All Clear

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Went back to the orthopedist today to get the results of the MRI they had done last week. Got there a little early and they saw me a few minutes early as well. As they were bringing me back, the doctor asked if I’d had the MRI results sent over, to which I told him that I got a call yesterday from someone at his office confirming that they had received the results from the radiology lab. Only there weren’t any results in my chart. So the doc asked us to sit tight while he got the results faxed over.

So we waited for probably 15-20 minutes for that process to take place. Things were delayed because of fax problems, but eventually the doc came in and gave us the results.

Exactly what I was expecting. The MRI was normal in every way.

He moved on to options that could be done for pain management, starting with a steroid shot. I told him that my pain was minimal, maybe a 1 except in certain situations like using stairs, where the pain would jump to about a 3. He pulled the steroid shot off the table at that revelation, obviously thinking I was in a lot more pain that I actually was. I explained that my mother’s got arthritis in both knees to the point that she can’t walk and hasn’t been able to for about ten years now, and with that kind of family history I wanted to be safe rather than sorry – any pain is an indication that something’s not right. He said that what’s likely going on is that my kneecap isn’t tracking right in the joint, and that exercises to strengthen my quads would help. He gave me a few exercises to do and told me that if the pain ever spiked to give a call and see about that steroid shot. I told him that I would and he sent me on my way.

Except for the MRI results bobble, they handled me very well, very professionally, and quite quickly. Even though there’s not really much going on in my knee I’m glad that I got it checked out just to be sure.

Tomorrow I start adding squats, wall sits, and leg lifts to my exercise regimen.

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Random Thoughts 5/30/2017

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Today is the last day of my wife’s staycation. She took Friday and Tuesday off because we were planning on going out of town for the weekend, but her strep kept us home. So we’ve been taking it easy for days, just hanging out at home.

It’s been fun having her home. I love her company and we have fun together. I prefer her company to anyone else’s. She gets me, and I get her. Tomorrow’s going to be lonely without her.


Went to go get an MRI done on my knee tonight. Results will go to my orthopedist and my general practitioner, and I’ll hear back from the orthopedist on the 6th during my follow-up visit. I’m a little nervous. I expected this to be a fairly simple case where I’d be sent home with exercises to do to strengthen the joint and the muscles in it. But now with my kneecap broken, there’s no telling what else could be wrong in there.


It’s been some time since I’ve reported anything to do with my mental illnesses and my progress on them. Doesn’t really feel like I’ve made any progress lately, but realistically I know that I can’t always be moving forward. It’s fine for me to be pretty stationary, mentally speaking. Feeling like I’m in a rut means that I’m not regressing, so that’s a good thing. Hopefully I can start making some headway soon. I feel like I’m stagnating.

 

A Long Streak Broken

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Remember when I fell down that flight of stairs back in April and kinda banged up my knee? Well, it’s been bothering me going up and down stairs and also whenever I torque it to one side for extended periods of time. So knowing that pain is an indicator that something’s wrong, I went to go have it looked at.

The orthopedic’s office was very nice and took some fresh X-rays with my knee bent in different positions, something that they did in North Carolina when I first injured it, so I didn’t expect anything to have changed.

Boy, was I wrong.

The surgeon showed me on one X-ray where I had apparently broken a decent-sized chunk of the inside of my kneecap off and where it was in a spot that it shouldn’t be.

I’ve never broken a bone before. I went almost forty-eight years without breaking one.

So the next step is to go get an MRI to see if anything else is messed up, and to return to the orthopedist in about a week and a half to get the results.

I’m concerned that regardless of what the MRI shows, they’ll need to do surgery to get the loose piece out. I’m not looking forward to having to climb a flight of stairs to get to the apartment having just had my knee operated on. There’s ways of getting up the stairs if I have to, but I’d prefer to not have to shuffle on my butt up a flight of 16 steps if I can avoid it.

I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.

Socksurday and Other Random Musings

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Here’s a random selection of the things that are going through my mind tonight.


