Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Adolescent Behavioral Health Ward - Day One.

I was committed, Thursday, April 6, 2006 in the ABHW at a local hospital.

Why? Depression, probably caused by the illnesses, being stuck at home, being kicked out of school, being stuck at home, etc.

Also, that week my darling little sister was at home with pneumonia and bronchitis, hacking up a storm. I wasn't exactly Little Miss Healthy 2006, and my nerves were shot. After snapping at her for something slight, I'd hide out in my room. My emotions were a mess. I was crying all the time and I didn't know why.

I still don't.

So. I'd been wondering if I was depressed, and if we should do something about it. Finally, on the 6th, we did. First we went to our Primary Care Physician, who said, "Yes, you are depressed, here's a referral for a shrink."

And away we went. Mom spent a while on the phone, telling everyone it was urgent, but the only one in town who accepted our insurance didn't have an appointment until May.

So we finally went out to the hospital that took our insurance, over in Southeast Memphis. I was questioned by a receptionist after being jostled around for some time because it was shift change time.

So, we talked to the lady, she asked me if I'd be okay with hospitalization. I said sure, knowing it was the quickest way to get seen.

We waited some more, and I finished both my books and called Becky, begging her to pack me a bag with more.

Finally, the lady took us to the elevators. She told us my shrink was the best, oh, everybody loves him, he's great.

Here we are. 16th floor.

It was a little disorienting, and we went over the same stuff again, with the nurses there. Mom, the nurse, and I checked out my room, and yes, it was nice to have a window, but could it be more spartan? A bed, a desk, a chair.

After Mom filled out paperwork, she left to go get my books. I had to go to my room.
I gave Mom my books, after all, I didn't need them, I'd finished them.


The room.

Somehow, something broke down, and I began to pace, crying, asking, "Why me? I didn't do anything!" I eventually cried myself to sleep, only to be awakened by a nurse coming to take a lot of blood.

After that, I was sent to the day room, and I could see Mom in the nurse's station. I didn't know what was going on, I was sure when I talked to her she'd let me go home.

This time in the day room was 'free time' or 'tv time', whatever. I begged the attendant to let me see my mom, he acquiesced.

I hugged her (I rarely hug - I hate it) and begged her to take me home, it's awful, I can't do this. Naturally, I was blubbering away.

Mom said yes, but the nurses told her no, I need to stay here, I need to get help.

Mom left and I was sent back to the dayroom where I cried some more.

There were snacks available, underscoring the weirdness of the place, because I'd been told while waiting that it was a long time till breakfast when I said I wouldn't eat dinner.

Before going back to our rooms, we had to sit in a circle and state our name, where we were from, and why we were here. I was supposed to learn everybody's name, a Herculean task, because half were going home the next day. We went back to our rooms, and the nurses let me take some of my things, like my soap and poof.

But I had to go back, I didn't have my precious hygiene bucket. I got it, and the change of clothes sent - fleece Eeyore pants and a black t-shirt with Homer and the Glimmer Twins - and went off to take a shower. Since I didn't know how long I'd have water, I just stood there and cried.

Well, I can't keep the bucket, heaven forbid! So I walked back up there, barefoot, because, c'mon, I'm in my PJs.

But no. The bitchy nurse, I still hate her, told me I can't go around barefoot, this is a hospital, you don't know what's on the floor. She told me it was "part of the deal."

That's it!

I threw the bucket down, shouting, "I didn't sign any deal! I didn't do anything! I want to go home!" The whole time I'm saying this, I was backing up, shaking, and crying.

The other nurse came up and said, "Kaitlyn? I can't believe it was you shouting. You were so together earlier. If you don't calm down, we'll have to restrain you."

Of course, what shit-for-brains doesn't realize is that this is good. I never throw fits. I always bottle it in. But no, we never get to that, the entire time I'm there, and they use the fits to justify treating me like an idiot. You have a lot of time to work on conspiracy theories in a place like that.

The SOP for pitching a fit involves sitting in the nurse's station until you calm down. The bitchy nurse tells me I need to stop "doctor hopping" and that it's impossible for the endometriosis to hurt me so much at 17.

I demonstrate my great maturity a few minutes later when I try to take all my books back to my room. But no, I can only read one at a time, buzz us when you need another. I never want to see these people again, I'm buzzing nobody. Finally I'm allowed to take a few back.

I read for a long time, because there's no automatic lights out, thank God!

