Every Beginning Ends

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I was once told, for a reason I can’t remember, the every beginning is the result of another beginnings end. I don’t know why I am thinking of that today other than I realized that I prefer privatized healthcare over being a part of the VA healthcare system. Its almost like moving backwards instead of forwards when it comes down to my health concerns. I have, in my own personal opinion, two that give me the greatest concerns. Those being my knee and my diabetes. Care and or treatment for both have turned into an absolute clusterfuck if you were to ask me. If I want to talk to a dumbass fucktard I can go to Walmart, however, when discussing my health with a healthcare “professional” I do expect that you know more than me. So far, I am fully disappointed with most of what I have experienced with the VA healthcare system. Not to be confused with the VA who have accommodated me since day one all the way back in 1999 when it was decided that exiting the Air Force was in my best interest. A decision made for me but as I look back it was probably still the best decision because I wasn’t sure if what I did is what I wanted to be doing any longer anyway. Maybe I will get into that soon as it would seem I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting on my life here the last few months.

Now, one would think that one could trust the VA medical to do its part in ensuring that when they make changes in ones medications that they hold up their end of the deal and ship them out to you as promised in a timely manner. I suppose I am the dumbass for assuming that would be the case. In grand anticipation of the changes I seemed to overlook one thing, I way overestimated what I thought should be a timely manner. Why? On 25 March 2014 I saw a diabetic specialist who prescribed me a different insulin because the VA doesn’t offer the dial a unit pen version. I needed a refil so it go changed so I could accommodate the way they do business. Fair enough I guess. However, after ten days (the allotted wait time) I received all of my refils with the exception of a few, one that was back ordered (indefinitely), and two that were never ordered, my glucose test meter and my insulin. After inquiring and getting the cock and bullshit story I was reassured that it was now done. Oh, and by the way, we will go ahead and order the syringes you will be needing as well. I made this call on 09 April 2014. Yesterday, yes the 16th, I received my syringes, but nothing else. I called to inquire again and was told it was all mailed on the 14th so give it another 7-10 days before any concern can be given. Really? Good goddamn thing I got friends in low places (I.e. doctors) who made sure I received a loaded pen of my old insulin to carry me to the big switch event. I want to be done fucking around and being fucked around by the VA medical. I see now why they have a well deserved reputation of being a literal joke. But wait, there’s more.

Today I saw an orthopedic specialist for my knee. The same knee that has had eight surgeries on it and nobody wants to replace it with a shiny new one. As well, this doctor, in his best opinion, believes that there is nothing he can do to better the way it feels, moves, or functions. Do know how hard it is to explain to another human being what “pain” is to you? Now, try doing that same explanation to a doctor, now do that with a VA doctor. Do you know what the result is? There is no result. None. There are predetermined answers which much be given to downplay what one is feeling. So, I get to be made out to feel like shit because my knee, once again, is shredding to utter pieces. Yes, I did xrays and some other imaging about three weeks ago. Yes, he reviewed them in front of me, yes he cringed a little when he saw all the screws, bolts, and other artificial bullshit that showed up plain as the nose on your face. However, even though he commented that the hardware had shifted and I have a screw backing out that this fact has nothing to do with what “appears” to be my ACL ligament being ruptured yet again. Oh really? I tossed out my yellow bullshit flag and called for a time out why we reviewed his credentials. No diploma on the wall but he has a real cool badge. The long and short of it is that I was given a cortisone shot and a prescription for antiinflammatory medication which I should get in 7-10 business days. I won’t hold my breath. I got a better exam from my son who explained to me that if something hurt to do then just don’t do it. Well, shit, that solves everything, I will just stop walking and standing from this point forward. On a patient/doctor statisfication rating of 1-10 I give this a 1 with my middle finger being then one I choose to show how happy I am right this second. Oh, I get to go back in the end of July to see if I have improved at all. I can make a prediction on how that appointment will go, y’all probably can as well.

