If you missed earlier parts of our exciting and gross-but-still-riveting lupus story (and why did you? shame on you!), you’ll just have to turn your back on Netflix for fifteen minutes while you catch up. Think you can handle it? Here you go, hon: Part 1, In Which Babe Feels a Pea.
The Eat-Everything-You-Want Diet
Where Babe hits it lucky.
Babe had donated blood regularly back in Ohio, and she assumed she’d do the same in Los Angeles. She was surprised when she went to donate. They turned her down!:
“You have to weigh at least 100 pounds.”
Babe laughed. She told the donation lady that she had weighed the same since college–123, and at her 5’7″ height, a weight she was really happy with. She never had to watch what she ate, and she had a huge appetite. She was just born lucky.
The lady made Babe step on a scale. Surprise! While she did weigh more than the 100-pound minimum, she was down to only 110. She now weighed less than the 117 she’d weighed entering high school.
No WONDER she’d dropped from a size 8 to a size 4…
How can WE catch lupus?
Where Babe gets a little clumsy.
Babe and her boyfriend moved in together. They were happy.
One day, while Babe was washing the dishes, she watched as a glass fell out of her right hand. It didn’t feel like it had slipped. It felt like one minute she was holding it, and the next she wasn’t. Two days later, it happened again. That definitely seemed odd. Twenty-so years of washing and rinsing dishes since childhood, and never a broken one. Now, two glasses in two days.
Then, Babe started losing her balance. She’d be walking across the living room and suddenly stagger slightly as she counterbalanced to save herself from falling.
That was also odd.
Why doesn’t Babe just get a dishwasher? (And a cane?)
The Rushing Rash
Where Babe takes a vacation and gets a surprise–What fun!
Babe’s girlfriend’s boyfriend had a pilot’s license. So the girlfriends and their boyfriends decided to split the cost of a small plane rental, fly up to Santa Barbara for the weekend, and pretend to be rich people. Cool!
As soon as they got there and checked into the hotel, though, Babe didn’t feel well. She had a splitting headache, and she felt hot. She lay down on the bed.
Her eyes felt funny. She reached up to rub them, and they seemed all…bumpy. Babe went into the bathroom and turned on the light. Her eyes were entirely covered with tiny red blisters!
This girl flies in private planes to rich
resort communities and we’re
supposed to feel sorry for her?
The Pokey Pins
Where Babe gets oozy and crusty.
Over the next hours, Babe’s fever rose to 104 and the blisters spread to her hands, arms, and body. They were as small as the head of a pin.
Every single one felt like a needle was stabbing into her. When a blister broke, it left a little pit. Where there were clusters of them, they joined together in big sores, and oozed gunk that dried and got all crusty. It was disgusting.
Babe didn’t want to spoil the nice weekend for the others. She stayed in the room, curtains drawn, burning with fever, suffering with the headache, and hurting terribly from the rash. Her boyfriend brought her cold washcloths.
She didn’t eat anything from Friday night until Sunday morning, when it was time to leave. By then, her eyes were entirely crusted over and unable to open to more than slits. They hurt a lot.
Wasn’t the boyfriend worried about catching it?
The Second Disappointing Rash Doctor
Where Babe gets more top medical advice.
Babe hurried straight to another top-ranked dermatologist at Cedars Sinai. His diagnosis?
“Some new kind of eczema,” he pronounced, and sent her home with a cream. He had no comment on the eye involvement.
Some NEW kind of eczema?!
If that’s what he thought, why wasn’t he, trained to know everything there was to know about the skin, at all interested in a brand-new skin ailment?
Babe decided to see help elsewhere.
Does this guy seem as much of a joker to you as he did to Babe?
The Helpful Student Clinic Doctor
The Disappointing Famous Eye Clinic Doctors
Where Babe’s dad may know more than her doctors.
Babe went to the Student Health Clinic. The doctor was a warm islander who was clearly shocked by Babe’s oozing, crusty appearance and slitted eyes. She immediately referred her to The Famous Eye Clinic.
The Famous Eye Clinic doctors looked at Babe’s eyes and went away and got more doctors and they all murmured among themselves and looked at her eyes some more.
At the end of an hour, they had decided:
“You have some kind of adenovirus [ADD’no-virus–“ear, nose, and throat thing”]. It will clear up on its own.”
Babe phoned her 80-year-old dad. He said:
“Horse poop. It sounds to me like herpes. Shingles.”
Who sounds like they know more: The eye experts, or the dad?
The Eye Scare, and Two Helpful Eye Doctors
Where Babe gets scared. And scarred.
Three days after the visit to The Famous Eye Clinic, Babe woke up blind in her left eye.
She made her way back to the sympathetic island doctor,
who seemed absolutely disgusted with the famous clinic. This time, she referred Babe to an 80-year-old ophthalmologist on Wilshire Boulevard .
Doctor I. (eye know, eye know…but that’s really the initial!) immediately diagnosed ocular herpes. (Ewww!!)
He referred Babe to a specialist at the famous Cedars Sinai , who treated her successfully. Babe was left with only one oval scar on her cornea, just off-center, which luckily faded away over the next few years.
Babe found out that ocular herpes is the leading cause of blindness in young adults. (She’d never even heard of it–had you?)
An Annual Event
Where Babe becomes a calendar.
Exactly one year after the terrible, painful rash, Babe was shocked, frightened, and depressed when she woke up to discover she had it again.
The year after that, the same thing happened. And the year after that. And after that. Every August, like clockwork, the rash would return.
However, the bright side was that each year it was less severe and less widespread. After several years, it settled down so much that Babe would get only the horrendous headache, and a sore or two on the outside corner near her left eye. Thank goodness.
What was it that happened in August that triggered this?
Are we ever going to hear the answers to all these dumb questions?
Part 5, In Which Babe Lives La Vida Telenovela
Lupus folk are particularly susceptible to the herpes virus. Maybe this is why the calendar effect occurred–If herpes IS what the skin rash was. Maybe this is also why Babe also got the ocular herpes twice more. One of those times her optometrist noticed it when both Babe and her Famous Private University (mis-)managed-care opthalmologist hadn’t. Thank you, Dr. K.3!)
Part 5, In Which Babe Lives La Vida Telenovela