Google+ Followers

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spider Therapist

One of my bathroom-dwelling spiders has gone to spider heaven. I'm afraid to say I put him there. Accidently, of course.
I thought he might survive me dropping a tub of handwash on him. But no. He's lying, spread-eagled (more spread-eagled than is normal, even for a spider) on the floor of the bathroom this morning.
Oh dear.
Not that I'm the world's biggest lover of spiders. But we talk and have an agreement that they don't bother me (no dangling near me/rushing at me etc) and I won't bother them (no book-squishing/cupping and chucking etc).
They're actually pretty good listeners (they don't have a choice which obviously helps). Handily, their faces are too small to try to discern a look of boredom or eye-roll so I needn't worry that I'm being tedious or tiresome and I don't have to worry about second-guessing what they think of me and my ranting/drivel. Everyone should have a good spider therapist.

Of course, if I were to have a choice I'd perhaps have a slightly cuter, furrier real pet.
And I will. Just as soon as the workmen have finished banging and clattering and making as much dust as is humanly possible.
I'm having work done on the flat at the moment. New windows, new central-heating system (being installed in the mid-winter, of course. Good plan fella, er, not) and various other modernising.
Yeah, so when it's done I'll be moving in a clan of ratties (pet ones that is, not just any old random rats I might come across). I'm holding onto this thought, in order to get me through all of this anxiety-provoking work that is driving me almost (oh so very almost) batty on a daily basis. Maybe I'll blog about the challenges of a highly anxious hermit dealing with boisterous workmen and the chaos that they bring, in a future post.

Today is bloods-day which means a day of high anxiety waiting for the results and the crossing of every available finger in the hope that they come out okay. I've arranged to meet Mum and Dad for lunch in our local favourite place. That should hopefully pass some time, with the bonus of getting in some nutrition other than the usual lunch of Complan soup.

So that's me, for the moment. Off now to slap some war-paint on this here face-luggage.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Smuggling Fluid

There's this great thing that happens when you're kidneys don't work properly (I love me some sarcasm): Fluid. In places you really don't want it...

This morning finds me with not so much bags under my eyes as stuffed-for-a-month-long-holiday-mega-massive-suitcases under my eyes. Really. My neck is getting a great work-out just holding my head up. Oh sweet joy.
No amount of concealer will hide these bad boys. In fact, if I were to actually be going on holiday I'd probably be accused of trying to smuggle in excess of the weight limit for luggage. "Sorry Ma'am, we're going to have to take a look in that eye-luggage you're carrying there".
Somebody, drain mePlease!!

Oh well, I guess my body's doing the best it can given the situation and the fact that it lucked out on the brain front.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Anorexia and kidneys

This is a warm-up.
I'm trying to get back into blogging again. God knows I need to do something. Lolling around the flat just leaves me feeling hopeless and more anxious. I need something to direct this agitation at.
I really don't feel like doing anything. That'll be the depression, I guess. Oh, and the fact that I'm physically pretty fucked.
Yet, at the same time I'm restless. The anxiety coursing through my veins sends jolts to my limbs making me want to move. Damn it, move.
Irritable. With a capital I. I am Irritable.


Good grief, I am a miserable sod today.

Ok, so they say write about what you know, so today's fascinating topic is: kidneys.

My own kidneys are a tad feckered. Anorexia and the bingeing and purging bit will do that. Knacker your kidneys (and the rest).
I was presented with a fact sheet on "The Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease" yesterday by my Care Coordinator (CC). This following an eventful weekend during which I spent a lot of time at the local hospital (DGH) having armfuls of blood taken and trying to drink enough fluids to avert the impending kidney crisis.

