[Journal] The Sleep Study

So this afternoon I find myself in hospital again. Thankfully this time it’s far more simple and involves less emergency wards than last time. I’ve been asked to come in for a sleep study tonight as a last – ditch effort from my specialist to try and help me before we’re out of options. It’s a very long shot, but if I do this then at least we can say we’ve tried everything.

I was asked to arrive at 4:30pm and Manthing was kind enough to drop me off. When I arrived I was shown to my room and told that I would be seen by a doctor and a scientist tonight at about 10pm. Somewhat disgruntled that I had to come in so early,  but the room is nice. Still a hospital bed, but I have carpet and a painted wall and two big windows overlooking the rooftops of the hospital I’m in.

Later on tonight I will be hooked up to all sorts of bits and pieces and probably experience something close to an alien abduction while being told I have to sleep. I’m dubious but who knows. What I DO know is that I can’t even pick my nose in peace because there’s a camera in the roof of my room.

This should be an interesting night.

EDIT 1: Dinner has arrived. I haven’t been brave enough to look at it yet. I’m going to stay in my room where I don’t have to share the TV with a grandmother who looks very aggressive about her news. A girl with the same name as me has shown up. First thing she does is ask if they have wifi. Preach, sister.

EDIT 2: I have discovered the toilet paper here is unforgivable and the soap refuses to wash off your hands with a reasonable amount of effort. The girl with the same name isn’t staying. Just dropping off her mother. I am sad.

Dinner looks reasonable.  Yet to be eaten. I have been provided with supplies to make a passable cup of tea. For now, I am happy. 

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EDIT 3: These monsters haven’t left any sugar packets for my tea. I am displeased immensely. However, the dinner meal is actually decent. Surprisingly decent. Almost not hospital food decent. I am suspect but reasonably content.

EDIT 4: I found the sugar for my tea when the staff took away. It was hiding under the bread. I just lost a game of hide-and-seek to part of my meal. I also just noticed this.
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Serving suggestion for this caramel thing? ON A BLOODY SPOON YOU HOOLIGAN! WHAT THE HELL DON’T EAT IT WITH A FORK YOU TWIT.

EDIT 5: It’s now almost 7:30pm. My ache is coming back. I’m by far the youngest person in this sleep study ward and, aside from the technician, I’ll be the only one awake in 15 minutes. I also noticed that I have a bathroom right next to my room. Score!

EDIT 6: It’s now after 9:30pm. The night staff have come in and are doing their thing. My butt is numb and my legs are sore from this bed. I am also exhausted.

EDIT 7: I slept like complete balls but according to the technician, we got good data. Manthing was a legend and picked me up at 7 am and was awesome despite the horrible traffic. I’m back at home, just had a nice hit shower and washed out all the ‘caulking’ they use to hold the electrodes on my scalp. Image wet chalk paste mixed with glue and you’re pretty close. I now wait 3 weeks to get my results back and, now that this saga is finally over, I’m getting some ACTUAL sleep!

Catch you all later!

[Journal] A not so glorious (but better than expected) return

Ladies and gents, presenting your not-quite-neighbourhood-friendly Abigail!

It’s been quite some time – months, in fact – since I last submitted a blog entry of any kind. I’m honestly a little sorry for the time it’s taken me to get back in the saddle, but also feel an apology isn’t needed. My time off was quite deliberate and much needed.

To pick up from where I left off those months ago, I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be a double whammy of atypical pneumonia and bronchitis. The heart palpitations have now become somewhat of a weekly guest, though only one or two at a time, until I get sick. In the time between then and now, I’ve been sick a further two times with various bugs and another bout of (slightly more mild than last time) food poisoning. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, I’m attempting to wrestle control for my body back from a nasty sinus bug. It’s been rough riding, but I haven’t fallen too far off the horse yet. It also seems necessary for me to basically pump my dreamteam of Zinc, Echinacea, Garlic and Vitamin C to boost my immune system during flu season.

While I was in hospital, I learned a few things:

  1. I am irrevocably, irrationally and totally afraid of being in hospital.
  2. Exactly how important you are in someone’s life when you DO go into hospital
  3. Which of my friends respected me and took my health seriously with things like avoiding me when they were sick
  4. That hospital food sucks balls.

