Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More hard stuff

Right now, I am feeling incredibly well.

Last night, I took some new medication and I slept wonderfully...never woke up with pain, even in the morning. It's something I am just not used to.

We drove to our shopping town, after first stopping to pick up another prescription for Percocet for me at my local doctor's office. I did not wear the CTO vest. I wore my old Aspen collar, with an iced gel pak under it in the occipital area. I also put another iced one in the cooler in the back of the truck. I wanted to feel lighter, I guess, than I do wearing the CTO. I also feel so weak in the arms, and taking the CTO on and off, it gets old.

Yet, I could tell that I was experiencing a lot more movement in the pickup as we drove down the hill to follow the Columbia River and head west. More than I feel while braced in the CTO. But I leaned back against two mittens I'd found behind the seat and fell asleep listening to Rush Limbaugh.

In town, we had a few stops besides the pharmacy, but getting in and out, it was wearing and I felt so sick to my stomach. Was this due to the rocking in the truck, bones pressing brainstem tissue inside my head? We stopped to eat and I ate more than I wanted to, but it seemed to be what my body wanted to settle my stomach.

Heading home after grocery shopping, I had put the cooler ice gel pak under my Aspen Collar, and I looked up at the Columbia Hills, very large grassy mountains with pockets of pines. I thought of lying in a grove of pines on a bed of pine-needles and never waking up, and I loved the thought.

We got home, I opened the gate at the bottom of our driveway and then could barely make it up the slight hill to the house. Inside, I quickly set up my "over the door" traction unit, and sat in it for 15 minutes at 8 lbs. While the weight of the water was lifting the weight of my skull from my spine, I never let on to my husband how badly I felt. He asked if I was okay and I answered yes.

But I was bawling in the traction unit. Crying for how badly I felt all over and just what I felt was the image of me in this traction unit, and noone knows.

Imagine waking up every day for almost five years and having the flu: the weakness, the soreness, the achiness. Add into that, you galfriends, the worse period you've had, the deep nerve pain deep in your hips and legs and waist. That's what I've had...and more. And it's wearing me out.

After slipping out of the unit, I laid down on the bed, thinking I'd sleep. The dogs jumped up to join me, but sleep was far from possible. I thought again of a bed of pine needles and never having to leave them. I cried and blew my nose and cried again. And I begged God to take me.

I can't remember having done this ever before, but I begged for Him to take me home. I could finally see good in my being gone, not only an end to the suffering, but my dogs could have someone healthy to walk them; my husband could find someone healthier and not have to worry about me (and I wasn't thinking these things in a martyr sense, more in a pragmatic way that was perfectly plausible and sensible to me); my son is married and will be well cared-for and would no longer have to think of me getting worse.

Then I started to feel bad enough that the thought of the Invasive Cervical Traction done at TCI sounded good to me. I could handle it. Bring it on. The idea of surgery and rods in my head and a halo for months, it all sounded good. If God didn't want to take me, then please let me proceed with the surgery. I started to think of emailing Dr. B tomorrow and asking him to set me up a surgical date, good bones or not. I'm there. I can't take this anymore. Let me die in NY on the operating table or whatever, it doesn't matter. It all sounds better than this, the way I feel right now.

I laid on my side and my little hound dog laid his long, Dachshund body right along my spine, the heat of his body warming my back right where I needed it. Perhaps the effects of the traction began to work, I don't know. I could not sleep, and so I got up, stuck a portable fan right up against my face to bring air to my lungs, and sat at the computer doing the easiest level of solitaire, intentionally diverting myself. My suffering continued for another hour or two, but eventually, everything sort of leveled off. I sat in my recliner in front of our electric fireplace, bundled up in a comfort blanket, looked at the trees outside the window and started feeling much, much better.

Thank you, dear Jesus. Thank you for the good moments, for the times of feeling almost normal. Thanks that you do not always answer our prayers.

I am thinking I will continue watching this, and if I keep on having such bad episodes, I will go ahead and ask Dr. B about proceeding with surgery.

I also had a great idea, I think, in the midst of my suffering. I think I will ask my local nurse if there is a nurse here locally, connected to a home nursing program or hospice program, who perhaps could go with me to NY for my surgery and back. I think this is a great idea, she can get to know me a bit on our trip, and she can watch over me in the hotel room when we must hole up for a few days post discharge. She can watch over all my medications in the hospital and really be there for ME. IF I can get work comp to pay for such a thing. This is something I think would really work.

It's funny the progression one goes through. When I first moved here, I dreaded the thought of "only" being a gardener (when my lifelong calling had been horse training). As time went along, I learned to settle for gardening, and learned to love it and allow it to be enough.

Then, more recently, I have not been able to garden. So, I hope for feeling well and yet to be able to keep up my house and enjoy the reward in that.

Now, I am praying for and will settle for just feeling okay HOLDING STILL. Either in bed or in a chair, or even in my CTO. Just to feel okay and not suffer while BEING, I'll settle for that, you can be certain.

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