Tennis elbow is a silly name especially as I have not played tennis since early childhood and never employed much repetition or force when I did. But, 1 of 2 doctors agree that I have this tennis elbow nonsense and completely agree they are stumped as to the cause thereby labeling it as insidious tennis elbow. Ohhh, “insidious,” that actually sounds kinda cool…I can deal with that…if I leave off the stupid tennis elbow part. Stupid weak-ass tendons.
Of course, I cannot just have a sore elbow but instead the pain must radiate down to my wrist and make my fingers all tingly and then shoot up to my shoulder inflaming an old car accident chronic whatever blah they call it. With this radiating pain, 1 out of 2 doctors agree that my problem is not tendon related but stems from some nerve cluster in my shoulder that is in dire need of a marketing strategy to develop a clever name like “tennis elbow” so I can remember what the hell it is called. Stupid nerves.
Whatever the cause, what started as a small “what the hell is that” twinge quickly devolved into a partially unusable dominant arm that hurts like a ^&^#$@er. It is as if my elbow was the last line of defense and when it collapsed the whole arm fell to the invading alien pain forces and my defenses have retreated to hopefully fight another day.
Ice. Motrin. Brace. Rest. Physical Therapy. No kettlebells. No weights. No a bunch of other stuff.
I can do all of these but the tricky part for me as always is the resting, or rather staying patient for as long as the resting is required while not going into full on coma-do-nothing-but-veg-couch-potato-bar-butt mode. Must stay engaged enough to still be productive and suck less but not overdo it and make things worse. Blah. It is a line I find difficult to toe.
I have stuff to do! Stuff to write. To craft. Adventures to document. I want to suck less!! I do NOT have time for some annoying connective tissue cords that do not feel like cooperating with the muscles and ligaments to move my arm parts without pain or a cluster of nerves that want to fire non-stop and set my arm on fire. Whichever it is, I have no time for this crap.
A few months ago I had a back episode that luckily went away fairly fast, I am hoping this arm thing will resolve itself just as quickly; it is really aggravating to be such a delicate flower! I am hopeful this morning, as I feel much better than I have for over a week so I am trying hard to not overdo it by typing, walking, cleaning and battling a squirrel that is trying to eat her way into my living room as the cats snooze unconcerned on the couch. However, I am preparing myself for a few months of tender loving care, especially since it takes so dang long to get physical therapy appointments and the true cause seems to be a stumper.
Once I am all healed, I look forward to swimming in a straight line, sleeping through the night, gripping things, not dropping my phone on my big toe, walking with my arm swinging naturally, not dropping a knife almost on my big toe, the end of motrin stomach, understanding advanced calculus, not stubbing my big toe randomly and an overall physical perfection only otherwise achieved through good lighting, a professional blowout and Photoshop. I will be happy with any of those. Especially the last one. And all involving my big toe.
Not really related but still annoying, in this on-demand day and age why can’t I find a legal way to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier?? So lame! My Marvel Universe fest has been stymied.
Four years ago today I replaced my lame hip with a shiny new bionic one. I had prepared for the procedure from the moment I heard a nasty pop as I rushed to a Madonna concert in San Francisco. I had everything set for my surgery and recovery and then took my hip on a farewell tour before I went under the knife. In the end I have the best result I could have hoped for but I am still amazed I survived the hospital and nursing home.
My hospital stay coincided with a staffing reduction so nurses and other staff were a bit scarce at times, working in unfamiliar wards and covering more patients than they should; I do not in any way blame the staff for some of the errors as they were doing their best in a difficult situation. My experience has given me a definite perspective on healthcare and how one must prepare and be aware when being treated.
The biggest blip was that I was one of the very lucky few that had an epidural that did not take. Since there was confusion and I was given blood thinners, it could not be removed right away but since it was still in I could not get extra pain meds to compensate for it not working. That was fun.
Once I was left alone on a bedpan out of the reach of my call button and I had to wiggle myself close enough to my cell phone and call my sister to find a nurse to rescue me; man that hurt. The first night, someone left the blood pressure cuff on my arm for hours, luckily it was not pumped up too much but it still left a lovely bruise. I was given a stronger dose of Dilaudid than prescribed and thought my arm was going to burn off as it entered my veins.
