The Path of Least Disruption

“You don’t have time for perfect,” reminds Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic.

I’m still alive. And one of the reasons I haven’t been around is because I knew when I returned, I’d inevitably hear about all the people who were not. That might sound a bit crazy, but, even when I’ve taken a month long break, anywhere from 3-6 people in our community will have died. With the winter stretch of the year always being the worst, I can only imagine who we’ve lost, now.

I don’t know how anyone is supposed to be okay with this. No one can possibly be okay when the only people they can truly connect with are those with similar diseases, and then to continually, year after year, watch all those people keep dying. Or otherwise become unable to communicate in a sort of living death, something that happens all too often in my communities. How do you not develop some type of complex around this? How do you deal with the constant stress of knowing that any time you go to make contact, there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be knocked out by grief for weeks by the death of yet another friend? If anyone knows (and most do) what it’s like to live with a loved one as they’re dying, it’s the same fear you feel that the next time you enter the room, they will have already passed. That’s been my reality for years now, and I feel backlogged with grief. This can’t be healthy for anyone.

I’m 100% out of the loop with everyone. It’s as if I ran off to meditate in the remote forests of India for six months without telling anyone, and just got back. I haven’t been in a position to be anyone’s friend, as cold as that might sound. Or maybe it just sounds honest. There’s a family that needs me here; to coax them away from their fears by being their voice of reason, which is really just their own voice that they haven’t yet given themselves permission to hear; to nudge them towards seeking help, seeking God, and taking care of themselves; to fight for and protect the needs of the children, who might otherwise be overlooked; to show them the possibilities of loving life even when nothing goes the way they expect, or desire; and most importantly, to lead by example that you can face life exactly as it is; it might not feel great, and you will probably feel overwhelmed for large stretches of time, but it’s possible. The pain of facing the hardship of life is far, far, less than the destruction of a lifetime that comes from trying to avoid or ignore it. I’m so glad I’m able to be this person, still, for those in my immediate vicinity. But with the condition I’m in otherwise, it’s both the least and the most I can do. My cup is always full, and any spare “spoon” I pick up I try to use doing something I enjoy so I still want to keep living. So far so good.

"If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill; if you can always find contentment just where you are: you are probably a dog." Jack Kornfield, A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times (2011).

Of course, when I do feel happiness–which happens more often than my serious, direct style of writing here belies–I’m immediately courted by survivor’s guilt. I’ve come to accept those intrusive thoughts for what they are–mental lies–and try not to take them too seriously. I know they’re a sign I need help, which I plan to get, somehow. As I keep saying: I won’t abandon myself. I just wish it didn’t feel like I had to abandon so many others to get through my own life, at the moment. I might be pouring too much thought into that, but that’s just part of who I am.

Lately, most of my attempts at self-compassion immediately detour to shame and guilt. Only after meditation did I even notice this had been happening. One moment I was feeling gratitude that I was able to wake up and listen to music for an hour and meditate, the next I was thinking of children in war zones who can’t do that, and people with illness so severe they can’t listen to music, and my brain’s idea of logic was that somehow me being able to do those things makes me “bad”… Because of course, me feeling guilty over the things I enjoy will help other people feel better, you see. Sigh.

My succinct, “life lessons style of writing” was never something I planned to do, but the extremes of my life birthed it. What I’m going to try to do now, is to take my site back to old school journaling. If you like to read that type of thing, read it. If not, don’t. I’m still non-existent on e-mail and social media for right now. There are “good days” and “bad days,” good stretches and bad stretches.

