So of course I’ve been ill

Had to drop out of sight for a bit because my stomach decided to make my life miserable again. These episodes happen without warning and there’s nothing to do but lie in bed groaning, run back and forth between bed and toilet, and desperately drink as much fluids as I can to try to stay ahead of dehydration.

The only thing that seems to reduce the nausea is lying perfectly still. Even the amount of movement necessary to read a book (holding it up in front of my face, turning pages etc) is enough to start my stomach complaining again. At least it meant I could catch up on some Netflix shows I guess?

After days of unrelenting misery and being unable to keep anything down, on Monday afternoon I finally gave up and went to the hospital. They gave me the standard treatment: IV fluids and anti-nausea meds. Which worked… sort of. I was no longer puking but still felt pretty nauseated and uncomfortable. I didn’t start to feel properly better until Wednesday.

It’s all extremely frustrating to me cause this is an ongoing thing, off and on for years now. It was four years ago I got diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, a diagnosis which isn’t terribly helpful because no one really knows what CVS is or what causes it or what treatments are consistently effective. My online research indicates it may be tied to migraine headaches (which I also used to have but haven’t in like 20 years) and my medical history indicates my own case may be tied to the menstrual cycle (because I experienced relief when I went on the Pill — alas, I am no longer experiencing that relief). It might also be tied to my autism thing. A lot of people with autism have stomach problems and no one really knows why.

I’ve had my stomach scoped on multiple occasions, and had them look up the other end as well and they couldn’t find anything wrong. This sucks.

It’s not just the discomfort and inconvenience. It’s the fact that I obviously can’t stay on my psych meds when all this is going on. And terrible things happen when I’m off my meds.

Remember this one time when I had to go on a medication that made me have such bad tremors I couldn’t type properly or even climb stairs without clinging to the rail for dear life? (The tremors went away gradually as my body got used to the medicine, but it took some time.) The reason I had to go on that med is because I had a psychotic break out of nowhere and went stark raving mad. I was basically out of my mind, babbling nonsense, talking to people that weren’t there, etc. Thank goodness for those tremors interfering with my ability to type, or I would have posted some REALLY weird stuff online and caused some concern. The psychotic symptoms gradually receded and I experienced longer and longer periods of lucidity as the medication started to work for me, but it took weeks before I was really normal again.

The reason I had that psychotic break is because my psych meds (which I’d been taking per the prescription) suddenly stopped working. Sometimes they just randomly do that, but if you don’t stay on your meds consistently and keep going on meds and then going off meds nilly-willy like I’m basically doing right now, it’s much more likely to happen.

Right now I’m on a great med cocktail that works great for me, but only if I can actually swallow the pills without bringing them right back up again. And I’d rather not have another psychotic break. And I’d really rather that vomiting these episodes stop because they’re kind of ruining my life.

Yeah. Everything sucks.

But I am back on my med cocktail and I am going to update today. I am still very tired but I’ve got to get back in the saddle and stop being a useless slug.

Oh, what I would do for a good night’s sleep

I haven’t really slept well since I was about twelve years old. That was when the bipolar thing got going and interfering with things.

For me, the issue isn’t so much falling asleep as staying asleep. I can go to sleep fine but many times I wake up after only three or four hours, no longer sleepy but just as tired as before. When it comes to sleep, 4+4 is not equal to 8.

I mean, it’s not always as bad as that. But right now it is. Unless under the influence of something, I can’t sleep a night (or a day) through. It would be nice if I could. Like, right if you offered me a choice between $100 in cash or going to sleep for like twelve hours straight and waking up feeling rested, I might very well pick the sleep option instead of the cash.

Of course it interferes with my work. My brain gets stupid. I find myself struggling to understand the articles I’m trying to summarize, making ridiculous mistakes, writing sentences that don’t make sense, writing in “Idaho” when I meant to write “Iowa” and so on.

Instead I find myself doing stuff that is a lot more passive, less intellectual labor. Like reading. Right now my thing is finding and posting insane and gross medical reports on Reddit. (Imagine squatting to pee and then 50 centimeters of your intestines suddenly falls out of you. Further imagine that you actually make a full recovery from this. That’s my kind of story.)

Then I feel ashamed and beat myself up for being lazy. But it’s just very hard to get anything productive done.

Yeah. I’m tired. Bipolar disorder sucks.

I’m sorry. I feel like I’m failing everyone.

Sorry guys, my stomach has betrayed me again

Yeah, so between like Sunday night/Monday morning and yesterday I was, for the third time this year, laid up with some pretty bad nausea and vomiting. My prescription anti-nausea meds didn’t work. Things started to improve by Tuesday evening, but then at like 8:30 a power outage put paid to my plans to at least put up my missing person of the week, and I sat there in the dark and silent house until the power finally came back on at 4:30 a.m.

I think my stomach is better now — it’s been like 18 hours since I last puked — but I am getting seriously concerned about the increasing frequency of these episodes.

