G is for Gabapentin


a-to-z-letters-gGabapentin is known by the brand name Neurontin, and it’s used mostly for seizures, Restless Leg Syndrome and a few other things. It has some off label uses too, which is why I take it: headaches, sciatic pain and insomnia. I mean, it hits all three of them for me, with just one dose each night before bedtime. When the sciatic pain gets bad, I take doses during the day too. My pain pills do nothing, absolutely nothing, for sciatic nerve pain. The only thing that has ever touched the nerve pain has been the gabapentin.

The problem with gabapentin is that it makes me soooooo sleepy. And it doesn’t matter how long I take it, the sleepiness never seems to go away. So when the back pain is bad, the gabapentin fixes it, but I sleep, all day, all night, I sleep. I sleep and I sleep. I hate it. But I hate pain more than I hate sleeping my life away.

I just wish there were a way to find a balance between the two: limit or eliminate the pain and let me be awake for at least the large portion of the day.

Is that too much to ask? (more…)

F is for Furosemide


a-to-z-letters-fWell, most of you know about Conner the Conure, the latest feathered addition to our family. He mimics speech and we’ve been teaching him to talk. He’s picked up a lot of words in a very short time: Hello, Aleck, Good Morning, I Love You, and Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’ll say it over and over again, bobbing his head up and down. It’s cute. And I should explain that ‘hello’ actually means ‘Lynn’. It’s the darndest thing, but he usually mostly only says it when he sees Lynn. We think he seems to think that’s her name.

But the other day, he picked up a phrase I do not want him to say. It was a phrase I say a lot, and I didn’t realize I said it. I plan NOT to say it any more. No, I won’t tell you what that phrase is. Let’s hope Conner unlearns it.

But one of the phrases I’m certain he’s going to pick up is, “I hate Lasix.” (more…)

E is for Erysipelas


a-to-z-letters-eAbout five months ago, I got a bad cannula out of my box of cannulas. For those who don’t know, I’m on supplemental oxygen 24/7. I wear it all the time, even when I leave the house, I have to take a portable tank of oxygen with me everywhere I go. I wear a nasal cannula for the delivery of the oxygen. During the day, I fluctuate between 2-5 liters per minute of supplemental oxygen, and at night, I use 5 liters for the flow. This helps keep my oxygen saturation up above 95. My doctor wants it above 93 all the time, but when I get up and move or try to walk on the treadmill, it drops into the low 80s. Sigh.

When this happens, my chest will seize up and it hurts, bad. I’ll be gasping for breath, my heart rate soars through the roof (pushing over 200 beats per minute sometimes) and it’s scary. My anxiety will go up a lot during that time too. (more…)

D is for Death: What Happens When We Die?


a-to-z-letters-dIt was too easy to do today’s word for D on a blog called Dying to Live and about terminal illness. I mean, death is the inevitable end to life, for everyone, but with terminal illnesses, you know you’re going to die sooner than you would under ordinary circumstances. Well, I’m trying to live as long as I can, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the concept of death has both fascinated and scared me. I don’t know what happens when we die. Nobody truly knows except those who have died, and perhaps even then they don’t know, depending on what happens.

So my question to you all, and if you’ll answer in the comments, I’d be honored and will seriously consider all your thoughts: What happens to ‘us’ when we die? (more…)

C is for Congestive Heart Failure


a-to-z-letters-cAfter several months of having horrible trouble breathing, chest pains, swollen legs and hands and face, neck distended, miserable, and not a single doctor willing to DO anything about it, I finally gave up and went to the ER at John Sealy Hospital UTMB in Galveston. We waited only a few minutes before they took us to triage, where the lady asked what my problem was. The moment I said I had chest pain, triage was over. She stood and looked over her cubicle and said, quite loudly, “We have chest pain here!”

Next thing I know, they are wheeling me in the wheelchair through the doors to the ER, while one nurse is unbuttoning the shirt part of my dress, and they are moving fast. The nurse behind me is yelling to the folks at the counter/desks in the back, “We have chest pain in 108!” A team of about five people rush at me, and have me moved onto a bed and mostly undressed in a matter of seconds. Before anyone said a word to me, they were attaching leads to my chest, my legs, my abdomen and my head. Another nurse was looking up and down my arm trying to find a vein (I was very swollen so this wasn’t easy and I’m a hard stick in the best of circumstances), and another nurse was putting a blood pressure cuff and a finger pulse ox on me. (more…)

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