A rough week of getting sick and getting anxious

My body is wonky in a lot of ways, but I think the most obnoxious is how easily I get sick. There was a chunk of my childhood where I’d suddenly get sick, land in the ER, and spend a week in the hospital every month.

It would take me about an hour or two to get as dehydrated as an average person would after a few days. I’d start to get a little shaky, then I’d start throwing up. Once that happened, it was over. My system would just get thrown out of whack and no matter what I did, I wouldn’t be able to get back to normal. So, off to the ER I’d go.

I was such a frequent flier that as soon as I showed up in the ER, they’d take me in no questions asked. It was a routine, and everyone knew the drill when Karly came in. I’d be hooked up to IV’s and have blood drawn every day. We just kind of had to wait it out until my body was back to normal and I could keep food down again.

If any of this sounds weird or confusing, don’t worry – my doctors were confused too. They ran tests and sent my file to specialists all over (even overseas) and no one could give us a definitive answer. Basically, they said it was some sort of weird metabolic disorder that I’d likely grow out of. I always had to be super careful. I needed to eat a snack every few hours during the day, one right before I went to bed, and one right as I got up. If I missed one, I ran the risk of another week of needles and misery.

Luckily, I have grown out of whatever disorder I had. Well, for the most part. I still get dehydrated easily, though not nearly AS easily. I try to be careful and snack often. On the occasion I do end up getting sick, I can usually bounce back on my own with the help of saltines and tea. Even though I know I’ll be okay, the second I start to feel nauseous panic starts to creep in.

Cut to last Wednesday. I was about halfway through my 5 hour shift when I started to feel… off. I figured I was just hungry, but I had a snack so I wasn’t too concerned. Honestly, I was more worried about how desperately I needed to go to the bathroom. Not being able to pee for 6 hours every day is harder than you might think, guys. Especially when you have Muscular Dystrophy.

Minute by minute, I was feeling worse until I knew I had to leave early. At one point, I was sure I was going to pass out right in front of my computer. Thankfully my manager was super understanding because it wasn’t long after I got home that it happened. I threw up.

It was like I was eight years old all over again. My mind started to race. What happens if I have to go to the hospital? Will I lose my job? How will my mom manage? How many needle sticks am I going to have to endure?

Getting sick meant getting admitted for so long that even now I can’t seem to help but associate the two. It definitely doesn’t help that I struggle with anxiety so often because the worst thing I can do while I’m trying to keep my crackers down is panic. When I’m anxious, I feel nauseous. So then I get an upset stomach all over again, which makes me anxious, which makes me nauseous, and well… you get the picture. It’s my least favorite cycle in the world, and I can never seem to escape it.

All this to say – it was a rough week. I managed to turn it around enough to manage my last two shifts. I even went to Disney on Friday, which I thought for sure I’d have to cancel. Don’t get me wrong – those are all very good things, but the anxiety never left me. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for my body to give out and wondering which poor nurse was going to be stuck trying to draw blood from my stubborn veins. I wasn’t sick anymore, but I was still making myself sick.

I can’t stand that feeling of dread. The one that no matter how hard I try, I can’t rationalize away. My body had its chance to be a jerk for a few days, but I’m glad that it’s over. And I can’t help but feel lucky that once again I managed to avoid the hospital, even though I wasn’t really all that sick. I’m just looking forward to a new week so this can all be behind me.

One good thing? My boring weekly routine hasn’t sounded so lovely in a long time.

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