SNAP!

When I was a kid I can’t remember a time that my mother wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. I don’t recall her ever telling me that I did a great job. She criticized me a lot; told me that I colored outside the lines or one sock was up higher than the other…things like that. I don’t recall if she ever even told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. To be fair, just because I don’t remember doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

But I DO know that as a teenager I DO remember. She never gave me praise for a job well done. She took every opportunity available to make me feel stupid, to make me feel that I wasn’t smart enough to excel in anything. If I showed interest in a certain class or activity, she would do everything she could to let me know that I wouldn’t like it, or that I wouldn’t do well. Many times, when expressing my own opinion she responded with, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Granted, teenagers think they know more than they really do but they should never be stifled the way I was.

Mom always made me feel like I was wrong for being smart, that somehow I wasn’t allowed to be smart. I know now though, that it was HER problem, not mine. She didn’t have but an 8th or 9th-grade education so she was very resentful that I had a better education that she did. Things were different back when she was young, and I was afforded much better opportunities.

To this day, I get angry when people talk to me like I’m stupid. I literally SNAP. Visualize Bruce Banner getting angry. There ya go. I know it’s unintentional most of the time and I choose to let it go, but when it happens over and over again? Enter The Incredible Hulk!

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Throwback Thursday

I was thinking about my mother last night and again this morning. Then I remembered writing about how stubborn she was. In 2011, I wrote about her fatal car accident and it still elicits such sadness, anger, and horror when I think about it. I still wonder what she must have been thinking the moment of the crash.

Click here to read Reliving A Nightmare

Mistrust, Disgust & Humiliation, Part One

If you know me, then you know of my struggles, or some of my struggles at least. My last post was a direct reflection of the disgust and mistrust I have for the medical profession in trying to deal with those struggles. This post, an explanation of what I have been dealing with in the last umpteen months!!

My doctor had been telling me for years that I am too young for knee replacement surgery. Even though I have bone on bone damage. Even though she knows I have bone on bone damage. My pain level has increased significantly over this past 6 years, as you can imagine. It’s not like I can stay off my feet to avoid doing any more damage to my already damaged knees. I have a life to live, chores to do, obligations, as anyone does. I have things I want and need to do just like anyone else.

So, I’ve been religiously taking my pain meds so that I can do what I want and need to do. Damage to my knees progressed, pain level increased and so my activity level has decreased. The pain is sometimes unbearable. I am unable to exercise the way I need to exercise to lose weight or even maintain a steady weight. I have struggled with my weight for many years; since my thyroid went wacky back when my first child was born. It took 5 years after that to even get a diagnosis – after I was already 100 lbs over weight!

I’ve tried many diets – low calorie, low fat, low carb, high protein, cabbage soup diet, mediterranean diet, and more – over the years. I have lost a few pounds here and there but nothing of enough significance to keep stressing myself over a diet. Not enough weight lost on any one diet to warrant continuing to deprive myself of everything that tastes good! But I digress. I do that often. More in another post later about dieting.

In February, I was in to see my doc for my routine annual exam. I had asked her about trying a new pain medication because my pain was getting worse. She wouldn’t give me anything else. She said there’s nothing else I can take. WHAT? Give me a break! There are plenty of medications for OA pain relief out there! I think she thought I wanted narcotics. Nope. I just want quality of life.

So, now things get really intense and I get to where all I see is RED. She asked me if I had considered knee replacement surgery. I lost it! I raised my voice and reminded her that she’s the one who’s been telling me for years that I’m too young for knee replacement surgery! She said, “Yes, but there are other treatments and they will do knee replacement depending on severity……” Yadda, yadda, yadda. I don’t remember anything else she said because I was so angry and in total disbelief! I told her I had considered a pain clinic nearby that specializes in knee treatments so people can avoid surgery. She said she had heard many people having good results there.

I had every intention of checking out that pain clinic personally, but I ended up back in the doc’s office with a UTI just a couple weeks later. I asked her then for a referral to see about knee replacement surgery. She said, “You’re too young for knee replacement surgery.” Red! I said, “I wish you’d make up your damn mind! Just 2 weeks ago you asked me if I had considered it!!” I wanted to kick her in the face! I was in the perfect position to do so, up on that exam table!! It would have hurt like hell with my knees as bad as they are, but I would have received great satisfaction in doing so. She tells me that there’s a process; first I will have to have x rays and discuss options with a specialist. She must think I’m stupid. I know I’m not going to make an appointment with a specialist and then be scheduled for surgery that very same day! I know there’s a process. So, I said, “I realize that, I’m not stupid. If you would just set me up with the specialist I will take it from there.” She did. Appointment made. This was just the beginning of another experience I won’t soon forget.

