Holy Nerve Blocks Batman!!

Hi everyone, (all maybe 2 of you who read this humble bloggie! 😉 )  I hope you are ‘both’ keeping very well? :p

Thursday, this week, was the day to get my Sacroiliac (lower back/top of pelvis near the hips) and Occipital (Back of the skull near the very top of your neck) Nerve Blocks in Croom Orthopedic Hospital with the Good and Great Prof. Pain Specialist (as I shall refer to him!)

I really like this guy, he is friendly, thorough, very helpful and LOVES History! 😀 When he speaks with you, if he gets a thread of a piece of history he may know about in the conversation, he will pull that thread and see where it goes! He likes to talk and looks like the epitome of a Pain Specialist, Tall, Slim, White Lab Coat over a nice suit and tie or sometimes he may be in blue scrubs, and there he stands with an ultrasound probe in one hand and an intimidating looking injection in the other and usually a large grin on his face! :p

Anyway! I had found the last 3 weeks or so very bad with pain, especially at the base of my skull and the top of my neck and shoulders and as I have been given admission in Harolds Cross from the 8th of February for at least one week and perhaps more, so I needed these before going, gladly, I had the appointment already given to me since my last admission in October where I had gotten my first Occipital Nerve Blocks.

It was a really long wait, my appointment was at 12 and I didn’t get in for the injections until after 2pm! He asked me how I was doing, reviewed my pain and pain meds and went in for the kill!! These injections are sore but not impossibly so. They have anesthetic in them so there is a numbing effect which kicks in after a couple of minutes, but the injection itself will make you squirm, just a little.

I got the injections under ultrasound and while looking at my neck he said he wanted to send me for an xray and following that an MRI. I will be called for those soon but he said he wanted to check for possible instability or anything that might give away what might be going on in my neck. He said it sounds like instability of the neck to him but it cant be seen or confirmed without proper scans and tests.

He explained that the clarity and contrast between a regular xray and an MRI wouldn’t have much in the difference but that it would be a proper start to the investigation of what is going on in my neck. Depending on what shows up or what doesn’t show up on these xrays, my next trip to London may involve an upright MRI to investigate deeper for instability or other complications.

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This is the pain progression from when I woke Thursday morning (First Line) during the hospital wait and injections (Second Line) to when I finally got home after the injections!

While behind me giving the injections in my sacroiliac joints he grabbed my ponytail and said,

“Perhaps getting this hair cut may help ease your discomfort? especially before starting in Harolds Cross”

When I asked if he really thought it would help he said he didn’t see why it wouldn’t at least help ease the pain, anything to cut any bit of weight off the neck is a good thing and that having to deal with hydrotherapy, pools and showers on a daily basis while in Harolds cross, would probably add more stress and strain to the neck so he thought it would be best to get it cut sooner rather than later! …so, I will! 😮

I had been planning for near months to get the mop cut anyway, its been over a year and its in dire need of a nice new doo!

My plan then for this week is to get ‘mah hurr dunn’, Relax and recover from the nerve blocks before starting in Harolds Cross. They take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to kick in properly to kill the pain, so there is a small improvement at the moment, nothing spectacular just yet but I am hoping as the next couple of weeks go on, the pain will ease even more (I hope!) I have had them done many times before and sometimes they have worked great for a few weeks and then sometimes, I felt they didn’t do much at all. I will just wait and see how these go! 🙂 I have a Pots outpatients Clinic Monday Morning at 10am and have to meet my GP during the week to sort out my scripts to have ready for going up next week.

I have nothing major planned until I head to Dublin on the 8th of Feb, when I start in Harolds Cross, but I do want to update you while I am there also. I need to sort my WordPress app out on my phone, if not I will have to just take notes and do a full fill in when I am home!

Either way, I hope to find out if it is worth it for people like us.
I reaaaaaally hope it is! It would be lovely to have a place that provides safe respite for people with rare musculoskeletal conditions. I will keep you posted!

