Daily Journal – May 12


The last couple of weeks resembles the “Great Science Experiment!”  I originally visited my doctor for a nerve on the right side of my face being sensitive to touch and radiating pain with even the slightest pressure. We had already decided on previous visits that 2017 would be the year to see an orthopedic doctor about the erosive arthritis in my right hand and to see if I could find relief through pain management for my SI injury. This has resulted in me feeling quite overwhelmed. It seems that there is either physical therapy or a doctor appointment every day. Take my advice and do not take a “grocery list” to the doctor! It is not conducive to an introvert personality to have so many appointments in a short time. As you read on, you’ll see how my story reflects my INTJ personality.

For anyone wondering (lol) the MRI did show that I have a brain – and, it’s quite normal! Imagine that! The MRI showed no abnormalities but also no reason for the nerve pain. The nerves are too tiny to be seen on the test. My doctor said it could be something as simple as a kinked nerve and it will straighten itself out – hopefully soon. It’s way past wearing on every other last nerve. Most facial movements cause it to either hurt or send a strange sensation down my face. The nerve originates at the brain and travels through the skull and separates into three nerves, each servicing a third of the face – top, middle, and bottom. It is the upper third that is giving me problems. So, it’s a wait-and-see type of thing. Wait and see doesn’t work well with my personality so it’s a little (lot) trying. I am not the most patient of people.

The back/spine doctor that I had an appointment was nice enough but wanted to give me an injection in SI for the pain. He was explaining how they use an x-ray to insert a tiny needle to inject the medicine into the SI. I will tell you right now that I DO NOT have a poker face. You can read my face as though it had words written across it. He stopped mid-sentence and commented, “that doesn’t appear to be an option?” Dude! You think? Nope, nope, and nope!

For those of you who do not know where the SI is located, I will explain (short explanation). If you look at a skeleton, it is between the hip bones. It separates to allow for the birth of a child. Knowing this information, can you imagine the look that must have crossed my face? My imagination was running wild! You want me to bare my ass (excuse my language) and you want to stick a needle into my SI? Uh…nope, nope, and nope! Now, I have no idea exactly how they do this, but my brain was telling me there was no way that was going to happen! Doc, come down off the ledge and let’s start at the bottom of the ladder!

He was kind when he mentioned that is what they do there (at the hospital). Imagine if you don’t think out the scenarios and just agree to what the doctor tells you. I ask questions and then more questions, and then follow-up with more questions (the personality thing.) He was also kind enough to tell me that it doesn’t always work and some people need a shot every couple of months. What was going through my mind was, you want to stick a needle in me and then it might not even work? Nope, nope, and nope!

I am not one to mask pain. I want to know and understand what is causing it and what can we do about it – sans the needle. I told him that I didn’t know if I should quit walking, go to a gym and work with a trainer, or do physical therapy. His answer was physical therapy and that is where I am with the back problem. I was in physical therapy last summer for four months with a concentration on dry needling, but with no exercising. I decided to try a different place and so far, I am very pleased with the results.

This time, during the evaluation, I let the PT know about my experience last year and what I was looking for – which is pain management and hopefully some healing through exercise and stretching. He listened very intently and answered all of my questions and during our sessions, explains what he is doing and how it affects the SI joint. The last PT I used didn’t like when I asked questions and really didn’t like that I did research when I went home. This PT has been very open and receptive, even giving me things to look up for information. I am finding relief through the exercises and manipulation of the muscle (that did not heal properly from my fall.) He also explained that dry needling is good, but only if followed up with stretching and manipulation once the muscle is relaxed. Information fell into place for me. I have to admit though, the 15 minutes of heat at the end of each session is my favorite!

I know this post is getting rather long, but here’s the story about my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. You know it’s not good when the doctor looks at you like his last meal! First, I saw the nurse for the usual and when she saw my allergy to iodine, she remarked that might be a problem because the doctor used iodine at the injection site.  “?” It took a moment for my answer, “That won’t be a problem” to register. Geez! Why does everything involve a needle?!

First, he wanted to cut open my fingers and scrape what he referred to as bone spurs on my joints by the fingernails (if it has a name, I don’t know it), then fuse the joints. One-at-a-time. This would involve six surgeries! THEN, there would be a joint replacement of my index finger/thumb on my right hand (the one affected by erosive arthritis). I was in pain just listening to him. Once again, it’s like – come down off the ledge doc. When I burst his bubble, the next suggestion was a shot. Again – masking the pain. Nope, nope, and nope! We settled on physical therapy, which I will not begin until I work on my SI. Too many appointments!

The bottom line of that story is I may eventually have to consider these solutions, but not until I’ve discussed with my oncologist how surgery might affect my blood disorders. Any type of blood loss will affect my red cell count and platelet multiplication in a negative way.

