Thursday, January 12, 2012
Disclaimer-Writer is in a very low and pained mood. This is not likely to be an uplifting blog and I don't want to bring anyone down. I am seeking solace and solutions after one of the singly most frustrating days of my life.
I am not sure I should write this, but writing may help me move on when nothing else--not one thing on this earth--has. Th big topic at hand is this unrelenting nasty pain in my neck and right shoulder. It has been out of control yet in control of me since last Thursday. There is nothing I have available that will help give me relief. For the record, I have tried my pain meds which are strong medication, heat, ice, gentle water in the pool, the hot tub and sauna, medicated cream, lidocaine patches, my regular meds staying consistent and timely, prayer that is ongoing, shoulder stretches that my physical therapist taught me, a trip to the chiro, and finally a trip to the ortho and a steroid injection.
I have no explanation for why I am having pain--none unless this is left over from my fall on November 30. The injection that my ortho gave me in the other shoulder was finally effective on the day prior to the beginning of this pain, so I am wondering if all of the other trouble masked this. I know that my doctor who has disappeared diagnosed some major arthritic issues in my neck and prescribed traction (which I forgot to put on the list.) I had a CT scan of my neck after the fall in the ER that they said indicated no neck injuries. I had x-rays of my right shoulder today that didn't indicate anything outside of my typical arthritis. HOWEVER, no matter what any of this proves, I am having serious and severe pain in my neck and right shoulder. I told my ortho today that I was "ready to take a spoon and dig out all of the flesh in my neck, back, and shoulder" today. He told me that I "shouldn't do that." I was not joking--I was in tears most of the time I was in their office except when I was getting the injection, an awesome distraction.
I saw him this morning and by 11, the pain was off the charts. I didn't quite know what to do. I was working hard on my new schedule and after a less than pleasant issue with a teacher who was unwilling to problem solve on behalf of a child, which I simply gave in on because I had no energy in me to "fight the good fight," I completed it with a couple of small glitches. After a couple of contacts with other teachers, I think I am ready to see students again tomorrow. *That is if I am able!!
For the fun of things, I had gotten a phone message from one of my sons regular doctors that basically said that our insurance hadn't paid on his account in months and his balance was well over $900, so she was canceling his appointment on the 16th because she didn't think it was good to add to such a great expense that might cause us significant grief. I spent the entire afternoon working on above mentioned schedule and talking to my insurance company. They insisted that they haven't received a bill from this doctor since July 18 which leaves about 10 other visits. Her office said they needed some additional information from me--they have no record of that request. (Enter this info--my husband and I both have different Blue Cross policies. Mine is primary because my birthdate is prior to his. He insists that they have mentioned to him that he needed to contact his insurance because they needed more information. I am guessing that the doctor's office has made an error and has billed the wrong company.) When I tried to call the doctor's billing person, I was fgiven multiple runarounds--at least 6 times. After speaking to Blue Cross people three times, I believe them, which is rare. I tried to call the doctor's office again at 1:05 and left a voice message. I never heard a word from them before I left for my meeting upstairs at 2:30, but there was a message by the time I got up there. I couldn't return the call until my meeting was over at 3:45. I called immediately and was told that the office staff person I needed to talk with was out of the office for the day and well, after hearing this multiple times about lunch today, I became angry and simply said "Are you kidding. I have been trying to share this information with you at least 5 different times." She pout me on hold for a few moments and then told me that she was leaving a message with the doctor. Grr-rr, don't forget that I was in awful pain during these hours of monkey business. I won't even go into the trouble at the meeting right now either. Anyway, the end of this story is that I received a call from the doctor about 5:00 and it seemed that she was angry with me because she didn't feel that I had left enough information that she could use until whatever office person was missing was back tomorrow. She didn't seem to get that her staff jerked me around all afternoon including over an hour and a quarter of answering machine responses in the middle of the day. Hmm, not fair to say the least--and this is a doctor who has cared for my children for 18 years. I am hurt by her tone and response and all of this monkey business.
