Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why I'm up at 4:00 AM

When I have an appointment of any kind, I set it in my cell phone calendar with an alarm that goes off two and a half hours before hand. This is because I need to be able to take meds and know that they're working before I can start "becoming human." I usually wake with an exceptional ache deep within my hip, with the added joy of frequent neuropathy pain in my arms and torso. The event, as marked in my calendar, supposedly ends a half hour before my appointment. Just seeing it reminds me of when I need to be out the door.

This morning, I have to be at one of the local hospitals for a test. We're still checking to see if I have osteomyelitis. My thought on that by this point is that if I had it, I'd be in worse shape. But the special specialist just wants to be absolutely sure. And so the test, which I thought was yesterday, will be done today...over a period of seven hours, with a podiatrist appointment in the midst of it all.

I called a couple of weeks ago to set this thing up, and the person whom I spoke with in nuclear medicine was very helpful. She was so helpful, in fact, that she heard things I didn't say, and set me up for a much shorter test. That was nice, but the wrong test really wouldn't have helped. She scheduled me for a bone scan. I don't need a bone scan. I need a..."thingy test."

I have no idea what its proper name is, but I can tell you what they're going to do. They're going to look for a possible infection in my body by using my own biological functions. They're going to draw 60 cc of my blood and spin it to separate the white cells. Then they're going to take those white cells, add a radioactive isotope, and re-inject them back into me three hours after the blood draw. An hour later, they'll take some pictures of my foot. Three hours after that, they'll take more pictures.

The radioactive white blood cells will be easier to see as they rush to an infection. Personally, I'd love it if they could use this test to scan my entire body, just to address every drop of medical paranoia I have. But they're just going to look at my right foot, as ordered.

The really fun part was when I showed up at nuclear medicine yesterday. Having read the medical codes for both the test and the diagnosis, I thought I'd been scheduled for the proper test. At no time did I use the words "bone scan." But that's what I was scheduled for, and somewhere along the way, during the confirmation process for the test, it was realized I did NOT need said scan, and they canceled the test...without ever notifying me. I was at the hospital, on time, prepared to wait the three hours between being injected with radioactive stuff and the pictures they needed to take. And then to have to reschedule me for this test this morning...It's just a bother.

But my time spent waiting around the hospital, while Becky runs off to class after so much time, will not be wasted. I'm going to attempt to further my efforts to help the diabetic community by seeking out the hospital's diabetic educator. Plain and simple, I'm going to ask, "Do you need someone on hand to scare diabetics straight?" Because I am living the nightmare. I'm the embodiment of everything a diabetic should fear. "Do you want to be poor and unemployable by the time you're 30? If so, keep screwing around with your diabetes. Then you can just like me."

If accepted, I'll fill out paperwork at the hospital for volunteer status. The diabetic educator will have to understand that my availability depends on my ability to feel up to leaving my home for a few hours. Still, if it means opening up and telling horrific tales to save a life, I'm willing to at least try.

And let's not forget the podiatry appointment I have in the midst of this grand test. I've been running to the podiatrist to address this pesky ulcer located on my second toe, smack in between the second and great toe. As an added bonus, the ulcer is surrounded by a callus, which prevents it from doing any real healing. Moisture between the toes also aids in the lack of healing, leaving me to wonder if it just wouldn't be easier to take the danged toe.

Oh, but I know better. Past experience tells me it could take years to get an ulcer to properly heal. Taking a surgical shortcut only puts me at greater risk for infection, leading to the loss of the entire foot. With my right foot already at risk, I don't think I should be setting up my left foot for a similar fate.

Back to the possibility of me volunteering for a moment...When I lived in AZ, I was constantly doing good deeds, regardless of how small. Of late, I've been pouring on a lot of attention to the single mother of two daughters next door, and that just starts to look a bit weird after a bit. Surely Becky has wondered if I'm not somehow falling in love with one of those ladies next door, even as a mere passing thought. I'm not. I am so over-the-moon about Becky that I'd do absolutely nothing to jeopardize my relationship with her. Still, concentrated attention on a woman and her two daughters just starts looking bad after a while, and my nature screams to be doing good things for SOMEONE. If I can set it up where I am convincing other diabetics to not suffer my fate, I'll feel that much better for it.

And now I'm off to have "several gallons of blood" drawn. But first, I need to bust out a crowbar and pry Becky out of bed, which is always a lot of fun.

Be well, all, and DFTBA!

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