One of the things that we’re exploring, while looking for way to keep my Rheumatoid Arthritis at bay, are food sensitivities that I may have. So, I was scheduled to have some fancy shmancy food allergy tests done by a company that specializes in that sort of thing. And in order for that to happen, a nurse-type person was to come to my home and drain me of blood. Four vials, to be precise.
This nurse-type person, who we’ll call Nurse Ratchett for the sake of the story, called yesterday to confirm our appointment. I alerted her that I was typically a difficult draw.
I’ve been this way ever since I can remember. And recently, my dad told me that I come by it honest, since he is also a difficult stick. Shy veins run in my family.
I heard Nurse Ratchett exhale loudly, and she paused, “Well, drink a lot of water.” She also asked me if I was on any medication and I rattled off my laundry list. She then told me not to take anything 48 hours prior to the draw. And since the draw was the next day, I told her that I would stop all pain meds immediately.
I had been told that Prednisone was the only problem medication for this blood work, and I had been off of it for a week. The new NO MEDS WHATSOEVER rule was unfortunate, because I was just starting to get a migraine. And I will also mention that my knee felt like someone had just had batting practice with it.
But whatever. I do what I’m told. No meds.
By the time Nurse Ratchett arrived, I was in full Migraine meltdown. And had very little sleep the night before. When she came in, she asked me if I was a difficult draw (again). I re-informed her that yes, it takes a very special nurse to extract blood from me.
Again, heavy exhale.
She was not instilling a good deal of confidence in me, that she knew what she was doing. I proudly showed her my very best vein, which I had been heating up with a heating pad. And I had a lot of time to heat it up, since she needed to go back out to her car to get A NEEDLE.
Finally she went after my very best vein, and exasperated, I heard her say, “Nothing.” At this point, I went to my happy place, and tried not to look at her fumbling around with the tourniquet and needle. Because, OUCH. Even after digging about, she could not get one drop of blood out of my very best vein.
She moved on to my 2nd and 3rd best vein, and she became even more exasperated, “Nothing.” Finally, she went BACK to my very best vein and tried once more. Digging around until I thought I was going to have to go make change for the cuss jar.
She finally gave up. She said that another tech would have to schedule, because I could not go to my favorite clinic, the one that knows what they are doing, because of company rules, blah, blah, blah.
After she left, I went running for my pain meds. But Fiddledaddy stopped me before I had gotten the child-proof cap loosened. It seems that he called the company, and discovered that we could get the blood drawn at Florida Hospital. IN ORLANDO. But it was imperative that it be done today so that FedEx could expedite the shipping of the blood to the lab.
That meant an hour long car ride, with 3 antsy children, and a migraine.
Fiddledaddy consoled me by promising to take me to Whole Foods Market in Orlando afterward.
He knows my love language.
After an eternity in the waiting room of the hospital, I was at last ushered into the lab by a gal brimming with blood drawing confidence. She looked at my arms, especially eying the bruised vein that had already been poked twice. She applied the tourniquet, got out a 25 gauge needle (much smaller than Nurse Ratchet’s) and went in with little pain. And no digging around.
Because of the size of the needle, it took longer than normal, but Nurse Cheryl (my new best friend) was able to extract 4 vials of blood from me quite easily. One stick. No digging for gold.
The minute she finished, I fished the lone Tramadol out of my purse and went in search of water. It was then I learned that I needed only be pain med free FOUR HOURS prior to the blood draw.
And now I wait for the results. Ultimately, my dream is to get myself off of the Methotrexate, and try to control this disease solely through diet and exercise.
The Methotrexate has had a few side affects that are unwelcome. First of all, there’s the nausea. Of which I’m not a fan. And it has made my period come to a grinding halt.
I know. You’d think I’d be rejoicing. But I’m a hormonal mess, even more than usual. And what kind of blog fodder am I going to have if I can’t talk about my menses and pre-menopause?
I’ve had a few of you guys e-mailing me asking if the diet changes are helping yet. The answer is, I’m not sure. I’m uncertain what’s the Methotrexate, and what’s the diet changes.
I know that I’ve never eaten this healthy, so that has to be a positive. But I’m still dealing with inflammation and my knee is still a hot mess.
Also, I wanted to address something. A very sweet reader left me a comment questioning why the Lord is letting me go through all of this.
The comment touched my heart deeply. I can only speak about my own experience and opinion. But I think when we face hardship, we have a choice to make. We can place blame, or we can let God use a hardship to strengthen and teach us.
For me, this path has made me rely on God more than I ever have in my life. When I feel like I cannot put one foot in front of the other, I let Him carry me. God is also teaching me to ask for help, and to rely on my family more. A hard lesson, for this fiercely independent woman.
I’ve not doubt that I’ll come out stronger and better when I get a handle on living my life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. And I’ve no doubt that God will use me to help others that are traveling the same path that I am.
Another thing this experience is teaching me, is how important this community of bloggers and readers are to me. I mean really important. More than I ever thought possible. The information that you all share with me, your laughter, and your prayers and encouragement have really sustained me this year. I believe that this blog and this community are a key ingredient to my healing.
Certainly to my sanity.
And so on I plod. Grateful for my supportive husband and family. Grateful for all the things in my life that I might not have even noticed had it not been for an unwelcome health issue. And grateful to you guys, for your friendship and unwavering support.
Oh, and especially grateful for Purely Decadent Dairy Free Mint Chip Ice Cream made with Coconut Milk. Sing with me…Sweet Mystery of Life at Last I’ve Found You…
Have a wonderfully blessed weekend, my sweet friends.