Hives, but no Bees

Ok, I’m ready to talk about the health crap I’ve been going through for the last few months. It’s not pretty, but also not lethal. Except to my mental health.

It really started at the end of March, when I came down with bronchitis. I thought it might be covid, because many of the symptoms match, so I got tested. Obviously, it came back negative, so I got on antibiotics & recovered from that.

At this point, I started working from home, since we were planning that anyway at my office, & I wasn’t the only one from my department that was going to be doing work from home. We hadn’t planned on me starting so soon, but it worked out.

Then, I got the flu about a week later. Good thing I was working from home, as I was able to log in & work when I could, without having to travel to the office, feeling like crap, & possibly infecting coworkers.

Then, a couple of days later… I started to notice hives.

Just a few spots to start, they quickly seemed to spread, until they covered most of my body in extremely itchy, raised red welts.

And I do mean covered.

As in, at least 85℅ of my body was itching, welted, or felt like it was extremely sunburned.

These are pictures I took to show my doctor. They are just of my arms, and aren’t of the worst days.

I went through 2&1/2 bottles of calamine, and was double dosing myself with antihistamines. (I can’t take anything with diphenhydramine in it, like benadryl, as it makes my heart race, so I had to take what I can)

I also ended up with chemical burns from all the calamine. It dries your skin extremely well, so well, in fact, that if you use it for 2 months, you get dry-skin burns. And believe me, they hurt. It took copious amounts of lotion to relieve and reverse this. Don’t overdo calamine, folks. Trust me.

Think of it like pouring hydrogen peroxide into an open wound. After the bubbling stops, it turns white, right? Because it’s dessicated the tissue. Dried it to oblivion.

I also found a lotion that has menthol & camphor in it, which helps to kill the itch, & makes your skin feel extremely cold in the process, which helps with the burning feeling the inflammation causes. (It’s called Sarna)

My doc put me on prednisone, to help with that, as well as another issue, & it seemed to help.

During all of this, I tried to figure out if the hives were a reaction to a medication I’d started taking for my depression, or if it was a new allergy. Joy.

I stopped taking the antidepressant, on recommendation of my doc, and my emotions went haywire again.

I stopped eating the one food I thought might have caused the allergy. (I’m extremely picky in my eating, there aren’t a lot of things it could be, anymore)

And… The hives started to go away. It took a while, but it seemed to be working.

Then, last weekend, when I had my Schnicklefritz for the weekend, I ate something I hadn’t had for a while, & the hives flared again that night.

I thought this was my answer!

I’d found the culprit, and eliminating this would stop the hives, right?

I made an appointment with an allergist, anyway, just to make sure, but I was fairly positive I had my answer.

After seeing my doc this last week, I told her my theory, & she agreed with me, that it was probably a food allergy, had nothing to do with my med, & I could start taking it again, so I did.

That was 2 days ago.

Yesterday night, I noticed a couple of hives – on my face – and some itchy, raised patches on my thighs. I treated my legs with calamine, & my face with hydrocortisone cream.

This morning…

My legs.

I can’t show you pictures of the other places I found hives, because it was the back of my scalp, & along the back of my neck. Kind of difficult to get pictures of that, but believe me, I felt every welt.

And I’m not allowed to take any antihistamines. None.

Not until after my allergist appointment – next Wednesday.

So, I have literally zero idea what’s causing the hives.

No product changes, everything I use from soap to shampoo to laundry detergent, is stuff I’ve been using for years.

There are about 4 or 5 foods that I eat right now, and none of them have caused this since I cut the last one out. (It was barbeque, both chips & sauce, which is probably going to make me very sad, because I love barbeque. It’s one of my favorite condiments)

Most of the hives have settled down again tonight. Probably from the facts that, A) I applied calamine to every affected patch of skin I could reach, except my scalp; B) I used lidocaine spray on ALL of the welts. If it’s numb, I can’t feel the itch, so I won’t scratch, which just makes spread; & C) I haven’t eaten anything all day, but one of the few meals I know for a fact has nothing in it that will affect me.

But…

I’m frustrated.

And tired.

And depressed.

I’ve had so many problems with allergies over the years.

And now, to add hives into this?

What if the allergist can’t figure out what’s causing them?

I have enough trouble with getting people to believe me about my allergies.

I need a large change in my life.

I want to move.

And I want to get a job where I can work from my home.

I’m tired of other people pissing on my feelings, & endangering my life, because they want to eat something I’m sensitive to, something that could possibly kill me.

