A Unicorn – Medical Mystery

“You are in great shape”. I hear this quite often. The puzzle is what is causing the dizziness, confusion at times, drunk feeling constantly, syncope (passing out). Some specialists get excited when they see my test results. I don’t have any other existing health issues, so there isn’t anything that could be part of another ailment. So many tests. So many negative results. So many trials of medications. I now understand the term Practicing Medicine. Frustration is something I have to willfully keep at bay daily as not having a true diagnosis and trying to “live” with this isn’t my first or second choice, let me tell you.

The good news. I am healthy! At least for a guy in his mid forties. Just a couple questions. Why do I pass out? Why do I feel drunk all the flippin time? Why am I not able to finish my thoughts or sentences some days? Thanks Andie for helping me with that. Why do I get hit with sudden extreme dizzy spells and have to grab something to steady myself? Why does my heart rate jump to a hundred and eighty eight beats per minute while sitting down doing nothing? Why does my heart rate drop into the high forties while sitting doing nothing? Why did I end up having constant burning sensation in my legs? Why do I shake some days like I have Parkinson’s? Why am I confused and don’t know simple things or places some times?

I’ve been called a medical mystery. I’ve had specialists excited, thinking they knew what I had and were going to solve this. Only to come to the same conclusion as others in the past. On to the next test or tests. On to the next specialist. On to the next medicine.

Hurry up and wait. Did you know the medical field can take forever to get you in to see them? It could be weeks or even months. Maybe months just to see them for the consultation. We get our hopes up and wait more months to see them for the tests. Only to be told the same old things. This is where having a faith in God truly comes in handy. I don’t know how people without a faith can go through life with the curveballs we are thrown. It does help knowing that in the end, God’s got this. That’s what I always say, God’s got this. I have always wanted results right away. Hurry up, let’s go. As I was taught years ago through my work “Act Now, Do It Today, Get Results”. I keep reminding myself this may be part of my learning to slow down. I’m not a big fan. Just saying.

“You’re a unicorn”, one doctor told me. I had to inform them that most men do not want to be called a unicorn. I hate glitter, pixie dust and the like. Just to be clear. I’ve been told it may be years, five or ten, before doctors are able to positively get test results on my illness.

I keep hoping and praying that this will end soon and I will be able to get back to my abnormal life. When I’m having a pretty good day or days, I start to immediately think that I can live feeling drunk and maybe I can go back to work. Of course, this only lasts for the day or few before reality knocks me back with a crappy day or week or whatever.

I have to practice what I’ve always preached to our kids – Chin up, chest out. Keep going and it will get better. You’ve got this. You can do it, I know it! It will get better.

I believe this and stand by it. I will always stay positive. Chin up and chest out. Trust in God. He’s got this. Now if only I could be a Phoenix instead of a unicorn…or an albatross?

Chronic

Chron*ic      Persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.
Day one:

 

   My medical story starts back in the beginning of December 2016. I was at an annual conference for work. I awoke in the hotel like any other morning. Up early at 4:30. Watched some news, got ready for the day, went down and enjoyed breakfast with my coworkers and headed into the large room to enjoy hearing about our results and plans for the new year. An hour into the first presentation I started feeling uncomfortable. That feeling you get when you might pass out. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I passed out. Right there in the front row sitting next to my boss on my right and our regional boss on my left. In front of hundreds of people. I awoke to both bosses asking if I was alright. I was soaking wet. I felt better and took a cloth napkin to sop up my beaded, bald head. I don’t think anyone else noticed as we were all sitting. I was very warm, so I placed a cold bottle of Aquafina on my wrists to help cool down. It was probably twenty minutes later when the feeling came back. That extremely uncomfortable feeling. “Ugh, I’m going to pass out again” I thought to myself. I remember whispering to my bosses I didn’t feel good. The next thing I remember was my regional boss whispering my name. “Jeremy, are you alright? Do you need to leave the room? What can I do to help? My boss was as concerned and quickly gave me some cool water to drink. Our regional health resource manager was sitting at the end of our row and was kind enough to get me a bottle of orange juice. Guessing my sugar may have been a little low, I drank the juice.

   At the time of this event, I was a forty-two-year-old territory sales manager for a beverage company. I had worked for them for almost twenty-three years. I looked forward to the annual meeting. It was a time of reconnecting with coworkers whom had taken different rolls or moved to other locations throughout our multistate market. It was an exciting couple of days. Listening to our results and accomplishments for the year we were about to complete. Maybe winning an award or two.  

