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John Shaw

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Health scares.
« on: October 27, 2011, 01:48:42 PM »

In the middle of one right now. (Might be alright at this point.)

Ever had a health scare that actually changed your behavior?

Was it a hard transition?

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Turd Ferguson

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 02:10:04 PM »

Yeah.

About 2 years ago, I was having pains, right in the middle of my chest that would stick around for 3 or 4 hrs at a time. Usually a dull, aching pain, sometimes sharp, like someone sticking an ice-pick in my chest. Thought it might be heart related, but im one of those types that sometimes doesn't want to know if something is wrong with my health. I hate hospitals and doctors offices......... HATE em.

Anyway, it got to be so consistent that I had it checked out. They did EKG, lung x-rays (doc thought it might be some kind of aneurism type thing in the lung, possibly), blood pressure.... all that stuff. Came back after the results showed everything was a-ok and told me I had acid reflux that was starting to eat away at my esophagus, like an upper-ulcer. Told me to cut back on the coffee, smoking and eating starchy foods and I should be ok as long as the damage wasnt to severe. Gave me a prescription for the "purple pill" whatever its called, for acid reflux, I cant remember its name. I decided to not get the prescription filled, but instead followed the rest of the advice and within about 3 weeks, the pain was gone completely.

Pretty much stuck to the low coffee, low starch diet since then and haven't had any recurrence.


Kinda scary though, thinking I might have a heart condition at 40 yrs old.


Hope everythings cool with you too Shaw.
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blackie

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 02:17:01 PM »

I hope everything works out.

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John Shaw

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 02:27:08 PM »

As a secondary question out of curiosity-

It generally seems that liberty type people aren't huge fans of doctors in general -

Chime in also if that is true for you.
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 02:30:21 PM »

As a secondary question out of curiosity-

It generally seems that liberty type people aren't huge fans of doctors in general -

Chime in also if that is true for you.


I think that goes along with the fact that liberty types like to feel in control of their own life. When you get a health scare, it makes you feel vulnerable, out of control of things, and with the doctor being the bearer of possible bad news, whats to really like?.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 02:41:52 PM by quickmike »
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blackie

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 02:43:51 PM »

I don't think I have been to the doctor for myself in over 10 years.

My son had a health scare about a year ago. I liked the doctor we ended up with. I'm a fan of her.

I've had vets I don't like. Some think they are in charge, and you have to let them do everything they recommend, and then pay for it. And they have no problem threatening you with the state.

Some doctors are good and some are bad. Same with nurses.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 02:49:00 PM by blackie »
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John Shaw

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 03:40:59 PM »

I hope everything works out.

Thanks mang.

Long story ahead -

Last week in general was high stress. I spent most of the week somewhere between upset and furious.

Thursday night I was casually putzing on the computer when I suddenly noticed a visual anomaly.

In the center of vision on my left eye there was a circular area that was out of focus and slightly dim. The size was comparative to maybe slightly larger than a golf ball at arm's length. It was also shifting color when I blinked. If my eye is opened, it is slightly orange. When I close it, it turns blue and persisted. The transition when I blink looks sort of like a flash. In low light it is very noticeable. Outside in daylight the effect is drastically reduced, almost nonexistent. If I close my right eye and strain it mostly comes back into focus, but not quite. So I'm thinking nerve problem.

Very disconcerting. Thought I may have been having a stroke, a tumor, a detached retina etc etc. Of course the first fucking thing I do is start looking at websites. All sorts of scary shit. MS, mini-strokes, fungal infections of the sinuses, diabetes, the list is fucking never ending.

One thing that came up was Central Serous Retinopathy. Matched almost exactly my symptoms minus the color shift.

But you know what? I'm not a fucking doctor. But I don't think about that fact. I figure I know better than people who do things for a living because that's sorta how people like us tend to operate.

So Friday we shoot up to Greenfield Village, like I talked about in another thread. I'm 400+ lbs and sit at a desk most of the day. Sure, I go out and buy groceries and clean house and stuff, but I'm outta shape. So I have this vision thing which I think but wont say is maybe a mini stroke and I go walking what is basically a two or three mile jaunt at tourist speed through a spooky haunted village setup. Less than halfway I'm feeling pretty fucking bad. Sore, face and head feel swollen. Kinda dizzy. So I freak out a bit and want to rest several times. Trying my best not to freak my wife out. She can obviously see I'm tired and not well.

Anyway we take a breather and I start to feel a lot better. We finish the walk and have a generally great time. Watched kids and parents all dressed up, THOUSANDS of them, walking though the old timey town. Great fun.

But I know there's a fucking problem and I know the weight thing really has to come to an end.

We tried the Rice Diet and I lasted maybe six or eight months. I was miserable and hating life the whole time. I'm sure I was pretty intolerable to live with.