This happened before, you see. Readers might even remember me talking about it; for like a year or so, EXACTLY every three weeks I would be stricken with nausea and vomiting for days on end. Of course a specialist was consulted but he couldn’t find anything much. These episodes abruptly ended after I started taking hormonal birth control so I suspect it was a hormonal issue. But, well, I’m still on the Pill…

It is quite awful. I can sort of detach myself from pain, even quite severe pain, but nausea is not something I’ve ever been able to put out of my head. You just lie there thinking somebody up there really hates you.

And it’s all especially concerning in light of the medications I have to take for the bipolar thing. The situation snowballs. If I can’t keep anything down, I can’t keep those meds down, but if I go off them for very long at all the consequences are not good. For example, I’ve had like three hours of sleep in the last 24, despite being quite exhausted, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I was off my meds for several days in a row. I finally was able to restart last night.

Anyway.

I am going to try to put an update in, since sleep doesn’t seem to be on the menu. Might as well try to get something productive done.

I apologize for my absence before.

Yesterday was not Tuesday

Yeah, so I put up the missing person of the week yesterday cause I spent the entire day under the mistaken impression that it was Tuesday. It was not Tuesday. It was Monday. My apologies.

And my brain is still broken apparently cause I just took the trash to the curb under the impression that today is Wednesday and trash pickup is tomorrow. It is not Wednesday. Oh well.

I haven’t felt very well lately. I know what’s going on — I’ve just hit the depression cyclce in my bipolar-ness, that’s all — and I know that nothing is really wrong, that all the problems I am worrying about were the same problems I had last week and the week before that, that this terrible feeling will eventually cycle back up. But it doesn’t make me feel any less terrible. My feelings don’t care about the facts.

Later this month is the missing persons event in Wisconsin that I go to. Obviously the event in 2020 was canceled, and last year’s was a virtual event, so I haven’t been since 2019. I am really looking forward to this one, not only cause it’s been a few years but also because this is the first time my husband will be accompanying me to one of these events.

It’s on April 23, at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Taking a rain check

Yeah, so I’m sick.

It was a massive Weekend of Suck. Horribly sick on Saturday. Horribly sick on Sunday. Maybe I’m not horribly sick anymore, I’m not sure. I thought I was better yesterday at this time but then I became horribly sick again later in the afternoon. No, it’s not covid. My husband took me to Urgent Care for medical attention and they gave me a covid test and some medicine.

I’m talking about “going back and forth between bed and bathroom for two days too miserable to care that both you and the bedclothes are soiled” sick.

My kitten, Viola, has developed a persistent peeing-in-the-hooman-bed problem. (I do not need advice. We are working with a vet and trying to fix the issue as quickly as possible.) She peed on me 3+ times over the weekend and I was too sick and exhausted to care.

Right now I no longer feel sick, but I do feel very tired. And I can’t even go back to bed because I finally felt good enough to get up and start washing all the bedclothes down to the bottom sheet. Right now the first and second loads of bedding are in the machines and the bed is covered with piddle pads cause I’m not sure our mattress protector could hold a large direct hit from Viola.

Anyway, obviously I got no work done over the weekend and I highly doubt I’m going to get any work done today. I MIGHT go out and pick up a prescription refill if I feel good enough.

As far as the Vehicle Change goes, the change is now integrated into the letters A, B, E, I, O, Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z. I just finished B before I became sick.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

I wish someone (not me) would take a look at these people

I listen to Small Town Murder every week and last week’s episode (that is, the most recent one) was about a whole family of, basically, serial killers. Two generations of people, traveling around the country with little kids (the third generation), robbing and murdering everywhere they went. The primary offenders were Sherman Ramon McCrary, his son Dennis Taylor and his son-in-law Carl Taylor; their wives and the grandkids were just along for the ride. I think the oldest of the grandkids was only like six years old or so, so not in a position to stop what was going on or tell anyone about it.

They liked to target small businesses where women were working alone; they had a particular fondness for donut shops. They would rob the business (usually not getting much cash), abduct the women, take them to some out-of-the-way spot, rape them, kill them and dump the bodies. (The wives were present, and aware of what was going on, but didn’t do anything to stop it. Love, they said.) The family is believed to have been responsible for 23 deaths. At least, that’s how many they could tie to one particular gun. They were finally caught in 1971.

The podcasters, and I also, think it’s likely the family could be responsible for other murders besides those 23. I have to wonder if they could be responsible for any of the cases on the Charley Project.

On the face of it, it seems unlikely cause these people didn’t make much of an effort to hide the bodies of the people they’d killed. For example, in the murder of Leora Rose Looney, the only one they were actually charged with, they just dumped her in a field without attempting burial or anything like that.

But I think it’s not impossible that they’ve killed people who haven’t been found, and possibly people who have been found but haven’t been identified. Someone ought to look into this. Like, track the family’s road trip across the country, and check for news articles wherever they were at, to see if anyone has disappeared or turned up murdered.