To be continued…….

A Helping of Thanks with Sarcasm on the Side

I would like to thank the medical profession for not helping me in the last 10 years. I don’t know how I could possibly live my life without pain.

A special thanks to my doctor, who has been telling me for years that I am too young for knee replacement surgery. This allowed the bone damage to worsen and the pain to increase, rendering me unable to work and to become more sedentary every year. I love the ‘fat me’ that I have become due to decreased activity.

I can’t forget to thank the referral doctor for the humiliation, which is good for the soul I’ve heard. Thanks for pointing out that I am fat. I would have never known that without your ‘help.’ I really appreciate the ‘fat shaming’ because without it I would have felt good about myself that day. Oh, and please pass more thanks on to my doctor because NOW I know that 50 lbs. ago I could have had knee replacement surgery regardless of my age. I really am happy that I’ve suffered all these years so you both could make sure your bedside manners, understanding, and compassion were top notch.

Special thanks to my best friend, fondly named Michael Cane, who has been faithfully by my side for the last 4 years. Without Michael, I would have fallen more than the 4 times I did. The embarrassment of those 4 times was more than enough times to make me feel hopeless.

Of course, I can’t forget Peter Pottywho has been my constant companion during the night. It’s nice when I don’t have to walk to the bathroom at 1am, 3am, and 5am when I have to pee.

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In all seriousness, I am thankful to wake up every morning, albeit with pain. I am thankful for a lot of things but it sure as hell isn’t the medical care I have received in the past 10 years!!! It’s no wonder people don’t go to the doctor. It’s no wonder they don’t trust doctors! I’m in that very same line now.

Some Will Never Understand….

Something has been on my mind lately. (Well, something is always on my mind! I can’t help that.) I’ve been mulling this certain thing around in my head for nearly a week now. I have to write about it to get it out of my brain!!

A friend of mine, read something I had posted on Facebook about chronic pain issues. She messaged me about it. She said she had read several things I had posted about chronic pain and chronic illnesses, and even some personal things about my own situation. She said she couldn’t help but notice how focused I was on my pain. Immediately, I felt defensive.

HER: Why are you always focused on your pain?

ME: Because my pain is a huge part of my life. Everything I do or don’t do is based on my pain level.

HER: If you just forget about it you’d be happier.

ME: How do you know I’m not happy?

HER: Because you always seem to complaining about your pain.

ME: You ain’t even heard complaining yet!! I save that for my therapist.

HER: You see a therapist and you still focus on your pain?

ME: Yes, I see a therapist. She has been very helpful in teaching me how to deal with my pain and other issues.

HER: What other issues?

ME: That’s none of your business.

HER: Ok. I still think if you’d just stop focusing on your pain, you could live a better life.

ME: You have no idea, and you never will until you are faced with a chronic illness, how hard it is to even get out of bed on some days. You will never understand that just taking a shower sometimes takes all the energy you have for that day. You don’t realize how much time it takes to do any given task because of your pain. You have no clue how depressing it is to not be able to just go and do the things you have always enjoyed, such as hiking, site-seeing, playing at the park or going to the zoo with the kids/grand kids, making bath products, fishing, shopping for hours on end at the Mall, planting a garden every Spring, rearranging the furniture, volunteering, washing the car, holiday celebrations, birthdays, cooking, going to the movies…. You don’t have a clue! When you have a chronic illness, your entire life changes! Everything is different. You approach things differently. You do everything differently. I hope to God, you never have to know what it’s like to have chronic pain!

HER: Isn’t it just arthritis?

ME: (Seriously wanting to punch her in the face!) It’s not JUST arthritis! It’s arthritis in my entire lower body, from my hips all the way down to the joints in my toes. It’s a degenerative disk in my spine and arthritis working it’s way up. It’s arthritis in my fingers, that gets bad when it’s extremely cold and even worse if I don’t crochet every day. It’s arthritis, that has resulted in knee bone damage with severe pain! I walk with a cane because sometimes I am very unsteady on my feet. I can’t sit, stand, or walk for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. I am in pain 24/7. I get NO relief! I don’t even sleep well due to the pain!!

I hit send on the messenger….but I wasn’t done. I had to stop this conversation.

ME: Don’t say anything. You are seriously coming close to ending this friendship. I’m done with this conversation.

That was the end of it…. I haven’t heard squat from her since. That’s ok because I don’t need the drama. I have enough to deal with. 

Honestly, if you don’t have a chronic illness, then you will never understand completely. You can try. You can also try to be more understanding of those who DO have a chronic illness. They really could use your support.

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