Yesterday was a big day in the household, for reasons other than my first meeting with my new psychiatrist. Three years ago yesterday, my wife and I were up early and getting an unusually fast start to the morning. I think it was fueled by not having anything in the house for breakfast or being out of coffee or some other emergency, but I can’t imagine any other reason we’d be up and wanting to go to the store at 6:30 in the morning. Anyway, we opened the door and this little tuxedo kitten with no collar was standing right on the other side of it. It hesitated for just a brief moment and then walked right into the apartment. The place was very sparsely furnished at that point in time, so there was a lot of space for it to roam around and explore while we pet it and took pictures of it. Eventually we decided we needed to get to the store and do our shopping, so we reluctantly showed the little kitten the door and we each went on our separate way. A few hours later, we were in the apartment and noticed that the kitten had come back, so we let it back in for a while. We’d had the forethought of getting some very basic supplies while at the store – a couple of plastic salsa/guacamole bowls to serve as food and water dish, a disposable litter pan, a small bag of kitten food – just in case the kitten came back, so we kept her inside for a good while, and later that afternoon we opened the door and she zipped back outside. It had taken me about five minutes to get attached so I was very concerned that the poor thing would get hit by a car, or get lost, or worst of all picked up by someone else wanting a new pet, so I was pretty upset that the kitten had gotten outside again. Fast forward to the late evening, and I saw the kitten on the balcony yet again. I let it in and went to wake my wife – the cat came back! – and I was practically in tears I was so happy. I went right then and there to go get a cheap collar for the little thing, and after a trip to the vet to get it – her, we found out – checked for a chip and an extensive attempt to try and find where it came from we formally adopted Two Socks, and she’s been our cat ever since.

It was sometime during that first day that it was decided “if it comes back, we shall name it Two Socks,” just like in Dances With Wolves, one of my favorite movies. The cat is black except for her back feet, her chest and belly and chin, and a couple of patches between some of her front toes on both paws that are white. The name was kind of a no-brainer and it’s stuck. The picture above is the second photo we ever took of the cat. It has not been retouched in any way; that is precisely how the camera captured her.

It’s been a happy three years with Two Socks, and much more recently her new brother Stormy Cat. They bring such joy to our lives and my wife and I are both very happy that they picked us.


After tonight, I can never again say that I’ve never taken Zoloft.


My wife and I have a radio show tomorrow evening. We’re leaning towards a theme that we’re keeping secret for now, but it should be a good show that all will enjoy.


The apartment smells like bacon tonight. We cook two packs at a time in the oven and then refrigerate the cooked bacon to simply heat in the microwave in the mornings. It makes things so much easier and quicker for us than cooking as we go.


Today I braved a trip out of the house to go put gas in the car, pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy, and head to the store. I stayed in the car at the gas station, we went through the drive-through at the pharmacy, but I got out of the car and went into the grocery store, something that I generally try to avoid doing. Things got a little dicey at times in the store, but I made it through well enough. Yet another instance of getting out of my comfort zone and facing my anxieties.


Picked up another game on Steam today. It’s called Reigns and it’s a little indie decision making game. You’re the ruler of a kingdom and you are faced with a series of decisions that can either positively or negatively affect your church, your populace, your military, your treasury, or any combination of the four. Each either/or decision gives you a preview of what will be affected by that choice, and whether it will be a small or large effect – but it doesn’t tell you if it will be a positive or negative effect. Each decision represents one year in your reign. You start with the meters on all four areas partially full, and each level goes up and down according to your decisions, but if any of them completely empty, your reign is over and you die. It’s a challenging little game, and each game treats you as the successor monarch to the previous game, so the years pass by cumulatively from the starting point. Games last just a few minutes, the graphics are pretty primitive, and the game tracks things like how many of the different people you’ve met overall, how many of the different manners of death you’ve had, and a series of objectives and whether you’ve achieved them or not. The game was only a few dollars and it takes up next to no room on the hard drive, but it’s a fun little diversion and worth the money.


The knee that I injured during my trip to North Carolina last month is starting to bother me in a new way. After a few days, it would only bother me if I torqued my knee to either side – which it does while sitting in a car, most notably. I have to limp that off over a few minutes. Today it started hurting whenever I’d put weight on it – not badly, it felt more like localized pressure on my kneecap pushing it to the outside of my body – but noticeable, and it’s got me looking up orthopedists on my insurance plans for a call come Monday morning. I really don’t want to take a chance on having done some real damage to my knee.

More Medical Updates

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I went to the doctor today to get my knee looked at, prior to the Phoenix trip on Thursday. She agrees with my assessment that there’s no real damage to it, that I just banged it up pretty hard, and that all will work itself out without issue. She’s cleared me to take off the knee immobilizer and do away with the crutches conditionally. If my knee starts to feel like it’s trying to give way, I’m to put the brace back on and use the crutches. As a result, both will be making the trip with me to Phoenix. She’s also cleared me to fly, but wants me to take advantage of wheelchair service in the airports to minimize the chances of overusing my knee. The good part of this is that it means priority boarding here in Austin, although it’s still a bit iffy whether we’ll be able to grab the bulkhead seats or not.

