Monday, December 13, 2010

Explanations, Requests, and the Basics of Hospitalization: Part 1

Hello Everyone.
It's been a while again, but this is an important post.
Today is a day that I have both looked forward to and dreaded...a day that could signify a great step forward in my healing, or just a step backwards in terms of finances and manpower. I'd like to think that it's the former.

You see, today, Monday, is the day that I am to be hospitalized at Community Hospital North. It's the only hospital that allows Dr. Arbuck, a pain specialist, psychologist, and doctor, to conduct specialized treatments, medication detox and physical and mental turnarounds for patients with chronic pain. Now, while I have chronic pain, that is not my only condition. Pain is just a symptom of numerous diseases and issues, some of which are circulatory and autonomic imbalances and misfires; nervous system hyperactivity and hypersensitivity (i.e. fibromyalgia); lead poisoning; blood toxicity; chemical imbalances; a compromised immune system; a poisoned digestive system, kidneys, gallbladder, and liver; and so on. Sadly, Dr. Arbuck now thinks that there is a chance that I have a disease involving increased inter-cranial pressure, meaning there is too much pressure being exerted on my brain. This could be the cause of much of my pain as well. So, once I'm out of the hospital this round, I'm going to get a lumbar puncture, more blood tests, and an ultrasound of my abdominal and pelvic areas to see if there are any corresponding cysts. Lucky me, huh? *long sigh*
But that's all after the fact.

Today starts my hospitalization. I will be in a higher security ward of the hospital with locked unit doors, making sure that I stay under constant supervision. I'll be weaned off certain meds, have other meds changed, and have a few different treatments tested, all with my physical and mental reactions observed in the process. Some of the treatments involve a month of no pain killers (hence I'll be in agony for that time), or rare medications, and/or combinations of psychotherapy, physical therapy, and pharmacotherapy (meds). As such, they wanted me hospitalized as quickly as possible.

You see, one of the other reasons Dr. Arbuck wants me in so quickly is that, while under normal circumstances, my coctail of pain, sleep, and heart meds could be dangerous to a normal person, someone with a syndrome that involves the hyperactivity of the brain (fibromyalgia) is put at greater risk. My nerve endings are most likely permanently damaged and altered, thus causing my chances of success with safer, less life altering treatments to lower from an 80% success rate to a 10% or less success rate. These meds have also increased my dependency on them, as well as increased my pain levels exponentially. So while they are helping some pain, they're also causing more of it.

Now the doctor is worried that because I was in so much pain in the first place (before a regimen of over 5 pain meds), plus the damaging of my nervous system, that the safest treatment option has a very slim chance of working, and a long interim of un-medicated and un-dulled pain. As such, we're probably not going to try that route. I have an almost 80-90% chance of success with other methods, but they have some long term side effects. Sadly though, we're only aware of about 3 methods of treatment. As such, if they don't work, we're going to have to start searching for other diseases and syndromes that explain my other symptoms, or are in conjunction with my other conditions.

While I'd like to think I've handled myself relatively well considering all my physical conditions, and the virtual seclusion and lack of activities that I've had to endure over the past 2 1/2 years, I have to admit that I'm nervous and worried over this hospitalization. Because of the nature of my conditions and the ward I'll be staying in, my family can only visit me occasionally. They can't have someone with me around the clock. My mum is far more worried and upset about this than I am, but the fact still remains that I'll be in an alien environment with a new doctor and unknown staff, undergoing chemical changes due to different medications in a locked unit. Necessary, yes. But still...not my ideal conditions.

I'm expected to be hospitalized for a week or so, but depending on how I react it could be longer (though most likely not shorter). I'll be missing parties I promised (as much as I can these days) to attend, continue to miss church, and now to miss my family even more. Friends can't visit, and I may or may not have internet. Although I'm told I'll probably have access to my computer and a cellphone in my quarters, there's still a little uncertainty about that. And if that goes, then my last connection with the outside world and my last line of interactions with you all will be gone for a while. I think that scares me most...not knowing if I'll get to stay in contact.

But even if everything goes as wrong as it can, I know this: I have survived this long, and one more week (or so) won't kill me. I have your love and prayers (I hope), my family's visitations, the bit of reading material I can bring in my one bag, and most of all, The love and words of my dear savior, Jesus Christ. He's gotten me through this far, and He will continue to do so.

