(I will get back to my Friends series tomorrow.)
The good news is: I am sick. With just a run of the mill virus.
In a lesson on Not Delaying Visiting The Doctor When Your Instincts Tell You You Should Go… I’ve been having disturbing symptoms for about 15 days now.
- some dizziness
- constant tiredness, getting worse daily
- petechiae on my arms and torso (typcially, in me, associated with low platelet counts)
- breathlessness with exertion, including reading out loud
- odd bleeding
Honestly, with my symptoms and history, I was thinking low platelet count causing some sort of internal bleeding, leading to low hemoglobin. It would not be the first time in my life.
And, turns out, that was the first thing our doctor thought, too. Until he examined me and said he was happy to discover that I had inflammation in my sinuses, neck, and stomach. Blood tests confirmed that my platelet count is firmly in Normal, and my Hemoglobin is better than it’s been in two or three years (13.3!).
I’m just sick. Apparently, he’s seen several people with odd bleeding associated with flu-like symptoms this season.
He thinks 2-3 weeks, and I could feel worse before I feel better. He gave me permission to lay in bed on days when getting out of bed seems like too much work. Well, that’s well and good, but um… I don’t have that option.
But the lesson here is to follow your instincts. I had been putting off going because I was convinced it was going to be something bad. Even low platelets…that’s not good. Can I still breastfeed while taking Prednisone? Internet research was inconclusive. And Prednisone kind of stopped working for me after being the reliable stand-by for low platelet counts for years, so I had to switch to IVIG, which is a blood product, and that freaks me out quite a bit. So I’ve been stewing and worrying for all this time. Had I just gone in… I’d have known that much sooner that I’m just sick.
PS, in a More Like My Mom Than I Care To Admit Most Days moment, the intake nurse asked me if I was a nurse. I was running down my symptoms and busted out with “I had a lot of petechiae on my arms and torso last week, but they’ve mostly faded, so I was thinking low platelets, but I didn’t have a chance to get in for a blood draw.”
My mom always used the medical terms for things, as well, and also was careful to fully educate herself, at least as much as possible, in order to have educated conversations with her doctors, and I guess I just grew up doing those things, too. I had grown accustomed to people thinking she was a nurse, throwing out B.I.D. and “nonunion tib/fib fracture” and crap like that. But I’ve never had it happen to me. Kinda fun.
And the nurse had never heard of ITP, which is not uncommon, really, I think the only non-hemotologist doctor I’ve run into who knew what it was is Dr Hopkins, our family doctor, and the one who originally diagnosed me. This is one of the reasons we drive to Ankeny for a family doctor – the man knows everything.
(The day I was diagnosed…I had been complaining to my mom about the bruising and red marks on my arms, but since I had really sensitive skin at that time, she thought it was just an allergic reaction. She finally took me in, and he sent us on to the hospital immediately upon getting my blood results back. He didn’t tell us what he suspected, but the doctor at the hospital told us that Dr. Hopkins had nailed it – it was either ITP or Leukemia. Fortunately, it was ITP. That winter, there were a LOT of us – mostly girls my age – diagnosed with acute ITP. I was the only one who went on to have chronic ITP. There was only one pediatric hemotologist in town at that time, so he saw us all. Dr. Taher. I could not understand word that man said. Well, that’s enough of a trip down memory lane.)