Pain management for idiots like me

Person with pill in hand

True confession: last week was miserable, and it needn’t have been. Anyone who asked me how I was feeling instantly regretted it, since I responded by weeping. Sorry for that, dear friends; I wasn’t coping well.

I spent the week suffering through debilitating pain unnecessarily. I know better, and you should too. I failed to follow a critical principle of pain management: catch it early and obliterate it before it consumes you. I am passing this wisdom onto you so you don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t suffer when there’s help available.

Over the past few weeks, I have developed escalating pain in my legs. I don’t know what’s causing the pain, and I’m not sure the cause matters. If it’s a sign that I’m dying, I frankly don’t want to know. Over time, walking and standing became excruciating, and it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep or eat.

Pain is not okay. I cannot imagine the life of a chronic pain sufferer. I was trapped at home, since elevating my legs was the only thing that eased the intensity. Going out doing the simplest of errands, or even being active at home, increased my pain. I couldn’t even bake, which for me is tragic.

I had been trying to manage this pain with over-the-counter drugs, which were helpful initially, but not for long. On Saturday, after a brief walk, I arrived home in such discomfort that I reached for the codeine. Remember how I’d recently given myself permission to take the drugs I needed to manage my symptoms? Why wasn’t I doing that? Because I was an idiot.

I’ve been taking a variety of pills for years, all prescribed by my team of physicians. My granny pill cases are full to overflowing. I take what a doctor prescribes, but I’ve always been resistant to adding to that long list with over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. I had enough toxins flowing through my body on a daily basis; why would I want to add to that mess?

But pills can help. Within half an hour of taking that one dose of codeine, my pain started easing. It didn’t vanish, but it was muted significantly. Why had I waited so long for relief? What was I thinking??!!

My medical team has stressed that I need not experience pain while I am dying. I’ve been offered codeine and even morphine, yet I refused it all since any pain I had at that time was minimal and manageable. Why would I need opioids to manage pain I didn’t have? But I had a prescription for codeine just in case I changed my mind, and it’s a good thing I did. One little pill broke the cycle, and three little pills now gets me through the day.

If you see me walking down the street, I may look a little drunk. I’m wobbly and a little dopey at times. That’s codeine for you. Oh yes, and I’ve relinquished my car keys to J. Reluctantly. Before she had to wrest them out of my hands. Safety first, kids, safety first.

 

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Attempting to harness my inner nudist

The other day, I was doing some basic training with Jelly, and she confused Shake a Paw with Down. That is not unusual. When I start firing commands, Jelly goes through random behaviours to garner a treat. Sometimes she hits the correct command and sometimes she doesn’t. Blame it on her trainer (me).

This little mishap led to unfortunate consequences. One of Jelly’s deadly nails scratched my forearm, immediately drawing blood and leaving a gruesome bruise. If I hadn’t been there when it happened, I’d think I had fought off a grizzly.

The incident made me realize how very fragile my skin is, and how prone I am to bleeding with such critically low platelets. There have been other signs, of course. My arms and legs look freckled, although if you look more closely you will notice that the spots are too red to be freckles. J. used to ask where some random bruise was from, but she has become aware that I could have bruised myself simply by knocking one arm against another, or leaning against a wall. Who’d have thought I’d ever become so sensitive?

Because I have become fragile as a flower, finding clothes that will not injure me has become challenging. Anything with elastic or a closer fit is likely to bruise me. The seam of my jeans, the waistband of my yoga pants, and don’t even get me started on bras–snug elastic, metal clasps, adjustable rings–there is no end of potential bodily assaults caused by that oppressive undergarment.

I promised myself that when I my illness progressed, I wouldn’t sit around in my pyjamas all day eating bonbons. First off, bonbons aren’t holding the appeal they once did; I don’t feel like eating much of anything, sweets included. Additionally, what a better reminder that you’re sick than not wearing real clothes ever? Sure I often can’t be bothered and leave the house in (loose) yoga pants, but normally I’m all for getting fully dressed in the morning.

In my current sensitive condition, I’m coming to appreciate the appeal of leisure wear, however. I used to watch my share of Y & R, and I recall the rich wearing all manner of lounge wear. Maybe I should seek out muumuus, or dressing gowns, or some other variation on that loose-clothing theme that will be less likely to injure my fragile skin.

