Needles, Pills & Alcohol -Oh My!

There is probably a reasonable explanation, I just don’t know what it is. Maybe you can help me?

I use Walgreens as my pharmacy because it’s close and because I can pretty much do everything I need from the app. About a month ago, I was scrolling down my list of meds that I needed to refill and checked the appropriate boxes. The next day, Don picked up my prescriptions. Immediately, I saw a problem. There was a box of syringes. I don’t use syringes anymore, I use pen needles. I must’ve clicked the wrong box. Sigh. No big deal, I’ll just bring them back.

“Can I help you?” Walgreens pharmacist asks.

“Yeah, I accidentally refilled the wrong needles. I need the pen needles, not these syringes. Can you please take them off my med list?”

“Ok. I can’t make those adjustments to your list, you can go online and archive them though. That way they won’t be visible but they will still be a part of your history. (Sounds like a therapy session I had…) I will go ahead and order those pen needles for you. Anything else I can do for you?”

“Yes, you can take this box of syringes back. I don’t use them and I don’t want them.”

“I can’t take those.”

“Why? They haven’t been opened.”

“They’re NEEDLES”. She actually looked horrified and like I should know exactly why what I’m asking is absurd.

“But they’re new and clean… aren’t there places that take used needles?”

She seriously looked like she was going to pass out and/or throw up.

“Not HERE!”

So, I took my needles, my confusion, and my anger home.

A few days later, I had an appointment to follow up on my blood pressure.

The nurse sat at the desk, going through my meds with me.

“Welbutrin, Cymbalta, Prenatal, Metformin…”

I nod in the affirmative.

“Are you still taking your Modafinil?”

“No. I haven’t taken that in years.”

“But you picked it up at the pharmacy last week…”

“It was prescribed to me but I don’t want to take it… wait. You can see what I’ve picked up?”

A sly smile spread across her lips and she started to nod like she had just busted me for something.

“Wow. That’s great! (I swear her smile vanished) I wish you’d been able to do that a long time ago… my sister used to scam doctors for pills, not telling anyone the whole story, so she just kept getting drugs and not knowing what interacted with what.”

“Is she ok now?”

Oh, that moment of truth. Do I tell her? Do I keep quiet?

“She’s not taking pills anymore.” The path of mercy, sparing the nurse the awkward, uncomfortable momentary silence.

“She got help, that’s great. Where’d she go?”

Alright, lady, you asked for it.

“She passed away almost two years ago.”

Eyes wide, face flushed and a stammer.

“Oh… I’m, I’m, I’m sorry. Well, I’m hoping this new system will prevent future deaths…”

“Me too.”

I guess I could’ve said Natalie went to Progress Valley. She did get sober there. I guess I was just pissed at this nurse and my perceived notion that she thought I was a drug seeker or a scammer or trying to pull something over on her.

In the end, I AM really glad that the computer system is now linked and doctors can see what you’re being prescribed and what you’ve picked up. Don thinks it’s a little too “Big Brother-ish”.

Finally, I don’t remember what tripped into falling down the rabbit hole but I came across several ads for Jim Beam (oh yeah, Shim Bean) featuring Bette Davis.

I LOVE Bette Davis. One of the scariest movie mo-fo’s I know of.

 

baby jane

But, here she is in an ad for Jim Beam Bourbon:

jim beam bette davis

I don’t know what the intent was if this was supposed to be a scare tactic… probably not but God if I correlated THAT face with THIS bourbon? I’d NEVER drink again!

…Maybe they should re-run this ad… watch AA numbers and AA Alternative numbers skyrocket!

 

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Shim Bean

No, that’s not a typo. It’s my lil pet name for Baby. I despise the term “it” and since I don’t know if he is a him or she is a she… shim. Bean comes from all the baby books that tell me “baby is the size of a jelly bean. Now the size of a kidney bean…”

Shim and I went to the Endocrinologist this morning. My A1c was up a little from the last time which didn’t surprise me. I’d given up hope at one point and figured why am I trying SO HARD? (I know, it’s good from my health… and depression is a bitch.)

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my blood sugars were higher than I wanted and I didn’t really understand why. I’m really careful about what I’m eating, almost to the point of being too scared to eat. I heard the best reason ever. Hormones. The HCG level doubles every two days and the body becomes even more resistant to insulin.

We adjusted the insulin and decided I needed to be “boring”… I’ll give it a shot!