Until then, please keep up to date over on the Facebook Page, Twitter and of course The Private Support Group if you would like to share your stories, experiences or questions with like minded and like bodied people like ourselves in a private and safe environment, please feel free to join us, just send a request and ill be sure to let you in 🙂

Jan 2016 Updates and Harolds Cross Rehab News!

The last time we spoke, I had said I would write back to update you on the last couple of hospital stays, latest medical related news and now I have heard back from Harold’s Cross RMDU and they want to book me in on the 8th of February so now that is also something to prepare for!

When admitted last in October, I was in for severe pain in the base of my skull and neck. With this pain I was having severe headaches that seem to come on worse just before a seizure kicked in, of which I was having many episodes prior to being admitted to hospital.

An ambulance was called because I had a strong seizure that lasted more than 10mins and over 30mins by the time the ambulance crew arrived. Though Keith told them I was allergic to Benzos, they said: “its the only way to stop her seizure now so we will give her some and watch her closely until the hospital anyway”

In the A&E I was immediately taken into Resus where they got me under control, monitored me for a while then placed me in a corridor again in the main A&E area. I wasn’t there for long as I very briefly remember Keith arriving to talk to me then apparently I went into another big seizure where I was rushed back into Resus again but this time I was kept in there for longer.

They put me on a phenytoin infusion to stop the Status Epilepticus  (a seizure that lasts too long) but of course I am allergic to these medicines so I had a bad reaction to the infusion at the IV site and my arm swelled up a huge amount, my BP dropped dramatically and I started presenting with Cardiac arrhythmia’s and it had to be stopped!

Once things settled I was admitted to a ward and eventually seen by a new doctor, A Cardiologist who said he would take over my care once I explained in detail that too many consultants are part of my medical set up that there is no communication between any of them. He was completely unaware of my situation himself at that time but once he realised I had in fact 3 very large old medical files (He was working off a new one that was put together only in the last 6 months and has none of my long history in it)  he ordered the old files to his office so he would read over them in detail and he said he wanted to be my head consultant, if I would have him, so that he could be the ‘go between’ amongst all the consultants! I said that would be great, but I have yet to meet him outside of this admission, I have an outpatients appointment with him on the 22nd of Feb so I will be eager to see how he wants to handle my care from then on. When inside I was seen by my usual Prof. Pain Specialist and he gave me Occipital Nerve blocks to help with the pain in the base of my skull and the severe headaches that go with it. These nerve blocks were a huge help numbing the pain and as a result there are less seizures with the less pain too.

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Then over the first week of December I was admitted to hospital again. This time for something completely different… I couldn’t pee, I know, I know, not pleasant to talk about but look, this is the sexy life I lead!!

So once I explained to my doctor what was happening over the phone, Low body temperature and feeling very unwell the week prior, then all of a sudden, total urine retention,  he said get straight into A&E, apparently not being able to pee is serious, I hadn’t even realised so in I went and actually got seen straight away! A catheter went in, lots of questions asked to see if we could get an answer for it and all that could be found initially was it could possibly be the combination of medication I am on or the Gallbladder related severe pain and slow gut motility may have something all to do with this, we wouldn’t know until I was admitted and lots of tests had been done.

After a week of many scans, tests and some invasive procedures, I was put on what is known as Intermittent self catheterisation  for Urine retention because of Bladder and Kidney dysfunction. I was given a lil goody bag full of things to use for it (See below, I’m all girly about the bag, innit pretty?!!)  and I have to do this daily at home until I get called back by Urology to do more bladder and kidney function tests to see if I will continue this method or possibly be given a procedure to place a permanent catheter (I would really rather not have that, I don’t mind this method at all now that I am used to it!)

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My pain specialist prof. came to see me because of the Gallbladder pain I was in too and though I had been given ‘anti spasmodic’ pain killers as is recommended to help treat the Gallbladder pain, they also put me on Morphine to take very regularly at home on top of the anti spasmodic pain meds, daily, to cover all the different pain I am under on a very regular basis. I don’t like being on Morphine at all, it completely messes with you sometimes but it no doubt helps the pain, it doesn’t even take it away but helps more than anything else I have been given.

