5 Years ago today….

Is the day I started to get sick.

The preamble to my sickness started some time at the end of September — I tried to sing along to a song on the radio and I couldn’t do it.

I had trouble hitting a higher note. Wondered what was going on and didn’t see a doc about it.

A couple of weeks later, I was coming out of a local store and my hamstring popped. Clear out of nowhere; it just happened.

Also part of the prequel to my illness.

Zoom ahead to 5 years ago today. I got out of bed and got dizzy. I thought nothing of it…until evening came.

I retired for the night. I got dizzy again — and then my heart rate climbed to 100.

And didn’t come down.

I waited a day, saw my doc. He told me “Oh, you’re dehydrated, go home.”

And like an ass, I did.

I sat home for 4 days, drinking lots of water — my heart rate stayed the same, until Sunday night about 10:30 pm — it zoomed up to 150 a minute and that’s when I took myself to a hospital.

It took them 3 days of testing; they found out I have Graves disease.

That damn doc would have known in 2 seconds flat if he felt my thyroid and tested my reaction time with a bump on the knee. Nope; he said I was “dehydrated” and did no other exam.

I wore a heart monitor while there; I got blood thinners and I was on telemetry the whole time.

To top this off, this happened about 3 months after I lost my job — and the SOBs did NOT bother to send me a COBRA letter, or give me one, upon my departure that day.

That’s where the real fun began.

The day after I was discharged from the hospital, I had to return to my former work place and ask them for that letter. I was so out of it that I didn’t give them what I should have given them: holy hell and a good telling off: WOW, how dare you NOT make sure you give me what I am supposed to get.

I should have reported them to the state division of Banking and Insurance?

What would THEY do about it?

Thought they were very helpful to me when that company gave me trouble returning to me money that had to do with premium payments and the Cobra subsidy. I mentioned my troubles getting the money. And I still think they did this out of some kind of pique and just to give me trouble. C’mon…nobody can be that dumb. Not possible. And no, it wasn’t sleight of hand and “We forgot.”  I never bought a second of their claim that they forgot.

Actually it is a federal offense not to forward a letter for COBRA election to a soon to be former employee: it’s the law, is it not?

The moral to the story:

If you see any changes in any part of your health, get to your doc.

The change could be nothing or it could be something that needs immediate attention.

The change in my voice was from the thyroid getting larger; women will lose an octive or 2 and men will gain an octave or 2.  I sing in a very low key: it is F minor.

The hamstring giving out was muscle weakness; that’s part of a symptom of Graves Disease.  You waste your muscles — that’s what the weight loss is — all from muscle mass and that’s dangerous; you can’t even go back to the gym until a good clip of time has elapsed.

Every patient manifests differently; an endocrinologist told me he had a client who lost 100 pounds and had nothing but diarrhea. Those were his only 2 symptoms — remember, an enlarged thyroid speeds everything up. Hence the weight loss and diarrhea.

And another moral to the story:

Don’t let anybody push you around, a former company’s people in particular. “Forgot” to give the letter to me? Never bought it.

I still think that horrible workplace stress is what caused my illness.  I am in remission now, but I still take a small dose of methimizole to keep things normal (when I skipped it — you can, with your doc’s approval, 6 months later I was back in the hospital with the same increased heart rate, and this time I was about 100 miles from home, on a vacation. I went back to my doc and told him Nothin’ Doin’ and exercised the option to put me back on the methimizole, just to be safe.)

When I asked them why I never got the letter — this was when I had to go there in person the day after discharge — I got “I forgot.”  No you didn’t, Office Manager — and the company owner was right there: how come it didn’t incense YOU that somebody that you put in charge was neglectful of her duties?????

If I owned that company and I found out my office manager didn’t do as she was supposed to do, she’d have been put on notice and kept on a short leash after that, if not fired directly there and then.  Company Owner never blinked an eye when I pointed out a Cobra letter was the law. Great.

I had to go to charity care to get them to pay for my visit. I should have gotten the invoice and stuck Former Company with the entire bill.  I didn’t do it, I guess, because I was too sick to pursue it. I dunno; maybe that was the reason. I am sorry now I let them get away with it.

Their agreement was that I was to be covered until November’s end — this was decided when I was leaving the company — but they didn’t follow thorugh on that at all.

So you can see they are a problem and always was one to me. Who needs a trip like this for a purpose like that when you’re supposed to be home recovering from a hospital stay and when your illness is in its infancy???  You bet I was shaky and weak and just plain foggy and out of it.

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