What happened to me? The beginning of a never-ending nightmare

Hi, my fellow humans
This is going to be another long post again, and the way the introduction starts suggests that I haven’t posted here in a long time. That’s partially true, but here’s what happened.
After realizing that I wanted to be an independent WordPress owner, I got help from someone who knows how to use Linux boxes. Together, we rebuilt my blog and attached my basic HTML web site that I started working in my last two years of Hi School. As luck would not have it, though, I lost all my posts because I didn’t check to make sure the SQL files were generated properly. I tried importing the XML file I got from my old wordpress.com account, but it evidently didn’t get saved. Fortunately for me, however, I kept an archive in text form of all the posts I had ever written, and I spent time going through it and reposting them, sometimes splitting them up into multiple parts and editing them. So, this is where I am now.
I know it has been quite a long time since I last posted, and I thought I’d inform you of what I’ve been doing for the last three and a half years. This is going to turn out to be long, so I would suggest that you find some time to sit down so you can spend about half an hour to forty-five minutes reading and re-reading through this article.

Before I start, I want to briefly tell you about my first major medical mystery that began in December 2012. That one was pretty interesting. While I was at the transitional programme, I felt a bit of soreness on the right side of my throat. Two days later, I started feeling pangs of air hunger. I had a strong urge to take deep breaths to fill them out, and three days later, my lungs were hurting, yet I persisted. By January 2013, I had almost recovered, except that I kept coughing non-stop. It went away briefly in March, but it came back a few days later. Sometimes, if I slept for a long time, I felt fine, but then the coughs would return. I also kept swallowing a lot, as well. Eventually, I was prescribed an Albuterol inhaler in June, right after I had left. That was around the time I felt like my coming of age had arrived. I took a couple of spirometry tests, which I previously took when I was taking Anatomy and Physiology in high school, and the coughs gradually went away. I had some occasional flare-ups here and there, and my chest raddled every time I coughed hard. I got a Vicks humidifier, which helped somewhat. Two years later, I had to get a refill because the coughs were more consistent, and the doctor suspected that I most likely had intermittant asthma. I actually got a minor panic attack in January of 2013 when I thought that I might have it.
But I never thought I could suffer a nervous breakdown until I actually experienced one. I mean, I’ve had bouts of panic attacks and astral projection from sleep paralysis, and I’ve survived three blood donations and two wisdom teeth surgeries under nitrous oxide, and although the side effects were tolerable, nothing prepared me for what happened to me a few months later. I’ve also never taken a narcotic pain killer until July of 2016, and I had some very interesting experiences, which I will talk about in a later post.
I was getting ready to race with my dragon boating team in Tempe, Arizona from September 30th to October 2nd of 2016. I kept attending all sixteen mandatory practices before the race. Had I known the severe hardships I would endure; I would have backed out as soon as I could. As it was, I suffered a great deal, and it took me nearly two years to recover from the aftermath.
When I arrived in Tempe on Friday, 30 September, I was doing just fine, even in the great heat. So, it was quite a surprise when, on Saturday, I started exhibiting symptoms of heat exhaustion, starvation, dehydration, hyperventilation, or panic attack, that lasted for several hours, even though I was in a shaded tent, and it was around ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Although I kept drinking plenty of water and Gatorade, I wasn’t provided with enough food, and our team was only supplied with a light continental breakfast. I first felt slightly lightheaded when I was accompanying my team down to the lake, though it could have been my imagination. After about twenty minutes of being seated in the tent, I started noticing that my mind was racing, and I was starting to breathe more rapidly. I began having problems with my thoughts. I was thinking about one thing over another until I realised that I was thinking of every possible scenario of why I would not be able to survive in the extreme heat. Then I started to feel like I was in a fog. My brain felt very hazy, and I had the strongest urge to pass out, but I fought it off by constantly being in motion. Then, since I was afraid of fainting from experience, I did everything I could to keep myself awake. I am extremely afraid of fainting, for I have never fainted before, so I didn’t know what sensations I would expect to feel, or if anyone would notice.
