Monday, July 1, 2013

Wake up call - part 2

Well, the cold was a fizzer - it wasn't a cold but a seasonal allergy,
as I suspected when despite frequent explosive sneezes, my 'cold'
didn't get any worse.  So, the next blood test showed a truly horrific
12.   Luckily for me, despite horribly wet and at times windy
weather, I hadn't fallen over or been knocked down, although I had
a couple of small bruises which I couldn't remember getting, and
my gums weren't bleeding. Time for the big guns, to arrest the slide
before I did get into danger.

We decided on a steroid pulse, a quick in and out to hit the immune
system without upsetting my adrenals. First night it was 50mg -
100 times the dose I'd been on for the past four months. The
second night it was 25 mg. By then I was starting to feel side-
effects: palpitations, indigestion, discomfort in the hiatus hernia in
my oesophagus, inability to get back to sleep after going to the
toilet.  In the morning, before my next blood test, I felt some
shakiness and was a little slower than usual.

That blood test was encouraging. My platelets went up two and a
half times to 30. I saw my doctor the next morning - a day of
flooding rain and very slow traffic - and we dropped the steroids to
15mg, with a maintenance of 10 mg/night until my blood test next
week. By then there's a good chance the platelets will be up north
of 50, and we can breathe easy again.

Back on the Chinese herbs

Although the platelet number was encouraging, my haemoglobin
levels are still low, and so are my sodium levels. I had low sodium
back in January 2010, & I was encouraged to put salt on my food.  I
invested in a salt grinder and some lovely sea salt crystals, while
keeping the iodised powdered salt for cooking, as I need to
maintain good iodine levels. This time, we noticed my sodium levels were down at the same time as the haemoglobin. There might not be a connection, but it's worth looking up. Back then, my
antihypertensive medication was implicated, and since then I've
been put on a daily paracetamol dose to relieve arthritis pain. I
thought that might have contributed to the sodium loss, but the
reverse is the case. There are warnings against too much sodium in paracetamol preparations

To boost the haemoglobin, protect me from the worst of the higher
steroid doses and generally assist my nutritional profile, I'm back
on the Chinese herbs, twice a day for two weeks. I have no idea
what they are - a list of 10 Chinese herb names that meant nothing
to me, as I only know European and Australian herbs.  But they
taste like the ones I had back in March 2010  and are actually quite drinkable, so I think they're the same mix.

On the bright side

The drenching rains of the past two weeks have stopped, and we
have sunshine,blue skies and mild temperatures (18C in the middle
of winter). The snow peas and rocket I sowed a month ago are well
advanced, the everlasting spinach is still going and my geraniums
are still flowering. Being mostly housebound means I have been
reading more and I've finished knitting the cardigan I started three
months ago.  In spite of the ups and downs, life is good!

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