Same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Same cereal and milk. Sandwich for lunch. Etc. The fewer variables the better. At least until week 7, then the resistance drops and the sugars lower by themselves.

Weeks 7-14 are the most crucial, as in the highest chance of miscarriage because of blood sugars.

It’s time to be militant.

And to remember, no one hits the goals all of the time.

Shey said, “If they say they’re hitting their target numbers all of the time, they’re either lying or not diabetic.”

Land of Bland? Here I come.

“Welcome to High-Risk”

I’m going to start with a spoiler: Everything is fine.

Now, for the story.

Friday I had been having some light cramping. Saturday it was a little more intense and a little more consistent. I’ve been checking my blood sugars six times a day. Before meals and an hour afterward. My numbers started to get higher, 198. I’m not supposed to go above 140.

Tayla and I went to my mother in laws just to hang out and chat. On the way home, I just had this nagging feeling that I should go in. It’s 8:00 pm. On a Saturday night. Urgent Care is closed and I’m sure the ER is filling up with drunks.

“I’ll be fine,” I told myself.

For whatever reason, I pulled into the parking lot of the Burnsville ER.

At check-in, there is a sheet of paper for you to fill out the reason you want to be seen. I wasn’t sure I actually NEEDED to be seen, maybe I just wanted a nurse to tell me it was ok. Of course, they won’t do that without you being seen.

Sigh. Better to err on the side of caution, right?

The nurse reads my card “pregnant with cramping and high blood sugar”.

“How far along?” She asks

“8 weeks” I replied.

She notices Tayla. Her eyes get a little wider and her head shifts from me to her and back to me.

“You?” she asked nervously.

I was so stunned for a minute like we’re both so far out of the age range for optimal pregnancy that for either one of us it would be a “tragedy”. Que eye roll.

She takes me back to triage right away and a room shortly thereafter.

“The doctor will be in shortly,” she says.

Needless to say, the wait is longer than short.

Finally, she comes in, apologizing and telling me she “forgot” about me.

WHAT?!?!?!?!?

Lie to me woman! Tell me you were holding a patient as he died or attending to someone who came in via ambulance with several Chinese throwing stars sticking out of their chest? Then maybe I’d be ok with it and let it go… who am I kidding? I let it slide anyway.

So, right to the fun stuff. Urine sample. Blood draw. Ultrasound.

It didn’t actually take all that long and The Hunger Games was on. So we watched the second half of that and the first half of Catching Fire.

When it came time for the ultrasound, I have to admit, I was excited. Baby’s heart starts to beat around 6 weeks and you can see and hear it around 8 weeks.

She moved the sensor thing across my belly and dug in. She moved it around, stopping occasionally, hitting buttons on the computer to take pictures and then decided it was too early to see anything using the wand thing. She needed to use the probe thing. Ugh.

I thought there was pressure before! Holy shit. Ow! It actually hurt. Then she added towels under my butt which made it soooo much better…. right.

Then she decided, no, the first view with the regular wand was better. Grrr.

“Do you see it?” I asked.

“I see something but it’s not an 8-week fetus. We’d see a heartbeat, arms and legs… I’m not seeing that.”

I stifled the urge to say “well maybe you just suck at your job”.

It turns out, there were two “sacs”. NOT TWINS. One in the womb and one near an ovary. It’s more of a cystic type thing. She couldn’t determine which sac was the pregnancy so she couldn’t rule out that the egg may have implanted somewhere other than the uterus.

I have to believe though, that if there are two sacs and ONE is in the right spot… that’s baby.

On top of that, the initial doctor I talked to on Friday was wrong about the conception date and I’m only 4 weeks, 6 days. The ultrasound and the Hcg hormone level support this.

Since my blood pressure was ok and my sugars (by that point) were within normal range, they suggested I follow up with my primary care provider for further blood testing until my numbers reach 2,000. Currently, they are 563 and double every two days. At the 2,000 mark, they want to do another ultrasound.

Oddly enough, my cramps went away without any treatment and I started to wonder if it was psychosomatic and needing to overcome my doubt that this pregnancy is actually even happening.

So, my plan of trying not to worry so much didn’t really pan out…  But, I’m not as freaked out and the cramps are still gone (and there has been zero bleeding), so I guess I’ll follow the ER doc’s suggestion, call my doctor in the morning and go from there.

