|Legs in training....|
Since I promised to bring survival tips for my hoped-for readers, here's one that may appear to be a bit unorthodox but a real winner for me. Anyone with any sort of chronic illness is very susceptible to germs and viruses from everywhere. Obviously. Duh! With CFIDS/CFS/ME, our immune systems are hinky, thus the "ID" in CFIDS, the "Immune Dysfunction" syndrome part. Our immune systems are over-active and under-active, both at the same time, so very contradictory in an illness full of contradictions. I need to meet about every month or so with my long-suffering GP, who of everyone I've ever seen in my plethora of doctors over the past 37 years, from New York City across the good old USA, has been the best and most successful help in my care. We make a good team, actually, as we've together tackled research and question seemingly everything that comes our way. Some years we're gung-ho about learning every new thing, other years we just throw up our hands, give up and go into survival mode. A small-town GP, he's more than a bit understanding and has more patience than I could ever dredge up, which is not to say we agree on all, but just that he's one of the best things that's ever happened to me. Oh, he does sometimes see me as a bit of sport and I just know the man often revs me up to hear what will come out of my mouth next. But compassion when need be, it's there! However, I hate the germs and viruses that I seem to bring home each and every time I see him...or my dentist for that matter. With my dentist we've agreed any work that needs to be done can start around April, once flu season is over, but must end by September, before flu season begins. And the best part, perhaps, is that he's enforced these parameters at times when I've thought to myself, "flu season be darned," crazily thinking I was just too careful. I can't exactly not see my GP, however, for so long. So after many years, which included two serious bouts of pneumonia, we've worked out a system that seems to be the answer to some of the problems of my funky immune system. My long-suffering hubby goes to the office, as I stay behind in the car with a book or my Kindle, signs me in, takes care of whatever finances need to be addressed and actually SITS in the waiting room for the moment when my name is called. He then quickly runs out to the car and we go in through a back door, thus avoiding as many sneezing and coughing people as possible. How I wish we had some sort of system like that when the kids were little and you'd take your children in for a "well visit," only to bring home three kids laden with chicken pox or some of the other childhood illnesses lurking in the pediatrician's office! But I digress.... To tell you the truth I am always tempted to take some sort of germ-killer in a can and spray it at all within my reach. Despite many outrageous things I HAVE tried, Lycol'ing my way to an exam room is even too much for me, SO FAR. Yes, I may sound like a diva, but here is an example of why this has become a necessity. I came down with a common bug going around one winter and was sick as a dog for two solid years. Just as I was in the home stretch something strange happened to my legs...they turned blotchy and mottled with lovely shades of purple and red. They've stayed that way for the most part, unfortunately. They are of huge interest to my doctors...they seem to love looking at them and speculating as to how the heck THAT happened. I'm not so easily amused. And poor hubby - my legs were what he'd first fallen in love with, only later my sparkling personality! <wink!> So, if your immune system is really wacko and you know that a needed or required visit to your physician may cause you to come down with everything down to the seven plagues of Egypt, consider my strategy. Granted, it may be difficult to find someone in your life who's willing to sit in a waiting room full of sniffles and sneezes but it's a heck of a lot harder to come down with a bug that can take months and months to rid yourself of. Plus I find that with each "flare," we do get more permanent damage to our bodies. Ask my legs.