Seeing spots

Somewhere in the midst of this cold, I was hit with chills and pains. My whole body ached. My head was pounding. And I had an 11-year-old foster daughter to take care of so I couldn’t do what I’d normally do, which is to go to bed and stay there.

But I couldn’t function with the pain so I took an extra-strength Tylenol. In fact, I took an extra-strength Tylenol a couple of times; just one at a time, even though the dose is two. Yes; I’m a lightweight. But it really did help the pain.

Of course, what I feared might happen happened: The dreaded petechiae.

You see, I have an annoying little “blood disease”* called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. This basically means that my body is on self-destruct mode on two levels: (1) My bone marrow doesn’t adequately produce platelets and (2) my immune system thinks that platelets are evil and kills them. (Yay! It’s like my own internal civil war!)

When I’m sick, my immune system goes into overdrive and my platelet counts generally drop even lower than they normally are. But the petechiae don’t show up until my counts are ‘really’ low.

And guess what? Some medications – yes, even ones as “harmless” as Tylenol – can lower platelet counts.** But I took the risk the other day because I couldn’t function without it.

When I went to bed last night there were two or three little guys on my right leg. When I woke up this morning there were dozens and dozens and dozens of them on both legs. Thankfully, as I write this post there are only a handful of ‘new guys’ since this morning.

And so, I guess I need to go have my blood work done first thing tomorrow morning. And I guess that I won’t be running full-speed at the Freeze Your Fanny race in a week and a half’s time. (Not that I would have with my poorly coccyx anyhow.) And I guess that I have now shared more about my medical maladies than you may care to know. But now you know. Sorry about that.

Oh! And it seems that today is now the day that I am knocking into coffee tables and doorways. I have watched three small bruises form on my lower extremities today due to my clumsiness (aided, of course, by the low platelet count). I think I’ll just stay put here on the couch until bedtime now.

But on the happy side: I returned to work today. I’m not completely over the cold (or the cough!) but I was pleased to feel well enough to make it to the office – even if I did leave two hours early because I was so tired. Yay! for back to work though. Right?

* I used quotations here because whilst it is classified as a disease, I actually hate to call it that because saying you have a blood disease freaks people out.
** DON’T PANIC! Whilst there are dozens and dozens of things that can cause a depletion of platelets, if you have a normal platelet count you will not be adversely affected by a small drop in the numbers.

8 Replies to “Seeing spots”

  1. For a person with so much ailments you look radiant. No i’m not freaked by your blood disease; at least it’s not catchy. I admire your enthusiasm. Chapeau to you!

    1. If you’re not going to be enthusiastic, what’s the point?
      Actually, when I think about people getting freaked out about my blood thing, it’s normally people I know and they’re normally freaked out because I have a paper cut or they think I’m over doing it. (Which sometimes I probably am!)

  2. I’m very concerned for you now . So I’m sending thoughts and prayers of higher platelet counts your way! Please let us know how everything is after you get back from the doctor. Love you.

    1. I am leaving work now and heading to get my counts done. The basic rule of thumb is that the doctor will call me immediately if they are lower than 20. She’ll call the next day if they’re 20-50. Or she’ll send the results in the post if they’re over 50.
      I will let you know (by personal email so that you don’t have to check back) once I hear. So, the longer it takes to hear from me the better!!
      (My normal is 70-80. “Normal” normal is 150-400, for comparisons.)
      And thank you for your prayers! They mean a lot to me, really!

  3. Aw hon, just when you were doing so well with your blood works! Hope you get better soon and stop bumping into things. Perhaps not entirely unconnected to your exhausted invalidity?
    I’m not going to nag you about whether you really should run the Freeze your Fanny gig in a week and a half’s time. I know you will be the best judge of whether you’re well enough. But do be careful and look after yourself. Lots of folk want to see you well enough to complete all your adventures this year

    1. Oh, I’m sure it’s a combination of the cold, the exhaustion, the Tylenol, and just random dumb luck! But I’m also sure that it’s not the worst I’ve ever had am am pleased that there are no new marks and bruises today.
      I promise I will take it easy and walk (or not participate) in the race if my counts so dictate. No point killing myself for a 5K when I’ve got a marathon on the horizon! Plus, I can enjoy the new year’s adventures better if I don’t make my self more sick by being stubborn. Not that I would ever be stubborn!

  4. Be sure to let us know, too, when the counts come in. Praying for later rather than sooner. And, I don’t think the boys will mind if you walk or even just watch the 5K. Your health comes first. See you in a week.

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