Mysterious Maladies

cotton 0620
Lying thicker than real snow, cottonwood fluff could be a culprit for one ailment.

Spotty internet service, slow computers . . . the last two days have shaken my limited faith in technology.

I understand that nothing in the world is more dreary than listening to old people discussing their endless ailments. But that’s what we’ve got at this house, aging people and pets, and that’s what we’ve got — a bunch of mystery ailments. So that’s what you’re getting — how lucky for you, hm?

Let’s start with Marrakesh, who doesn’t appear to have any current ailments but is a mystery unto himself. The other day he voluntarily stuck himself in a corner, between a bookcase and the wall, and sat there meowing piteously while looking up the wall. I’m presuming a bug of some sort was up there and possibly we were supposed to bring the bug down to him. Who knows what he wants. I doubt he can answer that himself.

Oz, I think, finds his new neighborhood exhausting, with its endless supply of creatures that must be chased beyond any point of reason. The foxes — neighbors Fred and Lisa have counted eight babies living in the thicket behind them — are especially alluring, and I think they’re the reason he was limping the other day.

He goes ripping after them full-bore, which is not a gear he otherwise employs. The other day, while I was out watering my patchy potato patch, he bolted from a prone position alongside the garage to top gear all the way up the driveway . . . where he stopped. Maybe whatever seemed chase-worthy really wasn’t, or it moved faster than he can, or he’d already wrecked himself up and was really feeling it.

Whatever the reason, he limped into work the next morning, where James and Gilly felt a lot more sorry for him than I did. He didn’t seem to limp the following day, so what I thought might be a strain or a ligament issue was maybe a bruise from stepping on a stone or something.

You would think skunk dousings and aching body parts would be enough to dissuade him from this life of pursuit, but I guess if humans aren’t going to learn that lesson we can hardly expect dogs to come to their senses.

My ailment was extremely scary, at least to me, but I believe I have found a solution that was there all along.

Twice now, in recent hot weeks, I have awoken somewhere in the night nearly unable to breathe, my tongue so swollen I can barely get water into my mouth. Two nights ago I was having some dream where I ran up against a wall blocking my path, and when I turned around, I was going down a hallway that was getting closer and closer — I woke up and struggled for breath.

Once I was able to get some sips of water on my tongue breathing got easier, although I continued to feel short of breath for several hours.

Last night, when this happened in milder form (not presaged by any scary dream), I snorted some Flonase — and the problem cleared. The blockage must be way back in my sinuses, and while I once had a rather useless allergist charge $500 for Lynn and me to drive to Grand Junction on a work day to hear him say, “You’re not allergic to anything and I wouldn’t recommend ammuno-therapy at this time,” I feel the blanket of cotton lying all around us may have something to do with this.

Don’t worry, those of you who might be my mother reading this: if the Flo-nase doesn’t put a stop to this, I will put a call into a doctor type — but not the useless allergist.

While we’re on the subject of fairly useless doctors, let’s move next to Lynn. Lynn has seen way more than her share of doctors over the years for multiple auto-immune disorders, and while we understand there’s only so much that can be done for these chronic conditions, some doctors are way more engaged than others.

One doctor (a partner of the useless allergist) a year or two ago professed great surprise that the tube he had put in her ear had fallen out within a few days. “I’ve never seen that,” he said, and then instead of offering to replace it free of charge, suggested she might like to go to Montrose or Grand Junction on a work day and pay another surgical fee to remove the one in the other ear.

So that’s a medical clinic to avoid in the future, but now she has a more serious problem, and while I want her to go talk to a doctor, I have no idea where that doctor might be or why, really, Lynn should waste her time and money.

But feeling like you’re going to throw up whatever you’ve just eaten about every three days (Lynn will insist it’s not nearly this frequent, but on this you all should trust me), is not normal or a good way to live.

Several complications of diabetes can bring about stomach issues, and so can her other main auto-immune disease. We have been to diabetes specialists, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists who claim to specialize in her condition, gastroenterologists who don’t make that claim, surgeons . . . and all she ever gets as a result is a “huh” and an assurance that everything seems perfectly normal.

This rather constant state of nausea is new, however, and much more severe than it has been previously. Sometimes it comes with chills and slight fevers, making us wonder every few days if covid has found its way into our house, but if it waxes one day it wanes the next, and her oxygen levels are always good.

I think she should see someone, but I don’t know who. I think she should mention it to her current rheumatologist, although we both suspect he will say “huh” and move on, or her endocrinologist, who might manage a sentence or two more but still move on.

She liked the last gastroenterologist she saw, who didn’t really do anything other than shovel her off into his ‘oscopy factory (colon and endo), but he seemed kind of engaged, unlike the one she tried before him, or the local surgeon that everyone tells us is so great. (I get that surgeons aren’t supposed to diagnose or sit and hold your hand, but he couldn’t even find me post-surgery in the waiting room and talked to a drugged-up Lynn instead.)

So there’s no solution there, which puts Lynn in line with Na Ki’o, her fellow diabetic in the house. He has not been himself lately, and while we have had the exact same set of comprehensive blood tests done on him twice this year, all of them normal, of course, his sugars are screamingly high (415 this morning, when normal is 80-120) and we are dumping insulin into him without effect.

He may have gained a pound while turning his nose up at food (any time prior to this you could call this cat anything you wanted, but never late for dinner), and he’s spending entire days in the closet. Although as I type this he is somewhere out on the deck, exploring and acting like everything is copacetic.

So far we aren’t getting much more than a “huh” out of his vet. We’ve debated going elsewhere, but aren’t enthused about paying someone else to run the same blood tests a third time, and then he perks up, like this morning, although I just had to talk him into more food . . .

Some medical mysteries are clearly going to be more difficult to solve than others. Don’t worry, though: if we see you running away from us (“In a hurry–gotta go!”), we’ll completely understand. We don’t want to have to talk about this, either.

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