Tuesday, January 23, 2007

one, two, three, zap!

After a morning of doctorish stuff with the Eldest, I found myself managing the end game of a surprising situation: me.

On Friday, I had the poor taste to sneeze. My nose, instantly offended, popped a wee vessel, beginning a bleed/clot/bleed cycle that escalated, turned into a bleed/ooze/bleed cycle on Sunday, and ended in an irritated email from me to the hematologists on Monday.

Finally, I found out why I have been politely managed (but not quite dismissed) by my hematologist: she was being patient with me because, according to the computer, she had a clotting level for me of 55% factor VIII, the protein missing in the Eldest. (Normal levels for factor VIII range from 50-150%) Equally polite, I reminded her that this was a level taken after a dose of medicine intended to boost my levels. She chewed this over and wrote back that now she was concerned, and gosh, that was a rather paltry response to the boosting med (DDAVP, for those who care). Ya think? A stomach full of blood from the bleeding dripping down my throat, and that was happening how, with those 'normal' levels? But at least she came around - and gracefully.

I ended up today in the office of an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doc recommended by my beloved primary care doc. He was a sweet, funny guy who really, truly listened, and didn't laugh at me for whining about a silly nosebleed. Okay, nosebleeds. And let me tell ya, anyone who is going to use the word 'cautery' had better have a few jokes handy, because the very concept brings to mind hot pokers and the smell of, well, you know.

On the other hand, maybe if you spend your days looking up people's noses, you need a few jokes. Wonder what the gastroenterologists' chatter is like?

Well, the guy took a look up me nose and said, 'Oh, the right side is the bleeder, is it?' Nope, I said, it's the left that's causing the trouble. He poked his little metal thing in there and whistled. 'I'd have laid money on the right. Wow.' He scratched his head. 'Well, let's pick our battles. We'll work on the left today, but the right side, I don't know, it has granular tissue - proud flesh - and may not respond to cautery. May need surgery. But let's start with cautery.' I blinked. Cautery? Proud flesh? Sounds a little fire and brimstone-ish. He patted my shoulder, reassurringly. 'One step at a time,' he said. I blinked again and agreed.

One mercifully lidocained procedure later, he shoved a bit of something up my nose. 'It's a matrix for the platelets to snuggle up to,' he told me. 'Helps build the clot.' Ah. I'm all for platelets, I told him. He thought this over. Deadpan, he said, 'I'm all for snuggling.'

Well, apparently I was wrong - I appear to have mixed feelings about platelets. I got home and my primary doc called. Looking over a couple years of test results, she could see that my platelet levels are consistently low. Would I mind coming in for bloodwork? I tried not to laugh. This, I felt, is what comes of being taken seriously. A little too seriously for convenience, actually...

What I should have told the ENT is that the Toddles is stuffy and miserable with cold # 726. And what the Toddles has, the Mama catches. Poor poots, the Man said, eyeing me. You can just tell from looking at you that you really, really want to blow your nose. Oh, I do. And I ah-ahh-ahh-choooo. Damnit.

platelets or no platelets, proud or humbled flesh, we at least have bread.

By George, I Think We've Got it Bread (gluten-free, vegan)

adapted from an adaptation of Bette Hagman's rice bread. This has to be my best yet - I got a 'are you sure this isn't wheat' from my gluten-eating brother. And a 'That was the good bread!' then a couple of days later, 'Mum, I want more of the good bread. Can we make more?' from my highly tolerant Eldest.

2 cups flour mix (2 parts white rice flour, 2/3rds part potato starch flour, 1/3rd part tapioca flour - do these as cups/fractions of cups and bag the extra. Refrigerate extra flour mix in a sealed container.)
1/3rd cup white sugar
2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum
1 cup milk or milk subsitute (soy milk works well), warmed in microwave. About a minute and a half will do fine
1 tsp salt
1 TB yeast
2 TB veg oil
2 eggs or 2 flaxgel egg substitutes (2 TB flaxmeal, just under 1/2 cup water. Zap in microwave until thickened. Let cool.)
1 tsp rice or white vinegar

Assemble dry ingredients. Mix. Turn oven to 250F. Add wet ingredients, mix briefly, then mix on high for 3 minutes - don't use a whisk/egg beater, a flat cake mixer or dough hook is best. Turn off oven. Pour dough into a greased bowl, and put into oven for 30 minutes.

Pull out of oven, and turn oven on to 375 F. Pour dough (okay, dump dough) into a greased tin/two greased loaf pans. The dough will look lumpy and unprofessional - ignore it. Cover it with a tea towel (a.k.a dishtowel for you Yanks) and put it in a warm spot for about 2o minutes.

Bake at 375 F for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread is browned on top. Enjoy!


magid said...

I'm glad the medicos are finally taking you seriously (not that the timing is the best, but it never is....).

And congrats on the bread! Do you use milk substitutes in it, or regular milk?

joy said...

Remember how I said that the Eldest doesn't do anything by halves awhile back? He gets that from you. ;-)

mama o' the matrices said...

Oops. Magid, yes, you can use nondairy milks. I've adapted the recipe to say that explicitly, thanks for the polite nudge.

joy, point taken. Phooey. Once in a while, half-assed is actually better...

dykewife said...

if you're going to do something, do it in style. i hope things clear up for you soon. in the nonce, i'll think good thoughts for you. the bread looks yummy. too bad my oldest bro (the one with more food allergies than we can shake sticks at) can't eat yeast. i think he'd like it.

jgfellow said...

ENT jokes. Like actuary jokes with boogers?