I have traveled many miles in the past 48 hours since I last wrote a real blog entry. I feel like I'm in sprint mode now, trying to get everything wrapped up so that I can face my two medical experiences next week with peace. Even though my mom will be here... I'm so used to being self-sufficient and independent, I feel like I have to have everything one hundred percent accomplished before I start drinking the colonoscopy "juice" on Monday. I have to:
- buy Austin's snacks for his retreat this weekend
- make sure he's packed appropriately
- find out when/where I'm supposed to pick him up, which I'm fearful is going to coincide with the time that I'm chained to the potty doing my colon cleansing (lovely picture to paint at breakfast time, right?)
- I have two more presents to buy
- One present that hasn't made it here yet
- All presents to wrap (which I honestly do love to do... I just haven't yet)
- I have to figure out what I can "eat" on my clear liquid diet and stock the house
- Have to make sure Austin has easy prep food to eat for Monday and Tuesday while I'm unable to eat
- Have to make sure all bills that will come due between now and the first part of January are paid
- I want to get all the piles of clean laundry that are in my room folded/hung/put away
- Have to call my landlady and let her know that my mom will be here with a dog and make sure that's ok (she's very sweet but does like to know what animals are here in our neighborhood)
- Have to get all my new prescriptions filled, including my colon cleansing juice
And since we last left this story... I have had my pre-op visit with my surgeon, done the registration at the hospital, had Austin's "final" IEP meeting and visited the pain doctor for the last time this year. Here's a list of the info I've processed over the past two days:
- One surgery might not fix things. It's possible that they will need to handle things in two different surgeries. There is a concern about scar tissue. Not happy about that.
- Recovery should take about 4 weeks. I can return to work after two weeks but will likely not be able to work full days at that point.
- My hospital and surgeon have been paid.
- My blood pressure remains high. The bottom number is the bigger concern, it's always high.
- My heart rate is still too fast but the rhythm is normal.
- Both of these issues are being attributed to pain.
- We are still avoiding any narcotic pain medication for my back problem. There's one medication that helps that I only take at night due to the side effects - they've come out with a longer lasting version that may give me better daytime pain relief. I've been given samples of this to try while I am out recovering from the surgery.
- They called the medical supply company while I was at the office yesterday to see why they never got me the TENS unit - this is a medical device that transmits electronic impulses to the muscles to help with muscle spasms, a frequent problem I have. I could use this at work and not have "medicine head".
- They don't want to attempt any future injections for me. They're costly and don't help.
- It's believed that the largest contributor to my pain is the degenerative disc disease / osteoarthritis. This will continue to be a problem - or as Dr. Givogre said, "you will never have a spontaneous recovery from this condition".
- I have to admit that when he said that, I had visions of people at healing services tossing away their crutches. I believe that God can do anything, even heal a busted up spine. I also know that for some people, what seems to be a disability proves to give them special ABILITY...wisdom and compassion and life experiences they would never have had without it.
- My pain doctor (Dr. Givogre) is encouraging me to continue to work full time as long as I can. He said that *even though* many people go on disability and are able to collect disability with the type of problems I have... his patients on disability NEVER improve, the pain levels don't go down, and they always seem to age faster, and become depressed. He said work is a great distraction from pain. I was very encouraged by this. He also said he can prepare a report for my employer to explain my medical situation and why there are days that I absolutely just can't work... I think I'd like to have that, not that it's ever been requested but just in case.
Austin's IEP meeting went well. An IEP, for those who don't know, is an individualized education plan for a student with learning differences. He has almost always had one. His indicates certain accommodations that the school system is legally required to give him to allow him a "level playing field" so to speak. His calls for things like not having to hand write most work because his fine motor skills are poor... small group testing because he gets distracted in a large group, etc. His IEP also provides a transition plan for helping him prepare for adulthood. They make sure he can do things like balance a checkbook, budget, behave appropriately in a job interview, etc. He has come such a very long way. To have an IEP meeting and find out that he's doing well... it's a huge blessing. There were times I was certain that Austin wouldn't make it to 18 without ending up in jail or a psych ward or as a drop out. He has far exceeded my expectations... even if he does have a "solid C average". He's still in the game. That's huge. I'm extremely proud of him. His room, however, is just this side of an episode of Hoarders. Still.
I'll work full days for the rest of this week... I'll work Monday until 2:30... and that's when the sick leave begins. I know many of you are praying and many more are sending good wishes and blessings our way. Please know that I know that my life is not by chance or happenstance... I couldn't survive without your collective support and I don't take it for granted, not for one second. Thank you for caring. I always pray that God returns a blessing to anyone who blesses me...
Hope you have a great day...