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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in elfinmagic's LiveJournal:

Thursday, September 8th, 2005
2:25 pm
I've been gone for a long time
This is an email I sent yesterday to someone trying to start a Type 1 Diabetes Support Group.

Hi.  My name is Andrea.  I was going to send you an email the other day when I read your posting, but I don't really fit the criteria.  I'm 25 myself and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 5 years ago.  Here's the thing:  I ignored it.  I made a couple half-hearted/half-assed attempts to deal with it by seeing some doctors and taking some meds (glucophage made me pretty sick so I only took it a couple weeks) but the diabetes wasn't causing me any problems at the time, so I just went on doing what I was always doing.
 
August 3rd I was admitted to Good Samaritan for what I originally assumed was a sprained knee, which over a week had started to swell and became extremely painful.  As it turned out, because I let my diabetes go unchecked for so long, I developed a staph infection in my knee (I'm still not sure if I had actually sprained it first, but I know I had jarred about a week or so previous).  When I first got to the hospital and they checked my blood sugar, I don't recall the specific number, but it was over 400.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 500.  And I hadn't even eaten in 3 days because it hurt too much to walk to the kitchen.  I was dehydrated and my potassium level was low, causing me to have a rapid heartbeat, so I had to wear a heart monitor and stay in the cardiac ward.  (I don't know that they really have a place to put wayward diabetics, though.)  I was in the hospital for 12 days.  I was put on an insulin drip to stabilize my blood sugar, and eventually shown how to give myself injections.  According to the doctor, I'm now officially insulin dependent. I (supposed to) take novolog before meals and lantus before bed.  I believe I had an onset of ketoacidosis around day 3-4 and because my leg was in an immobilizer and hurt like hell to begin with, I was unable to get to the bathroom, which I was rather embarrassed about, and isn't a detail I normally share with people.
 
I also had to have surgery on my knee because the doctors were convinced there was a pocket of the infection under my kneecap and that they'd have to go in surgically, but they wanted to see how a responded to treatment before they sent me for an MRI.  Sure enough, lots of fluid under my knee cap and the next day I'm in surgery.  They got rid of the infection and one of the doctors said I was lucky because it was a simple staph infection that would respond to antibiotics like penicillin, and not one of the resistant strains.  Besides that, I get to keep all my limbs!  The incision they made was rather large, and they couldn't just sew it up because they needed to make sure the infection wouldn't come back, so for about 4 weeks, I had a wound vac, which is a vacuum attached to a tube that is taped over the incision.  The wound itself is filled with a sterile foam/sponge material.  I go in 3 times a week to have it changed.  It sucks out any fluid that might collect, including the infection, and it speeds up healing.  The incision is smaller each time.  I finally had the wound vac removed today and now I have a large padded band-aid type dressing that covers the incision, and it's filled with this material, it looks a bit like insulation, but it's made from seaweed.  I limp around a bit still because I don't have full range of motion back in my knee yet.  I think it will be at least another 3 weeks before I can really bend my knee all the way.
 
It's all been rather frightening and an extreme wake up call.  Besides that, I'm currently unemployed and uninsured.  Fortunately, I qualify for financial assistance, possibly even charity.  One of my doctors said that the hospital would probably end up writing off the bill, which is roughly $37,000, but I'm not counting on it.  Regardless, I'll still have about $6,000 in doctors bills, which is manageable.  I know I'll never really be able to repay what they've done for me, but decided that I will start volunteering at the hospital in the next month when I'm fully mobile again.  I'm thinking about donations, but it's going to be awhile before I have the extra money.
 
