hand sewing, too; okay, I will try to pull open as few doors as possible; okay, I will file for official accommodations at work; I’ll be damned but there’s some other slew of things knocking on that door and I’ve barely gotten the current guests seated and it’s all I can do not to just have a screaming tantrum and take to my bed.

But you’re not going to know that from my shoes, unless you look at the two spikes on the heels of the black ones. They might tell you a little something about my mood right now.