C.A.L.L. FOR Wales
Category Archives: Treatments
A Message For Anyone Who Is Suffering With Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions… Especially Those Facing This (whether literally or emotionally) Alone…
The first thing I really do want to say here is: **You Are So Brave**. Truly. What you are facing is truly horrendous and scary (Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions are utterly terrifying, and people do NOT EVER take it seriously enough! 😡*big scowl*🤬), and yet, still, you face it. You endure it. You keep fighting. You are still alive and you haven’t given up. That is ALWAYS admirable and commendable. Even though you feel utterly awful and exhausted and frightened, it’s still true. So, please try to remember that… 💜
I think I may have some understanding of the awful situation you’re having to deal with — I have had Chronic Pain and Illness and Conditions, all at a very severe level for prolonged lengths of time, including many asthma attacks requiring emergency hospital treatment (I’m now strangely very comfortable and familiar with the back of an ambulance… 😒🤨), and I’ve suffered more than my share of PTSD with many things that have unfortunately happened to me, and have even attempted the worst at times… And I am well aware of what *I* felt and suffered in those times, and I truly never want to think about what I had to go through with the episodes of psychosis I have suffered on many a pill I’ve been told to take, it was so very horrendous. To be on them continuously, without being able to come off them, must be harrowing. To anyone who cannot come off them, *You* must be very, very much suffering with this… 🥺😟Autistic person (Asperger’s), this also made all these experiences worse [for me] because the way I deal with every small thing in life is that it has to be controlled for me to understand it, and without understanding this (my illnesses/conditions/pain) it made it all the worse… So, I’d like to think I’m coming from a place where you might feel I do have a little understanding of being where you are.
Whatever you are going through, it’s going to feel like such a lonely, awful, frightening place to live — so near yet *so* far from what you truly need. You have, quite possibly, been through such utterly terrifying and traumatic experiences whilst dealing with your journey. I lived in London with all kinds of available people in several hospitals around me — and yet I STILL could not get the treatment I needed for the (many, many!) things that have and are wrong with me, so to not have ANYONE around in the medical practices around you, that is the most scary, almost more than than anything. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s available, when you’re not being given it, you’re having to watch your life disintegrate around your ears, and not being able to do a thing — not a goddamned thing — to help yourself, because no one told you how. I did ALL the wrong things with mine… If there was a checklist of all the thing that were bad for my condition, I did them all, because I thought I was helping myself. Turns out, they all were the worst things I could have done. Unfortunately, I found out too late. Far too late.
I have Fibromyalgia and Hemiplegic Migraine, which have somehow amalgamated into some weird-ass crap that doens’t even have a name… something doctors can’t seem to understand or treat, that comes with horrific pain that can only be barely dulled with fairly high doses of Oramorph and Tramadol. My PTSD (now) comes from hospitalisation for a severe blood and bowel infection, and the utter shock and grief of having lost my hard-won “normal” life in London and my pretty amazing IT Career in one fell swoop from this “Fibromyalgia hybrid” (or “Fibroplegia” as I’ve come to call it) that I’ve ended up with (which has also made me almost completely numb and partially paralysed from the chest down), and the fact it took over 2 years to get an initial diagnoses and then a full 5 years to get any treatment at all for it — and by then it was too late, the damage was done and I was wheelchair dependent with no ability to use my legs.
The same thing happened as a child suffering from… something. They called it “Depression” and left it at that, filling me (as a child of 12 and then for many years later) with Prozac and whatever other medication they felt like. Precisely 20 years later, I finally get the diagnosis that really explained it all — “Autism/Asperger Syndrome”. Despite being under them mental health system in so many different ways for most of my life, they ALL somehow missed this, and my miserable life kept getting worse and worse, causing a lot of VERY bad things to happen to me, and I ended up with severe PTSD and suicidal and anorexic/bulimic because of it for over a decade. Unbelievably amazing….