“Needing to isolate has to do with us, the sufferers. Pushing you out of [life is a] way to have some control over what is going on… We can’t handle the shit going on with us when people are always present, adding little things to the swarm going on in our heads. Sometimes it’s just too much and having people around, especially the ones we really love, it adds to overload. We get feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, and don’t want to put that on others. Being in a relationship with someone with PTSD means understanding a sufferers need to isolate, and all the other shit that comes along with it.”

via user “silver.” on MyPTSD support forum

With a few exceptions, this level of distance from others has been the case for me basically all of 2016 and thus far this year, after a period of extreme acute stress in late 2015; the straw that broke the camel’s back and turned my solitude into survival. When I read that bit above, it’s spot-on about how the presence of people, even people we like, somehow adds “little things to the swarm” of mental overload. Just asking me a question can cause my thought process to short-circuit, but it’s impossible to describe why. I know how I feel inside, and what I think inside, but getting that across is another thing entirely. It reminds me of a certain interview with Whitney Dafoe before he became 100% bedbound, where he said he wished sometimes he could just be around his loved ones without them talking to him, if they could just let him be around them without actually interacting, he’d enjoy that very much. I enjoy that immensely, as well, but it’s nearly impossible to experience unless you’re with another Buddhist or on a silent retreat somewhere.

Last Spring I got to thinking I was just in a rut, so while having a good spurt, decided to force myself to socialize in the event it might help. But while I enjoyed myself at the time, it backfired spectacularly. Even that which I actually want to do, accumulates into a ticking time-bomb of how long I last before I need weeks of isolation to counteract it. This has been worsening for years, and after the flood… I just don’t know.

Louisiana Flood Damage Debris Pile, Before Pick-Up © a rainbow at night, 2016

It’s taken me years to realize that what I’m doing is a response to something else that’s happening internally, that I’m not just choosing to do this because I feel like being alone. I do enjoy being alone, and I will always make the best of things even if I can only tolerate my own company. As I read somewhere and found quite truthful, sometimes the fight to fit in becomes worse than the illness. But enjoying solitude is not the same as wanting to socialize and engage with your community, and care for the friendships you’ve cultivated, and in fact even knowing you need to socialize because isolation begets all sorts of awful things, but then being completely cognitively stunned by the first response you’re required to generate. I don’t know what’s happened, I don’t know why this is so much more difficult than other mental tasks or why it affects me so profoundly, but whatever this is, it is very clear to me now that it isn’t just some preference. And I have to stop beating myself up about it. I can’t be the only person who goes through this. In fact, I know I’m not.

The gist of it is: Sometimes interacting makes me worse, but sometimes I can handle it, and there is unfortunately zero difference in how it feels to me at the time, so absolutely no warning I can give if a disappearance is about to happen. It’s like trying to predict when my OCD or stuttering will suddenly worsen. Or like asking someone with RA or Lupus or MS when their next flare-up is due. It just doesn’t work that way.

Because of this, I’ve noticed it’s started to become self-perpetuated, also. There have been times when I wanted to finally reach out, only to then stop myself because I feared so much being unable to continue the momentum; that I’d just end up disappearing again. It’s my way of trying to minimize the damage of suddenly disappearing around people I thought I could keep contact with. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but this is all so unpredictable, so that feels inevitable. As one person said, “Who the hell wants to be around a touchy individual who tends to disappear off the map for reasons most people cannot fathom?”

© a rainbow at night

When I write this, and really look at it, I find compassion for myself in dealing with multiple, multiple diseases–of brain, of body, of thought–that make isolation my current reality. Being in stillness was, and can be, very therapeutic. I can find acceptance for where I am, and others tell me I’m some sort of inspiration for finding a way to enjoy life despite all of this, but I still end up thinking about my inability to be what others want, or need, or deserve. On top of it all, maybe I’m also grieving yet again for the loss of my former self, this time the person I used to be just a few years ago, who was able to engage with the world. Everyone I met, even strangers, would tell me that they could somehow feel my love for life when they were around me. And now…

More to say about my brain, so switching gears. Sort of.

