Medical Merry-Go-Round

May 31, 2007

I’ve been on the medical merry-go round again, and am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Shortly after I posted yesterday’s entry, I got a call from Dr. Physiatrist, with the results of my latest MRI. According to the report he received, there is a lot going on in my right shoulder. I have a bone spur, fluid, and a tear of the rotator cuff.

Dr. Physiatrist wants me to see an orthopedic surgeon. Unfortunately, it’s not the same orthopedist the neurosurgeon is referring me to for my back/buttock/hip pain.  

Before I schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon for problems related to my back, I have to return once more to see the neurosurgeon for a review of the flexion/extension x-rays (the positioning for which caused me to be in quite a bit of pain, by the way).  

Before I can see the orthopedic surgeon for my shoulder, I have to go to my primary care physician to get a referral. I have an appointment with him on Tuesday.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to the physiatrist for dry needling. And let’s not forget physical therapy three times a week. Just thinking about all this running around makes me weary.

Miraculously, I don’t have anything on my schedule for today, so my plan is to spend it in bed. Everything hurts, including my head. I am in desperate need of a day of rest and relaxation, so I’d better get it today while the getting is good.

Song of the Day: Life is a Merry-Go-Round by Donovan

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Pain, Pain Go Away

May 30, 2007

Wow. I thought Dr. Spine Specialist was dismissive (http://yaketyyak.diaryland.com/070331_26.html), but the neurosurgeon I saw yesterday takes the cake. I spent more time filling out forms than I did talking to the doctor. He didn’t even want to know how the injury occurred. He just walked into the room and asked, “Where does it hurt?”

I told him I am experiencing pain in my lower back and both buttocks, with the pain radiating into the hip areas, as well. I went on to say that my legs hurt, and I can’t stand comfortably for longer than ten minutes at a time. Apparently, the only thing he heard was “hips,” because he wants to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon. But first, he is sending me for flexion/extension x-rays to rule out vertebral instability. I should rent a room at the Imaging Center, I’ve been spending so much time there.

This is getting ridiculous. (Actually, it’s been beyond ridiculous for a while now.) I wake up every damn morning at 3:00 because the pain is so severe. When I get out of bed for good at 6:00 a.m., I can barely move. It takes a couple of hours for the stiffness and pain to subside to a tolerable level. Yet, nothing is being done for me, with the exception of physical therapy, which isn’t helping.

The only doctor I have any confidence is right now is the physiatrist I’m seeing for problems not related to the worker’s comp injury. I have an appointment with him on Friday for dry needling and MRI review. (That would be the MRI during which I fell asleep.) I wish I could see Dr. Physiatrist for all my medical needs.

Song of the Day: Tell Me Where it Hurts by Haddaway

Ya Gotta Have Friends

May 28, 2007

I had a fabulous time visiting with LA yesterday. Always a knockout, she looked even more gorgeous than usual, and tipped me off to a new foundation she recently discovered. It’s a pressed mineral powder, and, let me tell you, that stuff is magic. I’ll be adding it to my arsenal ASAP.

We also cleaned our makeup brushes, using a product that has been sitting on a shelf in my medicine cabinet for quite a while. Being a professional procrastinator, I’d never gotten around to putting it to use before. About a week ago, LA mentioned that her brushes needed to be cleaned, so I told her to bring them with her when she came over. We sprayed the cleaner on a paper towel and swirled our brushes around until the makeup was transferred from the brushes to the paper towel. It was actually fun!

Even better, LA created an intoxicating perfume for me using a mixture of essential oils, based on my preferences. My own personal fragrance! How cool is that!

I love having a friend to do girly stuff with, but that’s not all we did. We also went out for Chinese food. The cucumber salad was such a big hit, we requested that plate after plate be brought out. We asked for the dressing recipe, and it’s very simple – vinegar, ginger, sugar and Chinese hot peppers. The ingredients have to marinate for a while, and then you mix it up with thinly sliced cucumbers and carrots. To die for.