My husband convinced me that I should call my pain doc about this nasty pain, and that made sense to me. I got his nurse whom I sarcastically refer to as "Nurse Ratchet" because she goes out of her way to keep me from Dr. F. She reamed me all over town and told me that I had to call the ortho back because maybe all of this pain was related to the injection. Hmm, not so--I had it when I went and I had it after I went. She insisted, so I did and they wouldn't give the doc a message either, telling me that it takes up to 3 days for the injection to work and that it can get worse in the beginning. Hmm, I have had at least 20 of these injections in the past year and I know how this works. I explained to her that I was concerned that some of the info from my last MRI indicated that there were problems there and that I called my pain doc to find out if he could help me. She abruptly told me that they couldn't give me pain meds when I got them from him. I told her that I wasn't looking for pain meds, so she replied that they didn't "do necks" and that I needed a neurologist. I called to tell my pain doc's nurse what the ortho's office told me and of course, I got her answering machine.
At this point, I told her that I was going to the pool to see if it might help and that is what I did. I couldn't come close to doing me regular exercises, I did stretches, some squats and lunges, some walking and a lot of gentle laps. I went to the hot tub and held my sore area against the jet in the whirlpool. Then, I showered and went to the sauna. I got to the door of the fitness center when I was fighting tears in my eyes.
I am not sleeping much and it is in about 20 minute increments. I wake up and am squirming in my seat, trying to figure out how to sit or function, This pain is really crazy. The ortho thought it was an inflamed tendon. The chiro who really caused me pain on Monday thought it was inflamed tendons--one between my rotator cuff and shoulder/neck area and the other in the area of my collarbone. He did ART techniques on my shoulder and then massaged and worked on my neck. He had another chiro do a laser treatment on my shoulder. Then she also taped my shoulder. I felt no benefit from these things that cost me $50.00 that my insurance wouldn't cover.
Friends, I am awful right now. All I do is moan and cry and wring my hands. I cannot focus on a thought--don't even ask how long it is taking me to write this. I don't know what else to do but I am unsure if I can really work tomorrow. I do not know how to manage this, it is maddening. I am developing some really weird coping techiniques like grabbing a handful of my hair and pulling it. I am not comfort eating except for lollipops that I just finished off. (Lollipops over holiday treats that are still here--what is that about? I don't know what is going on with me and who I am.) Anyway, I don't think my family wants to be around me--I am with Chloe on a love seat in the dining room and nobody is anywhere around. My doggies still love me anyway!
This is the time for me to beg. Does anyone have an idea for me? What can I do to manage this pain? Who do I call or what do I do? How can I get over this? How do I get past this? How do I get some rest? How do I get back to being myself? I am tired of crying and all of this. I need peace. First, I need help.
If you read this entire rant, thank you. I appreciate anyone who cared enough to look and read the disclaimer. I probably should delete this entire thing but I am not going to do that in case that somebody who knows medical stuff or medical office staff or whatever can give me a suggestion that will help me. I am truly desperate. I have only had this level of pain two other times in my life--once when I had an infection in my spine and once when I had RSD (or CRPS.) Check those conditions out and maybe you will understand why I am so worked up with this extreme pain.
I wish you well and I hope that I have taken all of the bad vibes off the earth so none of you will have to address any of them.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
On this evening before I return to school after our two week intersession--that I actually took as a break, I have a multiply forwarded email to share with you about teachers. I haven't done any school work except to send an email reminding teachers that I need their test scores. I haven't had a break like this in years, to be quite honest, and I have enjoyed it. I have some work to do in my room--but I let it go for now.
However, I am personally befuddled as to what to do about this increasingly unpleasant shoulder pain that has gotten as far as turning into spasms in my cervical spine and all around the right quadrant of my upper back. It is making me feel nauseated and I have tried everything I can imagine to do about it. It's 5PM on Sunday evening--there may be nothing I can do until tomorrow because after my last ER visit when I fell, I don't think I can try that again. I wish I knew what was making this hurt this intensely, it might make it easier to calm down.
