Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mixed feelings

My thoughts about what is going on with my brother are so confused.  Lately I have spent most of every Dr. Mind session crying about this.  I am finding it so hard to know that there is going to be a day that I have to pretty much say good-bye because it will be the last time I see him free for a long time and I still don't know if I will be able to handle visiting in jail.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, that's awkward because I'm not going to tell you.  I also removed all mention of specifics from the archives.  But pretty much my brother is awaiting grand jury indictment for a pretty ugly thing (he didn't kill anyone which is good) and is likely to be going to prison for a number of years.  He was arrested in April and then the charges were dropped to be filed in a different level of court, which is confusing and seemingly very inefficient but the system apparently works that way.  It has been an extremely painful experience that has ripped huge holes in my already divided family and has been a very difficult process for me as I really didn't want to ever have anything to do with him again and God wouldn't let me rest with that so we do have contact and it is very hard every time but it is the right thing to do. 

At the beginning there was shock and anger and hurt and those things got me through the first 6 weeks.  Well, those and valium.  But now those things are gone and the next part is just going to be deeply sad unless it goes to trial (the hope is a plea bargain) which would be devastating in all kinds of new ways.  So I'm trying to learn to be prepared and to have a realistic picture of this; with time it has become easy to make it less than it really was because it is easier to handle that way.

But now there is a new twist.  For whatever reason, probably prison over-crowding, apparently lately people charged with the same crime my brother will be charged with have been getting probation.  And while I do not want him to go to prison I am very confused about this because the rational part of me knows that if this weren't my brother I would want him to go to prison for a substantial time period.  I do not think he should get off easy.  It kills me to say that because on many levels I want to pretend this never happened, but the reality is that it did and it happened to be something that I have extremely strong feelings about because of my own life.  When he was first arrested and family members were being told the typical reaction was that people were worried about me because everyone who knows my past knew how close to home this hit.  That's how difficult it has been because I am so divided in my thoughts.

In the last week I have realized that I am both absolutely terrified of my own reaction to this when it happens.  I don't know that I can be strong enough.  I know that I have people ready to support me through it but it kind of is a lonely journey I will have to go on.  So talking to Drs. Mind and Brain about that fear is high on my priorities.  But I also will have a strong reaction if he did what he is accused of doing and gets off without real punishment.  I feel pulled in 2 directions by this and it is really hard for me to handle.

I also keep being confused by wishing it were just over and wishing that this limbo period just could continue and I'd never have to face what is coming.  I already have learned more about it than I ever wanted to know as I try to understand.  It's just too huge.

And did I mention that this is likely to come up in the holiday season?  Yippee......

Friday, August 29, 2014

Credit where credit is due

I often express frustration with my mother on this blog.  It's hard because she has saved me in the last few years and has put up with so much and helped so much but she doesn't understand so much and so I get frustrated.  But today she said something that I never thought I would hear her say and I wanted to note that because it was a big thing for her to admit rather than say that I've complained or worried too much or whatever.  So my mom officially has said that I have handled this surgery and all that has gone with it better than anyone else she can think of. 

After growing up in a family where you didn't complain (hence the broken ankle that started all of this) that is a really big thing to hear.  I've tried so hard this summer to keep positive and to not get overwhelmed by how long I am in the very limited stage.  I have not always succeeded but I've tried.

And now I am going to try again to get some sleep.  I thought I was getting sleepy and turned out the light and Ancient Cat immediately needed fed.  So that had me up so I also used the bathroom to be efficient (I'm in a splint and non-weightbearing at night so consolidation is important) and grabbed my therabands so that I can do a round of exercise if I can't sleep.   And now I don't know if I'll get back to sleep or not.  Sure hope so.

And instead of closing this and sleeping I'm yelling at Just Elderly cat who is picking on Ancient Cat.   Adrenaline was just what I needed......I don't know why he is doing that.  He is the sweetest cat on earth and suddenly he's been picking on her.  It has to do with dominance I'm sure but it really makes me mad because she is so frail and harmless these days.  All she does is lay in her bed sleeping and he's batting at her and hissing.  It's like he wants her bed even though his is right beside it.  Whatever.  He's nice 99% of the time but that 1% needs to stop.

Oh so very itchy from my pain pill......my leg got really sore from going up and down to the basement during the flood so I took one and now I itch everywhere and keep checking to be sure I am not having an allergic reaction to my antibiotic.  There's only one I'm allergic to and this isn't related but having so many drug allergies and not having antibiotic allergies is pretty unusual so we are always cautious.

