Pain, Hospitals & TMI

I’m going to apologize in advance as this post may contain a little too much information. I admit sometimes I feel a little bit embarrassed or hesitant to talk about certain things, however that being said I feel it’s important to talk about women’s issues and health and it’s my blog and my life and what I’m going through so if you’re a bit squeamish, don’t like talking/reading about women’s health issues this post might not be for you.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you

This is also going to be really long! So, I’m going to jump right in.  As a teen, I had heavy, uncomfortable, painful periods that happened more often and lasted longer than most other girls my age. At 15, I suffered from numerous cysts on my ovaries that ruptured leaving me doubled over in pain, throwing up, feeling clammy with a high heart rate. I had numerous trips to the ER but luckily no surgery was ever needed. I was never diagnosed with PCOS but it was mentioned when I was younger.

Maybe that should have been a clue but I was always told that despite that it was normal and that as I got older it would even out. The cycle would get longer between, the periods lighter and less painful and shorter and this actually did happen and the cysts stopped, and for about 23 years things were pretty normal other than moderate cramping and headaches and maybe some mild to moderate PMS symptoms.

My last few periods have been heavier and I’ve noticed more clots and they are lasting an extra day or two as well as the time between went from about 27-30 days to about 30-33 days in between.  My PMS symptoms have gone from mild/moderate to severe and pretty debilitating. To the point where I am useless for a week every month because I feel even more crappy then I already do.

Last Thursday I started my period what seemed to be 10 days early on day 23 of my cycle. It seemed to be a moderate period, with some pain and a headache and the normal heaviness. I didn’t think much of it other then it was odd that it was early. 2-3 days is one thing but just a bit more than 1/2 way through my cycle was odd for me.

The night before last we went to bed as normal around 11:30 p.m. and I was feeling fine and I pretty much thought my period was over as I was at the end of day three and the flow had stopped.  I woke up around 1 a.m. due to the cat scratching at the door for food because someone forgot to feed him. I went to the washroom and noticed I was bleeding really really heavy and I had a bad headache. I changed my tapon and pad which I use as backup incase the tampon fails at night.

Eddie woke up when I did so I yelled to him to feed the cat while I was in the washroom. We went back to bed and I fell back to sleep even though I was feeling a bit odd, but I didn’t think much about it. About 3:30, I woke up from a dead sleep and stretched out and just about screamed out in pain.

I got up and hobbled over to the washroom and realized I had completely soaked through the tampon and soaked the pad almost to over-flowing in a little less than an hour and a half from the time I changed them last. Usually I don’t have to change them at all overnight unless I sleep more then 7-8 hours. For safety sake I never go more then 8 hours overnight as recommended.

I kinda felt like something was wrong but still shrugged it off and hobbled back to bed. The pain increased so fast and so much that I was doubled over by the time I made the 10 steps or so back to bed. I tried to shake Eddie awake but couldn’t move because the pain was so intense. I pretty much yelled at him to wake up. I grabbed the long pillow and curled up in the fetal position and told him something was really wrong.

I grabbed my phone and checked my heart rate which is normally about 60-65 when resting and it was 98bpm. I called 811 and spoke to a nurse who of course said go to the hospital. She checked the Digby regional hospital for closures as it closes a few times a week due to a doctor shortage and said it was open and I needed to get there ASAP. She wouldn’t say what she thought it was just that I needed to be seen now, not later.

Eddie called my dad who drove over and picked us up and took us to the hospital. We were in the middle of a snowstorm, I couldn’t dirve and didn’t want Eddie with only a learners permit to drive me in the snow and freezing rain that had been going on for hours with wind gusts of up to 80km/h. It was a bad night all around.

After intake, they put me in a room and told me the doctor would be in when he woke up (not kidding). So we had to wait until 7 a.m. when the doctor finally dragged his ass out of bed. I tried to sleep but was in so much pain. No one offered me anything. Not even so much as tylenol while we waited the 3 1/2 hours for him to come in from the hotel I assume he was staying at. He was a visiting doctor from somewhere else I assume.

