…is about how long it’ll take you to read this blog.
Ha! Just kidding.
This is the 7th attempt at writing a blog since my last update. And I know that for a fact because the other 6 attempts are saved on my iPad, some of which I’m sure will be making an appearance in today’s post after they are properly edited to be more current and up-to-date in discussing all the craziness that’s been happening lately. Or maybe not so properly edited, considering that I am going to copy/paste it to avoid re-writing because I’m feeling lazy.
Regardless, I figured that:
1. 7 is suppose to be a lucky number;
2. The internet is running at dial-up speed -oh the humanity!- so I won’t be distracted by the millions of things you can amuse yourself with online;
3. I’m feeling too ADHD to give The Property Brothers my full attention right now.
Given these circumstances, maybe I’ll actually finish a blog this time. Now, with all that being said, let me backtrack and show you what I wrote mid-March, when things were really not going so swell…
*cue dreamy flashback montage music*
Monday, March 17:
I’ve had a lot of time to think lately – and I imagine a lot of people are thinking “uh oh” and have probably already started scrolling and skimming to see if you really want to read any further or not. But stay with me here, I’ll try to keep it short (cue: laughter) and make it funny (cue: …..silence) with a side of inspiration. **edit 4/13- definitely not short…. Or funny probably**
I’ve had so much time to think lately because of my current predicament, which was the beginning of a pressure sore on my bum keeping me in bed the last 9 days. I’m not kidding, the last few weeks it has really felt like if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Or better yet, sometimes it seems like spinal cord related issues are like dominos and you never know when one swift hit may knock down the whole set. It all started with the urinary tract infection; which, honestly, I think I would have fared better just riding out the UTI than dealing with all the subsequent issues. First, I had a week of IV antibiotics through my newly added (and now removed) fancy schmancy very own PICC line. After those long 7 days, it took another TEN days and two urine samples later to find out the bad news that I still had the infection but the good news was that it could be treated with oral antibiotics and the PICC could finally come out, ten days after I thought it was coming out. And definitely not a moment too soon because I still have the remnants of a rash and the raw skin that the bandage left on my arm and burned and itched like crazy that it might as well be a form of torture to someone who can’t really scratch.
I wasn’t halfway through my week of oral antibiotics when I started experiencing some of the typical negative side effects, which we all know the side effects they list usually consists of everything from a small pimple to a slow, untimely death. Then, it was just unfortunate timing that I had a red spot develop during the same weekend that everything else was happening. Well, I lie. The red spot had been there for a while but I thought it was from sliding and not pressure and that it wasn’t serious. Amazing how even after all I’ve been through, I still like to think I’m invincible and that it won’t happen to me. Famous last words, right?
Despite feeling icky, I had plans Saturday (March 8) with my family to go see Chicago the Musical that we bought tickets for a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t going to miss it no matter how bad I felt. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair all day and realized after it was too late that I probably didn’t have enough air in my cushion. The spot on my bum went from a “little red spot” to an angry, blistered, and swollen spot. I kinda chuckle when I think that a “little red spot” can cause so many problems, but it’s no laughing matter. It basically stops your whole world. There is no magic medicine or cream to instantly heal a pressure wound, you’re only option is to stay off that spot. And since there’s no way for me to be up in my chair yet not on my butt -not safely, anyway- that left me pretty much stuck in the bed.
I’m sure some folks are thinking how GREAT it would be to spend a whole day(s) in bed; I remember when my life was so busy and hectic that I would wish for such. But it is nothing like being STUCK in bed and unable to really get up for anything, except a shower. It’s especially torturous for me with my self-diagnosed OCPD and ADHD and the inability to fix things that I see around my room that are not the way I want them, but that’s a whoooole other blog (one of the aforementioned 7 that I said I had already begun). But back to being stuck in bed: In case you can’t tell, I am a very social person. Heck, I was a waitress for almost 10 years (and a damn good one), I made my money by talking and being a people person. Sometimes I’d serve food.
So these past few days, Feeling confined to my bedroom where I have extremely limited human interaction, feels like cruel and unusual punishment of the worst kind. And actually, social isolation is a real and dangerous thing. Humans are not meant to be completely alone all of the time. It gives you too much time to think about things you probably wouldn’t otherwise. The mind can become a scary place if you spend too much idle time and isolation there.
