“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.”

    - Natalie Goldberg -

I VOWED THAT WHEN I GOT OLD…

I vowed that when I got old I would never sit around and talk about my aches and pains.  Well, that ship has sailed.  Now I not only discuss it at home and on the  phone, but I write it in my blog for the whole world to enjoy. In my defense I can say that at least I have a sense of humor about it all.

So, what’s the update on my health.  I’ve been driving 15 minutes north crossing on the Gifford Ferry and going to my Physical therapy.  I did this twice a week until the day that my PT said that I had reached all my goals.  That would be a zero degree for straightening my knee and 126 degrees of bending my knee.  She said I could now have her work on my back which was hurting when I did anything with my arms extended.  We attributed that to favoring one leg or the other all winter long.  We had one session a week ago on Thursday.  On Friday morning when I woke up I felt stiff.  I didn’t think too much about it.  At 10.30 I went to a meeting at the library and my back was started to hurt.  The meeting lasted an hour and when I tried to get up it hurt a lot.  I realized then that something was really wrong.  I sat in the car for a minute deciding what I should do.  I thought I could drive over to Colville, 28 miles away and go to the ER but as I drove I remembered that the clinic where I get my PT was open on Fridays.  I caught the ferry again and headed for the clinic.  I got out of my car ok but when I reached the door of the clinic I couldn’t take another step.  The receptionist got me a wheel chair and wheeled me in.  A doctor saw me and diagnosed Sciatica.  I certainly didn’t remember pain like this in sciatica before.  She gave me some muscle relaxer, 5 days of Prednizone and tramadol for pain.  I wheeled myself out to my car and headed home.  Fortunately driving didn’t seem to affect my back at so I arrived home safe but not so sound.

It was the July 4th long weekend, so there was nothing to do but wait till Tuesday for my next appointment with my PT.

When I went on Tuesday my PT basically said that there was nothing she could do about my back because whatever it was, I was in too much pain to work with.  She came to this conclusion by lifting my leg and watch me scream and grab for the ceiling.  After breaking into tears I agreed with her completely.

The the plan was for me to go into Spokane to my regular doctor (G.P.) and see what he recommended.  I phoned and got in the next day.  When we met and I explained my problem he said what I needed was a MRI.  BUT I would need an x-ray of my lower spine because the insurance would not fund an MRI without previous Xray.  So I went and had my back x-rayed but since I couldn’t stand up straight it took forever just to get two pictures.

We went home to wait for the results. Meanwhile I am sleeping in a big leather armchair so I can get into a fetal position.

The next day I called my Dr. office and was told that I needed to come back to the office to review my x-rays.  This meant another 140 mile round trip.  They could now order a MRI because the x-ray showed nothing (dah!). By this time Dale and I are both getting very impatient so the nurse hopped-to and got an appointment for the next morning at 6:30 am.  We would have to get up at 4 am to make the appointment but we could do it.

The next morning we were up and on our way at 5 am.  We arrived at the lab on time but the tech came out and said that I was scheduled to have the MRI tomorrow morning, not today.  It might have been the look on my face that prompted her to say that if I could wait 20 minutes she would work me in. What a relief!  Though it was short lived because I would have to lie flat on my back and I hadn’t been able to do that for a week.  But I persisted and the tech told me that it would only take 20 minutes.  My back was right on the verge of a spasm but I did everything I could think of to stay still.  I hummed, counted forward, counted backward, thought about Brad Pitt and did math problems in my head.  It was a VERY long 20 minutes.

So we headed home and decided that we would go out on the boat for the afternoon. We were just coming in for supper when my Doctor’s nurse phoned.  The conversation went like this

“Is this Gail?”

“Yes”

This is Dr Condon’s nurse.  We got the results of the MRI”

“OK what did you find?”

“Well, there is a lot going on in your lower back. You have several bulging discs, lots of osteoarthritis, your degenerative spine disease is now severe. Things are not great.”

“I see.”

“ The doctor has told me to send these results over to a neuro-surgeon today.”

“Well that sounds like surgery.”

“I’m afraid so. I’m sorry we hoped that a steroid shot would work but I guess not.”

“Ok I’ll wait for them to call, thanks for the phoning me.”

So here I am waiting again and I a lot of pain.  Also a little bummed out.  Things are not looking good.

More Later..

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