You know how you never really know if you’re making the right decision until after you’ve made it? Story of my life. The saying is “Live and Learn” but it should be “Live and Live and Never Learn.” There are just too many variables at play to ensure a satisfactory outcome. Not everybody goes to the doctor and leaves on vacation the very same day. Most people would know better. Considering it took over a month to get in to see the doctor, I knew I had to keep the appt. We’d had the idea of vacation in our minds for months but were just waiting for the price of gas to go down and the temperature to go up. Neither were cooperating and we made a hasty, last minute decision to go on vacation the week before Memorial Day instead of the week of the holiday. Trying to beat the crowds and what not.
Diagnosis: Shock And Awe
May 29, 2013 by almostakiss
We’ve gone to Hinckley, MN many times over Memorial Day week (as well as other times of year) and it’s usually beautiful. Of course, this time the sun never made an appearance, it was rainy with a high of 46 degrees most of the time. Less than ideal. The Chicago area routinely has the highest gas prices in the country which sucks big time. We usually try to fill up in WI before coming home so we can make it out of the state for next time. While up in MN, the high gas prices followed us and it made the news that MN had the highest gas prices in the country. They were $4.39 a gallon! That’s just crazy. Despite it all, it was nice to get away but more exhausting than usual. I’m used to looking after myself, my husband to a degree and the 3 dogs. Now my mom is to the point with her dementia that I have to pack and unpack for her, lay out her clothes, make her take a bath, wash her hair in the sink, tell her to do basic things over and over. Of course, I have to do this whether we are at home or in the RV so in some ways, it doesn’t feel like a vacation to me. She can still dress herself and get in and out of the bathtub by herself but I keep a watchful eye at all times. I’m just glad we’re still able to take trips with her.
Since we got home on Sat. May 25th, it’s been a whirlwind to get back to real life. Before we left, I had made an appt. for yesterday for her ENT doctor to have the wax removed from her ears. Mom has this done every 6 months due to the buildup from wearing hearing aids. I had made another appt. today at the same place with the audiologist to get her hearing aids serviced (replaced tubing). The doctor and audiologist are never in on the same day so we always end up going twice. Finally we’ll all finished with all of her stuff until the end of the year. I’d be relieved if I wasn’t so exhausted.
Wed. May 15, my hubby and I had our long awaited doctor’s appt. with Dr. Feelgood. I was chomping at the bit to get answers regarding the pain in my legs. 2 weeks after I turned 50, I woke up with pain in my legs. It felt similar to shin splints. It was in the front of the shins. It wasn’t constant, it would come and go. I didn’t have pain at all when sitting or laying. Sometimes I have it when walking, sometimes when standing but not all the time. A few months back, I started getting pain in the back of my lower legs, almost like mild Charley Horses. Only 3 times have I had pain so bad I could have cried. Otherwise, it hurts but nothing like other things I’ve had. It is shooting pain at times but not steady. I should’ve gone to the doctor sooner, waiting 9 months (really less than 8 since it took so long to get in) was foolish. When I first got it, I thought it was vein related. After consulting Dr. Google, it sounded like claudication which can be mild to severe. Except that that comes on after walking a distance, like a half a block. Mine would be there the second I stood up. Mine is also worse when I lean forward to brush my teeth. Hubby thought it was muscular. We were both wrong.