Both times, *despite* bring in the middle of access to treatment, they still refused to give me any. Until now. In that sense, I absolutely do understand how it is to ask and ask for help and nobody listens or understands the severity of your health condition(s). I certainly may as well have had nobody there…
It spirals out of control and it’s all just like trying to outrun an avalanche … no matter how hard you try, you’re going to get buried and suffocated with it.
I’ve written a lot, and I’m sorry about that… However, like I said above, it’s hard when it seems like nobody understands, so I thought perhaps that I could prove that I probably really do…?
I hope that I have. Because all those feelings that were described is pretty much part and parcel of all chronic illness, and most feel them — but, of course, we’re not allowed to talk about them outwardly, so there’s nowhere to turn and nowhere to go to discuss it, those feelings, or how very VERY white-hot terrified and desperate you really feel inside.
Keep talking, keep reaching out — to doctors, to people here, online, to any people in your life who could/might/do support you. It’s not anywhere near easy to even begin to cope with the first part of dealing with lifelong Chronic Illness/Pain/Conditions.
The first step is a little like AA — you have to accept they are part of your life but you will love yourself anyway. Remember that you’re a person WITH a conditions/illness, and NOT an illness with a body/host.
Remember that you’re worthy, you matter, you’re a person, and YOU ARE YOU — and having an illness/condition doesn’t stop that from being true.
I don’t believe anyone should go through these things alone. It’s not right, and everyone has a right to be heard and helped, in whatever way possible. I hope you feel I have heard you?
Keep being strong, keep having courage, and keep up the [terrifying, seemingly impossible] good fight xx xx xx.
Someone I haven’t spoken to in a while over text sent me a quite innocent message yesterday, with Are you still alive? written on it. A running joke when catching up after a while. It meant nothing, had no other significant meaning. They didn’t know it was not so this time.
This time, it wasn’t so funny. This time I really meant it when I wrote back, Yeh, just about…
It was a literal answer… and one I was decidedly uncomfortable with. Especially when I didn’t tell them that, or why.
How do you answer someone else… Yourself… When the rest of the answer to that question is I could have died…?
I was desperately ill and point-blank refusing treatment and, well, in all honesty and reality, getting close to dying. Literally screaming myself hoarse in agony, until I was lost consciousness from the pain, for hours every day for a month, not realising my body was being attacked by a silent killer, tearing up my insides and leaving me barely conscious on a daily basis. But I still refused any help or medial treatment. The scars, the terror, the shame of the way I had been treated by medical “professionals” in the past meant I was too traumatised, especially in my current state, to go anywhere near them.
What an utterly terrifying thought… and nauseating right now, with 30/20 hindsight. I did it to myself. Unwittingly. But I still did it. And I quite possibly came a bit to close to maybe not making it. I became unreasonable, delirious, the agony too indescribable apart from being able to say it felt like actual torture.
Eventually, it seemed something in my brain snapped and I somehow, for some reason, decided to finally allow my parents to seek emergency treatment for me. I must have finally realised somewhere inside my subconscious my money was up and it was now or never, the last chance saloon. I don’t know because I don’t remember anything of that day except coming to around 5:30pm in a strange place, in a strange bed, somewhere that I only recognised as “a hospital”. Which or where I hadn’t a clue. My mother had to fill me in on the rest.
I was told I was dragged, barely conscious, downstairs and to the car, then taken to the out-of-hours GP service located in the main general hospital on Saturday 27th January. The time on my discharge note shows it as being logged in to see them just after 12pm. They rushed me in to the Surgical Assessment Unit and ran tests, put me in x-ray and gave me a CT scan. They pushed fluids for severe dehydration and vast amounts of strong painkillers to stop me screaming. I was apparently there for five hours before I became coherent enough to come around, the pain subsided much, but still quite agonising – although nowhere near what it had been – and I had to be told what happened to me and why there were lines in my arm and why I was in a hospital. And especially the question, Which hospital?
