I’m sitting here this morning (actually, a couple of days ago), doing my morning routine: shower, dress, morning rituals, medications, the all-important diet soda, the GiA blog, reading other blogs, news and emails…
Waiting for the stopping point. When my muscle pain and diabetic neuropathy kick in! Sometimes in an hour, sometimes more.
Pain in my extremities, feet, legs and even hindquarters. From SITTING for chrissake!
AND, I already took medications!
And I remember being young. Well, younger…
Lifting weights, walking long distances, jogging, karate – even with a fused hip! And the hot shower accompanied by perhaps a couple aspirin did the trick.
Well it did in my 30’s.
But alas, no more.
And I remember older people from my youth, whining and complaining about this pain or that ailment, and me having no understanding.
And even thinking it was funny.
Karma IS a heartless bitch!
And then I think of Bob, a recent 1/2 leg amputee currently braving throat cancer, and my attitude improves…
Gratitude, my friends, is the key!
I was able to communicate with one of the many Bobs in my life last night. (Long-time readers know I’ve many friends named Bob and Dave. One childhood friend was even named Robert Davidson!)
The dear friend with whom I was a private investigator, and later worked together in a firearms emporium.
The one who lost the lower 12″ of his left leg due to diabetic complications. And almost lost his life.
Fortunately, things are going well as can be for him.
He’s been using a prosthesis now for about six weeks! He still has need of a wheelchair or a walker for some life activities.
The most important thing is he is active, continuing to test his limits, and has a terrific attitude.
One daughter is preparing to graduate from a local university; the other from Northwestern.
He is most proud.
I’m proud of him for his ongoing attitude. I’ve my own health issues – And he continues to show me that attitude is everything.
Thank you, Robert!
The really big shoe, the sequel!
I’ve been in need for a replacement big shoe for over seven months, now. Bought the shoes, but simply didn’t have the funds to get the orthopedic build-up needed.
Until a couple weeks ago.
I now present to you, Ed Sullivan II, the sequel! :-)
I’m still sick. Have spent most of the past three days in bed. Am planning on going into Urgent Care this morning. (This, after checking to make certain they took Medicare – some don’t – and that they don’t expect their 20% up front.)
Which is good, because I probably don’t have it.
The interesting thing in all this (to me, anyway) is that my temperature (which tends to run about a degree low, anyway) has been all over the map. Starting on Thursday @ 102°, then varying degrees of 101° on Friday and Saturday. It was even 99° – something one time!
And all I’ve been taking is a cough suppressant, which doesn’t work especially well…
(My own doc wants me to lay off the IB, as I’ve been eating them by the hands full for years!)
I do feel better at 99° than at 102°. Duh.
So, we shall see.
(Post UC visit – apparently, I’ve bronchitis (among other issues). I was chest x-rayed, breathing tested, steroid injected, and given antibiotics and an inhaler, and sent on my way. I’m feeling MUCH better, and my temp is much closer to normal. HUZZAH! Thanks for all your kind comments and emails!)
And now, to make good the promise of the blog post title…THE THREE DEGREES!
I was fortunate to have pizza (and salad) delivered for lunch! (This was last week.)
Was NOT so fortunate to have taken yet another strong pain med today – this is probably 10 days I’ve needed the ‘extra’ medication above-and-beyond the daily pain med I take. For diabetic neuropathy and arthritis pain.
There have been weeks I’ve not needed to take any!
And, I chose to have one (one) bottled beer with my lunch. A special white chocolate brew. (I wasn’t driving anywhere.)
And after lunch I took a nap.
And this is what I dreamt…
HUGE numbers of people lining every street,and our troops advancing down the street.And the people trying to stop their advance!I don’t know why they were advancing, or why we were trying to stop them.But, it wasn’t pretty.Libertarian nightmare?
I posted a few days ago regarding losses – specifically the loss of my daughter, and a good friend’s loss of most of his lower left leg and foot.
Hardly an upbeat read.
However, Life is not just loss. Life also gives us lessons!
Since I heard from my good friend Bob regarding his diabetic amputation surgery, I’ve tried to contact him. We exchanged texts initially a couple of times, and he advise me he would call.
I feared the worst.
So, I took it upon myself to call him. Not to incessantly badger him (thinking he was busy enough) but once a week, just to check-in on him and his condition. And attitude.
And I ended up leaving messages. And this concerned me.
Bob returned yesterday’s message last night. I needn’t have been concerned.
Bob – (my former PI and gun store boss) was in great spirits! YES, he did lose his left foot and about 12″ of lower leg. And yes, he has a long, painful recovery and rehab ahead.
But he was not only doing physically well – he was doing well emotionally and spiritually, too!
Now, Bob would be the first to tell you he is not a religious guy. And not the most spiritual. But he almost lost his life to sepsis, and took his survival to mean he is supposed to remain here a while longer.
And not wallow in his losses.
He is fortunate to have the great support of his wife and two daughters. And his brother. And he reminded of previous losses and near-death experiences he has suffered.
AND HE SEES THIS AS YET ANOTHER CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF!
Or, in the words of his parents (both deceased), “Put on your big boy panties and get on with it!”
And his is and has.
And, he reminded me (indirectly) that I have similar lessons. I, too, have had losses, and near-death experiences. And I have wallowed. Or more specifically whined.
I might lose some benefits. So what? Big boy panties are available for the wearing.
Bob has set an example for me to try and emulate.
(If you abhor whining, read no further)
First, my former employer TMCCC contacted me regarding applying for early retirement. I’m currently medically retired due to my contracting lymphoma in 2008. I left active employment in 2009, after six months of chemo.