Opportunistic infections are something I’ve been dealing with constantly since the flood. Skin infections, fungal infections, follicle infections, eye infections, repeated ear infections, repeated sinus infections, gastrointestinal infection from probiotics because I accidentally ate yogurt more than once… Then my seasonal winter relapse, followed immediately by a major health discovery that I’ll have to talk about on a different day.

Right now, I’m being worked up for multiple sclerosis, and/or increased intracranial pressure (aka intracranial hypertension), or both, or who knows what. Two doctors have confirmed my optic nerves are very pale and not getting adequate blood flow (suspected papilledema). My neurologist thinks this is because the pressure around my brain is.. well, pressing on things, and causing a significant amount of my symptoms. Yesterday I got a shit ton of bloodwork to make sure my kidneys can handle upcoming tests, then I’ll be getting another MRI with contrast, and an infrared-assisted lumbar puncture (spinal tap), both next week.

Much of the time I can literally feel a pressure in my eyes. Then with my ever-present headaches, the vision problems, worsening dizziness, tinnitus, and photosensitivity, alongside my significant changes in personality and cognitive decline, intracranial hypertension seems a given at this point. If confirmed, it will then boil down to why is it happening. There are endless suspects. I wonder if the IVIG may have either initiated this, or worsened something already in progress, because a lot of the changes I’ve experienced started immediately after that. Not that I’m complaining, because even if it did contribute to this, without the IVIG I would not have beaten the bartonellosis, or even be here to talk about this. I also wonder if the Lyme disease has any role, because while I haven’t had the symptoms I used to associate with it, these things currently happening are pretty much exactly what happens in late stage neuroborreliosis, which still, no ones knows whether or not is curable. You’d think it’d be as easy as checking for bacteria in my cerebrospinal fluid, but system-wide, borrelia prefer body tissue to hanging around in fluids where they’re more vulnerable. It’s almost impossible to tell what’s caused what, at this stage. And who knows, it may be something entirely new.

"I am scared. I'm scared that I don't know how many more good days I'll have. I'm scared of what this illness means, and I'm scared of what I know it can do to my life and my body. I'm scared that I'm not spending enough time with my family, I'm scared that I'm not telling the people that I love what I have to say and what they need to hear. I'm scared that I'm not living my life to its full potential. I'm scared that at any given moment my health could take a drastic turn in any direction that it wants to, and that it's out of my control. But no matter what happens to me, I know that my fears are because I care, my fears are because I still have good things in my life. I'm scared because things matter, so maybe it's not so bad after all." By @mrswelches

As for multiple sclerosis, I already meet all criteria for it, alongside a significant predisposition to developing it, so an official diagnosis could be imminent… But again I wonder how one would differentiate that from everything I already have going on? We shall see. But until the results are in, my IVIG infusions are on hold, because the possibility that an immune response to the blood product or a reaction to the intravenous fluids could worsen the pressure in my skull is too risky, not to mention getting others’ antibodies infused into me could alter my own test results. And “you have to do another spinal tap” is not something I ever want to hear.

I’m not going to say I’ll keep posting, because I’m not sure that I will, even if I want to. I won’t say I’ll try to get back to replying to comments and emails, because even though I want to, I’m not sure that will happen. I just know that I’m here, I’m posting right now after a huge effort to accomplish this, and despite 1000% evidence to the contrary, I still expect good things to happen in the future. Until next time…

Kit

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Another LLMD visit: Starting Rifampin for bartonellosis

I don’t know a lot about Rifampin.

When I started Doxycycline in 2009, I had to learn a lot on my own because I didn’t have an LLMD and only had a month’s worth of antibiotics until I could get to one. God Bless the infectious disease doctor who let me try it even though he wasn’t sure if it’d help. And now I probably know more about Doxycycline than the local pharmacist. I know how it works, what it works against, what it doesn’t work against, what it interacts with, the strength needed for various types of infections, the form needed for various types of infections, the recommended duration of treatment, the half-life, its half-life based upon different dosages, what medications will be less-effective when on Doxy… I mean, seriously. But I don’t know near as much about Rifampin! I’ll have to study, to better understand it, since I take so many other supplements and medications.

