Date: Fri, Feb 2, 2007 at 10:41 AM
How are you doing? I haven't heard from you in awhile. --S.
Date: Sat, Feb 3, 2007 at 10:31 PM
Sorry for not communicating in a while. Things are quite miserable.
It seems that I have some sort of worm-like parasite that I no doubt contracted from my cats or my former dog. (possibly years ago)
I became aware of this fact back in early January when a multitude of the parasites attacked one of my eyes for some unknown reason. The horrifying realization came when I noted that they seemed to be coming from INSIDE my eyelid.
Trying to extricate them proved to be a hazardous and fruitless endeavor as it resulted in damage to my eye both as a result of my efforts, and due to the fact that the "worms" (resembling very thin fibers) seemd to be burrowing into my eye, which was extremely painful to say the least.
I immediately went (by bus) to the Tom Waddell clinic, and sat painstakingly for 6 hours in their dirty little waiting room surrounded by hunched over, crazy homeless lowlifes, all of whom wanted to "chat".
I finally got in to see the "Doctor", who interrupted me 20 seconds into my description of the issue, before I could even BEGIN my explanation of what it was that I felt I had, by him telling me that he didn't see anything present that he could diagnose. I explained that they were transparent/translucent, difficult to see, and happened to NOT be crawling out of my eye at present, but seemed abundant in numbers, and would certainly show up under a microscope, and or with any other type of test they must have for such a thing.
He repeated that he saw nothing he could diagnose, then he gave me a number for Mental Health Services and fled the room. Two orderlies showed up shortly thereafter to expedite my departure.
I have never felt so humiliated in my life.
Shortly after I arrived home, after another very long, very uncomfortable bus ride, several small maggot like shapes (that were not moving) began to drop out of my left eye, just as my brother dropped by to say hello on his way back north to his home (he had been in AZ and L.A.) He was quite horrified to see my condition and situation, and since his visit my whole family calls on a daily basis to prod me to go back to another doctor or ER.
I had enough trouble getting myself to see a Doctor the first time, and find the possibility of a repeat occurrence of what I went through to be an unfathomable idea.
I have pretty much been locked in my room since then, coming out to eat and use the restroom only.
I have been researching various parasitic candidates online, but am unable to lock it down to one. There is very little information available. Most of what I find comes from Vet websites, all of which strongly warn against the danger of human infestation from pets (although when I call a doctor's office they act like I am crazy when I mention that I believe that I caught
a parasite from my pets).
It is my birthday today, but I have not left my room except to eat and urinate. I am miserable, depressed, extremely uncomfortable at all times due to the infestation. (they are now present in my eyes, ears, and nose, and seem to have a strong presence in my upper respiratory tract) In spite of their ever increasing presence, they are still not easy to see due to their size, (they are extremely thin - thinner than hairs), although I have identified some specimens under my skin that are several inches long. Most are translucent, but some seem to have a black or blue tint to them. (I am certain they are not veins) I suppose I am waiting for their presence to become so apparent that I am ensured to be taken seriously the next time I find enough inner strength to make it down to an ER somewhere (I shall NEVER return to the Tom Waddell clinic again in this lifetime.)
Sorry things are so glum. I didn't want you to think I was avoiding you for no good reason.
Wish me luck in finding a way out of this mess before I suffer any permanent damage.
Hope you are well.
Date: Mon, Feb 5, 2007 at 1:18 AM
I am concerned by your e-mail. I'm not familiar with the Tom Waddell clinic, but I think you should immediately try to see a doctor somewhere else. What you are describing is either a parasitic infection, which can be life threatening if left untreated, or as the Waddell doctor implied, a psychological issue that is equally dangerous. Either way, you need to be treated as soon as possible. I would recommend following up on the Mental Health referral, because they will have to rule out any physiological condition before they can treat you psychologically. That means you can take aim at two birds with one stone by starting there.
Please keep in mind, that many doctors are not educated outside of their initial area of study. They expect to only see routine things, and therefore often only "let" themselves "see" routine things. That means if you have something rare, it is hard to get a diagnosis. I saw almost a dozen doctors before i was finally diagnosed with dermatomyositis. All of them were sure what I had was either psychological or not important. Only the last one recognized it as a life threatening condition that would have killed me eventually. It was hard to make myself keep seeking out new doctors, but it probably saved my life. There is nothing to be humiliated or threatened by, except if you stop seeking an answer and let this get the best of you. If you need help, tell you family you need intervention: literally, that you are too ill to seek help yourself. I wish I was closer to help myself.
David, I want you to consider the possibility that what you are experiencing is indeed psychological, or perhaps both psychological and physiological combined. Based on your e-mail, I don't think you sound to be in a very good state of mind. A long period of unemployment or other setback can cause that. You seem to recognize that you are depressed, but you need to know that severe depression can result in both physical manifestations and hallucinations. I know, I'm in the same position myself. However, doing nothing is not an answer, it is not a solution. And, seeking help and treatment is nothing to be ashamed of. See a psychologist, you may be surprised, s/he may tell you you are perfectly normal and just need an antibiotic and a prozac prescription. I've been on anti-depressants since the stroke and they've been trying to figure out a way to get me onto ADD meds as well, but I keep having very severe side effects (heart problems), which causes them to keep pulling me off of the drugs, usually right after I've started feeling better. In the meantime, I'm on a roller coaster myself. Fortunately, I have a safe harbor here with my family. Your priorities needs to be to get a definitive diagnosis, get treatment, and find yourself a safe harbor of your own. If that is with your family, do it! If it is in a shelter, or clinic of some sort, do it! Hiding in your room is not going to solve the problem; just the opposite, it is going to let it get worse. And, you are too smart to let that happen. Remember who you are.
