A little bit of this and that

It’s been quite a while since I’ve last been here and as much as I’d I love to catch up with what’s going on with everyone, I have nowhere enough time to read all your posts so I’ve just browsed though some of them to get an idea of what’s happening with everyone. I’m glad to know that everyone has been behaving in my absence 😉

So what’s been happening my side? Since my last post, I wrote the big exam. As usual, it felt like an absolute disaster. The good thing is that everyone felt that way so maybe I’ll end up on the right side of the bell curve. I most probably should add in the fact that I actually dozed off during the exam. I suspect that it was the meds that I started taking because they make me super tired and if it was feasible, I would literally sleep every single day away. 

Following on from that, I was supposed to see my neuro a month after the last visit to give him an update on how the meds are treating me. Clever me went and booked the follow up appointment on the day of the exam without registering this very important fact. About two weeks before the appointment, I called them to let them know that I wouldn’t make it so they put me on the cancellation list and made an appointment for the next available slot which is only in March. However, by the beginning of last week, I decided that this extreme sleepiness had to stop (I’ve even dozed off at work) so I called and told them that I really needed to see him. They said unfortunately they really couldn’t squeeze me in but I could call this week and they’d put me through to him.

So I called this week and I got my five minutes with him. Since the meds aren’t working any better than what I was taking before and they’re making me feel like a zombie, he decided that I should drop it completely and up the dose of one of the other meds. I haven’t gone to the pharmacy yet but I’m dreading this increase. This med, Keppra, made me feel so sick when I started taking it and I have a bad feeling that increasing the dose is also gonna make me feel sick. Fingers crossed it isn’t too bad. 

I also broke my golden rule when it comes to doctors and I got him and his receptionist an anniversary/Christmas gift. They have been part of my life for five years now so I thought I’d just get them a little something. I got him a tie and cuff links and when I spoke to him, he asked if I expected him to hang himself with it. I told him that would save himself from dealing with me for another five years and we had a good chuckle. I got the receptionist a spa voucher which I think she’ll really like because she looks like she could do with some pampering.

On another health front, my teeth have been giving me problems, in particular my wisdoms. I went through a week where I barely ate because it was so sore. I went to the dentist who said she unfortunately can’t help me with the wisdoms and she referred me to the maxillo-facial surgeon, who I’m seeing tomorrow. I don’t know if I’m more worried that my wisdoms will be pulled out while I’m sitting in the chair or if I have to have surgery for it. 

Work has gone into the crazy phase again. I’ve been working until about 2:00 each night and I’ve also been working weekends and even on the public holiday yesterday. We’re supposed to officially go on annual leave tomorrow but I don’t think that’s going to be the case for me. The way that things are looking, it seems like I most probably will be working over the weekend as well. 

It is not all doom and gloom though, I do have some very exciting news. Next week Tuesday I’m heading off on a Eurotrip. I was supposed to spend December at home but during November I just changed my mind and decided I wanted to get away properly from it all. So while my parents and brother are in Taiwan, I’ll be spending two weeks in Europe exploring Italy (it’s true when they say that throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain means that you’ll go back to Rome. It’s only been two years and I’m heading back there), Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and England. I’ve never been keen on the idea of spending a day in a country then moving, I want to spend time there so I can explore but I decided I’d give this whirl wind tour a go. 

I’m super excited but a bit nervous as well. I’m going on a Topdeck tour (it’s exactly the same concept as a Contiki tour, no over 30s) but I’ll still sort of be travelling alone. I definitely think there will be fun times ahead though so I can’t wait! 😁

Friends with health matters

I have this tight knit group of three friends plus myself who share basically everything with each other. Today, I found via the work grape vine that one of my friends was hospitalised last week because of a super high fever as well as a host of other symptoms. Then I still found out that the other two people knew about it and not a single person decided to just let me know that she was sick.

I understand that people need their privacy but at the same time, I feel hurt that they all decided that I shouldn’t be informed about this. My friend said that she doesn’t see me as less of a friend than the others, she just didn’t want me to worry about her. So now I mustn’t worry but the other two should? If it was life threatening, would they still have kept me out of the loop so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it?

Call me selfish or whatever else you want but how is this fair on me? This friend is the one who rushed me off to see the neuro when I had one of my first “black outs” and at a time like this she feels the need to hide this from me. I can’t even explain properly how I feel at the moment. Am I overreacting a bit here?

