Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lots of Adjustments and News Going On.

Most of it's extremely good news. I hope you'll forgive me for holding it close for a while. There've been some other changes too, and I've needed time to absorb it all.

--Walter is officially on Worker's Comp now. The local doctor he saw here declared: --No commercial driving.-- So he'll be allowed the time he needs to stay home and heal properly. YAY!!!

--The MRI of my hand showed no osteomyelitis - the bones are NOT infected. The doc said we'll get some new xrays just be sure, and it'll need time too - it can flare back up, we'll need to watch it for several weeks. But for now? No long-term IV antibiotics. YAY!!!

--It also showed a lot of RA and tenosynovitis in my left hand. Tenosynovitis is the autoimmune condition that partially crippled my right hand, that I had surgery for a couple years back. This is not good.

I've been trying to decrease my Prednisone. Right now I take 35 mg one day, 22 the next. When you alternate higher and lower dose days it helps keep the side effects down. But my immune system is ramping up so bad now, I may go back to the 35/25/35 dose that I've just decreased from, one mg at a time, for a month and a half each time. It's been excruciatingly painful to decrease even that slowly. I really wanted to get the dose as low as possible. But: If I let the RA and tenosynovitis get out of control, they'll cause more damage, and it's irreversible. So I'm considering going back up instead.

--I found an excellent endocrinologist for my suddenly out of control blood sugar. However, every time I call her number, I get a recording that says her voice mail box is full. Let's hope she's just on vacation for Memorial Day and not dead in her office, phone ringing in the silence...

A lot of Stuff has been going on. We've been talking and talking and making plans. I need Walter here, and I need him by me as I work through the hurricane claim and the mortgage and insurance and health issues.

Walter, for his part, admits he's not really able to drive any more, that it's not good for him, and he knows that. This is actually a great relief to me. He's so tough, and has been for so long, that I worried he wouldn't concede that point.

But he did. He's safe for now, waiting for his injury to heal. We'll find a good local orthopedist about that chronic rib inflammation too, and see if he's ready to go out on disability. To my mind, no law requires us to work ourselves to death, and that's what he'd be doing if he continued to drive much longer. He already landed back in Cardio ICU last fall. I don't want that to happen again.

The idea of having him here always, and not coming home half dead from driving, is so sublime a thought I can only let myself bask in it a little bit at a time.

I've spent my entire life being as independent as possible. It was my goal, from my earliest memories, to be on my own and taking care of myself. This was a more common paradigm back then, it seems. Certainly it struck me with full force. I treasure my independence.

This week, I told Walter I can't do this by myself any more. I need his help with everything in my life now.

And, being the very fine man he is, he instantly said he'd do everything he could.

Some of you have come to understand that I have a streak of ruthlessness in me, something that allows me to see things with a cold calm clarity. It's not a faculty for meanness or unfair behavior on my part; it's just an ability to set my emotions completely aside for a while. I can do this to the point of dissociating. I use it to think clearly and logically and make the best decisions possible - and to act on them efficiently and thoroughly.

Sometimes this shocks Walter with its brutal honesty.

Do you remember a few years back, when a hiker got his hand caught under a huge rock in an isolated canyon? There'd been a little landslide or such, and a 600 pound rock rolled onto his hand and trapped him.

Over a period of several days, realizing he would probably die if he didn't get free, he slowly disengaged himself from his hand. A little bit at a time: he broke one forearm bone one day, the other the next; then finally he cut off his hand and was free of the rock. He wandered back out, bloody but alive, and was found by a rescuer.

When we heard about that, Walter and I looked at each other and asked the same question many others were asking: Would you, could you, cut off your hand to save your life?

And we knew what each other's answers would be. Me? Sure. In a heartbeat. Walter? Nope.

So buckling down and admitting I can't go it alone any more, that ain't nuthin'. Not at all. It's not like cutting your hand off, right?

But I still had to call out my ruthless streak to do it.


Pretty Lady said...

But I still had to call out my ruthless streak to do it.

Good. It's about time.

pepektheassassin said...

Shut up, j.

k, I remember that guy who cut off his never knows, but I doubt if I could.

Marv is driving again--now only a few hours a day, picking up and delivering to school and home again five deaf children. He has his own little white bus, and no stress. He's happy. If he's happy, then so am I.

k said...

Ummm...Pretty Lady, I feel a little foolish asking you this, but - you already knew?

Pepek. Walter has brought up bus driving, especially school bus driving, several times over the last few years.

What makes me concerned about that is, what if he gets in an accident? It would wound him to his soul.

Five deaf kids. And I speak ASL.

It sounds so peaceful.

pepektheassassin said...

It's hard to live your life based upon what ifs. Nobody would do anything. Nothing would get done. It brings him some money, and gets him up in the morning, and out of the house. (He's a wanderer, by nature). And he loves driving.

Pretty Lady said...

I already knew what?

k said...

Ha! Pepek, that's perfectly true. We'd all be nothing but a bunch of befuddled lumps, sitting around awash in indecision and inaction. Not a pretty sight, eh?

And not a malady that either of us has ever suffered from before.

So why has it made me hesitate in the past? He loves the idea of it. Why not? It's wonderful. It's work, and of a kind that's both meaningful and do-able. It matters, so it satisfies. I mean, even I started to covet Marvin's job! And I'm not driver-qualified that high up.


We'll see how far Walter's sternum and rib cage heals. If he can't take a commercial seat belt the question is moot.

And me, I'll get to work on why I reacted that way in the past. It may be something I need to understand.

Pretty Lady - Already knew that it was about time.

Doom said...

It is so good to hear things are, mostly, on the up. I cannot be sure about your reasons, but I like to keep those things close to the breast if I have uncertainty or other things which might cause a problem. I suppose, for me, it is fearing to whisper good news lest I lose it or some other bad news comes in to balance the good news. Well, I save good news until it is a general trend, which is seemingly what you did?

I think we can all be "cold fish", but about different things. Where you could let a hand go, perhaps Walter could push his body beyond it's ability? On this one, I am most likely in agreement with Walter, but then again, how would we really know?

I have some understanding of your struggles with medication. I have, at times, thrown all of mine off to my great detriment to be sure. The side effects, the schedules, and the (sometimes seeming) lack of effect all combine to produce a rage at the junk. Over years, given some hand in my medicinal regimen, and finding some larger successes recently have (mostly) eliminated that urge. But, it is still there. Thought high blood pressure and blood sugar may do irreparable damage, I do not think they act nearly as quickly as your conditions. So, I have some great sympathy, no... empathy, for your relationship with your medication.

Anyway, I sent a prayer for you and Walter. Oh, and I hope the paperwork finds it's way to the out basket well and soon.

Nancy said...

I'm glad Walter is going to be with you for a while. Till that paper monster gets off your back, it will be easier if there are two of you to deal with it.



Pretty Lady said...

Well, of course. High past time, which means that it's exactly the right time. I notice that one never gets around to these things before then. ;-)

Granny J said...

Being cold-blooded beats panic any day. If Walter can help you work through the various problems that are grinning at you, going nyah Nyah NYAH, that makes it a double blessing to have him at home. I hope that he will be there for you from now on. The school bus idea could be cool, if he doesn't get the wrong crowd of kids.

Kenny said...

I hope everything works out for you and Walter

sue said...

You do what you have to do. Thank goodness you realized you needed the help... and that Walter is able to now be there for you. Here's keeping good thoughts for you both!