Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Since nothing has worked for me this week, I'm taking today to attempt to get organized. I need to have two papers to hand in to my committee in two weeks--the one I wrote with my old lab is pretty much done, and the new one is crappy and will take a while. I need to make an hour presentation for endocrine grand rounds in a few weeks. And I need to find a journal article and make a journal club presentation in a week and a half. Since I haven't had time to do any of these things, today is the day.

And that's good, because I am totally exhausted. I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd think my thyroid isn't working. Today especially I've been in a mental fog like I've never experienced. It literally feels like the same fogginess you get when you've had a lot to drink--it's hard to concentrate, I can't get my eyes to focus, and I literally feel like I'm going to fall asleep. It almost made me worried to drive this morning. And I've gotten more sleep than usual the past few nights, so that shouldn't be it.

But since my mom has Hashimoto's, as do most or all of her six sisters, and my grandma had thyroid disease needing surgery, I get my TSH checked every year. And I'm always sort of borderline high, but it's in the upper limits of normal. So really, that can't be it. Although I'm due to get it checked again in June, so we'll see.

Of course, the hypochondriac in me sees symptoms whenever something weird comes up. Pale, rough, dry skin? Check. Hair loss? Check (but that's normal post-pregnancy). Cold sensitivity? Check (but I've had Raynaud's for over a decade). Muscle stiffness/pain? Check (again, not unusual for me). Constipation? Check (but my GI system sucks). Bradycardia? Not really, but I've always had a slower heart rate. Weight gain? Well, no weight loss, despite trying, so we'll call that one a maybe.

Now, I have no hoarseness, no decreased reflexes (I'm assuming), and no myxedema. And I've always been tired. So I'm guessing I'm probably just coming down with something that is making me all head-foggy (although I have no congestion or pressure, which usually precedes illness for me). I think all the stress is just catching up to me and wearing me out. That's probably what's killed my appetite too.

But see how easily I can slip into the hypochondriac stuff? At least now I can talk myself out of it too.

It's just been a stressful few weeks. Sophie got really sick last week. It was Wednesday night/Thursday morning. She usually sleeps through the night, so when she woke up crying at 1 AM, I thought maybe she had gas or something. When I picked her up, she started vomiting. She was retching so hard her little abdomen was heaving. I felt totally helpless--I held her, and when she stopped vomiting after about half an hour, she was starving. I tried feeding her, but as soon as she swallowed, she'd start vomiting again. I gave up on that and just held her. I didn't want to lay her down--she'd start vomiting as soon as she was horizontal, and I didn't want her to aspirate it. She didn't have a fever, and she didn't have diarrhea, so we didn't know how sick she really was. We both decided that, after about two hours, if she started vomiting again, we'd call the doctor and see if we needed to go to ER.

About 3 AM or so, she just passed out. It was the saddest thing--she was so upset, so tired, so hungry, and so exhausted from vomiting and crying. I sat up in the bed and kept holding her most of the night because it seemed to be the only way that she was comfortable. That, and then at least I could tell she was breathing.

If an adult was just throwing up without a fever or anything, I'd let them go. But to see little Sophie heaving and being so uncomfortable--it was horrible! But at the same time, I didn't want to be that mom that freaks out every time their kid has a cold. I knew that if she had a fever or started having a lot of diarrhea, I'd go to the ER. But she was still having wet diapers, and after a few hours, she could drink fluids, so I just wasn't sure. I planned to go to work on Thursday (despite not sleeping) because I trusted my mom. Sophie had kept a 7 AM feeding down, so I thought she'd be ok. Well, then she vomited (although less violently) at 8, and then again at 9. She looked much better than she had in the morning, so I didn't know what to do. I figured we'd see how things went. My mom took her down to her house, and I knew I could always leave work and get her if she got sick again.

Well, just after my mom left, I started having second thoughts. I called the nurse line at my doctor's office, and after waiting on hold for half an hour, she thought I should bring Sophie in, just to be sure. Of course, they wanted to see her in less than an hour, and it's half an hour down to my mom's. And I hadn't showered yet. Luckily, my mom had just gotten home, and she turned around and came back so I didn't have to go down to get Sophie.

The doctor checked her out and said things looked ok. She only had a little temperature of 99.5, and she looked much better. He said it was probably something viral and she'd be fine in a few days. And of course, she never was sick again. I felt a little weird calling the doctor's office to get her in, but I figure better safe than sorry. It didn't help that I had read a story the day before about a three year old who got sick and was dead within 36 hours. I just wanted to be sure.

Really, I have to say that those few early morning hours were some of the scariest of my life. It's so frightening when a baby is sick--they can't tell you what's wrong, or where it hurts. And I couldn't do anything other than hold her while she was heaving so violently. It was just awful.

Luckily, she's been much better. Good thing too, because with Tim being out of town this week, I know taking care of a sick baby by myself would be terrifying. Luckily, my mom's been a huge help, and Jen's been home for spring break, and she's been staying overnight with us. I really don't know how people raise babies without family nearby. I don't think I could do it. I'm not great about making really close social connections with people that I feel like I could leave my sick child with them. I'd probably have to, if we lived far away, but I'm glad that at least for the first one, we have lots of help.

Anyway, sorry for the long and rambling post. It's really hard to keep a train of thought today. What I really need is about a three-day-long nap, but that's not happening in this lifetime.

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