Ok day. Bad night.

It's 3:53 AM. I need to be up by 8. I fell asleep about 3:00 AM I think and now I am pretty wide awake.  I woke up because Ancient Cat needed food (I think?  I'm no longer sure that she woke me) and when I started tossing and turning because of the stress and my ankle hurting and trying to get the splint into an acceptable position.

And this is why:  (taken from an email I wrote Michal because I can't tell this story again without crying)

I just spent a couple hours watching TV and earning Swagbucks.  I started getting ready for bed and hit start on the dishwasher.  Right after I did that I heard a funny noise in the basement.  I wobbled down to check and the basement room (under the house is a garage, a little closet I call the pantry and a utility room I call the basement) was 2 inches deep in water and I could hear water POURING out from somewhere.  I can't walk in water with my boot so I called my mom and woke her up.  She came over and found that a pipe had come out of it's fitting and the water was pouring out from the water main.  We called the plumber at 11:15pm (this being the plumber we had so much trouble with when building) and he sent someone to turn it off.  The kid was able to fix it and implied it was an error.  He said he was afraid it would be something he had done but he hadn't done that part of the plumbing.  He has it working ok and tomorrow they are going to anchor it more.

In the meantime this is a very expensive situation.  The gallons of wasted water will cost a fortune.  The wallboard in the entire area is ruined as the water came through it.  We don't know what possessions were ruined.  My grandma's sewing table is sitting in water.  My mom doesn't know if her homeowner's will cover this although I'm pretty sure they will.  But it still means increased rates and the like. But at least the insurance being involved will have someone with motivation and resources investigating if the plumber was at fault.  Because ideally he needs to pay for the damage and lost property.

I am so upset I feel sick.  I had planned to email you after I had a shower and this wasn't the planned email.  Duh, I also feel sick because I took an antibiotic just before discovering this and I didn't have a chance to eat something.  I have cellulitis under one of my breasts, probably started by underwires and crutches interacting and I just started fairly high dose antibiotics today.  I should go eat and I really don't want anything.

This has been a rough 2 days.  My mom had a colonoscopy yesterday and had a very rough time with the prep making her very sick (not just the way it should) and then the anesthetic was even worse and so she hasn't felt very good.  She had to take her friend to Cleveland Clinic for follow-up today and so she was extra tired and she was supposed to get up early to go see the girls tomorrow.  Now she is going to have to stay here and deal with this mess.

I am now officially completely overwhelmed.  I keep wondering if I ignored that sound while I was watching TV.  I had moved into my bedroom about 30 minutes before I found this and I couldn't really hear it from here.  But in the living room if I had the TV off (and I did sometimes for a few minutes) I should have heard it.  It may have only been happening a few minutes but it's hard to know.

I just can't believe this happened.  I thought that new construction had a 1 year warranty on it but apparently my mom did not have a contract that specified such things.  So I don't know.

I need to get that food in my stomach or I'll get sick from the Keflex.  And since getting rid of the cellulitis is a major priority I need that to stay in.

So that's just not good.  This is the kind of thing that makes me hate being the "poor relation".  Granted my mom is technically my landlord and therefore responsible for such things but we agreed I wouldn't start paying her until my credit card debt was gone and that's just a few months away.  (Side note which I am very proud of:  Once upon a time my credit was 523 which VERY BAD.  Dr. Mind helped a lot by constantly reminding me about paying bills and I got better.  Then I started doing things to improve my credit score on purpose in 2009 and the last few years I've decreased my debt massively by selling the house, paying down credit cards to almost nothing (nothing by Christmas hopefully), paying off private student loans and getting the federal ones discharged due to disability and I no longer make late payments, ever.  So now my credit score is right on the edge of Excellent.  I got a look at it the other day and in the next few months the last of my late payments will disappear as the reach the  7 year mark and I will have no major negatives plus the only debt I'll have by then should be my car.  Some medical stuff may wind up on a card but I'm trying hard to avoid that.  I don't know why this matters so much to me but it does.  Poor to Excellent in just 8 years.)

And now I feel sleepy but also too anxious to sleep.  I wish I could easily go make a cup of tea but to do that means crutching my way to the closet for a sock, putting on the boot and fastening 6 or 7 straps and then taking it back off when I come back to bed because I can't really sleep in it.  (Helpful hint if you ever find yourself in a boot:  If you want to sit or lay in bed with it on putting a pillowcase over it keeps your bedding clean.  You just have to be sure to remove it no matter how badly you want to get to the phone which you left in the other room.)

