Tuesday, October 15, 2013
This week is an interesting (and uncomfortable) one that I really hope will end with some answers to my ongoing health drama. It started out Monday morning with a 5.5 hour appointment at the patch testing clinic. I was happy/nervous to be there as I had waited over 2 months for an appointment yet I was pretty certain that it was the start of a difficult week for me.
Per clinic instructions, I had to bring in everything in my house that could have come into contact with my skin over the last 5 months. I was tempted to bring the cat along, too, but I didn't.
They made up patches using some standard panels and a lot of my own products. A grand total of 210 patches! The panels include the standard panels, cosmetic ingredients, sunscreen ingredients, steroid ointments, textile dyes, common ointment vehicles and lots of my products.
Then they stuck them on me and put multiple layers of tape over the patches. Typically patches are applied to a patient's back, but since my back is so "involved" (i.e. full of rashes/irritation) they had to use the tops of my thighs as the primary site and then put a few on my back as well. When the patches and tape were applied, I was sitting down with my legs bent at a 90 degree angle. When I tried to stand up, I couldn't straighten my legs without it feeling like I was getting a snake bite (that thing where someone twists your skin in 2 different directions and it feels like you are getting burned). I pointed this out to the women who applied the patches. She apologized and called it a "learning experience" for her. She said I was stuck with the current arrangement because removing or re-positioning the tape would mess up the test.
This is the same woman who complained incessantly while she was in my room and especially while applying the patches. She shared that it had taken so long to prepare my patches (I waited in the room by myself for over an hour, maybe even 2 hours, while they created the patches) because the person she has helping her always screws stuff up. WAY TO INSTILL CONFIDENCE, LADY! If I seem particularly disgruntled in this post it is only because I have to stand with the posture of an arthritic 90 year old for 5 days for test results that may be "screwed up."
Oh, and then there is the part where she gave me a passionate lecture about all of the things I am not allowed to do this week including dressing myself or lifting things. These limitations are because those activities might mess up the patches and my mandated priority this week is to not mess up the patches. Her lecture would have seemed more earnest had she not immediately left the room, instructing me to get dressed on her way out. Plus, while she was away she was getting my products from home so that she could return them to me. At which point, I was expected to re-pack and lift my heavy suitcase. So, yes, immediately after telling me not to dress myself or lift things, she forced me into a situation where I had to do both.
I am a rule follower by nature and get a little anxious when I break them. Plus, at this point in the day I was feeling a little loopy. The cause for loopiness was probably a combination of hunger, having spent over 5 hours in that little exam room (most of the time by myself), and being in the midst of getting used to my snakebite legs and mattress back (more on that in a minute). All of that to explain the feeling that I had, the feeling that after I broke her rules, that she might come back in and yell at me for getting dressed and tell me I failed her test. I was brave though, I broke those rules and I've done it again since then. Bam.
And that suitcase? When they returned my stuff after using it for testing, they hadn't closed the lid on my giant, concentrated, liquid laundry detergent bottle. So, by the time I opened the suitcase up at home, there was a lake of laundry soap mixed in with all of my stuff and soaked into all of the nooks and crannies of my suitcase. I think I could rinse that suitcase for hours and more soap would still come out of it. Fun times.
In case you are wondering, in addition to the regular patches, I have some interesting things attached to my body this week. Including a snippet of yarn from the project I've been working on throughout the summer/fall. And, this one is really goofy: I have mattress parts taped to my back. We need to replace our mattress but I am afraid that whatever new one we buy will end up triggering an allergy and we will have wasted lots and lots of money and have nothing to sleep on. So, the fancy, natural mattress store gave me samples and the doctor cut away parts of the natural latex pad, wool batting and cotton casing fabric and taped them to me for the week. If I don't react, we can finally replace our 13 year old mattress!
In addition to the mattress info, I am really, really hoping to get useful information from the tests. If I allow myself to really dream big, I hope to identify what caused this whole health spiral to start in June and to find a way to prevent it from ever happening again. If you have any good mojo to spare, please send it my way this week. I'll just be here, with my legs bent at a 90 degree angle, trying not to lift anything or change clothes.
Posted by Trinity at 5:07 PM