He did an exam and when pressing over my left ovary I started to scream and wiggle to get away from him.  He said you need an ultrasound and asked if I had ever had ovarian cysts or torsion before and I said yes I have had cysts and some that ruptured. He said I needed to get the ultrasound ASAP.

Of course, Digby only has a technician in a few days a week. So that meant an hour and ten minute drive to Yarmouth regional hospital for the ultrasound. He wrote it up as urgent and that he wanted me to be seen in the Yarmouth ER after in case I needed more tests or to see a specialist. So after debating about sending me by ambulance, they decided it would be quicker if someone drove me. They called the ambulance but were told it would be a 2-3 hour wait. They simply sisn’t have enough ambulances for a transfer and in the ER. So my dad ended up driving me an hour and ten minutes to the hospital in Yarmouth.

Luckily for me, before I left the Digby hospital the doctor asked if I needed something for the pain. I hesitated because I hate taking anything. He kind of got a bit snarky with me when I looked over at my husband and said “don’t look at him look at me, do you need anything for the pain? yes or no”, so I said okay and he gave me a bit of morphine.

We talked it over decided my husband should still go to work later as he was working 5-9 p.m. so we dropped him off at my parent’s place for some sleep instead of him coming with us and mom took him into work later on and dad and I continued on to Yarmouth. We got there about 10 a.m. and after about 1 1/2 hours they finished the ultrasound. She had issues finding and never actually found my left ovary so it took a long time, luckily the morphine was still working and dulled the pain quite a bit.

When the technician finished she called down to the ER in the hospital to let them know she was sending the results and me down and they refused to take me! They said she had to send the results and me back to the Digby hospital. She tried to explain that I was a possible surgical case and that there was no OR’s in Digby, they still refused. So she called Digby and spoke to the doctor there and he said I needed blood work and a CT but he had no way of ordering either without me being there so he said send me back to Digby.

As we were leaving the Yarmouth hospital I called out-patients in Digby and asked if I was able to have something to eat because my blood sugar was about 3.2 mmol/l and going lower. She asked the doctor and he said I could have something sweet and I could get a bottle of water and only sip it basically just wetting my mouth. So we grabbed a cookie from McDonalds. Chocolate chunk. Not the best option but the easiest.

So dad drove me an hour and ten minutes back to Digby knowing full well there was a good chance he would be turning around and driving me an hour and ten minutes back to Yarmouth in a few hours if it turned out I needed a CT right away. We got back to the ER in Digby and I had to be triaged all over again and wait for a second time to see the doctor, which turned out to be a different doctor. At least the first one told him I was coming and what was going on.

The second doctor noticed that the pain was radiating now to my upper left side of my abdomen and was still concerned it was a cyst but was now even more concerned it had ruptured and that I was bleeding internally. Not all cysts do that but some will cause internal bleeding which can be life-threatening. He was also concerned that it could instead be a bowel blockage or something else and said I need a CT and before he said anything more I said: “So I have to go back to Yarmouth today?”.

He said yes and apologized and I asked if there was any way it could wait till morning as I just wanted to go home and sleep. He looked like he was going to say no but then he said let’s get blood work done and see if there are any indications of an infection or internal bleeding.

We waited another hour for that and the pain was back fully by then. The nurse came in to give me an IV as I had been told through all of this no food or drink and as I am diabetic and had basically no food or drink since the night before and it was almost 3 p.m. at that point even though my sugar was holding steady at 5.6 mmol/l at that point.

As the nurse got ready to start the IV I panicked of course. I don’t mind blood work at all. I don’t mind flu shots or other needles. I don’t mind giving myself insulin injections, glucagon, etc. But I hate hate hate IV’s! With a passion. I panic every time someone comes near me with one or mentions one.

So the nurse left and asked the doctor how necessary it was as my blood sugar was fine and all they were going to give me was dextrose and saline and some pain meds. I said they could give me a shot or pills for the pain meds I don’t care I just can’t handle the IV. So he said fine and she left and never ended up giving me the pain meds or water.

He came back an hour later and said the blood work looked normal and that he was going to let me go home on one condition that I came back to Digby overnight before they closed at 6 a.m. if I had a fever that even touched 100°F or if the pain worsened or spread, had any more bleeding (which had stopped at that point) or in the morning if the pain was the same or worse or a fever and weakness and/or tiredness after a good night sleep or any indication of infection or internal bleeding that I go straight to Kentville or Yarmouth hospital over the next 3 days or Digby if they are open.