I went on Weight Watchers. Counted points for my own food rather than buying their prepacked meals. That worked pretty well for me, but I was cooking for two (I do most/all the cooking around the house, unless it's baking. M does the baking.) I had a good bit of success. Lost close to thirty pounds in 12 weeks or so. But it was expensive and M was having major problems with it. Very hard to cook two separate meals all the time. I found I was spending a couple hours a night and maybe a three hour stretch on weekends trying to put together premade dishes that could be reheated. Food became a constant worry and balancing points became sort of an obsession. When Mel's last contract ended we couldn't afford it anymore so I went back to cheap and unhealthy and gained most of it back.

So we talk Friday night about the issue. We decide we're gonna try the Paleolithic Diet because we've got friends who have been having a lot of luck with it. I'm not gonna go fucking blind and die of a stroke at 37 years.

We start Paleo Saturday. Everything seems fairly cool. (Mind you, eye symptoms are still here) Sunday good. Monday good. Tuesday I start to feel shitty. Mild Headache, maybe a tiny bit confused and disoriented, generally fucking tired as hell and mopey. Forgot my pin number at the store for a second. Decided it was my blood pressure and had wife bring home a bunch of aspirin. Took too much and had aspirin OD side effects. Tinnitus etc. That evening we're watching something after dinner and I'm breathing deeply. All of this stuff is scaring the shit out of me and I'm trying deep breathing exercises. I hyperventilate myself.

So now I have Aspirin OD symptoms, eye symptoms, hyperventilation symptoms. Hyperventilation can cause nausea and numbness to the face. Sure, it's not localized, but FUCK I AM HAVING A STROKE.

So I have a near panic attack. Look more online and consider maybe that it was the deep breathing. Try to calm down and numbness goes away. Still generally feel crappy so I go to bed at around 7:30 or so. That night I had to get up to pee like five times and sweated like a mother all night.

Yesterday I wake up feeling even shittier than before. Headache, slight nausea, totally lethargic. I'm starting to think that the high protein, high fat, low carbs of the Paleo diet are gonna kill me dead.

Pretty much spend all day yesterday in bed feeling horrible. Start looking for info about Paleo diet and lethargy. Some dude posted about how he needed more potassium because of constantly having to pee and there being a balance between salt and potassium you have to work out.

I realize that I have changed my diet from probably 90% carbs to probably 5% carbs in one fell swoop and have barely been drinking anything.

So I look up dehydration.

90% of the symptoms are overlapping with all my other combined symptoms.

So at around 3pm I start sipping half a mouthful of water every ten minutes or so. About an hour later I start peeing every half hour. I keep drinking. M gets home with Potassium tabs. I take a couple and keep drinking. Pee breaks get down to every fifteen minutes or so. The quantity of water I drank in that time period wasn't crazy. It was about one liter over four hours. Urine was clear like it had never seen a human body. Found Diabetes Insipidus online. (It's not a sugar thing but a hormonal problem that makes your kidneys kinda ignore water, and makes you drink more to compensate, chronic but not life threatening problem.)

So I decide I have that. Suddenly, without warning.

I am feeling better (Because I was definitely dehydrated and was treating it.) but still felt woozy and out of sorts and my head was feeling weird. Not quite there, all the way. So I finally say yes when M asks me if I'm willing to go to the urgent care joint.

Special note - We have equipment in the house to test sugar levels. I did so four or five times between Tues and Wed. Lowest was in the 80s and highest was 129 about an hour after meal. Highly unlikely that I have T2 Diabetes coming on. It's definitely not a sugar thing.

M has a new jerb and her insurance kicks in Nov 1. This is the reason I haven't gone at the first symptom with the eye. I'm not stupid, but I am cheap and afraid of medical costs. Great timing to be right in the five day period where we're uninsured.

We go to urgent care. I tell the whole story to an intern, who writes shit down. My primary concerns are the visual problem and the peeing every fifteen minutes.

Dude comes in and asks me a few questions. Looks into my ear.

You have a sinus problem. Not draining. I can see it. Your eye hurt when you look up? A little, yes.

He looks into my eye. No problems with back/inside of my eye, or nothing obvious.  

He asks me if I have drainage from my eye. I'm not sure what he means but for months my left eye has been goopy and crusty when I wake up.

Yeah, you have a sinus problem.

Antibiotics, steroids, (Not taking yet because if the eye is something else it could make it worse) and a bunch of Xanax to help me calm the fuck down. Tells me to go see an Ophthalmologist just in case.

BTW -

Blood pressure - 130/90  (Not super but not even in the danger zone)
Heart - Sounds fine. Pulse was 86. Oxygen level normal.