Tomorrow is an inservice day. We will be learning about our new evaluation program. Our district is paying a lot of attention to what is going on at the state and national level in the awful assault on teachers and they are trying to develop a plan that will make all stakeholders happy as certain political groups try to take away things like our pensions, seniority, tenure, right to bargain and so on. I just wish these folks would do a bit of research and find out why we needed such safeguards. There were so many unfair ways that teachers were treated that we needed protection from all of the political things that gave us no job security and the lack of rules in all job related issues. Oh well, I cannot change that, but I can share this wonderful email that I got today. It sure explains why a lot of us are in this profession:
WHO IS A TEACHER?
From A School Principal's speech at a graduation..
He said "Doctor wants his child to become a doctor.........
Engineer wants his child to become engineer......
Businessman wants his ward to become CEO.....
BUT a teacher also wants his child to become one of them..!!!!
Nobody wants to become a teacher BY CHOICE" ....Very sad but that's the truth.....!!!
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
To stress his point he said to another guest;
"You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"
Teacher Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,
"You want to know what I make?
(She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't
make them sit for 5 min. without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make ?
(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)
I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them how to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn't everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need
to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they
were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life
( Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make , with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make ?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ALL YOUR LIVES, EDUCATING KIDS AND PREPARING THEM TO BECOME CEO's, AND DOCTORS AND ENGINEERS..........
What do you make Mr. CEO?
His jaw dropped; he went silent.
THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW. Even all personal teachers like mother, father, brother, sister, coach and spiritual leader/teacher
I love this message...And for my regular readers, I know you know how much I put into my work EVERY DAY. I go early to tutor some children and I work through my lunch and prep everyday so that I can see a few more students who need some support in becoming readers and writers. I teach after school too. On days that I call in sick for medical appointments, I go into work and teach all around the appointment. I do this because I want them all to become the readers that they need to become. It is too important for their entire lives for me to let them down, so I don't if I can help it at all. Who is a teacher? A teacher gives their all to help each child reach their goals and be the best that he or she can be every day!
Friday, January 06, 2012
This was certainly one for the books for me--once the kids left for school, I had nothing that HAD to be done. Certainly, there were things I could do and even a few that I needed to do--but nothing that I had to do. I cannot remember such a day as far back as I can remember. I must admit that I could enjoy a few days like that, and Friday could be another--but my son is making some plans, so I won't quite count on it.
I thought I'd share what I did, probably more for me to remember than to be entertaining. It was nothing amazing by any stretch of the imagination. I started out with a lot of sparking. I really got around, changed a few things on my page and visited a few pages too. I never seem to get much time for that and I always feel badly because I have so many people who support me daily. While I was online, I actually got two of my sons to take down Christmas decorations and I got another to measure and price a window we need to replace.
I read for a while and I did some Sudoku puzzles before I did a "Trouble Trakker" and reported some problems with my school laptop. I left them a message and they said I could bring it in anytime. I got ready to go to the pool and had my son take it upstairs in our administration building so the techs could work on it. (It has been highlighting things for no reason, opening windows crazily and deleting what I type. Arghhh. I think it probably needs an internal cleaning after the five years I have been using it and dragging it around everywhere with me, It is full of my "stuff" for education and some personal level things and I sure don't want it to die out. It looks pretty rough but that is because I didn't find out that Apple recalled that particular model until it was too late to take advantage of that. It has never had a quality disk drive and I don't understand that, but it certainly meets my needs nicely, like a good old friend who just "gets me."
I had extra time at the pool today which was nice because they shut down the adult women's locker room "for cleaning" for an extra hour this afternoon. I got all of my exercises in, some extra laps and some water jogging, and time in both the hot tub and sauna after my stretching. (I sure wish all of that would have loosened up my shoulder and neck pain. I am thinking that this may require another appoinment with someone. I wish my spine doc was still available because she is who I would talk to about all of this. I will figure this out too.) It was nice to not be rushed--and my husband pulled up just as I finished.