Other than that, I think the biggest issue I'm facing with the diabetes is learning to schedule, following a routine and the whole food thing.  I've lost 10 lbs since being in the hospital, but I'm sure some of it was muscle mass in my legs from being in bed for so long.  Still I've tried on clothes that were still too small for me when I bought them a couple years ago, and now they fit rather well.  The exercise is easy enough to do.  Even walking for half an hour every day will help right now, not to mention getting strength back in my legs.  I amp it up after a couple weeks, figure out other ways to get the exercise...  weights and stuff.  But the food.  I miss food.  That's a big part of how I got into this mess.    I don't know how it happened for you, but this has totally changed my relationship with food.  The dietician I saw in the hospital was completely useless and she didn't have any experience with diabetes.  I don't know anything about carb counting.  I'm still resistant about diet soda, though I'm getting used to it.  (Sometimes I have a few sips of the real stuff).  I guess I'm saying I could really use some help/support and talk to other people that are going through the same thing.
 
I understand if the whole type 2 thing disqualifies me, but I thought I'd put it out there.
 
And hey, thanks for reading.


I wrote this 8/21/05, a few days after I got home from the hospital.  I swear a lot. :

A week later, I'm in the hospital because my knee is fucking killing me.  I can barely walk because of the pain and it's all swollen and red and hot.  The heat is key.  It's infected.  It's a good thing I finally got medical help, or god knows what would have happened.  I don't know if I'd be dead or anything, but it'd probably be pretty bad.  Much worse than it was, anyway.  It turned out that it was a staph infection that is easily treatable with antibiotics and isn't one of the resistant types, but they were having a hell of a time getting rid of all of it.  They'd stuck huge fucking needles in my knee to draw out the fluid but there was a pocket of fluid under my kneecap that they found after an MRI and I had to have surgery.  That was after I'd been in the hospital for a week.  I had all these IV tubes hooked up.  They tried to do a PIK line which is a tube they thread through a vein in your arm that stops right near your heart. They use an ultrasound to guide it.  There's two IVs that stick out.  One is to collect blood samples and the other is to administer medicine, saline etc.  It took 3 tries over 5 days or so.  I have tiny veins.  Until that point, I had an IV inserted with a needle and every 4 hours a phlebotomist would come by to draw some blood.  The regular way.  I got poked a lot.  Apparently some of the IV antibiotics are pretty hard on your veins.  I had a fever on and off for a few days. 
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and you know where you are and how you got there, but everything is closing in on you and you're so fucking scared of something that you don't even know what it is, that you freak the fuck out and cry?  I called for the nurse and someone came in to take my blood sugar (they were doing it every hour for the first few days) and I say "No.  Not now.  Get the nurse, I'm freaking out."  And jesus, my fucking knee hurts like a bitch.  I get a new gown, some cold water, ibuprofen and an oxycodone.  It's only 5mg. so nothing to get excited about.  The next day I start watching tv.  I mean, they've got cable.  I don't have cable at home.  Cable, narcotics and regular meals that are brought to me in bed.  And a bathroom right next to my bed.  I don't have any of that at home.  I don't know if it's like Stockholm Syndrome, but I really start to like the hospital.  Everyone is so nice to me and it's their job to make sure I'm comfortable.  And doctors are always dropping by with their med students.  One day I had like 5 different doctors in my room at once.  Apparently I'm an interesting case.  Dr. Winthrop informs me that I have a special visitor.  The "Chief of Everything" this hospital, all the hospitals, he's making the rounds at Good Sam today and he's gonna pop in for a few minutes.  He seemed like a nice enough guy.  Fairly old, white beard, very academic looking.  He doesn't need to wear scrubs anymore, he's wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches.  He looks more like a professor.  He probably teaches.  It's a teaching hospital, after all.  Anyway, he's there along with Dr. Winthrop (he's probably in his mid-30s.  He's pretty cute.  I think he's also colorblind.), Dr. Sands  (Mark Sands.  The Kid.  He's a resident. He's 27 and looks like he's still in high school.  I have a little crush on him.)  and three other doctors who's names I don't remember.  He asks if he can look under the bandage on my knee.  I developed a hematoma that morning.  The day before in the shower I ran hot water over my knee for several minutes because it fucking felt good.  The heat brought blood to the surface and it pooled under the skin.  I noticed it in the morning before I went to the bathroom and said "As soon as I move, that's going to break open."  And it did.  So they bandaged it.  Anyway, they took the bandage off and it was pretty nasty.  Blood and pus and yuck.  And Dr. Sands is all "Maybe we should get a culture?"  And for the bazillionth time, someone asks me how I hurt my knee in the first place.
Every doctor, every nurse, everyone asks me that fucking question.  I thought they'd write it in my chart.  I went out dancing, I jumped, I landed weird and I must've jarred it.  It didn't hurt at all for a few days, then it hurt more then it swelled up and now I'm here.  This is why I don't dance.  Originally, I thought I hurt my knee during sex later that night, but the dancing thing makes more sense.
 