   I have never been one to have too many health issues. I did have a stomach thing that I was prescribed medicine for over twenty years earlier. I changed my eating habits and was able to drop the medicine. I have broken a couple bones. Had a stick in my eye. Nothing too bad. I have always strived to be healthy. To live medicine free.

   After drinking the juice, I felt better for a few minutes. Stopped up the sweat again from my beaded head and tried to listen to the speaker. Even took a few pictures of the presentation to remember some information and share with the team when I was back to the office. It was also a way for me to try to distract myself from this feeling. It didn’t work. I started to feel worse again. At this time my regional boss and our human resource manager helped me walk down the center aisle to leave the room. I did mention I was sitting in the front row. In a room with hundreds of people.

   I tried going into the restroom to splash my face. That was not working. I felt I was going to get sick. I went outside in the cold, crisp air. The air helped cool me down. I was concerned as I couldn’t seem to get it together. I couldn’t override this. After coming inside, it was suggested that an ambulance be called. I was told I needed to notify my wife, Andie, about the situation. This hadn’t occurred to me as I did not want to worry her. It will pass. I just need a little time. I’ll be fine, I always am.

   I’ve always been the guy that thinks mind over matter. Push through the pain. If it’s difficult you are learning or growing from it. This was different. I couldn’t control my symptoms. When I felt like I was going to pass out, I would try desperately to think through it. To no avail. My body was winning this battle.

   I was not going to go by ambulance. We were only a couple miles from a hospital. My bosses volunteered to take me. Andie was working and a couple hundred miles away when my boss called her. Being the best wife ever, she dropped everything she was doing and drove the several hours to meet me in the ER. Still sitting near the front doors when a meeting break revealed many concerned faces and voices inquiring about my health. It is such a great feeling to have this kind of support.

   The ride to the ER is not something I remember much about. I know I was concerned. Was I having a stroke? A heart attack? What is going on? I did not have any symptoms leading up to this event. This is not cool.

   After arriving at a well-known hospital in Detroit, going through the metal detector and clearing out my pockets, I found myself in a bed. I received the workup. Drug and alcohol tests came back negative. Electrocardiograph ECG to check my heart revealed it was working fine. It was still beating, a great thing in my eyes. Blood tests looking for any problems showed I was in the normal range with potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide, sodium, glucose, calcium, hemoglobin, white and red blood cell counts, lymphocytes, monocytes and the list went on and on and on. A full work up. I was given a halter monitor which is a device that monitors the heart rate. Let’s take a moment and discuss how halter monitors are applied. There are a few wire leads that need to be placed on your chest and surrounding areas so a good read can happen. I know I mentioned earlier I was bald. Did I mention I was a pretty hairy guy? My kids even say that I am a Sasquatch, maybe the missing link. Do you see where this is going? Sometimes it is necessary to shave a few spots, so the leads will properly adhere. This was the case. The male nurse working on me made the joke he felt like he was shaving Chewbacca. I guess to some I might look like a bald, good looking Wookiee from the Star Wars franchise. I can see it … Maybe? I mean they are intelligent. If only I could make the Chewbacca sound, that would have been hilarious. I digress. The decision was made to place me in a room and monitor me for the evening.


   My boss came in to check on me. Knowing people, you work with care for you as a person and not just a worker or coworker does the heart much good.

   I have to mention being in the emergency room in a Detroit hospital is quite the eye opener. This country boy heard many patients coming in with heroin overdoses. Through the curtain I could hear a doctor strictly talking with a man about how bad he was going to feel in the near future. I guess the man was dead when the police and emergency services arrived to him. They filled him with all kinds of medicines to bring him back. The reason he was told he was going to feel really crappy. There were young patients, elderly patients and everyone in between dealing with overdoses. It is scary how many people are dealing with addictions. I heard police calling in to ask for a doctor to state the time of death for a woman executed on the streets. It was around two o’clock in the afternoon!

   I was given a room with two beds. The second bed was vacant, and we were told Andie could stay the night utilizing the bed if other patients weren’t in need of it. It was evening, and I was feeling much better. The regional boss came to the room. He was concerned and genuinely showed empathy for me. He offered to pay for a hotel room for Andie or if she like he opened his house for her to stay the night with his family. A great guy. The human resources manager surprised me by visiting as well. He assured me not to worry about work and to just take care of myself and get better.