This all happened after I made it to the hospital for the appointment only to have GPS route me out of the parking lot, a half mile down the road, u-turn, back to the parking lot I had just been in, and then tell me I had reached my destination. Say what?!

That concludes my “Lucy” adventures for the last two weeks. Thanks for stopping by!

My Daily Drama – Hey! It's Cold in here!

After the rough holiday called Thanksgiving, I’ve had a difficult time getting back into the swing of things – namely writing. But, I’m back.

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Hey! It’s Cold in here! Our house is freezing – or rather it feels like it. The heater would not come on Thursday night. Our house is very well insulated so it takes a couple of days for the outside temperatures to register on the inside enough to warrant changes in the heat or cold being turned on or off.Winter Tree Owl

That point came Thursday evening when I was sitting at my computer and found myself shivering. It dawned on me that I just may need to put the heat on. We are not like most people in that we have the house ultra warm or cool depending on the outside temperatures; but it was cold.

i got up and put the heater on and sat back down. I don’t remember how long it was before I realized that I was getting colder, not warmer as I had hoped. Hubby’s band was practicing in the garage so I flagged him by flicking the lights a couple of times. I’m not sure if he likes it or not, but it never fails to get his attention. Also, it is a little funny to watch everyone when they think the power is going out. (Sorry, I have a weird sense of humor at times.)

Hubby also came to the foregone conclusion that we would not have heat that night. He spent most of Friday trying to figure out the problem. I spent most of Friday turning the unit on and off. I did warm up the kitchen by cooking soup and beans for the freezer, but all the stirring and chopping wreaked havoc on my arthritic hand. Factor in the cold and I spent all afternoon and most of the evening with a warm rice bag on my hand.

I was hoping to make bread yesterday, but the house was too cold for it to rise. When I posted to Facebook, I had a few interesting suggestions. The one that really made me laugh (and not at the person) was the suggestion that I put the bread to rise on a running dishwasher. Don’t see the humor? You will. I promise. I am the dishwasher so the comment had my imagination forming a picture of the dishwasher (me) running with the bread while it rose. Not a viable solution! Another suggestion was putting it on the hood of the car in the sun. We have a garage and the truck hood was colder than the house. Helpful suggestions are always interesting and I’ll just wait until the heat is back on to make bread.

Thank goodness for heated mattress covers! At least nighttime is warm and the only reason to go to the bathroom is to put the heat on for a while. Funny the sources of heat we will find when we are cold. And, what is it with men?! (and some women) Hubby got out of a warm bed to go duck hunting in the cold.

English: Taken by Dr. F Eugene Hester. Picture...

Duck hunting doesn’t mean just riding to a duck blind in car; it means riding for a mile or two in a boat in the cold and then sitting in a blind hoping for a duck to fly by. I went hunting once. Well, truth be told, I went and sat in the boat and watched Hubby stand there very quietly while mosquitoes sucked blood as he was watching for ducks – not fun. This was after riding down the bayou, under bridges, down the Intracoastal with tugs and barges to the lake and to a duck blind. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to make the same trip back home.

That was the extent of my hunting days. Well, I’m off to heat up the rice bag again. My fingers are almost numb and the pain in my hand with erosive arthritis is getting bad. Thanks for stopping by to visit. I hope you leave a little message with how your week is going. And, if you’re curious, the repairman closed his office early on Friday! That means it will be cold until Monday!

 

Life on the Bayou, "Lucy" at the aquarium, and an MRI

Gosh, but it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write. So much has happened in the past two months and it’s left me turning in circles and unable to focus for a while.

December found us spending more time in church for funerals of family members, than not. I lost my dad at the beginning of December, a very close friend the day after Christmas and my husband’s niece lost her baby only days before her due date before New Year’s.

Losing a parent is rough and going through a funeral with family members at each other’s throats is not a pleasant situation. Losing someone who has been an integral part of your life for the better part of 17 years isn’t easy. Especially when that person sees you as part of their family and that is how it was. This man was as close to a saint on earth as I have ever met. He touched so many lives in a spiritual way and his legacy will live on forever. He was that kind of man, truly special.

Our niece’s baby did so many somersaults that she managed to twist her umbilical cord to the point it cut off her life-line to her mother. She was a beautiful little baby, pink as could be as she had just passed before delivery. It was heartbreaking for everyone. Her passing marked the third death in my husband’s family in five months.

As I look back and try to absorb all the emotions that have been floating around, I told my husband that I didn’t know what was the hardest – grieving a parent you’ve known your entire life, watching the burial of a beloved man, or watching two twenty-eight year olds standing with their arms around each other when they finally make the decision to allow the casket to be closed on a baby they will never get to raise.