LA and Mick bought Daniel the perfect present – a double feature DVD with the movies Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.  Even though he is Canadian, Daniel loves (and is very knowledgeable about) American history, and he could hardly wait to watch his new DVD. The birthday boy was very pleased with his gift, and I was glad to spend time with my fetching friend and her handsome hero.

There’s not much on the agenda for today, besides the bestowing of more presents and the eating of cake. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DANIEL!) I also need to get back to grading student “personal anthologies.” Since I’ve always been heavily involved in this particular project, but had to miss out on it this year due to my disability, I volunteered to help My Friend the English Teacher by grading the projects at home. To show her appreciation, My Friend will be treating me to a stuffed sole dinner at “our” restaurant.

The box of three-ring binders has been sitting forgotten on my dining room floor for far too long. The unbelievably poor writing (and failure of the vast majority of students to follow simple directions) was depressing me, so I had to put the work aside for a while. It is now time to roll up my sleeves and dig in again. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

 Song of the Day: Friends Will Be Friends by Queen

Knitwit

May 27, 2007

At present, I have three knitting projects in progress, and will be soon starting a fourth (a baby blanket for my niece, who is due to deliver in August). I’m not sure why I can’t just stick with a project until it’s finished, instead of switching from one to another all the time… I guess I bore easily. Do other knitters (hi, Kim! http://theknittedbrow.blogspot.com/), do this as well?

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got going.

The scarf (standard fare for beginners):

The bathmat:

Furry flip flops (Only one half of the pair has been completed):

Despite my lack of a finished product, learning to knit has been a godsend. Since I am not able to be on my feet for long periods of time, knitting gives me something to do while sitting. I’m not into television (with the exception of my guilty pleasure, General Hospital), and, although I love books, reading has lately had a soporific effect on me. I suppose that’s not all that unusual considering how tired I am (see previous entry). So, knitting fits the bill nicely. And, best of all, it serves as a distraction from my pain.

Speaking of distractions from my pain, I have a visit with LA and Mick to look forward to today. We’re going out to dinner for an early celebration of Daniel’s 40th birthday (which is actually tomorrow). Yes, I am almost thirteen years older than my husband. So what and so there.

Song of the Day: Doozer Knitting Song from The Muppets

It’s neat and it’s sweet
It’s a ding dong treat
Knittin’ socks for little feet
Just sittin’ with your knittin’ all day long
You know knittin’s friendly
And knittin’s fun
Knittin’s good for everyone
And that is why we sing this knittin’ song
Well it’s knit one purl two
What’s a Doozer gonna do
With a gol-darn
Ball of yarn?
It’s stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin’ out the door right now
There’s a green, there’s a red
There’s a knot in my thread
A knitter needs his noggin read
So don’t come ’round and speak to me of yarn
You can knit all day and nothin’ fits
‘Cause only nitwits like to knit
And knittin’ needles just ain’t worth a darn
Well it’s knit one purl two
What’s a Doozer gonna do
With a gol-darn
Ball of yarn?
It’s stitch three drop four
Pitch that knittin’ out the door right now”

Mired in Tired

May 25, 2007

This should give you an idea of just how exhausted I am. I fell asleep during the MRI of my shoulder.

No Valium was involved. Fatigue is an excellent tranquilizer. Even the noise of what sounded like a Megadeth song (http://www.megadeth.com/home.php) being played on an industrial strength jackhammer didn’t keep me from nodding off.

Now THAT’S what I call tired.

Song of the Day: Tired by Matchbox Twenty

“Well I believe I’m just plain tired
I’m tired”

Prayers Needed

May 22, 2007

I just got off the phone with LA. (http://la-the-sage.diaryland.com)  She is going through an extremely difficult situation with Wolf.  This experience is putting a very heavy burden on her loving mother’s heart.