*back to present day, turn off montage music*
Aaaaaand that was about as far as I got with that blog that day last month, which was much more than my other writing attempts. A lot has happened since then though, which is less than a month. And considering how long this is already and how blah I feel, let me just give you a quick rundown of all the fun things that have occurred over the last four weeks:
There is something mysterious happening with my lower back/left hip. Given that I’m technically paralyzed there, I really cannot describe the pain (dull, achey, burning, stabbing- who knew so many types existed?) other than the fact that at times the intensity of the pain had me hysterically crying. I won’t lie and I’m sure most SCI folks agree, but I LIVE in pain. There’s never been a day since my accident that I haven’t hurt in some way; but I’ve just learn to deal with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take meds and complain, but I don’t let it stop me from much. So to have such an intense pain that brought me to tears is a definite sign that something is not right. Not to mention that my muscle spasms started to go BERSERK. I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped at least one dress size because the spasticity drastically increased into my stomach and back so much so that you could actually see my abs flexing and my entire body from my chest down go rigid. And believe me, I didn’t have much for abs prior to my injury, so it’s gotta be the spasticity. In fact, the spasms were affecting me so badly that it was getting to where I didn’t want to go in public because of the pain, discomfort, and embarrassment that it was causing.
I guess you can say shit hit the fan last Saturday (April 5) when I had mom call 911 because the pain and spasticity (P&S) got exponentially worse when I was turning to get ready for bed that night. Anyone who knows me should know that if I am voluntarily going to the hospital -much less begging my mom to call an ambulance at 11pm- then something is seriously wrong. In addition to the P&S, my blood pressure was high and then I started to panic because it felt like a boa constrictor was squeezing my body from the chest down SO hard that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Despite all I’ve been through and know I can handle, I was scared. I had never experienced whatever it was that I was feeling Saturday night.
So to the ER we went, which after about 4-5 hours, a morphine-Valium cocktail, and a urinalysis later, I was sent home with a sad smile and a shrug that basically said, “sorry, but we don’t know what else to do for you.” Not to disagree with a doctor who went to school for way longer than I could commit, but the P&S was most definitely not from a UTI. After the last (almost) 4 years and countless infections, I know UTIs and I know my body… Or at least I thought I did. And considering I lost my local SCI dr last year and have yet to find another one, I feel like I have no professional to talk to (hopefully about to change) and I’m having a hard time playing detective with my own body to discover what the heck is going on now. Medical mysteries are not so much fun when you’re the main character.
It seems like this newfound issue will be an on-going saga so let me move on and try to wrap this post up before it becomes a novel. I guess this is what happens when you wait too long to blog, aye?
The good thing to happen the last few weeks is finally meeting the orthopedic surgeon who will be doing my tendon transfer surgery at Southern Bone and Joint in Hattiesburg. I absolutely loved the doctor and actually have the surgery scheduled for Monday, June 9th, in Hattiesburg. Not only did I really like him, but he was able to refer me to another doctor at the same clinic who could likely be my new SCI dr; unfortunately, that appointment isn’t until May 5th.
So, at the moment, I will be having a bicep to tricep/5lb pinch between thumb and index finger both done on my left arm in an outpatient procedure (2-3 hours) on June 9. However, like everything in my life, it is tentative based on my health at that time (knock on wood- I better be good to go but you just never know) and also depends on the bowel/bladder procedure I’ve been consulting with two new doctors at Ochsners in New Orleans about. In fact, I go this Thursday (4/17) for a ridiculous amount of bladder studies; my first starts at 10am and my last one is close to 3pm, I believe. Factor in the almost four hours on the road round trip, it’s gonna be a hella long day. But, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
I was originally intending to do the bladder/bowel procedure first because it is more invasive (4-6 weeks recovery if I’m lucky) and then the arm surgery afterwards (3 month recovery but most that is because of occupational therapy required); however, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes to do them the other way around. Hence why I decided to go ahead and book the arm surgery but I still say tentative because I want to see what the the doctors at Ochsners think or if it will make a difference in anything. Honestly, I am way too indecisive so I just wish someone would decide for me. Where can I get one of those easy buttons from the Staples commercials? False advertising, I say!