But yeah, my LLMD and I had a nice chat yesterday, and thus I was prescribed Rifampin and took my first dose today when I woke up! I am thrilled to find out that this one doesn’t require me to eat or cause extreme nausea. That was always such a struggle for me with the Doxycycline, me not having much of an appetite and I’ve never been able to eat in the mornings.

He asked if I wanted to go back on the Doxy since it’s helped me the most, which was a big NOOOO. I told him about being scared of starting the Doxy again, even though I have five bottles of it, after ending up in the hospital twice in relation to either starting or having to stop it. He said my bacterial load must be very high for me to react so strongly. (Well, yes…) So he asked which infection I felt was most important to go after, which of course would be the bartonella. The suggestions were then Rifampin or.. was it Bactrim? or Ofloxacin?.. and not really knowing much about either, I just left it up to him. (Aha, do doctors always ask you which medicine you want or is that just a me-thing?) So Rifampin it was! He said Levaquin was probably the most effective for bartonella but he didn’t want to put me through the risk of the tendonitis, unless these others don’t work.

He said Rifampin will work against bartonella and also the cyst form of Lyme… Well. I don’t know how I feel about that. I know I have (had?) the cyst form of Lyme after what the grapefruit seed extract did to me, and it would be good to break the cysts so that when I get ready to start treating the spirochete form of Lyme in a few months, everything will be ready for killing (i.e., the Lyme bacteria won’t be hiding in the cysts). I just hope the fact that Rifampin is attacking both the Bart and Lyme doesn’t create a severe herx, since that’s primarily what I wanted to avoid.

Rifampin (pronounced rife-AM-pen, btw) also reaches the central nervous system, like Doxycycline, and according to one chart it’s actually better at it. For this reason it’s very good for the neurological manifestations of bartonella (of which I have nearly all). However, unlike Doxycycline, which is bacterioSTATIC and stops bacteria from reproducing (ultimately resulting in less and less bacteria), Rifampin is bacteriCIDAL, which means it outright kills them. So I may have to expect a different type of herx, with those two things in mind. We’ll continue to check my liver function, but that’s nothing new. Oh, but it turns my urine orange! Ahaha…

We’re trying the Rifampin out for a month to see how I react, and then talk about adding the Doxycycline to the regimen if all goes well (which I would love, if it’s at all possible), since Rifampin cannot be taken by itself at the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As for monitoring the candida, I have fluconazole to use three days out of every ten days, IF using my natural supplements doesn’t work. We want to save the Sporanox in case I have problems in the future, since I respond to it. Even though fluconazole works the best for me, there can’t be any “saving the fluconazole for later,” because I can’t take it more than three days at a time anyway–so that works out, I guess!–but have it, just in case I need it. We’re both hoping Nystatin, grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil, caprylic acid, and Candex will be enough to keep it in check. I am to rotate them every three days. (Olive leaf extract helps guard against that, too, but since I’ve been on it for six years straight, it might not be effective for that anymore.)

I told him what happened with me taking the probiotics and then ending up in ER for an extreme reaction. He agreed that it was most likely too much for me since I no longer had a severe yeast problem. He said VSL #3 is the most powerful type of probiotic available…which is great, and what I needed for a full year. He wanted me on them so it’s not as if I took them without medical supervision… But the moral of the story is, even if you’ve been taking something for a year, don’t let sheer habit cause you to take something after you no longer need it! Bad. things. happen. (Their website says “risk of infection from consumption of lactobacilli is negligible,” but like that really means anything for me, eh?) So he said to start out really small and build up as necessary to avoid that happening again. He also doesn’t want me on the s. boullardi unless necessary, because of that reaction. I feel great about that directon because I was concerned he wouldn’t know how to address it… I have a great doctor.

