Many of you know I've been ill for quite a few years. I've had many tests done and nothing has shown up through the years until recently. I've spent quite a few weeks in the hospital this summer. When you've seen a lack of posting, I've been in the hospital. As a matter of fact, most of my summer I've spent either ill or recuperating. I also had quit smoking during this time because I was so scared.
My last trip was interesting. They've checked my thyroid before. Considering I'm a nurse, you would think I would have asked more questions but I was just too ill to be my own patient advocate. Finally I became so ill I couldn't shower or stand to wash more than one dish. Reluctantly again, I called the ambulance. My heart rate was between 40 and 50 and blood pressure was low. I couldn't think, stand nor even rest I was so uncomfortable with neck and chest pressure. I'm sure they thought nothing would show again and asked if I would consider going into in-patient mental health. As uncomfortable as I was and considering nothing was showing up, of course I would. I desperately want to get well. I was transferred to that unit in short order. One psychiatrist was sure this was a somatic illness. Being a proponent of mind-body interaction, I tended to agree at that time. They started me on Abilify as an adjunct to Zoloft for depression.
After another battery of tests, they checked my TSH and found it to be abnormal. Within two days of taking synthroid, I was almost back to normal. Almost being the key word there. I still have problems with stamina although nothing like the previous months. In the meantime, I was taken over by another psychiatrist after my admitting psych went on vacation.
All the while, I was being worked up yet again physically and added to in-patient treatment it was quite a busy week. The new psychiatrist took me off Zoloft and tried a trial of Cymbalta. I so desperately wanted that drug to work! It would have taken care of every symptom I had I thought and so did my psych. All this time I was hopeful because of the synthroid but keeping in mind what the original psychiatrist had told me about somatic illnesses.
I had researched Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I first became ill six years ago - my goodness, it's been almost seven years now since I've worked. I used pacing and graded exercise therapy to rehab myself from spending a year and a half in bed to using a wheelchair. After another year, I could walk short distances and it increased from there until late last winter when I had another crash. It was almost as bad as the original one.
When you're inpatient mental health, you have a meeting with the people who are taking care of you. Social workers, nurses, activities and your psychiatrist meet to tell you your diagnosis and plan of care.
I started talking of somatic illnesses. He said he wasn't sure that was it and asked me if I had ever heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Of course I had! I still can't believe I have someone who doesn't believe this is all in my head. I knew in the beginning it wasn't but as time went on, it seemed possible to me.
Instead, I have my ideas confirmed. Sure, I have been depressed. Who wouldn't be after going from a vital, energetic person to someone who could barely walk all within the course of a month? I also have some anxiety that I didn't have before this all happened. I know when I am stressed, I get worse and when I have emotional upheaval it's even worse.
I'm now on sybthroid, Abilify, and Effexor XR and I can walk, am doing my dishes, colored my hair, am cleaning my apartment and know what else?
I have hope. First time in a long time.
I'm also making some major life changes - as if this wasn't enough! LOL But they will be good for me.
I want to publicly thank Mercy Memorial Health System in Monroe, Michigan, Dr. Koloff, Monroe Community Mental Health, all the nurses in the Emergency Department, the observation unit and In Patient Mental Health. I have no insurance but to them it didn't matter and they are the first hospital I've visited that took such care and did tests to find out what was wrong.
A big thank you. I swear I'll pay you back if it takes me the rest of my life - and it probably will!