We made a couple of stops on the way home and then, my husband made taco salad for dinner. I spent the rest of the evening doing the same things after I did my neck traction and took a short nap. I got to watch my soap on TV and did a bit of online shopping. It was amazing how not having to be anywhere can feel.
I think I could get used to having my time be mine more often. It is fun to be rather quiet. I am curious how my body will respond in the morning. That may give me some important information about my lifestyle.
In any case, my day wasn't exciting or worrisome or anything. It was simply peaceful and totally driven by what I felt like doing. I could get to like this sort of thing!!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
I know that I have whined about my shoulder and the pain since I fell the last day of November--and I shouldn't whine any more, but I have to admit feeling a bit nauseated from pain from time to time and I wish I knew how other people handle pain. I also know that I bring some extra issues to the equation, but I am weary today. I didn't take extra pain meds before I went out into our frigid weather today to run errands and went straight to the pool to avoid the late hours and cold. I can barely swim and I know it barely looks like swimming. I am sitting here with my big ice bag trying to get some relief and just want enough respite so that I can take care of myself. Okay, I will stop whining now...
Our temps got really chilly last night, but are expected to be back in the 40s tomorrow. I hesitate to fuss about anything weather-related right now because we haven't had any sub-zero temps, wind chill factors, or snow and ice yet which is mighty peculiar. I do not handle wintery weather well and I am no fan these days. I have a friend or two who live in far more frigid weather than I do who take the challenge of such weather right on and manage it like champions. I guess I am whining again--sorry. However, I am enjoying our uncharacteristically fall-like weather. It is my prediction that it will get yucky around the time we return to school next week. That is something very typical around here.
I am working hard on healthy eating and exercising so far this year. I plan to be able to continue saying this over and over as I work to reach my new goal--a healthy BMI at my newly established height of 5'7". I know I am repeating this but I am having to adjust my thinking a great deal to accept this change and saying it many times will help me to do that. It is something that I know I can do and know is best for me, so it is my 2012 goal. I want to do everything I can to eliminate some of the issues I mentioned in the first two paragraphs of this blog. I am doing well so far and am learning some other things about managing my meds for pain and fibromyalgia. Today, I had a half of a sandwich and milk for breakfast and kept my ongoing issue with morning nausea at bay. I am thinking that protein will do this job rather than a traditional breakfast. I can save my oatmeal and yogurt for lunch or a snack. I think it is interesting that this old dog is learning new tricks every day.
As always, I appreciate this opportunity to think out loud with your valuable input. I am still "under construction" at this point in time and need your support. Thanks so much!
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
I have been active and healthy in all ways today. I finally got to do some real swimming again. My shoulder is not right, but the feel of water and me moving with it then against it and back and forth was so good. I really enjoyed every second. I wish there was a way to explain what the water does for me, but I don't quite know how to put it into words. It is the one place that I can lie down flat on my back--and it feels good. I can move in ways that I cannot do on land and on top of that, the water takes the pain right out of my body. It was so awesome.
My husband, daughter and sons go back to work tomorrow. I have to take our youngest son for a routine doctor's appointment. After that, I am going to maybe spend the afternoon at the pool. I hope he will come too, but he hasn't really come but a couple of times since all of the problems last summer and he only has come with his big brothers to be there for him. That makes me so sad because we shared a lot of good time togehter in the pool. Maybe tomorrow will bring things back for him. I can hope anyway.
I have the rest of the week off work which makes up a bit for the late break before Christmas. I am not planning to go to work in my classroom this week at this time. There is always something that I can do there, but I think a break needs to be a break.
Have a wonderful Tuesday as our lives go back to a more "normal" routine. I am wishing everyone the best as we all embark on our refreshed goals with New Year resolve.
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