I’m tired of having to excuse their lapses in memory.

I’m tired of turning the other cheek when their actions impact my health.

I have an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, which impacts so much more than just stiffness & pain in my joints. And I’m tired of people not believing me when I tell them that, too.

I need an out.

And I need it soon.

Or my mental health is going to continue to nosedive, antidepressants or not.

My Floor is Lava

My emotions are all over the place right now.

Ever since my ER visit, & subsequent withdrawal from my latest med, I’m a sobbing hot mess, who can’t seem to figure out if I’m ok, or if my floor is lava.

So, I had a visit with my regular doc today, & I was hoping she could put me on a different med.

Instead, she told me that, because we’re having difficulty finding a med that works for me now…she’s referring me to the psychiatric clinic.

Now, back up a little.

I’ve been on anti-anxiety meds since 2008. Yes, it took a couple of trial-and-errors to find one that worked for me, but then I was on that one for about 12 years, with almost NO side effects.

Then, in October of 2018, I hit a depression so deep, I lay at the bottom of it for a whole year.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for my kids, my Best friend/Nephew, & my parents, I had 3 severe times that winter, where I would have “taken too many”, and just ended it.

I waited through the nice months of 2019. Normally the return of sun, warmth, & natural Vitamin D, can drag me from the seasonal depression.

But, it didn’t happen.

I finally told my doc when it was time for my annual physical (because I couldn’t raise any “give a fucks” to call sooner). I needed an antidepressant.

This was at the middle of December? maybe? Time gets weird when your brain is not balanced right. It’s slippy, & stretchy.

After a couple of weeks, my depression started to peel away like a bad sunburn.

Cue the side effects.

Then the ER visit capper.

Annnnnnd, here we are today.

My LOGIC says that my doc is right, & that a referral is probably the best thing. She’s not a psychiatric specialist, even though she does see a lot of depression/anxiety patients.

My INTELLECT tells me that this is fine, right & good.

My EMOTIONS, colored by the liars and thieves of anxiety and depression, tell me that my doctor has now washed her hands of this nutjob hot mess, who’s making shit up for attention.

And, since the doc told me that she’ll send my referral in, THEN the new clinic will contact me to schedule an appointment…

My lying emotions are now sobbing that they’ll never call, because my doc is just brushing me off, & I’m on my own on this from now on.

Logically, I know better.

Emotionally, the fucking floor is lava, & I’m going to burn.

And I’m having trouble even contacting my Trusteds, because I don’t want to lay this mess in their laps.

I know each of them would slap me on the back of the head & tell me that’s what they’re there for, & to stop fucking around & call them…

Again Cool Logic/vs/Emotional lava.

I just can’t right now.

I can smile, but it still burns.

Some of it works out…Some of it just pisses me off.

All my tests (EKGs, blood test, & Chest Xrays) came back normal. This is the good news.

Figured y’all would want that up front.

So, my symptoms on Tuesday, really were just side effects of one of my medications. And yes, I have an appointment with my primary to switch my scrip.

But…it’s been a long damn week. And there’s been some stuff that’s happened that just -flat out – pissed me the hell off.

So, I’m not talking about it here yet.

I know me.

If I give even an inch of my rant over here…it’ll be verbal diarrhea, & I’ll end up being the one with the regrets.

If I keep shut for a little longer…work on it in my head, talk it over with my Trusteds – then when I AM ready to spill, it will be tea, not gasoline.

I’ll leave you with a quote I found in a book I’m re-reading:

Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing. ~Euripides

Beautiful Creatures -by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

Freaking Obnoxious and Scared Shitless

I’ve been on a new depression & anxiety med for a little over a month, now.

The effects were great, at the beginning. I could almost -feel- the depression peeling away like dead skin. I felt happy again, instead of numb or so extremely sad that it felt as though there was no way out.

But, then, side effects started popping up. Small, at first, they grew & multiplied over this last couple of weeks. They began to interfere with everyday normal stuff, so I started feeling that I probably needed to talk to my doc about switching.

Even happiness isn’t worth some of the shit I’ve been trying to work around, lately.

Tremors that started in my hands, are now full-body. I feel as though I have mid-level Parkinson’s, & can barely sign my name. (Kind of a problem, as my signature has to be on certain stuff at work, & I don’t want it to look like it’s a forgery!)