I’ve always been open with them. If they ask when my next neuro appointment is or if I’m going for a test, I’ll tell them exactly what’s going on. So why is it that when something like this happens, everyone thinks that I shouldn’t be told about it?

I think it’s time I start re-evaluating who I share my health matters with because I “don’t want them to worry”.

Bushveld getaway

I had originally taken Monday off with the intention of having a long weekend so that I could join my person for a holiday down in Cape Town. After much deliberation and airplane ticket searching, I decided that I actually didn’t want to go anymore. Firstly because plane tickets were very pricy and secondly she had planned everything in such detail, I most probably would have had my head bitten off if I breathed out of time.

By Saturday afternoon I was getting very restless and I figured that I needed a break from the big city. So I started looking for day trips which eventually turned into an overnight stay. I settled on a place called Ivory Tree Game Lodge near Pilanesburg. I sent through the booking request on Saturday evening and by early Sunday morning, they had confirmed it.

So off I went on my merry way (with a not so merry amount added onto my credit card balance) and I took a roadtrip on my own. My brother thought I was a loser for going alone but I saw nothing with it. Plus I think some nature and me time without people I know was needed. 

I arrived at the lodge and it was amazing, I would say that the service does semi justify the price. My overnight bag was taken out of the car and my car was driven to the parking for me. I was given a welcoming drink and shown around the main building so that I could familiarise myself with where everything was. I was then ushered into a golf cart and driven to my room. 

  I could lie spreadeagled on the bed and I couldn’t reach the sides. 
  The outdoor shower where I had amazing shower later that evening under the stars.

  The view from my little patio. According to the ranger, there was a lightening storm about two weeks ago that caused a fire which travelled throug about a quarter of reserve before it died down.

At 16:00 we had a tea break and at 16:30 it was time for the afternoon/evening game drive. We were extremely lucky because we managed to see four of the big five animals (only the buffalo didn’t want to make an appearance) and a whole host of other animals as well. 

We returned to the lodge just before 20:00 and then we were treated to an amazing dinner. There was so much to choose and I wanted to try everything but even with taking only tiny little bits of different dishes, my plate was full so there were a few things that I didn’t end up trying. The best dish for the evening was definitely the springbok shank. The meat just melted in your mouth and whatever spices and herbs that were used was perfect. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

After dinner, I went and sat on my patio and did some reading while listening to the night sounds. Every now and again I’d also look up at the sky just to soak in the starry night sky. It was so relaxing to sit there without any city noises and to be able to see the stars so clearly. 

In the morning, I got a 5:00 wake up call which is something that I normally would not respond to but it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t go on the morning game drive. The drive was a lot less successful than the previous evening as we didn’t see many animals but we did manage to catch the sunrise.

   

  

After the game drive, we once again were treated to a delicious meal and then it was basically time to check out. But there was no ways I was going to leave yet so I emptied out my pockets again by treating myself to an aromatherapy massage at the spa. 

   

Before I knew it, it was 15:00 and I reluctantly got into my car for the drive back home. Even though it was only a one night getaway, I think it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Plan of action

I went and visited my favouritest person in the world yesterday. He told me a bit about the conference that he went to last week in Barcelona. I asked if he managed to find my future husband at the conference and he just laughed. I then reported back that the new meds he prescribed didn’t do anything and he said he wasn’t surprised because he knew it was unlikely that it would work, he just wanted to make sure that all the bases were covered.

I then told him about the exam and he gave me a very concerned look. In the five odd years that I’ve been seeing him, I’ve never seen that look so it was very disturbing. We sat in silence for about five minutes where he just held his head in his hands. I assume he was thinking because he eventually resurfaced and said that I must have had an “episode” and then went through a recovery period which would explain why I don’t remember what happened. When I get my paper back, he wants me to take a careful look at what I wrote during that missing period. If it seems “off” then it will confirm his suspicion. 

“Luckily” while we chatting, my shoulder started misbehaving and it was doing its little jerky thing. His concern then changed to excitement (if I can call it that) because I could be hooked up to the EEG machine and we could see whether or not there was any abnormal brain activity. I got hooked up to the machine and went through the flashing lights and breathing exercises. 