For my surgery the doctor went in from the front, a newer technique at the time, and this required being moved in different ways than staff was in the habit of moving hip replacement patients. The time I was moved incorrectly was so painful I screamed louder than I ever knew possible.
My time at the nursing home had its own set of issues mostly because I was stubborn and wanted to do everything for myself when I could but the staff still treated me like I was a complete invalid. Words were exchanged many times but I always won.
I was given the wrong medication more than once but luckily knew the color and shape of my pills and could get my dosage fixed; I admit the one time I had an extra oxy in cup I popped that sucker and felt much better for a few hours. Because my primary doctor and my surgeon were not in the same practice, there was confusion over which doctor was supposed to sign my various medical orders, so no one did until a social worker finally got involved after I threatened to walk, well wheel, out. So much red tape.
I had a bit of an issue with a lady taking my blood who didn’t appreciate my suggestion that the vein she was trying to use was not going to work; I was right but I still had to take all her extra pokes. I really dislike her to this day.
Even before my procedure I had a couple issues while getting my first MRI, I learned that I am in fact claustrophobic, I have no “happy place” but I can eventually calm myself down with focused breathing and valium.
My stubbornness led to an early release from the nursing home and I continued my recovery walking around the hood with my cane. I was due one more set back as I overused my shoulder and had rotator issues, another MRI and more physical therapy.
But I recovered. While sometimes it feels like I am sitting on a cast iron ball, I no longer have pain, my scars are mostly faded and luckily I am not one of the 5% of the people who have a hip joint that squeaks when they walk. What a nightmare that would be.
So happy 4th birthday bionic hip, glad to have you aboard!
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I now have bifocals,
And my eye doctor is a tool.
I have been going to the same eye doctor for over a decade now. My first visit to him was due to my goopy eye infection and the fact he had a wide-open, newbie-doctor calendar and ever since I have not been able to shake him when setting appointments; it is amusing.
Dr Ted, not at all his real name, is awkward. Beyond awkward really. Every visit is like the worst first date with a smart, hot guy that you wish had a personality but doesn’t. He accidentally insults me, he talks about himself, he goes on random tangents that make no sense, he leaves the room with no explanation while I just look puzzled, furrowing my brow which just makes it more difficult to insert all the eye drops.
Many years ago, Dr Ted was commenting on how my prescription barely changes and went on a random tangent about LASIK surgery when, as he was selling me on this procedure I never asked about, he glanced at my chart and said, “ohhhh” in a rather sad voice as if he just noticed I had a terminal disease. Turns out I did, he noticed my age.
“Oh, I was going to suggest LASIK but you are getting up there in age so that would just be a waste of money; you’ll need bifocals soon.” The look on his face was so sullen, like everything was about to fall apart for me and not just my eyeballs.
“That is okay, I wasn’t interested in LASIK but good to know it would be pointless,” I replied with a shrug as my mind began to race about my inevitable demise.
I was able to turn “my rude eye doctor calling me old in a roundabout way” into a funny story to entertain the co-workers, but the horror of his face left me worried.
Flash forward a few years and I began to notice changes. The computer would get blurry as the day progressed. I started taking off my glasses when I read which luckily is hardly ever. I placed my phone next to my chin so I could look at it under my glasses. My eyeballs felt strained at times.
It was obvious it was time for bifocals, so I avoided the eye doctor for a couple years. Really, that is the smartest way to handle all such situations, ignore them until they go away or just blow up. Finally after my beloved Internet time was being reduced due to eye strain and a bit of family mockery, I headed to see Dr Ted.
There was the usual intake stuff with the nurse. Then the doc showed up, then he left, they he came back told me about his trip to Boston, then he left, then he came back and told me in great, mind-numbing detail about why old people need bifocals, I mean progressive lenses which seems to be the politically correct term now, and eventually we were in full eye exam mode.
The exam it self is always boring. I try to make out letters I can’t really see and just guess. I try to determine which view is better when they pretty much look the same. I get drops to numb my eyes, drops to dilate my pupils, and others to turn them yellow; I let him do this when I really have no idea why but it seems to serve a purpose. I rest my chin on a thick pad of blotter paper, look at the cheesy bunny sticker while the brightest light known to man shines in my dilated pupils and blinds me. I look at his ears, look down, look left, have some machine shoved into my eye and finally I am done
He explained more about these fancy schmancy lenses but I was too busy enjoying all the cool colored spots floating around to really listen. He left the room and eventually the nurse came back to let me know I was done and led me to the optician dude for all my new glasses needs.
