Sunday, February 23, 2020

Birthday Party, Sleep Study Update, Migraines and Health Issues

Recently I went up to Rexburg to spend a day celebrating my close friend Nancy's birthday. She lives with my sister and I got transportation from a mutual friend. We had a lot of fun talking, playing games, playing with Lego, eating a yummy dinner and a wonderful "Thee Genius" birthday cake, and watching Phineas and Ferb—a series I think everyone should see. At one point most of us fell asleep in the comfy chairs and couches in the living room.

Although I enjoy spending time with friends, I don't get to do it as often as I want to due to poor health and personal responsibilities. One day I want to spend the night or even a long weekend in Rexburg, but right now I can't work out the logistics that would allow me to do that safely. As it is I must bring a HEPA filter with me and stay reasonably close to it while it runs. To sleep overnight I'd have to bring my own specially cleaned sheets, and sleep in a room cleaned and prepared for me, bring my own soap for showering—I have to shower daily—and have an emergency plan in place in case my health "crashes" for some unforeseen reason.

I had to repeat the home sleep study because they didn't get good enough data the first time, but the second time I took an over the counter sleep aid and I slept better. Unfortunately they can't get me into the office for a follow-up appointment until the second week of next month. I hope they have a good idea of what's happening while I sleep and they can do something to help me, because I'm still so exhausted, and stimulants do little to help me.

I've had a difficult few days with increased pain, difficulty thinking, and the always-present anxiety that gets worse when my other symptoms get bad. Yesterday I believe I had another silent migraine which forced me to rest most of the day; I get frustrated when I feel like I haven't been at least minimally productive each day, so I have to remind myself that sometimes the best thing I can do is to just try to recover.

I'm wondering if the cold snap my area has been experiencing has contributed to my health problems. I tend to suffer more when there's more smoke, smog, and general pollution in the air, and there was a hay fire in the area that spread smoke over Rexburg and, to a lesser degree, Idaho Falls.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Cold Hands, Exhaustion, a Sleep Study, and HTML Editing

For the last six months or so I have been struggling with severe fatigue. It doesn't matter how much I sleep, how often I nap, I'm exhausted and struggle to stay awake and coherent. Thinking things through now takes me significantly longer than it used to, and I struggle to make decisions. This is quite frustrating, even demoralizing, and the fatigue seems to exacerbate my anxiety.

I've talked to three medical professionals about it, and none of them, as yet, know what the problem is. The first one all but dismissed it. The second one ran some tests and referred me to the third one. The third is a sleep specialist who sent me home with a device that measured my respiration, pulse rate, blood oxygen, and movements.

Sleeping with equipment strapped to my body was an interesting experience. It wasn't bulky, but it was there and its presence caused me to struggle to sleep most of the night. It was only after I returned the equipment to the sleep lab that they warned me that if they didn't get good data they would have to repeat the test. If they got good data I will learn the results in one to two weeks, at which point I get to schedule a follow-up.

I really hope they have answers for me and it's treatable, because I'm starting to understand why sleep deprivation is considered by some to be a particularly cruel form of torture, not that I'm anywhere near what people who have gone through that had to deal with.

I've also been dealing with uncomfortably cold hands for a few years now. I had this problem when I was younger but it mostly went away, unless I went out in the winter or handled cold or freezing items, but now it's a near constant issue, and I'm wondering if it's somehow related to my fatigue and anxiety. As it is I keep my rooms warmer than most people prefer—between 75°F and 77°F—and a friend made me some fingerless gloves to wear to try to help. I've also talked to doctors about this and for the most part they don't know what to think of it. One suggested I might have Raynaud syndrome, but my symptoms don't really fit that diagnosis.

I spent some time this week working on my HTML editing macros for Vim. I hadn't touched them for almost 8 years and it was time to finally add HTML 5 compatibility, fix some issues, and so on. I've probably spent too much time tinkering with this, but it was fun and hopefully it's useful to someone out there.