Friday, November 05, 2010
I finally got to see my ortho this morning. It turns out that my shoulder has a tendon that is totally disattached from my shoulder, I have a torn rotator cuff, and there is "considerable" arthritis on my collarbone--all of which are contributing to my shoulder pain and will need a surgical repair. I am not terribly surprised that it is something "big." I have had so many issues with this body that I am pretty aware when it is something big that needs real attention. As a matter of fact, I have kind of a strange tolerance for pain and I had to be taught when I need to seek out some help. I am the person who walked on a broken foot for over 3 months and noted some discomfort, but didn't seek out any help. If my husband hadn't mentioned to my doc that I had complained about my foot hurting, I wouldn't have had him check it out at all. When it turned out that it was fractured, it took over a year of casting and surgery to repair the damage that I caused from walking on it for so long. I have a similar story with knee damage--I had a hole worn all of the way through my patella when I finally got to the doc about that pain. There was also my gall bladder--it was so jammed full of stones when I finally complained about it and had it looked at that it had swollen and was jammed up against my liver, making that an ugly procedure. Three different doctors told me that when I experienced discomfort that bothered me over more than a couple of days that I needed to get some help. I tried to do that with my shoulder and was put off by the staff at the orthopedic group and given the run around--as those of you who have followed my blogs are aware.
I finally got to see MY doctor today. I really love this guy--he is the one who diagnosed and treated the RSD in my right knee after the first replacement went south and I couldn't straighten my leg. (It turned kind of a weird purplish color and even touching it with cotton made it ache. The physical therapist couldn't hardly touch me--I actually vomited from pain at PT one day.) The surgeon who did the replacement got me back with this doctor (He had relocated to another town, but came back just in time!!) They treated my RSD with 10 sympathetic blocks, replaced my replacement, did 10 more blocks while doing the PT and got me back on my feet. He is the most kind and skilled ortho I have worked with--and I have worked with several. I requested to see him when I called them back in early August and they "couldn't get me in" and sent me to somebody else. After 3 months of this mess, I now know that I have a lot of damage in there. My friend asked me if he told me what caused it and I never even thought to ask that. I intend to ask him because my husband told me that he thinks I damaged it when I took that big, nasty fall at school last spring when I was packing to move. I need to find out if that is so, because if it is possible, I intend to seek legal help this time.
Anyway, the surgery center is totally booked until January, but my doc thinks that this needs attention before then, so they were working on something and will call me to give me the date for this work. I will be in a sling for six weeks while the tendon heals and reattaches the way it is supposed to. I will have physical therapy during the time with a sling to maintain my shoulder and prevent it from freezing up. After the 6 weeks is up, I will have intensive physical therapy to get my shoulder working hard. My doctor says that this surgery has a 95% success rate. Those are pretty good odds and that is reassuring. He knows my history with the spine infection, so I will have some extra pre-op tests to make sure that I am well. He also warned me that I cannot have any sores or scratches on this shoulder or that he won't do any procedures on it. (Hmm, my kitty will need to not do anything ornery around me for a while...)
I also am wondering a lot about how I will walk and get around with my arm in a sling. I use a walker and my shoulders are part of how I get around. I had surgery on my arm about 3 1/2 years ago and the doc ordered an attachment for my walker which had a "resting" place for my arm to sit on. (It was in a cast for 8 weeks after the surgery.) I don't see this working with a sling, I am going to have to ask the doctor when we do the pre-op stuff. I do have my wheelchair, but I sure hate to have to go that route again. Maybe I could go back to using a crutch or a cane. The physical therapy people had me go to using a walker because I wasn't very steady with the cane. The problem with a crutch is that it can damage other body parts. I guess it is just complicated to be in this body these days. And I guess that I'll let the doctor figure out my mobility problem.