I was the last patient for the day so I sat there and watched as the EEG technician scrolled through the results to create the report for the neuro. The 30 minute EEG exercise yielded a whole two seconds of abnormal brain activity. It was “super” abnormal though and the neuro couldn’t explain it to me. Normally the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body but on the EEG it showed that the right side of my brain caused the shoulder jerk in my right shoulder. Even the EEG technician was baffled by it but neither of them could give me extra info. I’ve been scouring the internet but so far I haven’t been able to find anything on how this could happen.

Since I have now tried eight different meds and although I have had good periods, the bad periods are becoming more so the neuro has officially declared that in addition to my spinal myoclonus, I also have refractory myoclonic epilepsy.

It’s all good and well that he officially declared the epilepsy part but I need to know where to go from here. I asked him and in a resigned voice, he said that he didn’t know what to do with me anymore. I think I must have pulled a face that really concerned him because his head went back into his hands and he sighed numerous times. 

This time when he resurfaced, he had come up with a plan of action. It’s not an ideal plan but at least it’s something. There are many other anti-epileptic meds out there however they are known to make myoclonus worse so there isn’t any point in me trying them. We made a list of everything that I’ve taken and the different combinations that I’ve taken them in. What we’re going to do now is try different combinations that I didn’t try in the past. I always feel horrible when I change meds but if this works, I won’t complain. So the first plan that is being implemented now is that I’m going to continue taking Epilim and Keppra, lower the dose of Lamictin that I currently take and then add in some Urbanol. Hopefully this works, even if it’s just for a couple of months, it will be amazing to feel “normal” again for a while.

  Wotalotigot!!

Testing

I’ve been on this new medication for two weeks now and all I can say is that it is just adding to my drug system.  I tried to upload a video for you to see but it didn’t work. Note that in the past, the jerks were only in my abdominal area and the past two months or so, it has now decided to attack my right shoulder. Some people say it’s stress and I couldn’t exactly argue against that but things at work have calmed down so I would have expected this to calm down a little as well. Evidently I was wrong. 

 We wrote the supplementary exam on Monday. Normally after you chat to people, there is a general consensus and people basically have the same answer. This time however everyone had different answers and no one could really come to an agreement. I don’t think that bodes well. 
And of course things didn’t end there. I was busy with question four of the required and next thing I knew I was on question seven and they were announcing that there was half an hour left. I didn’t go back to see if I had written anything because I really wanted to finish off for a change. After wards, whine everyone was discussing the test, I just kept very quiet. 

Luckily I have a doctor’s appointment for monday…

Just a little catch up

It’s once again been a while since I’ve last visited the blogs. Work has once again been all consuming but things are finally starting to calm down. I’ve also spoken to the portfolio manger and said there’s no ways I can carry on this way and because there already is a manager shortage, they can’t afford to lose another one so they have taken some clients off my hands which should make life a bit easier. So what’s happened between then and now?

I passed the supp that I wrote on the 29th of July but then I went and failed the exam that we wrote on the 2nd of September. I have a chance to redeem myself on the 5th of October and hopefully all will go right this time. I can’t explain how frustrating this is for me. I was so used to getting good marks and since the last year of varsity basically all I’ve been doing is failing. I must say that it’s also a bit disheartening because I really just want to get all these tests out of the way. 

I’ve unfortunately had to go see the neuro again. My memory has gone down the gutter. I’m forgetting conversations that I’ve had which leads me to not doing work and constantly asking the same question over and over again. Sometimes I even ask people why they are doing things but it was actually me who told them to do it in the first place. My memory was never the greatest but it hasn’t been this bad. The thing that pushed me over the edge to go see him was when my shoulder started jerking. My jerks have always only been in my abs so to have it somewhere else was quite disturbing. It also made it very difficult to type so I had to do something about it. 

Off I headed to the neuro and we had the customary small talk. When it came to the health talk, he was quite surprised that the jerks had moved to another body part. He started drawing at straws and mentioned something called Segawa Syndrome which is a genetic disease that often affects Asians. He said that it’s highly unlikely that I have it because I don’t show the “classic” symptoms but I’m not classic now am I? He then turned to his computer and opened up YouTube so that we could watch some videos and see what this disease is actually like. I can assure you now that I have nothing like what those people have.

Once again we went walking around in the dark and he decided that we should give Simenet which is actually something that you’d give Parkinson’s patients. His theory is that because Parkinson’s can be classified as a movement disorder and I also have a movement disorder this would be my next best bet since the normal treatment hasn’t been working too well. So we’re going to give this a two week trial and see how it goes. 

