Saturday, September 11, 2010

Adventures in Dehydration

Even before the flood on Tuesday night, I'd been feeling run down and sick. I kept putting off going to the doctor in the hope that it would just go away on its own. But I kept feeling worse and worse. Finally, Friday morning Foxfire flat out told me to call and make an appointment with Dr. M. It's a good thing he did. When I got to the Dr's office that afternoon, he took one look at me and said that I looked dehydrated, he did a quick evaluation and determined that I probably had an upper respiratory infection, one of the ones that dehydrate you as your body tries to fight it. And the fact that I'd been working outside in the heat to try and clear away storm damage had just exacerbated the problem. He had the nurse try to take some blood to determine exactly what the infection was, but I was so dehydrated that she couldn't get the needle into my vein. Apparently, when you are severely dehydrated, your blood vessels contract or something. At that point, Dr. M told me that they needed to get fluids in me NOW! They had already given me a bottle of water which I had been drinking, but my poor body apparently required more drastic measures. He had me lay down on the examining table and hooked me up to an IV. They pumped two whole bags of IV fluids into me.

As they pumped the fluids into me, I started shaking and shivering so badly that my teeth were chattering and I could barely talk. The office temp was set at 69 degrees (they told me when I said that I was cold) and the fluids were also 69 degrees (since they were kept at room temperature), so as they went into my bloodstream they chilled me internally as well. It was absolutely miserable. After only about 15 minutes, my poor muscles were so tired from the violent shivering, they started cramping. And every time my arm twitched, the IV needle hurt a little more. They piled three blankets on me, turned off the AC and opened the window to let hot Texas air in, but I kept shivering and shaking until there were no more cold fluids going in me. It took about 45 more minutes.

Even after the IV was done, they had me stay in the room for a while so they could keep an eye on me and make sure I was well enough to drive home. Dr. M told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to do any strenuous work for the next several days. That I could go outside and supervise the clean up and repair, but that I would have to come inside every hour for about 15 minutes and drink a glass of water. If I didn't take proper care of myself as my body fought off this infection, I might end up having to go to the hospital. I HATE hospitals. So, as frustrating as it will be to watch everyone else work and not be able to help. I will obey my Dr. and be a lazy bum. Foxfire will be keeping an eye on me to make sure I follow instructions.

It's not that I particularly liked doing all the work to try and clean up the flood damage. The work that I've done so far has my muscles aching and I'm covered in bruises. It's just that since I can't hold down a job, and there are so many normal things that I can't do because of my anxiety/depression/sleep disorder, that when there is something that I can do, I get a real sense of accomplishment out of doing it. Friday morning, before going to the Dr. I had been working to clear the flood wrack and several very large, very heavy pieces of fencing off of two of my rose bushes that had been buried underneath debris during the flood. It was hard work, especially trying to move the large panels of fencing without damaging the poor roses any more than they had already been damaged. When I finally got the rose bushes clear and saw some of their branches beginning to straighten up and look like they were going to survive, it was a very gratifying feeling.

Later today as friends and family come help us fix things up, it's going to be hard watching everyone else work and feeling, yet again, that I'm not a contributing member of the human race.

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