After I Tripped; The Physical Therapist (Friday Series #3)

“Are you the car accident?” 

Holy hell! She did not just say that to me!

I had been waiting for twenty minutes as the physical therapist, I had an appointment to see, chatted happily with three other therapists in the gym. No other people, just those three. A few bewildered ‘patients’ finally wandered in and took their places on the various machines. “Ms. J” finally gives me the time of day and announces, to the whole room, I am the car accident.

“No,” I answered firmly and loudly.  “I am not THE car accident. My name is Kim, and I was IN a car accident.”

Two can play this game, sister. I was led into an exam room. She asked me to turn my head to the left and then right. I did. But I couldn’t get my head to go very far to the right and felt nauseous.

Ms. J: “You have a concussion!”

Me: “Well, yes.”

“I can’t work with you.”

“Ahhh … What?

“You will have to come back when you are over the concussion.”

(Screw that! I had to get back to work in one week, we do this now!)

“I’ll find a different therapist, I don’t think I can work with you … ever.”

“Fine! I will let your doctor know what you just said to me.”

“Don’t bother, I am on my way to her office.”

(Peace out, bitch.)

I returned to my clinic. I didn’t have an appointment but I asked at the desk if I could see the doctor briefly. My doctor came out to the waiting room and said she heard what had happened. I was furious and embarrassed. I was in so much damn pain! She took me back to the exam room. She told me not to worry, to calm down. She put me in a neck brace, the one I had refused; the big white ugly neck brace. I felt some of the pain go quiet! She wanted me to go to a warm water pool class with a lady named Avril over the weekend and see if I got any relief. (She knew her.) And then to massage therapy the following week with a man named Paul. (She and her husband were clients of Paul.) She would confirm my attendance with both. I thanked her and headed home to lick my wounds.

Then the most magical thing happened…

(To be continued.)

IMG_0462~Kim

Want to catch up? Last week’s post;  After I Tripped, #2

Kill the Cobra!

So… the hubby and I are both working from home now. How nice, right? We have a strong relationship! I love him! I couldn’t imagine a day without him, but this is incredibly ‘different.’

He has begun day trading, “options.” I know about trading Forex, I am at a bit of a disadvantage with all his talk on options. Calls, puts, strike prices and so damn much more. I’m learning, but it is overwhelming for me right now. The hubby is overwhelming me this week, and he is aware of it which makes it worse in my mind.

I am a cobra! I am quick to bite! I strike when I lose my cool and call him out on even breathing too heavy. Not cool of me! I speak, and then I apologize. I am being a jerk and don’t know what my problem is… it feels like there isn’t enough energy in the room for the both of us. Every movement he makes startles me!

The beauty of this arrangement is that he can help me on my difficult days. Most of my days have been difficult as I am struggling to get my strength back from a long period of illnesses. I am grateful for his help! He cooks, does laundry and takes care of the dogs. He loads and unloads the dishwasher and cleans the bathroom. My gawd, how did I get so lucky? What do I do? Act like a Cobra and strike!

We are working on boundaries. Maybe this is a good thing as we plan to make our move to an RV this summer if the trading goes as planned, and we become mobile enough to make this kind of attempt. I need to watch my tongue. I have a hard time accepting that I can say mean things to the man I love. I really love that he is able to be home and I really love that he really has a knack for trading. I want this to be successful! Then I open my big mouth and bite!

I believe it goes back to the “lack of energy” available in the room where we are both pounding on our computers. We both are trying to talk or listen to our own music. Headphones have helped, but they don’t solve everything. My husband is a very empathic man! This makes him everything he is to me. The only downside is when I wake up like a cobra and he feels my wrath. I need to find a way to kill the cobra.

Are any of you currently home with your spouse all day long? How do you separate work time from social time? Do you have any boundaries in place? How do I kill the cobra?

IMG_0325~Kim

 

 

You Have a New Diagnosis!

The one thing that always bothers me about coming home from the hospital after an inpatient stay is the prompt, excessive billing with nothing to show for it. Can’t they send me home with something? How about a new baby? Maybe that’s asking too much. What about a puppy? A stuffed giraffe? Anything. There should be a parting gift! It’s the only polite thing to do. But no, there is no parting gift.

