What Love Is

I have a cold. There’s not much in this world that is worse than a summer cold in Texas, except for having a summer cold in Texas on top of fibromyalgia. My head feels like a thousand pounds, my neck and shoulders ache, and everything in my body hurts. On top of all that, I somehow ended up in an interstitial cystitis flare that makes that whole Texas cold thing seem like a longed for Christmas gift.

IC is a chronic inflammation of the bladder. When I first started researching for treatments, one doctor at Tufts University was using hydroxyzine pamoate in a clinical trial. The brand name is Vistaril, and although it is technically an antihistamine, it’s mainly used to treat anxiety. His theory is that IC is caused by an overgrowth of mast cells; in other words, it’s like an overblown allergic reaction in the bladder. At the time, everyone thought he was pretty crazy and no one outside of Boston was following the protocol. He got the last laugh though, because it’s now one of the standard meds for IC.

Recently, I added benadryl to my regimen along with the hydroxyzine because it just wasn’t cutting it alone anymore. The benadryl seemed to be working fine, and when I ran out of my hydroxyzine, I upped the benadry to make up for it, and I didn’t have any problems…until Tuesday night.

I’m almost positive that my cold has screwed with my bladder, considering a cold sets off a histamine reaction in the body (hence the sneezing and runny nose). It’s not like that stuff decides to just screw with your nasal passages and sinuses. It attacks everywhere. By Tuesday night, I was hurting, but it wasn’t unbearable. I took some pain meds, an extra benadryl, and drank a bunch of water to clear out my bladder, then went to bed.

I got about an hour or so of sleep before the nightmare started. I woke up to my entire urinary tract spasming. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you’ve got a vague idea. Now imagine that you are trying to give birth through your urethra. It feels like a combination of desperately having to pee while having excruciating labor pains. Except labor pains come in waves with at least a minute between them. IC spasms just keep going. and going. and going.

I got out of bed to take more benadryl, and added in a couple of other pain meds. Then I laid in bed and rocked. I sat in bed and rocked. I sat on the edge of the bed and rocked and tried not to scream. I stood up next to the bed and cussed under my breath so I wouldn’t wake up Ron. I rocked and cried and finally, I took one of my knock-out pills in an attempt to just sleep through the pain.

The next morning, I told Ron about my miserable night and he said, “Why didn’t you take any AZO?” AUGH! Why *didn’t* I take any AZO? I could have sent Matt to get some hours before. I told him we didn’t have any, but I would wake Matt up and send him. Ron was running late for work, but by the time I got Matt up, Ron had already texted him to say he had the AZO and was on his way back home.

My sweet, sweet, wonderful husband (who is NEVER late to work) stopped at the store just to get the AZO and brought it to me right away, just so I wouldn’t be in pain any longer than necessary. Pay attention people. This is what love is.

Today I’m sore and achey, but it’s not excruciating. I feel like someone kicked me in the abdomen with steel toed boots, and I still feel like I have to pee every second, but I’ll take the small favors.


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