Gosh so much has changed and so little is different. That statement has zero impact or significance to this entire post. I said it, because it sounded cool and profound in my brain. That folks represents the kind of year 2014 well be. So much has in fact changed but so little is different. It is a bright and sunny (though a tad chilly @ 46 degrees) day here in Florida. As I told a buddy earlier today who was whining about the weather up north, how cold and nasty it was, how the snow was coming in sideways, and that he was freezing his ass off. I completely respect your right to live where you want, I appreciate 3 of your 4 seasons, but I moved south to avoid winter, and wintery mixes, and foots of snow, and sleet, and freezing rain, the beltway becoming a parking lot when snow falls, and the runs on super markets when the “S” word is even mentioned during a newscast. Folks even on my worst day here in Florida, I have never had to shovel heat. Smiling. I truly hope each of you had a wonderful New Year’s gathering or the quiet evening of your choice.
Having said all that, and used it as a warm-up, I am going to rate this week a solid 3. I have many reasons, the most important is that 3’s aren’t bad, they are better than average. They aren’t stellar, but then they aren’t in the pits either. I have had a nagging cough, mostly non-productive, but when I do manage to cough up a lung, other than being a pasty white and thick, there is no color to speak of. That as all respiratory patients know, when you cough, and when that cough is productive, as long as it is not yellow, we are pretty much good to go. Another indication that things are okay is that my white blood count is real close to “normal.”
This week I have had 2 doctor’s appointments. One with Doc Lungs, and he gave me the okay dokie, and doesn’t want to see me for 3 months. That is a very good thing, of course he did immediately say that if I started feeling bad (at all) to get my butt back into his office ASAP. And I also talked to him regarding the use of Vitamin D. He said he had no issues with me taking it and wrote a prescription for 1000 mg daily. It was the 1st prescription for Vitamin D he had ever wrote (by his own admission). Clearly I wasn’t paying attention or I would have realized that he didn’t give me what I wanted. So I made an appointment to see my internist. He immediately understood the need, and prescribed the exact medicine that my pharmacist and recommended. The dosage is 50,000 mg (or whatever measured unit) once a week for 3 months then a recheck. Folks I have never had a pill that was 50,000 whatever’s. As I sit here and talk about it I am thinking I will have to use a steak knife to cut it into pieces easy enough for me to swallow. Just so you know my Vitamin D level was slightly low. Suggested norm is between 30-100, mine is 27 (in whatever units they measure). My internist wants to get me to the 60-80 range before we make any changes to the dosage.
During the upcoming week my only doctor appointment and that’s with Doc Head. It has been a few weeks since our last visit, so I am sure we will more than enough to fill my allotted time.
My vitals for the week are very good. I am sure there are folks out there who are significantly more healthy than I, who would love to have these numbers (except the weight), oops sorry forgot to put it on.
Vitals for the week ending 01/03/14
INR = 2.1 taken 12/30/13 at 1220pm
BP 112/60 = taken at 9am 01/03/14
Heart rate = 98 taken at 9am 01/03/14
Temp = 98.7 taken at 9am 01/03/14
Weight = to friggin much 01/03/14
O2 level = 96 pct at 330pm 01/03/14
2013 in Review….
January started off great, I had just completed my last visit to Pulmonary Rehab, after 36 sessions, and I was in the best condition I had been in for a while. It was a major victory for both my head and body. But January found me back in the hospital suffering from pneumonia again along with other issues including a partially collapsed lung. I would be in the hospital for 21 days. And that would be the start of a 40 day union with a pic line. It was also during this Jan-Feb time frame that the list of drugs that were no longer effective grew longer. There is some hope that if I don’t use some of these antibiotics for an extended period that their usefulness will improve. During February I spent a lot of time whining. It wasn’t pretty, but then neither is COPD.
The hangover from the January hospitalization continues into early March. The 1st week of March showed improvement in the lungs, but the pneumonia that had been in total control of my lungs would not finally clear until the end of March. The SOB which I suffered in March is the SOS (same old shi…) and my life has adjusted to it. I just haven’t said anything because it is part of my new world. Also during March I had another exacerbation which landed me in the hospital briefly. I was discharged with the pic line in my arm for post hospitalization medical purposes (20 additional days of pic line service). Through the spring it was a constant battle. The MRSA and Pneumonia repeatedly flared up. Doc Infectious and Doc Lung got together to give it a good fight. Thru the 1st half of 2013, I was sick or borderline sick most the time. The pic line had become part of my normal circumstance.
No significance changes in my health took place thru April, but my head was getting so screwed up because of the constant illness or close to being ill, that I had begun to have doubts about the fight. In reflection over the year SOB and mental willingness to fight were the rulers. I had very little opportunity to gain ground on my ailments but by the same token I didn’t lose much either. May found me back in the hospital, and then the race began. Everyone knew the Disney cruise was looming, and Doc Infectious and his team put on a full press. My May stay in the hospital was only 9 days, but put my count to 38 for the year. I do know by the end of May I had utilized a pic line for over 60 days. Things did improve thru June, (both mentally and physically) but, again just 3 weeks prior to the cruise I had another exacerbation. Doc Infectious jumped on this like stink on poop. Had me back on the Pic, and had a very intense 10 days of a daily three-hour injections which put the exacerbation down so the cruise was a go. About this time I got my mental shit together, and was fully engaged in the fight. After the cruise I was back on (oral) antibiotics for 14 days.
We had a wonderful cruise, and managed to get thru the rest of the summer without incident. My head getting better and better. It is now towards the end of August, and my health had been edggie at best all year. I had not had an opportunity to get my legs under me again, and was fighting one small battle after another. Thru this point in the year I had the services of a pic line for close to 75 days, and the year was only 2/3’s done.
September and October were building up months. I believe for the most part it had been a steady improvement. But again in late October a pic line was once again installed to fight off another exacerbation without a hospitalization. November and December were really uneventful health wise, the big decision during this period was to go ahead and have the Mediport installed, which took place shortly before Christmas.
For the year I was hospitalized 3 times for pneumonia, MRSA or a combination of both. I also had at least 3 exacerbation which did not require hospitalization, but required a Pic line. I had a pic line in-place for close to 90 days during 2013 for IV drugs to fight the bouts of Pneumonia and MRSA.
Also during 2013 I started my relationship with Doc Head. This has been extremely worth-while. I didn’t have a clue just how much crap I had floating around in my head. While I know I have made significant progress, I know there is more progress to be made.
For 2014, I swear I will not let my head get in the way of my fight against my illness. I will be fully engaged in hanging in there all year.
Folks thanks for sticking with me. I hope you had a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve, and are no worst for wear. I also hope that you have a great 2014. As always your thoughts, comments or concerns please feel free to let me know. Take care, Bill