Reblog: When The Shoe Is On The Other Foot

I thought that I was just fatigued from the move, but it is getting worse not better. People say to exercise more, and you will feel better, but the more I exercise the worse I feel. But then I never was “Normal”. ūüėČ

doctorsnote

My Hubby has been my rock for our 16 years of marriage and the five or so years before that. Even when times were at their worst (and they were), and he wanted to pack it in, he didn’t.

He knew from the start that when he married me that I came with a multitude of health problems and emotional baggage. Over the years he has helped me through so much I couldn’t begin to repay it if that were a consideration.

Well, now it is.

My hubby has been dealing with his own health problems for a long time and I know that he has put them on the side-burner to be there for me and to make a living, even when it has been way too much for him.

Because this is My blog and I do my best to keep the privacy of my friends and family…

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Life with Hemochromatosis

I have always been a person who lacked energy, which is why I started working with computers. I never knew why I lacked energy, most people probably thought I was lazy. The doctors didn’t seem to know either, so I started researching my own symptoms. I found several remedies for different symptoms, but they always seemed to be temporary or very expensive and I couldn’t afford to keep it up.

I never learned about Hemochromatosis until about 10 years ago. My cousin was diagnosed with it, and his wife sent a letter from his doctor saying that relatives should have our DNA tested, because it doesn’t show on the blood tests. I took it a doctor I was seeing at the time, he did the blood test and told me I don’t have it. Ah… What did the letter say? That I should have the DNA test anyway?

I really didn’t want this diagnosis anyway, because the usual remedy is to give blood, and blood tests made me faint / nauseated, never mind sitting for an hour having them drain the stuff out of me.

About a year ago, I finally convinced my new doctor to test me again. She did the blood test and found that my Iron level was 508, and not high enough to continue on to the next test (it requires 600 or more). So, I researched it myself and found out that levels above 500 are considered toxic! If the medical system knows that my levels are toxic, why aren’t they doing something about it?

People are always offering advice on how to get healthier. Eat right, get lots of exercise, etc. So, when my job in the computer industry was downsized, I decided to try more physical jobs to get in shape, and eat more balanced meals.

Now, I am finding out that this was not the best idea. Eating balanced meals, typically involves eating foods that are high in iron, and it seems like my dislike of green vegetables was not psychological, but my body telling me that it contains iron and too much was bad for me. Also, with toxic levels of iron in my system, I barely have enough energy to do a computer job, let alone a physical one.

Speaking of energy, I had always wondered why some simple activities were always too tiring for me. Most people wouldn’t consider going to church a physical or tiring activity (well, depending on if it was a boring sermon, or something). However, I rarely had the energy to stand while singing, and this usually lead to me finding it hard to breathe. Also, I was often cold. In more recent years, I discovered that the more physical I was, the colder I was. Basically it seemed that I had enough energy to heat my body and breathe, or do physical work, but not both.

So, now I am stuck in a physical job that is basically killing me, and I don’t have the energy and willpower to go looking for another, less physical job. It is funny, because in the earlier days all I had was the willpower to help others. It didn’t matter what the job was, if I was making money or not, if it required more thought than muscles, I would do it. Sometimes it did involve muscles, and I would be totally exhausted afterwards, but I was helping people and I felt good about it.

These days I don’t have enough energy to do my job, let alone help other people. I often find myself getting angry at my managers and clients, but I know it is not them making me angry, it is that I don’t have the energy to do what I am doing, so my body and mind are trying to get me out of this job, even if it means I do something stupid that gets me fired.
So, the good news is that I have been able to start giving blood, and I have noticed some improvements. In December, I wasn’t getting tired playing with the dog for 1 minute, but it returned in January before my next blood donation. However, since then the energy hasn’t returned. I did some more research and found that the green leafy lettuce that I wasn’t eating in December, must be the culprit, so I am cutting back on all greens including lettuce.

So, I am making baby steps, but without a diagnosis and the help of the medical system, I am estimating it will take years for me to feel normal again, where other members of my family who were diagnosed were feeling better in as little as 3 months.

Our electric heaters can’t keep up, but we have an air conditioner!

The temperature outside is only barely below freezing, but the electric heaters in our townhouse are having a hard time keeping up (currently 2 degrees below the set temp, and falling).  Luckily we bought an air conditioner about a year and a half ago.  But as you may have guessed, this is no ordinary air conditioner.  It is a DeLonghi Pinguino portable 4-in-1 with heat pump!  (may not be the exact same model we have)

Yes, it does keep us cool in the summertime, but I waited years before they finally came up with a reversible unit that would heat as well as cool, and this is the first one I found and it works great!  They say:

The AN140HPEWKC Portable Air Conditioner has a maximum cooling capacity of 14,000 BTU/hour and a WHISPER COOL function to provide 50% less sound power for a quieter cool. Perfect for rooms up to 500 square feet, this machine also comes with a dehumidifying and fan function to optimize the balance between temperature and humidity. Additional features of the AN140HPEWKC include a 3810 Watt heat pump, 3 fan speeds, a 24 hour digital timer and thermostat, and an exclusive condensate recirculation system with NO DRIP technology.