There are lots of other things playing around in my world, but I'll save them for my weekend blogging. I know this sounds pretty lousy, but I am so relieved to finally have an answer to all of this. It is so sad that between medical people being so overworked, insurance companies trying to avoid paying for patient care and all of the clowning around that doctors have to go through to avoid malpractice suits that people like you and I have stories like the one I am telling right now. I am glad to be on the right end of getting better now. Life is good.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Today, on Election Day, I vote for:
...peace and quiet.
...people using their common sense.
...no more phone calls.
...no more of their stuff in the mail.
...nobody sabotaging my healthy eating.
...my exercise time being a priority to everyone.
...cars that run as they should.
...medical appointments going off without a hitch.
Now, I am totally aware that this is a list of my own annoyances. I also know that there are a lot of important and difficult issues in the world that people are dealing with. I know some of them--and for them, I am hurting too. I have a friend just diagnosed with breast cancer--this same friend who was talking about the possibilties of having another child a few weeks ago. (Boy, has her life changed drastically in a short period of time.) Another friend of mine had all of the major treatments for breast cancer ending with surgery over the summer and is anxiously waiting to hear that she is cancer free. A dear friend of mine from church was placed into hospice care last week and was taken off of kidney dialysis after over ten years of that procedure. (She had a fall and a fractured hip over the summer which altered her ability to heal.) Her family is on high alert as are the many people who have loved this gentle lady who had given piano lessons to oodles of children over many years and who has made a home for many injured and disabled dogs in her life.
So, I am here on election day fussing about any number of odd, little annoyances when there are so many "big ticket" items in the world and in my life. My reasons for that are simple--I pray about the important things and I know that I am heard and that I get answers. Some of them take a while and some of them do notmatch what I thought was best--and some of them have an element of personal pain in the process, but I believe that God will take care of me. For example--I made my personal weight loss goal this past week and am still in a state of happy disbelief. It took me over two years, but I have lost 122.5 pounds and am now below 180 pounds for the first time in my adult life. I weight less than I did in junior high school. I have a few photos to show me over time...
This is a school photo of me about nine or ten years ago. I did my best to look good, but I was at my high weight.
This is a special family photo taken a few years later. The ladies int he front are now with our Lord and Savior. The one with the pink headpiece is my Grandma, who passed away after a long grueling bout with cancer. the lther special lady is my Great Aunt Sibyl who passed away a couple of years after her sister of a short bout of time with cancer. This was a special lady in my life, who always could see my qualities and who told them to me and anyone else who needed to listen to such information. Both of these ladies were important in my life and I miss them dearly. This photo was taken at the last big family party I remember--it was in the rehab unit of the hospital and held in Grandma's honor.
***There are several photos of me in my photo fallery, but I am sharing the most current one of me. this was taken in early August--and you can see why I am happy about my weight loss. I do believe that I need to lose another 15-20 pounds, due to the 1.5 inches of height that I have lost since my doc helped me set my goal, but if I don't make it--I am here, at this place now.
I have prayed about my own health isues over time and have had the resolve to do what I have needed. I eat so much better than I ever have in my life. I exercise faithfully and have learned that there is joy in getting my heart rate up. I am even taking a fitness class to go along with my own workout, so that I can learn other pool activities to use as I increase the intensity of my workouts in quality and quantity.
My last blog was a rant about a lot of things causing me grief over the weekend. It turns out that our son's car needs a new engine which is a major difficulty financially that makes our lives a lot more tricky, but we will manage. I have a new doctor's appointment on this coming Thursday for my shoulder and am going to let my trusted ortho understand all of the misadventures I have been on in trying to get relief from this pain since the beginning of August. I know that he won't appreciate all of the things I have dealt with and he will work on improving patient care at that busy office that houses over 12 doctors.
I know that difficulties get resolved and I know that there are layers of difficulties for us all to deal with. I am living proof of this--yet, there are times when it helps to simply talk about them and get them out of your system. There are times when I need a pat on the back and someone to giv eme a kind work and a gentle idea of how to manage the immediate issues. thanks for giving me a forum for that. I guess that this is my update. things are tricky, but Ihave calmed down and am not as angry and frustrated as I was. I have put things into perspective also, which although the bigger issues for my loved ones have caused me to do so--I also have been able to put the recent events in my personal life into the right compartment.
