About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Answers Found in the Oddest Ways

The Original Clarence

Just after Thanksgiving, I had a freak accident which resulted in two surgeries for acute compartment syndrome and me almost losing my arm and hand, and indeed my life.  I'm still not completely sure what happened - though I DO know that it had to do with complications due to the CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia - since  hubby and my daughter have found it almost impossible to discuss, much less fill in the blanks.

The first memory I have of the whole incident is well into the second week of December, though I'm told I wouldn't stop talking, and evidently spent a lot of time speaking in French, of all things - a language I don't even know, other than the tiny bit recalled from high school, eons ago - and when I still had a functioning brain.  Even back then I was not the most talented in my attempts at the language.

Over the last few years, I've often thought that my guardian angel needs a name, especially after so many near-misses with me, but this incident took the cake.  So he's now called "Clarence," the name of the angel-in-training in "It's a Wonderful Life."  Coincidence?  I'm not sure, but "Clarence" it is. This near-death experience included near-kidney failure, fluid around all of my organs, near pancreatitis (jury's still out on that one) and a 50-lb weight gain within just a few days from the massive fast-flowing IV's and numerous other complications of which I'm blissfully unaware. I ended up looking remarkedly like the Pillsbury Doughboy and moving about as successfully as the poor tyke.  Luckily things started to turn around once they gave me a couple of blood transfusions, something I really didn't particularly want since I had a near-death experience with that back in '79. But there was no choice, really. The timing was right for oh so many things, a sort of "perfect storm."

I'd had the flu since before the darn accident and though I normally run a fever a couple of times a day, this was way beyond even MY norm. At one point, out of desperation, I started squirting water on my face. Yes, I know there are those who make fun of paying good money for water-in-a-can but pouring water in a plastic bottle with no aerosol accomplishes nothing and since I really have so little carbon foot printing, I figured, I'm due a few points.

I had a few days when my eyes burned a lot and suddenly I realized it had been ages since my eyes were even mildly dry.  I couldn't figure out the reason, but I was happy since no amount of eye drops have ever helped.  My (old) eye doctor could never understand it and kept giving me tips, none of which worked, frustrating all.   I became almost an obsession, each doctor getting hung up on this tiny piece of minutiae in the grand scheme of things. I actually thought about trying the eye drops advertised on TV, usually during the evening news, but thought that the woman had really weird eyes...no thank you, I have enough problems.

But today I saw another person on that commercial and backed up my TV to hear her spiel. Well, actually I wanted to see how crazy HER eyes looked.  I'd hoped they'd tweaked the formula.  As I listened to the woman doctor talking, I heard a word which went "Ping!" in my brain.  She talked about the inflammatory process of the eye and why the eyes can become so dry.

BINGO!  I'd been describing my eyes as hard as marbles, which no amount of drops could penetrate. Well, that's what this product is, an anti-inflammatory going right to the spot.

I've been on an anti-inflammatory since my compartment syndrome surgeries. And all this time I've been forcing myself to drink a good amount of water, down from the usual gallon or more a day I normally crave, which drives hubby up the proverbial wall, with him "threatening" to set up a faucet above my bed. 
What kind of CFIDS'er and Fibro was I?  We all seem to walk around carrying water.  In the beginning, CFIDS and Fibro docs caught on quickly that those patients holding onto their water bottles for dear life were the ones who had CFIDS and/or fibro. They knew our diagnoses before even talking to us as they noticed our red eyes (from dryness), along with chapped lips, and the inside of our mouths sticking to our teeth, making any discussion that much harder.

In other words, my eyes were inflamed to the point where no amount of drops put into them could penetrate and do any good. The same with the dry mouth - so inflamed that the thirst was never quenched.  Now with the anti-inflammatory, it appears that the moisture is getting through. The red eyes seem to be disappearing. Lip balm is actually working. 

Yee-ha!  So, one puzzle out of how many hundreds has been answered?  Clarence, you old rascal, you did GOOD! ;)  Bring on that mascara!


  1. Good afternoon, Era! I think it's wonderful that you have Clarence watching over you. With all that you've been through, and today, you still have a great sense of humor! God has blessed you with living water. I think you should write a book, please. I would buy several copies for friends and I would keep one so that you can sign it. Jokes are on their way...

    1. How very sweet of you, Leo - and funny! I'll keep you in mind if I ever decide to go the book route! :) I'm glad you've come by to see what I've been up to!