Friday, March 27, 2015

Twitching in Portland

My alarm clock this morning was a charlie horse--again. I am pretty sure if there was a contest for the most charlie horses in a given amount of time, I would win. You'd think I would get used to them, but no. Each time, it is like someone poured acid down my leg.

And who knew you could have the same kind of spasm in your ankle? It's true! I get that one in the other leg 3-4 times a night. It raises the outside of your leg up so that when you put your foot on the floor, one side isn't touching. You have to push down (accompanied by a great deal of swearing, of course) to get it to release.  Same thing when it hits the big toes.

After this morning's wake up call, I laid back down in bed for a moment and it felt like someone had a pair of drumsticks and they were lightly playing a rousing march on the back of my legs. It was the muscles twitching, twitching. I counted 40 before it stopped. Strangest experience!

I am 4 1/2 hours from seeing the doctor for the final report and then, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, we will get the ball rolling on insurance so I can have this surgery soon. I make jokes about the legs, the cramps, the back pain, the spasms, and do my best to stay in a decent mood, but I'm running out of coping skills. (I can tell because if something else happens, like one of the kids is in trouble, or work doesn't go right, I FALL APART. Living on the edge, baby.)

So cross your fingers, say a prayer, use your intuition, whatever you do that sends out a difference in the world and hope that today is the last day of waiting for answers. After today, let me move on to solutions. Cuz I'm tired of twitching.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


You know those scary movies that show the main person (usually a girl in almost no clothes holding nothing more than a candle) running down a hallway, chased by any version of craziness, and then the hall just seems to get longer and longer?

I am currently running down that hallway. (Hey, in this version, I can run!) For three months, I have chased that elusive medical miracle that is going to make me feel better. Make the days easier. Make the nights MUCH easier. And it feels like the more I run, the longer the hallway gets. In three months, we have . . .

1. Gone to my doctor. She ordered xrays. I waited.
2. Got xrays that showed bursitis in both hips. Hip pain explained.
3. Dissatisfied . . . asked for MRI.
4. Went for MRI which was to be covered by new insurance. Told insurance wasn't going to work.
5. Sat in the car and cried. Heroic hubby took me back in and said we would pay out of pocket. ($600!) (In between all of this, had to call insurance company four times to get plan changed. Hours on hold.)
6. Got MRI. I waited.
7. Doctor explained MRI and referred me to both PT and a neurosurgeon. I made appointments with referred doctor. I waited.
8. Saw the first doc. Nice guy. Older, rambling, said I needed surgery. BUT he is retired, so see his partner. . . oh, first appointment is three weeks.
9. Get in earlier. Doctor is an ass. Gives me no help, no guidance, and I leave in tears. And I wait.
10. Go back and get a referral for a second opinion. Call. First appointment in almost three weeks, so I wait.
11. See the new doc. GREAT guy. Listens, asks questions, kind and patient. Says you need surgery BUT we need another set of xrays.
12. Get the xrays. Wait.
13. Doctor's office calls and says your xray results are in and we need to discuss them with you before we make surgical decisions. See you in five days.
Waiting for Friday to see what the xrays showed and what it means for what happens next.
As Joseph pointed out, this all started YEARS ago. I have had hip pain and low back pain for 6 plus years. This just got to the point I couldn't stand it anymore. So here I am . . . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Angry Woman in Portland

It isn't fair. I know life isn't fair and we are taught that when we are about five years old, but I still am trying to come to grips with it.
I had a great day today. I was exhausted, but it was a great day. I went out of town with my sweetie and we had the best best time. We laughed and joked and got lost and used GPS for the first time and just had so much fun.
I crawled into bed at 1:45 a.m. It's now 6 a.m. and I may have slept an hour. I took the biggest pain pill I have and it might as well have been a vitamin C. I laid in bed in so much pain I thought it had to be radiating from me. I had four, FOUR cramps, once in both feet at the same time. I laid in bed feeling my muscles twitching over and over and over. Finally, I got up and came downstairs.
The doctor's office called today as they said they would. Instead of being given a brief xray report, however, they ask that I get back in the office to see the doctor and "discuss" the results. What?!?! Why? This does not bode well as he told me he would only call me back in if my back was unstable and would need a more invasive surgery. Now I have to wait until Friday afternoon to talk to him. It's gonna be a long week.
I don't understand why I am so much worse in bed at night. It's mean (picture Tami stamping her foot in indignation) because I love our bed. It is a safe haven from the world. It is a sanctuary where I go with Joseph when the world is too much. I cuddled my little ones in that bed as they grew and moved into their own rooms. I read great books there. I make love there. It's MY PLACE. And to have it associated now with pain makes me angry.
I guess it boils down to that. .  I am so angry. I have a wonderful, wonderful life. I adore my husband, and my children and my job and where I live and my hobbies and my friends. . . and this WHATEVER I have is zapping all of the energy I need to be able to enjoy it. And I'm mad. And it just IS. NOT. FAIR.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Life is Good . . .but Still . . . .a Whinge