Did I mention that I have NO health insurance? No fucking insurance.  I qualify for various programs/grants whatever, that the hospital will cover most of my bill.  I've been out of work for a long time now, going to interviews and shit, looking for temp work.  The day before I went to the hospital, a temp agency left a message that they had a job for me.  As it is, it's going to be at least another 2 weeks before I can really get around.  After the surgery on my knee, there's an open wound (they can't close it up because the infection could come back) and they hooked me up to a wound vac.  Which is more or less, a vacuum attached to a hose that's taped over the wound (filled with black foam) that sucks crap from the wound to keep the infection out.  The one at the hospital is like 10 lbs and the size of a large briefcase.  The one I have now is about 5lbs, compact and comes in a carrying case I wear like a messenger bag.  Can you imagine what it's like walking around with this fucking thing?  I haven't been out since they put it on me on Friday.  I have to go to the hospital 3X a week to have the dressing changed.  It doesn't hurt though.  It was worse before I had the vac because I had gauze dressings that had to be changed every day.  The first couple days after surgery were the worst.  The doctors aren't very careful.  They just take the dressing off, even if it's a bit dry.  It pulls at your skin.  It pulls at the open wound.  It's like having your flesh torn off.  They told the nurse to give me some morphine, but unfortunately, they didn't tell him until they were already fucking around with things and it hurt so fucking bad you could hear me screaming down the hall.  Then the morphine kicked in.  Too late, but still.  Morphine...  that's some good shit.
 
Anyway, I'm tired and I'm gonna go to bed.  I will regale you with further stories of my stay in the hospital at a later date.  I'll tell you about how after coming out of surgery and still fucked up from the anesthesia, apparently I was thinking about Dave Chappelle and said "I'm Rick James, bitch!" to my mom while being wheeled to my room.  The nurse thought it was funny.


Anyway, that's about it for now.  I just wanted to put something up here and let people know what's been going on.


Monday, July 11th, 2005
12:52 pm
Nooooooooooo! Fuck!
I started an entry about an hour ago. I was talking about the situation at home with my parents and stuff. I was writing a lot and it felt pretty good to get it out there. Then, about ten minutes ago, the blinky cursor froze and the letters I typed halted. I figured the computer was just thinking or whatever it does and the words would appear in a few seconds. Then my computer spontaneously rebooted. All the clocks are ok, so I know there wasn't an outage. There may have been a power surge...  Anyway, I was pretty pissed off for a few minutes and swore at the computer a lot. Then I figured this is God's (or fate, the cosmos, the universe, what-have-you) way of telling me that I probably shouldn't post the things I just wrote, as it could stir up a lot of trouble. Then again, I might just have a virus.

Whatever, I think I'm gonna head over to Powell's.

Current Mood: irritated
Sunday, July 10th, 2005
5:16 pm
Waitin' for the bus
Ever since I started my lj the other day, I've been telling myself that I need to post at least every couple days, even if I don't have anything particularly interesting to write about. So right now, I've got plenty to write about, but I'm conflicted.
 
