Monday, January 31, 2011

Tessa Past and Present

Many people have asked what is Tessa's story. We didn't really know she had one until recently when the patterns started repeating and the symptoms got more intense.

This last time we all believe her safety was in other hands, supernatural ones. She was not functioning normally.  Her drive from the Boise airport to her place was a miracle. The first 5 days she was gravely ill. It was terrifying to watch a limp, lethargic daughter laying there for days.

This is a brief medical history as we remember it:

Chief Complaint: Progressively increasing intensity of debilitating symptoms associated with flying as demonstrated by the following history.  (related from most current to present) These symptoms have not appeared during a flight. They usually start the day after a flight and linger.  

January, 2011
Flight: Boise to Seattle
Utilized pressure equalization with no ear pain.
Post flight day 2:  fatigue, eye pressure, minimal nausea
Day 3:  Space Needle Trip (650 ft in 43 seconds, 10 MPH).  Symptoms following were extreme fatigue, slow gait, no appetite, lightheadedness, blurry vision, pressure in eyes, inability to focus, disorientation, gait disturbance by that evening.  She asked if her eyes were bleeding? Eyes kept rolling around in a strange way.
Day 4:  Woke up gagging, diarrhea, vomiting (dry heaves), felt disoriented. Flight scheduled that night to return to Boise. 

Flight: Seattle to Boise 1/19/11
Inability to focus to find car/follow signs to exit.  Eye pain, Heart pain, and difficulty breathing.  Extremely blurry vision, felt like she was in a tunnel.  By the time she made it to the home of relatives, her skin was white and she was disoriented, pupils dilated, shaking uncontrollably.
1/20/11:  Following day:  extremely lethargic, slowed speech, difficulty responding to questions.  Aware of her surroundings but inability to respond.  Emotional lability, crying hysterically.  (This is contrary to her natural character). 
Progressively non responsive.  Inability to eat or drink.
Admitted to ER. 
Treatment:  monitored her vitals, IV for hydration, anti-inflammatory meds and benedryl. Migraine RX recommended which we did not fill.
- Hide quoted text -

Treatment administered:
Tylenol PM : 2 capsules on 1/20
Gaba  4 times/day, Adrenal support: 2 capsules 2x/day.
Vit. C: 1000mg. TID
Hydrated with water as able. 

Response:  different pattern of healing this time:  This time her mind is clearing but bodily symptoms are slower. 1/23/11:  Still slow and sluggish motor coordination, decreased ability to coordinate vision, disconnect from her body. Update today, January 31. She went to work for 4 hours. Able to drive. She is connecting and coordinating
better. Her tongue feels tight and clumsy when she tries to talk. Since she started to talk again, it has gotten more noticeable. Her left eye has continued to be scratchy, irritated, bruised, achy with pressure behind it. 

Fall, 2008  Seattle to Hawaii
Nausea, blurred vision, eye pressure, lightheadedness, disorientation, slow motor movement and speech.  Slow recovery upon return to home but kept working.

Summer, 2007  Seattle to Mississippi
No notable symptoms following this flight.

Summer, 2007  Seattle to Austria (3 month stay)
Day 2 post flight:  sick, lightheadedness, disorientation, blurred vision, inability to visually or mentally focus, body/brain disconnect, fatigue, needed to lie still and stay in quiet environment. 
Saw a german MD but translation issues were difficult. Given antibiotics thinking it was an inner ear infection. Required 3 weeks to get back to normal.

Flight home from Austria: 
Similar symptoms occurred as described above.  Saw primary MD who suggested anti depressants.  Saw a psychologist for 6 weeks who determined it was not a mental health issue. Anti depressants meds were declined.
Went to see a vision specialist:  negative results
Short MRI performed:  Negative relults
ENT:  Negative.  “He felt is was due to an over active imagination, too much salt?  and panic attacks.

2006, Seattle to Israel (2 week trip)
Symptoms following:  extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, inability to participate in tour requiring bedrest. Lightheadedness, slowed movement and speech. Eye pain and blurred vision, confusion.  Tried Dramamine: seemed to accentuate her symptoms.