I wish that nobody was coming to the house to work on plumbing and that I didn't have PT today.  I'd just take some valium and sleep.  Oh well, guess I can sleep after therapy. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ankle

So starting to walk without crutches in my house and reducing my crutch use outside the house and starting PT made this week exciting.  Except that it has raised issues that are very stressful.

I'm really fine in my house without crutches.  I even accidentally went downstairs without them once and was fine (and it was so nice to carry things upstairs using my whole hand).  I was doing so well that I tried just one crutch when I went to see Dr. Mind and get an oil change.  I forgot that Dr. Mind's office has only one rail on the stairs so the one crutch was a mistake.  I was pretty sore that day and swelled up more.  But it was nothing unusual.

Tuesday I started PT.  I'm a little anxious about PT because the place I go has people certified in orthopedics.  I requested one of them when I made my appt. and the receptionist did not seem to know what I was talking about.  And I did not get a certified therapist.  I have the same therapist I had before.  I like him and thought he did a very good job with a very bizarre situation before (ie there was no way I should have been doing PT and no benefit to it but I had to do it because of the doctor I saw before my surgeon.  My surgeon totally ignored her and said of course I needed surgery but she tried to make my medical record indicate I was WANTING unnecessary surgery.).  So I'm ok with trying him.  I am just a little wary because he has not been a therapist very long and I don't know how much experience he has with the combination of surgeries that I had.  They aren't extremely common, especially done together and my surgeon uses a different healing pattern than most other doctors.  So we'll see how it goes and I'll ask to change if I feel like he isn't ready to handle this.

He did the evaluation and started me on a home exercise program.  I actually have already gained ROM and increased all but 2 movements to the 2nd level of theraband.  My swelling is improving somewhat as well with the movement.  But it wouldn't be me if there wasn't stress.  I came home and when I was coming up from the garage (with both crutches) my ankle felt like it needed to pop.  You know that feeling that things aren't lined up correctly and they need to re-align?  That's what it felt like.  With the boot it can't do it but whenever the boot is off for exercises I am getting that sensation and a very, very loud POP a few times during each session.  From what I can see while focusing on the exercise and trying to control movements either my flexor retinuculam  or my posterior tibialis is coming out of alignment.  Or it is the medial ligament inside and I'm not seeing anything external.  I am hoping this is scar tissue or inflammation.  I know that my last xrays showed medial swelling in the joint spaces.  But I'm scared because POPPING in the past was very, very bad and I have learned to not trust my ankle so even knowing that it is probably one of those things it sounds awful and doesn't feel great.  It's not exactly painful but it's not exactly painfree.  I am very anxious to go back to PT Friday and hopefully we can get it to do it while he is working on it.  It constantly feels like it needs a good passive stretch which I know better than to do (but which I did for years to get the tendons on the other side back in their groove so it feels natural to do it) and I'm hoping it will pop for him when he is doing that.  While I'm anxious and wishing that I'd had an MRI that I chose to not do pre-op to save money so that I would know if I had a problem on the medial side (there was popping there after a fall down the stairs in the spring) that wouldn't have been seen with the scope.  I'm terrified something else is wrong and that I'll need more surgery.  There is some ground for concern if it is the posterior tibialis as that was affected by my severe sprain but recovered which is unusual for that tendon apparently.  But I've had enough surgery to last a while.  I know at worst I have another procedure and it is fixed but I just can't see another 4-6 months of healing and medical bills.  So I'm scared.  It will be fine but it's hard to not be afraid after so much was wrong for so long and while my ankle is still so fragile.

I'm actually going to be remarkably busy for me for a while.  I'm not sure how that will go.  Next week Dr Mind is on vacation.  I may have to go see Dr. Body for a rash that isn't healing with the stuff he prescribed though.  I have a dental appointment Tuesday and PT 3 days, including nearly immediately after my filling Tuesday.  Then I see Dr. Brain on Saturday, my last Saturday appointment with her.