Yet even a muumuu has a seam or two–the fabric has to be sewn together somewhere. Which leads me to my final option: nudity. I could hang out around the house in not much at all, thereby eliminating the opportunity for clothing injuries. Unfortunately I’m not the nudist type, and clothes do serve a function of covering my many bodily imperfections. Also, clothes act as a buffer when I bump into a wall or hit some limb on a cupboard door I have forgotten to close.

For now, do not worry: if you drop by, I promise to be be fully clothed at all times. at least until I can come up with a reasonable alternative. I was considering full coverage in bubble wrap. Do you think it would be see through or could I finally ditch the bra altogether?

Woman wrapped neck to knee in bubble wrap

Can you use “palliative” and “hypochondriac” in the same sentence?

Men's t-shirt reads: "recovering hypochondriac"

It’s long been established that I am the boy who cries wolf, except for the “boy” part. A visit to the dentist yesterday revealed that I am not going to die of an abscessed tooth. My low platelets simply stooped to a new low, resulting in bleeding in the tooth. No sign of infection. I am absolutely fine, and I have already embraced my mauve-tinged tooth. The dentist was fascinated by the unusual phenomenon and sent a picture to all his dentist friends. Then he nicely told me to leave so he could get on with his real patients, who pay him for teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and other procedures forbidden to me.

Was I overreacting on the weekend? No, I don’t think so, but I always question whether a symptom warrants a call to the doctor, even now that I am palliative. I hate to bug doctors unless I’m really sick. But as a dying person, how do I define “really sick”? When a new symptom arises, I’ve always been a wait-and-see kind of gal, for fear of anyone viewing me as a hypochondriac. I’d like to give up that label once and for all–I am dying here–but I’ve always tried so hard not to cry wolf that sometimes I’ve swung too far in the laissez-faire direction.

In recent weeks, I am overwhelmed with new symptoms, some minor discomforts, but others causing disabling pain. My legs have been swelling lately, and I’m overwhelmed with intense muscle cramping that hits me at the same time each day. My neck is still swollen, and although the doctor may not be concerned, it may be aggravating a nighttime cough. Dying people need their sleep, and I’m not getting much. And I’m losing weight even though I’m making a deliberate effort to eat, appetite or not. Are any of these symptoms worthy of concern?

Maybe these bodily changes are par for the course of a dying person, yet I’m not sure I want to know. They could also be side effects of the new medications I’m on to manage other symptoms. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Take a drug to fix one problem, and create another one–or two, or three–in its stead.

I could always ask the doctor whether these changes are signs that I am dying, but do I really want to know? No, I don’t. I want to eliminate the symptoms so I can get on with living, rather than fret about my body’s decline. If you were in my shoes, would you ask for clarification? Would you want to know the answer? If so, you’re a braver person than I am.

Nonetheless, I’ve decided that in my dying weeks, or months, or whatever time I have left, I’m going to practice informing the doctor of symptoms I might have without apologizing for wasting his time. Oh, and my days of enduring pain without painkillers are over. I took two Tylenol yesterday! I’m going to go a little easier on myself if my symptom is benign, and the word “hypochondriac” will never again pass these lips. I may drive the doctor crazy, but so be it. He’ll get over it.

A moratorium on my role as a teaching case

Monkey wielding large needle says: "Relax, I've practiced on hundreds of grapefruits."

True confession: J. and I were both a little freaked out by the neck swelling. It was an odd, new symptom. I’m brimming with odd, new symptoms these days and often I can’t help but worry about what the changes might mean.

But after the nurse’s telephone reassurance that I would live to see another day, I thought my anxiety had dissipated. That’s until I tried to sleep and, unexpectedly, stared at the ceiling for hours whilst concurrently coughing up a lung. “Maybe I have a simple chest cold, ” I tried to tell myself while counting a lot of sheep.

By the time we saw Dr. Blood Lite yesterday, other than looking like a no-neck gym rat, and losing that lung, I felt fine. The doctor’s physical exam revealed nothing of concern; an unhappy lymph node is small potatoes to a hematologist. He wondered if I had a throat infection, and my nodes wanted in on the party, so he started me on antibiotics.

Just to be sure, though, he sent me for a neck CT scan. And guess who got the newbie? I’m not sure Ms. First Day on the Job had ever inserted an IV before, but the contrast dye required one. So I told Ms. FDOTJ what I’ve been telling any medical professional who wields a needle in my vicinity of late: I HAVE NO PLATELETS AND I BRUISE MORE EASILY THAN AN OVERRIPE OKANAGAN PEACH, SO DON’T EVEN THINK OF USING ME AS A PINCUSHION.

