Suffering from anything for any stretch of time can make a gal miserable. When that said gal is married, a lot of that miserable transfers on to Husband. I’m sorry, Husband. But, it looks like help is on the way.
Hives. I gots them. Small ones, hurty ones, burny ones, ridiculously large ones, I gots them all. It’s like my body is having a reunion tour and everyone itchy bought a ticket.
It sucks in ways I can’t begin to articulate. Instead, when people ask me how I’ve tolerated them every day for almost 13 weeks, I moan and scratch and squinch my face to indicate I have no words.
Last week I asked DMJ (Running Jay’s amazing chicken-pluckin’, beer makin’, ER-busting Husband) about the possible side-effects of taking Benadryl for 12 weeks straight. He asked me a few questions, then, as those who speak to the
intentionally stupid stubborn…that’s me!…he gently articulated that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal and that I should make an appointment with a doc.
BOOOOOOO! What do you know with your fancy-pants medical degree, mister?!
I knew he only wanted the best for me though (he’s a good friend like that), so I made the freakin’ appointment. Although, let the record show, I was highly annoyed. I didn’t think my doc would be able to help me because…
#1) I have been doing Internet research for the last 12 weeks, so that makes me an authority, right? Why do I need a doc charging me for the same info I get for free on the vast information highway?
#2) I had already diagnosed the cause of my hives as unknown, which meant that it wasn’t from an allergic reaction, which meant I’d have to wait until they went away on their own, or in doc-speak “cycled out” because with hives you treat the symptom, not the cause (most of the time).
#3) I was already taking Benadryl, which was keeping them somewhat under control, but was also causing me severe drowsiness for up to 20 hours. Yet, the option to stop taking Benadryl was unthinkable. While I was somewhat functioning with the drug, without the drug I’d be insane. All. That. Itching.
But, I kept my appointment, and this is what I learned:
#1) My body obviously (to the doc) doesn’t metabolize Benadryl, which accounts for the extreme drowsiness and still-present hives. In plain language: the drug wasn’t working for me.
WHAT?! While that info instantly made complete sense (I NEVER saw that important tidbit
in my med-school training on the Internet), I was extremely annoyed that my body bailed on me. WHAT AM I FEEDING YOU FOR?!
#2) The doc officially diagnosed my hives as from an unknown cause and not from an allergic reaction. Yes, I got that one right, but small consolation since I STILL HAD HIVES. Although, the diagnosis did make me happy because I can still eat all the in-shell peanuts I want. Yes, I think of food a lot.
#3) There is a slew of non-sedating drugs out there that can get me ahead of the cycle I’m in and once I’m hive free for 7 full days, I can slowly come off the drugs.
While I already knew about the cache of drugs, because DMJ ran me through the list when he was slow-talking to me, the worst patient in the world, what I didn’t know was that my doc advised it shouldn’t take more than a month or two to come off all the drugs (and like an idiot, because i just
stupidly believed knew i could handle this myself , i have suffered mightily for three).
I thought I’d have to stay on them as a regular regimen, which I would never agree to, which is one of the reasons I hesitated to go to a doc, when I had such a thorough Internet medical education to rely on.
#3) I am not a real doctor, no matter what the Internet says.
This hurt the most. My doc complimented me on understanding the science behind what was happening, for getting to the root of the trouble, but also chastised me for waiting so long. She actually, I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE, rolled her eyes and sighed when she asked me how long I’d been experiencing hives. In her defense, she knows me very well, and has been my doc for many years, so she’s allowed.
“There’s no reason you had to suffer for three months. I wish you had come in sooner.”
I honestly thought I had a handle on my troubles. What is the point of the disease chat-rooms and the countless medical sites and hastily written e-How articles if not to help us become doctors in our own minds?! Damn you Internet and your siren call of medical DIY; you have failed me.
From now on, I’ll take your so called information with a grain of salt. Oh that’s right, I’m still using salt, because seriously, WHAT DO YOU KNOW?!