Your mama probably warned you just as my mama did, be careful what you wish for as it just might come to pass. A couple of weeks ago, I was felled by a bacterial infection, campylobacter, which landed me in the hospital in a dehydrated state. The bacteria is fairly common but, due to my reumatoid arthritis treatment, my immune system is somewhat compromised and what sends me dehydrated to the hospital others often shake off in a few days. It’s one of the pitfalls of the RA treatment, so it pays to avoid being around other sick people as much as possible.
I’ve been doing extremely well for the past several months. So much so that I’d begun saying to Hubby that maybe the doctors misdiagnosed me after all three years ago. Or maybe I’ve gone into a spontaneous remission. The hospital emergency room doctors were very diligent in finding out what caused my illness, and luckily chose the right antibiotic and began treatment even before they isolated the bacteria, hence I got a head start on the treatment. For which I was grateful, because Hubby and I had long been planning a visit to my ancestral home in Florida for early November.
But the doctor at the hospital wanted us to postpone the trip. Reluctantly, she agreed that I could call the shots, based on how well I was feeling while recuperating at home for the week leading up to the trip. We had plans to visit family for the first four days, then continue westward on a roadtrip beginning at Cedar Key, one of my favorite old haunts, where I would meet blogger friend Terri, of Writing Away in Cedar Key, then continue south all the way to Key West where we would stay a couple of days, then back up the east coast and on to Orlando where we were scheduled to leave Friday night.
Because I had an active infection, I was forced to cancel my RA treatment for November just days before the trip, and it was suggested to me by the same hospital doctor that I may want to discuss my treatment with the reumatologist. She thought it might be a good time to test just how long I could go without any treatment at all. It seemed like a good idea at the time.Was my diagnosis accurate? Had I gone into a spontaneous remission as the good lady doctor suggested? Oh how I wish I knew if I REALLY had reumatoid arthritis! I said over and over to Hubby.
I came home Saturday, nearly ten pounds lighter, under heavy warning that recuperation would take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. Desperate from from lack of sleep (who can sleep in a hospital?), I went to bed at 8 o’clock and slept like a baby. Sunday morning I felt pretty good except that the glands under my ears at the jawline hurt when I touched them as if I had mumps. As long as I kept my hands away, I was fine.
It was early Monday morning, the date of my cancelled RA treatment, that I got out of bed and bam! I knew without a doubt, yes Alice. There is such as thing as reumatoid arthritis and YOU do have it! Suddenly my memories of pre-diagnosis flooded back, and I remembered what it felt like to have the pain and swelling shift from joint to joint, rendering me unable to walk well, feeling dreadfully tired, and my fingers and wrists becoming useless to the point of having to have assistance to dress, to go the bathroom, plus the indignity of having to put the elevated toilet seat on the regular toilet because I couldn’t bend my knees well enough to sit down normally.
With the assistance of low dosage Prednisone, as advised by my reumatologist, I was actually able to make the trip to Florida, although Tuesday–a whole week later–was the first day I felt few effects from the RA flare. We had a wonderful time visiting relatives (my brother threw a family reunion dinner because I was there), Hubby and I met and were treated to a wonderul lunch by Terri her husband plus a wonderful carrot cake Ray baked special.
Visiting the old home places after years of absence certainly stimulates the muse, not to mention all the photographs I took. (If you’re interested in seeing those I’m making public, look in the left sidebar at the Flickr display and click on more photos.) It seemed like everything was conspiring against us making the trip, but thanks to the Pred, as I mentioned, plus the good care of staff at the airline (Delta & Continental) on the flight down by providing wheelchair assistance, we made it. I was embarrassed at the special treatment, but thankfully coming back I walked on my own two feet.
Sometimes you get what you wish for. I wished I could know for sure if I really did have RA, doubting Thomas that I am! And now I know. I had my delayed treatment today, and fully expect to be back to what’s normal for me very soon. Months from now, when I’m feeling so good that I forget how bad it was–and is–and if I start saying to Hubby again, maybe they misdiagnosed me! I feel too good to be a reumatoid arthritis patient, I know he’ll remind me, as he always does now that Mama’s not around to do it, be careful what you wish for. And the choice is clear. Regardless of the Remicade compromising my immune system, the RA is far far worse.