Im currently still waiting on that Urology outpatients appointment.

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While admitted in December, the Urology doctors also wanted my Gallbladder to be looked at again while I was in but my G.I. surgeon was on annual leave and I couldn’t meet him until the 5th of Jan. When I did, he was great as always, very thorough and not wanting to jump the gun with my treatment. He said to me,

“The easiest thing for the both of us would be for me to whip the bloody thing out, it would only take me about 40 minutes and you would probably be sorted. You do have sludge in the Gallbladder, but theres no guarantee that will ever turn into stones, it is dysfunctional but I don’t know with your EDS, could it cause more harm than good? given the possible healing issues and the fact that you have very slow gut motility and also losing weight, You may need that reservoir for fats going forward, even if it is faulty, so I don’t want to make too hasty a decision, even if it is causing you this pain.”

What he decided to do was take my mobile number, ordered my full documentation and files to his office so he could fully study my history before making his final decision on the matter and if he doesn’t decide to take it out, he said he would at least try to do something for the Gallbladder pain as it is arresting my life at the moment and I have lost a lot of weight since this all started in December 2014. He said he would ring me before that weekend and was true to his word and called me back on Friday the 8th but only to say they couldn’t find my old files! I suggested they may be with the new Cardio who wanted to take over my care while I was in, in October, as he wanted my files too, so I passed on the details and will wait a little further to hear back on that.

In the meantime, I have also heard back from Harold’s Cross RMDU. It had initially been suggested by Prof. Rodney Grahame in London that I get referred there as it could be great to try and get me out of the wheelchair full time but even though I was told in December 2014 that I had been referred up, I had heard nothing back all year. I only found out last week that they had my referral all along and that they wanted to admit me in May 2015 (Last year!) but due to a mixup I never got the appointment.

Mistakes can happen and it is sorted now, they want to admit me on the 8th of February for my first weeks trial where I will get intensive, Physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Occupational therapy and daily pain management techniques to help me live long term with my illness and hopefully get me more mobile, all the while being under constant nurses and a consultant rheumatologists supervision incase health things go south and they can refer me to a local hospital if that happens.

They will admit me for a week, Monday to friday and I will be sent home the weekend and brought back in again the following week if it is deemed necessary to continue the treatment. I have heard lots of reviews, many mixed but mostly positive, so I am interested to see how it will go for me, of course, I will report fully on how it goes and if I found it beneficial and suitable 🙂

Until then my next 2 appointments are on next Monday the 18th of Jan for a Pots Clinic check up and then on the 28th with the Prof. Pain Specialist who will give me some Greater Occipital Nerve Blocks (into the base of my skull/top of my neck) and Sacroiliac joint and hip Steroid injections.

It’s all go until Harold’s Cross kicks off and I hope to have a couple of blogposts up before I go up, so keep your eyes peeled and as always, THANK YOU so much for taking the time to read 🙂

Lette (Fainting Goat)

Admitted after the ERCP – Possible Bowel Pacemaker!

Things never just go straight forward, do they? Nope! and of course, this time was no exception!

In I went to the UHL on Tuesday the 21st at midday, all prepared for my ERCP procedure to be done and so I could be kicked back home that evening to recover, however, little did we realise just how long it would actually take!

They popped me on a trolly as soon as I arrived as I had been dizzy all morning and they didn’t want a risk of me fainting and deemed it best that I wait in as comfortable a position as possible as I could be waiting around for a few hours.

I said my goodbyes to Keith and the nurses told us to expect to be in until at least after 5pm. Keith went home and I lay on the trolly waiting for things to start happening. There wasn’t even signal in this particular part of the hospital for my phone so I had no internet, texting or anything to distract myself!

All was well until they needed to take some blood from me and wanted to insert an IV line. This is when all the fun started!

