Poison Ivy

Okay, I’ve had it for about a week now, so I think I’m entitled to do a little bitching. Well, probably not, actually… since it was my dumb ass who went out to clip a few feeds from the flower beds without wearing gloves. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ What makes it worse is that it’s not the first time that I’ve done it. Every couple of years something motivates me to cut some of the crap out of the flower beds, and each time I end up with poison ivy, poison oak, poison whatever on my hands… πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Thankfully most of it is on the back of my right hand, with a little bit on my left and some random spots on both of my arms. But I’ve got some topical steroid goo that I’ve been using, and then I have calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream waiting on the bench. But lemme tell ya… even though I know it’s not a good thing for it, having hot, hot shower water hitting itchy poison ivy areas is the most awesome yet most horrible feeling possible, but at the same time. πŸ˜πŸ˜£πŸ˜‹

I’ve never claimed to have any allergies, but I’d have to say that whatever this is breaks that idea. I can see the puffy on the back of my hand, and of course some of it is blistering, but while it’s annoying… really annoying… it makes me think of the poor folks who are allergic to peanuts, shellfish, etc- causing a similar reaction all over. 😯😬 I guess some people have to even go to the ER if they get poison ivy… but with folks like that, I guess I’m just not sure when you know if you should go. πŸ€”πŸ˜³

I guess that’s because mine isn’t near that point… and also because it really seems like one of those things where you’d sit in the waiting room for an hour and a half, and they’d send you on your way with a prescription for whatever poison ivy goo you’ve probably already got at home. 😏 Meh… distracting myself now with a movie that Dad suggested. I was gonna fall back on a Bond movie since I couldn’t think of anything that I “haven’t seen yet, but should” until Dad reminded me about Age of Adaline. That’s one that I remember wanting to see even when it first came out in theaters, so I don’t know how it has stayed under my radar for the past five years or whatever it’s been… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Predictably Unpredictable

Had one of those fortunate times where my workers comp doctor appointment coincided with my neck acting up. Obviously “fortunate” is a relative term… but I think it’s important that the doctor sometimes see me at the worst of my worst times, since at many of my appointments I’m “okay.”

The spasms started yesterday, after carrying a big bag of cat food in from the garage. It used to be that I could still use my right arm to carry about any amount of “dead weight” … where I don’t really do any lifting but just let whatever-it-is hang there at the end of my arm. I guess I’ve got to be more careful about even that now.

It makes sense that something heavy, carried with my right arm, could still pull across the muscles and tendons of my neck and therefore irritate the damaged area… I’m just not stoked about the potential of losing even more ability than I already have. 😟 I’m also not stoked that sometimes just the act of sitting down a little too hard triggers a nerve spike that radiates out over both of my shoulders. 😣 I know I’ve got a big head, but just that little bit of “extra” downward force on my neck… it’s scary that that’s enough to sometimes cause an unpleasant jolt.

But my visit with the doctor was productive. It’s great that after more than a decade (with a basically stable, yet slowly deteriorating condition) he’s still more than happy to give me as much time as I need at an appointment, and this was one that took a little longer as we discussed everything. And while I’m not a fan of the process, we both agreed that it’s probably time for another MRI to see what’s going on in there. 😳 Now, whether workers comp will approve it, that’s another matter.

This was one of those “C’mon, there has to be a way to make it where I don’t hurt like this.” visits, which are probably as frustrating for him as they are for me. 😐 It’s just that there’s only a limited amount of reasonable things we can try, and I’ve already done treatments like cervical spine injections – which only provided limited relief, both in the amount the pain was reduced and for how long. πŸ˜’ And with the risks involved in that method, I’m not sure that it’s worth it when adjusting my meds could prove to work better.

Meh… I’m so tired of medical stuff. 😞 But I’ll wait to see if the MRI is approved, I’m also waiting for a call back about some other things, and then we’ll just go from there. Like I told him today, I’m still too young to just accept that this is how I have to feel, and I haven’t battled with workers comp for this long just to feel “bad, but not really bad” most of the time. πŸ˜’ If there are still things that could help me, they need to remain open as options – otherwise what’s the point? Thankfully, he still seems to agree.

Oh Yeah, I’m Still Quite Broken

I enjoyed having some company for a few days, but the one reason why I’m glad that she’s back at her own house now? So I can have my damn chair back. πŸ˜… She’s like me… for whatever reason, we both find the recliner to be the best place to sleep. So while she’s here she sleeps in the living room and I sleep in my bedroom… on my crappy mattress. πŸ˜’ It’s not always bad… but the odds say that you’re more likely to wake up feeling like shit than not – and every night that she’s been here recently I’ve woken up wishing that someone would just put me out of my misery. 😣 Thankfully, hot hot shower “until the hot runs out” makes a lot of it go away.

I think that steroid injection did work, and I think it is starting to wear off… so I’m just having to get used to regularly waking up in pain again. It’s almost enough to make me not want to do an injection again – because, believe it or not, I can get used to the pain… but not if some magic shot makes it go away for a few weeks before letting it get me again. πŸ˜ͺ I’m not meaning to bitch though… I just wanted to say that I’m happy that I’ll be able to sleep in my recliner again and at least give myself a shot at feeling decent in the morning.

The past few days have been really good for me though. I went and did my own grocery shopping without any problems, and then yesterday I went with Cassi when she did her shopping… and at neither time did I feel like running from the store or stabbing anyone in the face. 😈 I think it’s because she’s one of the few people that I can feel human around, which sometimes lets me do human things. Lemme tell you, as weird as this stuff probably sounds to “normal” folks, it’s even more confusing and frustrating to me, the one experiencing it all. 😐

I’m not gonna make any concrete plans based on how I’m feeling after the past few days, but I will say that I’m gonna try to keep rolling with the positive vibes and see where that takes me. 🀞🏻 I’ve got some things in mind, but I don’t wanna pressure myself by laying it all out. See, it is possible to really hurt and still feel somewhat okay. πŸ€” Some days are obviously worse than others, but I have to convince myself that feeling physically miserable doesn’t always mean that my entire day will be destroyed. I know it’s possible.

