Life in progress


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#JusJoJan 2018, the 19th – Darkness

I totally dropped the ball on this prompt, and for that I must apologize to Kerry, our very gracious provider of the word of the day for the 19th. You can visit her awesome JusJoJan post here: https://kkherheadache.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/its-all-around-me-jusjojan/ Definitely worth the visit.

My only defense for being so late is I tried. Yet as hard as I tried, I spent most of the day paralyzed with fear that I would get another migraine. I had a headache all morning and well into the afternoon until finally I broke down and took an Advil. The pharmacist told me not to while I’m on a daily dose of ASA, unless I really needed it.

It’s only been since I took the Ibuprofen that I’ve begun to relax, to go back to normal. To calm myself enough to sit in front of the screen and type. Even now though, I’m sitting in darkness with my eyes closed, touch typing and feeling my way through this post.

I hope tomorrow all the anxiety will begin to fade.

I’ve taken all my tests now–ECG, CT scan, ultrasound on my neck, and a fasting blood test–and I have an appointment with the stroke specialist on Tuesday morning. Hopefully I’ll get my driving privileges back and I’ll be able to do my own grocery shopping. In the meantime, I’m making every moment count.

This post is brought to you by Just Jot it January and the prompt of the day; you can find it here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/19/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-19th-2018/ Please visit and check out all the other posts, which you’ll find in the comments!

 


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What the medical community doesn’t tell you

Multiple times in the past few months I’ve been to see doctors who haven’t told me the whole story. I suppose there’s a fine line they need to tread – some patients don’t want to know. I, however, do not fall into that category.

The first was my optician. I went for a checkup where I was told I needed to make sure I wear sunglasses when I go out and to make sure I rest my eyes occasionally when I work on the computer. No problem, right? So a few weeks later I bought sunglasses and I during that time walked away from my screen once every couple of hours.

Then I went back to see the optician because I was still having trouble.

“Oh, you have the beginnings of a cataract,” she told me this time.

“I what?!?”

“Yes, that’s why I told you to wear sunglasses and to rest your eyes.”

Had I been told that in the first place, I might have been a little more diligent, don’t you think? I didn’t say those exact words out loud, but the answer to what I did say went something like, “I didn’t want to scare you.”

Right.

Next, my shoulder. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I have a rotator cuff injury and tendonitis. I’ve been told by numerous doctors over and over not to push myself past my pain limit. Until today I didn’t know why. Wanna know why?

Apparently if I put too much pressure on my tendons when they’re swollen and inflamed they can snap. Break right in two. Then I’ll have to get into surgery within 24 hours or I can say goodbye to the broken tendon for the rest of my life. I was told by the doctor (a resident working under my family doctor) that if I hear or feel a snap I’ll see my arm swell as the muscle, free of being held in place, runs down my arm and pools at my elbow… Nice, eh?

Had I been told that in the first place…  See above.

Again, I understand there are people in this world who wouldn’t want to know these things about their bodies. But there’s nothing quite like the worst case scenario to keep a person from doing something stupid out of ignorance.

Our physicians’ job is to help us heal. It’s also within their power to protect us from ourselves by either giving us the information we need – or not. Communication is of the utmost importance. If we want to know, we have to tell them and they need to be honest; it goes both ways.

Would you want to know? Because if not, I strongly suggest you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. You don’t know what kind of pain you’re in for otherwise.


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A Quick Update before I Resist the Web

As is my usual MO, I’m trying to make the best of the bad situation that is not being able to do anything but hang about the house, by editing my novel. WordPress though, as you probably know, is the bane of any procrastinator’s existence. So. A quick update on my foot and then I’m outta here.

I went to see my family doctor this morning fully expecting an amputation somewhere around mid-shin. Not one but TWO doctors had a gander and they agreed. No infection. I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I was when they dejectedly put away their bone saw.

The diagnosis? The blister has turned into a blood blister, which is basically a glorified bruise deep under the skin. It does have to be treated however, to prevent an ulcer from forming.

The treatment? Soak it daily in salt water and pumice the dead skin off the surface and let it heal on its own. And if I have to wear shoes, a moleskin bandage must be applied.

So that’s it! My foot lives to see another day! Thank you so much to all who gave me such wonderful suggestions yesterday – it’s clear that some of you should be doctors yourselves. Especially the ones who aren’t overzealous with the amputation bit – yes, I’m looking at you, Glazed.