If this hasn’t been fun enough, I registered with the “my healthcare.VA.gov” website only to find out that to access any of my records I have to go to the main facility with a government form in hand to be verified in person with proof of I.d. so they known its me on-line. This is so much fun I couldnjustnshitnrazor blades in rejoice. I know, sounds like allot of whining, complaining, and bitching for no real reason. Well, if it helps y’all, in feel the reasons are pretty valid. For the first time in my life I imagined how good it would feel to choke the life out of someone giving me grief for no special reason. Is this karma sneaking up non me to let me know that it is finally time to be rewarded for all the years I have been an asshole? I should be careful who I ask that. Anyway, appearantly the adventure (my life) continues on yet for another day, whether I like it or not, I can be happy about that I suppose.

One Day The Pain Will Make Sense

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I was told years ago to embrace my pain for that was the one thing that will always remind me that I’m still alive. I think about those words that my dad told me when I was fifteen, laying in a hospital bed, just weeks after a disastrous ultra-light crash, and I remember that I wished for death to make the pain stop. I traveled a very long road to recovery which would torture me every single day. I was told to never give up and not to let the pain beat me. Here I sit thirty years later as a reminder that my personal triumph was filled with agony and tears. I also sit here today wondering why I go through my daily life still suffering pain.

The doctors tell me the definition of the pain in my feet is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy means the nerves in my feet don’t work properly. Of course, there is much more to it than just that but I’m not here to give you definitions. Hell, I’m not even here to give you answers. Unfortunately the questions I have are beyond what science has answered so therefore I don’t get answers either. Before you ask, yes I have tried medications for this nerve pain, Gabapentin & also Lyrica, both have failed to provide me any less pain or discomfort. I’m sure there are more medications out there but I don’t do the whole guinea pig thing too well. I have learned a few secrets about my feet and how they feel daily. I now have specific rules that I never deviate from. Did I just say never?

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I also take two different diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide aka HCT), one in a medication and one as a stand alone medication. Why? Along with the neuropathy, I also suffer from fluid retention (edema). Why is this important? Because I have to piss more than a pregnant woman in her third trimester throughout the day and night. I can set a clock by it since I have to relieve myself every two hours usually without any margin for error. Still need to know why this is important to this conversation? It’s simple, it requires me to get up at least three times in the night, in total darkness, and half asleep. I mentioned my rules above, well, the number one rule is that I do not walk around anywhere without some form of footwear, not even in my own house. I have lived and breathed that rule to the full extent and I do not deviate from it, until last night.

At around 1 o’clock this morning I found myself needing to get the hell out bed immediately because I was close to wetting the bed, which is something I have been able to pride myself on not doing as an adult. But no, this morning there was more of a sense of urgency, there was no holding back what was going to happen, it didn’t matter where I was going to be at the moment. I fucked up and paid the ultimate price. I skipped the slipping on of the houseshoes and bolted in the general direction I knew the bathroom to be. I ran three toes on my left foot straight into the corner molding on the floor entering the bathroom. I’m usually real stealthy at night, careful not to wake anyone in the house, but when I struck my toes it was like opening a can of every known fowl word to mankind. Unfortunately for me I woke up everyone because of my mistake. A mistake that I hope will never happen again, ever.

Anyway, while I sat on the floor (after pissing) holding my three toes I began to think about what I was told so many years ago and what I would be telling my children to encourage them to brush themselves off to face the rest of the day. I did this silently while I held back my tears. My children may not be ready to see me cry over three beat up toes. I have found that it sometimes doesn’t take much to bring this 6’8″ tall, 290lb man to almost shedding tears when I encounter earthshattering pain. But I remember, pain is my friend because the pain I feel reminds me I’m still alive. One day, as I told my wife, I will draw in my last breath and exist no more. I will know this because I will not be feeling any pain.

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Note To Self: Just Breathe

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The absolute worst time to have an anxiety panic attack is while you are sitting in a chair with a needle mere millimeters from the vein it is about to puncture. How do I know this? I know this from first hand experience this morning. But, before I get into that and what happened next, y’all might need to catch up a bit by reading “An Attack Of Aichmophobia” which was written by me on 19 December 2013 and can explain a little more why I was having blood drawn in the first place. The blood was to serve a two fold purpose, one to do my Hemoglobin A1C panel for diabetic medication prescription renewals and also to see if I had anything weird going on which might explain me really freaking out around needles. I know, made no sense to me either. Why stick someone with a needle that has been freaking out about being stuck with needles here lately. Needless to say, the blood could not be drawn as requested because I threatened to stick the needle where the sun don’t shine to the technician. I ended up back in my doctor’s office where I was introduced to Klonopin or at least the doctor thought he was introducing us for the first time. I’m real aware of this drug as it is one of the drugs my son takes to try to “control” episodes he has because of being bipolar. I have tried to use some humor in the last post because it has been my way of dealing with the fact that I’m pretty fucking scared at this point in my life. I mean, ask yourself, how can a diabetic get away from sharp objects?

