Saturday, September 30, 2006

Every Now and Then...

...I Fall Apart.
Last Sunday, I had a small meltdown. I don't cry or scream or reach out when I have this kind of meltdown, I just go to a very dark place in my psyche, and give in to all my fears and self loathing. I  roll around in my misery, feeling totally alone, helpless and hopeless and very much the victim of life gone awry.
Of course I am the recipient of a life gone awry, but  there is no victimhood there, just stuff that happened that changed my life. I know I am still working to keep abreast of all the changes, but even if I hadn't fallen and ended up  in chronic pain and disabled, I would be dealing with some other set of changes-such is life.
I could not see that last Sunday, I only knew I was going into another surgery, scared and alone, afraid of the pain, of the rehab, of living alone post surgery and all the problems that entails, and  angry at how unfair life was. I spent most of the day watching TV and wishing I could cry and/or whine to a real person.
Monday morning I got up and went to physical therapy where I did a bit of both to Gail, my physical therapist. By afternoon, I began to figure out why I hit the pits so hard and unexpectedly. I have been working on a letter to the hospital where I spent nearly two dreadful weeks, three years ago, after my fall at work.( I will publish it tomorrow.)
That hospitalization was one of the worst experiences of my life, and come October 19th, I will be back at the same hospital, on the same orthopedic floor, and I am really scared about it. The letter, which I am going to send, is one major step I am taking to erase the fear and move beyond that bad experience. Only after I do, will I be able to accept that this new surgery can possibly be helpful.
During the rest of the week I finished the letter, bought a recliner in which to recover from surgery,and began to think about what else I could do to make my hospital stay less difficult. This will include finding out the name and number of the patient advocate, and speaking to the dietitian before I go in, because of the weird diet I must live on (protein, protein, protein, then fruit and veggies, then water, water, water).
On top of all this, my parents are coming for a visit, pre-surgery. They arrive on Oct 11th and leave the 16th. Surgery is the 18th. My parents have not been in CT in about 5 years, because my mom has been sick on and off. She wants to see the ocean one last time, and I want to hang out with her more than I did this summer. I suspect this will be their last visit to CT.
Although they spend 4 or 5 months in PA, then fly back to CO, where they live the rest of the year, I am not thrilled that they are driving themselves. Dad is 83 and Mom is 81, and both are stubborn as the devil, so I am no longer protesting the trip. They will spend three nights at a motel, and two more at my house. They have not stayed here in over 15 years! I'll let you all know how this all works out!
Blessings, Margo

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Well, I Guess I'll Survive, Afterall

A few days have gone by, and I have come realize it is not so much  the surgery I  need to worry about as the pain and recovery. I'll write about the pain issues another time. Whether I go to a Rehab place, or come home quickly, I will have to spend a fair amount of time alone, using only my left hand. My right arm will be in a sling, and hurting.
I have to plan ahead for such things as being unable to open my pill bottles, or grind  up my meds or my ice (which I do so they will dissolve quickly because I have such a small stomach now) or open cans or bottles or scramble eggs, or put on a bra, or button my jeans, or change my jewelry ( it may not be expensive, but I love wearing it!) or change the toilet paper roll, or use the cane and rolling walker I need for balance ( when I use my walker left handed, I roll in circles!)
Now this time I am not complaining, or whining and moaning. I am just planning ahead as much as possible, knowing that more issues I haven't thought about will pop up, willynilly. I will ask neighbors to help with many of these issues, although it will be hard to ask. I am way too willing to go things alone. I am already getting suggestion from people, some workable, some not so helpful. I well remember how much hard work Rene put in, and, of course, my mother has one arm(but she lost her left arm!) so I do know what I'm in for. Even my recliner is "right handed" as the handle is on the right and stiff.
Rene's brother Kevin and Jodi (with an i) of Looking Beyond the Cracked Window, have volunteered to drive many miles, so I can see my therapist. And I will request all the help possible from worker comp-like someone to come in daily and help for a while, and rides to and from physical therapy.
I have (at least for the moment) moved from anxiety into planning. I know that anxiety will  creep up to grab me again, but now I am seeing that I can muster energy to plan ahead, so I will not feel as helpless as I did three years ago when the rod was put in.
Perhaps Warrior Woman will, once again, come through for me!
Blessings to you all, Margo

Monday, September 18, 2006

OMG-Surgery, Whine, Whine, Piss, Piss

Human beings-and I here I mean me-are funny creatures. I spent the whole summer waiting for my shoulder surgery to be scheduled, complaining that I need it done, the time couldn't pass quickly enough, all I wanted was a date.
Well, I have a date, October 19th, and now it feels as if that date is a train barreling down a track straight at me, and there will never be enough time to prepare. Food, toilet paper, paper towels, arrangements to make, the need to open cans and jars and cook with my left hand.
And the pain. I remember how much pain there was after the doc I grew to hate put the rod in. And how he belittled the pain. Later, after the Yale Pain Clinic had diagnosed me with chronic pain, I asked the surgeon if he had ever had a broken bone, or had any period of pain in his life, and he admitted he hadn't. That was my last visit with him and soon he left the practice.
This time, a doctor I know and trust will remove the screws and the rod (if possible) which have been impinging on my rotator cuff, and then clean out the rotator cuff, for good measure. Oh, joy, I cannot wait to see if the surgery riles up my neuropathy, which runs down my forearm and into my hand. Neuropathy pain sucks.
Yes, my anxiety is rising, and the whole thing is bringing up hospital flashbacks, and acute loneliness, for I will come home to an empty house.( Except for Roxy, of course).  Meg will be working 60 to 70 hours a week at our local nuclear power plant, mandated during the planned shut down (for refueling and double checking every piece of equipment).  This will go on through November, and she will have enough on her plate with the new baby and her 12 hour work days.
My friend Peggy is working full time, and I will need to have outside help come in, to help with bathing, dishes, etc. And a nurse to come in to check for infection. And the final blow is that I won't be able to drive for six weeks, so I'll have to miss my weekly therapist's appointments, at the time I need to see her he most.
Well, this has turned into a finely miserable entry. It feels as if all I do is spew anxiety and then whine about it! I know that patients who go in with a positive outlook do better in surgery and healing, so I had better get my rear in gear and start to fake positivity a little better, so I can make it through!
Hope you all are hanging in. I certainly will.
Blessings, Margo

Friday, September 15, 2006

Moving into Fall

It is amazing to discover that summer is over. I spent a lot of it waiting for an appointment with my ortopedic surgeon, which finally happened at the end of August. While I was waiting I went to a family reunion, of sorts, in the Poconos, where my parents. have a cabin. I was able to spend time with my nephew Luke, his mother, my sister Catherine, her gentleman friend Bob, my brother Luke, his wife Mary, Meg, Myla (who is now three months old!) and Adam, and then, later, my nephews Eric and Brian (Luke and Mary's sons) , and Eric's girlfriend Amanda.
I didn't get to spend enough time with my parents, however, as they have a seperate, small, winterized cabin, where they stay to escape from the chaos in the lower cabin. I have mixed feelings about these get togethers. Some of us suffer from depression, some from bi-polar, others from near(or full blown) alcholism, and some are completely oblivious to all of this! It makes for an interesting mix, and a certain amount of tiptoeing around each other.
Of course , everyone else can escape into the woods, or down the stream, or out on the lake. I am pretty much stuck in the cabin area, because I walk with a  cane or rolling walker. Dirt roads, woodland paths, and lots of rain made it difficult  get around. But I read a lot (murder mysteries) and napped and visited with whoever happened to be around. And I am glad I went for the visit, despite our collective craziness.
Now I must move on to the next hurdle. My shoulder surgery is scheduled for October 19th. I've been waiting for this surgery for the last two years, but now I am dreading it. I went through this 3 years ago, and know quite well what I am in for-an unfortunate feeling of deja vu.
Tonight I am purposely not looking too far ahead, but as time passes, I need to reach into myself to activate Warrior Woman yet again. Maybe I'll look more at it more next week!
Blessings, Margo