I’ve taken Friday off so I can take a nice long weekend. I’ve got a mini spa day planned with some friends tomorrow where we’re gonna get a massage and facial. Then on Saturday I’m off to a Greek wedding which I think will be quite interesting. It’s nice to have something to look forward to for a change. 

Over the edge

Before I start moaning and groaning, I would like to share the good news that I passed the supplementary exam. I can’t explain how relieved I was when I found out. The idea of having to start this course from scratch again next year was not a very nice one. Now I need to start mentally preparing myself for the next exam on the 2nd of September. Luckily it’s a case study so there isn’t actual studying that needs to be done. 

So lately I’ve been working absolutely crazy hours and when I say crazy I mean the earliest I’ve switched off my work laptop is midnight. The one night, I practically pulled an all nighter because I only climbed into bed at 5:00 just so that I could get in an hour and a half of shut eye. I’ve taken Saturdays off because I know that if I don’t take a time out, I will break. Even with all these extra hours that I’ve put in, I’ve still received some hate mail and on Wednesday I basically lost it. I was so angry that I spent basically the whole day hyperventilating and I could feel that my blood pressure was very high.

Just to give a bit of background, one of the partners approached me in May to ask me to help him finish off an audit as the manager that was originally helping him had resigned. He thought I would be the perfect person to wrap things up because I had worked on that client during my three years as a trainee therefore he wouldn’t need to give me a long story so that I could get an understanding of the business. I told him that I was extremely busy but I could help him for a couple of days in July then he would have to wait for the beginning of September before I would be able to look at it again. He was really happy that I could help even though it was only at a later stage. Then on Monday I got this email. 

From: Partner

Sent: Monday, August 17, 2015 6:10 PM

To: The Asian

Subject: RE: Audit progress

Hi The Asian, we really need to wrap June 2014 audit up now please. I see very little progress on that workspace, I am currently working 16 hour days 7 days a week, and have been for some time, I cannot allocate more time to do this work too. This is really urgent and has to be completed asap. I need you to wrap that engagement up quickly now. I still need to take the engagement quality reviewer through everything too.

And here was my response:

From: The Asian

Sent: Monday, August 17, 2015 6:51 PM

To: Partner

Subject: RE: Audit progress

Hi Partner

I have been trying to put in hours to clear up the June 2014 audit however I’m struggling to find time with all the financial statements for my other client that I need to review as well.

The first year ticked up the financial statements but then we got the updated version on Friday and he said that there are quite a few differences when he compared the version that we originally had to the updated version. He also struggled to add up some of the numbers. I didn’t have a chance to look over it during the weekend as I had to do work for my board course which was more work than I expected.

I’m also putting in extra hours this week to try complete everything but I honestly can’t guarantee a date when I will be able to finish it all.

So on Monday and Tuesday night I dedicated about two hours because it seems like I’m a workaholic and that’s what I do. Then I got this email on Wednesday.

From: Partner

Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 10:36 AM

To: The Asian

Subject: RE: Audit progress

The Asian, I am afraid that is not acceptable anymore. You were the supervisor on this engagement, it was never completed, or even attempted to push to completion, even if with exception of the list of outstanding issues. It has been 2 months now since I asked you to wrap it up, while I do the leg work of auditing impairment tests, identifying rehab exclusions which you guys just completely missed. In these 2 months you have made very little progress.

We are out of time, I’ve been saying this many times, you need to prioritise, local stat accounts of your other clients cannot be as urgent as completing this, where we are the only ones holding up a R80 million deal. This is more urgent and important at this point. This has to be prioritised right now.

I completely lost it when I got this email. I am have emails that show I had been following up with these people until the end of January this year. Then another team went there in March and I was told that they would finish things off so naturally I didn’t really pay much attention because I had so many other things on my plate. What really pissed me off though was the fact that I told him that I would only really be able to help in August yet he made it sound as if I was working on it for the past two months and no progress had been made. A person can only take so much and that just pushed me off the edge and I was hanging on with just a couple of fingers. I was so fed up that I actually went and Googled resignation letter templates and I started typing it up. I know better than to do something when you’re all charged up though so the letter is now just sitting hidden away in one of my folders. 

On Thursday we had a client at our office to discuss things so I had to act as though I was working. On Friday however, I was on a complete go slow. I arrived at work late, I took a two and a half hour lunch break and I spent most of the day chatting to people around the office. The best part is that I didn’t feel bad about it at all.