To my surprise, I was ‘gifted’ a new diagnosis after completing my recent mental health examination. (There is no return policy, I checked.) I undergo these exams every six to eight months as I suffer from clinical depression. To my surprise, after my exam, I was told that I now have a ‘generalized anxiety disorder.’ Well super. Thanks, but no thanks!

It was time to face the music, and I decided to take the medication my doctor prescribed. It is in the “histamine” family! What a relief as opiates and benzodiazepines are on the chopping block for so many of us. My gawd, this stuff is some kind of miracle in a bottle! Why haven’t I found this sooner? I no longer hyperventilate in social situations!

In all honesty, I tend to be a nervous person. I was as a child as well. But there is a big difference between nervousness and anxiety. You can be nervous about an event, but still, you attend and enjoy it. You do not get nervous just going about your daily routine. Anxiety, on the other hand, makes even your normal day feel like you want to crawl right out of your skin!

So what is the definition of generalized anxiety disorder?

Let’s look at Psychology Today for an answer;

Definition

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is much more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. It is chronic, and sufferers experience severe worry and tension, often without provocation. This disorder involves anticipating disaster, often worrying excessively about health, money, family, or work. Sometimes, though, just the thought of getting through the day brings on anxiety.

People with GAD can’t shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that much of their anxiety is unwarranted. People with GAD also seem unable to relax and often have trouble falling or staying asleep. Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms such as trembling, twitching, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating, hot flashes, and feeling lightheaded or out of breath.

Many individuals with GAD startle more easily than other people. They tend to feel tired, have trouble concentrating and may suffer from depression. GAD may involve nausea, frequent trips to the bathroom or feeling like there is a lump in the throat.

When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest of daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

So, excessive worry to the point when even daily tasks create anxiety. Startling easily and physical symptoms; all of which I experienced. In my head, I knew I was feeling things that were irrational, but my anxiety was constantly overriding my thought process. It is challenging dealing with generalized anxiety disorder. I am so relieved I decided to get some help!

Live your best life!

Version 2~Kim

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall.

Just as Humpty Dumpty had his big fall, so did I!

As I reviewed 2018, I realized I was fighting not only frequent fibromyalgia flares since July, but my 51-year-old body was working through some harsh changes, illnesses, and despair. Eye-opener! I spent half of 2018 desperate for emotional as well as physical health! It took time and patience has never been my friend. The battle does eventually end. The only question is how to put me back together again? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not help me, I was going to have to put myself back together.

The work to restore my emotional and physical health has begun. When you are sick, and your symptoms are visible, in your blood labs and on X-ray, you are treated for that illness. However, invisible chronic illnesses are often overlooked during this time. As we know, just because you can’t see it does not make it less critical to treat! More times than not, our invisible illness amplifies during these ‘normal’ sick times. It takes an enormous emotional toll on us that can be quite devastating.

There is an upside, I lost 15 pounds! There is more, and I’m trying to remember what this struggle has taught me. Patience? Endurance? Strength? Possibly all three. I am well aware that the carpet gets pulled out from under us at any time. No warning. No safety net. Boom! Down we go … again and again … but eventually, we put ourselves together again.

I hope 2019 will be a kind year for you and me. Remember, live your best life!

img_1453~Kim

 

Engage.

I made soup! I made soup. Cabbage roll soup. It is delicious and freezes up in smaller portions very well … the point is, I am trying to re-engage in life. Healing from pneumonia that I have takes weeks, sometimes months. This virus has caused my fibromyalgia to flare with a vengeance. The fatigue itself is overwhelming. But there is more to this then just healing from pneumonia, I need to recover mentally from the treatment I received while I was hospitalized.

I entered the Emergency Room on Sunday the 16th of September. (I have been a patient in this hospital over a dozen times; in-patient, I was not really worried as I believed I would receive adequate care.) I was having chest pains and a hard time breathing. I was instantly taken to a room with a crash cart! There were 4 to 6 nurses and technicians with me at once! My clothes were removed, a monitor was hooked up to my heart while an IV was started and blood was taken. The doctor appeared immediately. Morphine was given, and baby aspirin was given to me to chew. I was put on oxygen and wheeled into a different room for an MRI and brought back to my emergency room and given Fentanyl. More blood was taken, and my vitals were beginning to return to normal, but my fever remained very high. I had pneumonia. A nasty case according to the emergency room doctor who said he would be admitting me into the hospital…

Everything went wrong once I was moved to a hospital room. Everything. I was released three days later. It was so traumatizing I cannot write about it to this day… to heal, mentally and physically, I need to put my memories about this hospital stay in a box and close the lid for now. I did send in a survey that was sent to me from the hospital. I filled it out truthfully, painfully, as the nightmares have still not ceased.