Eventually, I started feeling my fingertips and toes tingle if I didn’t move, though it went away when I did. I alerted one of my teammates, who had also felt this way when I was in Portland last month, and she told me to keep drinking more, as if I weren’t already. She alerted the coach, and she told me to stay in the tent, even though I asked to go back to the hotel, and she also told me to drink more Gatorade without offering me any food. I was excused from racing after that. I tried to solicit other means of help to get relief, but no one came to my aid. My Android phone, which I was using at the time, failed me greatly, and I was not able to call emergency services. Had I had access to a ham radio, I would’ve probably used that to call for aid.
All those events took place from nine thirty in the morning until around fourteen hundred. I kept going to the bathroom every fifteen minutes because I kept drinking so many big bottles of Gatorade and smaller bottles of water.
When I went back to the hotel, I was feeling somewhat better, so I went to sleep, and I woke up when it was time for my team to go to dinner. I had trouble walking because I was still dealing from the effects just hours before, but I managed to keep drinking, and I ate a big meal, which kept me going through the night and into the morning. I even saved some leftovers so I could refrigerate it. I don’t know if Room Service could have given me relief at the time.
Come Sunday, I was worried about whether I would be able to race, and what I would do if I couldn’t. Again, we were supplied with a light breakfast, but I vowed to find more food at the venue. The temperature was climbing slowly, and I prayed that it would rain, and incidentally, it did, about half an hour later. I was relieved to receive a good shower outdoors, but soon, the water got too cold, and I was obliged to retreat to the tent. I heard one of the team members say that there was a peculiar odour about the place, and when I sniffed, I detected a sweet, pungent aroma that I associated with electricity, although it was more like the smell of static electricity mixed with gunpowder. I later learned that this was ozone, which is a Greek derivative, as I later learned about in a text adventure game called Curses. When I learned that we might have a thunderstorm, I felt as though the blood were draining from my face, but fortunately, I remained standing. Later, when I got on my computer, I made a joke about the rainstorm on Facebook, saying that I got an answer to my prayers from the heavens, and that I was saved. That downpour drenched us all, and our wet clothing offered us means of cooling afterword. I was able to partake of the last two races, and then we packed up to go back to the hotel. Some members were leaving on Sunday, while others, including myself, went home the following day, which was a big mistake for me. Just as we were getting ready to leave, though, I heard a loud retching, coughing, and wheezing sound. I went over to investigate, and I witnessed one of our teammates throwing up, possibly due to a concussion. I learned the next day that this teammate had been falling down all weekend, and they were being made to paddle despite these mishaps. Since nobody made plans for going to dinner on Sunday night, I didn’t know what else to do. I wasn’t sure if I could use room service, and therefore, I was extremely hungry. I managed to save a piece of chicken meat, and I ate it cold. I ate an apple, and some beef Jerky. I waited, but my appetite wasn’t yet satisfied, but then I remembered saving the leftovers from the day before, so I ate it cold, since there was no microwave available. My hunger was satisfied after that, and I went to bed. If I had access to UberEats or DoorDash, I would’ve felt fine afterword.
On Monday, I awoke to take a nice, warm shower, which went without a flaw. I decided to see about how to get breakfast. I went into this warm and stuffy cafeteria, but that nearly proved disastrous, for no sooner had I gone inside, and while I was sitting at one of the tables, I started to feel my chair tilt and sway, and I felt waves of hot flashes rolling down my body. I knew I was going to faint again, so I fought it off by shuffling my legs around. I also made the mistake of drinking apple juice, which has sorbitol. And, when you’re already dehydrated, it makes it much worse, because it will cause you to have diarrhoea made by pulling water out of your system. So, I went back to my room, and I had my meal delivered there. I noticed that I was having trouble walking again, and I heard a low humming sound in my right ear, around 225 Hz, the same sound you hear if you’ve ever had a tympanogram. I lied down to get some rest, but after a few minutes I had to go to the bathroom again, and I noticed that every time I released stool, it caused me to feel a stinging sensation. I drank tap water, which tasted salty, every time I went to the bathroom to replace what I lost. I called the airline the day before to see about changing it to an earlier day, but it was more expensive to carry this out, so I requested a wheelchair so I wouldn’t have to walk far.