3 nurses tried and failed, 2 lads from the Cath Lab tried on not only my hands and arms but also on my feet (Very uncomfortable to say the least!) and failed, One of the theater consultants came out from doing an operation to take a look at my veins, checked them over and said, “Nope! I will hand it over to Dr. Moloney!” (referring to the consultant who would be doing my procedure in theater)

Finally at about 6pm, Dr. Moloney comes out of theater to take a look at my veins and decides, “We don’t need bloods anyway, not to worry about it and I will pop an IV in, in theater before the procedure”
So that ended the long wait around waiting for someone to be able to find a vein, now it was time to actually get this done! The nurse helped me into a very sexy blue paper theater outfit and pushed me into theater where there were 2 nurses, the first tall doctor who had earlier come out to check my veins and said ‘Nope!” and the good doctor himself who actually successfully found IV access after a few attempts, Excellent, time for sedation… am, about that…!

I have a sensitivity to Benzodiazepines, having ended up in ICU last year after being treated with them for seizures I started having in May 2014. It turned out the first seizure was caused by a complete once off event of a lack of oxygen to the brain after a Vasovagal Syncope where I had stopped breathing. The Ambulance staff immediately treated me with Benzos, the standard treatment to stop seizures, not realizing that the more Benzos they treated me with the worse my seizures got. I was treated for these seizures over the course of about 3 months with these drugs until such time as I ended up in the ICU before realising that it was the Benzos causing all the trouble.

Thing is, Benzos are used as sedatives in minor surgeries and procedures too, which was meant for this ERCP, so the Dr. decided to sedate me through the IV with something else they had, that would make me feel a little drunk, but I was still wide awake and feeling everything!

They sprayed the back of my throat with something nasty tasting to numb it and popped a round yellow thing in my mouth, between my teeth to keep my mouth open so that the endoscope could easily pass through. My eyes watered as the scope went down my throat, into the stomach and pushed through the duodenum.

I kicked out and squirmed in intense pain as soon as this happened. I gave the doctors and nurses a good fright too as they were under the impression that I was sedated!

The Dr. looks down at me,
“You’re still with me, yeah?”

I look directly at him while gripping my right side in pain and I nod quickly!

He looks at the nurses and said
“Ok, no cutting today, lets just do the Botox Injection to numb the site, make it quick!”

He tells the other doctor to give me extra pain relief and sedative as he quickly tries to inject the site. I feel the sharp pinches of the needle, they are completely bearable compared to the pressure and pain I feel because I presume of wherever the scope is after leaning.

The procedure is done quickly, I am given more pain relief and feel the earlier sedative continue to tingle the back of my skull but the pain is still there as I am wheeled into the recovery area to be monitored.

The Doctor comes out to check on me and says that if the pain continues I will have to be admitted. I am watched for a couple of hours where I begin to spike a temperature, a reg doctor is called for me, I am put on IV fluids and painkillers and am admitted to a ward by 8:30pm.

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In the confusion of trying to get me settled into the ward, make sure that I am properly assessed and medicated, the transfer of my regular meds list (Daily meds for Pots and EDS pain, some of which I cant just suddenly stop) to the nurses on the ward went a little askew and would come back to haunt me in the next few days, but ill get to that in a minute!

After many uncomfortable, sweaty, loud and painful hours they finally found a concoction of meds and opiates that got on top of my pain enough for me to want to rest for the night without feeling the need to moan loudly and annoy others in the room. I didn’t sleep, even with a sleeping tablet and much morphine but I really needed the rest.

I ended up staying in hospital over the course of a full week, in lots of pain and having major trouble with my Gastroparesis because of the opiates I was on. They wanted to keep an eye on my bloods and me to make sure nothing dangerous happened during the ERCP, incase I may have an infection or something as I was spiking temperatures on some days but thankfully this was not the case, I was just in a lot of pain.

On one day, I requested pain meds in plenty of time as I felt pain coming on only for the nurses to have been busy and left me without for a couple of hours. I ended up fainting after returning to my bed from the bathroom and I frightened the other ladies on the ward!

