Yesterday I had a needle poked in my eye

It was nothing serious!* Two nights ago I got something in my eye. Everyone has done this at least one. Wait a second, I didn’t just get something in my eye I got SOMETHING in my eye. By the end of the night I was pretty sure it was out but my eye HURT. Like I was starting to get a headache it hurt so much. I ended up going to bed and just laying there with my eyes closed instead of doing something interesting like reading before bed.

Yesterday morning the same eye was all red and angry looking, more like I was hung over. Eye seemed better, it wasn’t bad, just a smidge uncomfortable. Fast forward through some drive time and some looking at computer screens time and I’m realizing my eye is really really bothering me. Then I notice the little BUMP on my EYEBALL. So I started to get nervous. I started to wonder if I’d scratched my eye the night before. I ended up calling our eye doctor and getting an appointment in the afternoon. (Husband drove home from work to get me – and then drove me to the appointment. We made it there on time!)

Finally, I’m talking to the eye doctor. I explain everything – with my eyes closed because at this point I’m more comfortable with my eyes closed. (Ophthalmologist.) He also happens to be really nice and really smart. He’s talking to me, and looking at my eyes and first he does the professional doctor speak for HOLY SHIT THE INFLAMMATION. Then finally, he notices the bump that I’m talking about. He explains it’s a cyst (There’s a big word for it I don’t care like googling for right now.) But it has to do with your eyeball healing and then not quite healing correctly and a cyst is formed. The cyst has tears in it. I’m thinking OMG NOTHING SERIOUS!!!!

So the doctor goes on to explain how you can like wait for them to go away or something – or pop them with a needle. I’m like You can do that? Let’s do that! Right now! The doctor was really surprised. So he puts a few drops of stuff in my eye to numb it – immediate relief by the way cause now I can’t feel shit in that eye. He’s also explaining how the only way to get the cyst gone completely for sure is to cut it out – but that involves an operating room and a microscope. I’m like, nope.

So, he tells me to look one direction – which happens to be away from the needle by the way. I make sure I don’t see the needle and I sit with my chin on that thing. You know that thing. Few seconds later. He’s popped the cyst and explaining how I could have bloody tears for awhile and I’m like yea, ok, whatever. (I DON’T CARE YOU REMOVED THE THING!) Then he hands me a tissue for the bloody tears dripping out of the eye I can’t feel. So then – short story version – I tell my doctor to watch the Daniel Craig James Bond movies and also point out there’s a bad guy that has tears of blood in one of them.

On the way out to the car I was telling my husband how the doctor was really surprised that I didn’t mind the needle part. My husband pointed out that well obviously! It’s not often a doctor can make something better immediately for you so when a doctor could fix something you were all for it! I was like, duh. Yea, you’re totally write.

Other happy outcome of eye doctor appointment: he gave me “strong” antihistamine eye drops to try and a prescription for steroid eye drops to help when I have a flare up. I was like wow, that’s a really good idea because when I have a flare up the OTC allergy eye drops work for like an hour.

End result folks? It’s ok to have a professional stick a needle in your eye. If he or she is dressed like a clown? Then run the fuck away!

*Side note: This blog post is brought to you by the letters W and B, for writer’s block. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo but haven’t been able to write today. I finally realized it’s because I have writer’s block!

In which I complain about not having enough time to…

I want to blog more but life keeps being crazy. I’ve been knitting regularly and getting tired regularly and reading comics, sort of. Spring time is hard to because of allergies and spring storms popping up. (Spring is definitely interesting in TX. See tornadoes in April 2012. Go, ask Google.)

Ultimately, I think I’m just happy to have an income again – as long as I don’t think of the horrendous amount of student loan debt I have from 2 college degrees, very little scholarships and not very much grant money. Money leads to yarn, yarn leads to knitting, knitting leads to happiness. Does that make yarn part of the force?

