Safety for People with Autism and Other Hidden Disabilities

Red Medical Cross Picture with White Medical Symbols Inside It

Attribution given;  <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector designed by Olga_spb – Freepik.com</a>

I missed a week of blogging due to the difficulty I’ve been having with my Dysautonomia and my ASD (Aspergers) and the effects of the trauma from what has happened at Emory. I’ve experienced several full-on meltdowns due to all the stress and the barriers I’m encountering in trying to get my healthcare back on track.  

Meltdown

I’ve been having fitful sleep interrupted by nightmares which are clearly due to the bullying I’ve suffered. The theme is always some sort of sabotage. In the nightmares I’m trying to achieve some goal and somebody comes along and destroys whatever I’m doing and I end up in some sort of danger as a result.

In one such bad dream I had lit a match in order to relight the pilot light on a stove and someone came up behind me and knocked the match out of my hand.

Closeup of a business man with his hands behind his back and fin

Closeup of a business man with his hands behind his back and fingers crossed. Torso and hands only, man is unrecognizable.

It fell from my hand and behind a dresser. I tried pushing the dresser aside but it was too heavy. Meanwhile the room quickly burst into flames as the fire spread from the carpet to the drapes and soon everything was engulfed. I then found that I couldn’t move to escape it no matter what I did. Just as I was about to be burned alive I woke up in a panic. It took quite awhile before I could fully come out of it and realize it wasn’t really happening.

Burning Up

In another dream  I was getting ready to mail a very important letter and I was in some sort of cabin in the wilderness that was at the edge of a steep canyon. In order to mail the letter I had to climb down somehow on the edge. There was a crack in the wall handmade from plywood overlooking the drop below and the letter got stuck in that crevice. I tried to pull it out and was relieved when I could do it, but as soon as I did, along came somebody from behind me who swiftly pulled it from my grasp and shoved it through the crack in the wooden wall. The letter fell and was gone hundreds of feet below, never to be retrieved again.

House at Edge of Cliff

Alot of times the sabouteur comes from behind me and I don’t see their face. I can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman because they never say anything and I wake up before I can turn around and look.

In addition to the element of danger in these dreams there is alot of uncertainty.

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All this got me thinking about just how crucial it is to build a plan for safety. People with Autism and other hidden or misunderstood conditions are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect in a number of settings; for instance, police officers often mistake people with epilepsy for being publicly intoxicated,

Glowing brain

and many people with such conditions as Autism, Dystonia, and Dysautonomia as well as other poorly publicised conditions are mistreated in healthcare settings just as I was.

This is something that is not spoken about nearly enough in the news or in other public forums but doing so may very well save lives.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent falling victim to those who might abuse, neglect, or exploit you thinking you’re an easy target because you’re in a wheelchair, you’re frail, have communication or cognitive difficulties, or have other disadvantages which may leave you in a compromising position.

Safety First Life Preserver

1) Wear a medical alert bracelet;

Try to get as much pertinent information on it as possible that people would need to know in an emergency and/or if you are misinterpreted in the workplace, school, by medical personnel, or law enforcement, or in any other public place.

If you can, list a contact person you know who is willing to be contacted and can advocate for you to explain your needs. Nowadays there are many types of bracelets on the market that you can buy. Some of them are even nice looking! See some medical alert bracelets on Etsy .

2) Carry a medical alert card at all times;

You may be able to fit even more information on the card than you can the bracelet but you should try to have both since somebody may not think yo look in your wallet if you are unable to tell them to do so. This organization came up with some Autism Alert Cards you can customize. This company located in the UK sells bracelets that include cards with them.

3) Carry an official diagnosis document at all times;

this can be any official letter you have which proves your diagnosis (if you have this documentation). If not, you should speak with someone about obtaining one. This can be a testing report, a letter from a doctor or therapist written to whom it may concern, or if neither are available, something from your medical record with your official diagnosis on it.

Taking notes

Ideally you should have something not only listing your diagnosis but specifying what your limitations and special needs are, any medications or treatments which need to be given, etc. If you have a supportive doctor or other medical professional, his/her name and contact number should be on this paperwork if at all possible.

4) Bring a buddy with you to the hospital;

In the ER

If you have some advance notice that you’re going to the ER or checking into the hospital on direct-admission try to arrange for somebody to come with you.

Emotional Support

It should be someone whom you have spoken with in advance about your needs and limitations; preferably somebody assertive who will not have a problem speaking up to authority figures in your defense while still remaining calm and rational.

