Observations on the state of my health

In the Lowland

Life is grand when you’re on the mountaintop, but so much of life is spent in the lowland! Missing one of my prescriptions for fibromyalgia for a couple weeks now has caused my energy level to drop more than usual. The prolonged winter does not help, either. Today Birmingham Bible Institute was cancelled because of weather conditions that made driving unsafe, an important consideration because many of our students (and instructors) come from a distance. It seems strange to have an “empty” Tuesday evening.

More than that has put me in the lowland this evening. There are indications that my life is about to change again, and I may no longer be needed in a position I have enjoyed for more than ten years. With few exceptions, I am not a big fan of change, and this change–if it comes to pass–is one I dread. I know I must trust that God has a plan for me, and that His plan for me is best (Jeremiah 29:11). I just wish that trusting Him was easier right now.

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Time for a Break

The first Tuesday in December is typically the last night of the Birmingham Bible Institute fall semester, and so it was this year. Students in my Hebrew 7, Greek 7, and/or Greek 3 finished their course(s) with honor. Now it is time to take a break.

I was sorry to bid goodbye to Phil H. a week earlier. Phil took Greek from me when we were still using the first edition of Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek, and returned last winter to refresh his Greek skills. He and his wife are moving to Ohio, and I wish them God’s many blessings.

Although I will miss my students for several weeks, I am glad for a chance to rest and renew my strength (Isaiah 40:31). The reduced energy level associated with fibromyalgia tends to get worse with the coming of the winter months, and it is certainly true in my case.

I will also enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with my feline family. Currently numbering eleven, they range in age from 17 (“Googlie Girl”) to 2 (the sisters Jou Jou B, Jolie Fille, and Jenise). Jenise in particular–as the newest member of the family–is still acclimating to her new surroundings and will, I hope, benefit from some extra time and attention from her human mom.

Above all, I am looking forward to celebrating the births of my sister, Melissa, 59 years ago; and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, over two millennia ago. I am so grateful for God’s gracious gifts (2 Corinthians 4:6)!

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Feeling Better…But Not Fast Enough

The night before my teaching responsibilities at Birmingham Bible Institute began, my throat became quite sore. “Rats!” I thought. “This is the worst possible timing.” I nevertheless did my three hours of teaching and briefly introduced my classes during the Chapel period. The sore throat lasted a little over two days before it turned into a heavy-duty upper respiratory infection.

By the following Tuesday my sinuses were working overtime, and I was coughing endlessly. Sleep was difficult. Thanks to one of my students, I was able to get a cough syrup that really helped. It dried up my system very well, which led to a really awful sinus infection. Thank heavens I had recently had an appointment with my allergist, so I was able to get a five-day course of azithromycin. That was effective in eliminating the sinus infection, but the drainage and coughing returned, although to a lesser extent than before.

It has now been seventeen days, and I think I am finally on the mend. It has been hard to let co-workers and family members down by not being there to do my jobs as I desire to do them. For much of the time, I spent hours in bed, drifting in and out of sleep. I missed church services and being on campus on the deadline date for submission of financial documents for fiscal year 2014 at Wayne State. At home I did my twice-daily cat chores and not much else.

I am a person who values her “down time.” I like spending time at home with family and felines. To live my entire life that way, however, would be the ultimate waste of the time God has given me here on earth. It is important to make some sort of meaningful contribution(s) to others. I am glad to be feeling better and am praying that I will continue to heal so I can soon resume my “normal” schedule of work and worship.

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I’ve Got to Admit: It’s Getting Better

Got to Admit: That Hurt!

Last week started off with a bang and did not get much better. My new kitty, Jolie Fille, who had come home the previous Friday, was freaked out when I tried to grab her and return her to her cage…so she bit me Sunday evening. I knew she had been at the vet for several months, so there was no danger of rabies; and I had a tetanus shot four years ago. I did place a call to a walk-in clinic, and someone there suggested I call my doctor Monday morning, which I did.

Having heard nothing back from the doctor by mid-afternoon and with redness and swelling proceeding from my right hand partway up my arm, I decided to visit the closest walk-in clinic. After waiting for some time to see someone, I was told that they could not help me. I would have to go to the ER.

Got Admitted: to Beaumont Hospital

Reluctantly I headed to the ER. There they marked the red and swollen area(s) on my right hand and arm up to the elbow with purple semi-permanent marker and informed me that I would have to spend the night getting IV antibiotics. Had I known I would be staying, I would have cared for the cats before I went…and I would have brought a cord to charge my smartphone.

The medical personnel seemed in no hurry to start my treatment after I was situated in my room. It was at least an hour before someone started the first IV antibiotic of the two I was administered. I finally got a meal of sorts: huge broccoli spears, sickly looking mac and cheese, and some sort of barely palatable vegetable soup. The apple crisp (if that is what it was) was the only halfway decent offering.

Coincidentally, this was the night of the deluge in the Detroit metro area. I was moved from one observation room to another early in the evening because the outside windows were leaking. At least I could observe the outside world from my original vantage point. My new room had no view and was straight across the hall from the fire alarm (siren AND bright flashing light), which chose to go off around 8:00 PM while I was trying to talk my cousin MJ through the evening’s cat care. It took several minutes to cut off the siren; the flashing light took longer.

I admit I was pretty tired Monday night, so I gave up on the TV (the reception via satellite was spotty at best) and tried to get some sleep. Promptly at 11:00 PM, the fire alarm sounded and continued to sound for 8 long minutes. The flashing light disturbed me for some time longer. The hospital is no place to get rest. Every two hours, someone woke me up to get my blood pressure. The person who hooked up the second round of each of my antibiotics thought it was necessary to tell me what was happening. And did I mention that no one offered me a hospital gown, so I slept in my dress on the uncomfortable “cot?”

Got to Go: Home

I had been told that I could be released as early as 7:00 AM and, indeed, a physician stopped in on her morning rounds about that time. I was going to be released. While waiting, I watched Law & Order SVU reruns on TV. Boring! Finally 9:00 AM came, and I was still waiting. I approached the nurses’ station and asked about my discharge. Sure enough, the papers were there, including two prescriptions for the oral form of the antibiotics I had been given via IV. What were they waiting for???

On the way home, I filled the prescriptions and started taking them that day as instructed. By the end of the week I had concluded that the cure was FAR worse than the disease, because I could barely sleep, felt nauseated all the time, had completely loose stool and an overactive bladder, and was a wreck. By Sunday morning I could take it no more. A call to the doctor’s answering service and a return call from the doctor brought good news: I could quit the Cipro and Flagyl.

Got to Admit: It’s Getting Better

This week has been relaxing by comparison: my usual work at church afternoons from Monday through Thursday, Bible study Monday evening, a church finance committee meeting Tuesday evening, prayer meeting Wednesday evening, and rheumatologist appointment today before work. My new kitty is even showing her face a bit more often (the cage was stowed away a couple days after my hospital nightmare).

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