I do have one thing that I do not appreciate--yet the intention was good. Today, when I got to my classroom, there was a cute little bag on my door filled to the brim with chocolate Halloween candies. there are all kinds of great things in this bag--probably a couple of pioounds of kisses and fun bars and peanut butter cups--and well, it is all chocolate. It was with a note about being tagged it to do something similar within 24 hours for two other teachers and a nice ghost picture to be attached to my door so that everyone knows that I've been tagged. Thank you to my secret ghost friend. I am glad that you thought of me. but I sure didn't need that temptation in my life. I am looking for someone to share all of that stuff with and I am sorry to admit that I had several of those little kisses today.
I guess I may need to post my personal health and weight loss goals at work, so that everyone is totally aware of my efforts. This is another of thos elittle items that I am dealing with. Maybe some things are in my path for me to confirm my resolve. That is a great way for me to reason, and I don't have to like them.
Take care everyone!!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The past couple of days have left a lot to be desired...And I am really grumpy and am trying to find my patience, but it seems to have walked off.
Let me wander back to the Thursday that I was anticipating a lot of activity... I made all of the arrangements that I needed to get to my ortho's appointment. I covered my reading groups so that I could leave work without a problem and I still taught the guy I tutor before school and taught my first group. I ended up driving my son's big truck that is pretty hard for me to hike myself up into. I got to the appointment on time and when I went to check in, I was told that they called me yesterday to let me know they had cancelled my appointment and rescheduled it for November 4th. Not so--my cell phone won't work in the new school--too much metal, mortar, technology, something--but it won't work and I let it go without refilling the time last week--however, if they called it, they would have found that it wasn't in service. There was no call to my home, so who exactly did they call? (No sign of them on our caller ID or our answering machine, hmm???) I got back to school and salvaged my morning lessons--only to realize that I am going to have to do the same thing next Thursday. I plan to share this with my doctor, he is so good with patient care that he isn't going to care much for this lack of effort on the part of his staff--and to top it off, I have been trying to get attention for this shoulder since August 2 and I am losing patience with the entire ordeal. It wakes me up night after night in burning, miserable pain. they now have the MRI that shows thickening of tendons and either one or more tears--something needs to get healed up and I am very tired of this. GRR-RRRR
I had to cancel my pool class on the same Thursday for a conference with a family who does not speak English. The classroom teacher was called away at the end of her day because her father ended up in ICU after a frightening spell in which he didn't even have andy Id on him. That was unexpected and was an emergency. However none of the other people, including the translator bothered to remember or make an appearance and no one from the office even came to my rescue to welcome the family or apologize to them or anything. I did what I could and didn't make it home until after 7PM--I felt so bad for this family and there was a lot that needed to be discussed. Actually, it still needs to be discussed and I don't know what to do about it without having some other folks on board.
While I was at work, our old clunker truck had some starter malfunction so that now leaves us with two vehicles we depend on not in service. We have not one, but two mechanic types n our house who had not gotten to anything by the time I got home. What is up with that? I know it was late and not warm out, but sometimes, we all have to bite the bullet and tend to things in less than ideal surroundings. I just shrugged my shoulders and told them to figure it all out and I went to the pool for my regular workout that my stressed out body really needed.
That brings me to Friday--the Halloween day at school. The kids have been getting more and more excited and off task as the week has progressed--nothing unusual to an experienced elementary teacher. This is my least favorite "holiday" of the year because I just don't get the purpose of it all--to stuff our kids full of sugar from strangers and from those close to us. Duh, why is this needed??? I started the day with a lousy headache, but with the understanding that one of our cars was going to get fixed because our other son had to go out of town to pick up his credentials for his new job (YAY, he is now almost completely and officially a teacher and will be able to pay his student loans and make the investment in his education pay off!!.) Lots of interruptions and issues laced my morning, but with the school parade at 1:15 and parties after that, I knew that I could manage things. I even made contact with a translator to follow up on Thursday evening's little mess and developed some long range plans. 800mg of ibuprofen handled the nasty headache and even took the bite off of the pain in my back and shoulder--I'm not supposed to take it after the issues in my stomach, but I couldn't stand that sharp pain.