This person can keep an eye out for you and can also act as a witness in case anything goes wrong. If they have a cellphone they can also videotape if somebody is mistreating you.

On Cellphone

If you don’t have anyone in your life to fulfill that role be sure to contact one or two people before leaving and let them know which hospital you’re going to (and if possible give them the phone number so they can call and check on you). Bring your laptop or some other mobile device that has internet access. That way you can give them updates.

Making Plans

One of the things I learned as a patient advocate years ago is that people who have someone actively checking on them are less likely to be abused or neglected because it’s more difficult for perpetrators to get away with it and the likelihood is that they’ll get caught. This is often enough of a deterrant and they won’t even attempt it. (I’m pretty sure that if I had had somebody willing to go with me or meet me at the hospital in December that my incident wouldn’t have ever happened).

Taking these steps can’t guarantee you will never be victimized but they can make it much less likely.

If you do find yourself in a situation in which you’re abused, neglected, or exploited, be sure to document as much as you can about exactly what happened. Take down names, times, dates, what they did that they shouldn’t have, and/or what they didn’t do that they should have, etc.

Then I would recommend contacting The Dept. of Health and Human Services and filing an Office of Civil Rights Complaint.

Filing with State regulatory agencies in my experience is often a complete waste of time, as usually doctors are automatically believed carte blanche by such decision-making bodies and therefore it is not a level playing field. Usually such investigations consist of review of the records to see if anything “not meeting the standard of care” is documented (and of course doctors aren’t going to rat on themselves or each other in a patient’s record), they write up the perpetrator’s side of the story, and send it to the patient.

In some of the more progressive states filing a complaint with the state medical licensing board might yield results if the malfeasance was committed by a doctor, but often doctors are reluctant to discipline their peers (the medical boards utilize doctors to investigate the claims and determine the outcome, if any). Generally they have the option of making any action taken either public or private. If they take private action they might keep that secret and not even let you know they are doing anything about it at all.

How You Can Help Now;

You can also send letters now to HHS asking that they make Institutional Bullying of medical patients/people with disabilities an added Civil Rights violation in the same way it’s interpreted in statutes for Institutional Racism. Please also ask that clear-cut consequences be specified in any new legislation and/or amendments.

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Given that this is an election year this is the perfect time for you to send your letters! The more of us who write and make our voices heard the sooner we can make this type of abuse a thing of the past and prevent others from having to endure these atrocities in the future.

 

Sylvia Burwell 1250x650

 HHS HeadQuarters                                                                        

US Dept. of Health & Human Services                                

Attn: Secretary Sylvia Burwell                                                  

200 Independence Ave., S.W.                                

Washington, D.C 20201

Phone (Toll Free); 1 (877) 696-6775

Go here to file your official grievance if you have been discriminated against because of your condition and/or not given reasonable accommodations for your special needs. You can file by snail mail, email, fax, or via their online webform. (All communication options and requirements are explained on their website on the paged linked-to above).

Safe place .svg

Although this is covered under current law there are still many people who unfairly make allowances for it when this happens to people who are ill and/or disabled in a way they would not with other minority groups. There should be a zero tolerance policy for this type of discrimination and a recognition by all that this is every bit as heinous (in many instances even  more so because this population is at a greater disadvantage than most other minority groups)

And now for a good protest song;

This Land Is Our Land

 

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Good News/Bad News, and Nearly Fainting

Ramp to front door

I awoke again at some odd hour with stomach still rumbling and a burning inflammatory pain in my muscles accompanied by an intensely salty taste in my mouth. It was the same way I felt before ending up in Piedmont and I knew it wasn’t a good sign. I had an appointment yesterday morning for a physical therapy evaluation and hoped this feeling would pass and that things would go smoothly, but all I really felt like doing was going back to bed to sleep this off.

Transportation called to say they were coming between 8 and 9 AM and as I got dressed I noticed that my throat felt a little strange but I couldn’t quite put my finger on how. It was almost as if I had some sort of acute allergy, but I have actually been lucky in that department and have never been prone to allergies, so I figured it must be something else.

Before 8 there was someone at the door. I opened it to find a middle-aged black woman dressed in what looked like a blue scrubs outfit and wearing an ID badge like they do in hospitals.