2005  Seattle to Austria (3 month stay)
No significant symptoms noted other than fatigue.

2004 Seattle to Israel
Symptoms:  Sick the 2nd day after arrival with lightheadedness, disorientation, lethargy and fatigue.

2003, age 14 Seattle to North Dakota
Symptoms:  sick following flight with fatigue, ear pain and inability to depressurize ears. 

Other PMH:  fractured clavicle at age 12

She isn't motion sick. She doesn't have vertigo. We have followed trails for possible altitude sickness/decompression sickness, or aerotoxic syndrome. Both were negative. 

Tomorrow she has an appointment with an opthamologist - not to see if she needs new glasses....... 

 I'm staying with her this week until she is completely stable or we know something more. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, please. :) 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Family and friends ~ 
an eternal chain 
linked ~ 
forged together
and tears.

Rusty spots need 
oiled with affection,
resurfaced with gladness,
sanded with gratefulness.

This strength
weighs heavy ~
a heaping pile 
of glory
able to tug

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Home Country

The clerk at St Vincent de Paul's asked a birdlike old man to help me carry out the second hand end tables I found for Tessa's first apartment. He wheezed heavily. His pink nose and cheeks became scarlet from the effort and weight of his burden. I felt terrible they had him help me. I was perfectly capable of making two trips to the car.

He fussed about getting them to fit, then closed the door with a flourish. Taking his gloves off he peered up at me with a twinkle in his eyes. With much brevity, he asked me if I was a sugar gal or a sugarless gal. Laughing, I told him my mama always taught me never to take candy from strangers. He cackled as he unzipped his ancient fanny pack. It was stuffed with varied brands of single wrapped butterscotch candy. Possibly collected from gratuity bowls by cash registers?

He gallantly offered me three from the sugar gal side. The moment required a grave bow but I gave him a warm hug - one that lifted him clean off the ground. He wheezed rapturously.

Too bad it was so cold out. Our bundled condition kept me from seeing his feet. I'm sure they were hairy -  a misplaced hobbit sent to cross my path - freshening my weary day.

After fifty it is permissible to take candy from strangers. Do. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The last month has been different. I've was holed up in the craft room creating - most of December. There are times when deliberate isolation and solitude are needed. Creating gets my feathers smooth again, lubes the gears, and fills me up. Quickens and quiets me.

We spent Christmas with my family of origin in Southern Idaho for the first time in years. It was a good day, simple and uneventful. Everyone left for home on a good note. All of us siblings were together.

Craig and Brita drove home to Washington without me. I stayed to help Tessa get settled into her new life and apartment. It is a miniature home in a brick fourplex. We had fun furnishing it with essentials.

I washed and changed sheets downstairs. It is ready for company again. Mom has a never ending round of overnight guests. I moved upstairs with her . We are snuggling in her king sized bed in the master bedroom.

Yes, I'm fifty and love sleeping with my mom. She smells like warm toast and has the silkiest skin. We wake up and hold hands while watching the sunrise over the canyon walls. Mist from the warm water ponds puff up into the cold air, making each morning a new mystery.

I fly back home Saturday where I will pick up my real life. It has been strange being offline for so long. I feel rested and full. Mom has nurtured and nourished me and my family. I am thankful.

I have my yearly bronchitis attack going on. She heats towels in the warmer at night to put on my chest and back smothered in Vicks. She heats the tea kettle for a dunk under the steam tent we make in the sink. I don't think any of us lose our need to be mothered and fathered. Lord, be with the orphaned ones.

I've been holding history in my hands this week - old journals, old music, pictures, letters, tools, recipes, records, and stories. I am storing every detail in my mind.

"We have this moment to hold in our hands......."

I have missed you all! The Twitterers, The Facebookers, The Google Readers, The Bloggers, The Beloved Friends and encouragers. I hope 2011 will be full of love, kindness, generousity, adventure, risk, comfort, making memories, new friends, and art of every kind and medium. Let the music play and let color dance all around us.