Some background:
My kidneys, as I mentioned above, are not in great condition. Because of this (and the rest of the shitty health consequences of anorexia b/p) I have my blood taken twice a week in an attempt to stay on top of any emerging crisis. So, every Monday and Thursday I dutifully give an armful of the red stuff. My CC gets the results the same day and texts me the results. In the event of the results being particularly dire I get a phone call instead of the text during which my CC inevitably tries to cajole me into being admitted to the hospital. Usually for a drip. If cajoling doesn't work she will just lay it out: Go in by choice, or an ambulance will pick you up and you will still end up going in. So, yeah, no choice at all really. Fair play, because if I were in her position I'd be more than a little nervous that this patient (me) was about to run out of luck. And God knows, I've been more than a little lucky over the years.
Last Thursday I had the obligatory blood taken.
Around 5pm I got a phonecall. Oh shit and buggeration. My heart takes a giant leap into my mouth (not where you want your heart to be when you're trying to Calm. The Fuck. Down).
The results were in.
In layman's terms my kidneys were having a big bit of a strop and refusing to rid my body of waste. I was building up a nice little stockpile of urea and creatinine in my blood. Add to this the fact that my potassium was making it's merry way downwards as too was my chloride and the picture was pretty grim. My kidneys were failing. I was dehydrated and my kidneys did not like it, at all.
My CC had spoken to the Registrar at the hospital and they had agreed that I needed more blood to be taken the next day. They were giving me overnight to see if I could re-hydrate enough to improve the renal picture. My CC was at pains to ram home the fact that she was reluctant to not just swoop in on me and run me up to the hospital there and then. I got it. I had to drink. Lots. I had to take my potassium supplements. And, most diffiicult, I had to seriously curb the vomiting. I knew this. I didn't need telling. But knowing and doing are two entirely different things. This was going to be bloody hard. Harder than hard.

So, I get off the phone and what do you reckon the first thing I do is? Go on, take a guess. Do I head directly to the nearest tap and slug down a good neckful of Adam's finest ale? Do I bust open the potassium supplements? What d'ya reckon?..Nope, none of the above. I go for option number 3 - a binge and purge session in an attempt to quell the anxiety which is overwhelming me at the prospect of being admitted to hospital the following day if I cannot improve my blood results. *Facepalm*. Doh, doh, doh!
 I can sit here now typing this and going "what a fecking idiot", but at the time I was shaking, literally and (obviously) not able to think anywhere close to straight. Honestly I think my CC credits me with a whole lot more control/sense than I, in reality, have.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I did eventually manage to stem the b/p session as some sense filtered through my murky mind and slapped me around the face. Better late than never, I guess.
By 8pm I was sat quaffing fluids and almost having to sit on my hands to prevent another round of bingeing and purging (but that would have made drinking pretty ruddy hard!).
The next day (Friday) I have my blood drawn again. I spend the day almost resigned to the fact that I'll be in the hospital and hooked up before I know it.
The results come in and - by some miracle- the picture has improved, minimally yes, but still, it gets me off the hook (literally!) for another night. I'm given another night to make further (and bigger) improvements. I'm to go into the hospital A & E on the Saturday morning to have bloods taken and a check-up. There is still much concern from my CC and again she rams home the fact that if there is no or even just minimal improvements then I'll be staying at the hospital. I am in no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. I've been here before with talks of dialysis and blood transfusions and such. I know my kidneys can't and won't take much more.
OK, so I'm rambling on a bit here. I meant only to give an overview really of what happened as a personal reference from which to talk more generally about anorexia and the damage it wreaks on the kidneys. Hey-ho I've given you an essay instead!
So to finish the "personal reference" I can tell you that I did eventually manage to salvage my besieged kidneys with a monumental effort on the re-hydrating and potassium supplementing front. My kidney function is not normal, it hasn't been for some time. My kidneys struggle everyday to filter out what they should. I've been told they are damaged and I'll always have to be careful and mindful (that's the tricky part) that I need to keep my fluids up (so difficult) and keep a close eye on my electrolytes, particularly my potassium levels. I have chronic kidney disease as a direct result of anorexia b/p.

More generally then...
Did you know that more than 70% of patients with anorexia will have some form of kidney malfunction manifest during their lifetime? That is a 5 times higher chance than the general population. Yes, really. Yes, scary. And yes, very, very sobering.
For more on this subject here's an interesting read:

Folk tend to realise that the heart can be damaged from eating disorders. Other vital organs seem to get overlooked. Just thought I'd give them the credit they deserve. Kidneys are vital after all.

 Just realised that the above link requires you to log in to Medscape. I'll leave it up for those who can access Medscape or want to sign up to read the article.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Trying to update

It took me a minute of groping around in the dark for the bathroom light switch, before I realised that I wasn't going to find one. I have never had a light switch, it has always been a pull-cord. Doh!
Hopefully that'll be my "doh!" moment over and done with for today.

Um, right, what now to write? I guess it's all well and good to have a spontaneous urge to blog if you've something even mildly interesting to blog about.
Maybe a quick resume of what's been occurring over the last few months? Ok.

