How Bad Is it? ~ by Sam

Last night, my foot went out.  I don’t mean it had a pleasant night out on the town.  It’s done that, with me in tow (if you’ll pardon the pun), but that was not the case last night.  Last night, my foot just sort of ceased to work.  I call this “going out,” as in, “My foot’s gone out again.”  You know, like when your transmission goes out.  This happens in a number of ways.  What I mean by this is that it simply freezes up and refuses to move.  Sometimes, it sort of seizes, and assumes an usually grotesque position before freezing (often folding vertically in a way that feet don’t actually fold, so that my big toe rotates in to a position that is under or over the rest of my foot).  Other times, it just sort of flattens and becomes stiff, like a boot, all the way through the foot and ankle.  In any case, it is useless, and it feels freshly broken.  No, scratch that.  I would say it feels more painful than a break.  It feels… hmmm… It feels like it was broken, and then…I don’t know…something else happened to it.  Like, maybe it caught on fire, and got slammed in a door.  Yeah.  I’m gonna go with that.

But that’s a mouthful; so I just say, “My foot’s gone out.”

It goes out a lot lately.  I think I should buy it some fabulous jewelry.

Anyway,  this is a CRPS thing, and, yeah, it has been happening, so I guess I had better call my excellent Pain Management doctor, because his job is, after all, to help me manage my pain.

But, see…

It’s hard, because I can’t think of myself like that.  As a person who has a Pain Management doctor, and a chronic pain condition that needs to be managed. Coincidentally, just yesterday, Justice was asking me if I considered myself to be disabled, due to fibromyalgia, CRPS (and a host of other health concerns that have cropped up recently, I suspect), and I told her I don’t.  Of course I don’t.  I am able to get around and do what I need to do.  …pretty much…  I might not feel great, but I get by. …most days…  I mean, I had to quit my job, but I am still able to do a lot of things.  …usually…  I am even able to do things I enjoy.  …sometimes…

And then, here we are, on a day like today, when CRPS has brought me, literally, to my knees.  I am not looking for sympathy.  I am not making excuses.  The thing about CRPS, for me ~ where I am with it, anyway ~ is that I have been advised to just keep using my foot as much as possible, no matter how much it hurts.  I just have to keep making myself use it, even when it feels like it’s broken, and on fire, and someone slammed a door on it, because, if I don’t ~ if I let that stop me, and it stops me for a day, and that day turns to 10 days, then a month, then 4 months, then a year…well, then, eventually, I might lose the use of my foot.  And that  would be unacceptable to me.  I think, perhaps, I am writing today to figure out where it is I stand with all of this.  (Again, if you’ll pardon the pun.  There are just far too many foot puns.)

So, last night, when my foot went out, I took my Nortriptyline, like I always do.  I struggled to get my jeans off and pajamas on over my stumpy boot-foot.  I used the ketamine gel that I only use when I really need it, because, frankly, it’s just too expensive to use more often.  I ran through my exercises.  I cussed while doing all of the above, because, frankly, it hurt like a motherfucker (you can consult the  McGill Pain Index to see exactly how much a motherfucker hurts, if you are curious ~ it’s a lot).

(Sorry.  That was rude.  I probably apologized last night for cussing, too, even though Shane was the only one in the room, and he was asleep.)

This morning, I got up and made coffee, and didn’t help much with getting kids ready for school, and drove Kaia to school.  Then I went to the store, because I had to.  I mean, I probably didn’t have to, but there were a few things we needed, so I did it.  At one point, as I was pushing my cart, a man said to me, “Oh, come on now ~ it can’t be that bad,” and I thought, “Fuck you,” but I didn’t say it, and I think he’s kind of lucky I didn’t say it, because, really, just a little bit, fuck him.  I mean, I get it.  He had no idea what I was going through today.  He has no idea what my life is like.  In fact, I have no idea what his life is like.  He might have a terrible time, for all I know.  But, you know what, it is that bad.  Sometimes, it really is that bad, and I guess, this morning, maybe that was evident, in my demeanor.  I know I was limping.  I know I was using my cart for support.  I can assume I was obviously not having a great time, or he would not have commented.  And yes, as a matter of fact, it really was that bad.  I guess, I’m lucky he didn’t ask me to smile.  Or maybe he is.

