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Life Bizness & Health Issues

Attempting to distract myself today... from thinking far too much about missing my brother Mikey, and wishing I had more close friends around here. Such things will get better in time. I have some great job prospects, and spring is slooooowly coming into bloom in Seattle. I actually saw the sun like 4 times this week. I even felt it warming my hair one of those times! ~miraculousness~ :P

The other day on the n00z, the weatherd00d said that we've been having temps that are 5-10 degrees cooler than normal consistently for weeks. So it's not just me wondering when spring will get here properly. Dear Sky: IT'S APRIL. START ACTING LIKE IT. EVEN BY THE NW'S STANDARDS!

I'm especially excited about a potential job at the Space Needle, and I'll talk more about that if I'm hired. As far as I know, the job has a ton of perks, as well as health benefits... and I could certainly use some! Yesterday's interview went very well, and I feel confident I will be called back for a 2nd one. After that, it's just a background check, a drug test, and I'd be in. Seeing as how I haven't killed anyone lately, nor have I smoked any crack, I should get the job... Here's hoping!

Life has been full of interestingness and positive growth lately, and I had fun during Nate's visit last week. Unfortunately I've been having flare-ups with old health problems, mainly my neck/shoulder injury being extra painful & evil, and my left kidney, which has been problematic a few times before, being painful and bitchy as well. I haven't been eating or sleeping right, and over time I can see why my kidney has become angry at me. Certain foods and not enough liquids build up deposits that lead to discomfort and to kidney stones, and unfortunately, all of my very few vices do this wonderfully: coffee, beer, chocolate, and cheese (and other dairy; kidney stones are mostly made up of calcium.) Coffee and beer dehydrate your innardz, cause the kidneys and liver to function less than optimally, and also make those organs work harder to process out certain components. I don't remember if it's the tannins in coffee or just the alcohol content or what... I read about it awhile ago.

I just find it annoying that so many rock stars/techs can be crazy drinkin' f00lz and abuse their bodies immensely, yet seem to live long and not be all that affected by it... Obviously there are many exceptions to this, and I certainly wouldn't want to be Keith Richards. Even so, having the type of physiology that is is SO FREAKING FINICKY about the kinds of foods it will tolerate, and how much, and in what combinations, etc, having to read ingredients for everything, even shampoo and lotions because of contact allergies, having old problems constantly flare up and cause this seemingly evil feedback of DOOM... it drives me nuts! For example: the best thing I could do to help prevent this kidney shit is drink plenty of juices containing citric acid. Sounds simple! So why wouldn't I? ACID REFLUX FROM HELL. I've had it since I was 14. Why are my kidneys so bothersome int eh first place? Because of a medicine I was on for nearly 2 years to control the acid in my stomach, which I didn't know often leads to kidney and/or liver damage over the long-term. I don't take it anymore, but the damage was already done. So I get to choose between stomach pain that makes me want to curl up in a ball and die, or at best, makes me nauseas, woozy, and hurting... OR... kidney stones! (Which, if you've never experienced before, I do NOT recommend! In fact, I think I'd only wish such a thing on George Bush or Hitler.)

Please excuse me for a moment, while I do an interpretive dance to express my joy over these options.


Here's another example: Sinus pain triggers bad headaches that I never had until my tour injury, which triggers pain from the impacted wisdom teeth I can't afford to have taken out, which press on nerves that make my neck/shoulder hurt and/or make the sinus pain even worse... etc, etc, ad nauseum + stabbity mcstab. It just gets so TIRING. And oh, yeah THE INSOMNIA. It truly fucks with my life and my ability to get things done to degree that I struggle constantly not to get completely INFURIATED with, explosion-style. The only thing I have ever tried that helps is Ambien, and if anyone has a spare few hundred dollars a month laying around, please let me know, because I will get RIGHT back on that medicine! It would make me so damn happy to have a real sleep schedule for once, or be able to do *anything* that effectively contributes to having one, that I would probably weep with joy. No exaggeration.

It's always these multiple low-level things combining together to create a big clusterfuck of FAIL. And I'm not even THIRTY yet. And I can't afford health insurance! I guess I have even more of this to look forward to as I get older? That is a bunch of SHIT. I am hoping & praying (and I don't even pray, or believe in worship, technically) with all of my might that I get a job with benefits soon, so I can finally get some things properly checked out and treated.

