17 December 2007

The never ending story...

No not the movie, the one about my feet and the peripheral neuropathy I'm dealing with but not having much luck getting anywhere in relieving the pain. Anyway, when we last left the saga I had been to see my specialist neurologist, whom I had seen previously on numerous occasions for this problem and we have been trying different treatments to manage the neuropathy as it can not be cured. So during this last visit we started on the next drug, which also happens to be the last drug in the list of currently available drugs to help me in trying to stop some of the pain.

This drug like many of the medications they use to treat this type of pain are the same medications they use for people with epilepsy. The medications interrupt certain nerve patterns and attempt to either bypass the nerves that are not working properly, fill a chemical void that is lacking, or something like that it all starts to get a bit confusing.

So, I started on this drug called Epilum (Valpro 200 is the other name) and it's the type of drug you have to dose up to a certain level before it works properly. What I mean is you start by taking one pill twice a day for a week then go to two pills twice a day and then three pills twice a day until you reach maximum level, which for me was three pills twice a day because I'm already taking another anti-epileptic medication and the two would clash after a certain level. I was almost at the end of the second week, Thursday to be exact and it went a bit pear shaped (translates to went all wrong). During the first week I was taking the new drug I wasn't sure if anything was wrong. I'm used to taking medications and quite used to taking new ones as of recent. A lot of times when you first start you may get a funny feeling in your stomach or head etc. but it usually passes. The thing I was feeling was stomach related, a bit of reflux and at time a bit of trouble swallowing but nothing weird as I've had that trouble before, which is another story (and get your minds out of the gutter). If you really want to know write to me and I'll explain that one to you.

Anyway where was I? Oh yes, reflux. I told James about it on Wednesday of the second week and told him that the next time it happened I would let him know so he could see what was happening. Well it happened during dinner on Thursday night and James said it looked like a swallowing issue opposed to a breathing issue. Well within minutes of that happening it started to escalate. I got to the point where I felt like I was drowning. I could not breathe or to be more exact I felt like I couldn't get enough air. To add to the problem I started to panic which added some anxiety to the mix. Okay a lot of anxiety. Needless to say James called the ambulance.
I was taken to the Emergency Room, which was fun as I got to ride in the ambulance. Okay I'll be serious so down a the ER it's good that James works there as you get a few strings pulled and I was seen right away not to mention I was not breathing. I did tell you I wasn't breathing right? Oh right serious, it turns out after 7 hours in the ER, numerous blood tests, x-rays, a urine sample and so on the conclusion was that I was having a reaction to the new drug. Even I almost had that one figured out but you're supposed to follow the rules and do all that other stuff just to make sure. I also learned a new medical term for my emergency condition and it's called "Air hunger".

So I've decide, with much deliberation (NOT) that I don't want to take that drug anymore. I am seeing the specialist again on the 15th of January at which time they will also be doing an MRI to look for possible bone degeneration in my spinal column which would possibly increase the nerve malfunction in my feet opposed to causing the problem itself. If they find said degeneration I have no idea what we do from there but all shall be revealed. Until then I just keep moving forward. So what did you do last Thursday?

(And to anyone in my family reading this, know that I'm fine and that if anything really bad were to happen James would call you. This was not that bad. Well depends on what side of the fence you were standing)


sandy said...

What did I do last Thursday? Flew back from the States, but that's not important. What's important is that you start feeling better. I hope they find a new med that helps the PN.

air hunger (aka, Kussmaul's respiration): a pattern of rapid and deep breathing, characteristic of acidosis (elevated acidity in the blood and other tissues).

(Sorry...the occupational hazard of being a p/t medical lexicographer.)

Nathan said...

It sounds like right around the day this was happening, I had a worried feeling about you. I distinctly remember it. I even told a friend about it on the phone.

I thought something wasn't right with you, but with the time difference and the feeling that you are so far away physically (which technically you are), I had to just let it go otherwise the worry would have driven me crazy.

I guess it was more than just a feeling. Whew.

Well, I know very little about medicine, so thanks for translating. All I know to say is... I hope you (or they) are able to find something else for you.

Lewis said...

It all sounds quite terrible...and no fun at all. I send you warm greetings for healthier days ahead during the holidays.