Constant headaches – every – damn – day. I ingest so much Advil migraine in a 24-hr. period, it’s kinda sad.

There’s other crap too, but the capper started on last Thursday. I started having some really uncomfortable chest tightness and pains, which did eventually subside, but came back today.

Yeah, I called my doc this morning.

And she freaking sent me to the ER when I told them I was having chest pains.

Shit.

So, here I sit, now.

They ran an EKG right away, but obvi I’m not in failure, because they booted me back to the lobby a little over 2 hours ago to wait for a curtain corner.

Shawn Coss artwork -freaking genius
Shawn Coss artwork -freaking genius.

I just want out of here. I ain’t got time for this, I’ve got shit to do.

And yes, I’m fucking scared.

That’s obnoxious.

Struggling and a push

I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. I haven’t even been keeping up with reading the other blogs I follow.

I want to write, but my depression has been so bad for so long, that I haven’t had the emotional strength or motivation to even attempt it. And my fiction ideas have dried up.

So, I want to try something.

For those of you that read my blog, is there something that you’d like to see more of?

If there’s one of my fictions you’d like to see continued, let me know which one.

If you’d like poetry, tell me that, & I’ll work on it.

If you’d like more of my personal history stories, shout out, & I’ll see about continuing that thread.

Or if you’d like me to write more about my struggles with anxiety & depression, ask, and ye shall receive.

I just feel like I need a push in some direction.

It’s not coming from my internal furnace, so maybe I need to seek it outside myself.

So…I’m asking for help, which for me, is a big thing.

Any and all ideas & requests are welcome, but may not all be followed, depending on my comfort level.

Thank you.

Falling Up

Autumn has peeked her soft, little face around the corner of the seasons, here in North Dakota, and I’m actually sliding into a better frame of mind.

I. Love. Autumn.

(This picture is from a couple of years ago, the trees aren’t quite this brill yet)

The air is softer than other seasons, as though I could scoop a handful out of the sky, and rub it on my face like downy feathers.

The light seems to be softer, as well. It doesn’t generally have the harsh glare of summer, & is not as early-morning frosty as spring. Obvi, it’s very different from winter. The light seems to sift through the leaves on the trees a little more golden, glittering lightly on water’s surface, ending earlier every day with glowing sunsets.

And the smells that permeate the air in autumn…fallen leaves, smoke from wood-burning fireplaces on chilly nights, or from barbeques being fired up for those last “Honey, I cooked over open flame… Hear me roar!” meals. Fragrant candles being lit in households that remind you of apple cider, freshly-baked cookies, or hot-out-of-the-oven spicy pies.

Oh yeah…I’m falling UP, now.

It’s been almost a year, it’s about damn time.

Bring on the hoodies and knit sweaters. Bring on the fuzzy socks & boots. I’ll pack away the shirts & sandals, good riddance for another year.

Goddess…

I’m SO ready for Autumn!

Hellmart

I had to go to Hellmart tonight for a few things.

As I was walking from one side of the aisle to another, I passed a box full of something, and impaled my hand on a hook sticking out of the box.

Blood running all the hell over the place, down my hand & arm, I frantically searched my purse for some tissues, but couldn’t find any.

And no one noticed or stopped.

So, as I bled all over the sleeve of my jacket, I pushed my cart to a counter back by the auto shop, where luckily,I found some industrial paper towels.

I started mopping myself up, & pulled my mini bandaid packet out of my purse. (Yeah, I carry them, I get paper cuts at work a lot)

And my sarcasm kicked in, when the gal behind the counter, who was helping another customer, looked over, and, with no compassion in her voice at all, said…

“Battery acid?”

I blinked at her & said that, no, I’d impaled myself on a hook in another aisle.

She sighed, & said,

“OK, as long as it’s not battery acid. Need a bandaid?”

*snort*

I held up my Band-Aids, & said that no, I had some, I just needed to stop bleeding everywhere.

She turned away.

Fuck, I hate Walmart.

Not ONE person, associate or otherwise, tried to help me.

One associate jackass even came and stood behind the counter not 2 feet from me, watching me, but saying nothing.

As though I might swipe something off the counter?

Fucking hellhole.

And now, my hand is throbbing and swelling.

I probably need stitches, or that super glue stuff, but fuckit.

I’m going to soak this bastard & ice it, after I put about 6 more Band-Aids on it.

Typing tomorrow should be fun.

FML.