So right, I took my first dose this morning. Within thirty minutes I was very shaky, weak, and dizzy. Sitting up is not really preferrable, but I had been able to walk a little this morning (maybe 40 feet at a time?); within an hour that, too, was no longer possible. That’s all right, though, because wheelchair and all. As of now I am still dizzy, very weak (my legs are immeasurably more weak than my arms, for whatever reason!), having minor chest pain, and having problems with my POTS-symptoms. For the past two days I’ve had minor trouble breathing… Or at least, minor in comparison. I’ll report back if it gets worse. I’ll add probiotics tomorrow, and begin olive leaf extract again tonight. (I’ve been off of it for the past two days though I’m not sure why that happened… I wonder if that has any connection to my breathing? We’ll see!)

I recently read a new study that said CFS patients are deficient in L-carnitine. Didn’t we already know that? There’s a reason I take so much of it, you know.

a rainbow at night

I’m still alive… No, really. (A Run-In with Probiotic-Induced Sepsis?)

So a rainbow at night has officially ended up in the Emergency Room three times within the past 12 months. Almost five if you count last month being an extremely close call, and the fact that I very nearly had to go back after this third time.

Let me just say, this is not at all what I invisioned for myself a year ago… Then again, sometimes I don’t think I realize just how bad off (physically) I really am, and how that sets me up for these things.

I have no idea how I could have contracted the stomach bug that’s torn through my family members one by one. We are so, so careful to avoid getting me sick because of what happens. My family knows that the moment I catch anything, it’s straight to the hospital. I’m also unsure if the horrendous headache I got the night before “it” happened, was a sign, or just one of my usual anamolies. All I know is, I woke up on Saturday feeling as if were going to pass out, but since I do that sometimes regardless, I didn’t think anything of it. While you sleep, your bowels are at rest, and when you wake up, they begin to move again: Your digestive tract requires a lot of blood to function and digest, so me feeling lightheaded due to the redirected bloodflow to my colon wasn’t too unusual. But in addition to feeling lightheaded, I was also extremely dizzy.

Immediately after rising, I started making repeated trips to the restroom. At first I thought it was just because of the brown rice I ate the day before, because, well, whole grains do tend to get your digestive tract moving, you know. But after the sixth trip, I sensed things were taking a very bad turn. The dizziness got worse, the nausea started, and nothing was working to ease either ailment. My fever went from 98.6°F to 100.6°F within the span of an hour, and I found myself writing down my medical history on a piece of paper while I still had the ability to either write or be coherent: The inevitable was about to occur. Literally within a span of two hours, I had massively dehydrated, developed a fever of 102°F, a heart rate of 160+, vomited up absolutely everything in my stomach, went to the restroom eight times, become mildly delirious, and my family was calling the ambulance.

This was without a doubt the most severe emergency I’ve had to date. First off, my fever hasn’t gone above 100.5°F in over eight years, no matter what the circumstance or infection; I think it topped off at 102.1°F, which is unbelievable and the equivalent of 103-104°F for someone else. But perhaps the most shocking part was that they had to give me three bags of saline for the dehydration, I only had to urinate once, and it was barely enough to use for their required urine sample. To clarify for anyone not familiar with saline drips/IV fluids: Usually you’ll get one, maybe two bags, and then have to pee every 10 minutes. I was given three liters of fluid and only expelled about an ounce of it. Needless to say the ER staff was beyond baffled. My heart rate topped at 180 bpm lying down, and over 200 when trying to sit up. I was given a constant 2L supply of oxygen, because for some “strange” reason it helped my dizziness, even though my O2 levels were supposedly adequate; not sure what to say about that one…

The other major unnerving thing was my blood pressure actually dropped after the IV infusions, which is.. the complete opposite of what’s supposed to happen. My normal blood pressure is 120/70. However, after six hours of infusing liquids and other drugs into me to stop the fluid loss, my blood pressure dropped to a record 79/45. Their rationale for letting me leave was literally that I was still conscious. Need I repeat that your blood pressure is NOT supposed to do that after three liters of fluid?!

