Tuesday, June 23

INH side effects take their toll!

Well aside from total exhaustion by 8pm, I'm doing fine & only 160ish days left on these lovely INH pills! Mornings & evenings are my greatest down fall, but I'm good to go during work hours, which is a plus.

Don't have to worry about the lack of alcohol I'm allowed because really I'm not awake long enough to want it (lol) I'm not planning any more trips either, cause I think weekends away really knock me out - learned that the hard way this past weekend. I flew to Frankfurt Friday night, was in bed by midnight & up at 6am for our all day Rhine River Castle & River Tour, in bed by 10pm & slept till 10am, in bed by 11pm Sunday, yet Monday I was horribly tired all day long - no matter how much caffeine I had I just couldn't get on track. So I'm sticking with my one weekend a month plan - I had considered adding a few road trips in but I'm saying oya (sounds like oh yeah but means no in Kinyarwanda) for now. Doc said maybe after a month or so my body will get more use to this & energy will come back or might get even more exhausted, I'm hoping for the increased energy, but either way I'll manage - I mean if people in Rwanda can have TB without medicine & probably have malaria on top of it - then I can suffer through 6 months of antibiotics, right????

I've been chatting with my mate Nim who's going to Rwanda in September, hence the "oya" reference above - I've been teaching her little words I remember - she's so excited & I'm soooooooooo jealous! She's going with Rwanda Aid, a UK based organisation - I'm intrigued to hear her stories!

Here is a funny story about my fight on Friday from Heathrow to Frankfurt, where I learned I really need to get myself some business cards! Who did I randomly get to sit next to???? None other than a woman named Mary Oloo who is the director of Umbrella Widows & Orphans in Kisumu, Kenya. Everyone else on the plane was German or British & we end up seated together - what are the chances?!?!?! She gave me her business card & was told me how she was on her way to Germany to meet with future volunteers who will go to Kenya for a year & help teach hygiene, English, basket weaving, cooking, pottery, etc. She said the next time I go to Rwanda, I will have to come & visit her for a week & teach about hygiene - I said yego (sounds like yeah-go - Kinyrwanda for yes)!

I'm hoping to have some photos to share with you soon, but I do have visitors arriving tomorrow for a week & between the fact that there will be 5 of us in my one room flat & that I have to work, I'm not sure if I'll actually get them posted in any sort of timely fashion, sorry!

I might be able to find a few from when I was stateside & get them up later today - fingers crossed!

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Monday, June 15

TB or Latent TB that is the question!

feel free to skip paragraphs if this sounds familiar
About a month ago my boss asked if I could help out by training people in another lab - I said sure no problemo - ya know cause that's the kinda gal I am :) In order to work in that lab I had to have a TB test done - again no problem since I'm healthy - well within 24 hours my arm was rather red, swollen & sore . . . side note, the mark is STILL on my arm now over a month later, can you imagine?
Short of the very very long is that the docs here in the UK said yes, it's positive for TB, but no you're not infectious cause you're not coughing up blood. The following week I already had tickets to fly to NY for my mum's b'day & best mate's mum's surprise party, so I flew home without a hitch. Went to see the doctor the next day - low & behold, I turn up with a fever, still rather large red mark on my arm, my positive TB test results from my London doctor & they all freak out!! I have to put a mask on in the office, pee in a cup, talk for nearly 2 hours about where I've been, where I might have gotten it, have I been sick, what to do next, etc. Leave the office nearly in tears for fear I have active TB (meaning I am infectious - hence the mask) which would mean I can't go to the party & can't fly back to the UK. Not wanting to freak out my father, I took the mask off for dinner that night.
Following morning I head straight to hospital for a chest x-ray and the first of many blood works to be done with my oh so lovely mask still on - horribly embarrassing if I do say so myself. 2 x-rays taken, doctor reads them & says I can take the mask off as my lungs are clear - yeah - now on for 4 vials of blood work, a needle in each arm & I've got my prescription for 6 months of antibiotics & I'm good to go :)
Have a fabulous weekend with friends & Tuesday morning whilst having breakfast with my parents & god parents I get a call from the doctor saying I need more blood work b/c my liver enzymes are not in the "normal range". So I stop taking the antibiotics and head back to the hospital for round two of blood work. At the same time, I have to make an appt with the infectious disease specialist because if my liver has some sort of long term problem, I won't be able to take the antibiotics & we'll need to know what the alternative options are for latent TB treatment.
2 days later at the ID doc, she announces my 2nd round of blood work looks okay as far as hepatitis & ANA levels, but we still need to repeat it cause the liver enzymes aren't great . . . back to the hospital for another few vials of blood. Surprised I'm not anaemic at this point (just kidding they don't take that much blood) Results of this will take 48-72 hours & it's Thursday so I have to change my ticket yet again so I'm state side when the results come in - just in case!
Following Monday the results come back that my liver enzymes are back to normal & since my fever is gone as well, they think it was just some sort of viral hit which screwed up all the results, so I can go back on the 6 months of antibiotics just as long as I don't drink any alcohol & have my liver enzymes tested once a month.
So here I am back again in London - trying to get back into the swing of things at work & I think finally over my jet lag since I spent the whole weekend sleeping & sleeping some more (lol)!
Wish I had more exciting news, but really that's the summary of my last month. Oh wait, sorry I did have some fun things happen, I got to go to 3 dance recitals (yes, that's correct THREE!), see friends in Connecticut, spend lots of time with my parents, and went to a wedding, so all in all it was a good time even with all the trips to doctors offices & hospitals!
I was suppose to go to Warsaw, Poland on Friday with Kaylie, but after just getting back into the country on Tuesday morning I was overly jet lagged & really could not take any time off, so I apologised to Kaylie but said I couldn't make it - she apparently didn't take it so well & for the moment is not speaking to me. I felt bad for a bit, but really if she fully understood all that I'd just been through I think she could have been a bit more understanding to my circumstances!
Okay, 5pm, gotta head home, meeting with boss at half 10 tomorrow - need to get a good nights sleep - no I'm not going to bed now, but need to grocery shop, make dinner, finish off laundry, read a bit & then go to bed!


Thursday, June 11

the joys of public transport in London this week

check this out

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Tuesday, June 9

UK side of the pond again

After lots of waiting around in the not so exciting airport they like to call Albany "International", I finally got a seat on the 6pm flight to Philly (original flight delayed with maintenance issues was scheduled to take off at 3pm) and almost more important was that I was able to get on a 10.45pm flight into Heathrow (instead of the 6pm into Gatwick, which I obviously had missed the connection for) but at that point I didn't really care at all anymore, I just wanted to either be home at mum's house in bed with 3 dogs crawling all over me or in London getting back into the swing of things at work.

Luckily for me I got the latter, so here I am just about a day later, sitting at my desk, as if I never left! I think I got about 4 hours kip on the plane, the first hour was smooth, then as we flew through the jet stream merger, it was rather bumpy for 45 minutes & then the rest was VERY smooth (or I slept through the bumps - lol). I arrived safe & sound into Heathrow around 11am this morning, tubed it home (tube strike doesn't start till 7pm tonight), showered, went through my mail, and headed into work.

I've erased 214 emails since my arrival at 1.45pm, not bad for 2 hours worth of work if you ask me, but nothing like my days of relaxing pool side in Wallingford or reading on the dock in Saranac Lake or watching a ballet recital in Peru/Glens Falls/Simsbury (that's correct I went to THREE recitals whilst home) or bush whacking up a mountain in Adirondack or enjoying a backyard wedding in Wallingford, but work does pay better than those options, so I'll take it for now!
Really just wanted to let ya know I'm back.