The amount of books I’ve read so far this year saddens me. I should do a blog post about knitting projects…. I just need to grab the pictures on my phone and on my DSLR and get them on my computer. Something I was going to do last weekend. Turns out the whole writing thing isn’t working out like expected/intended since I’ve had to completely rearrange not at work/sleeping/eating time. I am still applying my creativity to something though, it’s just knitting instead of writing. Eventually, I suspect, I’ll come up with something I actually WANT to write about/on… even if I decide to take the time to do writing prompts. I guess I could do writing prompts 2-5 times a week sort of like exercising 3-5 times a week but then that’s probably the wrong approach. And on top of all that, I’ve restarted the food diary cause I’m wondering if there’s another food I’m allergic to. Increase in headaches is either spring time (and pollen allergies) or something else like food.

I did get to reading some of Anathem last weekend! I’m still not even halfway through!

I’m almost done with a(nother) pair of socks.

I think the next thing I need to do is buy that yarn ball winder and swift so I can wind yarn at home and continue with the projects I’ve got started. Then, once I can wind the yarn I can actually plan out projects. Wonder if I’ll bother?

Pictures don’t do this yarn justice.

I could gather up all the comics I’m reading too… Some are The New 52 (reboot) from DC but not all! I guess I haven’t done this yet because I haven’t gotten into a lot of the new ones. (Like Dark Shadows.)

edit:

I added a new category! COMICS! So yea, maybe I should write up something about being a woman and reading the DC reboot. (Batwoman’s anti-gravity breasts (in her armor) bother me.)

Prescription Drugs, etc, etc

So the last time I refilled my asthma medicine – the maintenance drug that is effectively an anti-inflammatory for my lungs – it cost $60 instead of the usual $10. No warning. This is, obviously, the after insurance price. I’m not sure I’d still be breathing if I didn’t have health insurance. Yesterday I got a letter* from the insurance company saying that the cost of my asthma medicine** will be going up and I have one more refill before I have to pay the higher cost.

Well, it already went up. A month ago. AND the small print at the bottom of the letter says I will have to pay the full amount of my medicine if I continue to buy it at a retail pharmacy. Further, changing to another drug will save me $600/year… and getting the same medicine from their mail in pharmacy will save me $120/year. Oh, so you want me to stop using the medicine that works just fine do you?

$50 copay to the specialist doctor later and I find out I should be able to switch to another asthma medicine (similar type, in the same drug “family”) and effectively pay nothing because there’s a card to cover the copay for the next 12 refills. And I have a sample since I’m almost out of the old medicine my insurance company decided effectively to stop covering.

Pharmaceutical companies are fucked up man. Eloquent right?

 

*The whole letter sounded like the insurance company was now in bed with a new drug company.

**Pulimort flexhaler

Recent food allergy experience

I’m allergic to tree nuts.* I tested allergic to ALL kinds of tree nuts and I had symptoms like dry cough, scratchy throat after eating some kinds of nuts. So, my doctor told me to eliminate tree nuts.

One of the difficulties I’ve run into so far with my tree nut allergy (was diagnosed summer 2011) is not knowing how to handle all the words you get on food labels about how this food was processed in the same place that manufactured something with tree nuts or this food was on the same equipment as something with tree nuts. Or this food was introduced to tree nuts once and we can’t confirm nor deny whether there are tree nuts present in this food.**

May favorite one is: “May continue tree nuts or peanuts.” I call that one the lazy CYA*** statement.

Anyways, I like chocolate and what usually comes in chocolate? NUTS! Any good decent chocolate (more expensive than the candy section at the convenience store) will probably not be tree nut free. For example, regular M&Ms? No nuts. However, peanut M&Ms? Might continue almonds! (gods I hate that!)

I picked up a box of dark chocolate truffles to try from a “high end” grocery store we shop at somewhat frequently. Anyone not familiar with chocolate truffles needs to know they are about bite size – 2 bites if you want to savor them and coated with cocoa so they don’t stick. The truffles I grabbed had a warning that said:

I'm so glad I'm not allergic to soy.

“Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk.” Ok I’m thinking, been in the same room as nuts – that’s ok. (Being around nuts hasn’t caused any kind of problems for me.)

Anyways, few days later, after dinner, I open the box, grab 2 truffles for a snack/to try, etc. You know, what you do when you want a little bit of chocolate or little bit of dessert.

