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Showing posts from 2011

It's a good day for a blog post

First the good news: my diabetes has gotten even better in the last three months, despite the stress and compromised activity of pre- and post- neck surgery! I'm even going off one medicine.
The weird news is the reason I ended up at the doctor this morning. I have been swelling up like a balloon lately and last night discovered I had gained 10 pounds in a week! Every part of me is puffed up, including my sad face. You know there's something wrong, right? I went to my endocrinologist this morning, certain my kidneys are failing and it's time to fare thee well, cruel world! The nurse practitioner was a little more practical and sleuthed that it was probably one of the medications I've been taking for my neck! You know, the one that causes peripheral edema and weight gain? Yeah, the one I just started taking more of last week! So we're going to back off on that one because my neck pain is pretty much gone anyway. I was just taking it for the associated nerve pa…

The crazies have set in

Image by Cassey via FlickrI've found out this week that confinement ("cabin fever") leads to some strong psychological distortions. First, let me explain my confinement. I can't drive, but I have this whole big house and the back yard to spend my time. However, I have spent 90 percent of it between the bed and the sofa next to the bed. I've read a dozen books and watched a dozen movies, and stared at the ceiling a lot. There you go.
But here is the mind-grinder that is plaguing me since yesterday: the floor between the bed and the sofa-by-the-bed really needs to be vacuumed. I can not vacuum. This is a magnifying cycle: the more devastated I am to not vacuum, the more the floor seems to need vacuuming, the more devastated I am to not vacuum, the more the floor seems to need vacuuming.
That is just an example. There is also the desperate need for mopping in the bathroom. Do you know the last time I mopped the bathroom? No, me either. Decades ago. But now…

post-surgery getting by

It is a condition of my convalescence that I can not drive for six weeks, a side effect of having to wear this cervical collar ever time I leave my bed or sofa. There was another time about 15 years ago when I didn't drive for three months, spent a whole summer working around my grandmothers' houses and serving my penance in other ways. This time it is not punishment, but concern for my delicate little vertebra and their delicate little fusing process.
This time around it means any nearby person's willingness to take me out of the house is a highly enticing offer to me. I will take a shower and put on lipstick to ride with you to CVS. Otherwise I'm house-bound for another 4.5 weeks, at least.
But at home, I'm clicking along according to my little system. I'm reading, walking on the treadmill, career planning, napping, etc. All of those enjoyable activities that don't require lifting anything or bending over. Related articlesLaser Spine Surgery for Spi…

Heart Attack and Vine

I'll admit it, I'm a little depressed. I came home from the doctor yesterday, got in the bed, and I haven't gotten out for more than a few minutes since. It should have been a simple appointment -- a few tests to clear me for surgery. However, nothing has been simple for me lately. The EKG -- performed four times by two different nurses while I laid there getting more afraid -- was "abnormal".
"This line is supposed to go up, but yours goes down," the doctor said. I know the opposite of right is wrong, the opposite of good is bad, and the opposite of up is down. He said the abnormality could indicate I had a symptomless, "silent" heart attack. Yeah, sit with that a minute. I'm 35 years old, and I feel pretty good except for this cranky neck problem, which can be surgically repaired with a little clearance saying my heart can stand the procedure.
Maybe, the doctor said, there is another (harmless) reason for the EKG abnormality. I wi…

No worries.

My anxieties stand in line all day so they can pop out just when I am ready to go to sleep. Tonight the leaders are all the things the neurosurgeon said were potential risks of this spinal surgery. I don't need to list them here in bold letters, and if it weren't so dark and quiet right now I wouldn't be reminded of them.
I would rather think of the potential AWESOMES of spinal surgery: no numbness or pain! no lifting or driving for six weeks! a new short hair cut so it doesn't get tangled in my cervical collar! lots of time to read and nap!
I am scheduled to have a discectomy with fusion of two cervical vertebrae on May 24. You can see why in the handy-dandy visual aid to the left. That vertical center line is my spine and the black bulge in the middle of it is the offending disc. So far it is only bad enough to cause pain, numbness, and weakness in my neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. Unchecked, it could eventually cause loss of control of my everything. That's why…

Dear Reader

One of the first times I ever got really excited about writing was during high school. The assignment was a research paper for English class; my topic, the relationship between beauty and mortality in John Keats’ work. I still think I’m clever. I had uncovered an interest in collecting research and synthesizing it into a composition. Research papers would continue to be fun for me throughout college, and later I found the same concept in my work as a newspaper reporter. Now, in my second tour of duty through graduate school, writing papers has been the best part, making me wish it could somehow be a career. If you change the terms a little, it is a career to many — academic researcher, freelance writer, essayist. Oh wait, essayist is a little different. It was in the newspaper business that I discovered writing columns, a form akin to the essay. Writing about personal experiences is the most untethered of styles; research and interviews are totally optional. Of course, the tri…