Meanwhile, while sitting in the doctor’s chair, figiting and sweating like a whore in a Catholic confessional, the doctor went over my “symptoms” and any known allergies. By this point I’m agitated, I want to go home, I want to get the hell away from all of this to sort it out. The doctor offered me a small pill and a small sip of water in a very small paper cup. He said to take it so we could continue our conversation. So, I complied, I took the pill. Within a few minutes my mind was clearing up, my focus was coming back, and it seemed like I just might be coming back to my senses. A quick check of my pulse, my blood pressure, and a tiny flashlight in my eye revealed to the doctor that my anxiety attack has come to it’s conclusion. Wow, now that was impressive, it worked almost as well as the calming effects my wife’s cold hands have when she places them on my neck when comforting me. He went on to explain that what I had just taken was 2mg of Klonopin. Within a few minutes I was back in the lab chair with a needle in my arm drawing blood and I could really care less. The only thing I could think of is where is my pain, where is my fear, am I dead. I’m a very firm believer that fear and pain are two very basic elements that ensure our safety and remind us that we are indeed still alive. I felt neither but I did feel scared. I imagine how my son must feel, what must be going on inside his brain as he watches what happens around him. Does it have the same effect on him.

That is that. A short walk down the hallway to meet my wife in her office. After seeing she was in there alone I walked thru the door, closing it behind me, where I sat down in one of the chairs at the front of her desk, all I wanted to do is just breathe. She made no comments about what had happened. If I know her the way I think I know her then nothing will ever be said. She did mention that she would pick up my new prescription on her way home with all the instructions. I leaned in to give her a kiss, not saying a word, and I left. I got into my car and found myself going to work. I have spoken to her since because she called to check up on me. She tried to explain that from now on I will need to take this medication prior to testing and prior injecting until I feel it is all under control like it once was. Will it ever get back under control? Will it ever be the same again? Have I lost what I thought I had control of just days before? I have come to the point that I really have grown to dislike this whole diabetes thing. Seems everyone has a way to kick it’s ass. I wish I could find my way to kick diabetes square in the ass and right out the door. Is this the part when someone tells me that we reap what we sew? Unfortunately I can’t go back in time, nor do I want to either, tomorrow is another day, to be dealt with like any other day I suppose. I just need to remember to breathe.

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An Attack Of Aichmophobia

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An attack of aichmophobia is not something a diabetic ever wants to have. I have a real healthy fear and appreciation of needles because as much as I hate them I know I need them day to day. For those of y’all who didn’t already know that I’m diabetic then this will be a little peek into my personal life for you. Before this morning I have never suffered from any kind of needle anxiety since I first found out I was diabetic. In the beginning I told my wife she will just let me die in peace because I will NOT be jabbing needles into my body on purpose. Fuck needles! Now, I still feel the same way, but I also know that needles are that necessary evil bitch that must exist in my personal life. So, I was forced to suck up my dislikes for needles, grow a pair of nuts, and suck it up because this is the way it was going be. Fine. Whatever. Let’s rock this bitch.

This morning at o’ darkthirty I went to test my glucose level, something I do everyday, three times a day, and I was on the verge of blacking out. I had my very first anxiety attack ever in my life and this was not the fucking time for it to happen. It is not a good time when you are millimeters away from your fingertip with an extremely sharp object. First came the tunnel vision, then the instant cold sweat, the shakes, and then finally I felt myself blacking out so I just sat down on the kitchen floor so it wouldn’t be such a terrible impact to the floor. As I sat there, hunched over, looking at my lancet on the floor beside me, I realized that I needed to put some distance between me and it. But I couldn’t move, I was frozen, I was stuck with this extremely sharp object inches away from my skin. Fuck! Here we go again, it was a good thing I was already on the floor.

