Category: Health (Page 2 of 12)

The Health Report – Small Z

What a week. If you want to feel really unsettled, combine low iron with your daughter waking up on a Tuesday morning and not being able to walk on one of her legs. For. No. Reason. Yes – and you will feel like I did. A luscious combination of befuddled malaise and a sick worry in my guts. This was compounded by the fact that I couldn’t go with Small Z to the various medical appointments that followed as I had to stay home and look after Small DB (the most stress free scenario – for everyone except myself…)

M took her to the GP, who looked her over and was very puzzled. He couldn’t find any specialists to see her on short notice and so referred her to Frankston Hospital. We decided to wait a night and see if her leg was any better in the morning. In the meantime we took her up to see my physiotherapist, who examined her and suggested the same thing. She had improved by this time and was able to run around a bit, but looked like a puppy with a limp. Her hip looked all out of whack.

The next morning it was worse. Poor Small Z couldn’t walk without whimpering. It was so sad. M whizzed her down to the Emergency Department, where they spent a few hours. Five different people looked her over. There was talk of a biopsy of her knee, of septic arthritis, of blood tests… Argh! (I was oblivious of all of this as M did not contact me, for which I later briefly strangled him. I was so out of the loop.)

The last super-specialist dismissed all these suggestions and told M to take her home and bring her back if it was still bad in the morning. It was. They went back. This time for five hours. M said that the facilities there for kids were just amazing – toys, television, free food, games – the works! Small Z had a ball (despite the fact that she was limping everywhere). She eventually had an x-ray and an ultrasound. And finally a diagnosis.

In my worry I had begun to stupidly google her symptoms. Oh gosh. I had decided she had Perthe’s Disease. Not a life-ending situation, but not a good one either. I had a night of wondering what the hell we were going to do with a kid who needed to avoid putting weight on her right leg for a few years *boggle* Thankfully the diagnosis was of an ‘irritable hip’. Makes it sound like a grumpy relative had just decided to stay and bother her for a bit, doesn’t it? ‘Irritable hip’ came to visit just before Christmas. Huh. Apparently it’s caused by some little infection in the hip joint and likely to disappear in a few days. Which it has.

How do parents COPE with situations like this when the diagnoses are not so trifling? I cannot imagine. My relief was h-u-g-e. Small Z thought it was all a great adventure. M and I aged about a decade. Blood tests and biopsies? She’s never even had an antibiotic! We are limp. And of course, everything is back to normal and it’s like it never happened… Thank goodness for our health system. None of it cost a thing.

The depths

Low oestrogen levels suck the big one. Particularly when most googling brings up ‘menopause’ (the most common cause, so not all that surprising). If I ever have the energy I am going to put up a page devoted to low oestrogen and its associated symptoms as a result of giving birth.

I was to use the medication every night for two weeks and then ‘once or twice a week as required’. Sorry. You can forget about the latter part of that sentence. Bluntly, I fell in a heap. I called the guru – the medication helpline at Monash Medical Centre, the most useful free service I have ever stumbled upon, and was told that reducing to every second day was no drama. Things evened out.

Then I got one of the side effects of using this stuff. It’s probably too much information to share here, so I’ll spare you. Suffice to say, I didn’t use the oestrogen for two nights in a row, and as a result, the past two days have been a fucking nightmare. Someone used a tin opener on my head and poured in treacle. I can’t remember anything, I have trouble finding words, I have no humour, no tolerance and no delight. I feel totally spent. I am dour. And still I google for ‘symptoms of low oestrogen’ and keep coming up with ‘hot flushes, fatigue, headaches…’ but nothing that really describes what I’m feeling…

But this afternoon I read an article on PND (post natal depression). Not only did it finally sound similar to how I feel, but it mentioned something that I think is the key – a 2001 study of 24 women with PND found that all of them had low oestrogen levels. Now I don’t think I have PND necessarily, but I do have low oestrogen, and so have similar symptoms. And now a greater feeling of sympathy for anyone who has suffered with PND for any length of time. The past few days (and the earlier episode a few weeks ago when I came off the daily dose) have brought me to a whole new level of suck.

I called the guru back today, and he suggested continuing with the every-second-day regime combined with another medication to prevent the side effect I had. This is good. I’m going with it. Despite using the oestrogen stuff last night, it still hasn’t kicked into my system yet, which has left today in ruins, but hopefully tomorrow (which is going to be a testing 40 degrees – or 104 Fahrenheit) will be better.

My consolation is that it is so obvious to me that my mood and wellbeing is so linked to my oestrogen levels. If I didn’t know this I would suspect I was going insane. It’s good to know that my body responds to the medication and life becomes correspondingly less dire. However, this realisation doesn’t help me and my relations with Small Z, with whom I have no patience. She responds to my horribleness by being generally combative and cheeky, but has also just cried at me and said, “Use a nice voice, mama. Use a nice voice with me.” It makes me cry to even type it.

I need to feel better.


The shallows

After my little outpouring yesterday, I feel a bit apologetic. The medication kicked in over night and today I feel almost completely human. Like I’ve just emerged from a fog. However, I am going to leave my bleating unedited, if only to remind myself that if it happens again, it’s not the end of the world – it only temporarily feels like it!

M and my mum have been helping out. And this morning I have been making reparations with poor little Small Z – I think most of her attitude has just been a result of my fruitcake status. I actually took some time with her this morning and read a book before breakfast. We are both feeling a bit happier. Small DB is her usual cute kooky self…

Her neck is getting stronger!

OK. Nothing to see here.

The bug

Small Z woke up with what looked like a black eye. She has constant eyebags due to the nap she stopped taking at the age of two, but this was quite pronounced. Our doctor is near our old house and impossible to see at short notice (unless your two week old baby is jaundiced and the MCHN is concerned *sigh*) – there are two medical practices around here, and one is not taking new patients – and the other one could not see her anytime soon.

Convenient, no? Anyway, after calling about four other places getting further and further away, I found one in Somerville that would see her. Myself, Mum, Small Z and Small DB all piled into the car and went along. The car was warm, as it had been in the sun and Small Z got hot, as she had her cardigan on. We took it off when we arrived.

We saw the doctor. I gave a potted history of Small Z. Normal everything – woke up and couldn’t walk – normal – normal. That’s basically it.

“Ah,” said the doctor.

I gave a small shriek, grabbed Small Z, and brushed a cockroach the size of a mouse off the back of her trouser leg. The doctor did not blink.

“Probably a virus. Her cheeks are flushed. I’ll take a look at her eyes, ears and throat.”

I kept trying to point out the black eye scenario. She looked for a nanosecond into Small Z’s gob and said ‘a bit red’. She looked into her eyes and into her ears. All fine. Again she said, ‘probably a virus’ and handed me a prescription for antibiotics. Right. Because antibiotics fix viruses.

To be fair, she said to use it if she wasn’t better in a few days, but Small Z was there for the BLACK EYE. Gah. Anyway, what with the cockroach and the communication issues, we shall continue doctor shopping. The eye thing was gone in the morning.

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