It turned out that when they initially admitted me to the ward my regular meds list got taken down wrong and they hadn’t been giving me my full regimen of meds that I normally take so my bp was all over the place and on the day I was due to be released my HR went up to 163bpm but settled again later with rest.

Prior to letting me go my Gastro surgeon came to talk with me and went through my meds and everything I would need going forward to help with pain and the Gastroparesis difficulties.

It looks as though things are getting worse in that department. I am losing weight, having difficulty eating anything without severe pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting and he mentioned the possible need for a Pacemaker in the bowel in the not too distant future to help with the ‘slow’ and sometimes ‘non existent’ transit in my gut, of which he wants to discuss further on my next appointment with him which is the 15th of Sept.

I was let go home a week after being admitted on raised pain meds and antiemetics with orders to take it slow and steady until they see me next month. I have been very sore and very sick. Pretty much bed bound nearly every day since being released and have even had a small seizure for the first time in over a year but I am able to keep the bright side out. Even lying in bed there are things to watch and I am eternally grateful for my wonderful husband who provides all of my supports.

So for now I am recovering slowly, I will see the specialist again next month and until then, I will keep you all updated with things as much as I am physically able 🙂 Ideally I need to get back over to London where they are specialised in those with EDS, to meet a neurogastroenterologist however, I need to get better before being able to travel once again, can you believe it has been a whole year this month since I first went to London for treatment? that story can be read here 🙂

Please remember, I am most easily able to keep the Facebook and Twitter pages up to date most frequently so be sure to check us out over there too for almost daily updates and thank you for following this humble bloggy! 🙂

ERCP In The Morning!

It is happening!

I got the appointment for the ERCP on my ‘Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction’ (SOD) a few weeks ago and confirmed the date for tomorrow, the 21st July in UHL.

I rang this morning to confirm everything was going ahead and I was told that because of a few emergencies that have to happen first, I may not be called at all so I was left waiting until after 4pm today to see if I would in fact be called for the procedure!

I was irked to say the least as I have been admitted to hospital twice since December for the pain and have been in constant pain since last being left home in April. The pain has also increased in the last couple of weeks and has gotten pretty bad the closer I got to this appointment. I think the pain meds I am on are losing their strength and the pain in the last few days especially has been bad enough for us to consider going to A&E, but I held off from going in knowing this appointment was coming.

It turned out that at about 3:30pm, I got a call back from the hospital and was told I was on the list for the afternoon and I have been called in so… yeah! It’s happening!

Until I speak with the surgical team tomorrow I am unsure if I will be staying in or not, but apparently this is only the first of a few ERCP’s on the SOD I need to have done. I was told that to weaken the muscle they would need to repeat the procedure a few times, but I know nothing else about what may happen or how often they need to do it, dates, recovery time, illness in between, anything! Which is currently preventing me from making plans to get back to London for further treatment. Until the pain is eased enough for me to travel (and I have been too unwell to travel since last December) and the procedures need to be out of the way but as soon as I see a clear path I will be making plans once again.

So in I go at midday, will hang around for a couple of hours I am sure, then will have the op, I will be knocked out for the procedure and it should be straight forward enough… have I ever been straight forward though?! They should monitor me for about an hour after to make sure all is OK and will then either admit me or send me home, no idea!

Either way, I will fill you in after the event!! 😉

The Sphincter of Oddi and Other Stories!

Say that in the voice of the narrator from He-Man and you have a pretty formidable title there!

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The last time I was admitted to hospital at the end of March, early April the surgical team came to the conclusion that I could possibly have something called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (SOD) that was being masked by what they thought was Gallbladder pain.

In the last blog post I outlined what this was and that there is a test to check for it called an ERCP, endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography, a procedure that uses an endoscope and looks directly deep inside the duct system while taking pictures and measuring pressure. You have to be sedated or under general anesthetic as it is way deeper into your system that they have to look than a regular esophageal, stomach endoscope or similar.

While they do this, they inject some Botox into the tiny sphincter itself which relaxes it and allows it to open again. If after about 2 weeks your pain is gone, this is a sign you have the dysfunction. Sometimes if the pressure in the bile ducts is measured as too high or if the surgeon deems it necessary at the time they will cut the sphincter muscle first time.