After negative scans and intensive blood tests, it turned out I had blood poisoning and a “horrendous” [their words] UTI (urine infection). Specifically, I had contracted Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. And I’d probably had it for weeks, if not months. The entire time I’d been feeling very ill all the way to the point where I’d spent an entire month screaming myself into unconsciousness from the mind-exploding incomprehensible agony I was enduring.
I ended up being hooked up to some kick-ass antibiotics for 3 weeks before I was getting better. But us took 6 weeks before I was given the all-clear to finally go home with clean and clear blood with zero infections left in it. Even when the ococcus infections had been dimming down, I still got 2 other infections on top of it, and one of them remains an actual mystery to this day, but it was so bad I got a temperature higher than I’d even had with the blood infection – hitting 40.7˚C at its worst. They couldn’t find the actual cause (and they looked a lot) so they dumped me right back on the antibiotics (I’d just got rid of that damn cannula the day before, too!) for another week and a half or so.
So, I spent 6 weeks in hospital trying to recover from my stupidity. For the first couple of weeks I felt it acutely that it was a fight, a real battle, to get on top of this thing (or things) and get rid of it. Once I started to get the upper hand, it was a slow but assured ascent to the top of the mountain of recovery. A couple of minor setbacks is expected, and otherwise it was a fairly smooth ride, if not long. Very, very long…!
I was very lucky the people there were really good and helped me with my little Aspie quirks, and were quite happy to help and make it as easy as possible for me. I also got a lot out of it that wasn’t just my life, or recovery too. I got actually got my life back in a different sense. Whilst I was there, I got more than I ever expected, and although the way I got there was, frankly, terrifying, I clearly needed to go there to get everything I got from it.
Institutionalisation, at certain points of extreme chaos, apparently suits me. It allows me to reset, obtain new and better habits, in a safe environment of regiment and set patterns. Whilst at hospital, their set mealtimes reset my non-functional non-eating habits that for a long time had kept blowing between starvation and binge-eating. Even stopped me being completely terrified of food after realising there were bland and basic things that could be eaten without feeling overwhelmed and shaking. I learned that some medication didn’t outrightly hate me and worked well – and for the first time in 4 years I had adequate pain control that did not require a distillery. It was such a relief. Even anti-nausea medication given alleviated the horrible nausea from the pain and allowed me to eat easier. Even Oramorph for when the pain momentarily got out of control again. Not one single side effect – just what it was made for, for a change.
I actually got people to arrange referrals for me to help with the fibromyalgia, as well as a few followups regarding what I had been through. This was the first time I’d ever received adequate assistance, support and referrals for my condition… and that was probably because this was the first time that medical professionals had spent 24/7 over 6 weeks to see what I was going through. I even had a wonderful OT (Occupational Therapist) organise my being able to see my dog downstairs whilst I was stuck there, and I ended up managing it twice, which was wonderful.
By the time I left, I really was ready to go home. As in I was clear of any and all infections, everything had been put into place, and I was going home with support and medication that was going to make my life easier to live with. It may not have been the best way to end up getting help, but somehow having a serious illness had managed to bring the never-ending freefall of Hell I had been spinning in, and send me in a completely new direction.
Yes.. Life Is Strange…
So, I got a catheter. It’s been three days so far – well, two and a half really – it was put late Monday afternoon and its technically 4:30am Thursday morning. The struggle to get to and from the bathroom was getting ridiculous, and the final straw was when I passed out for six hours straight in there when I tried to go, last week – then ending up with a complete memory block for the entire day: All I know about it s whatever I have been told.
My mother called up the next day and told them it couldn’t wait any longer, so they put me on the list for this past Monday.
It was scary, and uncomfortable… but ironically, the worst bit was having the numbing gel put on – my paraesthesia did not like that at all… The procedure itself was over with before I realised – and I suspect it would be easier to have it without the Lidocaine. The procedure must be done every three months, so the best way needs to be figured out, if I must endure it four times per year.