On the way out of the store, after I had paid, I noticed a woman walking directly behind me with her shopping cart.  “I’m sorry,” I said, as we made our way through the automatic door, “I’m very slow.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” she replied.  “So am I.” After a moment she added.  “At least we have our carts to lean on. I don’t know how I’d make it without that.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “that does help, doesn’t it?”

We walked very slowly to our cars together.

So, I’ve come to the end of this entry, and I haven’t figured out anything ~ except, perhaps, that, sometimes, it’s enough to know that someone else understands.


The Heat is On ~ by Sam

Both literally and figuratively, the heat is on this week.

After learning recently that we have a termite infestation to go along with the ants, pantry moths, and occasional earwig that we have been dealing with since we moved in to the house since we moved here in December of 2012, we have decided to bite the bullet and have the house tented and fumigated.  I HATE having to make that decision, but, given our situation, it seems like our best bet.  So, this Thursday, we will move in to a hotel room until Sunday.  This means, we have to prepare for fumigation, which includes not only packing for the hotel, boarding the cats and leaving the fish with a friend, but also packing up all of the food that is not in factory-sealed containers.  It’s a lot to think about, and really, a lot to do.

There’s only one problem: I can’t do a lot of the physical stuff involved in the preparation, because I might have broken my scaphoid when I fell on the tiled floor in the kitchen last Saturday.  I go in for a follow-up about that on Wednesday, so I will have more information right when it is too late for me to do much to help get ready for Thursday’s big event.  Right now, I am hunting and pecking with one hand, because it hurts when i try to use the fingers on the hand that belongs to the injured wrist, which, I’m thinking, is probably not a great sign.

I went online to read about the type of injury I might have, hoping to find encouraging news about how rare it is, and how it is much more likely that it’s just badly sprained.  What I found, instead was that, in a fall on to an outstretched hand, a sprained wrist is actually rather rare, and it is much more likely to result in exactly the kind of fracture the doctor at Urgent Care believes I have.

Stupid internet.

The good news is I had the exact same injury a couple of years ago, in the other wrist.  So, at least i developed some strategies for negotiating the world one-handed.  If I end up in a cast again, I am definitely investing in an electric can opener.  It’s the one thing I never got last time, and it really would have helped.

The other kind of “heat” that’s on is the burning pain in my left foot and ankle that comes with CRPS.  CRPS is a nervous system disorder, and I was diagnosed with it last Fall, after an injury in my foot.  Basically, it causes chronic pain.  There are days when my foot just feels like it’s broken, but I am supposed to keep using it as normally as possible, so I don’t lose the use of it.  There is also swelling, discolouration, and a burning sensation.  I mean, really burning.  Like I’m being attacked by fire ants (which actually happened once, when Justice was a baby, and we still l lived in Phoenix, so I know what that feels like.  I don’t, typically, have a lot of that burning pain, but, since we returned from our trip to Maryland in early August, it has occurred far more frequently than usual.  My doctor upped my nightly medication, and has prescribed a Ketamine gel, which is exorbitantly expensive at my usual pharmacy, so I will be checking Costco pharmacy tomorrow for a better deal.

Then, there’s the literal heat.  it’s hot.  To quote the film Biloxi Blues, “It’s like Africa hot.  Tarzan couldn’t stand this kind of hot.”  In truth, having lived in the Phoenix area, I can say, it’s hot, but it’s not that big a deal.  We’re just not used to days on end of above 100℉ on end here in Sunny So-Cal.  We’re not used to it being hot even at night.  Usually, the sun goes dow, and the temperature drops by, like 30 degrees.  Not lately.  It’s just hot.  All the time.  Having my arm and thumb in a stiff, thick black brace 24/7 is especially uncomfortable in the heat but it beats not having a brace, so I can deal.  The plants outside are not thrilled with the heat, but I think they’ll make it.  The forecast calls for a drop in temperatures ~ and maybe even some rain! ~ this week.

With the fumigation looming before us, I know it’s not going to be the easiest week of our lives, but we will get through it, and we’ll get to enjoy swimming in the pool, watching movies, ordering in food, and all of the other little luxuries that come with staying in a hotel.  It will be a nice break, I hope, after a couple of stressful weeks.