*Edit*

Yeah, so looking at it, it’s about a quarter of an inch long, & the inside of my palm is starting to bruise up…I may end up going to the doc for this tomorrow. Joy.

24/7

So, I’ve been working and pushing myself on trying to claw my way out of my depression that I’ve been in since last October.

Yes, since October.

Normally, the winter months are notoriously bad for me, dark and cold. Long nights, and very little sunlight, which is an awful combination for someone with depression.

But – I can usually start to pull myself out of it once Spring starts.

When the sun starts to return, and things start to “green up”, when things start blooming again, normally, so do I.

*sigh*

Not this year.

Here we are, already in the middle of July, and I’m still struggling to see the point.

You know? The point in getting up in the morning. The point in doing the things. The point in breathing.

That point.

I keep doing it, just in case I catch it, one of these days.

But I don’t feel it.

ANYWAY,

This week, I decided it was time to pull my head out of my ass and start doing some of the real work around here.

I’ve been having a difficult time keeping up on the yardwork this year, between depression, arthritis, and my lawnmower not working the way it used to ( battery-operated, the battery is not charging like it used to, & those suckers are kinda spendy), I’ve fallen behind.

Basically, my yard looked like an overgrown, abandoned lot.

I broke down & bought a small battery-powered weed trimmer, because that’s what my arthritis can handle. It only runs for about a half hour, but that works.

My hedge trimmer? Well, I have to do what I can, in small chunks. I’m still working on it. This is difficult for me to do, as I hate leaving a job unfinished, and tend to push myself until the job is fucking done. Never mind if the body is broken at the end, which it would be.

My back yard…is a work in progress.

That’s all I’m going to say.

It’s all I can say.

And after yesterday, which was spent doing indoor work, cleaning house with OnlySon…

Today is a self-care day.

It has to be.

Yeah, I pushed too hard- I won’t deny it. Yeah, I’m feeling a little broken today.

So I’m taking today off.

Doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about all the shit I still have left to do.

Ugh.

The brain keeps going.

24/7.

But I Can’t Make Myself

Decide.

So many things come down to that One. Little. Word.

My daughters, my parents, & my Schnicklefritz grandson all want me to move to Washington to be closer to ElderDaughter & her family (Schnicklefritz especially, he pouts). I don’t want to miss being there for my grands growing up. I want to be the Gramma they come running to after school, the woman they brag about to their friends who’s just that cool.

BelovedNephew wants me to move to Georgia to be closer to him. He is my best friend, and soulmate. He understands things about me no one else has ever. I miss him so fully, it tears at something inside when I think about how far apart we are.

OnlySon doesn’t want me to change anything. He wants me to live in the house I’m in, keep the job I have, be here, because he’s here. He doesn’t want to miss me. He hates change, and I don’t blame him. Change is uncomfortable and scary.

I know I have to make a decision.

I know I have to make a choice.

But, I can’t make myself.

Because, you see…

Any choice I make…ends with someone I love being hurt.

And that’s one thing I can’t stand to do.

I’ve hurt people in the past, I know I have, sometimes knowingly, but usually out of ignorance, and unconsciously.

How do I make a choice here without hurting someone? I can’t. It’s just not possible.

And then, I hear the voices of my loved ones in my head saying…

“Just do what’s best for you…”

Yeah…but what’s best for me is to NOT FREAKING HURT OTHERS.

Because of what I used to be in the past, because of who I used to be, I made a LOT of changes in my life.

Oh, Goddess, I’ve fucked up so many things in my past, but there’s nothing I can do about that, anymore. There’s no going back, there’s no atonement, there’s no fixing, for so many of those things.

And, I’ve paid. Oh, yeah…I’ve paid in spades, for a lot of it. I beat the hell out of myself (can’t you tell?) for my past, regularly. *shrug* And I do try to make up for being an asshole back then, by being very much not an asshole now.

I think, too, subconsciously, part of me thinks I deserve to be alone now, because of everything I did in the past.

Penance, you know?

Like maybe there’s some kind of invisible-to-me sign that hangs around my neck that says “unworthy“, that men can see, so they stay away.

But, I digress.

I know I need a change.

I know I have to make a choice.

I can’t stay, because things here…just hurt…anymore. The ones that have left their knives behind in my back, wow, they were sharp, and left scars that just don’t fade. The ones that used only words…seemed to scar worse. And the ones that smiled, that seemed to want the same things, then disappeared… everything just hurts, you know?

Is it any wonder I don’t sleep or eat much these days?