To start with the first, it didn’t help that I was admitted while running a massive fever, scared out of my brain because my heart was backfiring left, right and centre, and so many kinds of exhausted. That generally doesn’t make for good terms to enter into any unfamiliar situation, let alone a high-stress one in a loud and artificially bright ward filled with screaming patients. You can add another layer to the “How the fuck will this make me more calm?” cake when they hooked me up to a heart monitor and every 35 seconds to a minute my heart would do the Macarena and the machine would scream. I swear I now have a Pavlovian response of complete panic whenever I hear the sound of an irate heart monitor.

I suspect the majority of my fear comes from the fact that you don’t exactly go into hospital to get a scratch-and-sniff sticker from the doctors. Every experience I’ve had with hospitals in the last decade have been because something has inevitably gone wrong with my body for the first time and part of me is half-convinced I may croak. What I find out after is that it’s just another perk of being Abigail, or more specifically, being stuck in the body of Abigail.

Point is, when you combine all of these things with my anxiety (which has gotten significantly worse due to the stress of it all) it makes for the perfect panic-attack-inducing shitstorm. To boost the “OHCHRISTFUCK” signal coursing through my brain, there was an utterly shitfaced bloke yelling at the staff and walking the ward. It was almost what I imagine a meth-addicted Santa to look like after Boxing Day. I can laugh about it now, but believe me, I was in almost histerics by my second night.

To move on to the second point, Manthing was incredible. He slept in a chair next to my bed the first night and on the floor of the hospital on the second. He brought me a book, my colouring gear, my DS and my favourite blanket, which I covered him with on the second night. The only time he left me was when I sent him home halfway through day two so he could get some sleep in an actual bed and de-stress a little. He put up with my panic attacks, kept the conversation up when I was anxious and did everything he could (including bringing me pajamas!) to make me comfortable.

I had some family contacting me when they could with reception, friends keeping track of my updates on Facebook (it was far easier to just comment on a status than message everyone individually) and taking to me to keep me distracted when I was stressing. I also had some friends fall short of what I had hoped my friendship meant to them. I wasn’t asking anyone to drop what they were doing and come and visit me. If I’m sick in the ER and under care of Infectious Diseases, what do YOU think I want you to do? But what I needed was the support of my friends to tell me everything would be fine, to tell me they gave a shit about my health condition and to just generally be friends. When I got single-word responses, suffice to say the ranks of my friends shifted a little that day.

Number three is a big one. If I’ve just come out of hospital and I’m really fucking sick, do you think I want you to come over and bring your flu/cold/arse herpes with you? It sucks that I’ve had to do this, but for the last three months, I’ve effectively had to screen people before they come over. I’ve had to politely ask people to just not show if they have a cold or the like, because I just can’t risk it. The fact that I’ve caught three bugs in this time kind of shows you just how stupid my asshole immune system is, and how careful I have to be now. If I go out, I take a risk. If I go to a public event, I have to pump my vitamin dreamteam for 3 days beforehand and 3 days after, just in case. Chances are, I’ll still pick something up. It’s not pleasant, but it’s my reality. I’m also at the point where being polite can go and choke on a big hairy cock. If you’re sick and in my house, I WILL tell you to fuck off, because you obviously don’t have any respect for me, and don’t give a shit.

Number four is an honest truth. You always hear the jokes about how bad hospital food is and you think it’s just a joke until you’re there. I swear to god, one night my dinner was breadcrumbed cardboard and string greens. It was honestly tempting to just order a pizza to the ward.

The important thing I learned is that the palpitations I get aren’t dangerous. I still have a perfectly healthy and functional heart, it just adds an extra beat from time to time, especially when I’m tired and run down. Getting a single ‘hiccup’ as I call it is the definitive point where my body goes “Too much! Bed! Now!”. Getting more than one is my body screaming that it’s exhausted and I’m run down. See: Sick with any kind of bug. It feels horrible and awful and then more horrible on top, but the bloody brilliant news is that it’s just uncomfortable, not dangerous, and I couldn’t have asked for a better answer.