Cutting the sphincter of Oddi muscle surgically during an ERCP is called a sphincterotomy. It’s generally effective and relieves symptoms of SOD about 70% of the time.

The long term cure for it? a series of ERCP’s where again I will be put to sleep and they have to cut the sphincter to weaken it to the point where it can’t clamp up any more. This should take a few turns because if they do it all at once and cut straight through it, there is serious risk of heavy bleeding and Pancreatitis with this so they do it in small stages over time to make it safer.

A video of the procedure can be seen here, if you have the stomach for it! 😉

Since coming out of hospital in early April, I have had a number of follow up appointments. I’v been seen by a gastroenterologist in Nenagh General Hospital. He reviewed my case and changed my pain meds saying that the morphine I was on was a spasmodic drug and wasn’t helping the pain in my side so told me to ween off them and start other anti-spasmodic drugs which he prescribed. He also gave me new antiemetic meds for my stomach and gut as I am constantly having trouble with it. He said getting back over to London to a GI specialist over there when I am well enough is greatly advised, but to wait until I am well enough.
He also prescribed me with a spray for under your tongue, usually used for people with angina but said as it’s job is to open the blood vessels and relax muscles that it may help the pain in my side, and it really does, although drops my blood pressure and gives me a cracking headache but I would rather have that than the pain in my side!

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I have been to the Pain specialist in Croom hospital for more injections into my Sacroiliac joint and hips which usually takes about 3 days to a week to kick in, but of course I got cocky and tried to hobble out of the bathroom the day after getting them, without any chair, crutches or support, thinking I could do it and SMACK! I slapped off the ground hurting my hip, but thankfully not seriously so it has healed again and the injections have slowly begun to work to ease the pain in my lower back and hips. Unfortunately though they only ever last about a month so I am coming to the end of that relief already.

11205026_10203754927464867_7609355477687548601_nI was back into the University Hospital Limerick for a follow up from when I was admitted last and to see when my ERCP will be. I was told I should be called sometime this month so I am currently still waiting on the appointment and hopefully I will be called soon as it is getting very sore and uncomfortable.

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and finally… My powered wheelchair finally arrived! I had to chase it up through the local OT manager because I was getting nowhere emailling my OT about it. The manager got things moving immediately once she knew I had been waiting nearly 2 years and the replies to my emails were just one excuse after another, it finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, Miles too big for me, refurbished and not new but mine, great fun and gives me great freedom! The powered chair deserves a blog post of it’s own so I will do that as the next post. It’s name is Marvin and I’ll explain where that came from too! 🙂

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For now, that’s all my current news! 🙂

Admitted To Hospital, Possible New Diagnosis

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This was me getting ready to go home so I look a lot happier than when I was admitted first!

Oh dear! it happened again!

On Monday the 30th March, I was taken to hospital by ambulance after being bed bound and in severe pain with my gallbladder all over the weekend. I held out as long as I could at home because I knew nothing would be done over the weekend if I went into A&E.
On the Monday, things just got a little too much for me and we had to call for me to be taken in.

I am very disappointed with my GP in all of this. I had gone to him a couple of weeks before this happened, with a renewal script for some very strong pain killers that were prescribed to me when I was last admitted to hospital for the same thing in December. My surgeon had prescribed these opiate based drugs for the pain that helped and were needed. When I went to my GP to renew, he said only Cancer patients get these drugs and that he wouldn’t renew my script even though a higher authority than him prescribed me what I needed!