   Maybe around midnight a nurse notified us a patient was going to be my roommate. Andie was not going to be able to stay. We called different hotels, and everyone was booked. The other couple was in the same predicament.  They were not from the area and the wife had know where to go. I guess trying to sleep in the waiting room chairs was an option. Just not a good one. Since I was feeling better we made the decision to leave. It opened the bed for the other woman. The joys of having the tape ripped off my chest was a real party let me tell you. It may have looked like the movie Forty-Year-Old Virgin, but it didn’t sound like. I kept my cool.

   A few hours drive and we arrived home in the very early morning.

Follow my blog to hear my story.

   

Dandelion Jelly

My family and close friends suggested I start a blog after reading my day (May 3 2017). 


   Today I did something I thought I would never do.  After many gloomy, rainy days (I think I saw Noah’s ark pass by here yesterday) the sun is out and shining brightly today.  I saw some dandelions in the yard and near the woods and thought of an article I had read on dandelion jelly.  Yes, today I picked dandelions … on purpose … for fun!  In a million or so years you could have never made me think I would pick and enjoy picking dandelions.  I did it as a kid. Smeared them on my siblings, pop the heads off them (momma had a baby and her head popped off), etc.  Now is different. I’m was too busy to even take a second to glance at them.

   I have struggled for years with not being able to truly enjoy downtime. Oh, I have fun, but I never can truly just stop and not be thinking of other things I need to do. My job, things around the house are always haunting my thoughts. It seems I am chasing the clock, trying to hurry up so I can move on to the next project or whatever.  I haven’t had to punch a clock in the past twenty three years but somehow I always feel I need to push forward and keep moving. I’ve even expressed this to Andie, the Love of my Life. 

   God has decided to help me slow down. Against my will He has decided I needed a break from driving, the bustle of busy days, four hour sleep nights, constantly thinking and worrying about work, phone calls and the list goes on.  I am dealing with some medical issues that hopefully get resolved soon by the way.  In the interim, I am “stuck” at home unless my wife, one of the kids or a buddy takes me for some time away from home.  At first I was so upset.  I drive hundreds of miles every week and have never had to be restrained to home. I love my home. I love the beautiful yard, the animals, the creek and pond, trees and everything else God has blessed us with.  I just don’t enjoy the idea of not being able to leave whenever I feel like it and go wherever I want to go.  Well, I have had to get “used to it”.  I feel I have come along with not having “wheels”.  I am alright with it.  The beating the clock has been the biggest and hardest “opportunity” for me.

   Today, I decided to pick dandelions.  My first thought after bending down was this is dumb.  However, I was interested in trying the jelly so I pressed forward.  The recipe states you have to remove all the green from the tops so it is not bitter. Now this is time consuming.  I took a bowl and walked around picking yellow heads off the stems. Let me tell you, time consuming.  After the first couple minutes and looking into the bottom of the bowl, I came to the conclusion that dandelion jelly is not everywhere because you have to be crazy to take the time to pick twenty eight million dandelions!

   It was during this picking that I started to really notice the plant. It was not just a weed that I hated. It actually is a pretty yellow flower that has many beautiful characteristics about it.  Some are big. Some have a more condensed center of the flower. Bees enjoy them. Lady bugs, a wasp, some freaky looking bug I can’t identify – all enjoying the food from this weed.  I started thinking of this weed as a fruit that I was harvesting.  I listened to birds chirping in the trees near by. Heard Blitzen, Lilly’s buckskin quarter horse, nibbling grass on the other side of the fence. Just plain listened. I wasn’t in a hurry. I had nowhere to go. Truly felt I was receiving a lesson in slowing down. I feel so good right now just knowing that I can slow down.  I don’t have to worry or think about forty one different ideas or thoughts at the same time.

   I guess what I am saying is slow down and enjoy what is around you.  I am going to work really hard to do this myself everyday.  Enjoy everyday – I know this is a cliche. 
   Stop and smell the roses or if you are anything like me, stop and pick a dandelion.

   Dandelions pedals are steeping and will be ready to make jelly tomorrow.  For those of you who know how bad I cook, I’m not certain this will turn out.  I am enjoying the experience anyway.  I am told it should taste like honey.  We shall see.  

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