The home health report

A compact description of my health problems at home (after a second return from SUMC several days ago). As I said in an earlier posting, my various distresses are complex and interacting. But things are looking up and slowly improving.

I am explicitly not asking for advice, only some empathy, no matter how much you would like to help me with my afflictions (which ultimately number in the many dozens, some with me since childhood, some more recent, some a consequence of weaning myself slowly from prednisone — now down to a very small maintenance dose, after doing useful, but ultimately toxic, work on dangerous symptoms of my advanced kidney disease).

The two main current problems are easily diagnosed, but not easily treated: low blood pressure (not in truly dangerous territory — 94/49 at 6 am on 6/30 — which would cause me to faint dead away and need an EMT — but low enough to make me very unpleasantly dizzy and lightheaded from exerting myself in any way, including just standing up) and awful diarrhea (a well-known consequence of taking antibiotics for several bacterial infections: the meds knock out the bad bacteria, but they also kill the good ones in your intestinal flora — les bonnes petites bêtes, as my old friend Benita Bendon Campbell puts it).

I live in industrial strength adult diapers, which have to be changed many times a day: a few days ago, multiple times during the day (I have caregivers to help with this during the day, but have to handle things on my own at night — 8 times in one night a few days ago, but now only 2 times, and considerably less messy, last night). Well, now I’m finished with the antibiotics and very slowly working out of a pretty much straight-yogurt diet and, very cautiously, into small amounts of solid food, chewed very slowly and completely. I must say it tastes fabulous. The problem will ultimately correct itself on its own.

As for the low blood pressure, the natural short-term fix would be something that raised my blood pressure — for example, caffeine, in tablets or through drinking coffee. Unfortunately, one of my presenting afflictions back on the night of 6/15-16 was a bleeding stomach ulcer, which can be triggered or exacerbated by caffeine, so I’m off my morning mug of cold-brewed coffee. But this, too, will ultimately correct itself on its own. Meanwhile, patience, breathing exercises, and standing up slowly and carefully.

And those are the medical news bulletins from Ramona St.

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