I waited until it was around ten thirty, then I did my best to walk outside. I was feeling so dizzy, I could barely stand up, but I managed to lug my suitcase to the couches, where I stopped to rest. I talked with the teammate who alerted the coach on Saturday, and who accompanied the invalid to the hospital on Sunday. She tied my shoelaces, for they were not well-knotted. It would be the last time I ever interacted with her, for on April 26th, 2017, four days before her birthday, she died in her sleep. She would have been seventy in four more days of her death. Anyhow, I went outside to wait for our cab, and I leaned heavily against the wall for support. When it came, I was relieved to sit down again. I sat in the middle seat in the back. When we got to the airport, I tried to accompany everyone to the check-in line, but it became evident that my dizziness was getting the best of me, and I was forced to find a bench until they could get me a wheelchair. I’m glad I had requested this in advance. I walked through security check and sat back down on the chair. I went to the bathroom, and the coach’s spouse got me some more Gatorade and a banana for me to snack on. With all these things, I was able to avoid hunger for just a bit longer.
The flight was uneventful, although I noticed that my breathing tended to stop just as I was falling asleep, and I would wake up immediately. This usually happened after an episode of near fainting. I previously started feeling such symptoms when I rode in a car, shortly after drinking coffee. I also over-donated blood back in June, though I had previously donated twice (once in November of 2015, and again in March of 2016), and I had to deal with similar symptoms. I was hospitalised this last time, and I had to put up with some of the remaining aftershocks for several weeks. I drank coffee again in August of 2016, six months after I dealt with my last bout of panic attack from drinking coffee when I was at a friend’s house, and again, I experienced a panic attack when I was riding in the cab. This time, I remembered to eat a substantial meal, so I ordered some McDonalds food. I felt much better in about an hour.
Shortly after we landed, I was wheeled out to wait for my ride. Once I got home, I changed to some more comfortable clothes, and I slept for a while. My mother offered to buy me some comfort food, and I got up to eat it. On Tuesday, everything was about the same, but I wasn’t feeling any better. I ate as much as I could, and I had my mother deliver meals to my room. I started noticing for the first time that whenever I walked, I felt as though the floor were moving beneath my feet. If you’ve been on a boat in rough seas or ever stood on a dock in a windy day, you’d know what I’m talking about. I felt the floor bob and sway, and it made it more difficult for me to walk about. I asked my mother to buy me some VitaLyte, or something similar. It is a rehydrating fluid containing glucose or dextrose, and electrolytes, which made it taste very sweet and salty at the same time. I downed one bottle, and then I drank some Gatorade as well. I continued doing this on Wednesday, and that is when I had my first real out of body experience, or astral projection. I remember thinking to myself in my dream that if I were to have a seizure, I wouldn’t be able to wake up. Then, I started to feel lightheaded, and I felt tingles come at me in big waves. Then I found myself floating in my bedroom, and I was drawn to my cordless telephone. I tried to reach for it so I could dial 911, but I was not successful. This was the first of several reoccurring nightmares that were to follow for the next five months.
On Thursday, I still wasn’t getting any better, so I told my mother everything. She offered to drive me to Urgent Care instead of the emergency room, and she did this because the ER would have been busier than if we went to Urgent Care. It would also mean that it would have been more expensive. We left at around nine in the morning and got there at nine fifteen. I checked in, and I was taken to an examining room. I told them what I’ve gone through, and they performed some tests, including an orthostatic blood pressure test, electrocardiogram, and a urine sample, followed by a blood draw. Ever since I’ve been seeing my naturopathic doctor over at the National University of Natural Medicine, I was really fascinated with the needles, syringes, catheters and IV lines, so I was really surprised when I was able to get my hands on a venipuncture kit from The Apprentice doctor back in early 2016 without a Drug Enforcement Administration Number. You never know what people can do with such things if it got into the wrong hands. So, I finally got to feel some butterfly needles, some vials and ampules, and more.