I spoke with Mom’s nurse today. She says they did the Doppler test of Mom’s carotid artery today but the results haven’t yet been read, so I’ll be waiting for that tomorrow. Mom’s had a tiring day – occupational therapy had her sitting in her chair for a while, and that wore her out, and as a result she had a spell where she was anxious and crying. The medication that they had been using at night to get her to sleep better has been re-prescribed to be taken as needed, so they gave her a dose of that a little while before I called. I asked to speak with Mom if she was awake, which she was, but she was barely so, so my conversation with her was short, and she fell asleep with me on the phone before I could wake her up to hang up with me. She wasn’t nearly as coherent today as she was last night, something that I chalk up to the medication and the activity of the day. (She was nice enough to wish me Merry Christmas, though, and it was all I could do not to reply “And a convivial Tuesday in April to you too, Pool!” I might have watched Deadpool one too many times.) I imagine there will continue to be a series of steps forward and back for Mom before all is said and done, but it was still a little discouraging to hear her regress from where she was last night.

Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day trying to pack for a flight once more. Not much looking forward to it, but it beats flying with the clothes on my back. Blog updates might be short from Thursday to Sunday, since I don’t know if we’re going to have room to set up the laptops in Phoenix and blogging from my phone is a little tedious, but we’ll see what happens.

Improvements in Two Generations

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This morning I made an appointment to have my knee looked at post-ER visit to see if there’s a necessity for further testing. I’m inclined to say that there won’t be, although my doctor might decide to be safe and send me for an MRI anyway. My range of motion is diminished somewhat, but I can bend it to greater than 90 degrees and I went up and down a flight of steps – slowly, holding the handrail – without any trouble. So I think I’m going to be okay.

I was writing that paragraph when I got a call from North Carolina. More on that in a minute.

I called the hospital this afternoon to get an update on Mom. Her nurse says that she’s communicating well and responded appropriately about being teased about the taste of her medicine (Mom teased right back). This was the same nurse that watched over her on Friday, and she said that she sees an improvement in Mom. They’re planning to do a doppler test of her carotid artery – they told me it’s kind of like an ultrasound – to help pave the way to determine the severity of the stroke.

So you can understand my absolute shock and delight when my mother called me tonight.

Mom’s speaking in full sentences at a time, although there was one point that I was on the phone with her that she lost the word that she was trying to think of, but rather than resorting to the repetitive babbling that she was doing, she was all “uh” and “um” before working her way around the word with a summary of what she was trying to say. She’s still not entirely rooted in reality – she was speaking of a present that we are unaware of, and how not finding it meant that she didn’t have the money to do something or other, and she wanted to know about when we were changing stations, something that once again we have no idea about. But she was communicating, and that’s a good thing.

I’m still inclined to think that I’m going to have to step in and take over her finances at least temporarily to make sure that things get done while she’s still struggling with reality. But I’m not resigned to thinking that it’s going to be a permanent thing anymore.

 

Back to Life …

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… back to reality.

My first full day home in a week has been a busy one. Had to go clothes shopping for the Phoenix trip (there’s a no-jeans policy for holiday dinners in my wife’s family) then went to a friend’s house to get my wife’s hair trimmed and then went shoe shopping for her. By that point in our afternoon my knee had had enough and I rested in the car while she went in to grab a couple pairs of sandals for herself and some dressier slip-ons for me. (Mine turned out not to fit, so lesson learned, never buy shoes unless you can try them on yourself.)

I called the hospital to get an update on how Mom did overnight. She slept through the night, mostly, except for one nurse check when she was wide awake and clearly asked the nurse “where is everybody?” That makes me feel pretty bad about not actually telling her goodbye when we left yesterday, but to be fair and honest, she was not in a state of mind that would have grasped that information and properly processed it. Yesterday was rough for her all around. They tried again to get the full MRI done after giving her a stronger sedative but she was once more combative through the process, so we still only have a partial test to make a full diagnosis from. (She was also combative during the first one, where they got enough to be able to say that she’s had a stroke, just not how bad it is.) The next step is unclear, as they are doing everything they can to try and avoid putting her under general anesthesia, as there’s always a risk at her age that she’ll never come out of it. So at this point we’re waiting for the neurologist to come in tomorrow to assess the situation and work out a plan C.

Kenneth, the family friend and “stepson” that’s her medical power of attorney, went to go visit her last night after the MRI ordeal, but he said that she didn’t recognize him and that she said that she didn’t have any kids, so last night was a bad night for her.

The hardest part of this is not knowing what the prognosis is without that full MRI, and knowing the risks that you run in assuring that you get it. The rest of the situation is all details – getting a handle on her finances so I can take over their administration while she’s incapacitated and potentially getting her laptop shipped to me so I have a better idea of how to proceed.

Seems I can’t even be home without Mom being a major part of my blog posts. I imagine that’s going to be the case for some time, unfortunately.