I need to talk to her and Dr. Mind both about my great fear.  I keep dancing around it with Dr. Mind and that's not enough.  I am very afraid of what will happen when my brother is arrested and goes to prison.  Initially there was shock and intense anger.  That is gone now and I just feel deeply sad.  OK and angry and many other things that mostly only come out when I try to talk to Dr. Mind.  I am crying every week with him and it is always about the same thing.  But this time those emotions aren't going to get me through.  This time it is going to be about the sad and the loss and the horror and quite likely the embarrassment of people knowing and gossiping.  People know but it will be worse when details come out.  I won't have those protective emotions this time and I know already my mom is going to lose it.  And I'm afraid that I won't be able to handle it.  I am afraid that this is the kind of thing that could trigger a hospitalization because one of the worst parts for me is that I can imagine all too well the victims.  And when the details that I know already are very, very bad come out I am afraid that I will be blasted into PTSD hell.  It happened before and honestly then it mostly helped that the extended family's reaction was nearly always to first ask if I was ok because it was so clearly a bad thing for me to experience.  Dr. Mind will nearly definitely be here so that is an enormous blessing because trying to handle that with someone who doesn't know my past would be terrible.  But handling this will be asking so much of me.  The night/morning that the awful phone call came my mom mouthed to me that my brother was in jail.  I knew immediately why.  I don't know how or why I knew but I did and when she wrote down the details for me I threw the notebook clear across the room which is a great room living room/kitchen so a long toss.  Fury was my first response.  Now that's gone.  Well, it's not, but as I keep telling Dr. Mind it was a lot easier the weeks I thought of him as a monster and a lot harder since I know he is still a person, just one who did some terrible things and will pay for them.

So anyway, hopefully I am brave enough to talk to Dr. Brain about this and then Dr. Mind when he is back.  I think he knows what I'm not saying but I'm not sure he does and he needs to know before it happens.  Based on averages that will be around November probably although it could vary hugely for all kinds of reasons.  I know how things work for my family though and it is very likely to be just before Thanksgiving.  Holiday wrecking is a tradition in our family.

So ankle and mood both hurt.  So does my rash.  That looked like yeast originally but now just looks nasty.  I can't see Dr. Body until Wednesday so it better control itself that long.  Ick.

And I think I've put my cat off of a feeding as long as is possible.  Poor sweet girl has been going through a not eating much but wanting lots to taste phase.  Those are so hard for me because I throw out vast amounts of uneaten expensive food.  It still beats cleaning up bloody vomit but at this point she is getting more of my budget than I am.  Which is ok since I'm mainly wanting to eat fruit and cottage cheese which is at least cheap.  And after I feed her I need to take the splint off and do ROM one more time.  I was up really early to take my mom to a colonoscopy so I am hoping that I get to sleep sort of early.  I've started using a little valium if I'm up at 3 but it still scares me to death because I'm nonweightbearing at night with my splint on and am wobbly on crutches, yet there is no way I'm going to try to sleep with a 3 lb boot on.

Things are kind of hard here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Free at last

I am cast free.  I have a huge boot that is on for 6 weeks during the day and a much lighter weight splint at night that I absolutley am not allowed to put even a touch of weight on.  With the boot I can wean down to walking without it.  I can do that in my apartment but I need the crutches for stairs, uneven surfaces, and any long distance.  It feels very strange and off-balance but that's improving and I bet I'll be off crutches in 2 weeks or so.  I am starting PT on Tuesday.

The skin was disgusting.  Michal I kept thinking about Kyle's pedicure.  I couldn't do that because my incision isn't completely closed but I made my own variation at home.  It took an hour or more to soak off most of the nasty skin and hack off the hair on my leg.  I am not a very hairy person; I can't imagine what it would be like if I were.  This is really gross so be forewarned but the feeling I'd been having of something sticking to me, well, it wasn't steri-strips.  There was a huge ball of dead skin loose in my cast and when it got sticky from wound drainage it was sticking to my skin.  In the arch my skin had gotten so tough that it feel like something was there and it was really just layers of dead skin.  But all of that is gone, more or less, and my steri-strips are gone.  It is healing well and my doctor is pleased with the amount of swelling/bruising.  The swelling is decreasing daily now that I am moving it a little.  And I have more movement than I expected.  Not enough to be functional but enough to see it move.  And it moves without deviating from the path it should take until the muscles get tired and even then it isn't nearly as bad as it was before.

I am so excited to start PT.  I actually am really looking forward to having to stretched.  It will hurt badly but it feels like it needs to be stretched. I don't know how to explain that aside from the feeling your back needs stretched so you reach way up.  I am very leery of the day that I put weight on it without the boot but I doubt that happens immediately. 

After 6 weeks of boot and PT I go back and will start transitioning to a shoe.  I will be at 16 weeks then.  So by 6 months I should be pretty functional.  It's mostly hard right now to believe that it is able to hold and that I'm not going to immediately sprain it if I put weight on it in the boot (which I am learning to trust because it is so sturdy) or that I can EVER wear a shoe and not have it give out constantly.  But that exact thing should be my Christmas present.

