A lupus survivor's cerebrations on living day to day...

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    Tuna & Milk Don't Mix

    Warning: graphic descriptions!

    After replying to concerned facebook friend that I was feeling very well. Uncharacteristically well. The bliss I'd achieved over my sunny relatively pain free Sunday ended abruptly by midnight. A series of innocent events initiated a path to misery. I decided I was feeling lucid enough to prepare quick "tuna mac" in microwave. I successfully read and understood directions, remembered to turn off space heater. Forgetting would have meant lights out! I would have to grope in the darkness down the stairs and into the cold night air to reach the outdoor storage room feel for the circuit breaker to flip the switch. I returned to my laptop and prop of bed pillows. await the 7 minutes timer for the noodles to cook.

    There's the familiar heavy lightness in my head. My eyelids flip and squint uncontrollably a few seconds as a vision of my son standing over me takes focus. He's asking whether I’m still making the tuna mac. I soon realize that I had lost some time to one of my "spells." My son assumes I've been nodding. He had avoided coming in my room because he was apprehensive about disturbing a rare nap. But as he examines my blank expression he catches my fixed gaze directly into his eyes. He realizes. He softly lays his hand on one of my paralyzed limbs. The gentle stimulus is enough to awaken my neuronal activity. I twitch all over as if shivering from a sudden icy breeze. This time he asks if I want him to complete the meal. I blink my eyes exactly one time and project my thumb up for the affirmative signal. I continue to concentrate to escape my altered state of consciousness. My body began to respond slowly to my mind. Obstructed by my heavy twitching blinking eyelids, with all my will, I focus. My brain slowly executes my thoughts. With great effort I see my arm rising in slow motion to bring my hand into view...

    After laying immobile, mute, and hungry, I mouth a request for my nutritional drink to relieve my growling stomach. My son served me a bowl of the unseasoned tuna mac prepared with the recovered soggy noodles. It was pretty awful but I managed to eat most of it, just so I could take my medications. Unsatisfied, but being the end of the month, having nothing left in our pantry but a little cereal, I decided to fill up with Crystal Light and save the cereal for tomorrow's breakfast. Still feeling balloon headed I turned back to my position propped upon the bed pillows with my keyboard. The slight comfort of fullness became more of a bloated tightness. Slow vibrations accompanied by a wave of warmth ran across my body. It wasn't just my stomach growling, I felt the familiar cramp of a griping colon. After weeks of severe constipation I wasn't rushed. Perhaps this wasn't a false alarm, I'd been avoiding white bread and cheese, eating Fiber One bars and gingered green tea mornings and Ramen noodles for lunch, and hydrating myself with water and lemon, hot or iced in between. Oooooh no. Suddenly the mild cramp turned into a sharp constriction of my abdomen violently drawing my knees up to my vibrating belly. With my upper body bent over at 90 degrees I made my way to my bathroom just a few yards from the bed. The relief of a true movement of my bowels was soon betrayed by overwhelming nausea. Rapidly, thickening Saliva fills my mouth, my pajamas become sticky with perspiration, my head weighs heavier than I can hold. As my Vision becomes gray, I fight the inevitable fainting spell. Maintaining my sitting position on the toilet I lean over toward adjacent tub grabbing at the cold porcelain not wanting to hit the floor. I spat the warm thick phlegm hoping to hold back the contents of my stomach. I was praying for mercy against this unrestrained violent reaction of my entire gastrointestinal tract, praying that I would not be found by my son exposed and humiliated in a puddle of my own feces and vomit as I was by hospital orderlies in 2004 flare caused by pancreatitis. Like labor a series of uncontrollable relentless convulsions beginning deep in my bowels thrusting my whole body forward and projecting the contents of my gut up to my esophagus and out my mouth. The first thrust, mostly liquid with lemonade and meds seemed mild compared the second thrust of undigested tuna mac. I revisited that tuna mac two more times before dry heaving began. I held on to the comforting coldness of the side of porcelain tub too weak to move trying not to breath in the fumes. Eventually the blood that had rushed to my head found some equilibrium with the rest of my body. I managed to raise myself up again. I removed my robe fully dampened with perspiration, but remarkable only mildly soiled by a spot on the collar. After cleaning myself, I found the strength to make it back to my bed, but still shaking I decided to walk to my son's room realizing he wouldn't hear me over his heavy metal music.

    I plopped myself on his twin bed and briefly explained I needed ice. This not being the first time, he knew to grab the "premade" ice pack from my upstairs freezer, I purchased for the purpose of having ice upstairs. As I decompressed from the stressful event a series of neurological events began, twitching, rolling seizures that settled down to a slightly catatonic state. I don't remember much more. I awoke hours later to the familiar clicking of my son's fingers on his keyboard and soft new age music instead of heavy metal. Still muted by aphasia only able to make slow movements, he read my desires from my eyes, acknowledged them with his own. With his assistance, I raised from the bed. Balancing my body with his steady arm, I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other until we reached my bed. To my surprise he presented the robe I'd soiled. He’d laundered it clean and dry. I put it back on, falling asleep feeling wrapped in warmth and love.


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