If anyone out there’s still reading, here’s where we’re up to.
When last we saw Our Heroine, (me!) I was having trouble eating.
It got worse.
To the point where I just couldn’t.
I just couldn’t eat. The worst day I only managed 10 cherries all day.
And it happened that I had an appointment with my Very Helpful Psychiatrist that day, and my Very Good GP had copied the results of a blood test I’d had a few days before over to her. “Caity, I was a physician before I was a specialist, and I have never seen some of these levels so low. You’re very sick. I’m going to send you to hospital now. You go home and pack a bag; I’m going to get you admitted this afternoon.” She made phone calls to make it happen and Mr Beloved and I headed home.
I was numb and in tears but so grateful that finally something was happening: and I didn’t realise how sick I was. I was very malnourished. Luckily my Very Helpful Psychiatrist has LOTS of experience with eating disorders – which, by the way I don’t have (no I’m not in denial!) and recognised that what I needed was hospitalisation so that I wasn’t in danger from refeeding syndrome.
(Refeeding syndrome is what happens when you haven’t been eating and suddenly you start eating again and your body has no idea what to do with the food – your electrolytes get messed up even more and in severe cases you can DIE. This is the simple version from the helpful dietician. I was still fuzzy when she explained it to me so she had to use very simple words. )
Hospital was NOT FUN. I’m just grateful that I have health insurance (through no good management of my own, you know who you are, thank you again for looking after me) that let me get into hospital straight away. I know hospital isn’t meant to be fun. Bed shortages (yes, even in the private hospital) and being under the care of several specialists made it a little more horrible that it might otherwise have been but we got through it. Thankfully the hospital is only just up the road from home and Mr Beloved was able to visit every day and bring lots of books. I got a lot of reading done – is there a worse place to try and sleep than a hospital? (I have problems sleeping anyway – it’s one of the things I am talking to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist about when I see her again tomorrow)
They did some tests while I was in hospital – a ‘gastric emptying test’ which measured how fast my stomach moved food through it : you eat a radioactive egg sandwich then try to lie very still for 2 hours on a very narrow platform while the CT scanner takes pictures. (Of course, once you’re trapped from neck to knee in the machine, everything itches – and you can’t move to scratch anything.) An ultrasound didn’t show anything out of the ordinary either. I pushed to schedule the gastroscopy and colonoscopy as soon as possible while I was in hospital but then was too sick to have them. I have to go back in to hospital to do the prep and have the procedures next month (fun.)
My electrolyte levels are being monitored with blood tests every fortnight and I am almost back to eating ‘normally’ – within the limits of what I can eat, anyway. Still no onions or any processed food with onion powder as an ingredient. Which means – we cook from scratch. Which we mostly did anyway, since it’s so much cheaper; but it’s annoying not to be able to just grab something like a tin of soup when you’re feeling blah and just want something quick. Because there WILL be onions or onion powder in there, in sufficient quantity to make for a miserable night, or perhaps 2 miserable nights.
So what the hell went wrong, anyway? Part of it was the depression that started in November – I lost my appetite. (When I saw the GP on Monday she mentioned that she had just been to a conference where she learned that one of the psych drugs I am on has been being used off label in the US for weight loss, since a significant proportion of patients report loss of appetite… ahhhh, light bulb!) But then something else happened that interacted with that – possibly an infection, possibly just a worsening of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I have to learn to manage better. It could be that the antidepressants we were trying triggered something. (Given the severe nausea that happened during the antidepressant trials, I wouldn’t be surprised.) The gastroscopy and colonoscopy are to check that there’s nothing else going on: the specialist has said that he thinks I’m going to have to learn to live with the facts of IBS: it won’t kill you, it just makes you very miserable from time to time.
Meanwhile I am eating bread and pasta (NOT the gluten free versions) for the next month so that if there is a reaction to those to show up in the tests it will well and truly SHOW UP!
And in non-medical news… my dear nephew turned 21. Go NewSky!
We survived the Australia Day rain event (heavy and very inconvenient rain, but fortunately for us at least NOT a flood on the scale of the 2011 event… others down the range weren’t so lucky and had worse flooding than in 2011. We were only left with a soggy queen size mattress to dispose of, since of course my hospitalisation happened a day or so after we go the new mattress and before we could organise the skip to get rid of the old one. Mattresses and other big rubbish are really hard to get rid of – hiring a skip/dumpster is about the only way. I supposed we could hire a ute but by the time we load that and do multiple trips to the tip – just as efficient to load everything into one container and then get it taken away. Must organise that this week.
And uni starts again soon. I got a High Distinction for my Creative Writing subject in Semester 2 last year; I’m enrolled in the follow on subject starting at the end of this month. I’m looking forward to getting going on that again.
So. That’s it for now. Updated. Now I must go cook dinner.