Then, when my Gallbladder pain started up again last week, we called him about getting referred into the Acute Surgical Unit (ASU) in the University Hospital Limerick, as this was said to me the last time I was in, that if I had more pain, not to go through A&E but to be directly referred in. He didn’t come through on this either. When we rang he gave some excuse about not having my files with him in the surgery he was at (His 3 surgeries computer systems are linked, he should have had all my information in front of him!) and when he called the ASU he couldn’t organise a bed for me so when everything got too much, we just called an Ambulance anyway and I had to go through the A&E system like everyone else. Which is fine but it was unfortunate the GP couldn’t come through. He has been very angry lately when we visit him. He is constantly giving out and very bitter about the HSE (Health Service Executive) and he complains to his already sick patients, This is not just coming from me but from other patients of his that I have spoken to. To be honest I am getting sick of his attitude and shortly I will be transferring to a lovely lady doctor who has come highly recommended!

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My hand reacted strangely to the morphine, the IV line was hardly hanging in my vein too so it didn’t last long!

So I was in the A&E about 10 hours, They did a chest XRAY first, then I was being pumped full of morphine through an IV line that was barely hanging on to one of my tiny veins. The doctor in A&E had tried about 5 times to find a vein and by the time I got to the ward the Line had already failed and they had to call another doctor up to fit a new one. He had some trouble and tried about 8 times before he got one and again it was just about in the vein and he said it may only last a few hours. My veins are useless and over the next week, I had three more doctors try about 18 more times to get veins and each line would fail or they just couldn’t get access, eventually during the week they give up on me and give me oral antibiotics when I am able to take them.

Just as I was in my ward Bed and getting ready to sleep, it was about 2am and they called me for an abdominal XRAY. It was over before I knew it, I was back to bed, Injected with something that helped the pain, popped on a drip and I tried to get comfortable enough to sleep.

Not a single wink was had!

It was quiet and all on the ward but I was sore, the surroundings were different, there were beeps and talking in the background and just everything that home wasn’t!

I was uncomfortable and twisted and turned through the night and into the next morning.

The following morning the surgical team came to see me and discuss my case, The same doctor and team that had me in December. He mentioned that he was happy to see me again but not under these circumstances and he felt by looking at me that I had lost weight. They ordered an ultrasound of the gallbladder so that they could compare it to the one from December when I was in then.

At that time my gallbladder was distended and had fluid around it showing infection. It didn’t respond to the fat test and showed it had dysmotility as well as gut dysmotility.

This time the ultrasound came back normal, no sign of infection in it or in my bloods. They mentioned about the possibility of taking out the gallbladder but as it looked healthy with the worry that my EDS may slow or aggravate healing, they were reluctant, as was I!

The head doctor said to give him some time as he wanted to speak with a colleague, the Dean of the Medical School at University Hospital Limerick, who knew surgeons in the UK who deal with rare cases like me. So now the waiting game begins!

I have to say he and his team are excellent. They have a real interest and go to great lengths to diagnose and be careful about removing anything they shouldn’t unless they absolutely have to! They also have an interest in learning more about EDS which is great to see. Unlike some of my other doctors who just don’t seem to care at all.

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Gadgety Bed!

Most of the time I was trying to sleep on the very comfy gadgety bed that I could move into all sorts of comfy positions or stoned out of it so all I could do was lie there in a sweaty trance trying to ignore pain and wishing sleep would come to me!
My BP was very low as I hadn’t been eating for many days due to horrible nausea and vomiting so I had missed my regular meds for those days. Over the week, once the nausea was controlled I was taken off the fast and put on a light diet, I could hardly eat anyway but getting a tiny bit of nutrition really helped. I was also able to take my regular meds which helped normalise my BP and I began to feel a little human again.

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Mostly pain meds, an antibiotic and meds to raise my BP

On Friday, as it was coming up to the long weekend I was eager to get home, though still in pain and I had no clue as to what they wanted to do with me, I asked what was the possibility of me going home for the weekend? and they said no problem as long as I was prescribed everything I needed! YEAY!!! I was delighted then everything came together! I was visited by some doctors and got some information, finally!

I was seen by a pain specialist, she was going through my pain meds and what I needed to be comfortable at home until they call me into them next week where they can review everything and make a pain management plan going forward.

Later on, I was visited by a UK Surgeon, The Dean of the Medical school. He told me he trained and studied under Prof. Rodney Grahame (The Prof. in London who officially diagnosed my EDS) and highly respected his opinion. I was delighted to speak with him. He was a gentleman and explained to me what he thought was going on.