We use this unit to keep our entire 1,300 sq ft unit cool in the summer. ¬†It is in the living room, but you still feel some cool in the bedroom on the opposite end of the unit, this unit somehow pushes the air nicely down the hallways. ¬†It’s Real Feel mode does save energy by balancing the temp and humidity to make both my wife (who is always hot) and I¬†(who am¬†always cold) happy, while also being whisper quiet. ¬†Every once in awhile you hear it come on and blow a few puffs, and somehow this keeps us both comfortable. ¬†This Real Feel is definitely worth the extra money.

But enough of summer, it’s a distant memory in this cold weather. ¬†No, the main reason I purchased this unit is because of the heat pump. ¬†They say that this thing puts out 3810 Watts of heat, but using about half that amount of power, but somehow it heats our home to summertime temps, and still cuts the power bill in half!

Why do I say summertime temps?  I have a genetic condition called Hemochromatosis, and while it is not a common symptom, it causes me and the other men in my family to feel cold all the time.  So, most people who come to visit find the 26C or 80F way too hot, but it is comfortable to me.

Enough about me, back to the heat pump.  Until the temperature dropped to freezing, this little unit heated our whole 1,300 sq ft to these summertime temps all by itself.  Well, I did have to turn the heat on in the bedroom at night, but it is on the far side of the house and it was only was on for a few minutes to take the chill from the window out.

Now that the temperature has dropped below freezing the heat pumps become less efficient, but I found a workaround for that too.  Turning on our electric heat has given this unit a big boost again!  Unfortunately the heater is right behind this unit, and every time it came on, this unit got hot, and stopped, but once I diverted the direct heat away from it, the heat pump and electric heat now works in perfect harmony keeping me at summer temps, with very little effort.  You see the electric heat warms the room enough that it feeds back into the heat pump and the heat pump basically multiplies that heat like ten fold.

So, while the electric heat may supplement the heat pump more during these freezing temps, the heat pump is still doing the majority of the work.

So, this wouldn’t be a good review if I didn’t include the con’s… ¬†They have this NO DRIP technology that vents to the outdoors when in air conditioning mode, but in heat mode there is an undocumented water reserve tank that fills up in our humid environment very quickly. ¬†It took me a while to find out what this weird error message “LH” (if I remember correctly) was, there was no documentation on it. ¬†But I eventually found¬†that there is a water reserve, with a drain by the power cord. ¬†I emptied this I think 3 times the first day, before I put the unit up on a stand, and left the plug open with a bucket underneath. ¬†I have to empty it daily in the fall, but it is definitely worth the hassle.

Also, the remote we have is defective, it kept changing all the settings, like from hot to cold.  Removing the battery seem to do the trick.  However, when in heat mode, the temperature set seems to go up or down.  I think it probably uses heat sensitive touch pad, which responds to the units own heat.  But it is easy to correct the temp once a day.

I would definitely recommend this unit for all year comfort and energy savings.

I am allergic to my Antihistamines

Yes, you heard me right.  I am allergic to my Antihistamines, or at least the fillers that they put in them.

Did you know that most of them have lactose in them?  How many people are lactose intolerant and they are still using it as fillers in pills?  Well, lactose makes my nose run, therefore if I take too many of those antihistamines they make my nose run too.

Another has Iron in them, and with my Hemochromatosis, I can’t have any Iron, so these are basically toxic for me.

Well, how about these new gel caps?  Those have soy lectin in them, which I am also allergic to.

What about kids liquid?  Those have sugar in them that make me break out into pimples.

I had to get the pharmacy to custom make a allergy free generic benadryl pills. ¬†I don’t know what is in them as a filler, but I noticed that when I take these for too long, they bother me too. ¬†I start out taking about one a week. ¬†Soon I am taking one a day. ¬†Then I start taking it 3 times a day and it does nothing.

Here is how I know that I am allergic to these pills, not that the antihistamine in them stops working (as is the common belief). ¬†The more I take of them, the more my allergies bother me. ¬†I stop taking them, or switch to a different type, and I don’t need one¬†for a week or two. ¬†If they simply stopped working, I would still need an antihistimine, but the fact that I don’t need them anymore means that I was reacting to the antihistamine itself.

So, what do I do?  I basically have to use one of the three (lactose, lectin or custom) pills until they bother me, and then I try the other two to see which one bothers me less, and I use that one until it bothers me, and then switch again.  Anyone else have problems like that?