We had to wait almost an hour to see the dr. (of course we did!) and when he came in, I went first. He had a medical student with him who shadows him for 6 weeks. This girl was different than the one he had with him when I took Mom to see him. She looked about 25 years old and even had braces. I went into great detail about my leg issue and I was already sitting naked from the waist down with only a paper sheet over me since he was also going to do a quick pap smear. He examined my legs and for teaching benefit of the student went through various things and ruled them out. He said it wasn’t veins (circulatory) or muscles or bones. I couldn’t imagine what it could be and then he said it. NERVES. He said I’m having nerve pain from a pinched nerve in my back. I had told him I had no back or knee pain but it was starting to affect my posture which I didn’t like. Because my legs hurt, it’s hard for me to stand up completely straight anymore. He said he’s pretty sure it’s Spinal Stenosis. Which is from a herniated or bulging disc in my back. He figures around the L-4 area which is level with my hips. I’ve never had any back problems so I know nothing about backs and which is Lumbar and which part is Cervical. He explained and I was kind of in shock. It wasn’t the last thing I was expecting, it was something I wouldn’t have thought of in a million years! He told me to go ahead on vacation and didn’t really give instructions as to what I shouldn’t do. He did say I needed an MRI to be sure and then we’d see if I needed physical therapy, cortisone injections or surgery. I told him I’d never heard of any back surgery that went well. He said you just don’t hear about it but it’s out there. He said he’d had back surgery in the past few years but didn’t elaborate.
He asked if I’d had any weakness or numbness in my legs and I said no. I haven’t had any weakness but did notice (since then) my legs went to sleep when I sat on the toilet too long. He said there will come a day when my legs will just give out and not be able to hold me up. That scared me as did him telling me it was good I caught it early so I could get it repaired. He wants to make sure I don’t end up in a wheelchair. Just the talk of that as a possibility was blindsiding. He didn’t seem to see any hurry at this point with getting the MRI though and told me to pick up the order for that and a mammogram (which I requested) next week when hubby goes back to have his blood pressure checked. So the first few days of vacation I’m processing all this and thinking how serious something to do with your SPINE is and how I shudder at the thought of surgery. Thinking of the risks of paralysis, etc. Then I tried to just go on with life and not dwell on it. I’m not going to jump to conclusions until we get the MRI and find out what’s really going on.
High blood pressure runs in hubby’s family and his mom and siblings are on multiple meds to control it. Hubby’s been on 2 and one of them is not working. The doctor said to get off the Tekturna right away and gave him samples of a new drug. So next Wed. he’s going back to make sure it’s working. My blood pressure was fine. I called yesterday to get our blood test results and my pap smear results. Everything for me was normal. Hubby’s was all normal except the glucose was a little high. So when he goes in on Wed. he’s going to fast and have a glucose test.
It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks ahead. On Monday, I’ve got the dentist. Wed. is Dr. Feelgood. Friday is the dentist for hubby. Sat. June 8th is a housewarming party in Madison, WI for hubby’s niece. Thurs. June 13th at 1 pm is my MRI and the same day at 2:20 pm is my mammogram. So I ended up doing it to myself again. I’m doing 2 things in 1 day to save time but it’ll probably just stress me out. I’ve had the mammogram and it’s no big deal. I’ve never had an MRI but I did have a CAT-scan once on my sinuses.
There are so many other things I want to blog about other than my health woes. 😦 But I wanted to catch people up on what’s been going on first. We haven’t even put in our garden yet and it’s almost June! We usually have it in by May 11th or so. It was cold and rainy before we left on vacation and now this weekend is supposed to rain again. We’re going to see if there’s any plants left at the nursery and at least get them purchased. We came home to a pond full of dead fish. Hubby has a koi pond that had about 70 fish. He was going to sell some when we got home. The pump and filter were leaking water into the dirt behind the pond instead of into the pond and most of the water was out, then the pump quit working. We’ve gone away many times and this is the first trip I didn’t worry or think about the fish. When we got home they were strewn around the yard (even on top of the shed) half eaten. At first we thought a wild animal like a raccoon had gotten to them but then figured out it must’ve been large birds like herons. It was a freaking mess. Hubby put them all in a bucket and then he planted them in the garden on Sunday night. He got a rototiller at an estate sale and used that for the first time. Supposedly fish are good fertilizer. He’s going to rototill it again to chop up the fish. A coworker told him her mother used to put fish remnants in a blender and then pour them in the garden. I’m not about to let those fish near my blender! 🙂 So we’ve got our work cut out for us this weekend. Hopefully next week I can add pictures to this post. I don’t have time for it now.