Goodbye (and Good Riddance!) 2018: Part 1
I know I'm late writing about the new year (resolution: stop procrastinating!), but I still have some strong thoughts about it. Well, especially about 2018 and what nightmare of a year that was for me. Last year was one of the worst years of my life, health-wise, so I'm very glad to see those 12 months disappear forever.
Probably nobody will want to read about my medical woes from the wretched 2018, but I'm going to share them anyway. Writing these ailments and struggles down or speaking them aloud, my true-life and intimate health stories, makes me realize what a resilient person I can be. How did I survive all of that?
Of course, I do realize that many people are suffering from illnesses much worse than I am, and they have the kind of strength and fortitude that would make my RA-whining look like I'm crying over a stubbed toe. However, pain is pain and sickness is sickness. And none of it is easy. Last year was overwhelmingly hard.
The curse of 2018
The following is my little laundry list of the extra (in addition to RA pain) health problems that were hurled at me in 2018. A lot of this seemed to be very random and bad luck, which I hope is the case, because I never want to go through any of these things again.
The Uber accident
In January I got into a car accident one night in the middle of a blizzard while riding in an Uber. It's kind of hilarious how I took an Uber in the first place to try to be responsible and safe by not driving on the snowy slippery roads myself. Well, we were rear-ended by a pair of idiots who yelled and screamed at us and wound up fleeing the scene. My head got thrown around a bit during the jolt, but I thought I was fine. The next morning, however, told a different story: MAJOR HEAD AND NECK PAIN!
Miraculously, I managed to get an appointment with my primary care doctor the next day and I was diagnosed with a mild concussion and fairly severe whiplash. I've been rear-ended before in my life, but I've never experienced neck (and head) pain like I did from this accident. Barely able to move my head at all, for at least a week, the pain was incredible. I know, I know, I probably shouldn't have been galavanting around during a blizzard, but I still think this whole thing was unfair. Thanks, Uber. Thanks, jerks on Lyndale Avenue. Thanks, 2018.
The throat infection from hell
Not long after I started to feel better from my car accident whiplash, I suddenly developed a very sore throat. A cold? Strep throat? A weird virus? Whatever it was, it was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my throat. I felt like it was on fire while being constantly stabbed with jagged shards of glass. Add maybe 50 wasps sticking their stingers in me and you can kind of understand how bad it was. IT WAS BAD. And it dragged on for days! I couldn't talk, I couldn't eat, I could barely move my face or head. I was sucking down a popsicle like every 10 minutes and popping Hall's cough drops like they were candy.
As I normally do whenever something new or weird pops with my health, I made an appointment to see a doctor at my primary care clinic, because this throat illness was not going away. A strep test was negative so the doctor ordered a CT scan of my throat and had me see an ENT specialist. The ENT doctor, at that appointment, then put a scope down my throat to try to get a better look at it. The CT scan was fine, by the way. And so was the scope exam, except for a lot of irritation and redness happening down there.
The verdict? The ENT doctor thought I had contracted an infection in my throat, different from strep, which was why it wasn't going away. Where I got this mystery infection from, I have no idea. I work in public schools with kids so there's a good chance that one of those germ-infested children gave it to me. Whatever its origin, I didn't care that much. I just wanted relief! And relief finally came after a couple of days of taking an antibiotic. Thank God! The nightmare was over after what felt like an eternity of suffering and pain. I could eat again!
Sinus/upper-respiratory infection, bronchitis, take your pick
I can't remember the exact timing of these things, but during part of winter and definitely, during the spring I kept getting sinus and upper-respiratory infections, with one of them turning into bronchitis. While this isn't that surprising (I get these often, except the bronchitis), due to my suppressed and compromised immune system, getting several in a row after the dreadful throat infection was a bit much. I became an antibiotic-eating machine, which I hated. My stomach was a mess during this whole time, too, despite taking a probiotic supplement.
By this point in 2018, I was feeling very overwhelmed by my bad health and I was wondering when I would ever get a break. I tried to keep giving myself little pep talks like, "You will get better. You will feel OK again. Hang in there, this can't go on forever..."
Unfortunately, my body had other ideas.
Has menopause impacted your RA?