After 5 minutes with the optician, let’s call him Analdy, I began to think that maybe Dr Ted was not so bad. Analdy was so, um, particular. I would find a pair of glasses, put them in a “maybe” pile, grab another pair and the previous pair was gone.
Turns out most glasses, according to Analdy, make me look angry…grrrr. The cool ones do not sit on my face right. Stupid face. The smaller ones would not work for my new lenses, which is good as they are going out of style and I am nothing if not stylin’!
Analdy, loves to use the royal “we” to the point of wanting to punch him. “WE” did everything together, until WE had to hurry up and get to lunch, so WE picked the one pair of glasses WE found acceptable. However, WE did not pay the bill that was all ME.
HOLY %^&^%$ BALLS PROGRESSIVE LENSES ARE EXPENSIVE!
Anadly neglected to mention just how much more these fancy schmancy lenses were going to set me back. Especially since he convinced me to get the prescription sunglasses as well since they were 50% off as a second pair and I would be losing money if I skipped them. Sigh.
When I returned to pick up my ^%$# expensive glasses with the fancy schmancy lenses, I was treated to a very detailed fitting with a tutorial on how our human heads are square until they are round in the back. Um, okay. Also, I learned that when WE want to see something WE have to point our noses at it so the fancy schmancy glasses will have the right part of the lens for the failing eyeballs. WE heard this about 8 times and WE wondered if this concept is really that difficult for us oldsters to follow.
So far the ^%$# expensive glasses with the fancy schmancy lenses seem to be working nicely. I can see my computer, TV and phone, which covers all my needs.
I only have one issue: walking. I like to look down and be very careful on where I place my feet to reduce the opportunity of landing on my butt, which is not good for us oldies with replacement parts. With the new glasses I have to point my damn nose at the ground or it is just a blur. So basically I can look like a moron, in stylin ^%$# expensive glasses with the fancy schmancy lenses or look like a moron spread eagle on my butt on a sheet of melty ice. Kind of a toss-up.
So now I have bifocals and a bionic hip. I still think about the look on Dr Ted’s face and wonder what is coming my way next and how much it will set me back to correct. Now that I can see in the mirror more clearly, I may have a clue and it rhymes with *&^%$ krinkles.
I have been trying to fill in that silly “About” page on this blog and I have no idea what to say. So for fun, I thought I would just write down everything that popped into my head about myself and see what came out. So this is me, sorta, not really, probably:
Even though I need to do more and ponder less, my first step to get out of my rut is more pondering. Pondering with a purpose to make an honest assessment of where I am and how I got here. I am pretty sure there are some inspirational quotes that perfectly fit here but I don’t feel like looking. (UM, THE INTERNET, YOU ARE ON IT)
I spent an afternoon in silence with a notebook, a handful of colored pens, letting my thoughts wander and writing down what seemed important. I paced, I played with my kitties, I doodled and I even dusted at one point. (BORING) I wish I could say I had some revelation but every thing that bubbled up, I already knew even if I was doing my best to not acknowledge it.
The purpose of this blog is to help me happily embrace my upcoming 50th birthday and to climb out of the rut I slowly slid into over the last few years. Enough with the pondering, it is time for the action.
Posts will include half-baked thoughts on what it means to be a better person, the not-so-awesomeness that is a healthy lifestyle, and the unexpected joys of aging. Other posts will be slightly embellished tales of spinster’s mundane life as well as a heavy dose of her ever-changing interests and obsessions.
My history with milestone birthdays is full of unnecessary dread and anxiety followed by a shrug on the big day, a realization that all the contrived stress was kind of silly and regret that I didn’t just enjoy myself. This time is going to be different. (FINGERS CROSSED.)
I am writing this for myself, there will be typos, some poor grammar and probably some rambling in need of an editor. (JUST WHAT THE INTERNET NEEDS) Oh well. I’ll live and so will anyone who stops by.
While getting older kind of blows, it is much better than the alternative so I may as well have some fun along the way.