My husband and son came to pick me up in the big truck--and I found out that my husband and our mechanic son hadn't fixed the other car yet--but they sent the older guy off because they anticipated they would get it done. Mason needed his truck, so that left us at home with no vehicle and two other sons who needed to be picked up from their jobs. And guess what? Of course, they didn't get the car running. It still isn't running--but Mason is at work and we have his truck today. We only have to pick Micah up from a sleepover, a bowling class, voice lesson, two people to work, and somehow, I need to go run errands--bills, grocery shopping, post office etc...
And they don't understand my frustration...
I think they think that this place runs by itself.
I think they think I go to the pool each day to play and they don't understand that my arthritis needs the workout that I get. And I am sure that nobody here understands what it is like to be awakened by pain multiple times a night. I am not even asking for anyone to feel sorry for me with this because I have learned ways to live with it--but they took that away from me last night and possibly today. It isn't fair and it isn't me just ranting. It is what I need.
I am wondering if they will get this straightened out sometime today. I am wondering if I am going to have a breakdown of some kind. I am tired and grumpy and I don't like this mood.
I want a vacation away from all of the glamour and happiness that is part of my everyday life right now--and then, maybe I'll be able to deal with life's little frustrations.
Yes, it has been a couple of "those kids of days" and I know it will pass. But for now, I'm on edge. Big time. Thanks for letting me rant, it really helps some and keeps me from saying hurtful things to people who don't need to hear them and who are only guilty of being themselves (which is different than the responsible, in charge person life has made me into.)
OK, I need to figure out what I can do--I need to get to the pool but it closes early on weekends and I don't know what might be available. It's cold out again too. That is fall here in the Midwest...
Time to calm down, pray, reflect, plan and figure this out while maybe, just maybe, somebody works on the car. (Unless one of you would like to buy it!!)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I have started a few sentences with these words today. I guess I'm fussing again. Just when I thought my body and I were at peace, I had last night and was up for some 3 hours because of the dueling pain in my back and shoulder. I should have guessed the big windy weather front was here dropping our temperature by some 25 degrees during the night. That is hard stuff on the arthritis I have.
Just when I thought it was safe to go in the teacher's lounge a big basket of candy appeared today. I am the proud owner of a couple of tootsie pops as a result. I think those may keep me away from a lot of other junk that may be coming our way during this big ticket holiday time in an elementary school. It is all my kids are talking about and thinking about--and they cannot stay focused on any other topic besides Halloween, their costumes and their parties for more than a few minutes at a time. It sure makes teaching tough!
Just when I thought it was safe to make plans and do my life, we had a car break down and we cannot afford the repairs until Friday, payday. Not only is this expensive, but it sure makes it hard to get this many people to the number of different places we all have to go to pretty difficult. (I was some 10 minutes late to my doctor appointment tonight and I'm very worried about my very important doctor's appointment for my shoulder tomorrow.)
Just when I thought that I knew how to say "no," I have found out that it isn't as easy as I wish it were. My list of things to do is growing and growing and I am going to be overloaded again. I have two days in the coming couple of weeks that I am double-booked to be in two places at once. Why do I get myself into all of this?
Oh well, just when I thought it was too crazy around here, something good happens and makes it all better. My son goes over to his new job tomorrow to get settled in. My other son has found a job that may be more than some strange door to door sales job. We all have to be at these important places tomorrow--but I know my kids and I will work it out. I am going to get ready for the pool now and hopefully put my body at ease so that I can sleep better tonight.
That's a good starting place, anyway!!
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