From what the podcast said, only Carl Taylor and his wife are still alive, and Carl is in his eighties (and still in prison; the wife turned state’s evidence and wasn’t kept locked up long). So there isn’t a lot of time left here.

So… Websleuths? Anyone?

I hope everybody is doing okay. I’m not doing okay. Bipolar is bipolar, and even while stable and on meds I find myself having downswings. Right now my depression level is pretty bad and it’s really hard to get anything done. I just want to sit in bed and watch stupid YouTube stuff all day. For this past weekend that’s pretty much all I did, and it didn’t help. It never does.

I saw my therapist today and spent most of our allotted time ranting about how selfish everyone in the world is. But the world was just as selfish earlier this month when I wrote “I am very happy and satisfied with my current life circumstances.” I know it’s just the chemicals in my head acting up and it’ll pass, but that doesn’t do anything for my current emotional pain.

I forced myself to put in a small update today but it was very difficult for me. I’m still having trouble with WordPress. I had fixed the earlier glitch by resetting my browser to its default settings; well, every time I change the settings, I have to reset them to default again before I can update. Logged out of everything I’m in, no browser extensions going, etc. And I kind of liked the (non-default) settings I had and would like to keep them. But that’s technology; it is mysterious to me.

Guess who got vaccinated!

Got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today and I am so happy to have that taken care of at last. Two more weeks and I’ll be pretty much immune to covid! (Though I do expect they’ll be coming out with annual booster shots.)

I highly encourage everyone else to get the shot, whatever kind is available to you the quickest. Especially if you will be doing any traveling. I’m going somewhere special in June (more about that at a future date) and I am so glad I’ll be fully vaxxed and not putting myself or anyone else through unnecessary risk.

Just a followup from my last post

So I haven’t made an appointment with my primary care clinic, but they did leave a message for me on MyChart, which is an online thingy where patients can interact with their medical people and view their medical records. They said they want to try prescribing some supplements and try to re-test my blood after ten days of taking the supplements, and see if the situation has improved. I said okay.

I’m just really glad I don’t have to change my psych medication. That could have been potentially disastrous.

Also, I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine a bit ago and it’s just two weeks until I can get the second dose. I experienced no side effects other than having a somewhat sore arm for a day or so. They say it’s the second dose that can really slam you.

I love all of you and thanks for the support. Stay safe.

So I might have something catastrophically wrong with me, or I might not

I take a bunch of different medications for my bipolar etc., and some of those meds can mess with things they’re not supposed to mess with. No, I’m not sure of the details, but the result is that every few months I have to get blood drawn so they can check it for levels of this and that and the other thing and make sure it’s all normal.

I got my blood drawn last week and then the next day I got a rather frantic call from my psychiatrist’s office asking me, more or less, why I wasn’t dead. Apparently according to the lab work, I’ve got catastrophically low sodium and potassium and what have you. They told me to make an appointment with my primary care person pronto.

I was mystified because I did not have any symptoms; I felt absolutely fine. But I dutifully saw a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office on Monday morning. He asked me all sorts of questions about my heart and did some basic neurological tests and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with me, and was strongly inclined to believe there was some kind of mistake, but ordered another blood panel and an EKG just in case.

I felt a bit better after that… until Monday afternoon, when I had a phone appointment with my psychiatrist. He said that it was indeed possible to feel fine and still be basically at death’s door from messed up blood levels. He said that per last week’s blood work I’m at risk of a spontaneous heart attack. Like, my potassium is supposedly so low that my heart could just… quit. In fact, when his office had called me last week, the message had been garbled: they were supposed to tell me to not bother with making an appointment but to go straight to the ER.

So yesterday morning I went and got the EKG and got blood drawn for labs. I anxiously waited all the rest of the day and into today to hear from someone about the results but nothing, nope, nada. I called my psychiatrist’s office earlier today and they said they don’t have the results yet. So basically I have no idea whether I’m fine or whether I should start writing my will.

For most of my life, this situation would not have bothered me too much because life was not any great thing for me anyway. Severe depression does that to you; even when I was pretty much functional and life was bearable, I was pretty apathetic and a little in love with death. But in the past year or two, for the first time in, like, literally ever, I’ve been happy. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been, newly married, enjoying myself.

And I’m afraid if last week’s blood test WAS right, they’re going to have to change my medications. And I really don’t want to, because I know a lot of the reason I’m finally happy is because the medications have been working so well. I really don’t want to mess that up, and spend possibly years trying to find another combination that works as well as that.

It’s coming on four-thirty so I don’t think I’m going to get my test results till tomorrow at the earliest. My friends keep texting me every couple of hours to ask if I still feel okay.

I am okay. But I really want to know what’s going on.

[UPDATE: I did hear back from my psychiatrist’s office, after closing time. The blood levels on the second test are still low but he doesn’t think the medication is causing it. He told me to get back to primary care about it.]