Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time flies...

when you aren't having fun.

It is has been a long time since I have written anything.

Since I have posted:
I had a cast on my right arm for 6 months.
I had another surgery on my back.
A convicted rapist/felon came into my house.
Waited for a trial to begin for said convicted rapist, February 22nd can't come quickly enough.
Workers Compensation hasn't paid for anything since April 2010.
Visited Washington D.C.
Planned a trip to visit Israel and Jordan in March.
My apartment has been re-done (no more convicted rapist bad vibes).

Another arm surgery will happen soon. It feels like I just finished my penance of being in a cast for 9 months of 2010, I am not ready to be back in one once again. At times I feel like Bill Murrary in the movie Groundhog Day. My days/weeks/months all feel like they are on repeat. I live these days over and over and over.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Surgery # 16

WARNING: This blog contains pictures of life right after my operation. If you are easily grossed out or squeamish you might want to skip this blog.

April 27th came and went. Everything went well during surgery #16. I forgot how bad fusions hurt. I am still swollen, bruised, and in a ton of pain. Since I am typing with one hand and in a tremendous amount of pain, I decided to post pictures from the last 11 days.

Fusion of index and long finger CMC joints

Swollen and purple

Sporting the sweet fanny pack that was holding my lidocaine pump

Monday I noticed that I had extreme swelling in my legs and feet

A quick trip to the ER to make sure there were no clots in my legs and chest. Everything was fine, just a bad case of kankles.

Fraken-Arm. Every time they take the post surgery wrap off I always am in shock.

Fake it till you make it.

I have been well taken care of by my parents and friends. I am so fortunate and blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Hope I did not make anyone throw up or pass out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My fiction beats the hell out of my truth...

These are the times that I feel my back is against the wall. With my back against the wall, a hand is around my throat and the grasp is moving upwards, and I am doing everything I can to keep my toes on the floor so I can remain breathing. The pre-surgery anxiety is hitting me like a ton of bricks; my heart feels like it is constantly fluttering, I am constantly trying to regulate my breathing, and I am fighting throughout the day to not cry. On the 27th of this month I am going in for surgery #16 on my right wrist (this also is surgery #3 in a 10-month period). I am more anxious of this surgery because of all of the complications that I experienced during my last surgery in September. During that surgery I was given too much pain medicine that I stopped breathing, then was given too little anesthesia and was not “asleep” when the surgeon make the incision on my back, my corneas were scratched during the procedure, and my spinal cord was nicked which gave me a headache every time I stood up for 3 months. With every surgery you acknowledge there can be complications, but after 14 surgeries of everything going well I was dumbfounded after my surgery in September. I feel with each surgery I have, I take a step closer to the risk/complication category. It can happen, it did happen, would it happen again? When is my luck going to run out? If I do have complications again, how serious are they going to be and how will they effect my life? So besides the usual anxiety, a million “what ifs?” are bouncing around in my brain and I am plagued with more worry then I have ever experienced before. I am finding it hard to quell my mind and reassure myself that “everything will be ok.” I try to have faith, but my faith wavers on a daily basis (I do wish I had more of it). I feel alone right now. I know of no one who has gone through what I have been through or any situation that is kind of like my own. If I try to talk to someone about what I am thinking or how I am feeling I get the standard head bobbing/raised eyebrows/forced smile with the responses “everything will be fine” or “you have been through so many surgeries, don't worry.” I know their responses are of reassurance or because it is the standard thing to say to someone, but it makes me want to scream and yell "SHUT UP!" Instead of all the positive/standard responses I would love someone to say “your situation is shitty and fucked up.” I know to a normal person that would be harsh, but a statement like that actually acknowledges what I have been through/am going through and how I feel at this very moment. Amongst the anxiety, the only positive that I can see now is the possibility of the scope finding out why my thumb is hurting so much and the fusion can possibly lessen some of the pain that I am experiencing. I know this blog contradicts what I have said in past blogs. Yes, I know “everything happens for a reason” and “where I am is exactly where I am suppose to be,” but as of right now those thoughts are on “vacation” until the 28th (the day after surgery).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I drank to drown my pain....

Frida Kahlo once said, “I drank to down my pain, but the damned pain learned how to swim. Now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good behavior.”

I was a social drinker since I turned 18 and left for college. I socially drank on the weekends, never to the point where I would consider it to be a problem. About 3 years into my injury, drinking became my primary pain reliever. I was only prescribed 40 pain pills a month. For people who are not dealing with a significant injury and chronic pain, those 40 pills would be substantial. 40 pain pills a month for me meant there would be days I would not be able to take pain medicine. With chronic pain, I am in pain 24 hours a day, even in my sleep I dream about pain. Since the pills were pretty average in strength, I had to take 2 pills to lessen the pain an insignificant amount (but it was something). If I took 2 pain pills, then I would only have enough for 20 days. Most days I needed 2 pills in the morning and 2 at night, so that means I had enough medicine for 10 days. I told the doctor about my situation and he said he was “giving me what he could.” I knew of people with back pain or menstrual pain that were getting 120 pain pills a month. My wrist was fused, titanium holding fragments of bones in between my wrist joints, and I was in constant pain and I only could get 40 a month! Drinking was the only option I could think of. I would do what I had to do during the day so I could start drinking. The quicker I could drink, the quicker my pain would lessen. Obviously this is not the safest way to relieve pain. The pain pills had Tylenol in them; Tylenol and alcohol are not good for the liver and used together are very damaging to the liver.