My mind must have not been fully alert yet because for some strange reason I got a little mixed up and wondered if maybe this had something to do with my search for a personal assistant. I thought it was a bit too early for the nurse’s visit from Medicaid, but really couldn’t place anyone I knew in this type of clothing. She identified herself as being with the transportation company and I told her I’d be out in just a few minutes once I’d gathered my ice water.

In my hurry to get out the door I totally forgot my pillow, something I rarely do and always regret. This power wheelchair is hard on my butt and the back of my left leg especially and it wasn’t long before muscle spasm and a growing stiffness started to set in there and in my shoulders and upper arms on both sides. A slim elderly woman with dark denim jeans sat in the back of the van and we dropped her off at a day program downtown. She clambered past me saying hello and squeezed past to exit through the right-hand door on the passenger side.

The pain continued building to about an 8 and I was beginning to really need some medication by the time we started heading in the direction of Emory Rehab. Hospital. When we finally arrived at our destination I got off the lift and entered through some automatic glass double doors and into the lobby where a young and chic light-skinned black woman sat behind a circular desk at a computer terminal. She was smiling with a pleasant fine featured face and nicely quaffed hair that looked as though it had been straightened or as though she was mixed with Caucasion or possibly Somali though she reminded me of Shirley Jones, who played the mother on that old show The Partridge Family that was popular in the 70s. She greeted me as I passed by and I spoke briefly but was mostly focused on taking something for the pain before I got into any exercise, so I entered the room where I obtained my paperwork, signed it and then headed upstairs to the 5th floor via elevator.

The building was old with hard floors and wooden paneling that had been painted over and some of which had chipped and I didn’t feel entirely comfortable there but couldn’t figure out exactly why. Maybe it was because the lighting was dim and the place seemed outdated as though it were Emory’s step-child, a far cry from the slick danish design utilized in most of its other buildings (not that I like that decor either, but somehow the building seemed neglected).

Although the office staff seemed very kind I picked up an uneasy energy. Usually I am right about such things even before the feeling is validated with hard data. The clerk gave m some more paperwork to fill out some of which had questions on it I had never encountered in physical therapy before, questions about making social conversation and expressing oneself, which was kind of uncanny because I was having just exactly those types of problems in addition to my muscular problems. My cognitive processes seemed stuck in a mire this day and I really didn’t feel like talking. It wasn’t depression but more a matter of just feeling overwhelmed and maybe a little out of my element.

Soon a woman approached me introducing herself as Beth. She seemed kind of wooden and mechanical and there was a pushiness about her personality that seems common in the physical therapy field, not in the same way that Dr. V. is pushy, but more a type of edginess as though there was an anger hiding just beneath the surface.

I found myself distracted by all the sounds in the building and had trouble focusing enough to finish filling out the form. She brought it and me into a large dimly lit atrium with lots of padded benches in it. It felt a little too public to me but I tried to block out all the people working out on various machines, benches and parallel bars and watched to see what she was going to say or do next.

First she launched into a mini lecture about how this isn’t for everyone and that she had to warn me that after the evaluation she might determine that it would not be of benefit to me.

She began going through the rest of the questions to get as many answers as she could. I tried my best to answer but the time-frames asked were just too hard for me to remember and finally she put down the form and turned her attention to asking me some things such as did I live alone and whether I had pets. I told her about my dog Carmella and my Ball Python, Velvet. She reacted with a strong aversion to the very thought of a Python stating that she knew that Pythons “squeeze you to death” and seemed very hypervigilant based on what she’d heard about those pets released into the Everglades.

This is something I know about and those poor animals have a much undeserved bad rap perpetuated by ignorant and fear-mongering people, but seeing how Beth was positioned to strike at little or no provocation I thought better of engaging in further discussion with her on that topic after saying how innocuous Ball Pythons are and how they are more likely to hide their head than to attack people, and that what she most likely heard about were the really big constrictors such as African Rock Pythons, to which she said, “A python is a python. You can’t convince me to  buy into that. They’re an invasive species!” Honestly, if the truth be told I felt she was the invasive species in my personal space and in my life whereas my sweet little Velvet was a comfort who posed no such threat. I wished at that moment I was home with my pets where I felt safe and at peace.

This felt all wrong and I thought if I have to work with this woman I don’t know how honestly I will get through it without  a snag. Her irritation was like her skin turned inside out with all her internal organs exposed for the world to see. It was more than I wanted to know.

