Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So Far So Good

I saw Dr. K, the RA doc, today.

When he walked in the exam room I looked in his face and said, --Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear...

and he grinned. He's growing out his beard and 'stache.

I asked, --Does your wife like it?

and I got a pretty enthusiastic --Yeah!-- and one grin and two head-nods back. He's a laconic guy. That's his equivalent of your usual person bouncing off the walls in joy.

I told him, --Walter goes back and forth, so it's always interesting.

Dr. K really seemed to like the idea of an IgG booster. Really liked it. --A good idea,-- he says. --Good idea. I'd like to hear how that goes. (Me, I'm all proud, cause I thought it up All By My Self.)

And for the first time he also seemed to NOTICE that I'd gone all the way down from 70, 40, 70,... to 35, 25, 35,...mg of Prednisone. This is the guy who hates Pred so much he can't see straight.

That was very nice. Very.

I'm such a sucker for positive reinforcement.

He couldn't refer me to an allergist/immunologist other than the one I was seeing in the early 90's. I explained she got irritated at me for being such a high-maintenance patient, which is understandable. But that she also couldn't deal with me going on Social Security Disability because she felt I was *too young,* and that it was a generally bad idea because it demotivated people from trying to work. And I resented the implication that I had a choice. That I'd suddenly turned so lazy I'd voluntarily give up a significant income and fascinating work, to drown in the poverty and boredom of living on SSD.

Wrong. I half killed myself trying to keep working, even at temp jobs. My SSD lawyer calculated that I lost $24,000 in benefits for my efforts. And every time I worked one week I'd get sick for a week after the job was over; or 6 weeks work, 6 weeks sick, or whatever. Bronchial infections or worse every single time.

In the end no one wanted to hire me any more. I kept passing out at work, or wanting to put on my scary-looking NIOSH mask to breathe, and they'd tell me I was upsetting the clients -- just go home, it didn't matter how great my work was, I scared people, and they didn't want me there any more.

So, Dr. K, it'd probably be best if I didn't try to see her again, that allergist.

But! She's a really good allergist, though, so, good suggestion, thanks. She got some really great allergy-test food reactions from me, wanted to publish pix in the journals and all, that was nice.

He checked range of motion, moving the joints around in his swift and sure way, and said they looked better than they have in a long time. I said, Yes. Some new places, and some new crookedness especially in the right hand fingers, but not nearly as inflamed as they were.

He thinks a lot of the RA areas in my right arm especially might have been infectious in origin, from the mycobacteria, instead of my usual autoimmune RA. He still calls that JRA, for *juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,* and at 49 I'm old enough to be charmed that he calls it that. He can say that all day if he likes.

I'm sure he's right. I've been telling him for almost a year that the right hand's knuckles seemed really different than the other bad joints, they were bumpy and swollen in a different way, and much redder, and itchy sometimes.

I also asked him if he remembered once explaining to me a physiological mechanism that makes pure oxygen relieve inhalant allergies. It was a very interesting point he'd made, because it wasn't about breathing clear clean air, but something else entirely. And I didn't take notes and I've been kicking myself over it ever since.

But he couldn't remember. Drat it all! He said it didn't sound like something he'd say. Not true. I can usually tell when he's run across an interesting journal article and thought of a particular point in immunology for a particular patient. He likes that stuff. Good for me.

So. He said the IgG booster was a good idea, sorry he doesn't do them himself; and he doesn't want to try to add CellCept as an immunosuppressant until this other stuff is cleared up, which is surely a good idea, and all that made me quite satisfied. And he didn't want me back until August! Yay!

This was one of the most pleasant visits I've had with him for a long time. He's very smart and also very straightforward, and when he lets himself, he has a good sense of humor too. I like him for good reason. All I want is not to get yelled at about the Prednisone. And today? I had a wonderful, yell-free, peaceful, encouraging visit.

Yup. I'm such a sucker for positive reinforcement.

Tomorrow, the car goes in the shop. And I'll probably hear about what the scooter company plans to do about my poor much-loved Mr. Scooter, who's been having some issues in his electricals.

Wednesday, I see Dr. C, the ID doc. Hear the plan for the hospitalization and so forth.

And Thursday...Thursday, or maybe Friday, I embark on an odyssey.

I'm leaving the Accidental Hermitage and venturing out into the world for a bit. Heading north, to the Frozen Tundra.


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Say what????

Dazd said...

I'm glad you had a positive appointment. Those are the best, aren't they?

Frozen Tundra?!?! Being that you're in the sunshine state, I can't see that georgia is much different climatically. (is that even a word?) lol

k said...


Driving myself, too. Verrrrryyy carefully.

All the way to Chicagoland. And after the Excellent Event, which takes place Sunday - if my luck and health holds, I'll go another 8 hours north.

And that IS the frozen tundra!

Georgia was the last trip, Dazd. To take Walter to his new truck.

That ain't nuthin. Hardly even halfway there. Oh, and yes, climatically IS a word. For me is is, at least. I like it a lot and use it where ever I can find an excuse to do so.

Oh, i have SUCH an adventure planeed!

Pretty Lady said...

Road trip! Road trip! Canada? Canada this time of year is lovely!. My wishes for you include a lake with loons!

Northwoods Woman said...

I have lots of lakes with loons and I can't wait to show them to you!!!!! I'm soooo excited!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

You are going to see Livey!!!

k said...

Ah, yes indeedy!

kdzu said...

God Bless you to have a safe trip.
Tell Livey hi for me.

Cindi said...

That is so cool! As soon as I read "Frozen Tundra", I knew where you would be heading! Have a great time!

k said...

Oh, kdzu, you bet I will. In fact I was just inquiring about her latex cat suit. I haven't heard back yet though.

Oh, I'm SO excited! I don't care how much the gas costs. My car's getting itself a nice tuneup, that'll save on fuel right there.


k just ADORES road trips!!!

Northwoods Woman said...

Hehe, I don't really have a latex cat suit. But if I really needed it just to give you a hug I'd fine one!

k said...

Uh oh.

How's THAT for a mental image?

poor kdzu!