Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An incredible day outside. We've had a lot of rain, some snow, mucho clouds and occasional wind. But today.... ah!! Cool, but very sunny and azure skies.

I know it's cool because when I've opened the door to let the dogs out, the unexpected chill has hit my face. I look at the outside thermometer and it reads 40 degrees at the warmest part of the day. But...the blue skies and golden sun is definitely alluring.

However, I couldn't go out today. Too weak. And too much pain in spite of the oxycodone I keep popping.

I guess I raised too much heck yesterday and today, have to pay the price. I dared to ride my little Wrangler scooter over 100 ft. of bumpy yard to reach the smooth, paved driveway of my next door neighbor, Esther. And I dared to sit there for 3.5 hours with my neck brace off, talking wildly and with great abandon (insert a bit of sarcasm here) with my 87 year old, dear friend.

I normally would not stay so long, I know an hour is my limit, but I agreed to do a story on Esther. I recently succumbed to a request that has been repeated often over the last five years, and finally, I agreed to do it. Not because I was made to feel guilty or bound by some duty to do it. But because writing it would be a wonderful way to bless the requester (the editor of the magazine) AND the subject of the tale.

I haven't written a story for publication for several years, probably those same five years that I mentioned before.

What a time we had, Esther and I! Our visit and my purpose allowed me to gracefully ask nosy questions in order to fill in all the gaps of this dear lady's life. At least, the gaps in MY knowledge of her life. Esther is simply incredible, a survivor and Western pioneer who deserves an entire book devoted to her story.

I know that talking for very long is going to cause my skull base to hurt. But sometimes, it's hard not to talk when the reward is a beguiling tale of livestock, long winters, trailing herds and even going out with the "wagon." (ie the chuckwagon used in trail drives way back when)

I know that riding the Wrangler over even the most gentle of dirt trail is going to also aggravate the skull base area, particularly behind my left ear. And not only is the pain amped up, but the aggravation of spinal cord and nerves makes me incredibly weak. I went back to bed after getting up for an hour this morning and slept til 11:30 am. Then I crawled out of bed and have not gone back to bed for the rest of the day. At least, not yet.

I know when I can't go out and enjoy the fallen leaves, the crisp, Fall air, the birds on wing, the sounds of neighbors' dogs barking, the whisper of a breeze in the Ponderosa treetops. My body restricts me as strongly and firmly as a barred door.

It must sound like the proverbial broken record when I write that I need to pursue surgery. The loyal reader must think: "What is stopping you? Why haven't you done that yet?"

But, setting up an appointment is just more cognitive work that comes so hard for me. I've finished the letter to the surgeon. It is basically a cut-and-dried listing of the injury and doctors I've seen and diagnoses I've been given. A cold timeline. So much "flesh and blood" is missing from the sterile words. However, this surgeon seems to be a caring sort. He writes of his devotion to his patients and his commitment to help them and to spend all the time necessary with them. A rare breed to me! I had one neurosurgeon like that...once. But he gave up on me and that is a whole, "in the past" story. A whole 'nother story.

I need to copy the CDs I have of the imaging I had done in 2009. And just that process looms large for my brain. You all know how that is, how you put things off that seem too big to complete sometimes. And after copying the CDs, I need to check them to be sure they copied correctly. I've finished the cover letter to the surgeon, so for that, I am grateful. I want to write a list of my symptoms, and a list of things I've been told I have. Like arachnoiditis and osteopenia and tethered cord and such.

Now that I've written here, perhaps I'll make a stab at copying a CD. Or at least, FINDING them and then laying them out on the desk above the computer. Or...maybe not.

Did I finish the interview with Esther yesterday? No, I did not. This is to be a small article and definitely does not warrant a full-day interview, but when dealing with a precious friend who is 87, I find it a pleasant experience to watch her reach back into the recesses of her memory and drag out recollections long unaccessed. I smiled as she lifted wrinkled, bony, hard-working fingers to count back years as I asked her questions. I marveled silently about her ability to bring forth hazy images of relatives, fleshing them out with phrases she'd possessed for 80 years.