This young lass must have been so nervous that she did not hear (or understand?) a word I had said. She poked once, searched around a little. First mistake? If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try, try, try again on peachy me. Strike 1. Enter her supervisor, who orally guided her through a second stab. Strike 2.

I was gauzed and taped but no one placed pressure on the wounds. I didn’t have a hand free, and neither professional stepped in. News flash: no pressure post poke results in greater bruising. Needless to say, today my arm looks like a toddler took a black marker to it.

Then the supervisor said, “How about our trying the other arm?” How should I have responded at that point? I knew the procedure needed to be done, yet all I could see was a strikeout. I could have said “Over my almost-dead body!” but I stayed silent, for fear I might share my deepest (read: most hostile) feelings.

After 18 years as a teaching case, I’m dying, and I’m done with students. No more palpating my ginormous spleen, no more missed veins, no more virgin hands on this body. Students need to learn–I know because I was one once–but they’ll have to find another subject to hone their skills on.

I’m still kicking myself for not speaking up. Sure, I’m angry with how I was mishandled, but I’m angrier at myself for staying silent. Since when do I not assert myself? No one else is going to do it for me.

Please learn from my mistakes. Speak up and see what happens. Despite what your psychic may suggest, no one can read your mind.

Partaking of the forbidden fruit

Whole grapefruit and cut into parts

Were I a more diligent Jew, I’d be depriving myself of leavened bread through the 8 days of Passover, along with my fellow tribe members. But I haven’t been diligent. Apologies, Almighty, I have failed you in so many ways. Bread is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Yesterday, J. and I dropped by the specialty grocer and were inundated with generous samples. Cubes of roasted maple ham, bacon and avocado panini bites, need I say more? Then we enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner with friends. The menu? Pancetta-wrapped pork roast. I could have refused it all, but I didn’t. Leavened bread aside, I’ve also broken the no-pork-over-Passover rule. I am a sinner, not a saint.

This is not the subject of my post, however. I wanted to write about the real forbidden fruit. I’m speaking of grapefruit. For 5-1/2 long years, I have been on CML-busting medication that interacts with a compound found in grapefruit. For those 5-1/2 years, I have been grapefruit free, barring the occasional grapefruit Jelly Belly or wine gum. I lapsed once, relishing one piece of J.’s freshly peeled grapefruit, but otherwise, I have heeded orders of complete abstention.

Through the many recent changes to my medications, I wondered whether I had eliminated all the drugs that made grapefruit my forbidden fruit. I stopped by the pharmacy to inquire, and my trusty pharmacist reassured me that I could again safely consume grapefruit. Hallelujah! Grapefruit, here I come.

Do you know what happens when I’m told there’s something I cannot eat? I want it more. I crave it desperately. I can’t imagine my life without it. Until, eventually, my preoccupation wanes and I move on. I understand a smoker can feel this way years after quitting, as can an alcoholic who has long stopped boozing.

When the pharmacist confirmed that grapefruit was off my no-eat list, I headed directly to the produce section of the supermarket and assessed every single grapefruit until I found the best one there. Unfortunately, prime grapefruit season has passed, so the pickings were slim. Most of the remaining fruit were shrivelled and old, but there was one perfect specimen with a nice thin shiny skin. So I bought myself this gift of grapefruit, brought it home, and snarfed it down.

This first grapefruit was almost perfect. It was delicious and sweet, but sadly it was overripe and mushy. Grapefruit needs a bit of texture, don’t you think? If I’d wanted juice, I could have bought juice. I tried to focus on the taste rather than the texture, but I admit it was a letdown. Truth is, my prohibition has lifted as grapefruit season is ending, and that grapefruit is probably the best I’m going to find over the next several months.

And so I must ask you a small favour: next time you’re at the grocery store, would you look for the freshest, shiniest, tastiest grapefruit you can find? If you love me, you’ll buy it and drop it off at my house. I’ll be forever grateful.

As far as I know, there are no prohibitions against eating grapefruit over Passover. So eat it I will, with no fear of reprisal. Who knows? Maybe it will curb my craving for pork.