I do feel a certain peace though. Everything is fine, it’ll all work out. That’s probably thanks to all the praying I’ve been doing and the prayers I know other’s have been saying for us.

Thank you.

 

Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

Yesterday I blogged about being pregnant. I was excited and nervous, hoping I wouldn’t “jinx” it by doing so.

I’ve had about 48 hours to sit with this new news. This wonderful, miraculous, terrifying news.

I mentioned that I was aware of the health risks and I am… today it just seems overwhelming.

I’m 40 years old. I’m overweight. I’m diabetic. I have high blood pressure. Low back pain. History of miscarriage…

I’m trying so hard to not let these thoughts scare the shit out of me.

It’s not working too well.

I haven’t had my arthritis medication for over a month and now my knees are swollen. I have looked into natural anti-inflammatory foods and will stock up.

I’m trying to make peace with being ok with whatever the outcome of this pregnancy is.

This is where “Heaven’s Reward Fallacy” comes in. Heaven’s Reward is the belief that in this case, we are taught to believe that input is equal to output. We sacrifice and give our all. We put everything and everyone before ourselves. We give out so much good karma that good things must come back to us.

If I eat right, sleep enough, take all my meds, exercise, do everything right… I will have a healthy baby.

I plan on doing all of these things… and I know that I cannot count on right actions absolutely leading to right results.

This pregnancy was planned and in a very real way, a surprise. I had made peace with the fact that Tayla was going to be my only child. I would work in the hospital’s NICU. I would wait (anxiously) to become an aunt … or a grandma (not too anxiously).

I guess I’m saying that whatever happens, I know I’ll be ok. I just need to reassure myself because this full day of worrying… I don’t want to do this again.

Twisted 2018

What a year 33 days make!

Actually, the past 9 days have really been a trip…

On Wednesday the 24th, I saw an OB/GYN about my fertility. She ordered a blood test to check my “egg reserve”. When it came back, I was devastated.

She knew the number would be low because of my age… but this was incredibly low. A number in the low range is a .5, my number was .070.

The doctor told me it was highly unlikely I’d be able to conceive naturally, if at all. I needed to think about how far I wanted to take this baby thing. Did I want to try IVF? It’s expensive and it might not work. I could look into finding a surrogate… I told her if I couldn’t do it myself, then it must not be meant to be.

I was so depressed over the weekend. I cried a lot. I was angry. And then, I decided to do something different. I called the hospital to look into volunteering at the NICU. There is a program for babies that are addicted to drugs and need cradling and rocking to soothe them while they go through withdrawals. The volunteer told me all about it, I filled out and sent in my application and told myself I’d be alright.

Thursday morning comes and I’m cleaning the bathroom. Under the sink is the last pregnancy test. I think about tossing it but decided “why not pee on it first?”. A few minutes later…

IMG_6551

?????????????????????????????????

I felt my depression lift for a minute before I realized it was probably wrong. It sat too long under the sink. The ph balance is off. God is playing a cruel joke on me…

I call my doctor’s office anyway.

I had an appointment this morning and I got this:

IMG_6556

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only thing more shocking was my estimated due date: September 11th, Natalie’s birthday.

I’m thrilled. Terrified. Cautiously optimistic… and 8 weeks along.

I know that I am high risk, so much so, the high-risk OB doesn’t feel comfortable treating me… so on Thursday, I’m going to meet my team on perinatologists.

I have informed all of my medical specialists and mental health providers.

Now, I’m just going to TRY to relax and worry about anything and everything that could happen in the coming months.