It’s more than worth it, however. Already, there is a difference with nausea and bloating pain levels, other pain levels, and I’ve been able to play games and physically relax a little because the agony and exhaustion of going to the bathroom has been eliminated. I’ve not had half as much alcohol because there’s less paraesthesia pain due to less movement and exhaustion. After being quite badly dehydrated for years, forced into ignoring thirst and almost never drinking, puffy with water retention and with very dry and cracked lips, I’ve been drinking all the juice and water I can, and taking holistic water retention tablets, which are great and work a treat (and arguably too well, since I have to drain the bag an awful lot!). I feel amazingly better, lighter (like someone took away some of the cement living inside me) and I no longer feel bloated and pregnant with quadruplets. I can even straighten my back a little again.
Turns out long-term dehydration and water-retention isn’t very good for you at all…
Also – well, later on today, I suppose – I’ll be receiving a new Hypnos mattress (the same as they have in the Premier Inn rooms that have been helping deal with a lot of my pain), which will hopefully allow me to bring my pain levels down enough to make it more manageable (i.e. under 10) and thus allow me to take a break from the rather icky grape juice and Courvoisier. I hope it might help with the Fatigue, too, even if its just a little. It should be coming sometime between 11am and 3pm, and the room has to be organised so the mattress can get in (it’s pretty big).
I would like to hope it’s the advent of starting to regain some control over this, even for a short while. Historically, that just never happens – it all goes horribly wrong right after… so, I’m just going to just have to see how this one plays
I’m not even sure why they even exist… but these physiotherapists are just such a waste of time. She screwed up again – and I pretty much had a meltdown about it, also causing a big set of severe Fibro spasm attacks. Hoorah…
After going to so much trouble to get the right date this week so my mother was here with me, the damn physio wrote in the wrong date anyway into the diary when she got back, and after waiting and waiting and waiting, I only find this out after I call when she’s an hour late. So that’s two ruined days because of her, which has just sent an already troubling and difficult week into a horrible tailspin.
It is clear that no matter what acts or policies that are in place, nobody cares about how they treat you when you have ASD. It’s OK for them – they’re not the ones who have to deal with the meltdown (or at least severe anxiety attack) that is the result of this god-awful thoughtlessness. After trying to deal with it all afternoon, I had an anxiety attack and mini-meltdown later on in the evening, after that panic built and built and built. It in turn ended up in a series of severe spasm attacks that were horrific and painful. But she didn’t have to care about that, did she? No. She could be ignorant of it, never know about it, never need to care about it. It doesn’t affect her. So why should she care, right?
Apparently, that’s how they all think. It’s certainly how they all behave… And it’s just horrible. To the point of being traumatising.
When appointments are made, stick to them. Don’t be late. Call if you’re going to be late. Isn’t that “NT” politeness anyway? Well, it’s vital in my world. I’ve already had PIP mess me around. I’ve already been thrown into hell with the isobars down at 1000mb level, unable to even breathe sometimes it’s so painful. I’ve already had a hell of a morning, starting with 3-4 hours of going through the motions of trying to get up – yes, that’s how hard it is. And I’ve had to get up super-early so there’s enough time to do all this and regain an equilibrium before the appointment…
And then after all of my efforts I find the physio didn’t even try to get this right. After we brought out the calander and showed her all the dates my mother was available. She still couldn’t get it right. The emotional turmoil of this, of all my efforts for nothing, that the fact she could make such a mistake that cost me so much… It’s just too much to bare.
There’s also the other point that I cannot even begin to cope with changes… as well as the horrifying realisation that she probably didn’t get the message I left with their reception to cancel the appointment she wrote up, and that she might come tomorrow anyway. When she wasn’t supposed to. When I told her not to… And then I have to cope with that thought, with that change, with that intrusion, because she wasn’t supposed to come tomorrow… It’s horrifying to think that she thinks it’s OK to put me though such a thing, just because she can’t concentrate long enough to put the correct date down. It seems so unfair. It’s not like they don’t know I have ASD… They just don’t care, or have a clue about it. Or care to have a clue about it.
