Vogue Knitting Live! Los Angeles! Serious illness! Wheeee!
Let’s back this on up a bit. The week before VKL, I came down with shingles. If you’re blissfully ignorant of that like I was, it’s revenge of the chickenpox, when the dormant virus comes back and attacks your nervous system. And let me tell you, this disease has it all: incredible pain, disgusting rashes, the association with it being an elderly person’s disease, a stupid name that’s embarrassing to say, and heavy drugs that mess you up as bad as the disease itself.
So up to VKL. It was great, by the way, and I’ll do a whole blog post later about the awesomeness that is Franklin Habit. But I missed a lot, including all the demos I wanted to see, and I didn’t get to hit the marketplace as much as I wanted, either. You know how you start feeling better again, and then you try to, like, function normally, and it kicks your ass? Yeah, that.
To add to the fun, they had put me on prednisone. By the time I was actually in LA, the prednisone and the shingles were having a fine ol’ time together. Turns out the side effects of prednisone are very similar to the effects of shingles—great planning medical community, thanks a fuck of a lot for that one! And since I’m so freaking short—5′ 1.5″—and I only weigh 130 pounds, the dosage I was given was, oh, just a little bit more than I really needed. But no problem, right? It’s only a steroid, and if you stop taking it abruptly you’ll only go into anaphylactic shock and maybe die. So, oh, you’re having severe side effects? Well don’t stop taking it, you’ll just have to tough it out! Thanks again, medical community! (Fuckers.)
Now here’s a little demo of how tough I can be. On Saturday, at the conference, I’ve got vertigo so bad I’m starting to get dizzy, and my right eye and ear are kind of, going out. For the record, you need your eyes and ears to see and hear, so, you know, they’re kind of valuable to me (I bet you feel the same affection for your eyes and ears, too). My face was tingling all day, and it starts to move into active pain. I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on TV, but I know that’s all pretty bad. So I go sit in the hotel lobby and wait for my sister to be done shopping so she can take me to the ER. It’s bad enough that I’m going to make her do that, I can’t stand to insist she leave early, too. Huh, in retrospect, I am a freaking idiot. Which, actually, isn’t news to anyone who knows me. But damn, I do have teh pain tolerance.
In the ER: after dealing with the asshole nurse who tries to force me to admit that I’m just anxious (that’s the first thing they do in the ER, screen for overreaction), and talking to the doctor, I’m put on an IV. There’s your sign that the doctor did not think I was overreacting. The nurse giving me the IV blows out my vein on the first try, so I instruct her in how to hold the vein straight in the back of my hand so she can get that one. Wow, nurses really fucking hate when you instruct them like that. Hey, I gave her a chance, but she screwed it up, so then she gets the instructor treatment. I bet—other than doctors—teachers make for the most irritating-as-shit patients. Which somehow I find highly amusing.
Bloodwork and several other tests later, doc concludes that it must be side effects of the prednisone, and not actual damage from shingles. Did I mention that shingles can cause blindness and permanent nerve damage? Which is why the doctor and I were legitimately concerned (pay attention, Asshole Check-In Nurse). Doctor also says he thinks I was overprescribed on the prednisone, which I kind of had figured out by now. But don’t stop taking it! Remember there’s that possibility of death and all. So, oh well, sucks to be me.
So, this week I’m back home in Austin. Hey, you know what else is fun? Standing up in class and helping students with Flash and InDesign while still dealing with vertigo. Because I’m still on the prednisone (in the tailing-off stage), and I still get vertigo when I stand for too long. And the insomnia! That’s a real hoot, too, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since this all started.
So what’s the lesson here, kids? Once again, be a bad patient. I should have questioned the initial prescriptions I was given; they actually gave me a maximum dosage, which is way too much for me. But it’d been so long since the last time I dealt with prescriptions I’d forgotten about the dosage thing. And don’t think you can trust your doctor to remember that shit for you. Remember the last time you made a mistake at work? Exactly. They’re only human, you gotta be your own biggest advocate, it’s actually not fair to put it all on them.
But, um, Vogue Knitting Live was fun otherwise. And my sisters are pretty damn cool. The people who will take you to the ER and sit with you, cracking jokes the whole time, those are the people who make life worthwhile.
Oh, and maybe you did great work and all and it used to be worse, but, fuck you, Arthur Nobile. Sorry, that’s just how I feel about you right now.