Pee issue started to taper off. So I start antibiotics last night, take another this morning. Feel better. Eye was still packed with goop this morning and maybe a tiny bit blurrier. I go up to the pharmacy and jump through hoops so I can buy a package of fucking Sudafed. Take some. Twenty minutes later I start to feel hot liquid pouring into my nasal cavity and throat. Eye symptoms lessen. I can now, if I cover my right eye, read fairly well. Still a circle that changes color and is blurry, but I can see now. +1.25 readers make it almost negligible. Sunlight or a lot of light in general also also reduces.

Not sure at this point if the issue is totally being addressed, but it's starting to look better.

So here's the deal - I'm am not having a stroke or heart issues. After days of near panic and freakout and creating more symptoms, what I may have had all along is chronic sinusitis. Not 100% sure yet, but I feel better.

Real problem - Sinuses and dehydration.

What I thought it was - everything in the world.

What I learned - Go see a fucking doctor. It cost $50 for the visit and $45 for the meds with no insurance at an urgent care joint, and I feel a lot better knowing rather than chasing every symptom on Earth and wondering if I have MS or a tumor or a stroke or heart failure or what.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 04:53:49 PM by John Shaw »
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 03:59:12 PM »

*whew*
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John Shaw

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 04:19:49 PM »

*whew*

Tell me about it.

I won't feel like I'm outta the woods yet until the eye is checked out, but I'm calmer now. Was prolly gonna end up with symptoms of adrenaline depletion if I kept going the way I was.

Right now I just feel somewhat puffy face/headed and a little headachey (Probably) from one eye straining all the time.

Keeping on with the frequent water and potassium tho. Going to 81mg of aspirin once a day like dudes should be doing anyhow.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 04:37:00 PM by John Shaw »
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SonicThePorcupine

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 04:25:37 PM »

Sometimes I'll just be sitting there and my heart starts beating weird and I try jogging in place or doing jumping jacks and it usually stops acting up.
I haven't seen a doctor about it or anything, because, well, fuck that.
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John Shaw

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 04:38:23 PM »

I haven't seen a doctor about it or anything, because, well, fuck that.

I totally get ya but I paid the price this week for that attitude, I'll tell ya.
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alaric89

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 05:10:57 PM »

I hate doctors and they don't even cost anything worth mentioning here. If they weren't cracking down on all over the counter drugs I probably would see them even less.

Laetitia

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 05:23:19 PM »

As a secondary question out of curiosity-

It generally seems that liberty type people aren't huge fans of doctors in general -

Chime in also if that is true for you.

Children get annual checkups, so I'm not against a certain level of precaution and preventative care. I make it in once every couple years.
Other than that, unless there are broken bones, a cut requiring stitches, we never see the doctor.

If there's an illness that doesn't get better with soup, ibuprofen and extra sleep, will talk to a professional after it gets past the 7-10 days of a normal cold/flu.
This drives my hypochondriac child nuts, no matter how much I tell her there is nothing to be done for the standard cold unless a secondary bacterial infection happens.
No bronchitis, no pneumonia, no non-stop vomiting, no doctor.
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Laetitia

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2011, 05:34:11 PM »

Real problem - Sinuses and dehydration.

What I thought it was - everything in the world.

What I learned - Go see a fucking doctor. It cost $50 for the visit and $45 for the meds with no insurance at an urgent care joint, and I feel a lot better knowing rather than chasing every symptom on Earth and wondering if I have MS or a tumor or a stroke or heart failure or what.

Even though I'm very DIY about most things, anybody in my family - including me - having those symptoms would have been dragged to the doctor pretty darn quick.
Glad you came to your senses and saw a doc.

Think you might not be wrong about holding off on the steroids while you see how much can be cleared up by antibiotics, decongestants and anti-inflammatory meds. If it clears up without them, I don't think the side effects of the steroids are worth it.

On a good note, you might find the weight starts to come off a little easier after the big infection is cleared up. Not only does feeding a colony of germs mess with your metabolism, diet and ability to get proper rest, you'll feel more like moving around when you're less concerned about balance issues, eye trouble and passing out.
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Cognitive Dissident

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Re: Health scares.
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2011, 06:05:21 PM »

(Looks like this is long too, but as with John and me, part of it may apply to you--in our case, dehydration.)

When I first started getting "gonna-die/wish-I'd-die" headaches, I was very concerned.  I thought brain tumor, stroke, etc., at first, but they happened for a short time and far apart.

I didn't see doctors because they were so infrequent.  The first happened in '95, then I think the next in '96, then I think I had one in '98 or '99.  I thought I'd connected them to flying, because it always seemed to fit, but I did a lot of flying in '97 and never had any symptoms.  Thought maybe it had something to do with altitude or hydration (actually, still think it might, though I know what it IS now.)  By then, I was married, and these headaches scared the crap out of my wife.  I was in good shape (biking 50-75 miles a weekend, and maintenance rides all week, lifting weights, etc.)

