Tag Archives: needles

Seizures and Blood

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Yesterday, I had a general check-in with my Rheumatologist to check and see how the Enbrel and Prednisone pack had worked out and in general how I was feeling. I never before arriving that I was going to have to deal with labs. For some folks, having blood drawn is as easy as brushing your teeth. I am NOT one of those people.

You probably remember from some of my previous posts, just how much I dislike  HATE DISDAIN LOATHE being pricked with needles (in fact the post was entitled,I hate needles. seriously.”… which is actually rather humorous considering I have to inject myself once a week (although sure click self injectors ARE MUCH BETTER than syringes, I will say).

I don’t know what it is, but I could never handle watching people have needles stuck into their arms or hands- it makes me queasy, uneasy, and nauseous. In fact, even as I was looking for an image to include in this post, I tried to find one of someone having blood drawn and I started to feel all clammy and nauseous. Thus, you are stuck with an SI joint image- because well, the SI is important to me :0)

So back to my appointment. I checked in and my Rheumy told me that we should keep on the path and see if Enbrel can’t continue to improve my situation. If by the next time I come in, I do not significantly improve, we will look for another method (I am confident that Enbrel will work). I will continue on with my Voltaren gel as well as my Nambumetone. I also talked to him about my stupid cold sore. I got it last weekend and it’s hanging around. He told me that it should go away soon, wrote me a prescription, and told me that prevalence of cold sores is normal (whatever “normal” is). In addition, he inspected a hard lump that I discovered under my right lower jaw and determined that it appears to be an infected lymph node. Bacteria gets into the cold sore and infects your lymph nodes (awesome). Again, it should get better on its own over time, but if it doesn’t, I’m supposed to let him know.

Then he said that phrase that I l.o.a.t.h.e.: Did I get labs last time you were here? No I replied in a very sad quiet voice. He chuckled and said we should get them and go from there. So, I begrudgingly went out to the nurse’s station and sat in my chair and instantly felt the anxiety coming on. I tried to push it out of mind reminding myself that the last two times, I didn’t black out at all. The nurse was super friendly and put the needle in quickly and started talking to me. In an effort to avoid the “black spots”, I looked up at the ceiling. Everything was fine until it wasn’t.

All of the sudden I felt myself passing out. I state such and then what happened next is really hard to explain. I felt a jerky sensation and everything was moving really fast and I couldn’t stop my body from “freaking out.” Then everything went dark. I woke up to smelling salts, 4 nurses, and my doctor standing over me asking me if I was ok and how did I feel, etc. They had my legs hoisted into the air (thank god I wore pants, right?) and brought out orange juice, the blood pressure machine, chocolate, and fluids. They proceeded to get me right side up and seated and then calmly said that I had experienced a mini seizure. That they could be brought on by extreme stress and anxiety. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I don’t like not having control. Yesterday, I lost controlI would prefer not to have that feeling ever again.

So, a while later, I left the doctor’s office with their consent that I was OK. I went straight to the deli and got a sandwich. Then I felt terrible all day yesterday. Now I don’t ever want to go back to that office again but I know I will and I will freak out the next time I get blood drawn. Ugh. Why hasn’t someone developed a tool that can run over your skin and “scan” your blood and automatically read the test results. I’m going to invent that.

Either that or get a prescription for Valium.

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I HATE Needles. Seriously.

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So, I really really really REALLY hate needs. I cannot reiterate this enough. Something happened to me and I don’t know what. When I was younger and I had blood tests done (I had a lot of them when I had a bout of fainting spells) and then I gave blood and never had a problem. I would watch the nurses put the needle in, watch the tubes filling up and keep a smile on my face.

Then something happened.

I’m not sure exactly what but it was as if a switch was flipped. bam. I went from “stab me” Meghan to “black out” Meghan. I can’t do it. I hate needles. I can’t watch. I see the nurse grab the little tubes to fill and I get sweaty and anxious and light-headed. I get sick to my stomach. And, I usually pass out… at least when something is removed from my body. Sometimes even when they don’t take blood! When I was in college, I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. I passed out before the anesthesia needle hit my skin. They had to bring me back with smelling salts just to put me back under. Couldn’t they have just done it while I was out? ;0)

Regardless, this is my life now. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was when I had to get blood tests at my Rheumy appointment two weeks ago. Then, I had to get dye injected for my MRIs. Now, on Tuesday, I had to get a freaking TB test. I HATE needles. I know I can’t really complain because  a lot of people have it worse than me, but I hate it and I feel for anyway who has to get pricked. Here’s my latest prickling:

So where does this bring me to? I had my follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. He was pretty nice- he doesn’t seem overly knowledgeable about AS, but he told me that once we figure out a proper course of medication, I can get back to running. So that makes me love him. He gave me a pamphlet of information and told me that I should start Physical Therapy again (I don’t enjoy PT, but maybe this time I will?) and that the PT will help me figure out some breathing exercises and back exercises to help out. He said I should also be exercising because mobility is key (shout out to World Arthritis Day’s theme, Move to Improve).

Then we get to medication. So there are several types of medications out there, some are anti-inflammatories and they seem to not really be helping me at all. So then you move up to Tumor Necrosis Factors. They’re super drugs! Haha, no but they are used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis. So, at my appointment, my Rheumy decided that the best course of action as far as pain medication is to try out these TNF medications. He has prescribed Enbrel (Etanercept). I’ll spend a post on it later. Right after he prescribed it, he let me know that I should get the TB test and then come back in on Friday so that I could learn how to use the Enbrel because it’s injected twice a week either in the abdomen or the thigh.

I’m sorry, WHAT?!?! I hate needles. Now I have to inject crap into my body twice a week. And I have to refrigerate the medicine/injectors. I’m going to be that girl on the plane with a little cooler of needles. Awesome. This sucks. For the first time, I can say, this honestly sucks. I went home after my appointment, exhausted, in pain, and worn out. That was the first time I actually broke down and cried. Not for long and not very strongly, but I did.

Here is where I have a nice little shout out to Mariah Zebrowski at From this Point. Forward. She is Andrew’s sister-in-law and was diagnosed with RA a three (?) years ago. We were just talking about it and she mentioned that I was braver than her about finding out. I remarked that it’s probably because it hasn’t sunk in yet. Well, I think it is starting to… I really thought I’d go to the doctor’s office and he’d say he screwed up the results. Oh well. Life goes on. On to the next chapter of my life.