So today we have been keeping a really close eye on me. The pain is a bit less, but still there, but no fever or anything. So I have to keep a close eye for the next few days as well as we don’t know for sure but we suspect it was an ovarian cyst on my left ovary that may or may not have ruptured and possibly bled internally but stopped, causing intense pain. Seems to be the story of my life right now. This uncertainty about what is going on within my body.

My mom brought up something that’s been bothering me though. She went through menopause at the same age as I am now, she started at about 38/39 and I am 38 turning 39 this year. Her mom went through menopause starting at age 37 and my aunts were 38 and 39 as well when they started.

I know for the most part you usually start about the same age as your mom and sisters and since I have no sisters and her and her sisters and their mom were all the same age as I am now. I am starting to wonder if maybe I might be going into early menopause myself or at the very least it’s in the back of my mind that they all started around my age.

I also know there is a correlation between Type 2 Diabetes and early menopause as well as a lot of women with Fibromyalgia experience early menopause as well. As I said before I have never been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and other than the uterine infection that landed me in the hospital a year and a half ago for 4 days I haven’t really had any issues in between the cysts when I was younger and now. Hopefully, this is not just another thing to add to the growing list.

Working from home

We’ve been in Digby now for 2 full weeks, half way through our 3rd week. In this time Edward had not worked at all for the first two weeks. Department of fisheries stopped the boats from going out so there were no lobsters. He finally got a call Monday night he was working Tuesday. I drove him in at 6 a.m. to Digby to meet Dad and Denton at Tim Hortons. He worked from 7 a.m. to about 6 p.m. and I went back into town to meet them at Tim Horton’s again and then we were going to grab some groceries at the Superstore. We got groceries, got back in the car and got about 3 minutes down the road and I started to have issues breathing and felt like I was having an Asthma attack, something I haven’t really had much in years, just the occasional one. By the time we got home I was really having issues.

What neither of us considered in this whole thing is I am allergic to shell fish! Of all the things not to take into consideration, that had to be the worst one not to think of. We made it home, I didn’t have an inhaler but he did, so I took his. I made him strip out in the lean-to and throw his clothes right in the washer and I washed them twice. We talked it over and decided we couldn’t chance it as I have gone into anaphalactic shock before from eating shell fish. We just never considered the smell an issue or touch, just ingestion. I had heard of people reacting to the smell but never really experianced it myself. Only ever had issues if trying to eat it. On top of that he came home soaked and reeking of it. Needless to say he now has to look for another job. He’s frustrated and I feel for him he hates not working and not bringing in money for us. But we will survive, we just can’t chance it. On a good note though he has an interview at Walmart.

As for me I have been working exclusively from home transcribing and I have to say I love it! I really do. It gives me so much flexibility. I can sit and type for 2-3 hours, break for 30 minutes or so then type again. I can take a few hours anywhere in the day to run errands, clean up or do whatever I want. I can work 12 hours one day and 6 hours the next. I can take a day whenever I need it (as long as there is nothing that is a rush and needs to be done ASAP). I can get up, putter around, sit down, type, get up, move around and I can sit and type infront of the fire or the TV (or both ) I can work in PJ’s or sweats or get dressed and I don’t have to deal with customers on the phone or face to face and I can still make pretty close to what I was making in the city.

I still hope maybe to get hired on by the bank I was working for and still technically work for for the next 3 months at the local branch here in Digby but if I end up not getting on I may just continue working from home as long as Eddie finds a job with benefits. That’s my only real concern, that we have some kind of benefits to cover my insulin, needles, test strips and libre sensors but we could look into purchasing insurance. There are garenteed plans if needed in case neither of us has benefits but they cost a bit more, but we will figure it out.

I also signed up for a transcription work from home website and have done a few small things for them and got graded really high for the work. It’s not legal either so it’s like typing up video or other regular transcription type stuff. I really want to look into staying home and working especially if we plan to go ahead with our foster parenting plan and it pays okay, not as good as the work that I am doing for my mom’s business but it’s still decent and would help out if I need extra work or need a little extra money on top of what she is paying me. So I’m not too worried.