Anyway time to try to sleep.  Geraldine's birthday party is tomorrow so I have to get up early and so hopefully I'll get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finally

I finally was free to soak my leg tonight to get the dead skin off and shave the inch long hair.  I am now in a boot for 6 weeks, will wean off crutches as the boot stops feeling scary, get to wear a splint at night instead of the huge boot (thank God, I'd never sleep in that thing) and I'm starting PT on Tuesday.  The steri-strips are off and my incision looks fabulous.  I'm sure things will change with the steri-strips off but it looks like I'm not going to have much of a scar because they were on so long.  Of course by the time I looked in the mirror at the incision my leg was really swollen and purple so it may look worse than I think.  It's still not closed 100% because the cast kept it so moist and I opened it up a little while I was soaking my leg (draped it over the side of the tub while I sat outside the tub on the shower chair) but nothing that I can't handle.  I'm really enjoying moving my toes freely and I'm supposed to do plantar flexion/dorsiflexion several times daily.  I have more inversion/eversion than I thought I would; it's minimal but it is there.  4 weeks ago I didn't have much more than a hint when the doctor asked me to move it so that's good.  And I'm very excited because I went into this knowing that I might need further surgery on my Achilles later.  It was torn as well as everything else and had scarred into a nodule that rubbed and really hurt.  With all the time of immobilzation the nodule is completely gone.  It could come back but if I do massage and watch and have the PT do ultrasound on it if I starts to return I think it is possible to break it up and have it go away.  Even if it does return with the ankle moving normally it might not be a problem.  And my ankle does move normally.  It is fascinating to watch it move and not be pulled in by unbalanced ligaments.  It moves like it is supposed to and that is a very exciting thing.

It was a long day and I'm really tired from it (walking with the boot is really hard and I'm very wobbly and so walking is a lot of work) but it was worth it to feel like I've hit a point that it is time for the work part of healing to start.  From here on healing isn't just about how well I sit around, it's about actually doing something to help myself and that is extremely exciting.

And with that I'm going to get something to eat.  I have the best cantaloupe ever right now.  It was enormous when my mom bought it for me (the size of a small watermelon) and it is so sweet and delicious I can't stop eating it, especially knowing that melons won't be fresh for much longer.  It's so weird to have summer be ending when I've spent so much of it waiting to get to this point.

Next up is a couple days at home and then Geraldine's 1st birthday party is this weekend.  I met her exactly one year ago today.  She's changed so much from the pale baby that was having trouble managing her secretions to the almost-toddler (she totally can walk but doesn't want to because she crawls faster than anyone can walk) who loves to label everything.  She sees me and she says "Jen, Jen, Jen" a few times and then won't call me by name again.  Sometimes there's an aunt on it but usually just Jen, said very quietly.  I'm special though; she calls both her parents and my mom the same nonsense syllables that my sister thinks mean "one who takes care of me".  Her sister has an approximation of her name and that's used a lot.  She also tells you Dawwgggg, Bawwwlllll, baaby, and various other labels.  She just hasn't decided that she is all that worried about talking too much, probably because her sister says everything she needs to communicate anyway.

I am so itchy tonight.  It's a little disturbing, like I'm allergic to something but I don't have a rash.  Who knows?  I have seasonal allergies in the early fall so that's probably the cause. 

And I really need to put the boot on, get some food and work on my mom's birthday present.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Puzzled

I'm puzzled by a lot this evening actually.  Why I am having migraines all of a sudden is a good one and why they keep happening when my triptan is not a good idea is another.  (I have to get up in the morning for a dental appointment and if I take the triptan it will make me sleep a few hours and then I'll be awake for hours in the night and that's no good if I have to wake up.  So, lesser meds it is).

I also can't remember what I told Dr. Mind I'd think about.  I remember the question I want to ask him next time because it hadn't occurred to me until today that he would have to have some kind of an answer to this question (it's about the mess with my brother and since I'm not blogging the details of that right now I can't be more specific, so sorry for being mysterious instead).

