Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Clinging to the Wreckage

Talk about clinging to the wreckage! That wee "Love is" cartoon was drawn in response to a hurricane (Katrina, I think). In the context of this post, it's metaphorical, about a different kind of wreckage - aged bodies - bringing on their own varied array of side-effects.

A very unpleasant, increasingly awful 10 days have been had, in this household, following the first dose of a different anti-biotic the nurse practitioner at surgeon's office prescribed (bactrim generic). After a very shitty (sorry) experience with 1 tablet of augmentin , I started the next horror ride. Anti-bi's purpose is to kill infection that has developed in small part of one of the incisions made during lumpectomy. As I'm aged, healing is nowhere near as efficient as it once was. In consequence, that part of the incision has to be 'packed' each day (husband does it after instruction and equipment from nurse.) That, in isolation, without anti-biotic side effects, would not be too much of a problem at all.

Bactrim rapidly took my appetite, gave me constant nausea. At first, I managed on light diet, maybe for a day and half - then, with constant nausea, diet rapidly zoomed down to almost nothing but lots of water, and a half pot yogurt, half cup chicken broth. After a few days of not eating, the blood pressure pills I take regularly began to prove too strong, BP too low, so I stopped taking them bit by bit, monitoring all the time. I also stopped taking the Letrozole tablets from oncologist, until end of bactrim course, as these are also known for some unpleasant side effects.

Feeling weak, but needing to finish this course, ending Sunday evening, I plodded on, feeling pretty bad. The penultimate night was scary. Heart rate suddenly increased way too high - unusual for me! Couldn't sleep, even for 30 mins - strange visions. With help of Google in the early hours of Sunday, I found that one of my regular BP meds is a beta-blocker, and that beta-blockers do bring down heart rate. I took one then half of another, 30 mins later. Monitored on home machine. By later in the morning some normality had returned, though BP in general still too low for me. Dizzy, wobbly, mind fuzzy, and feeling really, really bad. I still had to take 2 more bactrim. It had to be done. I was more wobbly on my feet than I've ever been in my life, and kept forgetting and losing stuff. That'll all improve, I feel sure that, as I take in more food, and get back taking full BP meds. If not will see GP.

Alongside this tale of woe, the concurrent return of a couple of other regular bugbears of mine. I know how to deal with these, from experience... and, I do know me!

(A) pollen allergies are hitting me far more strongly than usual - possibly because I am run down + possibly there's lots of pollen around in OK - rated Very High most days (lots of wild flowers). Constant running nose ensues (leading to sores on nose , sneezing fits, painful hot itchy eyes, and bunged up ears which make everything sound as though an equalizer needs adjusting. My own voice sounds weird too. Zyrtec taken daily but not a lot of help this time.

(B) Sore top of left foot causing bother due to old injury site having rubbed against shoe during the couple weeks before my procedure when we took to walking the mall or the streets around home, for exercise for both of us. I've dealt with my left foot in much worse state than this on several occasions, in the UK and here. If not for the rest of this tale it'd not worry me too much right now, just another thing to protect and monitor daily.

So, on we go!


R J Adams said...

So sorry to learn of your troubles. I do hope you feel better soon. Those US antibiotics always seemed way too strong for me. I think they're formulated for your average American - 250lbs!
Anyway, keep fighting 'cos we Brits may not be as big as those US folks but they ain't got our stiff upper lips - even if the chins beneath are becoming tweak and flabby!

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Thank you RJ! I'm feeling stronger, still not 100% - it'll take a few days more. I'm trying to keep my mind in good order, and writing a journal type post, as above, helps with that for me. It was written for my own edification to, as something I can check back on later.

Yes, you could have something re USA anti-bios. I had never been badly affected by anti-biotics in the UK. Sometimes they didn't seem to work much, but I got well anyway. This is the second time US anti-biotics have upset my apple-cart badly here in the USA.

Yeah - not just my chin becoming weak and flabby either:) - stiff upper lip still, occasionally, in working order though.

Other Brit (via Douglas Adams) motto "DON"T PANIC!"

I see a serious chat with the oncologist in my near future.

A Casual Reader said...

I'm thinking of you, Twilight, and wishing you the best. Good luck!

PS: When you're feeling "shitty", no apology is necessary.

Twilight said...

A Casual Reader ~ Many thanks, ACR!

Anonymous said...

My parents would talk about the days before antibi. They had many childhood friends evicted from earth because of what we now consider relatively insignificant infections. Here's to your keeping both feet on the prairie. If you're in the mood to read by monitor, here's a short story to entertain and ponder:

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh this is so distressing T. I am so sorry you've had such a shitshow of a week. Hard to pull ourselves together when we are older and then with so many things failing. What a rough ride. I am so glad you wrote about it. It would be good also if you wanted to review all that happened with your doctors.

The last thing we need in old age is suffering unnecessarily. I commiserate and hope for your continued improvement.


Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Thank you kindly, Anonymous.

Oh yes, anti-biotics were an amazing breakthrough, and have been improving for decades. Over-use has been part of the reason for continual strengthening and mixings to keep them effective. I'm wondering whether in some cases they've gone a bridge too far. Same for some other technological advances too.

Thank you for the reading matter - link saved - I do intend to read it later. :)

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Thank you WWW!

Regarding happenings with doctors, at the various stages of this "adventure" : I have nothing but the highest praise for my GP, for the radiologist and his staff who played a big part in "the procedure", and for the surgeon and his staff who were of course at the sharp end of it all!

I have yet to decide about the oncologist who, though a nice enough person, does not inspire me with the same kind of complete trust I've had in everyone else on this journey. I'll know more after I discuss risk assessment - absolute and relative - with her, and discuss frankly my concerns about ridiculously competing side effects of the drugs she has recommended for me - especially when considering my flippin' age! Maybe I don't look like many near-80 year olds (neither did both my parents) maybe I don't sound like an 80 year old - but my body truly is that old!

Kaleymorris said...

Be sure to let all medical professionals concerned know about your ordeal. In the future, they can prescribe other drugs to do the job and not make you feel so badly. Put this drug on your No list.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~ Yes, I shall. The surgeon knows already, his advice was to ask oncologist about risks and stats. when I suggested that I will consider refusing certain further treatments she recommends. I intend to see GP next week - first time since the start of this journey, and will have a candid chat with him. Main reason though is to get something done about my hearing which is knocked out of kilter by allergies, I think. He'll just have to shout back at me! :)

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ I hope you get to see this! Thank you so much for the link to the E.M. Forster story. I've just finished it. I'm entranced and amazed - considering how long ago it was written - and so beautifully written too! It's prophetic for sure!
Thank you again! :) I shall recommend it to my husband and to others.