The princess and the pee

Red basset hound licking woman's face

We’ve been home from our international adventure for two weeks now, and my post-vacation fever is long gone, but my mellow yellow phase seems to be hanging on. I don’t quite feel like myself, although I feel like I should by now. I’ve been dabbling in yoga and walking the dog, and Jelly and I have been PALSing around, yet when I’m at home, I am crashing.

I don’t want to admit that I’m still unwell. I tell myself my symptoms are all in my head. Maybe jet lag is hanging on. Maybe I’m depressed because our trip is over. Maybe I’m overexerting myself during the day. My blood test results were almost back to normal, so I don’t have reason to feel so crummy. But I do feel crummy. I can’t seem to make it through the day, and sometimes not even through the morning, without a nap.

Yesterday, for example, I took the dog to the dog park so she could eat sticks (why else do dogs go to the park?), I came home briefly, whereupon J. and I headed to the grocery store. We were home by 11 a.m. and I felt like I’d been up for hours. As I sat down to script my Monday post, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Before I knew it, I was talking to the couch.

Annie: Hi Couch.

Couch: Hi Annie. Short time no see.

Annie: Ha ha. Hey Couch, I was wondering, would you mind if I lay down for a bit?

Couch: I was actually hoping for a little alone time today. You’re seeming a little needy lately. How about talking to Bed instead?

Annie: Are you crazy, Couch? If I go to Bed, I’ll have to admit that I’m still sick. Bed is where sick people nap. I’m not sick. 

Couch: All right, but could you take the other end today? My right side is stiff from all this laying about.

Annie lays down on the other end of the couch. Within minutes, she is out cold, completely missing who said yes to what dress. About an hour later, she is awoken by the pitter patter of poorly trimmed dog nails.

Jelly: [Licking Annie’s face, which is at perfect Basset height] Hey mom, whassup?

Annie: [Firmly] Back to your bed, Jelly.

Jelly: [Whining] But mom….

Annie:TO YOUR BED!

Jelly sighs and then briefly returns her bed, whereupon Annie promptly falls back to sleep. Within minutes, Jelly is back up and pacing.

Jelly: [Urgently] Mom, pretty pretty please, could you take me out? I really have to go. I’m gonna have an accident. Please mom!

Annie: Jelly, sometimes it’s not all about you.

And so Annie dragged herself off the couch, put on her coat, and took the dog out to piddle. So much for the nap. And Couch was relieved to finally have some alone time.

As you have probably gleaned from this story, I’m not quite myself yet, even though I expected to be back to my normal by now. When exhaustion is my sole symptom, I struggle to accept that I am sick. Would I be more kind to myself if I had a cold? Maybe not. My denial runs deep.

A true Israeli breakfast of champions

Israeli breakfast buffet, eggs, olives, etc.

Lest I leave you with the impression that if you go to Israel, you’ll come back with a high bilirubin count, let’s talk about the food. It’s incredible, every single morsel.

Because Israel is surrounded by countries that are, at best, ambivalent about her existence, Israeli food is largely produced within its borders. In our travels we passed olive trees, date trees, banana trees, grape vines, and pomegranate trees dripping with fruit. The bananas were so tasty, J. refuses to eat another Chiquita.

(By the way, I don’t recommend eating an olive straight from the tree–it’s not a pleasant experience. Squeeze it and watch the oil ooze out, but cure your olives before you take a bite. I learned this lesson the hard way.)

Then there are the milk products, the yogurt and labneh and white cheese, which is a loose facsimile for our cream cheese but smoother and much tastier. Because so many restaurants and hotels in Israel have kosher kitchens to accommodate the religious Israeli residents and the tourists, many kitchens exclude meat from their menus. There isn’t enough space in this small country to produce a lot of meat. Rather, there is a very large sea known as the Mediterranean that is bursting with fish, and since fish can go either way–it can be eaten with milk products or with meat–the fish is aplenty.

Now imagine that all of this food finds its way into the buffets of the typical Israeli breakfast at hotels. This meal is often included in the cost of the hotel. We call it “Israeli breakfast” while Israelis call it “breakfast”. Whatever you call it, it is a perpetual exercise in self-restraint.

Imagine a variety of yogurt and cheeses, granola, dried fruits, and preserves. There’s smoked fish and tuna salad alongside a variety of breads and rolls. Add in eggs in various preparations, perhaps in spicy tomato sauce, or as an omelette to order. Of course there are sliced tomatoes, olives, and a mishmash of salads, including Israeli salad (which Israelis call “salad”). It’s finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Then there’s the stuffed pastry with savoury fillings like mushrooms or cheese.

