Wednesday, March 03, 2010

One week ago ...

So, I missed the first day of Stitches West set up last week, due to being increasingly and miserably sick, culminating in a night spent in the ER.

Yep, the ER.  Some, if not many, of you knew I was feeling poorly last week.  I thought it was a stomach thing, which wasn't resolving.  In fact, I turned my car around before I hit the freeway on Wednesday, on the way to Stitches, with horrible cramps and nausea.  By Wednesday evening, I was becoming worried as my belly cramps increased exponentially, and then realized I was also having flank pain.  (Flank pain usually = kidney trouble.)  Along with all the other symptoms of kidney trouble.  (I'll spare you the lurid details, and trust me, you're the better for not knowing.)

So ... I thought I was kind of the same or a little better until everything death spiraled around 9 pm on Wednesday.  I was having difficulty breathing due to the exponentially increasing pain, so I knew I had to get to an ER.  Kidneys are pretty important and if you have autoimmune disease, particularly lupus, you really have to treat your kidneys well.

I called the advice nurse who spoke with the ER doctor, who said I needed to get in right away.  Very long story short, it wasn't too long before I was being treated for a kidney infection, hooked up to an IV and then - finally - the blessed relief of hardcore pain meds by IV.  As well as IV antibiotics and a couple of liters of fluid (I was pretty dehydrated - the poor nurse really had to search for a vein).  And oxygen - boy, that really makes a difference.  :)

Now throughout all of this, I'm thinking, I have to get home so that I can get a shower and nap, finish printing patterns, and get myself to Stitches!  There was no way I was going to miss it, despite zero sleep, serious infection, etc.  My IV's were done by 3 or 3:30, but the doctor didn't come see me until 6 or 6:30, who said she really wanted to admit me, but I looked so much better that she was sending me home.

So I took a cab home (yay), started printing more patterns, tried to think semi-clearly, enjoyed one of the best showers of my entire life, ran (ok, maybe tottered) around finding my clothes, and saw a weird red rash on my belly.  Really weird red rash, like bright bright red.


Check myself out in the mirror, trying to see what's going on and realize there's a red streak running up to my left armpit.  Raise my arm to find my bra is bright red and wet, along with my armpit.  And watch a steady drip of bright red from a mole under my arm.

Yep.  I apparently cut a mole while shaving.  DOH.  Seriously, this thing was bleeding like mad.  Pressure wasn't stopping it.  I'm applying pressure with my right hand and choosing dressings with my left (I worked in healthcare! I have a nice stash!).  I finally slapped dressings on.  And spent the rest of the day in agony as the adhesive irritated my skin (it's still a bit red!).

I did make it to Stitches, of course.  In retrospect, I know that it was really insane to go work my butt off for four days immediately following a night in the ER with a serious medical condition.  But I did it, VERY grateful for the best booth mate ever (thank you Lisa!), IV and oral antibiotics, as well as the full leaded painkillers that got me through it all.  I know I need to take better care of myself, I truly do.  I've been lovingly yelled at by my closest friends and family.

I don't think I would have done anything differently, though.  Except get to the doctor earlier (but even that is tricky ... I really didn't know how sick I was).  I just don't see skipping out on something that I invested so much time, money, and other resources in.  Luckily, I wasn't admitted to the hospital (yay!) and luckily, I am so so much better now (yay!), other than being very very tired.

I thought about not sharing this bit of drama and trauma.  I think it's important to keep things real, though.  I'm not just someone who knits.  I'm also someone who is a little bit obsessed with her fuzzy kids, loves great food (and salads), writes, makes art, watches LOST and Project Runway ... and lives with lupus, adult onset diabetes and peripheral neuropathy.  If life was perfect, it wouldn't be much of a life.  I know there are many, many people out there with very serious medical conditions, many of whom are far sicker than I am, and many others who are much healthier than I am.  I hope I can offer those folks, regardless of their level of illness, the proof that life is pretty great despite the crummy days, and I'm here to show that you can (often) be independent and even self-employed, even during the crummiest days.  (That said, I'm certainly not judging anyone's circumstances and I'm also very grateful to be as healthy as I am.)

So one week ago ... pretty pretty crazy.  I'm so glad to be where I'm at right now, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically.  I'm feeling pretty blessed.  xoxo


UnaOdd -Lynn said...

Ahhhhhhhhh! Brenda! I had no idea!!!

Wow! Dedication, grit and tons of heart. What an inspiration you are. (((HUGS!!!)))

So I hope you are having a good rest.

Brenda said...

I am, Lynn! I'm kind of at a loss right now, feeling like I should be crazy crazy crazy making buttons or printing patterns or just working working. :) I am kicked back on my sofa right now - sheer decadence! xo

heather jane said...

For the love of Pete, girl! You'd better be taking a break this week. I'm glad you're okay. Just reading that kind of traumatized me. I don't know how I would have survived.

Patty said...

I like that you're keeping it real Brenda, because it ain't all unicorns and rainbows! I'm so sorry to hear about your ER visit and illness...ugh. You poor thing. I know for me, having your own business causes you to work so hard because it's for something you love so much. It's easy to let other things fall by the wayside, like health. You get some rest!

Leslie said...

Wow! I am so glad you got to the doctor and are feeling better now. Thank you for sharing your story. I remember when we lived in CA, I used to get teas with sayings on them and one was "Everyone has a story". I try and remind myself of that often. You sound like an incredible person with a ton of determination and talent. Go you! Thank you for sharing your gifts. :)

madichan said...

You know what face I'm making at you right now.

I also appreciated you sharing; I think it's important to show the realistic side of something like this, and what a physical toll it can take. I know people in your craft/artisan community know this, but for us outsiders, it can really seem like fun vacation time to do things like this (not specifically me, but you know what I mean!). Thank you for sharing!

Brenda said...

Thank you all, friends, for your great comments. :)

Heather, trust me, you're such a strong lady, you'd handle things far better than me!

I love that "saying" too, Leslie! I love to find out what people's stories are, because it's true! Everyone has one!

Patty, truer words were never spoken (it ain't all unicorns and rainbows - my new mantra, haha!)! Going into biz for yourself means working harder than you ever have before. And longer. Maybe not forever, but certainly during this ramp up period. :)

Mad, it's always a treat to see you (I miss seeing the faces you'd be making!)! And I agree (what a great point) - I get that all the time - "isn't it great that you can do whatever you want and sleep all day and just read and watch movies and play videogames and go shopping and ..." I wish! I'm working harder than ever ... and we worked danged hard together, so you know what that means. :D

xoxo to all!

Fringe said...

For the love of humanity! I had no idea. And to think I bugged you about that other little thingy this week...

I think you showed a great deal of character and courage throughout what was surely a terrible experience. I'm proud of you, friend!

Please know that I wish you every success and happiness.


Brenda said...

I think this sounds a lot worse than it was at the time - at the time, all I wanted was my pain med (there were tears involved just before they started the IV, I should admit)! And this is SO not anywhere near the worst things that have happened, or will happen, to me. I can say that now, a week later, particularly because I had such a great outcome. :)

Thank you, Dennice! I hope you'll ask about me questions about any thingy you like. :D