Numbness

It began the Monday before Christmas. I woke up and my feet and ankles were swollen. I figured my sodium intake had been too high lately, because it has happened before, and decided to cut back on the sodium and drink more water than normal. It helped a little but 2 days later, the swelling hadn’t gone down much more and I started to feel some numbness in my ankles. There was no way I could get in to see my NP before Christmas so I waited.

After another day, the numbness had worked its way up my left leg, and the next day (Christmas Day) I was feeling numbness in my right leg, although not as bad. My legs were weaker than normal and I was sleepy as hell for the last couple of days. I knew what I was facing. There’s no way I was going to go to the ER on a major holiday, so I waited again. I have to tell you, I WAS WORRIED.

On Sunday, I did an online symptom checker. I was a CNA/CMT for several years so I knew what it would say: blood clots/DVT, PAD, among a few other things. That’s exactly what the checker told me, plus “GO TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.”

I did. It’s not something I was looking forward to: a possible hospital stay with tons of tests, not to mention Covid-19 and a long ass wait with a bunch of dumb ass people who weren’t wearing masks. I was pleasantly surprised. There were no others in the waiting room when we arrived. (Dad insisted he go with me. He absolutely refused to stay home. Everyone was wearing a mask!) I was checked in and called back in less than 10 minutes. The doctor on call came in relatively quickly and ordered 60mg IV Lasix to get the swelling down. A technician came in and did an ultrasound on both of my legs. Blood work followed.

While we waited, I peed 6 times; the effects of the Lasix. I was getting impatient, although we hadn’t really been there for too long. I think we were there for 3 hours, give or take a few minutes. After a while the doctor came in and told me my blood work looked good, and there were no blood clots, signs of DVT, and I had blood flow to my extremities, indicating no PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease) so that was a major relief! Oh, you just don’t know the relief I felt! He gave me a script for 20mg Lasix, orders to check in with my NP for a follow-up, and he sent me on my way.

Now 2 days later, my legs aren’t as weak as they were but I still have a little swelling and numbness which comes and goes. I couldn’t get an appointment with my NP until Monday due to the New Year’s holiday, but I will get in. She will most likely raise my Lasix dosage but we’ll see.

I’m worried because I can’t even tell you how many times my concerns and health issues have been swept under the rug over the years. Not by the NP I am currently seeing but by actual doctors/specialists! I have pretty much given up trying to find a doctor who gives a shit. The ONE doctor who actually tried to help me, got sick of the bureaucratic bullshit she had to endure at that particular clinic, and she left for a better job. Can’t say that I blame her.

Anyway, I’m doing alright. Taking it day by day; doing what I can, resting often, watching my sodium, drinking more water, and taking that little pill that makes me pee my brains out all day long!

Thoughts & Revelations

Today is the 67th day Dad and I have stayed home. Other than hitting the liquor store, the bank, and the pharmacy drive-thru windows, that is. I’ve had many thoughts over the past couple of months and I thought maybe I should put them in writing. It’s been difficult to get back to writing in my blog and it has taken me 3 weeks to finish this post. There have been days of anger, days of sadness, and days where I have been completely drained and discouraged, but I have finally completed the task! I just hope it’s coherent. Hahaha.

Just to be clear, these are MY thoughts and MY opinions and no one else’s. If you don’t agree then fine, don’t agree. Just move on…

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1. We are a nation of spoiled brats. That’s right, I said it. People are up in arms about being asked to stay home, and now, after states opening up again people are being absolutely hateful for being required to wear a mask before entering an establishment. That proves nothing except how spoiled they are. The me, me, me mentality rears its ugly head. Wearing a mask or staying home to save lives or at least to slow the advancement of a deadly virus is just an inconvenience! Nothing more. AN INCONVENIENCE, TEMPORARY. I am sickened by the headlines of violence taking place because of a mere inconvenience. And don’t give me your cockamamy bullshit about your rights being violated. It’s your right to go out and contract COVID-19 but it’s not your right to put others in danger in any way, shape, or form. It won’t kill you to wear a mask because you may be asymptomatic and not know it, therefore spreading the virus.

2. I have learned that I don’t need as much as I thought I did. In order to avoid stores, I managed to buy most things online and if I couldn’t find a certain item, then I’d just go without. Even toilet paper. Yep. Even toilet paper. I purchased UNpaper toilet paper and UNpaper paper towels from an Etsy shop. UNpaper products are made from cloth, in case you’ve not heard of this before. Use, wash, reuse. Simple as that. No stress about finding paper products online or in the stores.

3. I’ve learned that I’m perfectly fine with fewer friends. I’ve recently cut ties with people I’ve known much of my life because I’ve had it with their attitudes. I can handle differences of opinions. I don’t mind a discussion over different views, however, when I state my opinion on a subject and someone decides that I must not know “x, y, or z” and they make it a point to say “you may not know this but…” or “but what you don’t understand is…” it really pisses me the fuck off. I mean, just because my opinion is different does NOT mean that I don’t know something, or that I don’t have all the facts! Of course, I don’t know everything and I may not have all the facts, but just because my opinion is different than someone else’s doesn’t mean that a person (who claimed to be a friend) has the right to invalidate my opinion by assuming that I mustn’t know “x, y, or z.” I don’t have time for such nonsense.