Finally, I laid down. It was hot. Of course, why shouldn't it be?

I had trouble getting to sleep, due to the strange surroundings and super-bright hallway light showing through my door.

I couldn't even call up my silly little fantasies I use to entertain myself at home when I'm trying to sleep, walking the dog, riding my bike, or just away from intellectual stimulation.

That scared me more than anything. I couldn't even put the silly little characters into loony bins. Probably because I feel affection for them, but what can you do?

I guess I finally fell asleep, because I know I dreamt. I actually had a dream related to my desires. Mom told me earlier that she'd pick me up after I talked to the doctor, and that's what she did. In the dream. In addition to a lot of other weird things I don't remember.

Another thing - during the interminable time in the day room, I was called out for an EKG. It was weird, because the nurse kept telling me I'd find Jesus one day, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.


What happened after I woke up, will come sooner or later, depending on how much people care, and my emotions, I feel awful bringing this up, though I know I should sort it out.

Friday, May 26, 2006


It's something the doctors want me to worry about. Why? I'm in pain, almost constant pain. Don't I have the right to ride my bike or jump on the trampoline or brush my dog without sharp pain that makes me want to curl up in a fetal position?

Oh. I don't. Nevermind.

Whatever. Since I was committed to the Adolescent Behavioral Health Ward for four days (depression), I've been battling with addiction. No, not actual addiction, but the concept of it. Every time I hurt and it's not bad enough to make me vomit or cry, but I cannot function or think, I wonder, should I do this? Should I just suck it up? I honestly don't know.

The doctors aren't much help. Take a hot bath - no, my dermatologist and urologist would kill me. Take an ibuprofen or naproxen - no, my gastroenterologist would kill me. Take tylenol - okay. How much? How long do I wait? Why isn't it working?

They mean well, of course, but addiction never came up when my skin was infected in 2003. Why? Well, the pain was obvious. People could not look at it without wincing. Nobody quibbled when I needed something stronger, though lortab was my mainstay. I had to take it for almost a month straight, about 3 or 4 times a day, otherwise I was in acute misery. I was miserable anyway, of course, I still had an oozing mess on my legs and posterior.

But no mention of addiction, and I went back to school fine and dandy.


No thought of pain medication whatsoever until the kidney stones, but that was very short term.

And then along came this mess.

I think the doctors' reluctance comes from a number of places. One, endo is inside. We're still kind of clueless about the female parts and why they do what they do. Two, endo can be microscopic. Three, the pain and severity can be inversed. I may have one tiny growth that's causing me legions of pain. Somebody else may not have a clear spot and feels nothing, even on her period. No one knows why. Or they do, they just don't feel like telling.

And, four, they're guys. My inner psychopath wants to take some pinching device in the office and use it and glue it on a sensitive part of his anatomy and tell him, "It's not too bad. Walk it off."

The equivalent, I guess, is kidney stones. It's not as bad, most of the time, as my the first kidney stone movement I had, but it's close. The pain is in my lower abdominal/pelvic region, on the right and left side. I don't get more pain on my period, in fact, the worst pain I've had in a while came the day after the period, the next day, and the next day. I was a basket case.

So, I'll cross that addiction bridge when I come to it. I don't need to worry about addiction in addition to being in pain, it's not conducive towards relaxing, let me tell you that. I don't know what kind of bridge it will be. Will it be a concrete monster over a dry creekbed or a washed out rope bridge over raging rapids? Who knows? Not me, and certainly not you.

My health sucks.

Ha. Well, this is my first blog, and, I probably should have started it this February, or in April, but I've started it. My problems are not horrible, by any means, they're just incredibly annoying and constant and they definitely affect my quality of life.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I was born August 11, 1988, about 4 weeks early, due to a minor fender-bender. I was a healthy baby and a healthy child. My first problem was dental, so it doesn't count for this. When I was nine, we discovered I had allergies. To everything. Oh, and this was about 3 years after moving to Tennessee from Iceland. I don't do well in heat. (I also tend to ramble. Sorry.)

So, skin allergies to tons of things at nine, followed by chicken pox! One of my big allergies is dogs, and the summer prior to the diagnosis, I got my first puppy. She's passed out on the couch right now.

Anyway, we tried shots for a while. They didn't work so well. We tired Zyrtec. Not so good. In the end, though, I got a good dermatologist and took benadryl if it got upset.