Things like that deserve respect and take time. It takes the time it takes, like working with a wild colt or grafting an orphan calf onto a new mama cow. You don't rush in a situation like that.

You listen.

So, I'll go back on Saturday and most likely spend another 3 or 4 hours in remembered reverie.

Even if it does cause me to stay abed a day or two.

Some things are worth the price.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First snow, 2010!

From the window in my office today. The picture doesn't show the snow coming down. They were great big fat fluffy flakes coming straight down and added up to about 3"...but it will all melt tomorrow when the sun is expected to come back out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A cozy picture

Here's a cute picture of our little dog, Quincy. He's been with us six years, and is about 9 years old. He's a very good natured, calm little dog (unlike our other dog who is a torpedo with hide!).

A potential candidate...

A few weeks ago, a young man contacted me through this blog. He had suffered a 4 place Jefferson Fracture last summer, and he lives in the same state I do.

He suggested his neurosurgeon, the one whose care for this man started when he was brought into ER. The young man was put into a halo brace for several weeks, and thankfully, right now, several of his fracture sites have healed (are "union," as they say).

I'm so happy for him, that this fine doctor knew enough to place him into a halo right away and due to that wise decision, his fracture/C1 seems to be healing well.

I looked up this neurosurgeon (it would take me 5 or 6 hours to get to this hospital) and I really like his bio material. If I decide to go see him, I will post here more information about him.

This neurosurgeon wrote that his special interest is in how bisphosphonates affect union of bone after surgery. I might be a candidate he'd take interest in since I've had several years of oral bisphosphonates (Actonel); 18 months of IV infusion of pamidronate; six months of daily injections of Forteo, another bisphosphonate, all prescribed due to my osteopenia and in preparation for the craniocervical fusion I never had (back in NY in 2009).

I need to get my material together, my imaging and radiologists' reports and also a list of symptoms, after I first call his office to see if he would look through my material before making an appointment for me. I just am having a hard time getting this done. For a few weeks now, I've been especially weak and in pain. I do keep up the house with keeping things straight, doing dishes, making beds, doing laundry, sweeping, light vacuuming, dusting. That seems most days all I have strength for.

Most days, I am in bed for two hours in the afternoon, due to my head feeling heavy and me feeling unable to hold it up. Faithful, longtime readers of this blog are familiar with this same ol' song and dance. Sorry.

my new wheels!

Hi dear readers!

Here is a picture of my new scooter, or The Blue Mule, as I affectionately call it.
We took it, and my husband's little off-road "Hawg Ty" to a spot by a lake up in the mountains, and then we drove around the lake a bit and exploring campsites and such.

The second I took off after taking this picture, I was on a lovely, pine-needle-strewn backroad. It was a place I'd have loved to ride along on my horse. And I was in so much bliss to be out and about again!

In the picture, you can see my Aspen (rigid) neck brace on the seat. I definitely have to wear that while driving the Mule. And even at that, it doesn't seem to give my unstable neck much support. I have to go slow, and not be "out" too long. But it was fun while it lasted!

In the back of our pickup you can see the wonderful hoist that I also got to load the scooter. That is so much neater than I had imagined! Just which way it needs to go, up and down and left or right, into the bed of the truck or out, it's all in the computer for the hoist and it literally takes only a minute to unload the scooter.

I think I've mentioned before, but there is one thing: getting a scooter. And there's another thing: feeling well enough, strong enough to go out in it. I see so many people out with their own scooters, and I have to wonder about their level of disability or energy or something. I just don't feel UP to doing much with the scooter.

We have gone to two car shows since I got it, and both times, I took the Blue Mule and it worked really well and allowed me to have a nice time. My husband likes it better, too, because he says I'm not complaining all the time about how much my feet and legs hurt. ;-)

Earlier in the Fall, I used it a little bit in the yard, when I felt up to digging up some irises that were no longer performing, splitting up the tubers and then replanting them elsewhere. The Mule worked good for that. I haven't felt well enough, however, to do anything outside in several weeks now.

This scooter is built by Pride Mobility and is a Wrangler, in case you are curious.