Life really is good. I mean . . . Nicole is safe now and out of the INSANE WOMAN's house. I found a WONDERFUL doctor who listened to me and gave me a plan to put into motion. Money is good. Joseph is wonderful. We are eating the healthiest we have in ages and it is making both of us feel better for it.

See? Life.Is.Good. I am so grateful . . . I really am. I can breathe now that I know Nicole's emergency situation is somewhat over. That she is safe and happy and protected. I can breathe because I have a plan in motion (albeit slowly) to get better.

So why the whinge? (In case you don't know, that is an Australian word for whine.). I hurt. Yeah, yeah, I know. What is new, right?  But every day seems harder. Every day I have to fight through pain and weakness like I've never known before.  It isn't the most intense pain I've ever had (that award goes to kidney stones and gout), but it is exhausting. Every day, I have to sit down in the middle of walking through the room or going up the stairs or going to get the mail or going outside to check the weather. And it makes me mad because it zaps my energy. I have work to do and no energy to do it. I have due dates to hit and no endurance to trample them. Mostly, I want to stay on the couch and nap, read, write letters, and watch movies. I don't want to go to Goodwill. I don't want to go for coffee. I just want to stay motionless and hope nothing hurts.

So I will virtually stamp my feet (hurts too much to do in reality) and rant and keep crying at least once a day and know that eventually this will get better.

Because, honestly, life IS good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

12 Hours

In a little under 12 hours I will be sitting in a new doctor's office. My heart will be racing and I will be focusing on staying calm and logical. I will present my case, answer questions, most likely get examined and then, if there is any sense of justice in the world, I will be told what I should do next. I will walk (okay roll) out smiling, not crying. I will have a plan, not emptiness. I will have hope--I need hope. I will feel that relief and help is in the works.

Please. Let it happen that way. Let him have as much compassion as he does experience. Let him be as much a good human being as he is a good doctor.

Send hugs, prayers, good wishes, and thoughts. Read the rune stones, check the tarot cards, whatever is meaningful to you that these things happen.

I will report to let you know.

In just 12 very long hours.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Helpless in Oregon

Well . . .this sucks.
Did you know Australia is a long, long, long way from here? A REALLY long way?
Most of the time that is okay. Today, not so much. Today my daughter is being treated horribly by her landlord. Honestly, we are taking Norman Bates style landlord. She has gone absolutely nuts and my daughter is in the line of fire.
The woman went from a bit OCD to nuts to psychotic. She has been mean and now she has LOCKED Nicole out of the apartment. Nicole is exhausted and can't lie down and rest. She can't change clothes. She can't get to her laptop.
And guess what? I cannot do a single thing from here. Nothing. I have sent a message to her friends. I am here to help her think of what to do from here and calls to make. But I can't solve anything. I can't help. And I'm the mom, and it's my job.
Feeling helpless. And sad. And worried. And stressed. Yeah, it sucks.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


My husband has a short attention span . . . . we refer to it as 'squirreling'. Remember in the movie "Up" where the dog is talking until a squirrel runs by and then he is so distracted he can't go back to what he was doing? That is Joseph. It is most obvious when we are driving somewhere. The man is "squirreled" by all of the following:

  • cute little kids
  • jogging women
  • free stuff on the sidewalk
  • estate sale signs
  • ANY VW, but especially buses and Things
  • people wearing unusual clothing
  • women with long gray hair (loves it)
  • unusual bikes, especially the reclining ones
  • motorcycles (he sighs)
  • any car older than 1979
And I am sure there are more on the list. When Joseph sees any of these things, anything I was saying is lost. I could have been in the middle of "I am obsessed with ferrets and want to fill the house with as many as we can find" and if he sees anything on the list, I've lost him. He's looking and thinking and commenting. I usually mutter "squirrel" and then wait to see if he will return to our conversation.  Nine times out of ten, he won't. I will either have to pick back up where I left off or let it go. (It largely depends on the importance, and my mood!)