With my luck, some fucking "pre-existing condition" clause in whatever benefits I do get will finally send me over the edge, and I will go completely postal... But, a Wizard can dream.

The most ~*AWESOME*~ part (note the swirlz & sparklez) is that due to all of these interconnecting issues... I miss out on a lot. When 3 or 4 of these things are triggering eachother at once, It truly SUCKS to have to bail on social events, things I volunteered to help with, sometimes even on work. There are no good options: Calling out of work obviously has repercussions... letting people down/going back on my word, which I LOATHE doing, is awful... or I can crawl out of the house when I can't think straight due to pain or nausea or being exhausted from insomnia, and somehow get through the day in a fucking miserable condition, which is 100% guaranteed to just make it all even worse the next day. FUN.

Meanwhile, I feel like such a hypochondriac sometimes, and worry that I will be perceived as some wussy complainer. And as you may already know, I *rarely* worry about how I am perceived by others. I care about what those closest to me think, but I have always been my own person & hardly ever care about the opinion of the general public. But this *does* bother me. My willpower is very strong, and it is more frustrating than I can possibly express not to be able to fix these ongoing problems. Also, I fully, 100% acknowledge that I'm not *anywhere* nearly as bad off as those who live with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, those who are physically disabled, or anything like that. The last thing I want from ANYONE is sympathy. I just want it to be known that these problems are, unfortuantely, REAL, and I am not making them up, nor am I exaggerating them. I HATE the fact that they are real, with all of my being. :(

All of this crap = Why the $75,000 degree in live production, which I worked my ASS off for to complete in appx 40% of the time it would have taken on a standard semester-type schedule, and which I think of as my proudest accomplishment in life, cannot be used to its fullest extent... Because I am NOT Keith Richards, I am NOT Superman, and while I *may* be a Wizard, there is no magickal wand I can wave to fix it, and sometimes it simply isn't possible to "suck it up" and power through, when my own blasted body is rebelling against me on multiple fronts. I feel constantly shitty mentally/psychologically about the fact that I can't just WILL my way through it and make myself better.

I feel like 17 kinds of a bastard for letting people down when I feel too crappy to go out, or to help with something... I feel like 43 kinds of an IDIOT when I have to call out from work, and about ELEVENDY-JILLION kinds of a FAILURE the few times I have had to miss a gig. (Some of you may recall that I got out of the hospital last month, slept for 12 hours, and went straight to a show, even though I still felt like fried death that was left out to rot. It was ~lovely~.)

So I'm going to do something I don't think I've ever done before, and post a link to this entry on Twitter and FB, because I would like to not have to explain this ever again.

It's hard ENOUGH for me to admit to anything even remotely resembling vulnerability, and I know that there will be times that I will have to explain to people in the future that "No, I am NOT blowing this out of proportion, and here is the laundry list of legit health issues that I am dealing with all the damned TIME." But I can hope that by putting it out there now, it may clarify some things, and possibly, someone may have some suggestions for herbal or home remedies I could try that will help me manage these things better, so they can hopefully be far less aggravating. (I'm big on teas and such; they've helped at least somewhat.)

Any and all comments/bits of advice are appreciated & welcome. But PLEASE, no "aww you poor thing" type sentiments. I will vomit on your FACE, I swear to god. As a human being, I am about as much of a delicate flower as Dick Cheney is a kind & gentle soul. But my body is unfortunately rather incompatible with the nature of its spirit. I'm trying to be honest & constructive, and find better ways to deal with this crap, and am very open to any ideas or potentially useful advice.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.



( 6 frijoles — add some beanz )
Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
Hi G, it's Rob. If you have medical or life stuff you can always call me. You may get my VM but I will get back to you.

Yes, calcium oxalate is the primary constituent of kidney stones and hydration is the #1 way to reduce them. But some people are just unlucky and make more crystals or have them precipitate more. Are you sure they are calcium stones (captured and sent to the lab?) Just because the treatment options change.

Is it actually documented that you have renal imparement?(increased BUN and Creatinine, reduced GFR/CR via 24 hour urine test?)