A few minutes after I finished 1 truffle – I was suddenly extremely stuffy (I had a 24 hour allergy pill that morning) and breathing heavy even though I was sitting quietly in my living room. Used my inhaler, started feeling a little bit better. Took a benadryl. Waiting for the benadryl to kick in seemed like forever.

Sometime that evening I also used my nebulizer. (I have asthma.) Freaked out a little, calmed down. That also involved admitting I was freaking out about the reaction and then making myself calm down. Thankfully I wasn’t alone – in case the drugs didn’t do what I needed them to do. (I do also have an epi-pen per my doctor’s orders.)

Next day I woke up feeling like I had lost a marathon and a food eating contest in the same day. I still needed allergy and asthma medicine and I was horribly tired.

This reaction wasn’t severe. This reaction was not caused by eating food that clearly stated had tree nuts in it. This is why manufacturers should be more clear about food allergy statements.

This post is not meant to advise anyone about anything, it’s meant to share my experience since many people do not understand food allergies. This experience demonstrates a few things that my doctor told me – allergies are dose independent. It does not matter how much you eat, it can effect you. It  also demonstrated that food allergy reactions can come in stages – there is the primary stage that is a few minutes to a few hours from the exposure to the food and the secondary reaction that can be 8 to 12 hours later. I think I experienced both since I didn’t actually start feeling normal/better until over 24 hours after the initial exposure/reaction.

*I’m not allergic to peanuts. Peanuts are also not tree nuts.

**That might be hyperbole.

***Try Google.

Saving money: forgotten circumstances

I’ve got too many blogs on my RSS reader….some of those include saving money/self help financial type blogs. One thing these types of blogs always seem to miss is saving money when you have chronic medical issues. I have allergies and asthma, those include food allergies and intolerances. Luckily, my food allergies are not *that* bad…I can eat wheat, corn, gluten and have no known issues with any vegetable. And I’m not even mentioning hay fever type allergies here! Further, such recommendations usually don’t consider places of extreme temperature. Few other things too… like access.*

Small annoyances.

Allergies/medical

For example, a person who is lactose intolerant (or allergic to fish) probably can’t eat cheap meals like tuna noodle casserole without substitution of some kind – or being sick later. Chemicals like MSG is another issue too… Season packets need to be MSG free, which automatically makes them more expensive.

Then of course there’s pollen. You can’t open your windows in the middle of allergy season if you’re deathly allergic to what’s out there… which is just a few periods of 2-4 weeks for me….but that sure is long enough.

Gluten free foods are usually more expensive. Foods specifically manufactured to be a certain allergen free are usually more expensive too.

Specific to your region

You aren’t going to open the windows in June, July, August, or even September and go without the air conditioner in Texas or other southern states just as you aren’t going to go without heat in December, January, or February (or March or April?) in Minnesota and other northern states. Some areas of the country see more extreme temperatures than others.

Cost of living. Some things are more expensive depending on where you live…. gas…food…transportation…housing…the list goes on. (And this isn’t even counting states like Alaska and Hawaii.) Transportation varies depending on where you are as well. If I lived in a northeast city I might be able to use public transportation to get from my house to point B…but I don’t. I couldn’t use the bus when I lived less than 15 minutes (by car) from campus to get to school.

Utilities and broadband, cable providers vary by city too. A cheaper option might be available, but you might not have access to. This can be as simple as what side of town you live on.

Cultural/Religion

I can’t specifically think of anything but I would bet money there are cultural or religious requirements that would not allow people to do something that might actually save them money.

Health Insurance

Just another thing that varies wildly and really effects your budget. The cost of the insurance as well as the costs after insurance both vary and should be considered. Dropping health insurance to save money isn’t a viable way to save money.

Family

Maybe you have family you can rely on to help out – like you have dinner at your parents every weekend and they pay for it. Maybe your family relies on you and you could save money if they didn’t. Well, you can’t really cut out your family now can you? You could throw daycare in here too. If you have a family member to babysit for little to nothing then you save money on daycare. A large amount of money – which also varies depending on where you live.