All in all, I learned a lot from my miserable experience in the hospital. About both myself and those around me. I’ve also had to learn new coping mechanisms when my body goes batshit, I’m wrestling with the idea that it’s okay to go to bed during the day if you need to, and that pushing my body right up to the limit helps nobody, least of all myself.

I’m going to finish my blog here tonight because I’m god damn exhausted and need to put this meatsack to bed before I fall off my char, but I’ll be updating my blog regularly again and filling you guys in on all the juicy details of the last few months ❤

If I forget, feel free to shoot me messages filled with words that will make a sailor blush,

❤ Abi

[Journal] So I ended up in hospital yesterday.

So, last night, at about 1:30am, I ended up in hospital. Easter Sunday, Manthing and I decided we weren’t going to cook. We ordered takeout from our local fast-food place (they deliver, which is awesome). For those of you in Aus, you should be familiar with Red Rooster. For those not, it’s basically a place that deals exclusively in chicken. Sometimes bacon. So, I ordered my usual from there.

About two hours after I had eaten, I started to feel unwell. Very unwell. My stomach was churning, I was shaking, I had a fever sweat and then chills and then a fever sweat, etc. It felt like someone had punched me in the guts. Hung over the toilet for a while, nothing. Went to sit back down? Ohshit. We’re going to throw up. Nothing. I proceeded to have a shower to try and ease the accompanying muscle aches – when I get sick, my fibro chimes in with “I wanna play, too!” and causes hell in a hand basket pain-wise – and I threw up all over the shower floor. I can honestly tell you it was one of the most hilariously disgusting things I’ve witnessed. I was sitting down on the shower floor, threw up suddenly all over myself, the walls and the floor. Interestingly enough, dinner smelled the same coming out as it did going in earlier.

By this point, I had taken anti-nausea medication on two different occasions. 15 minutes after I took them, I threw them both back up. Crawl into bed after washing myself off, feel worse than I have in a long while. Suspect food poisoning. I call the nurse advice line we have here and she runs through the symptoms with me and suggests I head off to hospital to be monitored.

Massively sick, fever, chills, unable to hold anything at all down since 10pm. By this time it was bout 1am. On my way to the car, I threw up in the garden, over the railing and then in the laundry sink. I should have marked them off on a bingo card or something. Rather than going to the usual hospital of mine, we went to the closer one. Biggest mistake ever. Last night, it took 5 hours of me throwing up in the main ER room and being violently sick and very dehydrated before I was seen, I was left in a bed for well over an hour when I got transferred to the Short Stay ward and it took them another hour from when I was seen in the ward to do what I had been asking the entire time – give me an anti-nausea shot and let me go home.

I had politely asked a few times when I was going to be seen and they kept saying I was next in line and that it wasn’t a very busy night at all. While in short stay, I tried to explain to the nurse that, with me being sick, I need to take my painkillers to make this ordeal bearable. My pain was slowly climbing it’s way up to a 9 (I don’t tempt fate by using 10, or I know my body will one-up it) and because I couldn’t hold down fluids, I couldn’t take anything and I was very quickly heading towards utter agony. At this point, I was curled up in the fetal position, clutching my stomach and whimpering. I got the filthy “Oh, so you’re a druggie” looks from the young nurse, while the older ones actually seemed to understand and tried to hurry the process along. There were no blood tests or investigation into whether it was something more serious like salmonella from the chicken.

I’d also like to note that there were still pieces of bloody gauze on the floor beneath my bed, and the remnants of blood ON the bed itself. I’m very much aware that my case was far from urgent to start, and was totally happy to wait a little while the more urgent patients got seen before me. Long story short though, I was very unimpressed with the whole ordeal. We didn’t get to leave until something like 7am. We drove home through some very beautiful fog and I had a hot shower and climbed straight into bed.

I’ve only just woken up and I still feel like shit. I have MASSIVE body pains. I literally feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m more or less taking the next few days to myself to recover and feel less like patient zero before the zombie apocalypse. Manthing has to help me to and from the toilet because I’m so unsteady on my feet. My skin hurts to touch, the feeling of clothing is causing me a great deal of pain, but the cold would cause me more. Suffice to say that I am a little ball of pain and hate right now and it’s taken considerable effort to write this blog post. Since it’s about me and my whacky adventures in being a sick little munchkin, I figure it warranted a post here.

