Sunday, March 20, 2011

Help me make it through the night

First and foremost, I'm not whining! If I sounds like I'm whining please slap me. I'm posting the following for information only and in no way am I less than completely thankful for what I have. 

Going to bed used to be the reward for making it through another day. It was a welcome escape from the work and worry where I could shed all the aches and pains during the night and awake refreshed and renewed. It was something to look forward to. Now it is something to dread. What will happen when I close my eyes and drift out of consciousness? Will I wake up in an hour drenched with sweat? Will my pads and underwear be heavy and soaked with urine. Will I need to struggle, half asleep, and change the sheets. And how many times during the night? I remember these nights when our kids were little. I remember trying not to be mad and trying to be supportive because I could imagine how embarrassing it was for them. I don't need to imagine any longer. I now know this embarrassment first hand. No, I don't look forward sleep - not like I used to.

Night sweats: 
These lasted for about four months from the time of surgery. I believe they are psychological residuals of the sedatives given during the surgery. Perhaps my subconscious reliving the pain it 'felt' during the surgery - even when my conscious mind was asleep and oblivious to the traumatic pain. These sweats were very frustrating because I would wake up, shortly after going to sleep, completely drenched with sweat. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and any night clothes were also soaked with sweat. It didn't seem to matter whether I had covers on or just a thin sheet. These night sweats only lasted about four months and I was very glad when they finally stopped.

Bed wetting: 
(Copied from Calendar/Journal for April 2, 2011)

"Nights are still hard. I'm not getting the night sweats anymore but I still have to wake up every two hours or so to pee. The hard part is not so much the waking up - I'm used to waking during the night - the hard part is getting up. Don't roll over and go back to sleep. It's amazing how easy it is to rationalize laziness when you just want to get back to sleep.

"And once I do get up and go to the bathroom, it's harder to pee. There doesn't seem to be anything there unless I really push (sort of like standing up). And If I give up and don't go, I seem to just go when I get back to sleep and then I wake up with a wet pad. More fuel for the rationalization process.

"If I do go, the stream is not very full so it's hard to feel it. I usually don't have my hearing aids in so I can't hear it. So it's hard to tell if I'm going AND it's hard to tell when I'm done. With this new bladder the act of peeing is a process of alternating between pushing (bearing down with diaphragm muscles) and relaxing (either sitting up or leaning forward) until no more comes. So you can see where this might be a problem.

"Also I think gravity plays a larger role in this whole process than it used to with the old bladder. When I'm laying down, things don't work as well as when I'm upright or sitting. The Neo-bladder doesn't fill up in the 'normal' way so it may not respond to attempts to drain it. Or maybe it falls under the whole continence issue. Maybe whatever my body does to "close the drain" while I'm awake doesn't work when I'm sleeping so the bladder never fills.

Working on it: 

I take heart in the fact that the night sweats have stopped. I believe that the problems I'm having with contenence will improve with work. And my body may 'learn' how to control some of these things with time. There are a lot of 'new' things going on in there, and my mind (concious and subconcious) has to resolve these changes and continue with the healing process. Our kids had new things going on and they're minds and bodies figured it out. It just took a little time, and a little patience.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just Happy

Sometimes, lately, I get this happy feeling - just out of the blue, you know? For no particular reason and without anything else going on. I can just be standing and looking out the window. Or walking in the yard.

It's not even 'happy'. No, that word doesn't do it justice at all.

Satisfied, content, at peace? No, not those either - but they could be part of it.

Ecstatic, thrilled, overjoyed, euphoric?  Those are other words that may be in there too, but they don't fully define it either.

It's a little like the feeling that I just aced an exam or wrote a paper that was dead on the point and now I'm just waiting to get it back so I can see the superlatives written by the grader (I will be so disappointed if there is merely an 'A+' grade). My triumph requires a response in kind. (but I digress).

This feeling seems to sit just under the surface of my consciousness and I only notice it at random times when it just pops up and says; "hey". 

There's no rhyme or reason. But it's nice when it happens and I just kind of think - wow!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Finally feeling fine.

Feeling fine!
I've met with my doctor again for another series of blood tests and follow up on my condition. I have now completed a 10-day course of Cyproflaxin antibiotic to treat a slight swelling in my left kidney and to knock down these fevers which I've been having. The fevers stopped two days into this treatment and my blood counts were slightly better. I am to continue taking Iron Sulfide tablets for anemia (low red blood count) and one-a-day multi-vitamins to help build up my energy levels. We are very happy with all this and will meet again in a month for another check. 

Looking up: 

It no longer hurts me to travel in the car (jostling of my gut from the cracks in the road ), my fevers are gone, and the night sweats are either much milder or completely gone (on any given night). 

I have been walking for exercise nearly every day (even these really cold days) and I have worked myself up to being able to do a mile with no difficulty. This is a huge boost to my spirits as I only have a month to get ready for my  highschool baseball season. I am now anxious for the snow to melt so I can begin riding my bike again.

During the meeting with my doctor - at the end, after covering all the physical progress - he asked me if I was having any spells of depression. I said; "No, none at all" Quite the oposite, actually. I am very happy and content with the overall success of this treatment and feel that the challenges I am facing are an incredibly small price to pay. And when taken in context with all that has happened to me - all that has been accomplished in order to save my life - quite insignificant.