She engaged in some sort of nitpicking with one of the other physical therapists across from the bench I was lying on. I could not hear the words but it was clear that the two disliked each other and were barely tolerating working together. I sat up and looked over at the two, at which time Beth said “I need you to wait. I’m having an issue with someone.” Again, I thought TMI for the workplace. This unprofessional display only intensified the uncomfortable atmosphere and I wanted to leave. The pain medication and antispasmodic I’d swallowed before the session started had yet to take effect, and overall the day was not off to a great start. I’d told her briefly about my waiting for the movement disorder specialist at UF and how far in advanced they were booked up. She seemed genuinely shocked.

I explained to her that I have alot of fatigue and that I do best in the water, so I would like to have that be the focus. She commented that we couldn’t do that today and seemed to have an overall fatalistic demeanor about it as a whole. I’d brought a swimsuit just in case and wished I could just submerge myself to remove the huge weight hanging on my frame, but no such relief was forthcoming. As for massage I didn’t feel comfortable with her touching me with the type of energy she emitted, so I didn’t bother asking about that.

The evaluation that followed was one of the strangest I’d ever encountered among the numerous evaluations I’d had at various PT practices around the city of Atlanta. She had me lie down on the padded bench and pushed my legs into various positions. She did nothing with my arms although I have significant pain and spasticity in those too. She pressed and pushed and prodded my feet and legs in various lying down and sitting positions to see what my muscles would do. There was alot of jerkiness. Then she had me take a few steps on the parallel bars. I was completely exhausted after just a few steps, muscles in my upper body burning and inflamed as I supported my weight on my arms and shoulders.

As I got back into my wheelchair and we came back to the padded bench her expression had taken on a sad appearance. I knew that look well as I’d seen it before when I’d tried CPAP in the sleep lab and failed miserably, and the technician had been so saddened by the significance her experience had taught her about patients in my condition that she could barely keep her composure. It was clear that Beth too was ascribing an ominous meaning to my prognosis based on whatever she’d learned about body mechanics and that it wasn’t good. She didn’t elaborate, but she didn’t have to. I got the gist of it.

“I’m sorry” she began with a grave look on her face as if a close relative had just passed away and she was delivering the bad news. “I really don’t think you’ll benefit from physical therapy. Your condition is unlikely to improve with exercise. I think you should just do what you’ve been doing. And other than that pressing down on your feet when you are able since the spasticity seems to be less when you apply counter-pressure. It seems to be much more jerky when you’re moving your legs in the air.”

This came as no surprise to me and actually under the circumstances I was rather relieved. I guess you could say it was a good news/bad news scenario. I have honestly been in no shape to do much of anything strenuous and thought Dr. V. was being a bit overly-optimistic in issuing such a referral, especially given the fact that aquatherapy was not being offered to me. Beth wished me well at UF and I told her that my impression is that my brain was probably sending the wrong messages to my muscles and that maybe the clinic in Florida would identify a medication that will reduce this to a low roar. She agreed and we said our goodbyes.

Once back downstairs I called transportation and told the driver I was ready to go home. She stated that she’d be by in about a half hour. I sat in my chair patiently waiting and drinking my ice water. Suddenly out of nowhere I began to feel severely faint. Leaning down to hang my head between my legs it seemed started to reduce the onslaught but it was short-lived, followed by a stronger wave which was worse than the first and this one threatened to take me down, my vision became swimmy and then began to turn black. Then my hearing started to go. When I realized that sitting in my chair with head down wasn’t resolving it I waived over the receptionist to the left of me and asked if she could help me lie down or find a gurney. She replied that there were no gurneys but that she could help me to the leather couch at the other side of the room. I told her to prop up my legs in a position elevated above my head and she did. It took quite awhile before it died down and it was touch and go before things subsided enough for me to get my bearings. A nice woman came over to help me and she offered to call transportation back since a half hour had long passed and no ride yet, but the phone was rolling over to another number with just a voicemail, so I had her call quality assurance with the broker system to let them know I needed to get home and into bed ASAP. She did so and once we thought they were close to the entrance two women helped me back into my wheelchair and out to the driveway, but it turned out to be someone else’s transportation van, not mine.

The second woman who had helped me call quality assurance went in and brought out some saltine crackers which I was really grateful for. I ate several and in a few minutes began to feel a little more solid. Finally my ride appeared and the driver told me that she’d been tied up with another crisis; an elderly woman needed to go to the ER she’d scheduled to pick up for a doctor’s appointment. She had family but apparently they couldn’t take her themselves so that tied her up there at her house longer.