I do have something very much stuck in my head though.  As we talked today about my brother and how I'm struggling with reconciling the person I know, a person who certainly irritated me at times and who wasn't my best friend ever but who I thought I at least sort of knew, with the person who is going to prison and how hard it is for me that he will be there for a substantial part of his life so that everything will change and it may never change back again (if he gets a long sentence in the scope of the very difficult to comprehend sentencing guidelines my mom may very well not be here when he is released and he may not even live long enough to serve a long sentence out) we talked a bit about how some of the conflict between my mother and I is that I can picture what happened and I have a different sense of its' wrongness than my mother does.  And as we've discussed many times before in the context of different parts of my life he pointed out that in Appalachia some things are more culturally accepted than in the rest of the country.  And for the first time I think it really clicked that I am in Appalachia but no longer really of it.  I said without even thinking "I walked away from that culture".  And for the next 10 minutes I cried and laughed at the same time while we talked about that. 

I knew that I had done this.  I made a very deliberate decision to do so when I was 18; I left for college and planned to never go back home.  And aside from short breaks I never did again.  I can go to my hometown and I am treated as a complete outsider because I did this.  And not only did I do that but I did the really unthinkable and I moved even farther away after college instead of coming back and re-integrating into my hometown.  That's not very forgiveable where I grew up.  I think people think I think I'm better than they are.  I don't.  But I talk differently (although I can lapse back into Appalachia-speak if I hear it; I was in and out all the time with patients when I did home health), I have a professional degree and had a pretty lucrative career as a single woman and I've never had a baby, much less had a baby when I was a teenager like most of the women I grew up with.  I don't think single women who live independently are viewed very well in my culture.  And so I am experiencing this in 2 different worlds.  I really did not understand that until today.  Mostly when we've discussed this in the past it has been about things I experienced while living in Appalachia growing up and so the Appalachian way was in my thought patterns.  For this I developed my thoughts after I left and they are decidedly different.

I also hadn't thought about how I really stepped out of my family's culture as well.  My mother and sister both have earned PhDs, so both have violated one cultural norm.  But neither have ever lived outside of Appalachia.  Well, my sister lived just barely outside it in a place as similar as it could have been for about a year.  Otherwise they have never lived where things were different.

I don't know why I hadn't realized this.  I certainly was aware that there were cultural differences during the years I lived in Michigan.  In fact I worked hard in those years to drop my native accent.  It didn't really work, I just wound up hard for anyone to clearly understand because I wound up with 2 accents mushed together.  My mom and sister both have the same speech characteristics that I and many professionals have in that Appalachian can be turned on and off at will.  I have a friend who is able to do this so well that he can write in Appalachian.  I am not nearly as aware of it as that.  I don't usually notice that I've drifted one way or the other with speech unless I'm trying to be formal.  It used to be that when I wanted to be formal that was when the soft Appalachia-speak was most likely to come out.  I could keep verb tenses and pronouns correct but I would lose the "g" sound at the end of words with "ing" and various other soft parts of the accent emerged.  By the end of grad school that was gone.  I'm sure Dr. Mind hears it come and go a lot because I imagine when I am upset or when I talk about being a kid that the accent probably slips out more than usual.

So what I learned today is that not only is this entire situation very difficult to understand and to live with and it is hard because my family has all approached it differently, it is also that cultural reference point that causes some of the conflict among my family members and in myself.  And my leaving the culture I grew up in (even though I've returned it's kind of not the same ever again when you make that leap) has led to the doubts about why am I reacting differently than my family, beyond personal differences.

I don't really know what to do with this.  But it was an interesting change in thinking.  I'll not remember what I was told to think about but I'll substitute this instead. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The last week

I just have so little to say.  It's been a quiet week mostly.  I saw my doctor a week ago for a check-up and he asked me what nobody ever dares to ask:  Do I miss work?  That question was so kind and his response was so kind (and I didn't cry!) that it has been a happy thing to think about ever since.  I can't recall the last time someone asked that, probably because everyone (including Dr Body) knows that it may cause me to cry uncontrollably.  That question set the week apart.

I've also thought a lot about Robin Williams.  I happened to catch an early headline about his death and it didn't say more than he was dead.  I added "of suicide".  I might have gone along without thinking as much about it but there was a lot of facebook controversy over with an extended family member about whether suicide is a choice.  (You can search and find the offending blog post that led to the discussion; I'm not going to link to it and help the person who wrote it get more clicks and more ad revenue).  It was respectful but my comments made me clarify my thinking a lot. 