I would go to the bar during the day and sit among the Vietnam veterans who were drowning their pain of PTSD and war wounds. As they were talking about the battles they survived in Vietnam and the metal and bullets in their body, I would think about my “war wounds.” We, the veterans and I, were trying to drown the pain of trauma and the relief we felt was only temporary. I eventually stopped going to the bar because I did not want to socialize, I was there for relief. As the pain got more severe over the years, my drinking increased. I knew I had a problem in the Fall of 2008, I asked a friend for a Big Book. At the time I asked for the book, I wanted information and yet had no plans to stop. I fit all of the descriptions in the book, yet I was left with a hard decision. Knowing I had a problem, but knowing if I stopped drinking I would be left without the “tool” I used to lessen my pain and make it though the day. I wish I realized how detrimental my choice of pain relief was going to be. After a really bad night of drinking and having no recollection of 72 hours of my life, I knew that I needed help. I got that help.

I am now sober. Along with my wrist doctor, I am also seeing a wonderful pain management doctor that put me on a stronger amount of pain medicine that actually helps with my pain. I had a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted in July and this device sends stimulation to my wrist. The stimulator helps with pain and also changes the brains perception of pain too. This has helped with my pain a lot. I am still in pain, but I do not have that hopeless all consuming pain feeling. I love Frida’s quote, I feel that it perfectly describes my life (past and present). I tried to drown the pain, physical and mental, yet when I would sober up the pain was still there. Sobriety has changed my life; it also has saved my life too. I am dealing with my pain, instead of trying to stifle it. Some days my pain is unbearable, but in my head I know like all things, it will pass.I am dealing with the fears that come with the pain and the uncertain future in regards to my wrist, my ability to work, etc. I am dealing with life as it comes my way. But when it comes down to it, I don’t miss being numb, not even a little bit.

Photo Credit: Darkman Photography.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Still broken...

My best friend Rachel asked me out to lunch on Friday.
She sprained her ankle playing soccer.
We were quite the spectacle at the mall.
The picture cracks me up!

My brain is turning to mush.
My fracture is still pretty bad.
3 more weeks of no walking and a new cast.
I am writing, but then I look at it and it just seems like babble.
Hopefully I will have something to post by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Life as of now.

Here is what life looks like from eyes right now.
My friends and family have taken really good care of me this past week.
I have been writing, but I don't feel like editing.
I am almost done with my one person pity party.
So bare with me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gimp Life

As I finished writing my post on Wednesday (February 12th) there was a sense of calmness that came over me. Writing about what has happened to me over the last nine and a half years and the feelings that I have experienced has given me a bit of peace. The calmness I felt on Wednesday was short lived. I got up from my kitchen table and took three steps, and on the third step I heard/felt a crack. Immediately I thought “oh shit, I just broke my foot.” I tried to walk it off and was able to do so until my adrenaline stopped. I looked down to see a large bulge protruding from my foot. As I was sitting in the ER I kept thinking about how I just wrote “everything happens for a reason” and then this happens. I then thought about the chain of events that started Monday night. I was supposed to fly to Baltimore on Tuesday, but on Monday night I got a call from the airline that the flight was canceled and postponed till Thursday because of weather. Wednesday morning I was watching the weather knowing that I probably was not going to fly out on Thursday so I was going to flip my trip around and start with my ending city first, Boston, and then go to Baltimore on the 19th. After finding flights and finishing up my blog post, I fractured my foot and could not go on my trip even if the weather cleared up. So here I am typing with a fractured 5th metatarsal and a severe ankle injury. I am in a beautiful black cast up to my knee and not able to walk for the next three weeks. In three weeks I am scheduled for a cast change where I might get another cast or granted a beautiful moon boot. There is a possibility that if I am not healing correctly I might need surgery to fix the fracture, I will know more in three weeks. I am in possession of crutches and a grandma walker, but both of these helpful aides aren’t so helpful when you cannot put pressure on a fused wrist. So I have been hopping around my house on one foot hoping that I do not fall and break something else. Now I on looking at renting one of these fine pieces of gimp equipment Oh life, you keep me on my toes. Life happens. Life happens beyond our control. I have three weeks of nothing to do and I could sit here and try to figure out why things happened this week or nine and a half years ago, but I am not. Life is better and more exciting when it is not planned out. Though I would be content without having a fractured foot and would be extremely happy if I was in the company of my friends on the other coast.