I’ll get caught up on all my comments and read all of today’s one-liners tomorrow. Now, I’m off to perform some magic with The Great Dagmaru.

Poof!


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Advocating for Decent Health Care

As I waited in the Emergency Room with my elderly mother today, I listened to two strangers discussing the horrors of what they had heard routinely goes on in ERs across the country. And horrors they were.

One spoke of elderly patients dying in chairs and on gurneys whilst being ignored by overworked staff members; the other gave an account of a friend of a friend whose nine year old daughter died after not being properly treated. As the story went, two doctors of opposing opinions argued over the proper care of the child. One believed the girl had pneumonia and wanted her on antibiotics but the other decided it was a mere cold. The latter of the two was also on the latter of two shifts and won out. The nine year old lasted two days before flesh-eating disease got her. The parents are still waiting for the lawsuit to be tied up a year later.

In all of these cases, the tragedy which resulted might have been avoided with the presence of a competent patient advocate. After a cursory search in my own area of the world, which is Ontario, Canada, I discovered that finding an outside advocate isn’t easy. (I did only a quick search because had I been looking for an advocate in the case of an emergency, it’s logical that that’s all I’d have time for.) I found that it’s possible to get one to accompany a patient to appointments, etc., but the advocate must be interviewed in advance and paid for – highly inadequate in the case of having to go to the hospital in an emergency, and inaccessible for someone with no money. In any case, most of us rely on family and friends to advocate for us, as was the case with the little girl.

I have no way of knowing what the parents’ knowledge of medicine was, nor what their levels of intelligence are, but I do know, as a parent, that most mothers know what their children are like when they’re healthy and how they act when they’re sick. Was the mother in tune with her daughter but unable to express her concerns to the doctor? Did the doctor simply choose not to listen? Again, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s important for us to have at least a little understanding of what our loved ones are facing before we take the trip to the hospital in the first place. If that means going on the internet to search for the symptoms, so be it. At least we’ll know what questions to ask when faced with a busy doctor, and what to insist on as far as tests go.

I can’t help but think that these horrific events could have been prevented with the right amount of basic knowledge, advocacy, and attention to detail.

It’s scary to think that doctors don’t know what they’re doing. It’s frightening to know that our hospitals lack the funds to provide quality of care. But what is just as alarming is the fact that there’s no one to stick up for us, the patients, when we can’t or won’t stick up for ourselves.

 


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Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or does it seem like this is the worst time of year for colds? Every year at Christmas time, someone in my family gets sick. It’s awful when it’s me, because I’m the one everyone counts on to do all the shopping, the wrapping, and the cooking, on top of everything else. This year (knock on wood) it’s not me though. It’s Alex, my little guy.

If it’s just a cold, I’ll be able to keep him home. It’ll be rough, with sleepless nights and plenty of whining, but we’ll make it. If it’s the flu, off to the hospital we’ll go for a nice leisurely stay (for him, he loves the hospital) and for me it’ll be running back and forth for this and that, because they don’t have the equipment to feed him, they can’t get the formula he drinks, and they can’t make up his medicine without the recipe. They also don’t have his size in diapers. Oh, and of course they don’t have sign language interpreters, and none of the nurses, nor any of the doctors (so far) know American Sign Language. It’s loads of fun for Alex – he laughs at them when they try to sign to him – unless he’s very sick, and then I receive phone calls in the middle of the night asking for translations.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I certainly hope so. Wish us luck!


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Another week, another… seriously?

photo credit - Wikipedia

photo credit – Wikipedia

Friday evening is here, the kids are home for the second weekend in a row (their dad is supposed to take them every other weekend but apparently, work) and I’m fighting a chest/nasal infection. I went to the doctor and he asked me, “So, you have a chest infection?” – information he got from his secretary who asked me what colour my phlegm is – to which I replied, “yes”. He listened to my chest in four different places, through my shirt AND my bra strap and within 30 seconds I was walking out the door, the prescription faxed directly to my pharmacy from the doctor’s desk.

Yeah.

So I get home from the pharmacy and take two of these little yellow miracle pills and lo and behold I can speak again! For the first time in a week I don’t feel as though I’m going to cough up a lung sometime in the next few moments. Unfortunately the side effects may include death.

I hope my ex will get the hell off his ass and come and get the kids if that tiny little detail that the doctor, in his infinitesimal (no, that doesn’t mean infinite) wisdom, failed to inform me, comes to pass.

Then again maybe the run-on sentences will get me first. 😛