In time, I will write my story when my body heals, and my mind can deal with what I went through, this is not that time. 

I have received stories from women with all sorts of chronic illnesses, reading about their very own hospital horror stories. They are brave and strong and wrote about their experience. They had the guts to send their stories to me. I am disgusted and angry at the horrific treatment they suffered through.

What do I do now? 

How do I handle this information?

I want to make sure these horrors never happen to anyone again… I want these women to have their stories heard! I also need to work on a solution. I need to figure out how to ensure patients are listened to and their “rights” to a pain-free hospital stay are upheld! I have been going over story after story… what would make a difference?

I think I have an idea…

The introduction of Palliative Care Medicine Plans for all chronically ill patients:

Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 11.26.34 AM

This is my new project. My goal will be to provide access to these type of care plans for those who need them. I will not stop until I have these types of informational packets ready for anyone who needs one. This will take some time, but it will become a reality.

 

~Kim

The Chronic Illness Hell Flare.

“I will take charge of my illness it cannot be in charge of me.”

Before we begin, can I just explain how much I hate going to the doctor? I mean, getting ready? (Showering is hard but who wants to be the ‘funky’ patient?) The questions! When was your last period? Yes, the question they ask you every damn time, and you can NOT remember! Could you be pregnant? Well, what are the chances of immaculate conception? The enticing but gross magazines. Even though you want to lose yourself in one of those bad boys all you see is “GERMS!”

So back to my initial statement, “I will take charge of my illness it cannot be in charge of me.” I realize this is now bullshit. Because it has me by the rear and is shaking me like the 70’s commercial for shake N bake “…and I helped!”  (Remember that sweet little child in the commercial who helped? If you don’t, I can’t help you understand.) I am not saying, you can ‘control’ this chronic illness at all times, but I am saying you can take charge by coming up with a plan.

Taking charge (in this case) of a flare that has come out of nowhere and I really don’t even know if it is a flare or if an alien really did succeed in taking over my body… ‘taking charge’ means any damn way we can think of! I currently put out an S.O.S. to my doctor. (Did I mentioned how much I hate going to the doctor?) Yes-I-Did! And I LIKE my doc! But I will do whatever she requests if she will just call!!!

My trip to the chronic illness hell flare is called “My FM Day.” I named it. Notice the positive indication of calling it a ‘day’ instead of three days, or a week, or a month? Just stay with me, I know I sound like a crazy person right now.  There is nothing positive about having a flare. I let others know by stating I am having an “FM Day” so I do not have to verbally abuse them.  Those who care to know more will ask. Those who understand will not need to ask and will retreat. So, take a moment and name your ‘hell’ day, week, or month. (Please inform your loved ones of said name.)

  • Got a name?
  • Now get a box, bag or suitcase.
  • And gathered supplies for…

“My [insert hell flare name] Day”

  • Adult coloring books and colored pencils.
  • DVDs.
  • Netflix.
  • Amazon Prime Video.
  • Zentangle workbooks and gel pens.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Journals.
  • Crossword Puzzle Books.
  • Playing Cards.
  • etc.

There will be rescue medications we will have on hand for flares. At times, we will have an S.O.S. call into our doctor. There will be soft PJs and lots of pillows on the bed. Don’t text! Don’t write letters! Talk as little as possible because you will not have nice things to say! Seclude yourself as much as possible but when the flare is over, it is over. Taking charge means we get through IT however we need to!

We will get through this!

img_1722~Kim

Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Deal!

I am battling through ‘something’… a new stage of fibromyalgia? Is this a 50 + club I have inadvertently joined? I have 2 decades of experience with this disease. Does anyone have a third decade under their belt? Did you notice any changes in your third decade? Anything that should be added to the Stages of Fibromyalgia?

So far this is what I am noticing, anyone else please chime in!

  • Just fatigue? Hell no, this fatigue has laid me out for two straight days, close to 48 hours of sleep! An infrequent hour awake here or there.
  • Increased pain. Yep. Maybe because I am not moving around as much? Mr. Pain had definitely laid claim to any waking hours I can grasp.
  • This disease is throwing me a curveball! I never swing at a curve… I may have to adjust my thinking.

