I have a tendency to forget about routine and preventative care. It isn’t until I’m having problems that I seek help from the professionals. I lived happily with 4 impacted wisdom teeth far longer than I should’ve, until they became infected. I didn’t even know there was a problem until the infection had spread to my throat. I had to have a hefty dose of antibiotics before having them chiseled out of my face. Talk about traumatizing.
I lived amicably with my reproductive organs, dealing with the 5 days of bullshit they dished out every 28 days. And then one day, they stopped dishing out bullshit. This may have been the first sign that there was a disturbance in the force. After 18 years, and 216 periods, the day I stopped having them was cause for celebration. Really. Fuck periods. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so I figured it was just karma doing something nice for me. Not really, I knew it was a bad sign. The months passed, other parts of me were breaking down, so after a year and a half sans cyclical bleeding, I finally booked an appointment with women’s health. Imagine the look the nurse practitioner gave me when I told her I hadn’t cycled in 18 months. Like, hey dummy? Why for you wait that long to come see me? NO SOUP FOR YOU!
We went through the basics, pregnancy test, hormones, cbc, cmp, pap-schmear (sounds more fun that way), sti screening. It was also at this time that my weight was documented for the first time since I had married myself off to manchild. In 2006 I went in for a refill of Zoloft, and weighed in at an almost winter-ready weight in the 130’s, but on that day my weight barely broke 100. This was back when life was still pretty simple. I didn’t feel the greatest, but I also knew stress can do all sorts of weird things. I did what most of my doctors after that tried to do – assign the blame to my psychiatric illnesses. When she asked why I hadn’t made an appointment sooner, I told her I thought it was because I was stressed out from moving, buying a house, dealing with a cheating husband, and that once life straightened itself out, things (my girl guts) would go back to normal.
Without making this story any longer than it has to be, mostly because I’m blasting this post out on my phone with my most magical index finger, she finished her workup, to include a transvaginal ultrasound and a colposcopy (really fucking unpleasant), then referred me to my primary doctor on record to investigate the cause of my anemia, weight loss, and GI symptoms. I was diagnosed with secondary amenorrhea and anovulation, most likely due to whatever the hell else was going on with me. And now we know what whatever the hell else is. I had to take pills to periodically shed the endometrium, which was complete bullshit. There’s so much bullshit associated with being a female. I only did that twice, then never again. I went another year without a cycle, then they came back. Sort of. I had a few, and then they quit. Last year I averaged one every 3 months, each one lasting only 2 or 3 days. I think June is about the time they came back in full force. By August they were 9 days long. By October they were 11 days long. December’s was 15 days in length. Fifteen days of heavy bleeding. FIFTEEN DAYS. So imagine my relief, when it stopped. Oh, but wait, 5 days later (this past Saturday) it started again.
So this morning I’m sitting here, and I’m all floaty, and weeeeeee, I wonder if this is a problem? Isn’t it possible to bleed to death? Apparently going through one super every 2 hours for 11 days straight during december’s, and my current 1 per hour for 2 days, is considered super-heavy bleeding, and for a person who’s super anemic to begin with, fucking A, really is a medical emergency. They always tell you “eh, it looks like a lot, but it really isn’t.” But sometimes, they don’t really mean that. Sometimes it is a lot. Manchild talked to the triage nurse at the ER, then he called and told me to ready myself for the land of hurt. I’m not used to getting there and having my admission paper all filled out for me and not even having to wait. I’m a celebrity!
Room 2, cutest med tech EVER (ironically, the same kid who carried me out of my house when I broke my ankle) tells me to disrobe (with pleasure, good sir!). Doctor comes in (not cute, but can’t win ’em all), doctor makes a bloody mess with my exam, doctor orders labs. Doctor asks if I need anything for pain, as I claimed a 6 at intake, but I decline. I think back, and yep, this is my first ER visit that I haven’t been given dilaudid. It really does make the time pass more quickly when you’re drugged to the gills. Mental note made and filed away for future use.
The good news: “You’re not pregnant!” <—- well, obviously
The bad news: “You’re profoundly anemic. I’m going to need to give you some blood, and then I’d like to have you admitted inpatient.”
But wait, exactly how anemic? And aren’t blood transfusions bad? When your hemoglobin has dropped more than 2 points in less than two weeks, it seems transfusion is absolutely necessary. For the record, it was 4.2 pre-transfusion, and beforehand I was sitting pretty at 6.8. Still shitty, and did you know anemia causes postural tachycardia? I did, but somehow thought my current issue was from the lack of nicotine. Obviously, I’m a little slow to connect the dots these days. No wonder my brain feels broken. It needed blooooooooood. Does consuming the blood of others make me a cannibal or a vampire? I sure hope so. In all seriousness, I did try to talk my way out of it, but he had a strong case, and they usually do when I’m trying to weasel my way out of hospitalization. The drop was rapid enough, that my body didn’t have time to compensate and my kidneys were most likely dealing with a level of decreased blood flow because my renal function had taken a hit. Like it always does when ANYTHING happens. It appears hypoperfusion is kidney enemy #2, second only to my immune system. I submitted to the man, gave my consent, received two lovely units of blood, and a big fat progesterone pill. Say whaaaat? Someone forgot to mention that part. It’s to stop the bleeding. I have to take oral contraceptives for 2 weeks. This shit keeps getting better, doesn’t it? Most people would say “big whoop” to this part, but I’m convinced that my years of severe depression and anxiety were a direct result of being on one form of birth control or another. It’s bad news, but at least it’s only 14 days, I hope. I have a feeling they’ll recommend getting back on them indefinitely, but no thanks. They can have my uterus if they want it. I’ve never been a fan.
Even though the transfer happened early, I didn’t get settled into my room until the tail end of business hours, which means I won’t be seeing my hematologist, nephrologist, and endocrinologist until tomorrow. The internal medicine team did stop by to let me know they’re running some tests for clotting factors in my blood because my platelets were low. I suppose that’s as good of a reason as any to bleed excessively. Manchild spent some time in the emergency department with me, but I relinquished him of his inpatient entertainment duties because he got called into work at 10 pm last night, got home at 3 am, and then had to go back into work at 6 am. We’re due for a huge snowstorm this coming weekend, and nothing would be more depressing than being snowed in here, so I hope to be out in a hurry. I get to spend the night in my favorite place, while trying to figure out how to play texas hold ’em on the tv, because sleep ain’t happenin’. I’m sour, and am still skeeved out that I have the blood of two other people in my body now. I mean, thanks to them for donating blood so I could have it, but I’m afraid I’ll start speaking in a southern drawl and find I have a blackjack addiction. It’s already starting with poker….sheeeeyat.