I’ve also been able to take an hour or two each evening before bed to read as well, which I am really happy and excited about. I have read about 4 books in the last two weeks and have a bunch more on hold through my local libraries through the app so that I can read them on my phone. I can’t wait to start a list of books I want to read. There is something so warm and comforting about stretching out on the couch in front of a warm fire on a cold winters night with a good ghost story or other book and reading by the light of the fire with a bowl of popcorn (or the occasional chocolate bar, yes being diabetic doesn’t mean I can’t treat myself once in a while) and to be able to do it every night. I feel like I am in heaven!

I would like to start walking a few times a week initally and then eventually every day as well. I want to get myself into a routine. Up by 6:30 to 7 a.m. get showered, dressed and start working by 7:30 to 8 a.m. until 1 or 2 p.m. with a 5-10 min break each hour or so to get up move around, load the dishwasher, sweep etc and then a hour or two in the afternoon to run chores, clean, cook or whatever. Then work from around 2 or 3 p.m. until about 5 or 6 p.m. then eat and maybe go for a walk then back working around 6:30 or 7 p.m. until about 9 or 10 p.m. and then relax until bed and watch TV or read or play cards, game, etc and just spend some time with Eddie.

Supper time and weekends will be family time, and we can have the occasionally night where I just don’t work after supper and we go out or something. It’ll be easier once he is working and I can kind of set it around his hours so that we can have some time in the evenings and on weekends/days off to have family time or dates etc. Money wise I think once he is working and I get into a routine it will not take long for us to start saving since we really owe nothing but the car and less then $1000 on our visa which I plan to pay off and just use the way we were last year and paying it off each statement.

I think this is going to be a lot better for us in the long run once we have it all figured out. As long as we can pay all our bills/rent and set some aside for savings each month I will be happy to live a simpler life here without all the extras we don’t really need or want that city life kind of pushes on you.

A warning from Ethel?

I mentioned at the end of October about the ghost story involving the house my parents moved into. Well I have a story that I wonder if it might be related to the ghost Ethel. My parents moved last month into a house built in 1849 just outside of the town of Digby, Nova Scotia in Brighton. If you want to know more about the ghost herself, Ethel you can read more here but I have a story that I kind of wonder if it might have been a warning from her. A few weeks ago, about 3 days before we left Halifax to come down to Digby on my last day of work my mom called me to let me know tht they were in the cottage for a few days due to there being no power at the bigger house. She then proceeded to tell me the following story.

They evening before Mom and Dad were sitting in the living room watching TV and they started hearing loud bangs every once in a while. They thought they sounded like gunshots. Other then thinking it was weird for gunshots at that time of night (though it is hunting season) and so close to the house they didn’t think to much about it. It continued through the whole evening, there was aparently other knocking and banging sounds as well but they sounded like they were coming from inside the house and looking around they couldn’t find anything.

They went to bed around 11 pm and at around 3 am Mom was woken from a deep sleep (she takes medication for restless leg syndrome) by a really loud bang that sounded like it was right outside thier bedroom window. They looked outside but didn’t see anything so they went back to sleep. The next morning my Dad got up at 5 am to get my brother up and ready for work as he worked at 7 am. The power was on upstairs but when he went downstairs there was no power anywhere down there.

Dad went down into the basement which is litterally a door in the floor that lifts up with steps going down into a dug out, unfinished basement with my brother to help and they found the breaker box and everything seemed fine with it except they could smell burning. My mom called a friend to see if they could recommend an electrician and he came down and aparently they almost had a fire in the counduit on the outside of the house. It was wired wrong and was actually wired really dangerously. The wires had caught fire and burnt right through. Luckly the whole house didn’t go up at night while they were sleeping.

My mom is convinced that some of the bangs that sounded like they were from the inside of the house was actually Ethel trying to warn them as aparently Nova Scotia Power and the electrician both believe it caught fire and went out a few times throughout the evening and just never fully caught, thank god.

My parents now have fire alarms on every level and in both houses and carbon monoxide alarms as well in both places and on every level. It really scared us all.