Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Health's Slippery Slope

It's been a month since I posted to the blog.  Right around Christmas, my husband of 28 years suddenly developed weird symptoms that could have been attributed to:
  1. Heart attack
  2. Stomach cancer
  3. Pancreatic cancer
  4. Sinusitis
  5. Stroke
  6. Flu
  7. Crohn's disease
  8. Medicine side effects
  9. Panic attack
and many more.  Believe me, I searched the web and every one of the many medical books and journals I could find.  After he finally told me he was feeling really terrible, he confessed that he had thought he had an ear infection, so had been taking the penicillin and Cipro that we had brought back from Mexico in past years.  Further interrogation brought out the fact that not only had he been throwing everything in his "pocket pharmacy" (a pill bottle with several of every type medicine he has collected over the years) at it, but that he had decided that the blood pressure medicine he had been taking for 22 years made him feel worse, so he had stopped taking that altogether.  If this isn't a cautionary tale for NOT self-medicating, nothing will be.
Then Ron became a hot potato for the medical community - each doctor doing his best to eliminate his realm from consideration.  Five days in the hospital eliminated his heart as the problem.  Even with daily doses of heparin and nitroglycerin and a couple of new blood pressure meds, his heart was sound and we went home with the same symptoms. However, instead of his original blood pressure medicine, he now had four other medicines: 
  1. Metformin for blood sugar as they diagnosed him as diabetic;
  2. Lipitor for his slightly elevated cholesterol
  3. Zoloft for anxiety
  4. Atenolol for blood pressure control
  5. Xanax for when he had panic attacks
And a referral to an internist and then a digestive system doctor.  Then more tests:
  1. Colonoscopy
  2. Endoscopy
  3. Ultra Sound
  4. More blood tests
all of which were "nothing to worry about" - even though his symptoms continued.

After three weeks of careful diet control he is finally starting to feel better, but who knows why?  The Lipitor has given him terrible leg cramps and twitchiness, the Xanax and Zoloft caused him to feel like a zombie, so he has discontinued them and we are once again back to his original medicine:  Atenolol for blood pressure control, and the Metformin for the blood sugar control.  The blood pressure is still going up and down like a yoyo and the blood sugar also varies wildly.  He still can't sleep at night and still gets headaches. 

We are doing our best to return to a normal life, but things are still a bit shaky and he hasn't gotten his strength back to where we can go out on the motorcycle.  However, I'm hoping for more and better blog posts in the near future.