Yeah, my MS is back with a vengeance. And as a result, all kinds of things happened.
As an amusing side note I'll tell you this first: I started taking ephedrine for the MS fatigue. This is not some sissy pseudoephedrine we're talking about here, this is the stuff that athletes take to enhance their performance. I had heard good things about it from other MS patients, so I was eager to test it. The effect was indeed fairly rapid: I was alert, I could think straight and for the first time in weeks I felt alive. Okay, I admit I got heart palpitations, hand tremors and my better leg started to tap dance, but who cares? I felt good, I could work, I could knit, I almost blogged. Did I mention this stuff is related to amphetamine? LOL. I did a bunch of mental notes like "remember to save some of this stuff for Christmas, re: Christmas mania and knitting", although I was afraid I might end up like Beavis in his Cornholio phase. "I am Cornholio..." But I digress.
But pretty soon I noticed the drug lost its effect, and in fact I was even more tired after taking the pill. I soon found out the reason for this.
My MS relapse was so bad that my neurologist suggested I would check into a hospital for the corticosteroid treatment, which was okay by me because I only had to spend the days there and I could go home for the night. They needed to do some lab tests before I went to the hospital, so a vampire dressed as a nurse punctured three holes in my arms before she could draw enough blood, so I had massive bruises on both arms. The next day I got a call: my blood sugar was 11.5 mmol/l. (It should be less than 6.) This was a new record for me, especially considering I hadn't eaten anything. So my type 2 diabetes (so far treated by diet) was acting up on top of everything else, and that and MS together were making me really tired. But that was just the beginning.
So I checked into the hospital which is supposed to be rated as number one in this country. (We'll come back to this later.)
I got the first dose of cortisone and everything seemed to be fine, except I was so sleepy I dozed off while waiting for the fluid to drip into my vein. On the second day they checked my blood sugar as a routine measure and it was 23! Cortisone can cause the blood sugar to rise so it was no surprise, but 23 was way too much. Anything above 15 is considered hyperglycemia, so I was passed over to the endocrinology department. This was when things started to go wrong.
They took one blood test and told me to go home for the night, when in fact I should have been given insulin. But the neurologist wanted the endocrinologist to do it, and the endocrinologist thought that the neurologist had done it. So, no insulin at all for me.
The next day I got the third and last dose of cortisone and my blood sugar was a staggering 27. I was feeling of course rather poorly, so they decided to give me six units of insulin. But at the last minute the nurse decided to give only four units because I was a first-timer. Of course it didn't help much because, as the doctor told the nurse, I really should have been given six units. Right. By this time I didn't pay much attention to them because I was so sleepy and dizzy, and I was discharged from the hospital. The only advice I was given was that I should keep a healthy diet. Diet? I was so ill that I couldn't even think of eating! Oh, and did I mention they erased all my info from their superduper computer on the first day? Apparently some secretary had been too eager in pressing the 'yes' key, so everywhere I went I got a blank stare and the words: "Umm, you don't exist in this country." Yeah, right. They had of course the paper file too, but after it was lost in the hospital mail room the nurse asked me what my cortisone dosage was. As you can see, I was in really good hands.
When I got home I was so ill that I knew I needed more than just a diet to get healthy again. I called my doctor who told me to contact a nurse specialized in diabetes. Unfortunately none was available, so I ended up with one who knew next to nothing about diabetes. When I then went to see her on a Friday, she told me that I was supposed to learn how to inject insulin during the weekend - unsupervised. When I told her I would do no such thing, she still insisted on showing me how incredibly easy it was to check your blood sugar with a glucose meter. The thingy had twelve lancets which you use to puncture the skin of the finger, and after using all twelve of them the nurse hadn't been able to prick a hole in my finger. And I was supposed to check my blood sugar with it to decide how much insulin I needed? Uh-huh.
I then started taking diabetes medicine and it took some time to take effect. To tell you the truth I can't remember much about those couple of weeks. When your blood sugar is high enough, you feel awful. Really awful. Awful as in I'm-not-sure-if-I'm-going-to-live-through-this. Awful as in I-never-want-to-knit-again. I turned into a human camel, I couldn't stop drinking water. The scariest part was that I couldn't see. Blurred vision is one symptom of high blood sugar, so when I started knitting again I had to do it mostly by feel. My SO knew the worst was over when he came home and found me playing in an online poker tournament. (600+ players, and guess who won? Woohoo!) I knew the worst was over when I got an uncontrollable urge to start an Alice Starmore project.
I'm still recuperating and I have my good days and bad days, but I'm definitely getting better. The MS relapse is gone and I'm popping diabetes medicine, hoping it's enough. My doctor told me that this "very capable nurse" would call me when it was time to check my blood sugar levels again (as in once a week). Yeah, you guessed right. I'm still waiting for that call. Three cheers to our health care system.