The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain – or where I’m walking

Finally back in the world of the living after nearly 2 weeks of sinus-infection-induced low-blood-pressure-haze and facing the prospect of going overseas for a month with the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient and the balance and endurance of a new lamb.  It has certainly been an interesting, incredibly frustrating and also kinda scary two weeks.  Interesting because I was, once again, unable to construct proper sentences, remember simple tasks or things that had happened and frequently ended up losing my train of thought or the word I was about to use.  I was also vague and a little ridiculous so I apologise for my recent vague and rambling posts about dreams etc.  Frustrating because I could hardly stand up for more than 10 minutes, ended up collapsed on the floor 3 times on the day I got sick and seemed to have eternally shaky hands.  And scary because it did not seem to be getting any better.

Still, where I am now is only almost where I was a couple of weeks ago, not back where I was last year.  At least it is an improvement; even if I did just fail miserably at my PT session!  The increased dose of Florinef (oral steroid related to cortisone that helps blood pressure increase due to fluid retention) seems to have helped my plummeting blood pressure but it is still not ideal.  I am seeing my cardiologist next week and she will be starting me on a new medication named Midodrine which is a vasoconstrictor (makes the blood vessels narrower to increase pressure) and seems to be the ‘gold standard’ for treating low blood pressure.  The only problem is you have to have it every 3 hours you are awake or something like that – looks like I might need a sports watch!  On top of that it might also mean I need extra meds and things when I have my laporoscopy in July, at least the Anaesthetist is one that does cardiac lists so he and my cardiologist should be able to work it out.

On Friday I had the final blood test for the satisfying the protocol for IgG infusions.  After several months of blood tests, antibiotics, getting sick, vaccination and more blood tests I am finally on the home stretch for seeing if it really is this IgG Subclass deficiency thing that is causing my recurrent sinus infections.  So if the test results say I can not make antibodies to the Pneumococcal vaccine I had a month ago there will be nothing more between me and these infusions and a (hopefully) normally functioning immune system – very exciting!  Now I just have to wait some more for the test results (insert elevator/thinking music here!).

I managed to fit everything into my pack and it only weighs 8kg (without water) so that is pretty good I think!  And I have rubber caps for the hiking poles so they don’t look quite so scary and airline staff will be more inclined to let me take them on the plane instead of being worried I would try and hold up the plane or skewer someone with one!  I have one more orthotic and boot arrangement to try before I give in and see the podiatrist again about new orthotics.  His solution was a bit of chiropody felt on the side of the orthotic to fill in the gap in the boot but that hasn’t worked properly and neither does putting the boots insole over the orthotic – my new solution is to try the orthotic over the top of the insole, we shall see.  So it looks like I’m pretty set now, I just have to wait for my guide book to arrive from Angus and Robertson (yeah I’m regretting that!).  After a rather cold and soggy weekend (actually a rather soggy year if we want to be more precise – I think the drought has well and truly broken – see photo!) I’m quite happy at the prospect of heading to Europe where it will be nearly summer with a daily average of 16-25 degrees!  Unfortunately Galicia, the area I will be walking in, is the more rainy province so I am quite glad I have now sorted out my wet weather protection equipment – my new pack cover fits perfectly and I am quite glad I bought that lightweight rain jacket a couple of years ago for Sound Relief as it is perfect.  The waterproof over-pants with green gaffa tape over the tear in the right butt cheek (not my doing) leave a bit to be desired but hey, it’s the Camino, not a fashion parade!

I have also been looking at getting myself a medical alert bracelet – particularly as I will be traveling by myself.  It is advisable for anyone with a medical condition that can affect their level of consciousness (or a myriad of other condition) to have one in case of emergency.  I will have to ask my cardiologist what she thinks I should put on it because the chances are that if I get in trouble very few people I would run in to on the way would know what Recurrent Vasovagal Syncope or Orthostatic Hypotension or Neurocardiogenic Syncope or Dysautonomia or POTS (depending on what you want to call it) actually is.  I’ve been having a look online to get some ideas about what other people with the same or similar conditions have written on their bracelets and the general consensus is; make it as simple and clear as possible.  I still have no idea what to write!  But I have decided to go with MedicAlert because they store your medical information in a database and engrave a phone number on your alert tag that can be called from anywhere in the world in case of emergency, even if their products aren’t as fancy as others on the market.  I would definitely suggest to anyone with complex medical issues that MedicAlert would be the way to go – obviously if you only need something simple like ‘Diabetic – on Insulin’, or ‘Allergic to Bee Stings – carries EpiPen’ it will fit on most tags you can find and then you can opt for the pretty coloured ones or fancy designs.  Now I just have to wait for my IgG diagnosis confirmation, medication change and I’ll be able to order it.  The only problem then will be translating it in to Spanish once I get it – I could probably hang a plastic keyring on it with the translation (as incredibly dorky as that sounds).  Lets see – Dame electrolytes por favor (I wonder how you say electrolytes in Spanish…)!

He he, maybe I should get a collar made for Ding that has ‘my owner has a Medic Alert ID’ – they are often made for dogs etc, I wonder if the company would be insulted if I asked them to make one for a Beanie Baby keyring!  And then if I did the tag would be as big as his head anyway 😉
It’s great having a mascot, particularly one as cute and personable as Ding!

In further news, I have signed up for Twitter so I can easily post updates on the road – once I sort out the whole international phone/SIM situation.  Look me up! Username: Clairelizz


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. billykennbilly kennedy
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 05:23:00

    hi there i did reply to one of your my wife seems to have had similar experiences on the camino


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