Our house is about to turn 60. And if you live in an older home, I’m sure you understand that dreaded ripple effect of either improving or fixing anything. For instance, if you want to install recessed lighting, you may find yourself having to upgrade your electrical service. In order to upgrade your electrical service, out-dated wiring–wherever it exists, which you don’t necessarily know–will need to be replaced. This requires patching and new paint. The Ripple Effect (also similar to the Mouse and Muffin Effect).
The same seems to be true of my 42-year-old body.
**Warning: From this point, males of the species (and anyone related to me) may want to stay clear of this post, as it may involve TMI.**
This winter, in an effort to improve my health, I finally made a 3-year overdue ob/gyn appointment. I left with an order for a routine blood test and a mammogram. I got the blood test. A couple of days later, my doctor called: my red blood cell count was a 7 (“Basically, you have half the amount of blood in your body that you are suppose to have”). I’ve battled incredibly heavy monthly cycles for most of my adult life and have been anemic in the past. But never like this–although it explained quite a bit about how tired I was. A uterine ablation was indicated to end my monthly bleeding. “Non-elective” is what my doctor wrote.
Of course there were screening tests involved. (Ripples)
First was the very personal transvaginal ultrasound (and those politicians who want to require that procedure of anyone handling either an unplanned pregnancy or a potentially unviable fetus should have to have a trans-penial-scrotal ultrasound, complete with a little camera sent up their uretha while wide awake staring at the monitor). The only positive is the great feeling involved in the “no cancer” dance. Then came the uterine biopsy. This was much less awkward and performed by my own doctor in her office–but so painful that my poor friend who went with me to the appointment heard me yelp out in the waiting room. Again, a happy dance when it was all clear.
Of course, I also needed to get my blood levels up to double digits so that I could be knocked out. Anesthesia will NOT touch you if your red blood cell count is below 10. That involved hormones and lots and lots of iron. The hormones placed me in a first-class seat on the Crazy Train and caused a 3-1/2 week period. My psychiatrist had to up the dosage of my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety prescription. And we all know what iron supplements 3x a day do to you! More Ripples (and lots of colace).
Finally, yesterday was the big day! The ablation went well. I’m happy to say that I’m recovering very quickly. Unfortunately, the ripples discovered during the procedure will require even more trips to a doctor: I seem to unknowingly suffer from sleep apnea and have a unique cardiac rhythm all of my own. The anesthesiologist talked to my husband while I was waking up and said that my oxygen bottomed out a few times while I was snoring (the procedure only requires IV anesthesiology, light enough that I had dreams and, I guess, snored the roof off the room). She also said that I should have a baseline recorded of my heart rhythm to avoid any unnecessary tests and panic in the future (aka, more ripples). Nothing wrong–it’s just my own unique rhythm.
So, last night, my dear husband woke up and heard me snoring. He seems to have studied me as I slept. I stop breathing every 8 snores. Talk about motivation to lose weight! I do NOT want a CPAP mask!
Like the 60-year old house, my 42-year-old body just continues to ripple and ripple. At some point, a positive ripple effect must surely occur, right? Like when you break open a wall to fix some plumbing and find a good sum of cash that the now-deceased, bank-averse owners hid. I hear that can happen. Anyone have a mallet?