BTW, when you see doctors, don't try to diagnose for them, they hate that. Let them be the smart ones. Just tell them your symptoms. Don't even give them the opportunity to make you feel crazy or stupid. Just tell them the symptoms, in easy, simple terms. If you have a sample of something that came out of your eye, save it in a plastic bag and take it with you to the doctor. DO NOT however try to dig something out of yourself. If you are indeed hallucinating, then you will only injure yourself. David, this is something you can beat, but it will be alot harder to beat if you are blind. Recognize that you may not be in control, that your judgement and perceptions may be very distorted, and then address the limitations that implies. If you have to throw away tweezers and knives, do it. if you have to take the door off your bedroom and curtains off the windows to keep yourself active and engaged, then do it. If you have to blast dance music to keep you awake, then do it. You control the problem, don't let the problem control you.
Happy Birthday (belated). How old are you? Wish I was there to take you out for a celebration.
Let me know how things are progressing. Write me back with a plan for what you are going to do this week. If you want me to get in touch with your family (your brother) for you, send me their contact information. Also, please send me your physical address, phone numbers, etc. You have to be available and willing to interact before others can help you, so make sure as many people know where to find you, how to reach you, etc. as possible. Ask for help.
Keep you chin up! and keep in contact.
PS: So what do you think of the iPhone?
Date: Mon, Feb 5, 2007 at 4:48 PM
A psychiatrist is about the last person on the planet I would go to see right now. I've been seeing them all my life (for ADHD and difficulties I had in my childhood) and I am none the better for it.
The best was when one doctor prescribed Melaril (a sedative that zonks you into oblivion) to try to "slow me down" a bit. I only found it useful to attempt suicide with during my late teens. (by swallowing the whole bottle)
I didn't rise above my problems until I finally cast off their useless "help & advice", and decided to help myself. I'm not saying things have gone perfectly, but nothing they were offering was making it better. I finally decided to simply fight my own demons to the best of my abilities, and I've done a pretty good job up to now I'd say.
If I am hallucinating, then my brother is too. Keep in mind that things were visibly popping out of my eye when her came to visit me.
I didn't say they are invisible, just hard to see. They are getting easier to see however, as they increase in numbers. (something that alarms me as much as it may helps with diagnosis)
What I think I need is a good parasitologist. There are a few over at UCSF, but I have no funds whatsoever.
My mother has offered to fly in and take me to a "specialist", which I have resisted up to now. I really didn't want to involve her, but have recently decided that is my best course of action presently. It's humiliating to need my "Mommy's" help at my age.
She is in Brazil right now for my Brother's wedding, but plans to come here as soon as she returns. In the meantime, I am trying to work up the strength to get myself into the ER at UCSF. I will take your advice about just mentioning symptoms. You are right, the Doctor at Waddell made several sarcastic comments about my attempts to "diagnose" my own condition. (isn't that what any intelligent person would attempt to do though?) It bothers me greatly not being able to lock it down to one identifiable source. In the past I have only sought medical assistance AFTER I diagnosed and identified the source of my own illness, and only then if it was something I could not cure with OTC drugs, home remedies or "grinning and bearing it" 'till it passed.
Date: Mon, Feb 5, 2007 at 6:05 PM
Please get your mother up there as soon as possible, so you have someone else to lean on. It may not be ideal, but its something. In the meantime, try to "capture" some samples and freeze them. Then take them with you when you go back to a clinic. Please keep me informed on how things are going. --S.
Date: Mon, Feb 5, 2007 at 6:08 PM
I imagine you'll be happy to know that your letter prompted me to email a local Parasitologist.
I described my symptoms in depth, and asked for his advice. I will let you know what happens.
I am also considering paying a visit to the UCSF ER tonight, fyi.
I do appreciate your concern. Youu are the only friend I have shared these details with. I let you in on my situation, I think subconsciously, because I knew you wouldn't stand for my inactivity, and would light a fire under me until I did something. I also imagine that you have some sense and appreciation from a standpoint of anxiety alone, of how difficult this is for me to cope and deal with.
I think the iPhone is AWESOME and am dying to have the resources to own one someday!
P.S. I have a few samples already.
Btw, the parasite is normally transparent, and difficult to see, but application of ink or paint (I discovered by accident) changes this. After some spray paint was accidentally applied to my arm, the specimens there became much more visible. Less than a minute later after I found little flecks of paint surrounding my eyes. I am certain I did not touch my eyes, nor was any of the paint on my hands.
Also, I have pretty dark circles under my eyes. (I have always had a problem with this due to my complexion) It gets much worse if I don't get enough sleep. My solution for this over the years has been to apply a small amount of yellow tinted concealer under my eyes to counteract the blue circles. Recently when I attempted this, the concealer I had just applied, moved to the other side of my eye. Freaky stuff, I know, but unfortunately real. (I have noted that the organisms seem to cluster around the edges of my eyes)