When I arrived home I immediately wrote my pulmonologist on the Patient Portal telling him what happened and that I really need his help. He’d answered my message from the night before asking if one of the doctors from Piedmont would refer me to Vanderbilt or put down the official diagnosis. I explained to him that they were hospitalists only and that they probably would not since I’d been out of their hospital 3 months already. I’m trying like hell not to end up back at an ER.

I never heard back from Dr. W. a week ago after the message I sent through her receptionist. I plan to call her back but have an MRI today on my TMJ at 8:00 AM. Will get on that as soon as I get home. Just want to get this appointment out of the way and then stay in bed until we can get treatment on board.

I fear after how I was abused and charted on at Emory that any ER in the city most likely would treat me badly, not treat me at all, and it would be a wasted trip anyway. All ERs are hooked up electronically and the first records they look at are your last ER visit. That would not be good. I wonder how long Emory will let this go on and how severe it will get.

My GP never lined up a hospitalist to work with for direct admission in such an event and it’s getting dangerously close to my needing hospitalization once again. I need to call his supervisor back and get her to find out why and tell her about these episodes becoming more frequent now. I need to let her know how important this is and that I cannot safely go to an ER and that to do so would surely put me at further risk. Things are getting really crucial now. Someone has to do something, and soon!

 

People in Hell Want Ice Water But Do They Get It? This is Dysautonomia!

Ice Water By the Bed This is Dysautonomia DSC_0005

If you’ve ever read some descriptions of hell you will soon recognize the recurrent theme, i.e. a thirst that can never be quenched, hunger that can never be satisfied no matter how much one eats; a sense of eternal torment.

There is no mistaking now that Dr. Slow-as-Molasses is no longer acting in my best interest, as he has plastered his unequivocal lack of support on the Patient Portal. I read it early this morning having had the rude awakening of more of the same dysautonomic symptoms, and then logging on and reading this BS from him sure didn’t help matters.

The pen is mightier than the sword, and in a blithe little paragraph this doctor took it upon himself to leave me in a state of eternal thirst, fatigue, queasiness, and generalized agony when he could easily have made a different decision. Well, two can play that game, and I’ll bet I have a much better case to make. Yup, it takes a big man to take out your passive-aggressiveness on a disabled woman of 5 ft. 2. What a weasel.

I’m sure the Emory peanut gallery is pleased that he decided to become a company man and there is much slapping on the back and high-fiving going on behind the scenes, but his “reasons” for this refusal are no leg to stand on.

In his written message he stated that;

“As promised, I did speak with Daria (from Gentiva) at length. Unfortunately, we agree that based on your current status, there is not a HHN service that is appropriate for you at this time since you do not require any skilled nursing services based on anything they observed at any of their visits, or anything that came up during you(sic) recent visit with me.

She does recommend an aide/CNA that the social worker was working on.

I would also stongly recommend that you consider an assisted living or nursing facility where you could have more assistance, if a family member cannot come to stay with you.”

Apparently this was posted on March 3rd at 2:45 PM. I didn’t get an email notification until much later. By the way, I spoke with Daria and his account of the conversation was not entirely accurate. She actually wanted me to be recertified but could not do anything without him to write the plan and since he failed to give her one, it didn’t happen. Unlike Dr. Do-Little, she wants to see me receive care in my home and not further traumatized by being ripped away and whisked off to some facility where I could be further victimized. She’ll gladly work through another doctor now. I have a few choice words that would make a sailor blush regarding his “strong recommendation”. Hmm. How convenient for him! Great way to get out of doing his job. Clearly he could care less about me, allowing me to suffer since I got out of Piedmont in late November, untreated for this condition. 

Well since he controlled the entire conversation when I went to see him with his silly visual aid and telling me how much he didn’t support me, and take my symptoms seriously, striking through a good portion of the list of my priorities, then of course he “couldn’t” find that I need skilled nursing services.

He was trying so damn hard not to find it (the criterion for skilled nursing and impetus for treating the Dysautonomia). If he’d put as much effort into finding it as he has into dodging it we might actually have made some headway in treatment and how I’m feeling by now! As a long-time patient advocate I can tell when a provider is soft-peddling the criteria for a service so that he/she won’t have to authorize it. They know just how to tank it when they want off the hook.