I’m going to sign off here because I have no sodding idea what else to write. Be good ❤

Through the other side

You may have noticed it’s been quite some time since I last posted here in my little blog. In case you missed out on the news, I moved house between now and the last time I bothered you all. The new place is wonderful and has made life a lot easier in certain aspects of my life, including my health. I now have have a house with minimal stairs, LOTS of space for when I’m having my bad days, my own personal bathroom so I don’t have to make a trek across the mountains to use the bathroom of a night, and I also have access to a BATH.

It’s amazing how much these little things can make a difference. I’m finding that, now we’re settling in, I can self-manage my health issues better (when they’re manageable, but I’ll get to that), my stress levels have gone down in regards to petty household stuff, and I now actually have the space to move and breathe. I no longer feel like a sardine in a tiny little can.

This is what our bed feels like now. Not actually our bed, but god does it feel big.

Manthing is also doing much better now that we’re out of our old house. He especially likes the fact that I no longer have to climb over him to get out of bed when I need to use the bathroom of a night. We can have the double bed with access to both sides 😀 I also no longer have to bother him to put the phone on charge or to pass me things I need since I have my own bedside table. See what I mean when I was saying it’s all about the little things?

So, the new house is great. We live in a nice quiet area. I’m not kidding. We’re actually across the road from a cemetery here, but it’s amazingly peaceful and not at all creepy. Rather than the usual grave stones, we’re across from the family garden section, so our view is of well-tended gardens, sandstone boulders and manicured lawns. Mind you, they DO have the barbed wire on the fence facing IN, so in the event of a zombie uprising, we should at least have time to grab our pointed sticks.

Now, speaking of manageable health issues, the move didn’t go very smoothly. I learned the hard way what my body’s ‘hard’ limits are. In terms of BDSM, hard limits are anything you WILL NOT do under any circumstances. In this instance, my body’s hard limits are being pushed to a certain point, going without rest and being shunted along on energy drinks. I had minimal rest, a major pain flare the week before the move, Shark Week also decided to show up for it’s once-every-six-month visit that same week and I was so run down it wasn’t funny. However, half the people that said they’d offer us help for the move bailed on us and we were left with myself, Manthing, our other housemate and one other friend over the weekend of the move. To put it frankly, it was bullshit, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

To cut to the chase, I ended up in hospital with heart palpitations, headspins and my body generally giving me a big “FUCK YOU!”. I got strapped to a 24-hour EKG (that was a very un-fun experience, as was trying to wash the contact goo off afterwards), I pushed myself into another massive flare up and basically slept for a week afterwards.

Quoth the body…

It took me almost two weeks to recover from that stupidity and I’ve learned my lesson in that area. However, my body is still punishing me. Because of that incident, I’ve had a big follow-on Fibro flare up and my Chronic Fatigue is presently kicking my arse. I’m heading into what we call the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ week where my CFS basically renders me bedridden and otherwise useless until I rest as much as my Evil Overlords demand. At the same time, I’ve had to get two ugly ingrown toenails dug out, so my left big toe looks like it lost a fight with a blender (and feels about the same) and my ladyparts are having some kind of spastic attack where I’m now lactating out of just one breast. Fucked if I know why. I’ve had the blood tests and the ultrasounds and they’ve all come back negative for chest-bursters and hormonal reasons, so it seems that my body is just exercising it’s right to hit that next level of crazy.

On top of all of these things, I’ve had some massive financial issues hit me lately. See, I finally got accepted for Disability Pension. Over here, it’s not an easy process at all. It involves more scrutiny than a full cavity search at the airport, and less humanity. I won’t go into details, but the point is that I finally got confirmation that I had been granted the payments. This in itself was a wonderful thing as I wouldn’t have to worry about where my next rent payment was coming from and I wouldn’t have to beg my mother to cover the cost of my medications. The amount I was granted was also enough for us to afford a better place – see: where we live presently. So things were looking up. We moved out, it was fantastic and I was finally getting somewhere. I was paying off people I owed, I was going to be able to afford access to the heated pools at the local gym in a few months and, god forbid, I’d be able to put a bit of money into my business.