Finally, there’s breakfast dessert, usually consisting of babka, i.e., chocolate- or cinnamon-swirled heaven, and halvah. Halvah is tahini and sugar, with added flavourings like cocoa powder or pistachios or whatever you can imagine, pressed it into a block. For immediate sugar shock, shave some halvah onto your babka.

If Israelis ate breakfast like this every day, they’d all be morbidly obese. The full Israeli breakfast is purely a tourist phenomenon, not that I’m complaining.

You won’t be surprised to learn I gained 10 lbs over the course of 14 days. But you may be surprised when I tell you that J. gained 0 lbs eating as much or more than me. Then we came home, and within one week on my strict low-sodium diet, I was back to my fighting weight.

I’ll admit it feels crummy to gain 10 lbs in 14 days, but losing 10 lbs in a week more than makes up for it. Best diet ever. You’ll come back with your bilirubin level intact, but if you gain weight, it’s all on you.

 

If I’m yellow, must I be mellow too?

Picture of Alberta premier and delegates breaking ground on new cancer centre

Did I mention they’ve broken ground on the new Calgary Cancer Centre? If I can stay alive for 6 more years, I’ll be in the front row at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I’m looking forward to more space, more windows, a more upbeat, patient-friendly environment, and better sound proofing.

The clinic rooms at the old centre have padded doors, either to protect patients who want to fling themselves around when they hear bad news, or to provide soundproofing between the patients and clinic staff. The soundproofing doesn’t work, though, as I was reminded yesterday when I overheard the nurse unexpectedly scheduling me for an urgent abdominal ultrasound. Turns out that little fever I’d spiked the previous week had wreaked havoc on my body.

Dr. Blood Lite was so alarmed by my blood test results, including a spike in my liver enzymes, and a dramatic dip in my platelets, that he initiated further assessment. And just like that, our day went up in smoke.

I knew my liver was unhappy. I’d lost my appetite, I’d felt so crummy I’d skipped yoga, and I noticed a few other changes that involve the colour yellow. But I was slowly starting to feel better, i.e., less yellow, so I didn’t think much of it.

Off I traipsed to the lab to repeat my blood work, followed by the ultrasound clinic for a wee peek inside. Unfortunately, I was assigned the almost-graduate ultrasonographer, when I needed the 20-year expert.

I am not easy to scan. My internal organs are displaced by my ginormous spleen, rendering some hard to see altogether–where art thou, oh pancreas?–so it took Ms. Trainee some time to sort out my innards. She spent a very long time examining one spot over and over.

Eventually Ms. Trainee brought in her supervisor, who said, “I know you’ve been here a while. Do you mind if I take a look?” It was a rhetorical question. How would you have answered her? There are many ways I could have responded. I could have said, “I’m really exhausted and sore from all this poking and prodding after a very long day. Can I go home instead?” Or, “Ms. Trainee, if you were having trouble sorting me out, could you not have dragged your supervisor in 45 minutes sooner?” Or, perhaps, “No!”

Ever the compliant patient, I failed this assertiveness test and said, “Fine.” If I hadn’t let her continue, would she have had adequate results for the doctor, or would I have had to endure more poking and prodding another day? We’d been at the Cancer Centre for hours already, and I wanted to go home, but even more I didn’t want to have to return. I was ready to put this little yellow blip behind me. Thus I endured another half hour–longest abdominal ultrasound ever–while J. worried I’d died during the examination. Eventually, I stumbled back out to the waiting room.

I hope I’d handle a situation like this more effectively were it to arise again. I’d ask more questions and express my needs, both of which I failed to do yesterday. Maybe then the experts could move their magic wand a little faster. I can only hope.

My irritability knows no bounds

crying baby in bed

Much appreciation for the three kind and loyal fellow bloggers who liked my last post, which could have benefitted from considerably more editing. Thanks for seeing beyond its many shortcomings, you generous souls. I’ll aspire to do better today.

Because I volunteer in a nursing home, where influenza can spread like wildfire, I scored an early flu vaccine. Shots start today for the general public, in case you weren’t aware, but some people get to jump the queue, including those who who work in facilities housing people vulnerable to infection.

Did I happen to mention they’re predicting a bad influenza season here based on Australia’s rates of illness? I thought you’d want to know.

