Friday, August 10, 2012

Caught in the Crossfire: You Don’t Look Sick

Caught in the Crossfire: You Don't Look Sick
AUGUST 9, 2012

Jeanne Hyatt is 56-years old and lives in Florida. On the outside, she
looks like any other normal, healthy person. She could be your aunt,
your next door neighbor or one of the ladies in the garden club.

Things are not always what they seem however; Jeanne is not healthy.
She has an extensive medical history which includes fibromyalgia,
chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic bursitis in both of her hips,
which requires the use of a cane when she walks. Jeanne also suffered
a severe case of endometriosis, which resulted in infertility and four
laparoscopy surgeries. She was hospitalized with her neck in traction
for a week due to an automobile accident, and was stung on her left
foot by a sting ray two years ago and still experiences pain in that

Jeanne also has a condition called neurally mediated hypotension,
which is known as "the fainting reflex." It occurs when there is a
miscommunication between the heart and the brain that causes an
abnormally low blood volume in the heart's ventricle. This causes a
sudden drop in blood pressure which drains the body and the brain of
energy. Because of this, Jeanne suffers with frequent dizziness,
sometimes passing out, and this condition affects her vision and
causes extreme fatigue. She has severe insomnia too.

"I wake up every morning in pain. It feels like I was just run over by
a steam roller or like someone beat me up," Jeanne told me. "It's not
in any one area, but over my entire body. Everything hurts.

"It's mostly muscle-type aches but it is also joint aches and sharp
pains over my whole body;  like little lasers are attacking me,
sometimes in my shoulders, sometimes in my hands, my legs, my arms,
neck, every place imaginable on the body, constantly throughout the
day. It never stops or goes away. It's relentless."

Even menial tasks such as folding a load of laundry or going to the
grocery store leaves Jeanne's muscles aching and forces her to be
bedridden, sometimes for several days. She has to do simple things
like bathing and getting dressed in increments, resting after each
task is complete before attempting another one. Vacuuming her small
apartment puts her in bed for a week. Everyday things that most take
for granted are torturous for her.

Florida's Pharmacy Crawl

Some would say Jeanne has endured a long streak of bad luck. Since the
state of Florida initiated a war on drugs, that streak continues to
plague her every single month.

The full column can be read here:

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