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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Continuing Symptoms Update

September 25th, I wrote a blog entry (Lloyd, 2012, Sept. 25) summarizing my symptoms since the accident. Today's notes were written to supplement that entry and to summarize what has been going on with my brain injury symptoms and general health in the past week, as I prepare for three medical exams in the next two days. Frequently, when asked, I draw a blank, and give the impression I may be doing better than I am. This time I'm writing everything down in advance of my upcoming appointments. (Names and addresses were removed from this edited version of my notes.)

(Lloyd, Dream. ©2009 All rights reserved.)
A week has passed without relief from constant gagging, because I still cannot swallow normal sinus drainage. I can drink water. I can eat food, but since the accident, gagging on mucus has become a constant source of discomfort. I frequently feel as if I cannot breathe. It frequently takes me to the edge of regurgitation.

My lower back hurts. Other joints hurt also. I continue to have lower G.I. bleeding, for which I have another pre-colonoscopy consultation scheduled. I started my day this morning washing blood out of the clothes I wore last night.

I feel sleepy, as usual. As I write, (at 8:39 am) I have already been shaking my head and slapping my face to stay awake. I want to complete at least one task before taking a nap.

...I lost the battle. I took a nap. The time is now 2:15 pm. In addition to my usual stimulants, I have had 600 mg of caffeine so far today. My NEW chosen daily limit is 800 mg, up from 600 mg. I do not intend to go higher than 800 mg, so I must learn to ration the few minutes of extra time the caffeine borrows for me. Having taken aspirin (325 mg) and Tylenol (1000 mg) I am not feeling as much pain as I felt earlier. My goal for today is to look up medical information regarding my two retinal reattachment surgeries, update my meds list, and research how to present medical data completely and concisely, so I will be prepared for my three medical exams tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, and Tuesday afternoon. Monday afternoon is a consult for my SECOND colonoscopy this year, (I need to document precisely WHEN that first colonoscopy happened) and Tuesday is the pre-operation consult with the eye surgeon to have cataract surgery in both eyes. I hope the cataract surgery will help my vision somewhat, but it won't fix the lost retinal areas from the 2007 and 2008 reattachment surgeries of both retinas. I need to document those surgeries also, hopefully before the end of the day today!

Today I have had an unusually consistent "buzzing" in my head with corresponding teeth chattering and involuntary movement of my left thumb. I do NOT feel cold (in fact, I've been feeling a bit warm), but the teeth chattering is similar to what I experience when cold. Usually I experience the potential for movement, without any visible movement. If there is any movement, it is minor. I cannot tell whether anyone else would ever notice it. This morning, the motion was feeling intolerable, but after a long nap it is bearable, although my left thumb has a "restless" feeling along with the buzzing sensation.

Aside from the major symptoms, I have the usual background tiredness, a slightly stiff neck, a slight headache, and a burning sensation in my throat from all the harsh vocalization I use to clear the mucus I can never seem to swallow.

I am happy to report my difficulty with focusing that often is my most intense symptom has been better the last couple of days, although it was worse than usual Friday, to the extent that my weekly meeting with a friend to go over paperwork involved almost no discussion. He flagged stacks of paper: "Have Ameriprise handle this stack," "have Laura handle this stack," have Audra handle this stack." I objected that my children may lack confidence to handle much of my business, but my friend said, have them call me if they have any difficulties, and I will step them through it. I appreciate what he does for our family. I would mention his name, but I'm not sure he wants the attention.

Another improvement is that I have continued to NOT have any waking dreams (hallucinations) since starting Abilify a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, my weight continues to climb, which is a known side-effect of this drug. Assuming I can get the weight under control, the Abilify seems to have been a good choice. The wakeful dreaming was not bothering me much, although it is likely I have false memories because of wakeful dreaming. The increase in unaccounted lost hours and days that I had experienced recently (Lloyd, 2012, Oct. 11) seems to have tapered off, but that may be because I take tiredness more seriously now, and don't allow myself to get THAT tired.

It has been an adjustment getting used to no longer being able to drive unless I have someone else with me. That was my compromise with Laura when she wanted to have my driver's license revoked. Having to have a passenger at all times is almost as limiting as not having a license, but I respect my daughter's thinking. That confused wandering incident in the Walmart parking lot last Sunday 
(Lloyd, 2012, Oct. 11) was almost as unsettling to me as I'm sure it was to the rest of the family.


Lloyd, D. (2012, September 25). Continuing symptoms. [Web log message]. Retrieved from 

Lloyd, D. (2012, October 11). Difficulties. [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Lloyd, D. (Photographer). (2009). Dream: Taken at Potato Creek State Park, Indiana.
          [Web Photo]. Retrieved from 

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