Tuesday, June 14, 2011

School's Out For Summer

So this post is rather late, but after the hospital stay it has been hard getting back in the rhythm of writing.  It has also been very busy.

By the first week of May the Humira appeared to be working and I started to get better.  I was soon eating more solid food from the hospital kitchen which made me eager to get out.  I was released from the hospital on May 7th which coincided with a visit from Michele, Erin's former drama teacher.  Over that first weekend in May I returned to the comfort of our home while Michele shared her many stories with us.

The next week I mostly stayed home from work as I tried to eat more and get my strength back.  I was feeling well enough by Friday to go in to the school for a few hours and give the staff an introduction to the new student information system that the school would be using next year.

Over the weekend though my condition seemed to get worse.  I was getting the Humira once a week on Friday, but because of that (and a case of thrush I had developed) my doctors had decided that I should quickly taper off the steroids.  In the past it had usually taken several weeks to go off steroids, but the doctors had told me to go from 40mg to none in just one week.  After researching online Erin and I felt that might be too quick so on Monday I was able to get on the phone with my GI doctor and made the suggestion that I go back on the steroids and taper them more slowly.  He agreed and since I still had some steroids left said I could take those.  As I went back on the steroids my condition once again improved.

With this, and our experiences in the hospital, it became clear to me and Erin that we had more ability and necessity to be my own doctor than we had in the US.  We were doing research online of what had worked for other people, determining the drugs and the dosage that we found worked best for others, and indicating to my doctors what we thought we should do.  The relationship felt more liberating than what we're used to in the US, but also requiring more responsibility.

For the third and fourth weeks of May I was going to school for more and more of the day.  Before long I even had enough strength to teach my classes (or at least be there as the students worked on assignments from other classes).  As I felt better I began eating more food and incorporating more types of food into my diet.  I tried not to push myself too hard, but it was difficult as there was so much to get done before school ended.  My improving condition gave Erin and I hope that we would be able to have the summer vacation we had planned.

The last days of May and first days of June were a rush of things to do before we could leave.  I was able to get enough medication for the summer (including the Humira) so that was a relief.  Over the weekend Erin was able to finish up all of her grading and I was able to get the IT systems to a point where I could leave them for the summer (or manage them remotely).  Finally on the night before we left we packed our bags and tidied up our place.  It was such a relief on Sunday to finally get on a plane and head back to the US.  We're very much looking forward to enjoying our summer with friends and family before going back to Taiwan in August.

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