He knows the routine by heart now. He knows the way around the building like a seasoned veteran. He pushes me in my wheelchair without any need of help from anyone . Fifteen ,going on thirty, he makes the turns in the hospital warrens completely sure of where he’s headed . Left , right, up , down, to the elevator with the big yellow circle. Up to cardiology. Sign in, give your papers to the nurse, settle down to wait. They call his name, and he pushes me completely confidently, not that he needs me, but he knows that I need to know what they will tell him when he goes back there. He turns right for the EKG room , and takes his shirt off without being asked. He smiles at me , and asks me if “I” am alright? I am , so we go to the next room to get his pacemaker checked by the Medtronic expert. This is his second implant to have had. He got his first one when he was 9 months old. His second when he was 7 years old. He has a rare heart condition called Complete AV block of the heart. So he’ll always have to have a pacing unit , he knows. He doesn’t seem to mind, doesn’t see himself as disabled. Sees it as more of an aggravation than anything else. Time out of his busy boy’s schedule . The Medtronic ladies come in , and he flirts with them , of course, like any boy with his shirt off should. Then we wait for the doctor . It’s a bit of a wait so my big boy gives me his special smile and wants to know if I’m okay? He’s concerned that all this has taken too long, and I am worn out now. I tell him I’ll be fine , a little while longer. Finally, the doctor comes and does the regular exam , and tells us , we’ll be alright to wait and get a new unit until Summer . My son seems unfazed as usual , his world hasn’t changed at all, he is just worried over wheeling me out to the van so I can get comfortable. I am suddenly struck with wonder . Wondering when he grew from a toddler needing , needing , to this half grown man worrying worrying over me? When did I miss that drastic of a change? Or did it come about slowly somehow, slipping by me like quiksilver through the days til suddenly there he stands? I’m not sure, but it has happened just the same. And something tells me it will happen again just that quickly and again , and again, til all the silver has gone from the glass and his own big boy stands there with the smile, asking ” Are you allright?”
Well, I just arrived home from my most recent “luxury hotel stay” (aka. hospital stay. Hey, if the price fits…..) I guess I should start from the beginning, or at least give you the general idea. I have lupus. I have been diagnosed with it since I was 19. I’m 33. So, I’ve had my share of hospital, ER , and doctor visits. It becomes a regular part of your life, whether you want it to, or not. Lupus of any kind , is not fun. It turns your life into the worst kind of rollercoaster of physical , emotional, and spiritual proportions. And not only a roller coaster , but a roller coaster ride for a terribly motion sick person, who’s afraid of heights and fast moving vehicles.
Lupus can come in all kinds of forms. It can affect you anywhere in your body at any time. I have a particularly tricky kind, called systemic lupus erythemotous. With organ involvement. Mine particulary seems to have taken a shine to my heart, which is wear the trouble started this weekend.
I had my gallbladder taken out about a month ago, (completely un-related to lupus) , THEN I got the stomach flu, and THEN I got dehydrated. Of course, I was also exhausted , ( wonder why? 😉 ) and apparently your heart doesn’t operate at it’s best under those conditions. And if you already have a weakened heart, well…..fill in the blanks. So Saturday after another round of heaving my dinner up, I experienced the WORST chest pain I have ever felt. You know it’s bad when the EMS guys say rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 and you just know you would kick the guy if you could find the strength. We’re talking 18 wheeler rollin’ over ya’, ride to the top of the world G- force sized pain. And the vertigo and nausea?!? Fuhgeddaboutit. Like eating 2 dozen donuts, a whole bag of pink cotton candy, drinking a blue slushie and then deciding to go on the tilt- a – whirl. So, off for the ambulance ride, I went , to the local hospital, 10 miles away, so they can be sure I can make the 60 mile ambulance ride to the “big” hospital.
Well, after a day and a half of enjoying the hospital’s hospitality , (and thinking to myself multiple times, “How MUCH blood did you say you needed?!?”) 2 CT scans, 6 X rays, 2 Gamma scans ( different from an X ray, not sure how) , 1 chemically induced stress test, 2 stomach injections, one upper glute ( rear- end for us unsophisticated types) injection, 6 blood draws, 2 attempted IV tries , 1 successful, 6 doctors, a whole slew of nurses, techs, and people whose titles I may never know, I am home.
It was decided it all amounted to lupus. See , lupus can give you a bad time when you’re feeling comparatively healthy. But , when your immune system gets down from other factors, it just takes the reins and runs with it. And pretty much all you can do is just hang on, medicate yourself as the doctors order , and wait for it play out.
So anywho, despite all that, I think I ‘m on the mend, or getting there anyway. Well, at least I left with my sense of humor intact because when the doctors recommended that I take a little better care of myself, and maybe try to rest more, and do less, I just kind of looked at them cross-eyed, and said , “Uh, you DO know I have children, right?”