Twice they screwed up my paperwork and I hunted them down to make sure they corrected it both times. The third time they screwed me around, they changed my payrate to less than half of what I was getting (and what I was promised!), AFTER we had already signed a 6-month lease for the new property and had moved out. I spent 6 hours on phone calls to various departments, different social workers and generally being degraded by the people on the other end of the phone. Long story short, they had screwed up initially, and had done so HARD. In point of fact they had actually lied to me about the rate I’d be getting. Yes, the one I confirmed twice with them and the one I based my decisions off.

So things are a little complicated now. I’m in a new and more expensive house, I have stuff I can no longer afford, I can’t get certain basic needs met and I’m struggling to make ends meet. On the upside, I still have my pension card so my mother no longer has to pay for my medication. They still cost me about $100 a month, even with the subsidies, but all of my money goes towards that now. The really shitty bit is that Manthing and I sat down and worked this out. My payments were cut because of his wages. If he lost his job and became my full-time carer here, my rate would go back up, he’d get the full amount and we’d actually be bringing in more than he’s earning at the moment. Mind you, he’s earning a dollar above minimum wage which is the stupid bit. I still don’t understand how a Government can allow it’s most vulnerable people to essentially rot when there’s no option for them to return to work. I’m trying to get the business up and running again as quickly as I can after the move, but with all the health issues you can imagine just how easy that is.

So I’m here trying to manage my day-to-day life with Queen HateYourFace throwing a wobbly (yes, I’m referring to my body), trying to balance household finances and not let it eat at me, and on top of it all, because of how run down I’ve been, I’ve also had massive depression issues :/ Depression is one of those stupid things that everyone seems to know about but nobody really seems to know what it involves. It’s like knowing that Mister Smith down the road has this issue where he farts a lot, but you don’t really know why, nor do you bother to question it.

To give you an insight into depression in my case – as I must impress upon you all that it is different for each and every person – imagine all the worst things about yourself, take a picture, and put that over every mirror in the house. You’ve also got this little gnome that follows you around the house and kicks you in your joints (because there is a physical side associated with depression) when you’re not looking. He also spits, swears, points out everything that’s wrong in the house and is the voice in your ear telling you everything you’ve failed at, everything you can’t do and all the things you should be miserable about.

You’re a sick, useless butt head. You smell, you’re ugly and nobody loves you. Yeah, even that guy you’ve lived with for 3 years. He’s sick of your shit. Everyone’s sick of your shit. You’ll never amount to anything because you’re always the sick one and nobody wants to deal with that. Best of all, guess what? You can’t do a damn thing about it!

– Grognar the shitfaced Gnome

So I’m here dealing with all these physical issues beating me up. On top of that, the chemical imbalance in my brain has decided to help tag team me as well. Fortunately I’m really lucky living where I do. I’m one of those privileged people that has access to a reasonable free healthcare system and, because of that, access to a therapist. She and I have done a lot of talking about the issues at hand and have been able to identify key points I beat myself up over. We’ve worked out a plan of attack, per se, and I’m slowly working on kicking Grognar’s hairy little arse out of my house. All the other issues will be dealt with later once I have a stable head back on my shoulders.

I know this has probably been a bit of a marathon read, but for someone that doesn’t normally blog I can assure you that it’s been just as much of an endurance event. As part of my commitment to kick depression’s arse and get my shit back on track, I’ve promise to keep this blog active and see every post as an achievement, whether it’s a written post, a meme or a comic I’ve drawn. I can’t promise a post every day or even every few days, but I will do what I can and I have nothing but the greatest admiration and gratitude for those of you that have followed my blog (all 40 of you. That’s utterly insane!) because it’s you people that have made me commit to getting my story out there. It’s because I know that someone somewhere will read this that I will continue writing, and I’m going to learn to love doing it for my own reasons as we go.

I do actually have a slightly more bright post lined up for you all in the next few days 🙂 I’m also making a point of getting back into drawing my little single-page comics since they’ve been so well received here.

