So I didn’t exactly tell all of you lovely readers the entirety of my situation in my last post. Read on and you’ll find out why.
I’m tired. I’m so, so unbelievably tired that I can’t do anything and I just got off of the phone with my doctor tossing around possible causes. All I do is sleep like the dead. Yesterday afternoon, I had it all set in my mind. I thought, I’m just going to take a short nap and then I can get my laundry and my packing done.’ Only the puzzle pieces had not yet come together in my head – that happens with me sometimes – so I didn’t set an alarm, and my ‘short nap’ lasted about 14 hours.
I then woke up this morning, thought, ‘Fuck, what am I going to do now?’ posted the entry before this one, talked to my mom for about half an hour, then – you guessed it – I went back to sleep for about three hours. The only reason I’m awake now is because of the aforementioned phone call from my doctor.
You see, it took a couple of weeks, but it did slowly dawn on me that sleeping upwards of 22 hours a day is not really normal. I had been having so much trouble sleeping at all, if you remember, so at first I thought my system was just sort of “catching up” and re-regulating itself. Then, when it persisted, I figured I was letting myself sleep too much, which was making me more tired (one of those stupid but true things that happens). So I tried restricting my sleep time and doing things to energize me. Fail. I would fall asleep while doing things.
This morning it finally dawned on me that, hey, this ain’t normal and it ain’t going away either. Three possibilities crossed my mind: hypothyroidism, anemia, and the dreaded specter of mononucleosis.
I’ve never been hypothyroid, but my doctor had expressed concern after my last emergency room visit that the thyroid hormone I had been taking to treat depression might have done permanent harm to my thyroid. It tested normal a few weeks ago, and he doesn’t seem to think that’s causing this. With this conclusion, I tend to agree.
Anemic is also something I’ve never been, I just know it can make you tired, and thought if I was potentially going in for a blood draw, we ought to check that while we’re at it. Doctor didn’t think that was the case either. Okay.
But the mono thing. . . Let me give you a little background. Another entry into Ruby’s Medical Incredible. I have had mononucleosis at least twice, and I actually am pretty convinced I had it a third time and it was just never tested for then – because actually it would have been the first time - so we’ll never know, now will we?
(By the by, remind me, someone – and I mean this seriously, it isn’t like all of my other “Maybe I’ll tell you about that some time” moments – multiple someones, everyone, to write a post about why I have such a certainty about that potential first time with mono. It’s an interesting idea and I could use some feedback.)
The first time it was medically documented was high school, and it knocked me flat on my back for a few months. I would quite likely have died from starvation within those first couple of weeks, had it not been for my mother. She would literally wake me up a couple of times a day, keep me awake long enough for me to drink a vitamin shake, and then I would pass back out. I was damned near comatose. I came slowly back to consciousness during those months, but I had to drop an entire semester of classes. It actually hit me so hard that after a summer spent convalescing, I returned to school – only to have to drop that subsequent semester halfway through. I was still so easily exhausted that I just couldn’t keep up – or more accurately, awake.
Venture into mono-land number two (or three, maybe), happened about four years later and put me in the hospital. I was tired, but not in the manner nor to the degree detailed above. I was vividly yellow from jaundice and severely dehydrated. Initially my bumbling medical team (this would be the time when my regular doc was out of town) thought – nay, they were convinced - that it was gallstones. The gastroenterologist (God bless him) who was scheduled to operate on me the following morning took one look at me and said, “She doesn’t have gallstones, it looks to me like she has mono.” Apparently they never tested me for that one, because that was back in the days when they still thought you couldn’t get mono more than once, not unlike chicken pox. There, now you have a better idea of how old I am.
Sure enough. The jaundice element was because my liver swelled into hepatitis (my spleen, of course, swelled as well) causing the attractive flavescense in my pallor. Both my PCP and my infectious disease specialist told me that I was the first documented recurrence of mono (blood work to back it up) that either of them had ever seen. They’d seen relapses, yes, but that would be sort of what I had during high school. Four years in between does not a relapse make.
Back to the present, my doctor didn’t think mononucleosis was likely either – and I don’t know that I do, but damn, it does feel an awful lot like it. The few suggestions he did come up with – well now that I’m fully awake, I wish I had argued my point more forcefully (or at all) because I know myself and they’re wrong. That’s something else going on with me lately, I’m so worn out that I can’t even be bothered to get upset or fight my own battles. Which is going to mean so much more to those of you who know me and have for some years.
I’m not depressed, although I have had random bouts of crying here and there for absolutely no reason that are easily suppressed and pass quickly. And I’m not pregnant, a possibility my doctor raised. Or if I am, another entry into Ruby’s Medical Incredible.
And in the first thought of, last mentioned case, I know depression in all of its many presentations and manifestations, and this is not one of them.
So what is it, then? Right now I’m thinking mono and hoping that I’m wrong. Although that really isn’t such a huge deal, it’s pretty innocuous as illnesses go, just a pain in the ass, and I don’t have a job or classes or responsibilities (as such). I just have to power through the errands and the packing, I’ve got my mom as my backup, should she come home from work tonight and find me asleep, she is to wake me up, I mean really awake so that I can show her I’m all packed.
Here I go. May the Starbucks be with me.
Moral of the story: Time and tide.
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