Faith In Medicine

Got up early yesterday and went and got that steroid injection taken care of. Since I was having it done at a local “surgery pavilion” (yeah πŸ™„ I know) it ended up feeling like the real deal. 😯πŸ₯ I had to strip and change into a gown in the staging type room, got all wired up with sensors and an IV, was rolledΒ way down to a procedure room full of huge lab machines, and when I was done they wheeled me all the way back up to a different area (recovery) where, after having my vitals taken a couple more times, I got dressed again and then had some bloke guide me to the exit. 😳

The doctor that did the procedure is the same one that I’ve been seeing every month for the past decade, so after seeing him for years in “diagnostic mode” – it was kewl to see him in that environment, runnin’ the theater, calling out to either of the nurses for this and that, and then of course jabbing me with needles. πŸ’‰πŸ˜¬ And I’ll admit, some of the stuff hurt a little more than I expected. Kind of like when you get a tattoo on your bicep, the underneath part is super sensitive… well, in order to get me numbed up, the area(s) that he had to hit repeatedly with the lidocaine injections had that same “YOWZA!” effect.

So, the site was numb, and he went in… needle, then saline, then dye, then… oops, a bit of blood. 😯 I’m not sure exactly how bad that could be, but none of them seemed worried and he decided to try one level lower instead. (Which means I had to go through the anesthetic process all over again. ☹ Yay.) This time it went without issue… but let me tell you, it’s quite an unusual sensation having extra fluid (as limited as it probably was) pumped into your spine. It’s like it’s used to a certain “normal” pressure, and that bit of extra… at least for me, it was like someone plopped down on my back for a few minutes. So strange.

My doctor is awesome though… and I’ve probably said that to various people in various places over 100 times by now. 😏 But he talked to me through the whole thing, told me everything that was happening, everything that was getting ready to happen, and then when I was in the recovery room he came out and showed me the pictures, described it all over again to make me feel at ease, and that was about it. πŸ€— There was a lot more “fuss” than I was expecting, but if I notice that it’s making a difference over the next few weeks I certainly won’t object to doing it again when needed. 🀨 ‘Cuz something’s gotta give… something has to eventually work better on me again, right?

The day before all of this, I stopped in again to see Mom and Dad. πŸ‘ͺ As I was telling him about what I was getting ready for, he mentioned the procedure that he was getting ready to have… but he said it in such a “matter of fact / no big deal” type of way that I didn’t really pause to consider the seriousness. πŸ€” More serious than mine, anyway. A heart cath is one of those common-ish surgeries where you just expect that cardiac surgeons can basically do them in their sleep… but each patient can obviously be very, very different – so you can’t really say for sure how safe it is or isn’t. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

But, and I think it started way back when Mom had a brain tumor removed, for whatever reason I just have a strong faith in medicine, the people that practice it, along with the technology and science behind it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yeah, I’m all fucked up now, but not because of the fusion surgery… it was because of the delay of the surgery. So that’s why I wasn’t sweating my injection yesterday, and why I’m only slightly sweating Dad’s upcoming procedure. Oh, and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention God in all those things I said have faith in… but yeah, he’s absolutely watching over all of it, for all of us, so while it’s not a guarantee – it does add a subconscious sense of “unconcern” when thinking about it all.

Bad, But Not Bad Bad

Well, “Doctor Visit #1” is out of the way. Going in, I definitely didn’t know what to expect. I know what I feelΒ (and hear) inside my neck, but I wasn’t sure if the MRI was going to accurately reflect that. πŸ˜• And… it did but it didn’t. πŸ€” Comparing it to an MRI from years ago, he could see more damage directly above the fusion area – but not so much that it requires more surgery. So I guess I got my wish… not that I want to hurt, but that I wanted it to show why I hurt, because I do. (Oh, and I actually have C5, C6, and C7 fused. I thought, for some reason, that it was only C5 and C6.)

It gets tricky now though, because my WC claim only allows for very specific parts of my body to be included. And even though any doctor that you’d ask would know that fused areas often end up with increased damage either above or below the fusion point, because that area isn’t specifically allowed by my claimΒ it may be a fight to get anything done in that regard. 😠 So, even though there’s a suggested course of action, if WC won’t concede that the damage is related to an area within my claim, there’s probably gonna be a delay. πŸ™„ Again.

First of all, he said there doesn’t appear to be much stenosis… a word that I’ve learned to fear from my mom’s own experience with it. 😳 But after spending a little more time than usual trying to describe the where/when/why/how of my current pain, he suggested that we try a steroid injection directly into my spinal cord area. 😯 I guess he’d inject some contrast dye first, and then while under some sort of scan – he would carefully puncture the right areas and inject the steroid, while being careful not to puncture the wrong areas. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ’‰ A bit unnerving, yes, but I have to do something.

Like I told him… I can’t even explain how much this injury and surgery have stolen from me over the past decade. πŸ˜” Who I am now is not who I was back then, and I don’t hesitate to put a lot of the blame on this disability. But to have my life changed so greatly, yet still be experiencing this kind of pain on a daily basis… frustration doesn’t begin to explain it. πŸ˜‘ But anyway, he’s doing what he can, and he doesn’t like the fight against WC any more than I do, but it’s just how things have to be done. So we’ll see over the next week if it’s allowed or if I’ll have to figure it out some other way.