Proving legislation and policy is a complete and utter waste of time.
Tomorrow, either I’m going to be home alone when she comes, or my father remains here with me instead of attending his weekly visit to see his elderly mother. I don’t understand emotion generally, but I know that uncomfortable feeling of guilt. And that last option makes me feel a lot of that. The former terrifies the bejeezus out of me – I have no intention of being there alone with her. I’ll either say nothing, or say precisely what’s on my mind… which I’ve learnt that NTs do not want to hear. Apparently they’re allergic to the truth. The polite fluff they engage in is still beyond me, even though I generally attempt to emulate it. Probably quite badly, but hey… at least I try. Which is more that can be said for the other way – not many NTs [professionals] try to understand ASD-Land at all.
Like the physiotherapist. And PIP.
I am “ranting”, but it’s so very horrible. “NT” people never seem to understand this – although some at least accept it. I’m terrified of tomorrow (and that’s actually an understatement), and the fact the isobars are still on the floor are not helping. It’s going to be a long morning, at the end of which, I have to call the receptionist back tomorrow to verify the appointment has been cancelled and the physio is not coming. She was supposed to call about it (the physio, that is) and reschedule, and she never did. With that evidence I can only conclude she thinks she’s still coming here. It seems that if she has a mobile phone, neither her receptionist nor myself have the details of it to contact her directly when she’s out.
I knew they were a waste of time, but since the initial attempt at contact was a farce. It’s not ending, either. It still is. I can’t see any reason to continue with this – it’s one extra burden I can do without, given there’s no payoff from it. I’m already ahead of her game, and so far she can offer nothing better. So I’m wondering why I’m spending the effort of enduring hours of pain and torment to get up in time for her to come, when she’s not actually even coming in the end, because she couldn’t do one simple thing right – write an appointment in her diary on the correct day. And repeating it all again in case she turns up tomorrow. It’s harrowing.
I really am honestly scared of facing tomorrow. I hope I get some sleep… It’s “only” 1:49am as I write this now. And there’s a long night ahead…
The isobars are on the floor again (1000mb tomorrow, and I’m feeling it…).
I’m wearing arthritic gloves just to type this. My hands are aching horribly (well, they’re crackling, buzzing and being mini-shocked, like their on that electic ball at the science museum, and “clawing”, but “aching” could be shorthand for it).
My legs are even weaker and buzzing and my back in on another planet of wrong – and my abdomen is in constant spasm.
So, in other words, it’s a normal day for crappy air-pressure day. Naturally.
However, what I had hoped for – when that damn physiotherapist finally turned up – was that I would be able to be taught how to help deal with it. To have massaging exercises, or movements, or just help to deal with these day.
You know what I did get? A frickin’ printout that I could (just about) manage 3 of from it. On a really good day. That were already incorporated into my usual practice on my (fun!) DVDs. They could have just saved her time (and damn salary) and just emailed it to me.
She poked a couple of times at my leg, asked me to move whatever I could. Then promptly ignored everything I told her and gave me the most basic printout I think she could find, made for people who could move things. It was for stiff and weakened people, maybe older, maybe who have been a little bedridden. It was not suitable for what I had, which was something for perhapse lower-body paralysis or stroke or MS (which is everything that this emulates, and often all at once…). They clearly have nothing specific to Fibromyalgia or Hemiplegic Migraine. It seems they may not even have something for the others either, which is strange and confusing – and entirely unhelpful.
