Check my Defend Equality page
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly
Breakfast: Oatmeal and blueberries
TODAY on DVD
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Getting to know me....
GROWING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSIES
21 March 2004
First of all, thanks so much to all who sent congratulations on my journalversary yesterday! You really know how to make a girl feel special.
Of course "girl" is a bit of a misnomer, as this entry will prove.
I need to put a big disclaimer on here. This is going to sound like some cranky, hypochondriacal old lady bitching about her lot in life. In fact nothing is further from the truth. But my mother asked this morning how my shoulder was doing and I started trying to explain some things to her and we got to giggling about it and I wondered if I could make it into an entertaining journal entry. I want to explain how my life has changed since my accident. Most people would never know to look at me because Ive never been one to complain (much), but I would have to admit that life has become more "challenging" since the accident.
To appreciate it, you have to know exactly the state of the various parts of my body.
The left shoulder is uncomfortable-to-painful all the time. It ranks on a 1-10 scale about a 2 when its good, and probably an 8 when its not. ("8" comes whenever I drop something and automatically jerk to catch it...oh can I turn the air blue with comments at that point!)
The left knee, which I injured three times (twice the day of the accident, and once again when I took a header over Jeri's feet and into the sidewalk a week later) is always numb-feeling and when I do anything athletic (walking, biking, etc.), it feels like there is a tight inch and a half wide band of sinew around my knee, which gets tighter by the movement of my leg. Lately there is also a pain in the veins behind my knee, which look like they might be varicosed.
A few months before the accident, I saw the doctor about my right big toe, which he said he could tell, just by looking at it, had arthritis. It is always uncomfortable when Im walking. In the 2-5 range on the pain scale, depending on the shoes I'm wearing. He told me I could take ibuprofen but he decided to have the toe x-rayed just in case. A month later (Kaiser is so efficient), I heard from him that there was a old improperly healed fracture noticed on my x-ray and if I wanted a referral to orthopedics, to let him know.
(I'm assuming that the fracture occurred at some point when I must have done something to the toe because I remember writing an entry thinking I might have gout. The doctor said it looked like an old fracture.)
By this time Id been walking around with a fractured toe for a long time and was about ready to go to Australia. I didnt want to risk starting any "cure" that would affect the trip, so I just let it go. I havent checked back on that.
One thing about Kaiser. Its a great medical plan for general things, but they are so big and so busy and getting an appointment is such a hassle, that it really does make one think about adopting a Christian Science philosophy. If its not excruciating or life-threatening, it just seems like too much of a hassle to deal with Kaiser. Especially Orthopedics, as I have discovered during my recovery from this bike accident (witness my in-depth, thorough 4 minute exam by the doctor, who dismissed me as cured after a 2 minute physical exam and a 2 minute discussion of the book I was reading).
So Im just living with these minor irritations, but it does make life...uh...interesting at times.
I have been, all my life, totally left sided but now its like Im back in kindergarten with Sister Mary St. Patrice trying to convert me to being right-sided. I can wash dishes with my left hand, but cant put pressure on a crusty pot to scrub it, so have to do that with my right hand.
Everything I do makes me stop and think the mechanics of it. "Lessee...I can take it this far with my left hand, then I have to change to my right hand, but that is awkward, so at this point I can switch back to my left hand." "I can't carry this heavy box because my arm can't take the weight, but I can push it along with my foot, but not the foot with the broken toe..." etc.
The simple act of getting up off of the floor is a major production. Cant kneel on my left knee and have to keep the left leg straight, but I cant put much weight on the right toe and I cant lift myself by pushing up with the left arm, which would be the natural thing to do. I can DO it (get up off the floor unaided), but sitting there just running over which steps need to happen and in which order with which extremity is really pretty silly.
I went to get something off of a high shelf the other day and had to climb on a chair to do it. I stood there in the kitchen rehearsing which leg felt like it could handle my weight and which arm I could use to balance with.
I used to hop on and off of chairs without even thinking about it. It does give you an appreciation for how a well-oiled machine really works, Ill tell you!
Coming downstairs in the morning is also fun. The knee doesnt bend right yet, right out of bed, so that stays straight, and the arthritis in the hips wakes up (but fortunately goes back to sleep very quickly after its had a cup of coffee), but the right ankle, first thing in the morning, has to be encouraged to take all of my weight or it sends shooting pains up into my right knee. So I lumber down the stairs like a hippopotamus, bouncing off walls. My only consolation is that at that hour, the only eyes which see me belong to the dog and she aint talking.
All this makes me sound like a mess, which Im not, and I rarely mention it at all out loud, and dont really think about it much, unless I have to get down on the floor for some reason or other and then I find myself laughing at the whole predicament of no longer knowing which extremity to use for what.
But this whole thing has certainly given me a new appreciation of the fluidity with which the human body works. I probably will never again get to the point where I do things without having to think about them. I should have appreciated the ability to do that while I had it.
Growing old is definitely not for sissies.
Weight Lost to date: