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Back home

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I just got back from hospital, where I overnighted to receive another 2 grams of solu-medrol. It went quite well. Didn’t sleep much, of course, but I’m used to that by now and expect it. I actually did manage an hour or two, which was nice. Got up to go to the loo though and nearly passed out from low blood pressure. But I’m used to that too, so I grabbed onto the bed until it passed.

Only complaint? People spray WAY too much deodorant in hospitals. The patients, I mean. Must be a stinky lot if they have to spray out half the can at a time. I know I am overly sensitive to aerosols, but surely there are others there with pneumonia and other lung complications that also don’t appreciate a ton of neuro-toxins heading their way when they are already battling to breathe? When are people going to wake up and smell the coffee that aerosols are bad for us? This is not thumb-sucking, by the way. It’s a fact. Why on earth can’t people use roll-on, for Heaven’s sake?

This morning, the elderly lady in the next bed, depressed the button on her deo for a good twenty seconds, I swear. I could feel the hair raising on my head just from the sound of it. In fact, I nearly levitated clean off the bed in irritation. I flung the sheet over my head to try and stop the fumes, but it was no good. So I went and opened a window in the ward, saying diplomatically that I had low blood-pressure and needed some fresh air.

The old lady immediately started complaining that the window overlooked the smoker’s area and now we would get smoke fumes. (Heaven forbid we get smoke fumes in a room full of deodorant). I patiently explained to her that as it was 5am and there wasn’t a soul demented enough to be out smoking at that hour, we were safe. But that I would be closing the window after ten minutes anyway, before we all froze.

As a penance, I had to listen to her recount her entire medical history, and then listen to a detailed characterisation of each of her eight grandchildren. Oh, who am I kidding? It was an insomniac’s dream.

My drip went up easily enough. A young nurse, with no epaulets in sight, approached to administer it.

   “You aren’t going to practise on me, are you?” I asked her nervously.

Turned out though that she was qualified, just young. She inserted the needle really s-l-o-w-l-y, but very accurately; I barely felt a thing. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quick enough with the cap, and a gush of warm blood ran down my arm.

   “My bloooood,” I said mournfully, but in a tone that was meant to make her laugh.

She did laugh, and I told her that she could do it for a living (put drips in, that is). She seemed very pleased with the compliment.

So now I’m home, with plenty of adrenalin pumping through me. I’m trying to restrain myself from cleaning the flat from top to toe because if I do, then I will be super-pooped tomorrow. As it is I’ll probably crash on Thursday. I will apologise in advance to Michael for being ratty. The thing is, though, in my defense, I never go looking for trouble when I’m feeling like that. But I become much more assertive and if trouble comes looking for me, then I let it have it. *Trouble* seems to have a slow learning curve. LOL.

I’m glad I got the cortisone treatment over and done with. I’m so through with agonising over that decision. It’s a no-win situation, but it is especially no-win if I torment myself about it for ages before hand.

My two worst symptoms had pretty much cleared up after the 1 gram dose. I had that bad cold, so I had to delay the cortisone for fear of developing a really bad infection. In that time, my breathing eased right up and my eyes made a courageous comeback, though I must admit they were still sensitive and easily strained.

But. My legs/feet and hands had gotten way worse. This freaked me out for two reasons. A) I don’t want to lose the wonderful independence of being able to drive our car, and b) I really didn’t want to lose the wonderful ability to play the piano. I have been so very busy on my keyboard lately. I decided that I want to be a serious ragtime pianist, ala Scott Joplin (huge fan of him, always have been). So two weeks ago, I tracked down the (free, copyright expired) sheet music of The Maple Leaf Rag. I wasn’t convinced that I would be capable of playing this fairly advanced music, what with the numb fingers and all. But I gave it a go and found out that, though challenging, it wasn’t quite as hard as I had thought. I became half obsessesed with it, playing every opportunity I got, till my poor left hand was kaput and just couldn’t any more. So now I’ve got the first movement sounding pretty good, if a bit slow. With the frustration of my fingers getting increasingly numb and fumbly, it was actually a no-brainer to go for treatment. So now I will just wait with bated breath to see if it works. Please let it work. (In the mean time, I will be learning the second movement. Maybe one day I can add to the list of people already playing the Maple Leaf rag on Youtube).

I’m seriously thinking of doing my grade 7 piano exams at UNISA next year. I actually did do all the preparation the year I left school, and then my music teacher at the time made a screw-up with the registration and I pitched up for the exam, only to discover I wasn’t registered. I was so  mad about that. So it’s like a little unfinished chapter in my life. It would be kinda great if I could do it now. All depending on my fingers. Hang in there, guys!

Whoa! I’m actually starting to feel a little short of breath again. I think it might be a side-effect of the steroids, though. What an ironic bummer. What it’s supposed to be treating is a friggin’ side-effect!

Written by Maggie

August 19, 2008 at 11:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Hi Maggie

    I’m glad you are back home and hope you will start feeling better soon. I have a friend on Facebook Ron Pramschufer and told him about you and that you two should talk. He might be asking you to add him as a friend.

    He has also been diagonosed with MS and maybe you two can help each other somehow. He lives in New York.



    Mom Archer

    August 19, 2008 at 6:54 pm

  2. Maggie, I’m glad you’re home!

    I admire your piano persistence. I’ve never been able to play a musical instrument, but I can imagine how you could get caught up in a piece.

    I wonder if people just feel extra-smelly in hospitals? They should give out sample-sizes of roll-on deodorant. There’s nothing worse than breathing fumes (and I should know; I sprayed myself squarely up the nose with hairspray yesterday).

    Katie Alender

    August 20, 2008 at 5:38 pm

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