Retail Therapy

retail therapyWhat do you do when you’re too sick to be in public for very long, the gym is a cesspool of sweaty germs, it’s too cold to be outside, and your doctor tells you to exercise anyway?

Engage in retail therapy!

My pulmonologist recommended that I get 30 minutes of exercise a day, in 5 minute intervals. This order coincided with the deposit of a nice fat federal tax refund. There was a list of things I have been waiting to purchase for my home, and I decided that shopping would be the best way to get my exercise. I would drive there, walk around for 5 minutes and get what I need, check out and go home.

A coworker called me out on my Foursquare checkins, since the notifications pop up on his phone. He didn’t see how I could possibly be as sick as I claimed to be on Twitter. Well, this is why – I was getting my doctor-prescribed exercise in a useful and fun way. I usually went straight home, laid on my bed, and had a nebulizer treatment to recover. I won’t always be limited to short spurts of exercise, nor will I have the money for the purchases of the last week…but the week of lung hell that I just endured….retail therapy was just what the doctor ordered.

TMI Friday: Being on Steroids for Lousy Lungs can Give you a Better Rack

sexy hospital gownIn the past month, I’ve filled over 20 prescriptions. In addition to playing “profession patient”, I’ve become the Foursquare mayor of several different pharmacies and medical clinics. I feel like my local Walgreens is the pharmacy equivalent of Cheers – “where everybody knows your name” (In fact, thinking about it makes me want to drown my sorrows in a Flaming Moe).

It started with seeing the hormone doctor. He put me on progesterone, which was supposed to temper my mood swings, make me sleep through the night and help me lose weight. The hormone pills didn’t help… Despite having the obvious signs of progesterone deficiency, the lab results showed that my normal hormones with vitamin/mineral deficiencies. My Vitamin D was low enough that they gave me an osteoporosis-fighting prescription drug.

About a week later, I started retaining water like a bloated water balloon. My blood pressure reading was sky-high, despite no prior signs of hypertension. So I went to my primary care doctor who gave me Lasix, a diuretic to help my body drain off the water weight and lower my blood pressure. It literally gets you running to the restroom every 30 minutes. Lasix makes your body deficient in potassium, so I’m taking a potassium supplement too. I got some sexy compression stockings to help my circulation and force out excess fluid in my legs. And you know how I had to get my wedding ring cut off a few weeks ago? My replacement cubic zirconia ring, which is 2 sizes larger, is already too small because of the swelling in my hands.

Then the poor air quality caught up with me. I started coughing and wheezing when I was outside, or whenever I exerted myself for anything beyond climbing a flight of stairs. I was choking and coughing in my sleep, which is not a good sign with sleep apnea. I started having constant chest pain. When I presented for Ignite Salt Lake, I thought the tightness in my chest was from nerves…but it was pleurisy. I was in urgent care with an asthma attack 2 weeks ago, where they sent me home with steroids and a big box of nebulizer vials. Since then, I’ve been back to urgent care, spent a long day in the ER, and have seen my new pulmonologist. He’s treating my dyspnea and sleep apnea problems more aggressively, and he’s strongly suggesting surgery. After lab work, chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gasses, and lots of waiting in freezing cold rooms in thin hospital gowns…I’m worn out. The meds have made me gain weight at a rate I can’t seem to control (although I know most is due to fluid retention rather than bad eating habits).

So what’s the perk with all these steroids and weight gain? My boobs. I wasn’t small to begin with, but I’ve gone up almost two full cup sizes so far in 2011. A new bra I purchased a month ago leaves me spilling out. My newest blouse needs to be safety-pinned between buttons. People are no longer making eye contact with me in public, but they’re definitely looking. I don’t know how much of this excess size will stick around when my body calms down, but it was perfect timing for filling out my Valentines Day linger aie. If you’re considering a breast augmentation, maybe you should try going on steroids first.

Happy TMI Friday everyone!

Wordless Wednesday: The Impatient Outpatient

Asthma sucks

Sorry for the recent lack of blog posts, I’m busy being a professional patient. Air quality is bad, and my lungs are totally out of whack. And I’m sick of being sick.