LA asked me to send out a request for prayers and positive vibes. Please keep her and Wolf in your thoughts.  I will pass all messages of support on to LA.  She and her son  deserve so much better than this.

Looking Good

May 21, 2007

I am SO friggin’ sick of people not believing in my pain because they can’t SEE anything wrong with me. Years ago, I came across a booklet written by an invisible disabilities advocate.  The title is: “But You Look Good: A Guide to Understanding and Encouraging People Living with Chronic Illness and Pain.” (http://www.myida.org/booklet.htmhttp://www.myida.org/booklet.htm)

This booklet was written for people who have difficulty understanding how someone can “look good” when they are “supposedly” suffering. Because of this misconception about appearance and health going hand in hand, people often jump to the conclusion that the ill person is just “being lazy, unmotivated or not trying hard enough.” This type of assumption is devastating to the sufferer, and, in fact, exacerbates our problems. Because of this kind of insensitivity, we not only have to deal with physical pain, but emotional pain, as well.

I cried with relief when I found this booklet because I knew I wasn’t alone. Countless others are going through the same thing. Some of them are fortunate enough to have their loved ones “see the light” after reading the booklet. Alas, I haven’t been so lucky in that respect, despite trying to get the message across for decades. Instead, I have to listen to comments about the messy state of the house, or be subjected to remarks like the one my mother made about me being a drama queen.

The following excerpts address “the paradox of looking good, but feeling bad.”

Often when we come across someone who says they have been sick and in pain for a long time, we might think they are either exaggerating or they are not doing something about it. The truth is, most chronic conditions cannot be seen with the naked eye, but nevertheless are persistently keeping the person from enjoying life the way they once knew. For instance, a person can battle extreme fatigue and/or cognitive impairments on the inside, even though they may appear healthy and well on the outside. Just the same, a person can have horrible pain and/or dizziness, despite the fact that to the onlooker they may look strong and able.

The biggest grievance those with chronic conditions have is that their loved ones often do not believe what they are going through is real, because to others they “look good.” Sadly, this makes the person feel as if they are being called a liar or a wimp. This can cause great strains on relationships between friends, family members and spouses. Ironically, those with chronic conditions would like nothing more than to gain complete control of their lives and not have to adjust to any limitations at all! Nonetheless, their bodies do not always cooperate with their desires, no matter how much they want it to.

Regrettably, a travesty occurs when the person not only has to contend with no longer being able to do what they love to do, but also has to battle for their loved one’s belief, respect and understanding. While the person with the illness/pain is mourning their loss of ability and freedom, others often accuse them of just being lazy or malingering.

Frankly, it is impossible for us to be compassionate, until we have acknowledged there is a situation for which to be compassionate! In other words, how can we say, “I am sorry you are sick,” when we are always saying, “I do not believe you are sick, because you don’t look sick?”

People living with chronic conditions do not want to give up! They make efforts to laugh, smile, look their best and enjoy life, even though they know they will pay dearly for it. Because of this, we should not confuse their endeavors to live life and be positive, with assuming they are feeling well or doing better. Instead, let us commend them for their incredible courage, perseverance and persistence that make their illnesses and injuries seem invisible to us.

Those of us with invisible disabilities are not looking for pity, just some understanding and compassion. And, when we don’t get it, even more damage is done.

Song of the Day: Lookin’ Good by Jamie Cullim

Medical Marvel

May 18, 2007

I had a new medical adventure yesterday. A doctor spent ONE HOUR in the examining room with me. Besides conducting a physical exam, Doc B asked questions and actually HEARD the answers. Amazing.

This appointment was fibromyalgia-related. My rheumatologist referred me to a physiatrist for trigger point injections. While we did discuss the injections, the doctor explained that they get better results with dry needling, a method for relieving muscle spasms that are otherwise intractable. Apparently, the needle enters the trigger point and causes it to release.