You can try increasing hydration (water) all the time, and this may help. The rest I would need to do some reading on as to what your other options are. A quick check suggests hydrocholorothiazide (HCTZ) which is a diuretic or alpha blockers which are a BP/cardiac/prostate medication. HCTZ is on the 4 dollar walmart drug list, and is frequently used generally for decreasing BP.

Do you still have the acid reflux? Which medication where you on back then? Tagamet? Prilosec is now also very generic (cheap) and could be used but you would need to take it a couple times a day. Nexium is another choice for once a day but more expensive.

The headaches, first look into dental schools and sliding scale treatment in your area. A wide area. I back in the "Poor days" had a messed up wisdom tooth and it was causing all sorts of pain. A second option is seeing if a dentist will work on a payment plan with you. I gave my self some sort of ulcer and needed to take OTC prilosec after taking too much ibuprofen for the dental pain. A third option is to talk to people you know and see if they can work out a payment plan with you.

The insomnia, if you resolve the pain will need to be reevaluated. Ambien is now generic, but it's a controlled substance so it's a pain to get (and prescribe) and carries a higher price. And will require at least a 3 month visit schedule. Most people also develop a tolerance to it. Another option is Trazadone which is a TCA and is sedating. Benadryl which is the "sleep" ingredient in Tylenol PM, ect with a PM, is OTC and cheap. makes some people goggy in the morning/wake up time. I used it a lot when I was on night shift. Not the best choice but it will get you though. Some people will talk about melatonin, it works for some people. Same with Valerian tea. Benzo's can also be used Ativan and Temazepam I have dispensed for sleep.

It is frustrating to have shit insurance, or no insurance. I work in health care and it's not offered to me at an affordable price. And I understand like the wisdom teeth not having the money to get this stuff fixed.

It's also frustrating like you said to have these physical limitations. You are strong, and you have a good work ethic and you are reliable. You also work in (like Nursing/Medicine) a industry where being a flake is not really allowed. You have to be there, and it's difficult to find someone to cover.

The thing is you are looking into a game plan to get this fixed. That is the important thing, "Ok this is broken I need to find a solution." I think you will find one, and then you will be able to continue applying your degree and doing something you love, and are good at.

I talk a lot in my LJ about developing foundation. Your health is a critical part of the foundation.

Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Yay, useful ideas! :D

Does your # have a 201 area code? I have a few Robs in my phone.

I never got treatment for it but I passed a small stone about a year ago. NHL Playoffs start and my kidneys rebel, apparently. :P And I say small, but trust me, it felt like a boulder that left trails of fire behind as it moved. I did a bunch of research and asked my cousin, who is a nurse, for an unofficial diagnosis. And I did everything I could think of/thought would help to ease its passing. The problem is that it flares up now and then when I forget to actively manage it. Life happens,s you get distracted, you don't always remember to drink enough fluids, drink the teas and herbal infusions that help immensely,( such as terba mate) etc. And all the lovely craft beers & coffeeshops out here aren't helping. :P

I did Prilosec OTC for 2 years under a Drs supervision when i still had insurance. I went off it gradually when I found out about the kidney/liver damage thing. I take a swig of pepto bismol nowadaze if it gets really bad, but I find bread and milk actually work just as well. It's usually only the lack of sleep, or too much of hte citric acidy juices, or something utterly random and out of nowhere that sets off my stomach as bad as it used to be. In the last year or so, it's been more of a "one more thing on top of everything else" type of problem, but it still sucks ballz. I also had a pretty evil kidney infection a few years ago and it's been even more evil since then. I was actually told I might have built-up scar tissue inside the left kidney. That sounds weird to me. Is that even possible? How common is it, if so?

I am trying to get into some sort of low-cost clinic here in Seattle, but as much as the economy is better here than in many places, there is a large homeless population and most of the low-cost or free stuff is waitlisted into oblivion. Hopefully one of the jobs I'm interviewing for this & next week will come thru & I will make good use of that insurance. I will certainly ask a Dr about HCTZ as soon as I have the chance.