See, my friends and parents are a big part of my life, and naturally I talk about them a lot.  But it's always been semi-private conversations or email, so I can pretty much say what I want.  But when I stop and realize who will actually be reading this, I feel like I should censor myself...  I'm not talking about writing blatantly hurtful things about people, or anything, but more about privacy issues.  Even though something might directly involve me, and I should be able to write about it, am I wrong to write about it here where anyone can read it?  More to the point, do the other parties involved have the right to get pissed off at me if they read what I've written, specifically because it IS private and anyone COULD read it? My right to self-expression and full disclosure vs. their right to privacy.
 
I'll try to do right by myself and bag the whole self-consciousness bullshit. I'm just going to write like I've always written- "I don't give a fuck, I'm just telling the truth"- and if anyone's got a problem with, you know how to reach me.
 

So... Thursday, at the bottom of the hill, waiting for the bus to get downtown.  Sitting on the curb minding my own business when this spindly middle aged woman in short shorts sits down next to me and starts babbling at me.  I had no fucking idea who she was and why she was talking to me, but she kept talking about her cat.  Her cat follows me around and sometimes after I get on the bus, he sits around for a while waiting for me to come back. And I knew she was talking about the cat... the black/white/gray calico cat with the patch of black around it's eye. I love that fuckin' cat.  It doesn't have a collar, so I never knew who it belonged to, never knew it's name, never even knew if he was a he or a she. His name is George.  His owner lives in the condoplex down the street.  She's kind of a nut, probably a lush, and perhaps a bit racist. 
 
She told me about her other cat, who's name I can't recall, though I've seen around the neighborhood.  "She's a little nigger... totally black."  Then she leaned in very close and grabbed my arm, reeking of alcohol, her speech slurred and intimated that she'd just had a few cocktails at the bar down the block. I took mental note that it was just past noon, when she went on to say that it's early but it's her day off and she works her fucking ass off  24/7 cleaning houses. I felt a little tension so I joked "Shit, a few drinks is a pretty good way to start any day..."   But dude, she was FUCKED UP! 
She tried to talk to this guy at the stop who lives across the street and he just wasn't havin' it.  Dude was black and I wondered if it was because he'd heard her use the N word or if he knows her already and she's fucked up like this a lot and doesn't want to deal with it.
 
Anyway, I was pretty relieved when the bus pulled up.
4:36 pm
Mix cd
Okay, this isn't exactly what I'd envisioned when I had the idea to put together a mix cd.  I've already burned some stuff for him (Ben Lee, Weezer, Pulp, Pumpkin's b-sides and whatnot, and I wanted to keep the repeats to a minimum. There were a bunch of songs that didn't make the final cut because I simply didn't have enough space.  I used iTunes, but the songs weren't in mp3 format, which would have allowed me to do more. Also, I'll admit I made a couple inappropriate choices toward the end because they don't fit with the rest of the cd, but I'm impatient and didn't want to wait however many weeks to make another mix cd or make a 2 disc set because that seems like overkill to me.

Rob Gordon would probably be disappointed in me.  Fuck him.  You'll probably be disappointed in me. Fuck you, too.  I did try to mix it up a little, though, by varying tempo now and then.  Also, I tried to capture the up/down emotional rollercoaster feeling.

  1. Mad Dog 20/20 - Teenage Fanclub
  2. Jamie - Weezer
  3. Your Body Is A Wonderland - John Mayer  (I'm sorry, but it had to be done.  I've never had a reason to include it before.)
  4. Kate - Ben Folds Five
  5. How To Survive A Broken Heart - Ben Lee
  6. So I Fall Again - Phantom Planet
  7. Say Yes - Elliott Smith
  8. You're Not the Girl You Think You Are - Crowded House
  9. Paper Bag - Fiona Apple
  10. Song For the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
  11. Train In Vain - The Clash
  12. Rosalita - Gomez
  13. Late In the Day - Supergrass
  14. Halah - Mazzy Star
  15. Crimson & Clover - Tommy James & the Shondells
  16. Heartbreak Beat - Psychedelic Furs
  17. Sonnet - The Verve
  18. The Birds In Your Garden - Pulp
  19.  Trying To Throw Your Arms Around the World - U2
(Here's where I ruined it.  Clearly, these don't fit in with the theme of the mix.  If I'd been making a cd about 20-something angst, well, they'd be perfect. But I love them anyway.)
  20.  Lost In the Supermarket - The Clash
  21.  Why Georgia? - John Mayer