This is the cruel part of fibromyalgia. If you are cognizant of the changes your body is going through it is scary, and worrisome. Is this a new symptom that will remain permanent? Am I losing my awake time? My productive time? I am losing days, not hours. Is this a stage I must go through? God help me, I am afraid.

If you are in a full-fledged fibro fog, it is not so scary. (I swear I’ve never wished for fog until this week.) It is scary for those who are observing us. Our poor caretakers. We are mimicking the first stage of fibro, all we do is sleep. For those of us who are in a fog while we flare, we kinda get off easy, we don’t remember much. We simply can’t remember.

I have started a Hemp Salve for pain. I am not going to write too much about it IMG_5021because I need a bit more time with it. So far, works on back pain, arm pain and settles restless legs ‘a bit.’ Definitely more pros than cons. Monday I will call to get my Medical Marijuana Card. I have been eligible for some time but just haven’t wanted to take that step. It Is Time.

 

 

 

Change is scary.

IMG_0390~Kim

Nothing More.

I am a blogger. A simple blogger that happens to have fibromyalgia and a few of its cronies. I blog about chronic illnesses, mostly fibromyalgia. Sometimes a few additional “surprise!” pieces come together and grace this blog. But. I am a blogger. I just want to blog. I have things to say. I have “opinions.”

I run a Facebook support group. A group of women who have come together to question, answer and share about anything really. If you have an issue, we will do our best to help. Other strange things that come up are discussed. Basically, nothing is off topic. It reminds me of a quilting bee, each member presents a handmade square, and when we start sewing these beautiful squares together, we have a magically woven quilt of beautiful stories and tales. We are a part of something! I am an admin of a wonderful group of women who make my day, every day.

I also run a page on Facebook. I repost my blogs on that page as some find it too difficult to find my blog on WordPress. There is nothing wrong with that. Who isn’t tech savvy? Me. (I surprise myself most days!) If I can make someone’s day easier by merely posting my blog in two formats, then that is what I will do. I run a facebook page for my blog posts. That is all.

It got crazy for me a bit. I said “yes” when I should’ve said “no.” I signed up when I should’ve hit delete! No one’s fault but my own… my responsibility to make things right again… I have and I did.

I am a blogger, nothing more.

IMG_5013

 

The Purple Dress, Maybe the Navy?

Guess what day it is? Wedding Day! Yes, my nephew will be getting married at 4pm today. I must say, it is a beautiful day here in Minnesota. They have picked a wonderful venue, and on the invitation, it states this is a casual wedding. Casual…

I am ten pounds heavier than I was last summer. Yes, this matters! (I can’t stand it.) It matters to me. So I have a purple dress. It is a cap-sleeved tee-shirt style, swing dress. I look ‘presentable’ in it. I bought one in green as well. Since the marrying couple is the outdoorsy type I thought I may go with the green, but I got an oil stain right on my left boob from a stupid bowl of pasta I was eating. I have to drop at least one morsel of food at each meal, or it wasn’t really a meal. (And I wonder where the ten pounds came from?) So it looks the purple dress will be my choice.

Purple Cow. “I never saw a purple cow… ” remember that childhood nursery rhyme? Well, I may look like a purple cow in this stupid dress. I think the purple dress may be a mistake. I am running out of options… I have a navy blue and a sleeveless black dress… what can I say? They were on sale! I happened to like these dresses for casual summer days but a wedding? Ten pounds ago, maybe.

The black dress is for a wedding next month. Yes, another nephew is taking the plunge. His wedding is ‘formal.’ So I have the black that has a beautiful chiffon overlay, almost like a poncho, with a delicate floral gray design. (That sucker hides the pounds!)

It is the eleventh hour. My last-ditch effort. The only thing left to do is to get a tan. (Or pray for an even sunburn.) I got all day! The sun is shining brightly, and the wedding isn’t until 4 pm. The last two days have been raining but today, glorious sun! So, now is my chance! I’m going after the sun, then decision time, purple, navy, or sleeveless black (without the chiffon overlay.)

I’ll be checking back for any advice you may have today. Help. 

 

Later that evening, update!

I went with … the purple!

 

And we had a lovely day!

I Need to Find the Entrance.

Its been a very difficult time, I am not going to lie. I am trying to find an exit. No. I am desperately trying to find an entrance (that’s it). I need to re-enter my life again. I need to function as a whole person; wife, sister, daughter, friend … I am struggling, but I am trying.