Evangelist and missionary E. Stanley Jones wrote in his devotional and spiritual guide "Abundant Living", that
"A woman, involved in an automobile accident, suffered a broken neck and a severed nerve at the base of her spine which left her lower limbs useless. She is doomed to a wheel chair the balance of her days after terrible initial suffering. But she has met the whole tragedy in the spirit of faith, confidence, and good will. Hence she is radiant--in spite of! At the table in the institution where she stays she presides as a queen--and does so from a wheel chair. Depressed patients are assigned to her table so that her very presence may cheer them up. She is on top of her circumstance. But her husband reacted differently. He was unhurt by the accident, except in soul. He became embittered, held resentments against the man who was driving. The resentments have spoiled his lifework. One tragedy occurred to both--they reacted differently. One emerged with a broken neck, but with her soul intact; the other with his body intact, but with a broken soul. Resentments broke him.

A well-educated woman with every opportunity before her is frustrated and defeated, because she resented her sister's getting married and leaving her unmarried. The manifestation of the resentment was self-pity, resentment that she was left alone in the world. Her life has been rendered impossible to herself and to other by that basic resentment.

It is obvious that to hold hate and resentments is to throw a monkey wrench into the machinery of life. Structurally you are made for positive good will, in other words, for the Christian way of love. When you try the other way, then the machinery of life breaks down, or at least works so badly that it leaves you exhausted and ineffective. Hate is sand in the machinery of life; love is oil--and life works better with oil than with sand. The haters hate others--and themselves; The lovers love others--and themselves."

Doesn't that passage make you think? How often do we complain about and resent our situations ? When we run out of our favorite breakfast cereal, or a movie is chosen that we didn't want to watch, or our favorite shirt isn't ready for school? How petty are we when emphasize those inconveniences over our own spiritual and emotional well being, and our ability to share God's love with others?

I know that I tend to emphasize myself more than I should. Although my mum warns others that I won't complain when I'm hurting, I do complain in general more than I should. I even sometimes let myself grow increasing frustrated and upset that life has dealt me all these health problems (as I have done over the past couple of days).

I had plans. I was going to graduate a year early, at 17. Now I'll graduate a year to two years late, at 19 or 20. If you know me well, you know that I always emphasized good grades (meaning a B made me throw a little fit), exceeding expectations, and so on and so forth. But I've been slipping, having to accept less than perfect scores, having trouble remembering or learning new things, and now, what with all my meds and the brain fog caused by my diseases, the inability to read fast, or much, without great concentration and an extended amount of time.
Yet, I. Should. Not. Complain.

I've been given a chance to grow in Christ, focus on Him, pray to Him (praising him, asking for help for me, and praying for His blessing on others), and on showing love to others, than most people get before they're 30.
I've had more time to think about things, form ideas and hypotheses, do research, and watch and read things to give me more ideas and add more pieces to the various mental puzzles I've been working on for years.
I can be an example for Christ.
So who am I to complain?

Despite saying all that, I know I will still complain at times. I will still lose my temper, and be mean and callous to people. But the more I focus on being a good example, and setting my expected high standards in place, the more easily I will find it, and BE it.

This week will be a definite challenge in that respect.
So, I would ask that you pray for seven things:
  1. That the hospitalization would not be too taxing, but instead be another opportunity to be like Christ
  2. That the doctor's could help me, not harm me or just prolong things
  3. That my family, especially my mum, would have peace about this
  4. That *I* would have peace and understanding in this situation
  5. That I would not complain, but instead proclaim. Christ deserves my best, not my worst.
  6. That I would continue to grow in Christ, with this experience being just another catalyst towards that end, not a hindrance
  7. That I will conquer my nervousness and worries no matter the circumstances, replacing them with His Peace

I hope I was able to explain things in such a way that you can now have a clearer picture of what's going on in my life right now, and about my physical and spiritual battles and desires right now.

Things are not going to be easy.
In fact, they're going to get much harder, much faster.
But I know Christ is enough, and I trust that He will guide me through.
I love you all, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Rae <3


Mikaela said...

Rae...I want to say that you are a much better woman than I, but--while this is true--I know that you would promptly remind me that you're not trying to rise above the mediocre and comparitive standards of those around you, but that you are trying to reach the infinite standard of Jesus Christ. And, Rae--you are, indeed, a beautiful, sweet-smelling image of our beautiful Saviour.

Please let us know--how are you?

Rae Hitchings said...

Yes, indeed. I would and am responding with "there are many people much better than I".
I'd like to think that I am becoming closer to the image God has chosen for me to become, but I am far, FAR from it, I assure you!
But I will take the compliment gratefully, because to know that one is being used by God to impact those around her (or reading her words =P) is a feeling beyond the ability to describe! I am sooo very glad that He has seen fit to speak through me, and I pray that he continues to do so.
I hope that as I work to pick up blogging again here at Musings, that you would bless me with your readership and comments. I do cherish them both.
and thank you for keeping up Corner. It really is a Spirit and wisdom-filled source of encouragement. I'm excited to see what God will lay and you and Lauren's hearts to wite about in the coming year.
To God be the glory, Amen? *grin*

Yours In Christ,
-Rae <3

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