And then my mom told me something about this video with Robin Williams and Koko, the gorilla who knows over 1000 signs.  I am something of a sucker for Koko because I had to learn sign language when I was a camp counselor and I know how very difficult it is.  The 3rd year I was proficient enough to communicate well enough to get through 2 weeks with difficulty as opposed to SEVERE and moderate difficulty the first 2 years but even though I was conversant for a short while I have lost most of it.  It's not easy.  And so I watched the video and then read that Koko's smile is the first she had made since her companion of 27 years had died 6 months before.  I also saw pictures of Koko mourning her friend.  And so the gorilla made me think a lot more.  So this a variation of what I posted on Facebook:

I think that this is what we most need to think of.....how this man was amazing, and how he did things that go so far beyond the usual human experience, despite his extreme pain and suffering in life and despite the horrible tragedy of his ultimate death. He made a mourning gorilla smile and from all account this is how he interacted with the world. What happened to him in the end does speak volumes about what suffering mental illness causes. But how he lived speaks volumes about the strength that overcomes mental illness in the daily lives of so many who suffer from it.





Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Still boring

One thing about spending a summer healing from major surgery, you don't feel like you are whining on your blog.  I just have so little to talk about.  My ankle is mostly boring although I got the cast boot caught on something in the car the other day and tried out some rotational force which wasn't really ideal.  I'm pretty sure it is fine and just a little bit scared that it isn't because I'm so used to my ankle not holding up to stress.  It's been pretty swollen which in turn leads to crazy nerve symptoms but I haven't been elevating 24/7 since I did it because my nieces were here.  So I've elevate a lot but not like it was my career.  Tomorrow will involve nothing but elevating and if there are any symptoms after that I'll deal with Nurse Rachet on Monday.  It's not worth going up and having my cast removed, a quick check and a new cast which is all they can do.  There aren't big exams of my ankle yet because I don't think the surgeon wants to have any big movements happen yet at all and when they start probably it won't be because he is pushing on it.  He did have me move it a tiny bit last time and he moved it a tiny bit but that's it.  I can move some within the cast and that is safe movement and so I'm assuming that the turning was safe movement even though it didn't feel good.  But nothing obviously tore which is great after the last few years and which I'll have to get used to over time.

In other news Dr. Mind seemed even less interested in leaving when I spoke to him last.  I think that it is possible that this won't happen although I'm still preparing for it to occur.  Right now I feel like I need to run after everyone I know yelling "don't leave me!" because I know that I'm going to lose my brother sometime soon and my cat won't be here for a very long time either and those two losses are enough for me to even think about, much less survive.  I already have a mental note made that Dr. Mind needs to make sure that the person who I see if there's an emergency when he is out of town knows about my brother because he is on vacation fairly soon and if things happen with my brother I will need help.

My nieces were here the last few days.  Anna was as attached to me as she used to be and I have missed that SO, SO much.  She says we are "best buddies".  We spent hours and hours reading and doing her "homework" (coloring).  She now loves books that I have always loved and so we have that in common and it seems to be a great bond.  I love watching her as a big sister.  The baby (who is going to turn one next week!!!!) adores her and it is so much fun to see them interact, although Anne can be too much at times.  I hope they are always so close.

My anxiety level finally has gone down but for whatever reason I cannot seem to get total control. For a while it was panic attacks and then those ended but it was still just very high anxiety and then that improved but I'm having nightmares.  What is worse is that they are often my September 11 nightmare and that is one I could do without.  Because I worked that morning in a basement with no tv, radio or cell service we were limited to the information we got from briefly catching a minute of news while transporting patients.  I saw Tower One fall while writing an order at a nurses' station so I knew the towers were both gone.  It was many hours before the ramifications of that were clear.  But there were many rumors that day that made the news and were then corrected and those were the worst.  I remember entering the PT room knowing that the color had totally left my face to announce that the Capitol parking garage had been bombed.  I didn't know that wasn't true for many, many hours.  It was a day of confusion for everyone but our piecemeal news was very traumatic.  In light of this after the Pentagon was hit (I think) they decided to have us treat patients quickly and go home as they felt this was time to be with family.  I had to work a little later than others because I ad a home health eval that had to be done that day.  So it was even more hours for me before I started to understand or even knew some of what had happened (I don't think I knew about Flight 93 until I finally got home and later was horrified to realize it had flown directly over my head in the first minutes of the hijacking.  I don't know why that bothered me but it always has.  I think it made me extra aware of what the passengers did in bringing the plane down where they did rather than over the several cities they flew over or would have flown over on the way to DC.)  Anyway, at some point all of it meshed into a nightmare where fact and rumors are one and the world is ending because of those events and we are watching the nuclear warheads exploding in the sky.  Those dreams have haunted me from time to time in the last 13 years and they are back right now.  It's probably related to things feeling very out of control.  My brother, Dr. Mind, my ankle......I so wish that I knew what the PLAN was for the ankle.  I know that he varies things according to need but I'd just like to know little things like he told my mom after surgery that it would be 12 weeks before I was full weight bearing.  I'm partial now and doing great with it.  In the plan at 5 days I wasn't going to be weight bearing until 8 weeks when I'd get a boot.  Instead I got the walking cast at 6 weeks with partial weight bearing and I'm supposed to get a boot at 10 weeks.  So I'm assuming that means boot and crutches for 2 weeks then weaning to boot alone and then eventually into a shoe which takes a while from what I've read.  But I really don't know and that annoys me.  I am really hoping that I won't be told not to remove the boot for showers; the idea of a hot shower and lots of lotion is keeping me going right now.  In fact I may just try to sneak a little money from my budget to get some good lotion with a great smell, just for this.  I want the clean that smelly foot and leg so badly and to get all the nasty skin off.  I think I am supposed to get 2 weeks of ROM on my own before PT but again, subject to change.  He seems to see the 12 week mark as a big deal so my guess is that he doesn't want the scar tissue disturbed until then but I'm trying mind-reading so what do I know?

