Friday, February 12, 2016

Another day, another epidural.

So the back saga continues. After the MRI a few days ago, the orthopedic doctor could see that there's some herniation between my lowest two vertebrae which is irritating the sciatic nerve and causing the world's worst mucho pain. Every prescription he's given me has done nothing other than either make me sleepy or nauseous but failed to make a dent in the pain. Pah!

Next step is a steroid epidural! Yikes. 

I've had a few epidurals in my day and, since I was already wracked with labor pains at the time, I don't recall any pain when the harpoon needle went in. {I love it when they ask you if you want an epidural and you say "No, not yet", then they say "Well, don't leave it too late 'cause there's a point at which we can't administer it" and you do an immediate 180 on your decision.)  

This epidural will inject pain relief straight into the sciatic nerve I'm told. I may need one and I may need three. It may or may not work. Not wishing to sound glass-half-empty, I'm not overly optimistic since nothing (including Tylenol with Codeine and on another occasion a friend's Vicodin) has helped one iota. (Sorry Iota.) 

I'm just looking forward to being able to get dressed in under half an hour and with less fast-breathing than I currently have to do because of the pain. The current routine consists of dropping my knickers (panties) on the floor, putting my good-leg foot in, flipping them half way up my calf, bending slightly sideways (away from the pain) to grab them with left hand, holding them steady while I (and this is the excruciating part) try to lift my right leg six inches off the floor and into the leg hole. The noises I make too! As for shaving my legs, well that's gone completely out the window, which makes for some embarrassment when you're dealing with doctors who need to touch and/or hold various parts of your lower legs. 

The good news is that the pain I was worried about in my calf isn't a Deep Vein Thrombosis, which would have been a bit scary. That a close friend who's had a few close shaves is deathly afraid on my behalf doesn't alleviate the worry, but at least she could give me signs of an emergency. My doc says the sciatic nerve also controls the muscle behind/below the knee which is why I'm also having pain there. 

Oh, and he says it's all age related. 

Cheeky bugger!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How many syndromes can one woman have?

It turns out that I have another condition or syndrome to go with my recently discovered Misophonia. This one hasn't been given a name yet, but scientists have discovered that many people who sigh a lot, aren't really as miserable as they sound; they just need the air. In fact it's apparently a "life-saving biological function" although most of us sighers aren't aware that we're saving our own lives with our sighing. 

Only last year my mother said, after one particularly deep sigh "I wish you wouldn't do that; it always makes me think something awful's happened." Half the time I'm not even aware I'm doing it, although my 12 year old has a habit of pointing out the more thunderous ones.

On a slight (but relevant) tangent, I had an "open" MRI this morning. My doc wants to see what's going on in my lower vertebrae and sciatic nerve. (I've been in agony, let me just say.) Being ever so slightly claustrophobic I requested an open MRI which was duly booked. I'm not quite sure what I expected, given that the machine is supposed to be taking pictures of the inside of your body, but they're not exactly open. 

They had me lie on a bed thing, then - bring on the claustrophobia - they strapped what can only be described as a loose fitting girdle around my torso, which of course, immediately made me think my chest was constricted. (It wasn't in the least.) With that, they slid me half way under a giant metal roof and I think I said out loud "Oh, this isn't too bad". "Oh, you're going in further", the radiologist replied, ignoring the panic now taking complete control of my face. And so, they pushed me under a giant piece of metal, which was all of three inches from my face.

She's only smiling because the top of this one is about six inches higher than mine, and there is a noticeable absence of any constricting girdle. 

Not only could I not breathe, I started to want to sigh - a feat that was pretty much impossible given the girdle of doom strapped around me. Argh. 

It gets worse. They told me not to move a muscle while the banging MRI noise was going on. No scratching, no twitching and no turning of the head. Which of course immediately meant I felt like I was wearing a hair shirt.

"Are you going to be alright?" asked the doc.

"Yes", I replied (lying through my teeth), "I'm going for mind over matter". 

FIFTY minutes. Fifty minutes I was under that darn thing. Three times I thought I was going to have to shout for help because I needed to sigh and they had told me not to move a muscle. I tried to get my breathing under control by breathing in for four seconds, holding it for four, then exhaling for a bit longer (or something like that). Unfortunately, I forgot that the exhale is supposed to be out of the mouth and I ended up giving myself a stitch! 

So yes, I sigh a lot, and sometimes when it's most inconvenient!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I take my phone everywhere

So I'm not the most technical person. My I-phone has very few purchased Apps and possibly the smallest collection of music known to Apple. It's not synched with anything (that I know of) and until a quick tutorial from my neighbor yesterday, I was unaware of its ability to understand my voice and act accordingly. Sigh. 

But from now on it's never leaving my side.

See, the other day I locked myself in our downstairs loo (bathroom) with no phone and no means of getting out. Utter panic. Just utter panic. The door knob has been dodgy for some time, and ironically, the replacement had arrived in the mail that morning - only to be boxed straight back up because I had ordered Antique Brass instead of Unlaquered Brass so it didn't match the others. Can't have that now can we?

I hate these door knobs, but unfortunately they are all over the house and it would cost a ridiculous amount of money to change them all. Most of them aren't a problem because they're just door knobs, but a select few are privacy locks which look like this - 

See that little pin thing on the side of the rosette? You're supposed to push it in when you want to lock the door then pull it when you want out. Problem is, due to wear and tear, the pin now comes out in your hand. Most of the time we screw it back in and then it operates as it should. Yesterday however, although I screwed it back in, the knob itself continued to turn round and round without making any different to the locked-ness of the door.  

Ours is not one of those loos/bathrooms that houses everything but the kitchen sink (or bathroom sink in this case). Underneath, there's extra toilet paper, soap, tooth-brushing equipment and a towel. That's it. No point in even looking for anything to unscrew the entire look from the door, although the 12 year old swears blind that the implements to clean around his braces would have done the job! 

As I said, blind panic. The loo is in the basement and in the middle of the house, so no amount of shouting would have helped. (Did I mention I was alone in the house?) My husband was out of town (of course) and the 12 year old didn't have a key. All I could think of was that he would arrive at the front door, not get an answer and then not know what was going on. Of course, he would have phoned me but my phone would go unanswered, and he would have no idea what to do. And - he was the only other person due home that day. No sibs, no dad. Nothing. 

I spent a good few minutes trying to do the utmost damage to the door by pulling with full weight on the handle, to no avail. By this time I was shaking and in disbelief. A few more minutes of fiddling with the bloody pin and still nothing. Then, just as the tears were looking imminent, I gave the pin one petulant shove and it engaged, or clicked or something, and I was able to operate the locking mechanism. 

Such was my relief that I had to kneel on the floor for about five full minutes as my legs would simply not support me! I swear it took me a few hours to calm down, even after two cups of tea. 

Lessons learned - 

1. Carry your phone at all times
2. Give the 12 year old a key
3. Remind everyone where the hidden key is (with code for lock box)
4. Disable the latch thing on the door with three layers of duct tape
5. Tell everyone they have to sing loudly when using that loo!

Never again! 

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