I came in to work today early, and Dr. E was there. He said, "There she is. You're still coughing." Thanked him again for his help, and told him I am feeling much better. Prednisone sucks, but it works. Whatever cooties I had, and subsequent hyperreflexic immune response to said cootie, it's gone now. Now I'm left with the usual. He suggested I hit up Debbie, one of our respiratory therapists, to see if my nitric oxide is high...if my eosinophils (a type of white blood cell that reacts in an allergic response) are overreacting. The number was 22, which is normal. He suggested (did not write for, because it was just a conversation) the next highest dose of Advair (which is max dose.) It was an incomplete conversation.
I gotta say....writing is so much easier without the awareness of an audience. I did write tonight....quite a bit. It shouldn't matter the whole maybe ten people who occasionally pay attention to my stream of consciousness. Most are bouncing from pectus.com forums, and so it's people who Get it. Or you're my best friend. (Hi, Bex.) It's very different than writing to a dead sculptor. I miss him.
Working in a pulmonary clinic with pectus is not like being a hungry person who works in a restaurant. At all. I work with good people, both my staff and my docs. I have 56 docs, and I have from "decent" to "fantastic" relationship with 55 of them, and if you exclude the docs that I don't see in person because I don't work their clinic day....that blue-shifts to being even better (for the remaining 32 of 33). I like my people, and I'm wildly uncomfortable burdening any of them with my stuff. Hell, it makes some of them uncomfortable, too. I can't hide a cough. When they say, "Michelle, do you need me to bronch you?"...and because they CAN, without even making a big deal out of it...and my docs are where they are because the majority of them are damned good at it...those offers are, while joking, not insincere. When they hand-write me a script, it's a kindness. It costs them nothing, and yet there are people who wait for months to pay for the courtesy of their time and knowledge.
It's a problem I am lucky to have, and should be grateful for it. Except, well, I'm an asshole and it makes me squirm because I also don't want 100 people to know my business. My pectus, my breathing, and my fight to be able to be as active as normal people has been a sore spot for ten years. And a short prednisone burst for an acute problem is a humbling favor....dealing with my yearlong cough with surgery coming feels completely different. Maybe it isn't.
I don't know.
There's a painting I did, that I don't have good images of, because I sold it. Years ago. There's a section of that painting that is pthalocyanine blue and green, with some manganese violet, and there's a spinal column I painted that goes far, far away....back to where pulsars might be. Sometimes, I can't quite explain where my head's at....but I could paint it. Sometime this weekend, I'll see if I can dig up some slides of that. No sternums in that painting. But there's a pelvis, and a spinal column, curling back into infinity.
I don't know what that means, not in words anyway.... but somehow it's what I'm supposed to do.