They offered to keep me, but I just wanted to get out of there. By midnight I was finally back home, and having ceased vomiting and everything else, I thought I was safe… We’ll get to the horror that was my bloodwork later.

After much sleep, and.. ugh, an absolutely terrible night of convulsing for hours on end, Sunday brought with it a partial recovery, and my fever finally broke that afternoon. Until that night, when I had a “relapse” of whatever had happened the first time. Once again I was making repeated trips to the bathroom, spiking a fever, and vomiting, until by 7am Monday morning I was overcome by a familiar feeling of dread. My insurance wouldn’t pay for the medicine I needed to stop the vomitting and diarrhea and keep me from dehydrating, until they had an authorization form which could only be obtained Monday thru Friday, and only from my primary doctor. After all the back-and-forth calls and realizing we had no other option, we called the pharmacist with the ER doctor’s prescription to just ask for the pills and pay out-of-pocket: Either I had them, or I was certainly going back to the hospital for dehydration. Soon I had a couple of pills to tithe me over and stop me from losing more fluids, but it wasn’t until much later I’d realize that whole fiasco of trying to obtain the medication was stalling me, with life-saving results. 

By the end of Monday night I was finally on my way to a real recovery, and I even got a Migraine late that night and felt almost normal because of it: To think, after all of that, a Migraine! Something so commonplace…

Today has been.. difficult. I’ve been on oxygen all day, and am just very.. uncomfortable, and very dizzy. But no where near as uncomfortable as this weekend, of course! Four days since, and I think being on oxygen all day is actually the best case scenario.

One year ago this week, my immune system crumbled and I developed a very “determined” candida overgrowth. I’ve been fighting it ever since. Well, after eight months on various antifungals, a month on Sporanox, and those couple of weeks on Vitamin C, followed by practically everything in my colon being evicted… My tongue has never been more healthy and pink. I honestly think the candidiasis may be completely gone. But as for my bloodwork…

Every time I’ve been hospitalized (or near-hospitalized) during this long fight, it’s been during my Lyme-flare week. So it would make sense that my neutrophils were high (fighting bacterial infections) and my lymphocytes dropped (making room for more neutrophils to fight the bacteria). Yes, every time, has been during a bartonella flare concurrent with my Lyme flare week plus some other unidentified combination of pathogens roaming around giving me random symptoms. That’d be enough to send anyone to the emergency room! Well, every time except this time.

Because everyone is different, I might should mention that my usual lymphocyte count is around 2 k/cmm. Anything from 1.2 – 3.4 is considered normal, but during this hospital visit, my lymphocyte count was 0.3 k/cmm. And my neutrophils, which again fight bacteria, were double what they should have been, higher even than when I’m Lyme-ing.

I’ve never had anything like this happen before. Something that startled me to realize was that I took a probiotic capsule on Sunday night when I was in recovery (out of habit because I’ve been doing so for the past eight months, until about two weeks ago)…and then two hours later is when all my symptoms began to return, albeit at a less-advanced rate. And what did I do on Friday night before I went to bed? Take those probiotics…

Complications from taking probiotics are very rare, and only happen to the immunocompromised and/or severely ill. But I got to thinking, that was really exceptional timing for me to begin feeling ill all over again, just two hours after taking another probiotic capsule. And I really did do everything right to avoid getting that stomach bug that was going around…

SO WHAT IF…

What if it WASN’T a stomach bug that caused my sickness? What if, because my candidiasis has improved so much after taking the Vitamin C, that taking my normal highdose probiotics–that up until now I’ve needed–actually overpopulated my normalizing colon, and invoked an immune response to the probiotics? It was actually just a few weeks ago someone posted on LymeNet about the potential danger of probiotics…that danger being, the very rare but real complication of lactobacillus septicaemia: Probiotic-induced sepsis.