Obviously, the sooner they can nudge me out, the less pension they will have to pay. And current calculations are not very promising, regardless of my retiring now or @ 65.
So, it wasn’t a complete surprise when my private medical insurance carrier (thank GOD I paid the premiums when I was working!) contacted me to update their information.
This means contacting my physician with regard to my current condition and ability to work.
In spite of the fact I was awarded SSDI and private disability due to having cancer, I have many other conditions which make returning to the workforce problematic. Even though I AM currently in remission! (knock-on-wood!)
Working while diabetic is no biggee, working with the neuropathy (chronic nerve pain) that comes with it – not so much. And the arthritis. There was a time I could stand and sit for long hours. No longer. Now, sitting more than an hour or two is painful. Forget standing and walking much.
Oh, I can (and do) take various prescription pain medications. Which make me dopey and put me to sleep. And still only lessen the pain. They do not take it away.
And my fear is the private insurance company will say, well, you have been in remission over 5 years…SAYONARA!
And the private addition to my SSDI payment isn’t much, but it is 21% of my disability pay. And the total is still poverty level.
I rent a room in a friend’s home, and drive a clunky 2000 Oldsmobile. I lost my home of 18 years, 2 1/2 years ago. I’m not milking the system here.
And now I get to jump through more hoops in hope of keeping that 21%.
From the time we are very small, we believe Life is about acquiring things. Food, warmth, love…stuff. It’s when we are a little older we realize that Life, too, is about loss.
And, most of us don’t understand or like that. In fact, most of us hate it!
And, it becomes a matter of degree. That toy that broke (with which we didn’t play, anyway), gives way to the lost book. The dog that died. The high school girlfriend who moved away.
And we choose to suffer for our loss.
But, there is a larger picture, if we choose to see it.
If we didn’t lose ‘it’, we wouldn’t really appreciate it.
My dear friend Bob (of the many Bobs I know) texted me yesterday, to advise me that on Friday he had his left foot and about six inches of his left leg amputated. He’s been diabetic for many years, and had already lost a toe. Even though I lost the use of my right hip when I was 12, I still grieved for him. I’m certain he has a long and arduous road ahead involving prosetheses, crutches, and much pain.
And grief over the loss of his foot.
Most of us don’t even think of our feet or legs, unless they are giving us difficulty. A blister, a bunion, a corn. Calluses. For me, calluses are difficult, because grinding them off is problematic with a fused hip. And, I too, am diabetic.
I still am fortunate enough to still have all my extremities, though. You can bet my nightly cursory examination of said feet was more than cursory last night, though!
I was wrong. And I survive here to do the suffering.
I love you and miss you, Molly. And sometimes grieve over you.
But, I also appreciate the time I had to know and love you. I believe so much more than if we had continued in our parallel life paths. Because of the yin and yang.
And I’ve my memories to keep.
Go and hug and kiss those you love, and tell them. Because you never know.
And, if you are diabetic, check your feet often.
(I don’t know if that’s the correct term, but, it seems to apply.)
When I was in early elementary school, I had a great dentist. No pain, trinkets afterward. When I was in the Second Grade, I got a skull ring with ruby eyes for myself, and a heart ring for Susan Johnson, my girlfriend.
Then my Dad married my stepmother that Summer, and we moved. And I never saw her again. Nor the cool dentist. :-(
My adult teeth came in, and in junior high came time for me to revisit a dentist. My stepmother took me to hers, who had apprenticed under Dr. Mengele!
Not enough anesthetic, no sympathy, my own unfamiliarity with adult teeth. It was like that movie that set dentistry back 150 years…
And, my stepmother being embarrassed by my ‘carrying-on’ just never took me back. EVER.
And my teeth, which are very soft (I’m told because I was born premature) just rotted on the vine. My Dad’s example didn’t help, either. He had full upper false teeth by the time he was twenty-one!
So, much of my adult life has been avoiding dentists and dentistry, or having no insurance, or funds, and dealing with the wreckage of my past.
My current situation is a lower molar, filling compromised, tooth self-destructing. Fortunately, tooth pain has been intermittent and dealt with with topical aids. But recently part of the tooth broke, and the side is chronically abrading the side of my tongue when I speak.
And I like talking. OW!
I was able to blunt the edge enough to make things more comfortable – but I know a dentist visit is in my future.
And I keep repeating in my head, “Is it SAFE?”
When I started this blog, it was more just an outlet – it was something to do. Being on medical disability for lymphoma, compounded by arthritis, a fused hip, and diabetes, I told myself I would NOT use the blog as therapy.
Even though, on more than one occasion, I have! :-)
But one advantage of this window on the world is it can be indeed a window. And can be observed both directions.
Recently, I posted about Kilted To Kick Cancer. Cancer charities are especially personal to me, being a lymphoma survivor, and all. When I was diagnosed, and required chemotherapy, I was actively employed and had quality health insurance.
But, it wasn’t enough to cover the high cost of the chemo.
Enter a charity – who, upon my application, covered the bulk of the cost not absorbed by my insurance.
For this, and for many things, I should be grateful.
But, I get into myself, ongoing chronic pain issues, inability to work, low income, old bad car w/o A/C, yatta, yatta, yatta…
Then I get a view into the window!
I’m privileged to have many people follow me on this blog. I’ve no idea why they do. And while some are fellow travelers of the libertarian/conservative/gun totin’ kind, there are others.
Talk about an attitude adjustment! To see what this beautiful woman and her family are going through…
And so many others.