Monday, April 13, 2009

I think I'm suffering from post-partum depression or I ran over a puppy on Saturday

So, since the first week of March I have visited the local Emergency Room three times and spent a multitude of hours with various doctors. It all started when I forgot how to breathe.

I was sitting in a lecture, mesmerized by the soothing drone of a speaker and his well-worded powerpoint slides, and I noticed my heart rate rapidly increasing and my sudden inability to catch my breath. It sort of freaked me out because I have been breathing most of my life. I guessed I was having a heart attack, which seemed quite improbably given my superhuman stamina and kryptonite resistant immune system. After my first hot date at the ER, the docs told me I was probably stressed out and prescribed me some chill pills. But since my heart rate continued to travel in the left lane of the Autobahn and my breathing became more labored throughout the week, my superhero friends Matthew and Layne ended up driving me back to the ER again. On, this six-hour fun-filled visit, at which this dude actually shaved my chest in order to achieve a better seal for the EKG sensor, I felt like I was watching a prime-time network medical drama rerun. As I lay on the gurney trying to reacquire the oxygen I was craving, one man lost his left testicle in a bike accident, a woman attempted to OD on prescription narcotics because she wanted to be with her husband who died five months ago, and a 7-year old girl fell and suffered a tremendous head injury and was vomiting all over the hallway outside my room. Meanwhile, as I endured a tinted CT scan to check my circulatory system, Layne and Matt furiously played scrabble in the waiting room. By the way, when the technician injected warm iodine into my veins so the CT scan could follow my circulation, I immediately experienced the sensation of peeing in my pants. I had to check myself.
So, the battery of tests showed a strong heart, good circ, and healthy lungs. Later at home I was still freaking out and clueless because I felt like I had a 50 lbs weight on my chest and when I tried to walk, run, exercise, eat, or have a conversation I became virtually breathless. Then I read Matthew Chapter 8 and was reminded that even the winds and waves obeyed Jesus.

The next day a doctor called and informed me that a blood test revealed that my “TSH” levels were through the roof and that indicated I was hypo-thyroid. This, in a way, was a relief, because I did not enjoy the high-life induced by the prescription chill pills.
- Seal the cracks before it completely collapses! (from Psalm 60) “You have shaken our land and split it open. But you have raised a banner for those who honor you- a rallying point in the face of attack.”
Another day: I’m having trouble breathing again today. My primary care physician wants me to take thyroid meds for life. I was a wee bit skeptical and nervous about that and asked for a two week reprieve. Of course that means I need to deal with these symptoms. Other people suggested heart stress tests to rule out angina or other heart related issues.
Finally, one doctor suggested my inhibited breathing and chest pressure might be due to an alien inhabitating my esophagus, as depicted in Ridley Scott’s ALIENS. Fortunately the X-rays revealed no such thing, so I probably have been dealing with excessive Acid Reflux or a condition called GERD, which actually can be quite serious, but is much easier to deal with than the potential cocooned infant alien’s head suddenly bursting through your chest wall. So I’ve been on the purple pill for several weeks and things have been much more stable. Not symptom free, but stable.
Today I drove to the state capital to see a nurse practitioner who specializes in endocrinology. I am now forming the belief that it may be wiser to seek medical advice from an NP specialist rather than an overpaid MD. She quickly scanned my records asked me some questions, tapped my knee with a hammer, and then prodded my semi-swollen thyroid, which by the way is a butterfly-shaped reservoir glob of cells, glands, and nerves that covers the inside of the front of your neck around the (males) Adam’s apple sector. The Thyroid is like a dispatcher that sends hormones throughout your system to regulate just about EVERYTHING in your body’s system. It’s kind of important to human functioning I think. Anyway, her conclusion: Because my blood tests show my rapidly fluctuating between hyper- and hypo-thyroid, that I might have a condition referred to as POSTPARTUM THYROIDITIS. WTH, OVER? Does not compute. I am not, have never been, and never will be PREGNANT. Ok, but Thyroiditis, is a thyroid dysfunction triggered as an autoimmune response to all sort of things like hormonal change or stress. Have I been under stress over these past three years? Whatever. But, the good news is, if indeed I am dancing with Thyroiditis, then this may be a temporary, 4-12 month ordeal as opposed to a life-long condition. Well, that would be an amazing answer to prayer, praise God!
Next step. On Wednesday I’m heading back to Topeka to see a Gastro-dude in order to prepare to have a camera shoved down my throat. This should be interesting since I am already walking around with the feeling like ET is chilling in my food processor.
Honestly though, all of this seemed to start when I began my Fasting FACEBOOK for LENT experience. I’m back on FACEBOOK as of today, so let’s see what happens. 
Oh, about the puppy. ON Saturday, I ran over a puppy. Besides a small sapling that I uprooted with my Dad’s truck as a teen, this puppy was the first object I’ve ever hit with my car. It was quite a traumatic experience for me and my beautiful passenger. The hardest part for me was not the death of this cute dog, but, after parking and walking back to the scene of the accident, and observing the owner, an elderly woman, scoop up her lifeless black terrier from the roadway, and walk, dignified, canine in hand, blood and entrails covering her clothing, back to her house. If ever I had the power to heal, I wish that I had been able to use it then.
Is there a correlation in all of this? If so, please tell me. In my weakness I find strength.