And yeah, I know I shouldn't cop to liking John Mayer.  But I only like a few of his songs.  I still think Dave Matthews Band is crap.  So please don't think too badly of me, k?
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005
11:31 pm
So I finally made it out of the house today around 4 and went downtown. I ran into Caleb and Hannah, but they were on their way home. I grabbed WWeek and the Merc, headed over to Powells, picked out some books that I never got around to looking at... I left around 7 because I was hungry and light headed. All in all, a big fat fucking waste of time. But at least I made it out, right?

Starting a lj was Caleb's suggestion. I can chronicle the drama, my friends can choose to be in the loop if they want, reply if they want, and it's not intrusive like chat.

I've been a bit bothered ever since Monday night/Tuesday morning. I've been seeing someone for just about a month now. He's a good guy, he treats me well, my friends like him, I like him. We've been spending a lot of time together lately. I've been sleeping over a couple times a week for the last two weeks.

I'm a spazz and haven't had a lot of relationships, if you could even call them that, and the relationships I've had haven't lasted very long. There's a lot of shit I could go into but I'm too lazy right now... but I'm learning a lot about how not to be. Unlearning certain behaviors and patterns.

Well, as everyone who knows me knows, I have some issues. Family issues, relationship issues, body image issues, self-esteem issues etc. And one of my biggest fears is that because of these things, it scares people off. Too much bullshit for someone to handle. But he says everyone has issues and it's probably a good idea to know what someones issues are, but it's not his place to judge/nor is he going to judge people because of it, and it really comes down to the individual making a choice to work on their issues/make a change or to leave it alone. And his whole thing is that you can't compare your life to someone elses and say that what someone else goes through is better or worse or "they've got their shit together" because you really don't know.

Apart from all that stuff, he said wanted to make sure we were on the same page about what we are. So we had a State of the Union Address from round 1-2:30 AM.
He says that he's into me, and really likes spending time with me and (obviously) the sex is nice. And it's definitely more than casual, more than friends, but that he's not like "deeply in love with me". Which I didn't expect him to, but it kind of knocks you down a peg to hear it put like that.
He says he's not sure where it's going (and that's ok), or exactly how he feels about me (that's ok too). But what worries me is when he talks about the "spark". There's that intangible spark that we're all looking for and he's not feeling it (yet?). He's still waiting for the spark to tell him what to do. What bothers me is that I don't know what exactly the "spark" is for him. I figure it's lust, but I have no idea. So often in my experience, the spark has been one sided... and we both know that the spark may never happen, but we don't come right out and say it. But for now, we're having a good time and that's enough.

He also says he has a hard time telling if I'm really that into him. Like he thinks I'm just killing time with him. I told him that probably like him a lot more than I should (than is safe), but if it seems like I'm holding back, it's probably because I am. I just don't know what to do. It's a thin line I have to walk. I want to show him how much I DO like him, but I don't want to overwhelm him. It never occured to me that I might have difficulty showing affection, but I think I do. We don't hold hands in public or anything... I would, I'd like to, and I think I even asked him about it once, but for some reason, I always worry about encroaching on his personal space. I'd love to just be able to kiss him in public, standing on the sidewalk waiting for the light to change or something. So why haven't I done it? I don't know.

I know it's lame ass high school bullshit, but I'm going to make him a mix cd. I'll post a list later.

Current Mood: anxious
3:23 pm
First entry
Hmm... shit. I gotta get out of the house, so I'll do this later.
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