I guess it was a good thing that something hit the floor real hard and broke because it woke my daughter who came to see what it was. She, in turn, goes to get my wife after seeing that I was too coherent about my surroundings. I felt the coolness of my wife’s hands on the back of my neck, I could hear she was talking to me, but I don’t know what she was saying. After a few minutes I did understand it when she told my daughter to get her phone so she could call 911. I told her not to call, just bring me some water and I will be fine sitting there for a bit. After about 15 minutes everything seemed to go back to normal with the exception of the big headache I had. My wife and I talked about it while I was getting dressed as she explained to me that I still needed my shot. She has never, and I mean never when I say never, given me a shot before but says she will if I need her to. She collected my testing bag and tested my sugar to get my dosage right. I looked away after showing her where to inject me and she did it for me. In a way, for a reason unknown to me, I felt a bit embarrassed because I couldn’t do it for myself.

I have thought about this damn thing all day and still can’t figure out what happened. Yes, I hate fucking needles with absolute passion and will do almost anything to avoid being in their presence. However, I had kicked that little thing in the ass I thought. Maybe I fell off the wagon. Maybe my defenses were down because I have been working as many overtime hours as I have regular hours the last month. Maybe I was just tired. I will know the answer later tonight when it comes time to inject again. I just hope it is a different answer than this morning. I spoke with my doctor and he said that maybe it was a one time nerves type thing. He also said that if it continues that he will be forced to put me on anxiety medication. I don’t see that happening personally.

Waking Up

Originally Posted 18 Febuary 2013
Early last week my wife noticed I was not awake, in fact I had overslept about 30 minutes before she decided to wake me up. She thought I was sick, she said I was pale in color, cold skin, but covered in my own sweat. After a few minutes, she realized I was unresponsive to any degree. Soon enough she was able to get me awake for the most part. I told her my chest was on fire, I had extreme chest pains and a severe headache. While I sat on the edge of my bed she got my sugar meter and pricked my finger. My count was 43. She mentioned I was hypoglycemic (insulin shock) while she helped me get dressed. We were going to the emergency room. Her assumption was correct, although I slept thru the beginning of it. The doctor told her if she had not noticed me when she did that I very well might have died in my sleep. I don’t recall most of this, I was pretty out of it to say the least. By the end of the 2nd day I became responsive to the medication, taken out of the I.C.U., and put in a regular room to be monitored. The following morning I was released as if nothing ever happened.I went back to work the following day since the doctor had released me to do so. That afternoon I began to experience the same symptoms so I called my wife. She came and got me and we went to the emergency room once again, where I was admitted once again, and I started the whole process all over. But this time, after allot of blood test, a reason was determined to why this was happening. In simple terms, for some reason my blood pressure medication was interacting adversely with my diabetes medication. The funny thing is that I have been taking everything the same way for a long time now and never had anything like this happen. So why now. Nobody seems to know. So, my blood pressure medication, the one that has been working beautifully for the past 8 years, has been changed. I will just have to see how that actually works now. I am not a big fan of change, especially when something isn’t broken. So, hopefully the new “plan” works with grand success because I really hate hospitals.

Pretty much everything I have written here today was told and/or explained to me as I don’t remember much about being in the hospital either time. I do know that I am in no hurry to go back. On the flipside of that, I am very glad my wife knows what she knows because without her quick response that morning who knows what would have happened. Even though she stayed the nights with me, she had to go to work during the days, but checked on me when time permitted. Unfortunately they would not let my kids in to see me in the I.C.U. for a variety of reasons. Which is good, I doubt seriously I was in any condition I wanted them to see me in. In the end, I look at it like this, it obviously was not my time to go. I never thought that having diabetes would be so challenging. Proof that doing the right thing doesn’t always have the right results.

My son expressed his happiness that I didn’t die. This cut me to my very core. I answered with humor as I didn’t exactly know how to answer him. I explained that I will die one day and so far this was a good day because it didn’t happen today. Its hard to say who is more afraid, he or I. For the last 2 nights he has slept on the floor on my side of the bed to help “keep an eye on me”. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that my son worries about his dear old man the way he does. Whereas my wife and daughters “ignore” the situation and as my daughters explained, “it can’t happen to our dad so there isn’t anything to be worried about”. How can a dad reply to that other than I told them I love y’all too.