Medical Update

Just as I get it off my chest… the hospital calls and sets me for admission next week.  Monday morning I get to undergo a whole new experience in the roller coaster ride of Irish health care.  Will keep you informed!

— Cindy

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3 responses to “Medical Update

  1. Hi Cindy,

    I wish I had a magic wand! It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. I think just keeping on pushing through until you get results you need is the best idea. I wish your cough could be solved by finding out something simple…maybe an allergy due to some seasonal pollen, where you could take an antisistimine. What if it was a dairy allergy? But trust your instincts. If you believe it’s a bi-product of your MS, walk in to the doctor’s office with research in hand (even if it’s just a sheet with your internet links provided. Especially, the information about difficulty in swallowing as a symptom of MS, as well as MS discussion groups in which other people have complained of the coughing and gasping and of also being ignored or blown off by their physicians. Not to mention your own experience with that. Then at least he/she would know that you’re researching and knowledgable and expect not to be brushed aside. You won’t know when you’ll get to see this doctor again, so make it count. Make them remember you, and want to go the extra mile to solve the problem. Even though it’s just a GP, maybe they will know someone with MS expertise that they will contact for you. Hopefully, they will at least give you something for temporary relief until you get a MS specialist whom knows about the coughing connection. Sounds like it could be a long day on Monday. Take a book, your optimism…and your smile. Visualize the perfect end result.

    When I get a cold, I usually have a cough that lingers long after the cold seems to be gone. When I have my coughing fit, I try to calm myself through slow, shallow breathing through my nose, tongue on roof of mouth, and the ever so helpful lozenge, telling myself, “relax, relax, relax.” If I’m at home, sipping hot tea or even, just hot water seem to help, even if I don’t have lemon or honey, it seems to help. I do know how awkward it can be when other people are around. Every now and then, a coughing fit happens when I’m at work with customers around, and I get extremely self contious. I head for the bathroom and grab a cup of hot tap water….hard to do on a bus…maybe a small Thermos of hot tea, to carry along? For coughing and sleeping, I will sometimes sleep with my head elevated and avoid dairy.

    Are there any other ways of getting additional insurance coverage? Maybe talking with an advocate that might know of insurance provided in exchange for your volunteering or joining an organization…. or getting in on some sort of study.

    I’m reminded of a program I saw on TV (John Stossle, maybe on 20/20?) years ago talking about the insurance coverage in France and it gave me one more reason I’ve always thought of moving there one day. But maybe it’s not all that rosy there either. I imagine it always looks better on TV than in reality. Maybe it’s the same as it is in Ireland? The fact is you live in a beautiful country and that is where you need to find help. Hang in there! I’m still envious of your adventure of living abroad. I am hopeful that Obama is successful here, I only wish it would be more like Medicare for everyone, instead of individual insurance plans. I love reading your blog and I’m hugging you right now!

    Love, Mary

  2. Thanks for your concern, Mary, it really helps a lot to have you in my corner. The hospital trip will last 3 days – MRI, then steroid infusion once per day for a total of 3 treatments. Theoretically, because it’s a public hospital, it will only cost about €75 per day but I don’t know if that includes meds or food or what. I’ve been told to cut out dairy but I only have the one bowl of cereal per day – soy milk is nasty, sorry – so I’m not inclined to think that’s the problem. At times I can take deep breaths, at times I’m lucky I can breathe at all, which leads me to believe that it’s the so-called MS hug. I already sleep with my head elevated and drink an inordinate amount of tea. 🙂

    My GP is a nice fellow so if I can’t get any answers while in the hospital, I’ll go see him and find out what he can do for me. I’ve applied for the drugs scheme so maybe I can get some help with prescriptions, but private insurance is incredibly expensive – just like in the States – so that’s not really an option. The upshot is that no scheme is really perfect, especially when your country is in economic turmoil.

    Thanks for everything. I’m sure I’ll get past this intact to face the next challenge!

    • Hi Cindy,

      Holy crap! I didn’t know you were going to be at the hospital for such a long time. I’m not familar with the taste of soy milk, but maybe you could try the rice variety if you’ve been advised against dairy? Levi used to eat cereal with water if we ran out of milk! Yuk!!!! I think I’d pass and choose oatmeal or a bagel or toast before I’d go that route. It would really be nice to know whether or not you actually have an allergy or not. But, if your heart and your head tells you it’s not the problem, it’s probably not. Ages ago, I read a book about food allergies. The main idea was to take your pulse before you eat and after to see if your pulse is elevated. Also, to take notes, like you you develop phlem in the back of your throat, get a headache, etc. If your pulse is elevated or you have any sort of reactions, then your body has a sensitivity to a food in your meal. It pointed out that if you love chocolate (or whatever) but your body is sensitive to it, it doesn’t mean you can never eat it, only that you can only have the offending food once every four days so that your body can rid itself of it, but also knowing that it’s probably not in your best interest to eat it. There are certainly some things I eat that create a phlem issue for a short period of time. I just try to keep that awareness that my body is speaking to me. The pulse test is an interesting idea. I wish your problem was as easy as an allergy. I’m sure you would take that any day over MS.

      Hopefully, with good doctors and good medicine, you can start breathing easily again. Be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease….of course with a smile!

      You will get past this..one challenge at a time. Whether it’s hour by hour, day by day, week by week, or month by month. Eventually, you’ll have a handle on it and your “action plan” so that you can have a full and happy life. You’ve got a lot going for you…and a great husband. This will just be an annoyance until you get it figured out. Remember to meditate, smile, and focus on gratitude. When things are tough…hug your husband and email a friend.

      Love, Mary

      P.S. I’ve been doing yoga everyday with a dvd and it’s really helping my neck and shoulder pain. I’ve decided, no more cortisone injections. It wasn’t the right approach for me. This aging thing isn’t for wusses, is it?

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