They as a surgical team discussed my case and came to the conclusion that the gallbladder may have been masking the true pain that could be coming from a thing called the ‘Sphincter of Oddi

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I know right, WHAT? Never heard of that before, but long story short, there is a little valve thingy under your gallbladder that allows bile though it to add to the pancreatic juices that feed into the digestive system to help you break down and digest your food. This sphincter opens and closes but if you have this dysfunction, it remains clamped shut and cramped and causes a back up of bile and severe abdominal pain. It is most common in people who have already had their Gallbladder taken out, I still have mine so it is a strange one!

There is a test to check for it called ERCP, endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography, a procedure that uses an endoscope and looks directly deep inside the duct system while taking pictures and measuring pressure. You have to be sedated as it is way deeper into your system they have to look than a regular esophageal, stomach endoscope or similar.

While they do this, they inject some Botox into the tiny sphincter itself which relaxes it and allows it to open again. If after about 2 weeks your pain is gone, this is a sign you have the dysfunction.

The cure for it? a series of ops where again I will be put to sleep and they have to cut the sphincter to weaken it to the point where it can’t clamp up any more. This should take a few turns because if they do it all at once and cut straight through it, there is serious risk of heavy bleeding with this so they do it in small stages over time to make it safer.

This procedure however, has never been done in the University Hospital Limerick and it is not licensed here. But they are seeing what they can do for me, if it can be done, I will be the first person they will have done this op on! If they cant license it here, I may have to go to The Matter Hospital in Dublin or even as far as the UK if needs be, however because I am being treated publicly, these procedures if done in the UK will be fully covered by the HSE. This is a huge relief!

So in the mean time, He and the surgical team looking after me are going to sit down with some other doctors in a Multi Disciplinary Meeting where they will discuss my case and how to proceed with it and once they have a plan in place they will call me in for the initial test. I feel kinda special! but I can see why this meeting needs to be done. If I do have this thing, those procedures need to be licensed and I am sure that includes some amount of paperwork!

So for now, I am happy to be home with the furry pup and himself, I am comfortable (enough) on the pain medication and I await my appointment for next week to be called back in to the Pain clinic and then the appointment to be followed up by the surgical team.

For now, I will try to relax and recover, it is hard on this medication as it has some nasty side effects, but if it helps the pain I cant complain! HA! could put that on a T-Shirt!

Anyway, that is all for now, I will update again soon 🙂

Lette (Fainting Goat)

ANNOUNCMENT: Be part of a free trial!

medistori-graphicIMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOLKS!!

To all Irish Dysautonomia Awareness members and followers.

I am delighted to announce that Irish Dysautonomia Awareness has been selected to trial an innovative personal health organiser – the MediStori FOR FREE to our members.

Creative Founder of the MediStori, Olive O’Connor is a mum of three daughters whom have complex chronic illnesses, and she shares her own journey and her discovery on how to make her life of tracking appointments, managing medications, getting diagnosed & communicating easier by keeping a specialised diary. Olive is now looking for patient/ parent feedback on this clever patient led initiative, with the aim for it to be rolled out in our health services nationally in 2016.

If you would like this once-off opportunity to be a part of the design of this care package, PLEASE GO TO: http://www.medistori.com/join-team/ and input your details . The MediStori is completely FREE to our members and followers so ensure you add our name (Irish Dysautonomia Awareness) in the “Where You Heard of Us” section and DO NOT go to PayPal links.

For this, all Olive asks for in return is to fill out two questionnaires so Olive can make the MediStori the best it can be. For more information you can call the MediStori Helpline on: 094 90 10114 or email: trial@medistori.com.

I have already received one of these packs and have to say it is an excellent idea and way of keeping track of everything medical for anyone with chronic illnesses. I hope to do a full review of it here on the blog very soon 🙂

Thanks again to Olive O’Connor from MediStori for this opportunity 🙂