Nearing the end of my visit, I was given diazepam, or valium, as is sometimes known. It was given to me in the form of a tablet containing 5 MG. After about twenty minutes, I started to feel more relaxed. The medical assistant arranged to have me taken to the emergency room if I wasn’t any better by the time I went to my doctor’s office on Friday.
Once I was through, I was taken back out, and my mother drove me to Jack in the Box so I could get something to eat. Then she bought me my first iPhone from Metro PCS so I could have something to play with. When we got home, I was feeling much better, and I spent some time setting up my iPhone. But we all know that some good things can’t always last forever, right?
On Friday, I woke up, and I was feeling pretty good. I got something to eat, and then I continued working on my iPhone. I also talked to a friend of mine, and I thought things were going quite smoothly. Well, when it came time for my mother and I to depart to Portland, I started feeling the old symptoms come back, including diarrhoea. I have a suspicion, but I don’t know if it would be warranted, that if I consumed products from Pizza Hut, I’d get the runs every time. I thought I could get some rest on the way to the clinic, but alas, that didn’t work out in my favour. I guess the effects of the valium had worn off, for my anxiety was causing me to feel the same as I had felt on Monday. I could barely walk up to the desk, so I leaned heavily on my cane, which wasn’t designed for that purpose as it wasn’t a walking stick. Once it was my turn, I checked in as quickly as I could, and then I plopped down on the nearest chair. I waited for about five minutes, but I knew I couldn’t walk such a long distance. So, when my name was called, a wheelchair was brought up to me, and I was asked if I wanted some rescue remedy, which uses the placebo effect to make you believe that you were being given a dose to help you relieve your anxiety. It’s kind of like this: if I gave you a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie, and then two hours later, I told you that they had weed in them, your body would react immediately as if there was. The truth is that they never did. That’s called a nocebo effect.
Anyway, I was taken upstairs, and I was administered the same tests I was given at Urgent Care. They also checked my skin elasticity to make sure I wasn’t extremely dehydrated. The doctor did not prescribe me valium, as I had asked, but instead, they prescribed me something called Propranolol Inderal, 60 MG 24-hour release capsule. I saw in later research that if you were to take this medicine shortly after experiencing trauma, your brain might respond to it differently. Unfortunately, this didn’t work because the neurones involved in encoding the memories have already consolidated them considerably.
At first, taking this beta blocker once a day had no major effects, although my blood pressure readings had gone down somewhat, maybe a little lower than usual, and my heart and breathing rates were slightly lowered. After about a month of taking it, I started noticing some subtle changes, like being more sensitive to heat, though this could have been related to what happened to me, sort of like phantom pain. I went in for a blood draw, one day before Trump was elected president, and I nearly fainted from that in the car on the way home, since it was a fasting blood test. I first felt a warm sensation in my leg, and I thought it was the sun, so I turned my head to the right, as I was sitting on the starboard part of the car, and I immediately felt lightheaded for about a second.
I sort of surprised the phlebotomist when I told her that she was using a winged infusion set because I felt the rubbing of the tube against my arm. Thanks to that kit, I also learnt how to set up an IV line, which eventually became useful when I later got IV therapy.
A few weeks later, my mother told me that I started getting heavier, and she noticed my cheeks rounding up with adipose tissue. I also purchased some Lavela, which is a lavender-based essential oil enclosed in a soft gel. I requested to have a balance evaluation report, so I went ahead and did that with Pacific Ear Clinic.
