Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Humpty Dumpty

It's been a rough road orthopedic-ly. I fell. A no big deal, I wouldn't even remember in an hour fall. In my own bedroom on a clear area of the carpeted floor. Just sort of tipped over. The moment I hit the ground I knew I was in trouble and went into immediate denial about how bad it was. You see friends, the pain on my right side, upper back wasn't a bad knot/bruise combo. Not this time...

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I fractured a freaking rib! Let me tell you, this particular injury is no joke. I felt like such a cry baby dragging myself to the doctor for tipping over in my own room and then he informed me that the recovery time on this is THREE to FOUR MONTHS!! I'm not a pain meds person so he suggested a brace, but I'm not the same size as most adult humans so I was cautiously hopeful. Now that this intense localized pain had a label it was far more unbearable. The brace was a no-go. So, the doctor prescribed a course of oral steroids to suck all the inflammation out of the surrounding area so the bone would sit right and (fingers crossed) heal. He also set me up for physical therapy.

Here I was with reason number 4,987,230,567 not to fuse your spine. A little "tip over" and you crack a rib. SIGH. Also, I'm used to my impressive pain tolerance and a boatload of distraction seeing me through. This was a horse of another color. Nothing helped. NOTHING. I went to physical therapy and whimpered and complained of pain the entire evaluation. It was embarrassing. I even had to take a second dose of steroids because of a nasty pain spike.

While all this broken rib garbage was going on I went to check in with my hip doctor. It's strange how you only become conscious of the pain in the total complexity of the whole pain...ecosystem? And then you focus in and start singling them out...

No, my hip wasn't broken. I had in the ortho's exact words "a big old nasty bursitis." Lucky me got the big old nasty cortisone injection that goes with that.

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After fractured rib and "big old nasty bursitis" you would think I'd be steeled up and ready to face what was next, but I was quite literally dragging my feet to find out what was up with my train wreck of a right ankle. I am not usually a whiner, but the rib injury was making me grouchy between the pain and the depressing thought that it would continue for months I was running awful short on motivation. I finally decided to face the music...

It turns out because I had ankle fusions pre-puberty I know had a severely arthritic joint in my right ankle. When you fuse a joint any joint nearby has to pick up the slack and the overuse of the neighboring joint can severe inflammation aka arthritis.


It really makes me irritable about all the surgical fusing. I'm on the mend, slow and steady. I refused an injection for my ankle and the doctor gave me a topical. Some of my friends were skeptical that it would "do anything." So, I was stunned to discover that it worked. I actually had a surreal period where I imagined my foot must be missing entirely because it didn't hurt. It made me realize what I refer to as a zero on the pain scale is not a zero. It was great and bizarre.

Feeling a little Humpty Dumpty, but I'm healing and working through it. Still, kicking as much ass and taking as many names as possible.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

ANTI Anti-inflammatory

It's been a while friends, life has been BUMPY and I needed an outlet. Here's the deal, remember me talking in the past about how terrifying it is to get old in a body that has never been young? A new dimension or I guess complication has arisen. You see, someone very close to me has had health issues related to regular use of anti-inflammatories.

It wasn't a huge surprise that too much Advil can shred your organs. My knee jerk reaction was over-dramatic and consisted of tears and a plan to go cold turkey. Don't get me wrong I do not pop them like they are candy. However, there have been periods of my life when doctors prescribed high doses of anti-inflammatories around the clock. We're talking every 6-8 hours for months.

A few things: First, my muscles are always tight. ALWAYS. Second, I don't like taking medicine. I'm not 100% wholistic or anything, but I refused pain pills after back surgery in favor of extra strength Tylenol, pain breathing and distraction. Third, weird medical things happen to me fairly regularly. So, here I am afraid for my loved one, who will be fine if they lay off anti-inflammatories for life, and panicking for myself.

Personally, Advil and such don't do much for me. It's the kind of thing I take after directing children's theatre on my feet for weeks at time. When I need it I take the maximum dose, usually once in a 24hrs period. If there are particularly strenuous things happening it may go one for anywhere up to a week. What all my pain breathing and distraction and pushing through isn't enough and an over-the-counter analgesics are going to shut down my organs?

I'm a 37-year-old mother of two, cerebral palsy or not Advil is occasionally on the menu. The way I understand it ibuprofen enters the bloodstream and just circulates hoping to come upon inflamed tissues and do its job. Obviously, not the ideal method for delivery and then the leftover Advil soup gets filtered through the poor kidneys. After enough attempts to strain the analgesic from your system the tissues of the kidney become damaged and blood flow, which is crucial, becomes impaired.

Talk to me about your ways to cope with inflammation. Non-obvious things especially are there diets or specific exercises tight people can execute without help that cut it down? Do any of you already have kidney issues related to analgesics? How are you coping?