We went to an amusement park (free tix from work) and I had a really bad one right after getting off the ride (turns out, first big clue.)  I thought maybe it was blood pressure or something, but I was in *great* shape (unlike now.)  Then I started having them a bit more frequently--think that was around '00.  I'd have them maybe every few months.  

Then around '04, I started getting shoulder and arm pain, numbness, and so forth.  I thought I was screwing up ergonomically, and did all sorts of things to reconfigure my office.  Nothing helped that.

I'd been seeing an osteopathic doctor, and was getting spinal adjustments, because I'd had really bad accidents of various forms.  I went one time, and they scheduled me with a different doctor because the other was out of town.  Right away, she (stopping for a moment to salute women as technical professionals--the ones that put up with the shit and stick with it--they've been among the best I've worked with)  said she didn't think something was right.  She sent me to get it scanned (don't remember what kind, but not an x-ray.)  It was one of those cheap cash places that does for $150 what you can't get in Canada.

They found out I have a spinal disorder called Degenerative Disc Disease.  It explained everything.  The thing is, I don't know if I had enough information to see a doctor about it until I had the arm and shoulder issues shortly before that.

Anyway, I spent about $5k (some mine, some insurance) on treatment (cortizone, which I'm not doing any more--don't have insurance anyway, more imaging, etc.) and know what the deal is.  The specialist did not tell me anything about managing the pain (don't remember if I asked, but I probably did) but did prescribe physical therapy, for the arm/shoulder.  Basically, it was traction, to relieve the pressure on the nerve that goes to the arm.  I could have done something with equipment, but instead, the therapist gave me a couple exercises that cleared arm/shoulder thing right up.

Along with that, I had been having headaches more and more often (and still do), to the point where they're about once every week or two, not usually of the gonna-die/wish-I'd-die variety (I'm talking about the ones that make you sick to your stomach from the pain--you move you feel sick.)  That's when I tried cannabis.  It's been a long 'bout, but I'm learning to use it moderately and at the right times to manage my pain, and I think I'm winning.  At least it's not getting worse any more.

I've changed the way I sleep (I have a dorky pillow like the kind people take on airplanes and don't sleep on my stomach at all any more) and if I don't do my (specific) exercises, I don't necessarily have arm pain (haven't had much of that in a long time) but I do seem to have more bouts with headache and spine pain.

I've also noticed, I believe, that it gets worse if I'm dehydrated, and I think altitude (I'm near Denver, and did move a couple years before it got noticeably worse) may have something to do with it--both are "new" here, so the altitude may have accelerated the onset of this.  Thus, I'm drinking less caffeine (good for hydration AND calcium, which plays into the bone structure bit) and drinking a lot of water (not coffee, tea) early in the morning.  I think that's helping a lot.  My theory is the low fluids reduce the pressure in my discs and I get more abrasion in the vertebrae.

I do notice that when I'm in better cardio shape, and have a bit less gut (I'm pretty fat now, and was in very good shape when diagnosed, interestingly) I seem to have less pain (I'm thinking better blood circulation helps.)  Interestingly, if I go cold turkey on the cannabis and fast, I also get a pain-free reset (after the first few days, which suck) for quite some time and don't seem to need to medicate for a while.  This is the only thing that's gotten me through times when I had to interview for jobs and be able to pee clean.  Fortunately, that's not a concern at all for the job I currently have.  In addition to cannabis (and first, really), I rely on naproxen sodium, aka Aleve, but otherwise, I don't use any hardcore medicines, except when I get muscle spasms around my spine, in which case I take cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), which works quite well for that.

I also think I get dehydration and/or sinus headaches from time to time, and when you have the kind of disorder I have, the stress adds to it, and makes it more problematic.  So the first thing I do is make sure I'm hydrated and don't load up on caffeine.  I've also had a good experience with aromatherapy--particularly menthol (wintergreen), spearmint and so forth for clear breathing; lavender and rosemary (calming.)   Can't say enough about menthol, in particular, and I love the lavender anyway, as it really relaxes me.  One more thing--the cannabis doctor's nurse turned me on to "Blue-Emu" topical (unscented) cream.  She pointed out that when I am in an office environment and can't use any other medication besides Aleve, it really helps.  I was surprised that it does, and use it all the time I have pain.  Additionally, I use cold-hot cream (menthol, again) which helps a lot.


Should say these are the kind of headaches you can get after a spinal tap or an epidural patch.  They've been described similarly to "cluster headaches," and sometimes migraines (which run in the family, but I was pretty sure they weren't migraines, as they always seemed a bit stress-related and I never had the visuals my family members have described.)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 06:09:01 PM by What's the frequency, Kenneth? »
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