By late November through early December, I had purchased some equipment to measure my vital signs, like a blood pressure monitor and a pulse oximeter, and a scale to see how much I weighed. In January, I also purchased a glucometer so I could see how my blood glucose was doing. By that time, I was into two months of taking my beta blocker and lavender softgel, and I started noticing major changes in my appetite. I got hungry every two to three hours, instead of seven to eight hours like I normally would. This might have been a trick that caused my body to believe I was in a famine, which is why I probably gained so much weight afterword. This is actually indicative of corticosteroid-like activity, either because of the meds I was taking, or because the constant amount of stress caused me to produce a lot of cortisol, and my thyroid gland was being overactive, so I could’ve developed Cushing Syndrome. Body fat is also known to play a role in messing around with hormone balances. My nipples started puffing out, and they felt extremely sore. After about six months of this torture, my ariolas had increased in diameter. Those assigned female at birth would probably notice androgen-like activity, such as deepening of the voice, male hair growth, and other things. The fat redistribution can cause a moonface appearance. See an article here to learn how to manage weight gain from steroids.
By late November, I had received my physiotherapy and vestibular reports, which were sent to my ear, nose and throat specialist, who arranged to have me undergo an MRI in late December. I will post about my MRI experience later. I was also told that my potassium levels were quite low, so I ate bananas, and I also took potassium supplements. Again, this is another common side effect of having high amounts of steroids in your system. And, I don’t know whether this was due to the Mal de Debarkment Syndrome or the medication I was taking, but there were some days that I felt like the front part of my brain was in a deep fog, and I felt very lethargic and slow-witted. I almost lost my train of thought for a few seconds before it came back, and during that time, I felt like I was about to pass out.
In January, I had a feeling that we were going to be snowbound, so I tried to get as much food as I could, via the Safeway Home Delivery programme. As it was, the snow came in earlier than I had anticipated, and Safeway was not able to deliver my order. My mother, not wanting to risk going out in the snow, was not able to provide me with much food, either. On top of what I’ve gone through, I was ready to give up. Then, the snow started melting, and Safeway was finally able to deliver my order. A few more days, and I was out of the woods. I had started going to some physiotherapy exercises beginning in January, but because of the snow, it got delayed. I went in for about three or four visits, but it wasn’t really helping me much. I got to ride the Alter G antigravity treadmill on my first official visit, the one before that being my assessment visit, and I experienced sensory fatigue when my legs were used to being nearly weightless for several minutes.
I had already suspected that the cause of my excess hunger and weight gain was due to my beta blocker, so I gradually began to lower my dosage without letting my doctor know, and, since I didn’t want to stop suddenly, I tapered off of it completely by the beginning of February.
In November of 2016 and in January of 2017, I received two intravenous treatments, one consisting of a push, and the other one containing a solution which dripped slowly over the period of two and a half hours at a rate of sixty drops per minute. Both treatments were not covered by insurance, so I had to pay out of pocket for these treatments. I didn’t feel a whole lot better, but it was worth a try. In fact, I didn’t even know they offered these treatments had it not been by accident when the receptionist asked me if I had called regarding that. Of course, I wasn’t, but I was curious, so I asked my doctor if we could do it, and they agreed to give it a try.
I had another blood draw on Wednesday, 23 February 2017, and they discovered that I might be dealing with fatty liver, and that I was possibly prediabetic. They also found that my cholesterol was quite high on the HDL, I think, and my blood sugar was at 109, even when I was fasting. I had also risen to 194 LB, and I wondered how I could gain forty pounds in just four months. By the end of the year, I was at 215.

By the end of February, my former partner, who is still my friend, suggested that I try out DirecTV so I could try and learn more about humour and the latest social trends. So, to oblige them, I did. I had a lot of trouble with DirecTV at first, mostly having to do with technical issues in not being able to make the device talk. I soon got it resolved, and I was able to use it more independently.
Back in August of 2016, I was interested in the possibility of getting a secured credit card, so I applied for it, but I didn’t have enough funds to put in the minimum deposit of $300 to get $300 in credit. I waited until February of 2017 to try again. I was finally approved for the secured credit card, and the $300 was deducted from my account in March. Had I known that I was to be in dire peril, I would have waited until I was out of it before getting the card. As it was, I had to make many sacrifices to survive. It was all because of my two-year older brother that my mother, my brother, and I were all put in this predicament. I will continue this in my next post.