Life is strange and definitely not for us mere mortals to understand. At the baby’s funeral, our priest said that the week before we had buried one of our finest (our friend) and that day, we were burying one of our purist. On New Year’s Day when our priest visited at the hospital, he spoke about the baby being a true angel, that she wasn’t tainted by this world. She had never taken a breath of this life. I thought of the Blessed Mother carrying a Savoir, and I thought what an honor, to be chosen by God, to carry an angel. That is special.

This past week I had the chance to play with the penguins at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. A friend of mine has a child with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and he was eligible to be part of the Easter Seals program that sponsors the event. My friend invited me to go along. She is too funny and sweet. The aquarium is closed on Mondays and she knows that I am an introvert and suffer from social anxiety. When the person told her we would be the only ones there (besides the other four families) she immediately thought of me – so off we went on a field trip, the two of us and two of her children. Did I mention how great it is to have such wonderful friends who love you and take your quirks in stride? I was not always so lucky, so I know that I am truly blessed.

We had so much fun, but the day wasn’t without incident! “Lucy” just had to do something! After learning about the penguins and their habitat, we were invited to enter the habitat and play with them. Of course, the habitat includes a huge swimming hole! I think I prayed the entire time that I would not fall in, because if that was going to happen to anyone it would have been me!

Most of the penguins are quite friendly and we were able to hold them. We were allowed to stay and play for a long time, which was nice. We weren’t rushed at all and the penguins seem to enjoy the visit as much as we did. The person in charge was as eager to answer all of our questions, as we were to ask them.

The only thing I feel bad about is that I am in most of the pictures because Mom was busy taking pictures of the kids and I was helping them hold and play with penguins! I felt she should have been in the photos instead of me, but at least the camera was safe in her hands. At the end of the visit, we were squired away to a room where two penguins with paint on their feet walked all over paper taped to the floor. Each child went home with a stuffed penguin and a picture “painted” by the penguins. We had so much fun!

Okay “Lucy” did have one incident that could definitely have been disastrous, but wasn’t. When we entered the door to go to the penguin’s habitat, don’t ask me what I expected to see. A staircase perhaps? What I saw was a ladder, much like those used in boats to climb down into the engine rooms. I had to laugh at myself and even said, “Oh! A ladder.” We climbed up the ladder with no problem and I forgot all about it – that is, until it was time to leave.

Having spent a little time climbing up and down such ladders, I knew as I watched everyone climbing down as though it were a staircase, that it wasn’t. Soon, it was our turn to follow Jude’s mom and sister down the ladder. They laughed when they turned around and saw Jude and I descending the ladder the same way we had climbed up. A ladder is a ladder is a ladder, I don’t care how you call it. She thought I was little nuts when I described how I climbed down, but Jude and I made it safely to the bottom with him climbing down by himself (like a big boy) surrounded by my arms.

That was the safe part, because as I turned around and started out the door, I didn’t see the raised lip and almost went flying. I still can’t tell you how and where I caught myself, but fortunately an accident was avoided.

If you would like to read about the program and see a few pictures, please click on the link. http://www.nola.com/family/index.ssf/2015/01/easter_seals_louisiana_and_aud.html

And, what do you do on the way home with kids? You stop for chicken tenders! We had a great day and it was nice to be light-hearted for a while.

Tuesday, I had an appointment at Ochsner for a MRI on my hand. The diagnosis was erosive arthritis and if you follow me on Instagram, (@SouthernCharmPlanner) I am documenting my progress with a medication that was prescribed. My doctor told me Erosive Arthritis is a cousin of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not a lot is known about it and there is no cure or known treatment – rare was what she called it. That didn’t surprise me as I already have two “rare” blood disorders. I am an INTJ and have a “rare” personality – 4% of the population share this personality. Rare is quickly becoming part of my vocabulary.

Since Hubby was off at the duck camp, a friend went with me to the hospital. On the way home – laughing here – we stopped at iHop. It’s not only children who like chicken tenders! We ended up sitting and talking until almost dark!

I escaped two incidents this week unscathed – which still has me shaking my head. The second was Friday evening when I went to the dog’s kennel to check to make sure their blankets had not been drug out of their houses. Their kennel is the white picket fenced yard surrounding my Garden House (the pic is above). Their houses are located under an overhang to the side and on a wooden platform. As I walked onto the wooden platform, my foot slipped on the slime (it’s been raining) and down I went. My arm went down on top of the fence between two pickets and I hit my knees. My thought as I was going down was this is going to be a bad one. By the Grace of God, I was kneeling down and wondering what I broke when I realized I hadn’t hurt myself, not even my knees! I am still shaking my head because I’ve done more damage with less traumatic falls. My favorite jacket was even spared.

Other than catching up on Etsy orders and book reviews, that has been my week. Hope you enjoyed visiting!

 

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