And that's my life.  My good, sweet kidney cat is curled up with me, her defensive move against getting her routine anti-nausea medication.  It's been about 3 weeks since I gave up on most cat foods for her and she's really doing well as long as I hold to my principles (high quality food only).  I had read that cheaper food that was meat in the initial ingredients was as good as top brand food.  We painfully learned that is NOT true as she threw up and threw up and as so very, very sick one day this week.  Her stomach is so fragile that she only has to vomit a couple of times and it will be blood-tinged and this time she clearly felt AWFUL so I felt TERRIBLE.  (The blood no longer scares me, it just makes me sad, especially when I created it).  But now she's back to her usual weird diet of expensive foods, raw eggs, ice water, and tuna in oil and she seems to be feeling better.  I guess I'm learning to navigate this terminal illness thing but I certainly handle dying people better than dying animals.

Sorry this was depressing.  I don't even know how to change it and I guess that just says how I am really feeling right now.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Surprise

So a long time ago, probably 8 or 9 years ago, there was a blog that I read every day.  I didn't really believe everything the woman wrote and I thought that she was more than a little bit of a drama queen and also that she was exceptionally willing to ask for and accept things from her readers, but I thought that this was a choice her readers made and whatever. 

And then she hurt me  As I recall she made a very inappropriate joke about disabilities.  I sent her an email that just said "hey, that's really not funny and from the perspective of someone with a disability here is my little story of why".  She answered and seemed nice enough; I responded to that with a "thanks for being understanding".  Her reply was "well, I won't post THIS one on my blog, hahahaha".  So I went to the blog and she had taken my email, edited it and taken things out of context and even out of the order I had written them, made me look like I was being aggressive and immature, and posted them under a title about what trolls say or something like that.  It definitely contained the word troll.  An when modified and twisted it didn't sound nice.  What I sent WAS nice but it turns out you can edit the most non-confrontational thing into something awful if you want to try.  So I quit reading and then months later became aware that something had happened in her marriage that was bad.  End of story.

Except that the other day I was reminded of her somehow.  I had actually looked for her once before when another blog had an ad for a blog by a totally different name than I knew her by and a commenter had posted something about did you know this was a scam blog, it was written by someone who had pulled off a scam and was known by __________ at that time.  So I was shocked to hear that name but there wasn't anything that I could find so I just forget again.  Until this week and this time I found her.  I also found a place where she was accused of the same kind of things, asking for money for rather strange reasons, exaggerating, etc. 

For whatever reason I decided to read what this person who was so mean to me years ago was writing.  And I've been surprised that she more or less seems normal now.  Still has personality traits that I might not want in my best friend and I have noticed her writing style very often mimics other bloggers (she uses phrases or stylistic patterns that I know are from these other writers because they consistently use them and she just does sometimes, but at least she isn't stealing content, just a favorite word or a phrase here or there.). 

So I've been really surprised that she isn't who I remembered at all.  I still don't trust her, I still wouldn't ever comment, I still question some of what she does but for the most part I think she just writes about her life.  And I somehow had forgotten that people change because I was so afraid of her meanness after she came after me all those years ago. 

Just another reminder that the internet is a weird place.