February 08, 2011
Ambulances, H2O, FM, ME Newsletter Vol. 4, Issue 6
I took my very first ambulance ride Sunday night, well… technically Monday morning. Wasn’t at all as I imagined. Certainly wasn’t a mellow sedan-like cruise, only bare brass cube-truck suspension with a lot of equipment and bright white ceilings. And two very nice techs.
I never really cared much for water. Now, I’m pretty sure it’s my enemy – a necessary evil. In an effort to comply with healthy standards, and to see if hydration eases fibromyalgia, since December I have been attempting to get down those eight required glasses a day. I never managed it. Five was always my tops. And I started to feel horrible. Bloated hands and feet, sloshy stomach, frequent bathroom breaks, interrupted sleep for more bathroom breaks. I eventually slowed that effort down and resumed my normal liquid intake per day. Most days, I could handle three; some days I know I barely got one in.
The physiology of fibromyalgia is linked to dehydration, at least that what a majority of studies indicate. The trigger points on the muscles are not sufficiently lubricated, so when they contract, they stay that way. Tense, never relaxed. The best way to describe how FM feels is this: imagine the worst bruise you ever had, and then imagine putting extreme pressure on it. Now, imagine your entire body feels that pain, all the time, constantly. I’ve learned to tune it out. Massage helps if you can stand the pain. I’m pretty good with pain: tattooing, piercing, living with FM since I was 11 years old.
Ambulance stats: blood glucose 176, BP +10 upper and lower, O2 sats way down. Started an IV, put me on oxygen. In the ER, heart rate was a little high – pain related, and white cell count was slightly elevated. The hospital discharge paperwork says “acute myalgia.”
Three bags if IV fluid, two dilaudid injections later, I was finally able to stop crying, and collapse into a sort of sleepy state. I kept hearing myself saying, “shit, shit, shit… ow, ow, ow.”. I confused and amused the emergency room caretakers when describing my pain levels. Like a shark gnawing on my legs. Like an anaconda wrapped around my chest. Like my arms are being ripped from my body. Like there’s an expanding balloon inside my head and I think it’s going to blow my eyeballs out. My kidneys were hurting, bad. Every organ is a muscle. Fibromyalgia is an equal opportunity muscle attacker.
After the second IV bag, I druggedly pushed the call button. I had to pee, thank GOD. A chest xray showed no pneumonia. Lungs are muscles, too, and people with FM often get pneumonia when those muscles seize up.
In at 1:00 am, out at 7:00 am, it’s now 2:00 pm and I am able to sit up at home. Here I am, with orders: 800 mg of Motrin every six hours. That’s a max dose, and not the first time I’ve had to go that high. Eventually, I’ll wean myself down to 600 twice a day. They sent me home with Vicodin for pain, which I won’t take unless I need to call an ambulance again, and orders not to exercise for two weeks. What that means is I will have to rebuild my routine again starting at 15 minutes and hopefully getting back to 35 minutes within a few months.
But the worst prescription of all is this: dramatically increased fluids. I still haven’t totally stopped cramping or having muscle spasms, but they are manageable. I am going to lie back down now, and try not to flinch when my inquisitive cat walks up my body to see if it’s really me under the blanket or a moaning, snorting monster.
Later, I’ll get up and pee, and medicate, and drink, and lie down again, and repeat. And be very happy about it.
Post-log: the emergency room documented “pharyngitis” but did not treat it. I suppose they were distracted by the other major problem. However, that little oversight has lead to another major problem diagnosed today: acute streph. I have now been armed with horse-size antibiotics, taken the mule-sized Vicodin, and allowed myself a sweet consolation prize vanilla shake. Good night, I say. Good night.
Posted by jaselin at February 8, 2011 07:43 PM