Monday, October 2, 2023

The State of the Westrider

Tl;dr: not good, but getting better.

I've been thinking that I needed to make this post a bunch of times over the past six months or so, but never when I was in a position to actually write and post it. In a couple of my last posts, I mentioned being pretty sick with what I thought was just some sort of stomach bug. Turns out it was something nastier. Fortunately, it first triggered a really bad psoriasis outbreak (for "I ended up in the ER" and "one of the dermatologists said it was the worst case he'd ever personally seen" values of "really bad"), which meant that I was already in Harborview hospital when my large intestine started falling apart. It was actually on the day I was going to be discharged, and if it had hit even an hour or so later, or I had gone to a lesser hospital, I absolutely would have died, but fortunately, I was still there, in the only level 1 trauma center in the region, and they were able to rush me into surgery before too much shit flooded my body cavity.

So, yeah. I now just have a semicolon instead of a full colon, and I've been dealing with an ileostomy, recovering from the surgeries (they had my whole abdomen wide open, and I've been doing a lot of PT exercises to get my abs to heal back together properly), and learning to manage my psoriasis since then, which has all kept me pretty tied up, and even tho I have been painting a bit, blogging about it has been far from my mind until I realized it was Dreadtober again.

The future outlook is the good part: Even tho they couldn't figure out what caused the collapse (despite an extensive list of things they were able to rule out), they're pretty sure it had been building up and causing lower level problems for years, which means that I may well have cleared up the root cause of much of my declining health over the past decade or so, and once I get my guts reconnected (The endoscopy department didn't have an opening until January to check out that everything is fully healed up inside, so the reconnection surgery needs to wait until then), I should be on the way to getting back into life in a way that seemed impossible a year ago.

P. S. I couldn't figure out how to work it in smoothly, but I want to talk a little more about psoriasis. I had always seen and heard of it as a joke condition, little more than annoying and unpleasant in appearance, but it can actually be an incredibly nasty condition. In bad cases, it's extremely painful, in a very similar way to first or even second degree burns. Another similarity with burns is that both mess with the body's ability to regulate its temperature. I've been feeling cold in a way that I never have before in my life, in addition to still overheating all the time, and being as sensitive to, say, hot water, as I was when I was a little kid. It's also absolutely exhausting: you don't realize how much energy you spend on growing skin until it's cranked up to 10 times the usual rate. Furthermore, shedding that skin so quickly leads to major fluid loss, as the skin cells die so quickly that their cellular fluid can't be reabsorbed before they go. Between the dehydration and the thermoregulation issues, severe cases can actually be lethal if left untreated, and even without the intestinal issues, I could well have died from that, too, if I hadn't been convinced to go to the ER soon enough. Finally, it's an autoimmune disorder, so the treatments for it are all immunosuppressant to some degree, which adds a whole other pile of extra worries about opportunistic infections. 

I'm not sure how much I'm going to be on here in the medium term, but I do want to take this Dreadtober to finish up the 28mm scale Vulture OmniMech I started a few years back. After that, I might disappear again for a bit, but I'm hoping to be back on here regularly by next spring or so, once I'm solidly into the recovery from the (hopefully) final round of surgeries. 

Anyhow. Hopefully I'll be back in a few days with my Dreadtober starter post, and until then, y'all have a good one now, y'hear! 


  1. I am so sorry to hear you have been sick, mate. Life can really roll us in the foam sometimes. I am glad you made it through and hope your recovery continues smoothly.

    1. Thanks! It hasn't been much fun, but yeah, I'm glad I'm still around and recovering.

    2. Am glad to hear that you're on the mend as well! I'm certainly glad you were still at the right hospital to be at when things took a turn for the worst.

    3. Thanks! And yeah, there are parts of the whole experience that feel like one of those alternating fortunately/unfortunately jokes.