😉

A Rude Awakening

My eyes were opened… and not gently. No, I felt like Alex DeLarge at the end of “A Clockwork Orange”. Strapped into a chair with my eyelids pried open and kept that way.
A lot of you know that I am in a therapy group. It is a trauma processing group and a lot of times there is what’s called “parallel processing” where one or more people have had similar experiences to whoever is sharing. It can be very difficult and rewarding.
A few years ago, when I was pregnant with Noah, a new group member started. She had recently suffered a miscarriage. I felt awful. I wanted to quit the group, not to be a constant reminder of what she’d lost. I loved my group though and one of the main “rules” we have, is to not “treat each other as fragile”.
As God, or fate, would have it, I lost Noah a week or two after she started. I could be wrong but I’m almost certain that within a month, she was pregnant again.
Then Natalie died.
There was so much grief, I was drowning in it and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to get another full breath.
The following months that passed were brutal, for both she and I.
She was expecting her rainbow baby (a baby born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss) …in a way and also, not really “expecting” anything to go right, terrified she would lose another pregnancy.
I understood, and I tried to be supportive. I can’t honestly say that I was supportive, I don’t know. I hope that I was… and, that time is kind of a blur, further complicated by overwhelming jealousy and grief. I want to say I didn’t talk about the loss of Noah at the time because she had so much anxiety about the health and continuing growth of her baby that I didn’t want to add to it… but I think losing Natalie trumped Noah. Maybe it was both.
It hurt to hear her talk about the pregnancy and all that it entailed…not like a knife to the heart but like a dull, dirty, four-pronged fork.
Spring came, and baby was born. I thought I’d made it through the hard part.
I had made it through A hard part.
She took a break to recover and care for her newborn.
When she came back, she was still filled with fear that something would happen to baby and she would lose him.
More time passed, as it does, and she had friends who had miscarriages. They were triggering for her and she wanted to be there for her friends and also to have the support she needed from the group.
By now, I was getting to the point of being ultra sensitive. Even the mention of the word “baby” and I tensed up, started to zone out. I found myself irritated with this group member, she spoke excessively about her loss, her friends’ loss, her new baby… etc.
“Why am I getting so upset?” I’d ask myself. Her happiness, her grief, her joy and loss, they take nothing away from me…
Somewhere inside of me I heard or felt a voice saying, “I want to be heard too”.
“I hurt too”.
I bring all of this up to finally make my point.
Last Tuesday, I feel like I flipped out on this group member. I had very little sleep the night before. Tayla didn’t go to school, in fact, she ended up in urgent care. Work was crazy busy and we were short drivers…. I was worn out.
Even though I was trying my best to be skillful, I fell short. I said things in a way I wish I hadn’t. If I had it all to do over again, I would simply say “thank you”.
Thank you for being you. For sharing your struggles and joys and your journey. Because of you, I looked deeper into my own feelings and acknowledged that I haven’t yet grieved Noah. That I am entitled to talk about him and mourn him. Thank you for not treating me as fragile.
It has taken me nearly a week to write this and as I reflect back, one thing sticks out the most.
I know she felt attacked and unsafe. She said she wasn’t coming back. I told her if she didn’t, that would be treating us both as fragile. She said something along the lines of “that sounds manipulative” and we all laughed, except her. Maybe she wasn’t joking. Generally, when people are manipulative, it is to get something they want or for their benefit. That’s not exactly the case here. Yes, I do want her to come back… I want her to have her safe place. I want her to have support.

I want that for both of us.

 

Happy(?) Thanksgiving

It wasn’t a noise that woke me but the absence of sound. I fell asleep listening to Natalie’s YouTube videos, at my desk. My arms wrapped around this imitation Noah, this plastic, and cloth creation that I somehow thought would mimic the son I lost. His butt is sitting on the desk as I leaned my head into his onesie, one I’ll never have to wash or worry about him outgrowing. My cheek touching his, imagining his breath, his heartbeat, his warmth, and wiggliness. Us, together as aunt Natalie sang us lullabies…

But somehow my subconscious was on alert, knowing the music stopped, that she was gone again, that I lost her again. I panicked and opened my eyes, searching the room for her.

I went to her Facebook page and realized that the dress she’s wearing on her cover photo was the one she wanted to be buried in. I felt this flash of fire in my belly. Lava spilled out of my eyes.

We couldn’t even do that for you. The god damn autopsy scars would’ve shown. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I clicked on her photos, trying to distract myself from the realization she wouldn’t be texting me about Thanksgiving plans or reservations or family time or anything. Ever again.

The still pictures, they provoke me, encourage my anger. How will I never see another goofy pose from her? Hear her laugh and snort over funny little things? Be party to another “get rich quick” scheme?

I scrolled through the messages from friends about how they all miss her and love her.

Damn you, Nat.

With all this anger and fury I think about deleting these pictures. Erasing her playlist. Boxing up gifts and remembrances from her.

I know I won’t though. Under all of this heated emotion, anger, helplessness, the real emotion that stays is heartbreak. As horribly overwhelming as it is, it’s what I have left. The pictures and the music, they stir up emotion, sure but I am grateful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving Nat. I am thankful for having you in my life as long as I did. I love you.