And now in my head I have floating around all these facts that are just too coincidental. My bloodwork clearly shows bacteria being the initiator of my problem; my symptoms weren’t like the rest of my family; I took probiotics the night before this happened the first time; I took them again the night before it happened the second time; my candidiasis was almost cured therefore not requiring the same dosage of probiotics I used to take; I have primary immunodeficiency disease and am a prime candidate for something like this to happen…

To stop and think about this is just.. beyond me. This was one of those experiences where the medical professionals speak in hushed tones outside your door instead of in your room, and this may have been why: I had every single symptom of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS), a condition related to sepsis that has nearly all the same symptoms. However, unlike true sepsis, the symptoms of SIRS are related to the body’s immune response to the assumed intruder, rather than the result of the bacterial infection in the blood (sepsis) itself. I don’t have the medical degree to know whether I had this or true sepsis, and unfortunately it’s too late to obtain a proper diagnosis by giving the ER doctors this major piece of the puzzle. I’d bargain for SIRS due to the fact that eliminating the cause–the probiotics–calmed down my symptoms, but who knows. They’re very similar and either condition can lead to shock. Specifically, in combination with my elevated neutrophils, the hypotension + retaining urine after three liters of fluid is a sign of approaching septic shock. And that’s.. really.. I.. I don’t even know. I don’t even know how to process that in my brain, yet. These things lead to organ failure, and septic shock in particular has only a 50% survival rate…

Criteria for SIRS were established in 1992 as part of the American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine Consensus Conference. The conference concluded that the manifestations of SIRS include, but are not limited to:

  • Body temperature less than 36°C or greater than 38°C
  • Heart rate greater than 90 beats per minute
  • Tachypnea (high respiratory rate), with greater than 24 breaths per minute; or, an arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide less than 4.3 kPa (32 mmHg)
  • White blood cell count less than 4000 cells/mm³ (4 x 109 cells/L) or greater than 12,000 cells/mm³ (12 x 109 cells/L); or the presence of greater than 10% immature neutrophils (band forms)

SIRS can be diagnosed when two or more of these criteria are present.

Fever and leukocytosis are features of the acute-phase reaction, while tachycardia is often the initial sign of hemodynamic compromise. Tachypnea may be related to the increased metabolic stress due to infection and inflammation, but may also be an ominous sign of inadequate perfusion resulting in the onset of anaerobic cellular metabolism.

The moment I woke up on Saturday and my bowels began to move, my body immediately began its attempt to rid itself of the probiotics from the night before. And it kept going until it couldn’t anymore. It mostly succeeded before I got to the hospital. And once I took the second probiotic pill the following night, it began again. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was because I had no medicine at first–no authorization to get the medicine because it was a weekend–that was, in a manner of speaking, saving me. The symptoms I was so desperate to stop with medication were the same symptoms getting rid of the offending cause of the SIRS (?), and if I’d actually had the medicine to stop my body from doing that… I… I don’t know what would have happened. My body would basically have been stuck with a bomb inside of it, and no way to get it out.

And it’s for situations such as these that I believe, even if things don’t go the way you want them to–like me not understanding why I wasn’t immediately getting that medicine to relieve the terrible suffering I was feeling–it’s always for your own benefit; even if you don’t see it at the time, you will. I did get my medicine, but only after enough of the lactobacillus bacteria in my colon had been eliminated.

I doubt I’ll even be able to wrap my head around this until tomorrow, or later. Just, how things played out, with the information I knew beforehand, the timing of the events, and thus being able to figure this out before I took another probiotic capsule and God only knows what would have happened… I don’t know. What this means for the future, will I ever be able to take probiotics again, I have no idea. What I do know, is that I am one blessed soul, who’s obviously still meant to be here. And it seems my nine month battle with candidiasis is finally over. That’s enough for right now.

a rainbow at night