As for the sleep aids: I was briefly on a generic version of Ambien, and called around to various pharmacies when my usual place quoted me at $110 for a 30 day supply. The best I was able to find was $89. Tylenol PM & Benedryl make me feel absolutely gross and loopy, and sort of hungover the next day. I sleep, but it's kind of not even worth the side effects. I always wake up wondering if someone slipped me a roofie. It freaks me out. Melatonin & Valerian give me horrifyingly vivid dreams about people dying in fires and being covered by poisonous spiders, etc. My frustration level is so high with all of these things is because I do try many things that work just fine for other people, yet end up worse off and feeling kind of doomed. Chamomile tea helps me wind down, but not really get to sleep. :/

The last 3 paragraphs/sentences of your comment are not only extremely true, but well-stated and definitely help me feel better about all this shit. Sometimes it's really nice to hear things from someone outside of your own mind, and who knows what they are talking about.

Thank You!


Apr. 22nd, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
PS: The fact that you WORK in healthcare and it's not offered to you at an affordable rate... that just processed.

WTF?! How is that even possible?

This country is seriously going straight to hell in a fucking handbasket.

Apr. 22nd, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
I love your Norseman icon. <3 <3 <3
Apr. 22nd, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
I grew up in a house where my mother transitioned from being a RN to a holistic practitioner. This gave me a good foundation for understanding alternatives to harder, allopathic medicines. In the end, I still formed a lot of my own opinions, and feel somewhere balanced in the middle: chemical pharma and hospitals are really good at keeping you from dying, and herbal medicine is really good at keeping you healthy.

That said, I've never been good at giving full, scientific explanations for my methods. Some things are just so common that they become second nature when you see them or hear about them enough, especially when you hear about people's health all the time from somebody who is passionate about well-living. So, rather than give sympathy, I'll try to be more valuable by at least giving you my two cents. You sound like you have a food allergy at the core of your diet. The severity and prevalence, even the very variety of issues, normally comes with a very strong root cause. Maybe you've heard this before and dismissed it. Maybe hearing it yet again from this perspective will help you understand when the next person points it out.

You already have some intuition about it, that you recognize that, by all rights, you should be young and healthy, benefiting from all the energy and flexibility of an un-aged immune system and metabolism. I'm giving all this lead-up to any specific suggestion because we, people/human/whatever, are very emotionally attached to food in general. It's comforting, it makes us feel better. And it should, really, when we eat and drink the right things. But you can also build up a tolerance to something that is not good for you, and it's hard to see its effects on your health until you start to try removing it from your diet.

Here are the most common food allergens, as per the Mayo Clinic:
Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)

For me, it was wheat. That means bread, pasta, crackers, pizza, soy-sauce(thankfully, there's still tamari for use with sushi and stir fries), and all but a handful of esoteric beers. I removed it from my diet and after a few days to a week I felt like my system was being rocked by powerful, wonderful stimulants that had no come-down. The change was that dramatic for me. I stopped being randomly tired after breakfast, lunch, dinner. I didn't need 4 cups of coffee in the morning to wake up anymore, just one or less. My brother-in-law tried my diet this past winter, and the same thing worked for him. Damn-near personality shift.

Oh wait, more than two cents. Here is a favorite remedy for kidney issues: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/hydrangea_root.php
It's a tea, you drink it. No doctor visits required. Though, when an ex-girlfriend was recovering from Xanex withdrawel(which comes with very, very taxed kidnies), she drank Nettle Tea.

I hope this advice finds you well, or at the very minimum shows that I care enough to type out this long of a proscription.

Apr. 22nd, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
Re: medicine
Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to respond! :) It is much appreciated, and thanks also for asking about Beltane. It would have been really nice to see you and Chris & everyone again, were I even vaguely in the area of Four Quarters.

A food allergy is something I've been wondering about, and I will check out your links and info as soon as I get a chance. I have noticed patterns in how I feel after eating certain foods, and plan to visit a holistic practitioner as soon as I can afford to do so in order to investigate these things further.

Also I agree with your statement that "chemical pharma and hospitals are really good at keeping you from dying, and herbal medicine is really good at keeping you healthy." In addition to just needing to vent my ongoing frustrations for a bit, the main reason why I took the time to write this out was in the hope that I could find help & suggestions that were outside of the more mainstream health options that I don't really have access to anyway.

You've given me much food for thought... it is much appreciated. :)

( 6 frijoles — add some beanz )


Gwyddon, with a Z

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