Do I find this annoying? Hell yes, I do. I roll my eyes, I sigh. I mutter. But you know what? You know what else this man does every day? 

  • Helps me get dressed because it hurts me.
  • Ties my shoes. 
  • Holds open every door. 
  • Takes out the wheelchair and puts it back in. 
  • Walks v e r y slowly since that is all I can do. 
  • Brushes and dries my hair. 
  • Kisses me and hugs me and tells me I am beautiful when I couldn't feel less so. 
  • Washes, dries and HANGS up all of my clothes so I can focus on work. 
  • Stands over with me a massager and uses it on my back for as long as I want just to get some pain relief. 
  • Tells me how wonderful I am multiple times a day. 
  • Responds to my "Thank you for loving me" with "Thank you for making it so easy."
  • Doesn't have a massive temper tantrum over the piles and piles and piles of paper in the living room. 
  • Puts out my mail and gets it for me every day because just walking to the mailbox is sometimes more than I can do. 
  • Makes me laugh when I am down and needing someone to lift me up. 
  • Makes amazing meals three times a day.
So. . . . I am thinking that, all in all, I can put up with a BUNCH of squirrels in exchange for everything else I get. Now, I just need to see how he feels about a house full of ferrets. 

And Here I Am . . Again

Why in the world can I not be as sleepy at midnight as I am in the middle of the afternoon? I battle sleepiness all afternoon, and then, when I crawl into bed, I am wide awake. I suspect that is mostly because I am more aware of pain then. It is so hard to get comfortable and I toss and turn and finally, I say screw it and up I get. So it's one a.m. and I am downstairs hoping to get sleepy.

Joseph and I are on day five of a "diet" and it's going better than ever in my life. I am actually LOVING the food I am eating and getting total satisfaction from it, which is just weird. Usually I struggle, remain hungry, and don't like most of the recipes. I don't know what is different this time around, but I sure am grateful. It makes sticking to it SO much easier. Now if the pain would just go AWAY.

Life is pretty good otherwise. Work is good, the kids are doing well in their faraway adventures, Joseph is happy. I am trying hard to be patient and wait for that doctor's appointment but wow, it isn't easy. The days just don't go quickly enough, plus I am scared that I will walk out without answers, since that is what happened with doctors 1 and 2. I feel like I will have to be a bitch to get them to LISTEN to me, and I am willing to do that if required. I just want him to take my hand, recommend what I can do to make this pain STOP, and then do it, or at least schedule to do it. The relief would be incredible.

So, back to bed in a few. A warm, welcoming husband is sleeping away there, barely aware I even left the bed. I hope curling up around him will make the rest of the world--and my body--just fade away.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Life in Limbo Land

As the days count down to my doctor's appointment, my ability to be patient (never my strong suit in the first place) is wearing thinner and thinner. Sure, I am ready to get a plan of action. Sure, I need to know how I am going to deal with this ongoing pain. But most of all . . . .I don't know what to do about work.

In my career, offers for new jobs come in on a weekly basis. I work for more than 40 companies so it is rare for a full week to go by that someone doesn't contact me and say, Hey we are starting a new project and would love for you to be part of it. It starts here and goes until there. Believe me, I've had weeks where I get three or more offers like this. It is what has made a freelancing career work for the past 15 years, and usually I love it. I love changing projects and editors and focuses and processes.

But . . right now I honestly don't know what to say. I don't want to say sure, I will do this for you, and then find out oops, I'm having surgery in the middle of it and can't follow through. I also don't want to just say no, because that drops my name on the invisible list editors have on who to call for work. Selfishly, I also don't want to commit to something right now that I can already tell is going to be very stressful for me. I have enough stress 24/7 coping with pain and keeping up with the deadlines I already have in place---I don't need more!

So I find myself stuck in limbo land. If the doctor does recommend surgery, I will be unable to work for a minimum of two weeks, and as many as a four. I am working really hard right now to get every project I have done before that could possibly happen. But I just don't know what to do with these new offers.

Grrrr. I have never been a good waiter . . . and Wednesday seems like a world away right now. I just hope I walk out with SOME answer and not more of the bullshit I got from the last guy. At least if I could have a date, I could know at which point to stop accepting new work and put people on hold.