Last week, following our PALS shift at the retirement home, I lined up with Jelly so I could get my shot. Except there was no line. The immunization clinic was set up for nursing, administrative, and other support staff, and volunteers, but no one was attending. Had no one noticed the mini chocolate bars for the newly immunized?

I sat down beside the immunizing nurse, who seemed overly excited to have a subject, while Jelly gladly endured the other bored nurse petting her. Everyone was content.

[Warning: Keep reading only if you plan to continue to the end of the post.]

The shot hurt from the moment the needle entered my arm. As she put a bandaid over the insertion spot, the nurse mentioned that many people were complaining of pain this year. Thankfully she didn’t disclose this before she inserted the needle since I am highly suggestible.

In the past, I have a sore arm for a few days following the shot, like a heavyweight fighter has punched me, but this time I thought I’d skip that part. I was unscathed until day 3, when I woke up in discomfort, trying to remember what the heavyweight champion looked like. The arm felt better after a few days, as it always does.

J. also scored an early flu shot as a volunteer at the children’s hospital. She received her injection the day my arm was the sorest. After the shot, she denied any pain on injection. She’s such a show off. To add insult to injury, nobody even punched her arm the next day. She felt nothing.

After last year’s shot, I was irritable. Irritability is a potential side effect of the shot, and I’m suggestible, remember? When J. suffered no ill effects, I immediately got cranky, but it had nothing to do with my flu shot; I was cranky because of J.’s suggestion that I am a baby. I may be a baby, but J. still shouldn’t have called me one. A loving partner knows when to fudge the truth.

You will likely react to your flu shot like J. did, i.e., you won’t feel a thing. If you’re irritable, blame it on me for telling you about my adverse reaction. You too can consider my reaction as a function of my sensitive temperament.

Maybe I’m irritable because we’re leaving for Israel tonight and I can’t decide which hoody to take. My life has no end of stresses. It’s a wonder that I can function at all.

My head may be in the sand but I can still hear you

Many people on a beach with their heads in the sand

While everyone else was back-to-school shopping, I was back-to-size-8 shopping. I wanted a few clothes that fit my new body, however temporary, so I scoured every sale rack I could find. I didn’t buy much since this petiter me may be fleeting, but I was tired of looking schlumpy while my body sorted itself out.

No, I haven’t gained all that weight back. Rather, I’ve lost another kilo in recent weeks. No wonder I was nervous about yesterday’s appointment with Dr. Blood Lite. “I have been eating more,” I told him, “but not enough to gain weight.” Although I feared his wrath, he is too kind to be angry.

After discussed my leukemia, which seems to be stable, he asked whether I’d ever reviewed the progression of my liver disease with Dr. Foie Gras. Where did that question come from? I told Dr. BL that, no, Dr. Fois Gras and I had not discussed my liver’s prognosis, but likely because I had never asked.

As much as I want all the information I need about my various ailments, I don’t want it before I need it. I may not ask the questions but I still know what the potential outcomes are. I told Dr. BL, as I’ve told you, my faithful readers, that I can only think of one of my illnesses at a time or my anxiety overwhelms me. Mostly I pretend I only have leukemia and forget about all that other potentially deadly stuff.

For many years, I have been low on my liver doctors’ totem poles; the patients they focus are often in acute liver failure or have more aggressive liver diseases. They need liver transplants or they are dying. I was one of them once, about five years ago to be exact, but I’m not right now. I only think of myself as someone with liver disease when my liver is malfunctioning. I know what a failing liver looks like, but I choose not to ask for details.

I see Dr. Fois Gras every six months or so, he takes a closer look inside me once a year, and he reviews my blood work quarterly. My blood test results have never garnered a telephone call from his office. No news is supposed to be good news, right?

Usually my denially approach works, but it failed last night between 12:30 and 3:30 a.m. when I stared at my ceiling, listening to both J. and the dog snoring, and wondered if something was terribly wrong with my body and no one was telling me. Maybe Dr. BL was afraid to share his concerns after I’d put on my blinders in front of him. Or maybe he was being thorough since he didn’t know me all that well. It must be the latter.

If he were that concerned, he would have told us to cancel a trip we’ve planned, but he didn’t. He encouraged us to go even though it’s very far away. He even mentioned that our destination country is known for many well-respected hematologists.

You might wonder where we’re going, but that will have to wait for another post. First, I need a good nap.