Sunday, September 25, 2011

Where's Jelly? - 10thDoM Deathbed Revenge

I'm not much for writing these days. It has been an interesting summer. Fall is now here, and I warily look forward to a more productive existence.

My body has pretty much rejected me at this point. Two things happened this summer: First, a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos, a genetic collagen defect that affects my ligaments and make them hyperextensive and come with lots of other fun things... Like... Easy and frequent bruising, extreme nearsightedness, strange body relative measurements (I have a wingspan of 5'10" but I am just 5'7"), the lovely early onset of normal degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis and periodontitis, chronic fatigue, GI problems (more on that in a bit), and my personal favorite, the ability to subluxate and/or dislocate certain joints easily or even at will (see left hip and left wrist!)

On the plus side, this is the answer to many, many unanswered medical questions throughout my life. Like - why do I have such low blood pressure and such a high heart rate? And why can't I see?!? And why are my kneecaps moving to the sides of my knees? And why can I jump rope through my arms? And why, oh, why was pregnancy so unbelievably painful? More importantly, why did I do it twice?!? That's the masochism, a completely unrelated condition and a blog for another day.

Probably the most interesting thing about the condition is that I've always had to have a second dose of local anesthetics and I've always been able to count down far more than I was told on general anesthetics. Nearly all painkillers are completely useless to me, and morphine, intravenous morphine has no more effect on me than saline solution.

Which leads us to the GI problems, aka the second thing that happened (because there were only two!), and where I've been all summer. On Mother's Day, I woke up with the most horrid vertigo. I thought I had some sort of hangover. I don't really get hangovers though - a little upset tummy but never a headache or the like. I'm no lightweight, but I attributed it to breaking my cardinal rule of drinking: Don't mix alcohols. And I'd imbibed on a couple of glasses of wine fairly early in the evening and then a couple of shots of good ol' Jack Daniels straight from the bottle later. Waking up with vertigo was just proof that my rule, which had never before been tested, was right on target.

That vertigo lasted a week. Shortly thereafter, I was getting sick every time I ate. I gained 20 pounds, had a voracious appetite, horrid acid reflux, intense bloating and pain, felt like I had the flu, had achy femurs, ZERO energy, was dehydrated, nauseated, and my ankles were swelling. And no, I was not pregnant! If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that, I would have a LOT of nickels! Anyhow after having ultrasounds on my gallbladder to check for gallstones, pelvis to check for cysts and cancer, and an upper GI endoscopy to check for Celiac sprue, all of which came back relatively clear, it was determined that I have IBS (yes, I know, lovely) and some sort of wheat/gluten allergy or intolerance.

If I had known all I had to do was not eat gluten! Argh! I had multiple times that my boss wanted to send me home from work because, despite the weight gain and the fact that it was summer, I looked gaunt and pale. And there were times my friends wanted to call an ambulance because I looked so disgustingly horrid. No, life this summer was not fun, folks!

So, in case you were wondering, that's where I have been. I also now have a happier yet much busier life. Playing euphonium in a brass band and a wind ensemble, singing in choir, riding bikes and training to ride across Iowa next summer, teaching lots, taxiing kids, hanging out with great friends, and embarking on a new incarnation of an old relationship. Despite the sickness, I had a much happier summer than I have in years. I have a difficult time writing in my happier times. The muse just seems to hibernate. The goal, then, would be to try to write while I'm happy and see what comes out.

Anyhow, despite the revenge that my deathbed is attempting to exact on me far too early in life, I'm intermittently back and happier for it.


  1. jeepers. Glad to see you back, and gladder you're feeling better. Be well!

  2. Hey non fiction qualifies. Glad you sorted out what it is even if living with it is less than perfect.

  3. You've had a really tough time of it, girl. I'm glad you're feeling better.

  4. I have been wondering where you've been... and missing your writes. Glad to see you, along with all of your epiphanies. -J