Let me take you back...
December of last year (2012).
I'm resisting the efforts of my Care Coordinator (CC) to have me slung into the local inpatient unit, as my weight drops and drops to new ridiculous lows each week I see her.
"No no! I can do it. I can get that kilo back on for next week's weigh-in! I can I can!!". This was my mantra week-in-week-out.
Turned out that I couldn't.
Leading up to Christmas was a bit of a catastrophe. In truth Christmas, the day itself, is usually Ok. It's just the pre-Christmas bit.
Oh, and then the postmortem of the day, as I pick apart all the things I should/shouldn't have done/said and analyse it right down to the finest, dusty detail, and beyond.
The pre and post-anxiety strikes like a rusty old spanner at my brain and causes all sorts of hell and torment. And when anxiety strikes, the ever faithful eating disorder really cranks up a gear, what a saviour, eh?

I'm not going to go into detail here. In part to prevent your utter boredom, but also because I only have sketchy memories of this time available to me anyway..
So, just the bare bones:
I spent Christmas with the family. I even tucked into the obligatory Christmas roast dinner including pudding. Hmm.."tucked into" possibly makes me sound a tad more keen than I was, although certainly the abundant flowing of wine really helped here.
I remember being presented with a fabulously mammoth snowball (of the alcoholic variety) a little later in the evening and thinking "hell, why not? It's just one day", followed quickly by the sneaking thought:
 "I can get rid of it if I need to".
Damn that thought.
Sure, it's just a thought. But these are the thoughts that invade my musty mind and keep banging away with that rusty spanner until action is taken. Until it is not just a suggestion, but an order. A command.
Like I said though, Christmas day was Ok. In fact it was good. Despite the low-lying rumbling dread (it's always there anyway), there were lighter moments. Moments of near normality dare I say. I knew it was "just one day" and that knowledge loosened me up a little. As did the knowledge that in my pre-Christmas panic I had managed to drop a significant amount of weight which, "just one day" was not going to rectify. I knew I needed to gain and, in my right mind, I hoped that this might be a good kick-start to enable me to avert an inpatient stay. If I could just keep on top of those nasty, malignant thoughts.
So, I drank the snowball and managed to get through the day without driving the porcelain bus. Um, well, that's true in the strictest sense of "day", because I admit to doing a little driving post-midnight. Sigh.

And that was Christmas.
New year I spent in my own company. Weight still dropping.
January arrives and my CC tells me there is a bed available on the local ward and she wants me to take it. Dead-headed, I decline the offer.
"No no! I can do it. I can get that kilo back on for next week's weigh-in! I can I can!!" comes into play again.
Again, it turned out that I couldn't.
The following week the local bed had been filled and I was another kilo down. "Oh shit" (that was about as much eloquence as I could muster at that point).
With her nerves shot to bits, my CC put her foot down with a very firm hand and insisted I could not remain as an outpatient. The risk could not be managed.  A bed was found for me at a unit that I had been to before, but was 60-odd miles away from home. To say I was regretting not accepting the local bed the previous week is something of a grand understatement! Lesson learned. Although, honestly, I could not have said yes to that bed if my life had depended on it. And my life very nearly did depend on it.
A taxi was to pick me up the next morning from home. I enquired as to what would happen if I refused to go. The answer had me seeing, in my mind, Section 3 papers being wafted in front of me and left me in no doubt, that if I did not go "willingly" then I would still go. Period. The game was up. A tiny part of me was grateful. Not that I could express that at the time, because the bigger part of me had been shot to pieces as the anorexia rampaged through me with it's mind-befuddling madness.
I was admitted at my lowest ever weight. Bloods were all over the shop. I was a mess. I knew I looked a mess, and sounded it.
So, despite my protestations that I only needed a couple of weeks to "get me back on my feet" (yeah, nice try, me), from the end of January until June I was an inpatient. I was transferred back to my local unit when a bed became available in mid-March.


I'm here again. I saved the above rambling to draft, meaning to come back the same day and finish it properly. I guess life got in the way, or something.
It's been an eventful few days. I will update later (she says!), but will post this now just because it might inspire me to get back to blogging..

Monday, 23 September 2013

More on Charlotte's Helix...

Charlotte's Helix

Ok, so it's been an aaaaaage since my last post (or re-post). Maybe I'll get around to blogging a little about what's been happening with me in the intervening period.
But, for now, a link to a blog about some vital research being done in the eating disorder world; how you can get involved; and how we can bring it to the UK.
Charlotte's Helix has gone live!!
If you're there, dear reader, apologies for hibernating. But this is worth getting out of bed for: