Saturday, September 7, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Well, it's not very exciting and I'll try to keep it as short as possible.

Our winter hung on later than usual and it was June before the fear of frost was over and things warmed up enough to work in the garden.  My daughter and I spent several hours pulling weeds and grass, cleaning the boarders, digging, basically good ol' crawling around, playing in the dirt. That was the Friday before Father's Day and I was looking forward to attacking the remainder of the project the following day. When I awoke that Saturday and stood up, I had this horrible pain in my back and legs. I've had back problems for years so assumed my bad discs were just complaining about my overzealous gardening, or it was the fall I took right on the side of my hip, but as I started walking, it was "Whoa ouchie momma!" The pain was in my back as expected but it was also in the front of both thighs, radiating down the right leg all the way to my toes! It was incredible and nothing like I'd ever felt before! Pain caused by degenerative disc disease affects the sciatica nerve, which causes pain in the back of the leg and it'd never been this severe. Still, you can't keep a good yard sale shopper down, so I got ready and hobbled out the door. I'm really glad I went to the sale, as I found something I'd been hunting for, for a few summers now - nice, great quality lounge chairs for the screened porch! They're metal, heavy as all get out and in excellent condition with nice cushions included. I had been heart-broken last year when I'd found some gorgeous redwood ones with fabulous brand new cushions for $20 total, but they wouldn't fit in my car. These metal ones are nicer, they fold flatter so they fit and the whole shebang was $15! Wee! Thank goodness the woman hosting the sale helped me load them, as I was really hurting by then. I did however, have to take them home and unload them before going to any other sales, as they were taking up my entire car and I could barely drive with one of then poking me in the head (hey, I said they fit. I didn't say how well they fit LOL!). Dragging them into my house just about did me in!

I spent the next several weeks hobbling around, wondering why my back wasn't getting better, why it was hurting my leg in such an unusual way and whether or not I was finally going to have to succumb to surgery. After 5 weeks, I went to see my doctor, who sent me downstairs to see the orthopedist, who sent me across the building for x-rays at the imaging department, who then sent me back to the orthopedist for a review of the films, who wasn't sure he liked the one film and took more x-rays in his office, who decided that it was a lumbar strain and a deep contusion to the hip and suggested I go down the hall and make an appointment for physical therapy. I told him I'd call them from home. Walking to my car was about as far as I was willing to go at that point. Now, is it just me or does anybody else think that going to physical therapy when you're in that much pain and prior to fully diagnosing a problem is sort of a cart before the horse scenario? Physical therapy lead to massive pain! A call to the doctor requesting MRI's and I collapsed into my bed for the next 2 days!

 I'm no wuss when it comes to pain and have a very high threshold for it. I've gone through all kinds of things, including 36 hours of unmedicated labor and just dealt with it. I hate to admit it, but this pain kicked my rear! It hurt so badly it almost made me ill and yes, I even broke down and cried a bit a couple of times.

The diagnosis for my back was what I already knew and expected - crooked pelvis, curved spine, deteriorating discs. The doctor couldn't see anything wrong with my hip, so sent me to the pain management doctor who gave me a belt that sends electrical charges to my muscles to strengthen and stretch them, a brace to wear when I'm doing a lot of walking, to keep my spine straight and a spinal injection to numb the pain and bring down the inflammation in the nerves. I know, that last part probably gave some of you the heebie jeebies, but I'd had injections before and they're really not that bad. I had 4 days until my next scheduled shot when the first one wore off and no Tylenol, aspirin or the like is allowed due to bleeding risks. I was about to chew my own leg off! I seriously considered going to the ER just to get a pain shot, but decided that the $130 copay wasn't worth it. By the time I got to my appointment on Wednesday, I was so ready! The nurse was chuckling - apparently I'm the only person who has looked forward to getting the injections!  In speaking with the doctor and wiggling my leg around a bit, we both came to the decision that this is probably not caused by my back, but rather, my hip. Even though nothing really shows up on the x-rays or MRI, the way the pain runs and the fact that the injections do not take it away 100% gives us cause to believe this. He tried two injections this time, one in the L5 vertebrae and one in the L4, but I'm still having pain in my hip, thigh and shin. At least he gave me some pain medication (he was shocked that I hadn't been on any) so while I'm not a fan of taking such things, I did take one yesterday and one a little while ago. It's taken me hours to write this post as I keep having to change positions and go sit somewhere else. I'll give the doctor a call on Monday to update him and we may do my next injection earlier and do one in my hip. I told him that we have to keep me moving as much as possible from the 21st to the end of the month because, after two years, we're finally headed back to the beach! Yay! I'm actually renting a wheelchair for the trip, just in case. If I can't walk the boardwalk, I'll be rolling on it! It may come in handy for Jim too, as he's still adjusting to walking after his partial foot amputation.

So, without being able to get up and down the stairs very well, I haven't been able to work on projects or take pictures of blog-worthy things. My Etsy listings have all expired, I've lost track of what my Face Book friends are up to and I feel very out of touch. I have read as many blogs as possible and tried to keep in contact by leaving comments. I've missed out on a lot of summer activities, like the Rt 11 Yard sale, which just about killed me, and I haven't been to a thrift store or yard sale in a long time. I do have a lot of ideas for posts and for projects wandering around in my brain and will be making every effort to catch up with those soon. I'm going stir crazy not creating!

Thank you so much for sticking with me, for your kind words of concern while I've been AWOL and, as always, for stopping by! I really appreciate it so much! Take care! Hugs, Leena

1 comment:

  1. Oh Leena, I just said a prayer for you. I'm so sorry you're going through all this, my friend. Taking care of yourself is far more important than blogging. Just keep us posted whenever you can. Sending lots of hugs, for you, and hubby.

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