4. Regarding doing research… It cracks me up when people read an article put out by the CDC and then start telling people to do their own research. Wtf is up with that?  Do they really think that ANY research that I (or they) do can beat the research put forth by the CDC? By scientists? Ridiculous! The CDC has been in existence for nearly 75 years and its sole purpose has been to research communicable diseases and protect public health. I think they know a little more than some idiot who spent 2 hours watching YouTube videos!

5. I’ve seen some very inspirational stories of people lending a helping hand; donations, delivering groceries to the elderly, kids using their own saved money to purchase items for the needy, people handing out toilet paper from the trunk of their vehicles, and the list goes on. Why can’t everyone be so selfless? Instead, they purchase items that they may already have at home, leaving shelves empty and someone else to go without. Shameful.

6. Over the years you’ve heard people complain about store clerks and fast-food employees wanting higher wages; living wages. And during the stay-at-home time those essential workers have put themselves and their families’ lives at risk so we could have the groceries, paper products, etc., that we need. Don’t you think they would have liked to stay home to prevent illness? They weren’t afforded that luxury if they wanted to keep their jobs. Don’t you think they would have liked to protect their families? So, let’s just give them a higher damn wage because they deserve it!

7. That brings me to the fact that nurses, doctors, CNAs, cleaning crew, lab personnel, technicians, EMTs, police, firemen, etc., have all put their lives on hold and in danger to take care of us. They have families, too. Many of them stayed away from their families and probably still are staying away, so as not to expose their spouses and children to COVID-19. I am very much in awe of each and every one of them because quite honestly, I’m not sure that I would have been that selfless. They are the heroes. We all owe them a huge THANK YOU.

8. Most of us like to think that we are self-sufficient and for many things we are. But during a pandemic like the one we are experiencing, we are realizing how much we really do depend on others. It’s hard handling things alone. We need each other. We are in this together.

9. I can’t even begin to imagine how women and children in abusive relationships have felt being locked down with their abusers. Kids, whose only respite was to go to school, who have been suddenly stuck at home, are suffering at the hands of some abusive narcissist.

10. I have anxiety and depression to deal with but I can’t imagine having those issues or worse with no one to lean on. Can you imagine living alone and being quarantined with no one for support? Mental Health is always very important but during this time it is especially important so if you know someone who has issues, please reach out to them. You could be their only lifeline.

11. This pandemic is enough to cause panic, anxiety, depression, etc. People panic when they feel they no longer have control of their own lives. This is why hoarding was so out of control, and still may be in some places. Anxieties build up, depression swallows. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be helpful.

12. Teachers and schools have stepped up during this time and delivered food to their students, provided lessons online, and I’ll bet you’ve seen stories of teachers going the extra mile to help their students with their studies while stuck at home. They’re so amazing!

13. And one final thought: Those who are spreading conspiracy theories need to STOP! We have enough on our plates already. Stop making things worse!

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I’m not sure that Dad and I will feel safe to go out for a few more months, but who knows. Maybe that second wave won’t happen. Maybe things will go back to a somewhat normal way of life. We can only hope…

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Sunday Morning / Day 35

It seems like I’ve been in this house for 135 days, not 35. The days are long and boring. They have been boring prior to this pandemic, but at least then I looked forward to going out on occasion. Right now, I don’t even dare go to the grocery store for fear of bringing the virus home to Dad. Besides, the way they have the stores set up right now, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Only allowing so many people in the store at once means that I would have to wait in line and I doubt my legs would let me get any further. Inside the store, IF I were able to make it that far, some stores have one-way aisles and most have 6-foot markers. I don’t have time to stand there waiting for the person in front of me to move another 6 feet. I mean, I have all the time in the world BUT with my pain level and mobility issues, I have to get in and get out quickly, which would be next to impossible right now.

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I’m ordering most things online, but thankfully, we don’t need a lot because we had our freezers and cabinets full (as we always do) before the stay at home orders. We’ve run a bit low on meat, but we have some shelf-stable meals to help. I’ve also ordered a few things from Schwan’s so that will help with the meat situation, as well. My son is going to the store for me; just a few staples like bread, butter, potatoes, bottled water. I will need to order more canned cat food soon as The Pack has informed me that we only have 22 cans left. Hahaha!

I think Dad is a bit more stir crazy than I am. He wants to go out and have lunch but I’ve told him the only way we will do that is if we fetch food via curbside or use the drive-up window. Unfortunately, we live too far away to take advantage of delivery services. I was informed that prices have been jacked up sky-high by some places; like McD’s, 3 simple meals for $50. Ridiculous and this ol’ broad would have to be starving to eat at McD’s in the first place let alone at that price!!