Since the first week of June, I have been flaring. Not an intense, painful, monster flare (like I am used to). No, this one is different. It is an aggravating, irritating, lingering, foggy episode of uncomfortableness and aching that I just can not get to stop! It will not get better! It will not stop. Why can’t I just get through this flare?

I am short-tempered and crabby. I hurt constantly. I am foggy and searching for direction. I am angry and confused … What the hell is going on with me? I can’t sleep, I can’t cry, I can’t even string a sentence together at times! I can not get comfortable! I feel like someone has literally pulled the skin off my body and all the flesh underneath is exposed. I am scared.

The only constant with fibromyalgia is change. If we don’t like how we are feeling, we wait ten minutes, it’ll change. When we like how we are feeling? Wait ten minutes … Well, I’ve been waiting for a month! Is this my new ‘normal?’ This can not be!!!

So what do we do when we are experiencing symptoms? We call our peeps! We check in. We try to find out if anyone else has suffered through this anomaly? What was your last flare like? Ever had anything like this? We can usually count on one or two of our peeps to say, “oh, yep! Been THERE!” This time crickets. I could find no one experiencing the same kind of symptoms for this length of time, ever.

We take inventory. Food not expired. H2O, yes, hydrated. Bathroom habits, nothing’s really changed. Medication? Taking it on time, as scheduled … wait! Medication! One change in medication … when was that? May29th. I had a medication change, May 29th! A new medication was added on May 29th! Well, I’ll be … I think most of you read about my recent hallucinatory episode. A terrifying experience, but an episode that made me start reviewing my history! One little pill. A medication added for Restless Legs Syndrome. That, my friends, is the culprit!

I went off that ‘new’ medication. I am now dealing with increased bouts of restless legs, pain, and insomnia. But. I got off that intrusive, irritating, time-stealing, mental thief of a medication! I see my doctor in about eleven hours from now. We will be discussing my medication.

We must always take note of new medications. I am guilty of not following through on the first piece of medical advice I ever received and pass along this wise information;

“Know why you are taking a medication and what that medication should be doing for you! Know when you started it and what – if any – benefit or quality of life enhancement it is having on you. If you are experiencing side effects, taper off. If it is not doing anything for you, get off of it!”

Do you keep a medical journal?  How do you keep track of your medications?

 

cropped-screen-shot-2018-02-25-at-12-48-43-pm~Kim

I Almost Lost.

As I sit here, this morning, I need to write about something that makes me feel weak. This results in a feeling of embarrassment and shame. But neither of these feelings are mine to own. What I just went through is a fact of depression, not the exception. While this is still fresh in my mind, I will share it with you. I hope, if you are familiar with these episodes, it may help to know others’ fight to survive them, too.

I have just gone through a significant depression flare. After dealing with depression for over 20 years, (co-existing with my chronic disease) these episodes of deep, dark depression are few and far between, but they happen. They are terrifying.

It started with fatigue, I could not get enough sleep. My neck hurt making it difficult to hold up my head. My lower back screamed in pain no matter sitting, walking, or lying down. But, I-had-to-sleep. My dreams were a black void of nothingness. I teetered on the verge of reality from a bottomless pit of unidentified sorrow only to wake in incredible pain. I felt awareness leave me then return, each time pain attacked my first waking moment. My only conscious thought, “I do not want to be here…”

Yesterday, I reached the deepest part of the vortex. I felt as if an actual blade had pierced my chest, leaving a gaping hole, feeling immeasurable physical trauma. My pain was almost palpable. Growing insidiously with each waking moment, every breath. (“I do not want to be here…”) I was stricken with grief! I felt hot tears release from my eyes, losing the fight for my sanity.

Unconscious…

Conscious…

Unconscious…

My husband never left my side.

Today I crept carefully out of bed, as a doe struggling to stand for the first time. The dull ache of where the blade pierced my chest is a reminder. I know nothing could have been done to prevent that emotional nightmare. While in it, I was not safe,  but I had not the means nor the fight to… “end it.” And today I will recover, slowly, the time in the black vortex still incredibly vivid in my mind. I will fight to remain despite it, I almost lost, but did not.

“I want to be here.”

image-14~Kim

Mind Field Monday

I’ll never give up!

Sometimes we hit the ground… keep getting up.

IMG_0299~Kim