Before we go ahead with the dry needling, the physiatrist wants me to try Lidocaine patches. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic agent used to relieve pain. He gave me a few samples, and suggested that I might want to experiment to see if they help with my low back pain, as well.

Doc B also wants me to have – drumroll, please – an MRI. This one is for my right shoulder. Can you believe that he discovered yet another malfunction in this crazy body of mine, a problem I didn’t even know I had until he pointed it out to me? I swear, I’m going to donate my body to science BEFORE I die.

During the examination, Doc B had me reach around and place my hands behind my back as high as they would go. My right hand landed on a spot significantly lower than the left hand. 

Then he had me stretch both arms out to the side, and, with elbows still pointing out, drop the arms so that my hands dangled towards the floor.  The left arm hung straight down. I couldn’t do it on the right side. It hurt too much.

Strangely enough, I was not aware of the pain in that shoulder prior to this exam. Or, if I was, I shrugged it off as being related to the Fibromyalgia or my neck problems. Doc B thinks I might have rotator cuff bursitis/tendonitis. We’ll have to wait for the MRI results before we know for sure.

It was after 4:30 when I left the doctor’s office, and I had to race home to change for an awards ceremony, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. This year’s “School Support Person of the Year Award” (which was bestowed on me in 2004) went to one of my favorite co-workers, the receptionist at our high school. I was one of the people who submitted a letter of nomination/recommendation for Ms.R, and I couldn’t be more delighted that she won.

It was nice to get out and socialize with some of my friends from work, but my ass was really dragging by the time I got home. I’m dog-tired, and wish I didn’t have to go to PT today. It’s hurting more than it’s helping.

One last thing – look what I found in my backyard when I got up this morning.

Rebecca has wanted a trampoline ever since she was a little girl. Last night, she enlisted some friends to help make her dream come true. Anyone care to make a bet about how many times she’ll actually use the darn thing?  Sigh.

Song of the Day: Bounce  by Bon Jovi

Lilac Lament

May 17, 2007

When I said that I was going to plant flowers, I meant in pots, not in the ground. My back isn’t up to that kind of work. However, I do have some new plantings, thanks to my mother, who put six azaleas in for me last week. Here are the results of our labor (the hanging baskets are Mother’s Day gifts from my daughters).

Now if only something could be done about that lawn… Our two dogs killed the grass. Sigh.

Last Mother’s Day, the girls gave me a lilac tree. The lilac is my absolute favorite flower in the world. The tree has grown quite a bit since I planted it last year, but, alas, it didn’t flower.

Ditto for the French lilac a co-worker gave me.

This is my third lilac tree. It was planted two years ago.

What, you don’t see it? Well, neither do I.  That’s because it was mowed down.  Two years in a row. I cried over the senseless massacre this time.

The only lilacs I got to enjoy up close and personal this year were in the gorgeous and fragrant bouquet LA (http://la-the-sage.diaryland.com/) presented me with last Saturday.

 

Thank goodness for wonderful friends.

 Song of the Day: Lilac Wine by Nina Simone

Well, I finally did it. I got my hair cut. Like my body, my hair is “bottom heavy,” and I just couldn’t stand the bushiness any longer. So I had about four inches chopped off.

Before:

After:

*Jewelry in both photos by Kitsch in Art (http://www.kitschinart.com)  (The necklace in the above photo has a little silver fish dangling from it.)

In other news – remember the young man who was fatally stabbed a couple of weeks ago? (http://yaketyyak.diaryland.com/070428_69.html)  His 6 year old cousin was killed in a car accident on Sunday. The child’s sister was critically injured, and her mother is in the hospital with leg fractures. Apparently, the driver who caused the accident admitted that he had been drinking. This is too much for one family to endure. My heart goes out to them.

The appointment with the neurosurgeon that was supposed to take place today has been rescheduled for next week. That means I get a blessed day off from the medical merry-go-round. I think I’ll go plant some flowers before the heat gets too oppressive.    

Song of the Day:  Hair  by The Early November