Let me think if I pretty much covered everything… Doctors, ER visit, surgeries, new pain and spasticity, red spot… Oh yeah, that sucker is still there. Remember how I said spending 9 days in straight was making me go crazy. Well, it was beginning to fade and go away so I eventually let myself get up for a few hours a day for the sake of my sanity. Before I knew it, I once again thought I was invincible and started staying up all day like normal (in my defense, I’ve technically been working because I’ve been painting like CRAZY) and it wasn’t long until the fading red spot is now yet again a darker, angry red spot. That being said, I’m sure you can guess where I am stuck again. The real lovely part is that the red spot is on the right side of my bum while it is the tailbone/left hip that has been hurting so bad. So I either have to lie on the red spot or on the painful hip- and considering that putting me on my stomach is like putting a turtle on it’s back, it’s safe to say that it ain’t happening. And also because I can’t find a comfortable in any position in the bed or chair, I’ve just been trying to tough it up and get off the red spot so it can finally heal completely- hopefully one day much sooner than later. I know I can sit in my chair and deal with whatever the mysterious new pain is, but Katy don’t play with pressure sores. And Katy is also sick of being stuck in bed because of one.
Well, I think that pretty much covers it. Ok, that’s a lie, I can find a million more things to talk about, but this has gotten so much longer than I intended and I think anyone who made it this far deserves some sort of award. At the very least, go on and pat yourself on the back. I feel like I should insert a Sally Field’s “you really like me” moment for those of you who are still really are reading all this. I either assume you are either family or had nothing better to do than read what has turned into a short novel. I’m pretty sure I write way more than I ever intend to 97% of the time. Funny how that always seems to happen.
Regardless, I truly appreciate all of you who continue to follow me on my journey of recovery. Genuinely, I do. Someone once told me that moving on after a spinal cord injury was no walk in the park, literally or figuratively, but I never imagined such a roller coaster of everything physically, emotionally, and mentally that this new life has put me through. Random days like yesterday, when I was supposed to be going to a cousin’s wedding but after waking up I felt like I physically could not get up and pretend to feel well enough to go out and socialize. I didn’t wanna get out of bed period and slept most of the day away, feeling awful, and like I could just cry at any moment – for what reason, I have no clue. I am usually pretty darn good at “fake it til you make it,” but there was no fakin it -therefore no makin it-happening here yesterday.
The recovery is not a race and has no time-limit; it is a life-long journey, most certainly filled with plenty of curves, potholes, dead-ends and unfortunately for some, tragic and life-altering accidents. We might all be in different cars, on different roads, and headed in different directions, but when you really think about it, we’re all in it together. It doesn’t matter the car you drive, what is important is who is in it with you and where you are headed. My car, unfortunately, is still being modified, but I’ll tell ya, once I can drive and get past these surgeries and recoveries, it’s time for a big step. I’m headed to great places, I’m just on a detour. A detour with plenty of speed bumps that, while extremely difficult, has given me an opportunity to learn so much about myself, who I am and who I want to be. I’ve become closer to my family, especially my mom, who is my rock and role model that I’m forever indebted to. She is the strongest person I know and I hope to be half the woman she is one day. Because of this injury, I’ve made new friends and I’ve lost old friends, found out who and what is important to me and takes presence in my life because life is too short to waste time and energy on things that simply don’t matter. Sometimes easier said than done, I know.
Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On just came on my Pandora so I’m gonna take that as a cue to wrap this up. On a final note, I’ve been painting my booty off, preparing the Live Oak Art Fest in downtown Pascagoula on Saturday, May 10. Remember those 9 days I spent in bed? I watched tons of YouTube videos and art tutorials and learned some new techniques which are evidently paying off because everyone says my art look so much better! It’s nice to feel proud of your art. I will hopefully have new prints and notecards available to buy online soon. For now, here’s a tease of some new artwork and the end of a very, VERY, long blog. God bless.
Fun fact: excluding this very last sentence, this blog was 2945 words. Or roughly 110 tweets.