When a Cavity Can Be Lethal

January 19, 2017

Yesterday I had a cavity filled. I was nervous about it, since it was my very first cavity in my 34 years on his planet. I read up on filling cavities and Addison’s disease considerations. I decided to take an extra 5mg of hydrocortisone, and told my husband my plan. I thought I had things under control. 

The dentist froze me and left to let the freezing set. I stared to feel strange: confused, dizzy, nauseous. My heart started beating quickly and I stared trembling. I was going to have a seizure, I could feel it. I concentrated on breathing slowly. In and out, just stay calm and wait for someone to get to me. Breathe, don’t give in to what your muscles want to do. Breath. In and out. Plan. What will you do when they come in. Ambulance? Breathe. Slowly. Don’t give in. Don’t get scared. In and out. In and out. 

The hygienist and dentist came back. I tried to explain. “Something’s wrong” I said. That’s what I always say when I need help. I can’t articulate what the problem is exactly, but something is wrong. “I need my pills”. I tapped my Fitbit and showed them my heart rate – 140bpm. Something’s wrong. They got my pills and I took one, they gave me oxygen. My heart rate went down and my muscles started listening. “Call my husband”. Down to 120bpm. I took another pill. At that point it seemed better than going to the hospital and getting 100mg solu-cortef in an iv. Heart rate down more, getting coherent. Kept the oxygen on, to be honest, I absolutely love getting oxygen. It makes everything seem so much easier. Each breath feels like the equivalent of 10 regular breaths. I’ll take oxygen anytime it’s offered. 

By the time my husband got there I was okay. His reaction really disappointed me though. He didn’t say much, but I felt like he blamed my nerves. I felt like what happened was my fault. I felt like he failed me as an advocate. I said I wanted to take another pill and he said I shouldn’t. I felt like a wimp. 

Since I was stabilized and was already frozen and had already used up so much time, I asked them to carry on with the filling. He drove me home afterwards and I felt like a failure. 

Later that morning I learned that epinephrine in dental freezing can lead to Addison’s Crisis. I had once again come dangerously close to crisis and came out on top.

That afternoon I became suddenly weak and fell down the entire flight of stairs to my basement, dislocating my shoulder in the process. But that story, and that crisis averted, is for another day. 


Putting It Off

´┐╝January 9, 2017

It’s been happening for over 2 years now. The feeling that my insides were falling out. I told one doctor in ER, back in February 2015, when I lost consciousness. Since then, and because of all I’ve been through with doctors and specialists, I’ve been too scared to bring it up in any appointment. I’ve prioritised my symptoms based on what limits my life the most, and just a bad “feeling” didn’t rate in the slightest. It got worse and worse though, as time marched on. It became harder and harder to use my menstrual cup, and having to shift things around up there made me almost throw up. 

A few weeks ago I finally got the courage to hold up a mirror and have a good look. I don’t have much experience looking at vaginas, but I was 90% sure that what I was looking at wasn’t what it used to look like. For all the naked women on the internet, there is precious little information or pictures of what a woman’s private area is supposed to look like, so I had to let someone in on my secret. 

My best friend got a text one day that read “I need you to do me a favour, and it involves your vagina and a mirror.” All women deserve to have a friend they can open up to completely. She (and her sister) confirmed what I had suspected: I likely have a prolapsed uterus and need to get it checked out. 

I had the appointment this morning with Dr. P. He didn’t do an exam, just took me on my word when I said that I believed I had a prolapsed uterus and sent in a referral to a gynaecologist. I left saying “what a pain in the ass” to which he agreed. Dr. P has always been a bit uncomfortable with women specific issues and it certainly was no different today. The perfect word to describe how I felt about the appointment was dread. I’ve had so many appointments and seen so many doctors, but I was dreading this one the most. I pictured Dr. P giving me crap for not getting it checked sooner. I didn’t want to start the process of dealing with it. I don’t know how it will affect my fertility. I didn’t want Dr. P to do the exam, at this point he’s such a big part of my life it would be like having my boss inspect my vagina. 

As much as I was dreading it, I do wish he had done an exam. It’s hard to explain, but even though I can see an internal organ when I look in my vagina I still wanted his validation. I can’t prove any of my other symptoms and I want nothing more than to be able to. This is another side effect of being undiagnosed: you learn to stop trusting yourself. 

So there we have it, another medical issue to be addressed. I’m not sure when the referral will go through but Dr. P told me I can start calling the office after 2 weeks. I do plan on picking the gynaecologists brain and asking about conditions that can cause a prolapsed uterus, since I’m relatively young and have only had one child. It’s possible it’s all connected and perhaps this will be just another piece of the puzzle that is my life.