I honestly hope you’ve all been keeping well in my absence and I’d love to hear what you’ve all been up to, even if you’d prefer to message me privately. I’d really love to get to know you all!

Anyhoo, it’s late here and my bed is making sexy eyes at me. I think it’s time I go and get some shut-eye.

– Abigail

Life and stuff!

I’ve been a little absent lately. To keep things short, I haven’t been well. I haven’t been handling the weather changes here very well, I’ve been stressing out about money and work issues and last week I got admitted to ER with severe chest pains. I was stuck with needles, poked and prodded and generally felt awful. Got checked for heart problems and, while I had mild tachycardia, I hadn’t had a heart attack and I didn’t have a clot on my lungs which is good news. On the downside, they suspect the horrible pain was due to inflammation in the connective tissue between my ribs and sternum, and it’s likely to happen again. Not something I really want to think about, but at the very least it won’t kill me and it’s another bit of evidence to add to my case.

The switch over with medication settled down long enough for them to up the dosage, so I’m back to feeling a little dopey but still far better than I had felt on the Sertraline. The nausea is down and I’m actually able to get some sleep at night, thought it doesn’t do much for the horrible exhaustion during the day.

I’m a little nervous today. I go back and see my specialist tomorrow and I’m really going to be pushing for a diagnosis. I’ve waited too many years now for people to um and err over what might or might not be wrong with me, and I need details on paper, not just “oh, we think it’s this, have fun”. I need to be able to keep a roof over my head when I’m too sick to work and I need answers. So, tomorrow I’ll puff myself up and march into the waiting room full of determination. I’ll update everyone when I get back.

I’ve decided that if I do get a diagnosis, I’m going to have a diagnosis party 😀 Everyone has to show up dressed as a doctor or a nurse. I’ll have white lab coats and test tube shot glasses and serve things like brain cupcakes and blood orange punch. I think after a decade of chasing this kind of nonsense, I deserve some fun.

Speaking of fun, I’m feeling remarkably motivated and proud of myself today. I’m back to being broke, but I sorted out my car rego, my business insurance and bit the bullet and bought myself the Vaginismus self-treatment kit. I’ve been putting it off for many, many reasons for quite some time, but I think it kind of dawned on me today that these things won’t change unless I make them. I’ve got enough fire in my belly today to really just try to kick life in the butt and I’ll deal with the fallout tomorrow. God forbid the specialist should see me in any kind of actual pain. Thankfully I’ll have manthing with me tomorrow for support so I won’t need to worry about the stress and drama of my usual ride.

I’m really going to try and push for an update a day. I think I owe myself an outlet and if other people are interested then what harm is there in sharing? I won’t be able to make much in the way of posts over the weekend, though. I have a booking for a market stall over both days, so it’ll be a VERY long and tiring weekend for me. However, that doesn’t stop me from drawing more comics while I’m there!

A nice quick vent and update

I barely slept, I’m dealing with a fuck of a pain flare, I’m angry because I just found out there’s about 2k of repairs on a car I paid 3k for, because the salesman was a lying scumbag and I have to juggle paperwork for warranty in the event that they consider covering it. I now owe close to about $8,000 to various parties for all the recent shit, my office is completely trashed, it’s too hot to sleep and my painkillers aren’t fucking working. I’m annoyed as all hell at the hospital staff my best friend/sister and her incredible husband have to put up with, and I’m upset that she’s still in pain. I’m rubbed the wrong way because Kieran is cranky as shit. I’m up for a new Xbox 360 console I can’t afford, since this one is now on it’s last legs and freezes every 10 minutes I try to play, if not more often. I just tried to break a toe by walking into a chair. The allergic reaction on the bottom of my foot is itching like Satan’s wrinkly balls, my hands are on fire with pain and my deadline for having a self-sufficient business that makes at least $200 a week so I can cover rent, food and bills is now in 3 months and I’m going nowhere. Fuckyeah for being completely stressed out of my brain, facing being broke again after working so hard to climb out of the hole and having my body just pack it in on me.

I hate everyone, everything and everywhere and I want to cry, but I have my mother doing her thing around the house today so locking myself away from the world isn’t even an option in my own god damn house.