Access

So I guess I’m saying one of the problems with giving advice on the Internet is you don’t know what kind of access a person has to resources – necessary resources or just things that are nice to have.  Like, I live under an hour from an ikea, and they have cheap furniture – but not everyone lives that close to an ikea.

 

*This post was actually sitting in draft form on my hard drive since sometime last summer. I finally finished it because I was looking for something to write today.

I know my food allergies

It’s amazing how many little things that were wrong before I eliminated the foods I turned out to be allergic to.

It’s been less than 2 months since I cut out tree nuts.

1. Less headaches
2. more focus
3. not so tired all the time
4. maybe less asthma symptoms
5. better, more stable appetite
6. less allergy symptoms (?) – this one is hard to say cause of time of year too
7. better mood
8. beer tastes better
9. ability to do housework again (beyond simple things like sort/wash laundry) and not feel utterly wiped out
10. more energy – this is different from not so tired all the time because more energy means being able to think about other things beyond today, tomorrow, the weekend and all the stuff I need to do. like planning.
11. possibly my joints are better too. hard to tell yet.

[updated] Tree nut allergy: other things not food

I was recently confirmed allergic to tree nuts. I have to eliminate them from my diet. I know that nuts were a problem…but I didn’t realize how serious it had become. I’m glad I caught this before the symptoms got worse than burny/itchy/scratchy throat, cough, and/or rash.

I used to use a body lotion that smells great, has no added fragrance and seemed great on my skin. (which you can now buy online and not just from Bath and Body Works) I loved it cause it has no extra chemically stuff to set off my already sensitive skin. Not long after I started using it…I realized it made my legs break out when I used it right after shaving. Not bad mind you. Just. there. And the lotion burned when I used it after shaving my legs. (That’s normal right?)

Anyways. I figured out the burning isn’t normal after I started looking at ingredients on lotion labels. (I checked with my doctor protein is bad, oil is ok.)

Bath and Body Works refunded me the big containers of lotion I’d purchased…and I spend that store credit on some body wash (Incidentally, that’s cheaper at Bath and Body Works) that I already know is safe for my skin (and smells wonderful). Very glad I was able to do the store credit.

Anyways, I’m emailing C. O. Bigelow through their website asking them, at the very least, to make their labels more allergy friendly. Here’s the email, word for word:

Hi,

I’m contacting you to ask that you update your label for the C.O. BIGELOW LEMON BODY CREAM NO. 005 to reflect that there is a tree nut ingredient in it. The sweet almond protein in this cream can cause allergic reactions for someone allergic to tree nuts.

For me personally, I was just confirmed allergic to a number of foods, including multiple types of tree nuts. This lotion has actually been causing rashes…. and now I know it’s because I’m allergic to it. Since (food) allergies can be very dangerous, I’m no longer able to use it.

If you cannot change the almond protein ingredient to something that is tree nut allergy friendly then at least please update your label so that it is more allergy friendly.

Thank you!

Sounds friendly right? It’ll be interesting to see when I get a response and what kind of response I get.

And here’s the lovely response I received:

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us in regards to our policies, services and products. We value your inquiry and your interest in Bath and Body Works and The White Barn Candle Co.

We have passed on your suggestion to identify the use of nut oils in our products to our product managers for consideration.

If we can be of any further assistance, please reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-395-1001, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Bell curve go boom

**This is in no way a statement regarding vaccinations being bad or . It is me venting about my crazy allergic reaction and recovering from it.**

Sometimes breaking the bell curve is damned annoying.

I received a tetanus booster shot like 3 weeks ago while I was at the doctor to get some help for my re-injured, injured knee. Got a prescription strength NSAID. Had asthmatic reaction. Got over that. Few more days passed. Realized my tetanus booster shot wasn’t normal. Swollen hot arm. The nurse with cold hands was touching my arm like she was holding her hand near a heater. Go back to the doctor. Find out that office gives 10-20 booster shots a day and a few times a year someone comes in with a reaction like mine. Well. Fuck. Glad to know I’m not crazy. But. Fuck.

Got antibiotic and steroid. Then I switched over to taking benadryl to better control the allergic reaction. Fast forward a few days. Slowly but surely I got better. Steroids brought down the swelling almost immediately. Benadryl stopped the itchy nicely but I had to stay on benadryl every 4-5 hours initially. Skin in my arm looked funky. Like a weird sunburn or something. Suffered from steroid intake side effects. Got done with the steroids (5 days total) and suffered from major bad withdrawal symptoms. 2 more days of antibiotics. (yay probiotics!) Turns out the steroids were also messing with my stomach….not really the antibiotics. Got past the withdrawal symptoms. Arm slowly, very slowly, healing, recovering.

Fast forward to this week. There is still an itty bitty knot in my arm from the booster shot. Skin on my arm still looks weird. I’m sleeping 10ish hours a night as often as possible cause my body is just wanting/needing/craving sleep. Thank the gods I’m an unemployed college student and did this in the summer break. In 3 weeks I’ve dealt with:

1. reacting to a tetanus booster shot
2. reacting to a tetanus booster shot – as in whatever I was allergic to
3. reacting to NSAID – asthma
4. reacting to antibiotic
5. reacting to steroid intake
6. reacting to steroid withdrawal
7. lack of sleep from taking antibiotics every 8 hours and the steroids

*grumble*

Hope

I hope I’m not like this when I get older…

I’ve already got a lovely sensitivity to all kinds of chemicals. I smell them better than most people. Fragrances are hideously evil.

News from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America newsletter

I’m glad to see this. It’s a new site from AAFA.  But again, as usual, I question how many people will actually see the site?I know about it because I get emails/newsletters from AAFA. Someone without asthma or allergies probably doesn’t. And people without asthma or allergies need to know about dangers of allergies and asthma.

Basics from the site:

Asthma basics

Asthma is a chronic disease — that means, once you have it, you’ll most likely have it for life. It’s not your fault.

Asthma affects the airways of the lungs and causes them to become swollen and irritated. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be treated. That’s important. If asthma is not managed, symptoms can worsen and lead to limitations on your activities, missed days of work, and future asthma episodes — even if your asthma is mild.

And still, there needs to be a way to get asthma awareness to college campuses. And May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. I’ll have to keep up with that. I’m not sure it’s worth trying to get an “event” scheduled on my campus since May is finals and end of semester and graduate and omg for many! Wish I was graduating!

Banning CFCs and albuterol

A federal ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to conform with the Clean Air Act, is, ironically, affecting 22.9 million people in the U.S. who suffer from asthma. Generic inhaled albuterol, which is the most commonly prescribed short-acting asthma medication and requires CFCs to propel it into the lungs, will no longer be legally sold after December 31, 2008. Physicians and patients are questioning the wisdom of the ban, which will have an insignificant effect on ozone but a measurable impact on wallets: the reformulated brand-name alternatives can be three times as expensive, raising the cost to about $40 per inhaler. The issue is even more disconcerting considering that asthma disproportionately affects the poor and that, according to recent surveys, an estimated 20 percent of asthma patients are uninsured.

I’m not sure where they get their information about the cost of albuterol… at least compared to my experience of spending 30 bucks an inhaler without insurance. I’d also bet that 30 bucks that more than 20% of asthma patients are uninsured. I’d also bet a greater number of people have asthma and don’t know it.

We already know fragrances are bad!

Fragrances May Emit Potential Toxins

I’ve already seen news on this study pop up in two other places, the most recent place (the link above) is WebMD. I’m very, very glad to see the study published. I even sent the person (Steinemann) who did the study an email letting her know how awesome it is to see that someone (with a degree!!) has said “wait a minute, something is right about this, why?”
Maybe, just maybe, this will raise public awareness, but, then, it needs to fight general ignorance for that to work, so, who knows in the end. On the bright, less cynical side of things, maybe this is a place to start to get things changed.
List of things to do: Get advise on writing my Senators and Representatives.

New Allergy treatment?

Not sure I could handle this… the gross factor is too much… especially if it involves itchy skin. I can’t stand itchy skin very well.

Worms!

Though, gotta say it is interesting to know this is happening. Maybe something good medicine/more traditional treatment will come out of this? I do wonder what kind of people can’t be part of the treatment… and how it would help food allergies.

found via here first