I’m trying not to be negative at this point but I really don’t see things ending well for this country. We need competent leadership to unite us during this most challenging time. I’ll stop there before I say what I really think about our current leadership or lack thereof.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I hope you all are staying safe and making the most of your situation. That’s about all we can do right now. I am asking one favor of you all. If you read this, please comment where you’re from and how you’re doing. What are you doing at home to pass the time? I’d really love to hear!!

I just can’t seem to focus on my blog these days but I will try to write more in the coming days. until then, take care of yourselves, my friends!

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

 

Yes, I Have Changed

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Chronic pain and I have been well acquainted for about a decade now. I’m not happy with that at all. I’d like to kick its sorry ass to the curb.

I try my damnedest to put on a brave face, to smile around others; to not allow pain to ruin my life but I’ve been unsuccessful. Sure, in the beginning, it was easy. In the beginning, the pain wasn’t constant and didn’t reverberate throughout my entire body.

I’m writing this not for sympathy but for understanding. So many people don’t understand what it’s like to live with constant debilitating pain. They don’t know what it’s like to not be able to do the simplest of tasks; the tasks you once did when you were younger or before the pain took over your body. They have no idea how difficult life is for a person with chronic pain.

I’m not lazy. I’m in too much pain to do chores like you. I’m not unsociable. I just can’t put on a brave face or a smile and enjoy someone’s company most days. It’s not that I don’t want to see my friends or family, I’m just in too much pain. Pain is exhausting! I do care, more than you will ever know but most days, I get out of bed and do only what I MUST do, like shower, do a load of laundry, or fix something to eat. I only leave the house to do what MUST be done like pick up groceries, go to the doctor or some other appointment. Once a week Dad likes to go out and eat. I go with him because it’s the only thing HE does or WANTS to do these days. He’s not going to be around forever. He’s going to be 83 years old in February. I want him to do the things he likes to do, even if it kills me.

I just can’t be the person I used to be. Pain has changed me. Chronic pain affects your mental health, changes your moods, behaviors, the way you interact with people, and even your personality. People try to help with their sure-fire remedies but they don’t understand. They think you’re not trying to get better or not doing anything to help yourself. You stop socializing. Family retreats because they can’t help you or don’t know what to say. You become more and more isolated, from friends, loved ones…and LIFE. You’re now saddled with not just pain, but loneliness and sadness. You feel unnecessary. Your life is not what you envisioned it to be. You can’t really see a future for yourself.

I hope that if you know someone who suffers from a chronic illness, that you might be a little more understanding of their situation. Offer to help with chores. Let them know they’re necessary and important to you. Understand that they do care about YOU. Make them laugh with a funny story. Help them feel that they matter. Help them to feel less isolated and lonely.

As I mentioned before, I’m not writing this for sympathy. Writing helps me – like meditation might help someone else. I write to convey a message, or just to get things off my chest. Sometimes, I can connect with others in similar situations and maybe offer moral support. I’m thankful for all those people who help or have helped me in the past, be it moral support or something else.

Fitbit, Go Home! You’re Drunk!

I’m a novice when it comes to many new-fangled gadgets like Amazon’s Echo but I’ve caught on pretty quick. Alexa has been very helpful to me. Another gadget that I’m not too familiar with is the Fitbit Fitness Tracker. It has my brain doing summersaults.

For example, I thought I had it set up correctly and one day it logged that I had gone swimming for 30 minutes. Um. What? I think I would know if I was swimming. I was NOT. So, I removed swimming and several other activities from the list of automatically detected actions. I can only do two of the listed activities, and not very well mind you; walking and my air walker, which is an elliptical of sorts. Now it’s not detecting either of those two things so if I’m doing one I have to manually clock it.

Yesterday morning, it counted 377 steps from the time I got out of bed, went to the kitchen for coffee, and back to my room to the computer. It’s only 36 steps round trip. Huh? I thought, maybe I had my stride set wrong so I refigured. Nope. Still the same. Measured and refigured again. Same.

I wear the Fitbit on my non-dominant hand. I understand it won’t count steps if my arm is not at my side. Sometimes I’m hanging onto something as I walk; my cane in my right hand and holding onto the counter or chair, etc., as I walk by with my left. I’ve been trying to keep my left arm at my side, but sometimes I’m just not that stable. I’ve counted the steps I take, arm at side, checked my Fitbit’s count and have had it be only one step off and other times, it can register 300 steps when I just walked to the kitchen. Trust me, my house is not that big.

I haven’t got it completely figured out yet but one good thing Fitbit does is to tell me about my sleep patterns. Boy, is my sleep WACK! I’m awake so many times during the night and sleep in such short spurts that I’m surprised I can even function! But I’m not even sure how accurate that data is because it doesn’t even register my naps. That’s when I sleep the best.

Fitbit, I WILL figure you out, you pesky little ticker. Then you will be putty in my hand!