That's childhood.

Puberty, now. I got my first period at 11. I had terrible headaches at 12, and by 13 and one month, the headaches were horrible, I'd lost tons of weight, I was exhausted all the time, my pulse was racing when I half-asleep, I had a hyperactive thyroid. This was diagnosed in a roundabout way, of course. I took a medication for the headaches. It gave me heart palpitations. Went off the meds, my heart was still funky. So we went to a cardiologist. He did alot of tests, including the first of many blood tests. That's when the naughty thyroid was found.

So we experimented with medication from about November 2001 to August 2002. Nothing was working long term. Now in August, I went in for the radioactive treatment. What fun that was. "Here, put this in your mouth," from people wearing lead gloves. That really made me feel confident.

It couldn't be done, there were nodules or growths, or something. This was at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, a year I missed because of the thyroid.

So in February, surgery was the option. I had my thyroid and parathyroids removed on February 22, 2003. The paras were removed because they were too tiny to function. I also got this disgusting drainage bulb to wear for a week, hanging out of my neck.

Of course, just because it was out didn't mean we were done. We had to figure out the synthroid dose. That was easy. What wasn't easy was the calcium. I ended up in the ER in April because the tingling was out of control and I needed an IV.

Finally, it got sorted out, and everything seemed hunky-dory. I went off to visit rich California relatives that summer for a grand total of two full days, and I was ready for my sophomore year.

However, it wasn't ready for me.

It started bad. My sister's puppy died the second day of school. Bad enough, of course, but our oldest dog had died that January as well, along with my paternal grandfather. Yuck.

But I did okay, until, let's say Thanksgiving, because I have a definite memory of going to somebody's house over the break and being in exquisite pain.

My skin was back. Back on homebound I go until after spring break. What happened? Beats me. The eczema on my legs got infected. I literally could not move without 2 Lortab in me. It was hideous. It would not go away. We tried steroids and cremes and whirlpool baths. Finally, towards the end of January, something clicked, and it began to fade away.

What a relief. So back to school I go, hey Jasmine, how's it going?

This string of good luck continues through my junior year, where I aced my classes easily and begged for AP courses for my senior year. I was so excited. A senior! Me!

About September of last year, though, the skin came back. Not quite as bad, but it was getting there. I started Raptiva last fall despite being underage and not having psoriasis. I knew it didn't work early on, but the doctor kept pushing it. By the time we stopped, I had such a low tolerance for pain, I couldn't even inject it anymore.

Oh, also in September, the calcium came back in the form of crippling, get me out of school, I will throw up on you pain. So we went to the ER again. After about 3 weeks of waiting, they see us. After I'm drugged, imaging is done. Kidney stones. Caused by? Unabsorbed calcium. *bonk bonk bonk*

The kidney stone passed a week later with little pain. I still have one in the right kidney, and I am now on a diuretic for that.

So, skin's behaving, in January, I'm going back, my health won't keep me down.

But no. Abdominal pain. Pelvic pain. It's not like the kidney stone, but it hurts so bad. More tests done. Ovarian cysts!

Well, I'm put on birth control. No relief.

So we do a laprascopy on Valentine's day. "Lalalala, what have we here... polyp on the bladder, endometriosis, and the cysts are deflated."

Endometriosis? This isn't fair! Sigh. So I go back to school after getting the stitches out, only to discover that if I miss one more day, I don't get to graduate. They can't do that, of course, but they think they can. And it's easier to go homebound again, we don't want to jeopardize my senior year.

Oh, I was mad. How dare they! I fell fine, they are such losers, who needs them anyway?

Well, that was premature. I've been in almost constant pain since about March 15th, at least. Oh, and I've had a bladder infection, on and off.

I also have ulcers, because my gynecologist wanted to rule out everything else in the abdomen so we did a scope where a camera went down my throat while another went up the butt. I was mercifully out of it. What'd they find? Ulcers. So now I'm on Nexium and Mylanta. Never had an ulcer symptom.

Now we've got another gynecologist. We're going to start Lupron next month and see what happens from there.

And also, in about a month (April 12th to May24th), I lost 12 pounds and I don't know how. Yes, I had to do a course of laxatives for the IVP to make sure there were no bladder issues, but that can't be it.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to update by Tuesday. (Holiday weekend and all)

Graduation Saturday!

Edit on January 3, 2007 - 'My Health Sucks' was the name of the blog originally.