Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the brain doctor

Today Emma and I trekked down to midtown Sacramento for my neurology follow-up appointment.  My doctor is a popular guy, so babysitter or not, I'm going.  As it stands, we have no real answers, aside from what this is *not*.  He mentioned the words "Stiff Person Syndrome" again, and my heart sunk a little.  It is better than many of the diseases I have been tested for, but having a rare, serious neurological condition is scary.  Even though I tested negative for anti-GAD antibodies, 20% of patients test negative but still meet the rest of the diagnostic criteria.  

Because I had almost no spasms while taking Decadron after oral surgery, the doctor is more convinced that this has some autoimmune component to it.  He sent off a referral for a Rheumatology consult, and I got a call from Rheumatology right after I got home.  Next week I'll make the trip back downtown to see the rheumatologist.  Maybe he will have some insight.  Maybe not.  At this point in my life, I am used to hearing "I just don't know."

Not knowing hurts.  Not being able to move on and live the life I'd love to have hurts.  I want others to understand that this isn't me being lazy, or fat, or whatever else people have labeled me at some point or another.  I don't like the looks I get if I go off the medicine and go out hobbled over.  I don't appreciate the sneers when I use a scooter while we're out in public.  Not being able to have a family full of little ones hurts the most.  

“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.” - Anonymous

 Curled my hair for my neurology appointment.  Heck, why not?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Revenge of the blood suckers...and more.

We haven't talked about it much, but we've been trying for awhile to give our little girl a brother or sister.  It just hasn't been happening for some reason.  Back in December, I went to my doctor for some lab work.  I had a feeling that something was "off".  There was a mix-up when they updated my address, and I am horrible at remembering to call, so I finally got the results.  Something was off.  This Saturday I get the pleasure of fasting again for further testing.

What is off?  Well...my thyroid results were way off.  My TSH levels were off the charts low, as was the T3 level.  T4 came in just below the reference range. (The "normal" range.)  Normally, if T3 and T4 are low, TSH should be high.  It sounds like my pituitary gland has gone a little wonky, but I'll find out more after they retest to double check the results.  I'm actually a little relieved to have it be the thyroid, because it is less difficult to treat than other hormonal issues.  Hopefully we can get my levels back into the normal range, and it will happen.  I'm crossing my fingers.  I've talked to a number of doctors, and none see much of an issue with the muscle spasms.  I may have to switch medications, but I can manage that.

In other news, my EMG results were completely normal.  I figured that they would be, but my new doctor wanted to retest to be absolutely sure.  So far, they have ruled out any autoimmune issues as well as the nasty things like MS, ALS, etc.  There could still be some crazy condition out there, but for now we are focusing on treating the symptoms.  I asked the doctor's assistant to see if a muscle biopsy might be helpful, and I have an appointment next week to talk about it with the doctor. 

Our chickies are doing well, too.  We have the four original Silver Spangled Hamburgs, and six Barred Rocks that are a few days younger.  They are getting so big!  The girls have wing feathers, tail feathers, and they're getting feathering on their backs now.  It is absolutely hilarious to watch them play keep away - especially with worms.  Worms are like chicken candy!  This weekend we need to work on getting the coop together.  Hopefully the weather will break long enough to get most of it done.  These girls sure are cute, but I'm a little tired of vacuuming the garage every couple days. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rough Start

What a week this has been.  Last night I finally broke down crying.  I had been stoic until that point...just, detached.  Last night it hit me.  Emma started crying, I was crying, and at some point I think Adam was crying, too.  All of that fear and grief over losing so many little lives came out.  It felt good to let it out, and we did.

We're at five little chickies now.  One was acting lethargic last night, but she survived and is fine.  Poor thing was probably just tired.  I noticed some "pasty butt", and spent a little bit of time cleaning their tushies.  If dried poop gets stuck on their butt feathers, they won't be able to pass waste and will eventually die.  After getting them clean I used a q tip to rub a little olive oil around their vents.  So far, so good.  I haven't seen any pasting since. 

This morning I woke up to find five little fuzzy butts taking a nap.  You can't help but smile.  They are too stinking cute.  As far as filling out our coop with ladies...I gave Adam a wish-list from a local hatchery.  Maybe I'll get some for my birthday. :)




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tears and chickies.

After their long awaited arrival, our chicks showed up yesterday.  Things did not go exactly as planned...or well, anywhere near like the plan.  We ordered 25 Silver Spangled Hamburgs from McMurray Hatchery, and they included a free "rare and exotic" chick.  Since they were coming by mail, I knew to expect that one or two might not make it.  Emma wanted to go to preschool with Grandma, so I would be able to check the box before she would be home.  


I expected a call bright and early.  By 11:30 we still hadn't heard anything, so Adam called the post office.  Our chicks were there, and they had put them on the truck for delivery.  At the time, I thought it was nice that I didn't have to go get them.  I assumed they would put the chicks in one of the minivans they use, not the regular mail truck.  Right after noon, the mailman showed up with the chicks.  He looked excited, but told me that they weren't "as active as they were before." Uh-oh.  I knew that wasn't a good thing.  I didn't hear any movement in the box, and braced myself for the worst.  It really was the worst.

I knew that if any were alive, they were chilled and needed warmth immediately.  I stuck the whole box into the brooder, and lifted the lid.  It looked so horrible.  I could tell several were stiff, but I tapped the box gently to see if others would move.  When I saw some movement, I got a glove and went to work.  Each chick came out, and got moved to the warm side of the brooder.  I took them one by one, and dipped their beaks in water until they had a drink.  Then they went back into the brooder to keep warming up.  At that point, eight were dead in the box.

Mom and Emma showed up about a half hour later, and some of the chicks were starting to put pick their heads up to look around.  I mixed up gro-gel, which is a bright gel that provides nutrients, fats, probiotics, and liquids to the new chicks.  It took awhile for the chicks to gain interest.  At that point we had about six that were looking weak but improving.  The rest were still laying around.  I took the sickly chicks again, and dipped their beak a couple times so that they would drink.  The worst got moved to the other side of their brooder with their own light, and the healthier birds were on the other side where they could move around.  

Unfortunately, we started to lose about one per hour.  We tried to keep Emma out, and visited about once an hour so that it was a calm environment for the chicks.  Some point after dinner, I was so nauseated by it all that I had to stop.  Adam, bless his heart, told me to go rest and he'd take care of it.  By bed time, we had 12 of 26 still alive.  

This morning Adam buried those that had died yesterday.  The best we could do was to make sure that they got a decent burial under the crepe myrtle trees in the back yard.  When I woke, there were seven left.  I haven't checked back in yet, but I think another is on her way out.  That leaves us with only six chicks left.  We had intended on keeping six adult chickens, and only six chicks does not leave room for any later losses.  

Adam called the hatchery today, and they were very understanding.  They refunded us for the 19 that passed.  Then, Adam called the post office.  He explained that we lost most of the chicks, and let them know how they might make sure no more die.  (Keep them warm, call immediately, etc.)  The poor lady on the phone started crying and felt horrible.  

We're praying that the rest are okay, and that we don't have to go through this again.  It's always hard to lose animals, even when you aren't really attached yet. The pictures are of a couple of the healthiest looking survivors.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...