The worst thing is, if they had come when they were supposed to, six months ago, these may have actually been relevant… a little. But now, that ship really sailed. Off into the distance, beyond the horizon, and far, far away…
I’ve done more for myself – found actually appropriate exercise DVDs and a great YouTube yoga video – all of which are both helpful and fun, all from my chair, with some on the floor. I found better stretchy bands than they were going to give me. I have hand weights. I wanted help going further, going forward, with better things, more intensive things. But… no. Just stuff I’d already covered, if I could do it. God only knows what help people with even more debilitating conditions or paralysis get from these people, they just don’t seem to have a bloody clue.
I don’t know whether it’s severely OCD “Heath & Safety” rules that I don’t know about, or whether they’re just idiots, but they’re really not helpful. Just next time, don’t bother me and email the damn printouts instead…
About the only thing I got that was useful was that she confirmed that it was not safe for me to even attempt to walk (and oh, I am so not making that mistake again now…!) – which will be handy if the PIP thing gets awkward again (but I’m fairly sure there will be no lying this time, at least). Otherwise, I’m not sure what use they are to me…
Having spent most of this week under extreme distress because of the weather and distinct lack of isobars, yesterday I ended up in extreme meltdowns and severe hemiplegic paralysis. This is, of course, thanks to the terrible weather inducing a horrible migraine… and that migraine travelling down into my extremities instead of up into my head.
Don’t get me wrong – no one in their right (or even wrong) minds want or prefer that horrific and excruciating migraine headache. Ever. However, that does not mean I have to be pleased with the Hemiplegic Migraine that then takes its place.
The problem also is that – despite knowing I have been experiencing hemiplegia instead of “normal” migraines since I was at least 17 – I still readily forget they still have to be treated the same. Not with medication: I mean in how they’re dealt with.
Today, because of this, I ended up blacking out all day. The closest I can describe it is like being seriously generous with Xanax, or Valium, and you are entirely unable to keep your eyes open. You might come round for a few seconds, but then off you go again. Rather like with General Anaesthetic, after the surgery. It took my mother to point out this was exactly my behaviour with “normal” migraines – and given the long-term stress, the extremely low isobars, the fact I’m under wheelchair-inflicted house arrest, it was obvious this was what was happening again. The severe hemiplegia I suffered yesterday was a testament more than anything to that.
It had now made me realise just how seriously I have to treat this – just like I used to treat my migraines when I was young.
I have suffered from them since I was 8 years old. They became more severe from when I was 10. They really hit their stride between about 12 and 15 – and the fact that was the most stressful time of my life (until now) shows testament as to how much stress is a great trigger for them. The Triptans didn’t turn up (well, in north Wales at least) until I was 17, and they were a godsend… but only for “normal” migraines. In Hemiplegic Migraine they can make them worse, or put you at risk of a stroke. So they’re not really that much help.
What has always been some help is mentality…. Kindness and understanding, allowing yourself the time to go through it and recover without expecting anything more than you can give. The next time this happens, I won’t be so scared. I’m a veteran – even Master – migraine-enduring warrior, so I don’t even have to learn anything new. Just go back to what I know.
It saves an awful lot of time and brain-space, I can tell you.
There is not a lot of ASD assistance in Wales. The usual people haven’t really come through, particularly in North Wales. Having moved here from London, I’ve been astounded to find there is actually nothing here. And I mean nothing.
Zero. Zilch. Null.
Whilst there is stuff in the South, although predominantly only around the Cardiff and Swansea area (as if the rest of the entire country doesn’t exist), the rest of us are generally ignored. There is no help out there… unless you’re under 18, then perhaps there’s at least a little. For adult? Nada.
In compensation, there is a website, for ASD Info Wales. This has a few things that can be of practical self-help, and it does have a good amount of documentation for people with and without ASD to assist with life and interactions.
The ASD Planner – found at ASD Info Wales – is a good example. It’s an app for Android or iOS which is an easy and useful “tool” to use to help deal with situations that may arise… rather like a cheat-sheet for things.
I’ve found it useful, so I thought I would share it. 🙂