In an act of sabotage, he used home healthcare’s very minimal BP readings (from over a month ago) as an excuse to say that since the low BPs for the most part didn’t show up in those taken about 2 times a week by home health (and in only one position) there was no evidence (as though the Piedmont records expired). And what’s shittier still, he’d admitted when I saw him in the office the other day that these two sets of measures were not comparable.

Other than a research setting hospitalization records are the most rigorous form of documentation to evaluate blood pressure, and what’s more, I had also sent him the photos of my purplish feet (see below). It was the same day that he wrote me back saying “OK, I’ll do it” and signed his initials below, then about 10 days later did a complete reversal of that promise.

For those who aren’t familiar with this phenomenon, this is blood pooling in the lower extremities. This is also referred to as acrocyanosis.

Other symptoms of Dysautonomia besides, low blood pressure, blood pooling, syncope/near-syncope, include but may not be limited to;

* Joint pain

* Muscle aches

* Myofascial pain (of connective tissue)

* Neuropathic pain (nerve pain)

* Hyperreflexia (abnormally increased reflexes)

* Generalized weakness

* Restless leg syndrome

* Numbness

* Tingling

* Palpitations

* Shakiness

* Seizure-like activity

* Central sleep Apnea

* Hyper or Hypoventilation

* Fatigue

* Light sensitivity

* Sound sensitivity

* Easily overstimulated

* Dysequilibrium

* Exercise intolerance

* Intolerance to heat and/or cold

* Chills

* Whole body feeling cold

* Cold hands, feet, and/or nose

* Need for 12-15 hours of sleep

* Hypovolemia (low blood volume)

* Narrowing of upright pulse pressure

* High BP

* Drop in BP while standing

* Cognitive impairment (brain fog word finding/recall)

* Chest discomfort and/or chest pain

* Tachycardia

* Bradycardia

* Disordered Sweating

* Clamminess

* Dizziness

* Physiologic Anxiety (Adrenergic-based)

* Flushing

* Loss of Apetite

* Weight loss or weight gain

* Feeling full sooner than normal

* Constipation

* Diarrhea

* Delayed Gastric Emptying (Gastroparesis)

* Bloating

* Low blood pressure after meals

* Nausea

* Vomiting

* Excessive Urination

* Urinary urgency

* Urinary retention

* Irregular menstrual periods

* Loss of sex drive

* Blurred vision

* Tunnel vision

* Pupillary dysfunction

I can see where doctors who don’t bother to read the literature in any depth might make the mistake of thinking their patients who present with alot of these symptoms are merely over-concerned or hypochondriacal, but make no mistake about it, these are all legitimate parts of a number of Dysautonomic syndromes.

Some people have no symptoms that they’re aware of and still have Dysautonomia, but when somebody has a large number of these symptoms and they are disabling why make them suffer needlessly when there are things that doctors can do to help their patients have better quality of life and not to feel like they wish they were dead?

In an article on syncope written at the Cleveland Clinic it states that at 1 year there was between 18-33% chance of mortality in those with syncope of cardiac etiology, 0-12% for non-cardiac syncope, and 6% chance of death with syncope of an idiopathic nature.

While these statistics are not high, I for one would not like to be in that unlucky group that did die in a freak accident upon fainting or near-fainting.

Dysautonomia can be either primary or secondary to another underlying condition such as Multiple System Atrophy (or MSA) .

In addition to POTS, there are a number of  other types of Dysautonomia listed on Dysautonomia International‘s website.

Monday is the first of the tests that were ordered by Dr. V; the first part of the Gallium Scan where they inject the radioactive isotope. Then on Wednesday they’ll do the scan itself. This may tell me whether this is being caused by the progression of my Sarcoidosis. It really is about time they got on the stick with these tests to get to the bottom of this disease.

Right now I’m having this heart pressure I get sometimes that seems to press up into my neck and head. I’m becoming overheated and sweating around the base of my skull. I have a kind of strange sweating pattern. Part of me can be sweating while another part is not or even cold. I wish it weren’t the weekend so I’d hear as to when my pulmonologist is going to get things moving again. The nurse got back to me but had to get an emergency call and it was late in the day, so she was not able to give all my information to him and get confirmation yet. This has to be treated, no ifs, ands, or buts. It seems to be getting worse again into one of its acute clusters. That’s when things start to get hairy.

I’m also going to need that referral to Vanderbilt initiated as soon as possible. While we have plenty of proof that it’s some type of Dysautonomia, Vanderbilt can get more specific with their testing and clinical assessment.