Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fickle Finger of Fate Don't Bend So Much These Days or A High Five Might Bring Me Low

Okay, so where were we before being rudely interrupted by nostalgia? Oh, yeah, wobbling on the brink of old age and its requisite aches and pains. We'd just scooted to the doctor and been hustled off to an emergency colonoscopy, if you can call a week later hustling. It was a long week, too, because the "Big C" hovered about my brain like an angry wasp. Praise the Lord, and I don't say that flippantly, I mean it most sincerely, it wasn't that dire.

It was merely angioectasia in the cecum, a medium hiatal hernia, granularity and friability in the antrum and an ulcer in the distal bulb. The last was the bloody culprit, an ulcer (the only word I could recognize other than hernia in all that) in the duodenum (for those such as I who don't know where the distal bulb is). There is no sense to going to all those years of medical school and racking up all those student loads if you are going to talk in plain English. Just saying, "You got a bleeding hole in your gut," doesn't sound worth all that effort learning those sesquipedalian words. (I was an English minor in college so I should throw around words worth my effort too.)

We've rather dealt with my lower G.I. problems in past posts such as Glory Be, the Lord Must Know How Much I love Tomatoes. (By the way, once upon the time "potatoe' with the "e" was the correct spelling, and in fact was the preferred spelling within "The New York Times" until 1988. The Sun Valley Potatoe Growers still use that spelling. So you say "potato" and Dan Qualye said "potatoe, so lighten up you spelling elitist, by any such spelling it is still a starchy tuber. I know it is besides the point, but tomatoes reminded of that to-do over nothing.) Anyway, as I was staying, we've dealt with my intestinal perforations so let's move on to my other bodily ravages.

My gastroenterologist must have done something while poking about in there because my bleeding ulcer stopped seeping and he told me I could eat what I wished. Oh, I came out of that follow-up appointment clapping my hands, but three days later not so much. I couldn't clap. My right hand was swollen up, was red and hurt like a tank had run over it...twice. 

Yeah, I am use to these arthritis attacks. They put one in agony for  few days, ease up, go away and then after some nonspecific time period return to plague a different joint. Not so this time. Pain gripped me like grim death for a week, for two weeks and it spread from my middle finger to my index finger and back again, like it was playing tennis with my digits. Once again I was driven to another long-named doctor, a rheumatologist. 

I got some damage in that hand that I guess is permanent. My pinky finger has an unnatural bent to it and my pointing finger has no bend at all. It just pokes straight out there with a hook at the end. I must forever avoid fights for I can no longer make a fist. Still in all, the good doc put me on a steroid (Prednisone) for three weeks and the pain and swelling dissipated. You can't stay on that stuff long though or it turns you into the Hulk.

Now I am on an antimetabolite and antifolate substance called Methotrexate,  the same drug used in
 cancer chemotherapy. It comes with a long list of scary possible side effects (one of which is hair loss, but as you can see it is too late for that to worry me). 

The biggest threats to me are to my liver, thus I must go for blood tests every four weeks to assure that organ isn't fizzling out, and suppression of my immune system. This latter side effect has the somewhat positive effect of reducing my psoriasis. So if my liver goes and I die I will at least have pretty skin.

I find myself getting tired more these days, which is another possible side issue of this treatment. And so again I claim I now qualify as elderly. Oh, I also have to take a daily dose of Folic Acid. Remember that term for this stuff, antifolate? Yeah, it depletes your folic acid and you need a bit of that. If you don't have it you may have:  diarrhea, macrocytic anemia with weakness or shortness of breath, nerve damage with weakness and limb numbness, pregnancy complications (I doubt this!), mental confusion, forgetfulness or other cognitive declines, mental depression, sore or swollen tongue, peptic or mouth ulcers, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, and behavioral disorders, impairment of DNA synthesis and repair, which could lead to cancer development.

Ain't we gots fun when we gets old?

1 comment:

Ron said...

Lar,

Tell me about it. Last night I had an "accident" at 2:30 in the morning. I got up to take my nightly pee and I felt a "heaviness" in my underwear. Guess what? Yep! So I rinsed out my underwear under the showerhead (I don't have a utility sink because I never planned to clean diapers). Yes, getting old ain't so much fun.

Next Monday I go for my "labs." Wednesday I'll find out if my PSA score has gone down. Hopefully all this bowel disruption won't be for naught.

Ron