I never was good at limbo.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Long Night

It was a good day today. I went out to eat with Joseph. I talked, via one method or another, with all three of my traveling children. I counted the days and realized Nicole will be home in less than 90. I got some work done and I cuddled on the couch with Joseph.

And yet, it is 2:30 in the morning and I am still up because I hurt too much in bed to fall asleep. I get on the edge and then move a leg and get a cramp or it just hurts enough to wake me up. And I start all over again. The bedroom is airy and fresh with open windows. My music plays softly on the pillow speakers. The blankets and pillow are familiar and comfortable. A man I absolutely adore spoons me from behind and his presence relaxes, comforts, and soothes me.

Yet, it is still not enough to allow me to let go and sleep.

I am so, so, so tired of this pain. Of fearing rolling over because I will awake either with pain or a cramp. Of never, ever, ever going to sleep and sleeping through until morning. In a few minutes, I will take a bigger pain pill and give it some time to kick in before tiptoeing back upstairs to slide into bed and try again.

How ironic it feels to be this tired of something and yet sleep eludes me. Counting the hours til March 18 and I get some answers. Thanks for putting up with the complaining in the meantime.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Letting Go

I admit it. I wasn't prepared for this. I always knew my kids would pick up and fly, but I always was looking at them in this picture. Their excitement, their adventures, their growth and experience. I didn't take time to turn around and look at me.

And now I realize, with tomorrow afternoon bringing my son's departure, that when they leave . . . they leave. And I'm still here. And now  . . I"m alone. I have a wonderful husband who I have so much fun with and adore. I have friends I enjoy meeting for coffee or lunch. But for the past 30 years, I have poured my life into these kids. I changed diapers, nursed endlessly, slept with--and walked with when not sleeping, held, soothed, encouraged, fed, read to, dressed, and watched over these children. They were my life. And now . . . . they don't need me to do any of that. They are flying away, and while I couldn't be happier for them, I have to admit I am struggling. I miss them. I really, really, really miss them.

I want to hold on and ask them please not to leave, but really, how can any mom have the right to do that? Stay home with me instead of explore the world. Come on! I know better. But just because I would never do it doesn't mean I don't want to do it.

Life is about change and adaptation. Not all of it is easy. For me, this phase is not easy. I am not one of those moms who is eager for her kids to get out and move on. I enjoy their company endlessly and when they leave, it is not just my sons and daughters leaving, but some of the closest friends I've ever had.

I will adjust. I will accept. But I wish someone had told me to prepare myself for these days. I wish someone had reminded me that when these wonderful people spread their wings, I would still be back in the nest, noticing how empty it is.

Monday, March 2, 2015

An Adult in Gresham

If I thought THOSE were baby steps, I would have been appalled to know what came next.
I got in to see the other guy the next day. I was SO pleased. Until he walked in the door. He spent 40 minutes with us telling us NOTHING. Yes, you do have these problems. If you wait one to three years, they may clear up on their own. Yes, you could have surgery if you can't take the pain any longer. "You're a grown up, so you will have to make the decision."

I know that. But GUIDANCE would have been nice. As would compassion, a sense of humor, some warmth. None were present.

He did not give me a solid answer to anything, other than quote statistics at me about risk factors. I was so frustrated that by the end of the visit, in which I had spent in a wheelchair except for the exam, I said, "Doctor . . if you wanted to give me an exam but you couldn't stand in place long enough to do it because of pain . . . if you had to take pain pills in between patients just so you could keep doing your job--would YOU have the surgery?"

There are many answers he could have given me. What he said was, "It's your decision. I can't tell you what to do."

Nor could he recommend or advise. I said should I do physical therapy? No, it will make you worse, he said. Should I have steroid shots? No, they are temporary. SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

Oh yeah, I'm an adult, so I guess I have to figure that out on my own.

I will admit, I spent the entire day crying. I haven't cried that much and that hard in . . . years. And then I got up and made some phone calls, and I arranged to get a second opinion. Good news? Unlike the first doc, this guy is raved about by his staff and has high marks online. His front desk employee told me that he is one of the kindest men she knows. Bad news? The first appointment I could get was April 6. More than a month away. That was a tough one. I am on the cancellation list and I spend each day hoping someone won't be able to make it, and they will call.

In the meantime, I hurt 24/7. I have three to 10 cramps in my legs a day. I am worn out. But that's okay, because I'm an adult, right? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh.