I figured it was time for an update for several reasons.

  • More tests since last post
  • I experienced firsthand what “Too much” means this weekend
  • SickRick.blog has reached some mildly impressive milestones
  • SOON! A new look for the page

On Thursday, I had an abdominal CT scan. I was told no food for a 3 hour period prior to arrival, which turned out to be no problem since I woke up at 4 AM. I made breakfast at 5:30 and made it the remainder of the morning with no problems. Meghan and I arrived at Summit Aurora Hospital around 11 AM, and my most-excellent driver pushed me over to the radiology dept. to check in. They wet through the full-length questionnaire, and we took a seat she pushed me over to the seat she wanted, and parked me next to it.

Earlier this year, my PCP wanted me to have this same imaging procedure done, and told me I would have to drink not one, but two chemical beverages. This was during the period I was unable to eat or drink anything. I understood why the test was needed, but when my wife showed me the containers to drink, I could barely lift one of them. It felt like a lead anchor. I refused to even attempt drinking it at that time, it just wasn’t going to happen. I wouldn’t be able to swallow 10 pounds a full pound of thick liquid, i knew it. The most substantial meal I had during that time (2 1/2 months), out of maybe 4 attempts at eating, was 4 1/2 tater tots, so I knew this wouldn’t work, and most importantly, it wouldn’t have ended well.

Naturally, this is what I expected them to bring out for me prior to this session, and I was prepared to suffer through it this time. The whole drive there was spent pumping myself up for the pre-CT Scan beverage, and of course, it wasn’t what I had to drink. Not at all. They brought out a HUGE Styrofoam cup, 1 liter in size, filled with an imaging chemical in a mixture with some strawberry-lemonade Crystal Light. It was delicious and refreshing, so delicious and refreshing that I couldn’t stop drinking it. The actual imaging only took 15 minutes, and we were on our way home. On the ride home, we discussed possible series to binge watch. Our Amazon Prime subscription was offering a free 1 week trial to one of their channels, and after scanning the possibilities, we decided to give Game of Thrones a shot. My wife was working, but gave me the go to start watching, as she had seen a few episodes in the past. I recently received a call regarding these test results, and it was 100% normal.

I”m on social media a lot. I have a lot of free-time recently, so it occupies my time. I’ve never read anyone bad-mouthing this series, but I never thought that I would enjoy it, so I never watched a second of it. I am not a fantasy guy, so I assumed it just wasn’t for me. I was never more wrong about anything in my life. We watched half of season 1 on Thursday, and as of yesterday, we are 1 episode away from finishing season 3! A few late nights, but the steroids allow me, sometimes without asking, to stay up much later than a few weeks ago.

Speaking of the steroids, by Thursday, I felt so good, I agreed to a weekend full of events. None of them were particularly hard to do, but the made me realize that I now have some very real limitations in my life. On Saturday, we met some of Meghan’s friends from back in her college days. I had never met them, which made me a little nervous. I still have trouble speaking, although nowhere near as bad as prior to the steroids, but it’s slow and it bothers me more than the physical limitations. Introducing myself to new people is a nerve-racking experience because of the communication effort required, so I figured I had to try and impress in every other way.

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t shave or trim my beard, put on real clothes, or go a day without a hat on my head. Why would I? I rarely see anyone, I can’t leave the house, and when lounging, I prefer to “Mega-lounge”. But on this day, I decided it would be better for me, and easier for them, if I cleaned up a bit. I trimmed my beard and shaved, a process that took 4-5 times longer than it used to, and resulted in a minor injury. While putting shaving cream on my face, i put a finger directly into my eyeball. It was minor, so no worries. I put on some jeans, a t-shirt, and my finest flannel. I did my hair, put on some cologne, and when I got downstairs, I put on some shoes, which is a whole task itself. By the time I finished, it was time to go.

On the way to the restaurant, I talked with Meghan about what to order, because I didn’t want to look silly eating something awkward, or struggling to slice a steak. My knife wielding skills are pretty sketchy these days. Mostly, I was talking, a lot, because I was nervous and anxious, and talking is how I deal with that. Eventually, we arrived the restaurant and Meghan pushed me inside, where we were immediately greeted by our lunch companions. They were a great couple, fun and easy to talk to, and we actually sat, talking and drinking, for 3 hours. We ate at Cooper’s Hawk and it was great. I ordered the Campanelle Rustica, an amazing pasta dish that was easy to eat. I had 2 pints of beer, and when we stood up to leave, I knew that was too much. Back home, we continued to binge on GOT, eventually heading up to bed. I was extremely tired, and moving slow.

 

On Sunday, I had one of my est friends, Mike, over to watch the Packer game. I had to watch as my wife did some minor cleanup, and when Mike arrived at 11:30, I ordered some pizza. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, and spending some time with him made my year. I never stopped talking, and despite my rambling, we watched our team, the mighty Green Bay Packers, win a game despite being underdogs to the lowly Chicago Bears. We watched the Cowboys get beat up for a while, and then sadly, Mike had to leave. Not learning a lesson from the day before, I had 3 beers, and it was definitely too much.

2 days of socializing was an absolute shock to my body. I spent Monday recovering, writing a small portion of this post, and later in the day, I rested, and continued to binge on GOT. It took me forever to get upstairs, and I had the biggest test yet the next day, Tuesday.

I felt crazy when my wife had to wake me to get ready for the DatScan that morning. I lack the ability to sleep much past 8 AM most days, but we had to be to St. Luke’s by 9:45. Back in sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a hat, we made it on time. At 10 AM, I was injected with a dye for nuclear imaging. I was to return at 1, after my brain had absorbed all of the chemical, for the actual imaging session. We hung out in the cafeteria, and returned at 1. They took me back at 1:40.A few issues along the way, requiring us to restart the imaging 2 times, made for a very uncomfortable last portion of this testing. I had my arms strapped at my sides with a large strap that went clear across my chest. My head had foam pads snugged between my ears and a head “rest”. They then applied a strap across my forehead, and another under my chin. I wasn’t moving anywhere. When the test ended at 3:00, I felt like someone had been drilling into the back of my skull for the entire test. My head was killing me, and after 5 1/2 hours at the hospital, I was super relieved to head home. More binge-watching and then more sleep, and I woke up to a phone call from my doctor’s office this morning…..

It has been verified that I do NOT have Multiple System Atrophy!!!!

I am so relieved. That diagnosis has been looming over my head for a month, and there is no positive side to that diagnosis. My nerves have calmed, and after 4 days of exhaustion, I am coming back around to the new, steroid-improved version of myself.

On a side note, I want to share some fact about this blog, and thank all of you, the readers, for helping me achieve these results. I get a lot of support here, and it really helps me cope and stay positive to write something people actually read….

Since September 26th, sickrick.blog has had 1,321 visitors, and 3,274 views.

WWG Views

In that same time-frame, I’ve had visitors from 22 different countries, all shown below.

WWGWWG - Map.JPG

Thanks to each and every one of you. It’s beyond appreciated.

Soon, maybe even later tonight, I will be introducing a new logo. Please keep your eyes peeled for this. It was designed by an amazing young Graphic Communications major, and a good friend’s daughter, Andrea Klohn. She is wicked talented and as you will soon see, a future star in her field.

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to share and help me build my viewership.

 

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5 Comments

  1. I’m glad you and Meghan got to enjoy visits with your old friends this weekend. And thrilled for your great medical news this week. Love and prayers from the entire Tapp Family.

    Liked by 1 person

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