As referred to over in Otterkat, things have been kind of tough around here lately (“here” being Chez Crazy, abode of Tuxedo and myself) due to major health crises;  redundancy and fruitless job search – due to the total lack of  an IT job market it should be said and nothing to do with the brilliance of my man;  battling the dragon of government welfare agencies and trying to get the support and the pension to which I’m entitled;  adjusting to the new World Order and our new circumstances;  and mostly, realising how absolutely mind-blowingly lucky, fortunate and happy we really are.

* * * * * * * * *

So – the aforementioned health crises.

Basically my pain levels went into overdrive mode back in April, and kept on going up and up and up.  The pain was excruciating, especially in my neck and head – goddamn occipital nerves and wobbly joints! – so I was doing a lot of writhing around screaming.  And not in a good way. 

And not so much screaming as a kind of muffled whimper-y howl.  I spent days and days at a time just lying in bed, sleeping or trying to sleep. 

I simply couldn’t get up to do anything beyond the basic loo trip and occasional shower.  I couldn’t cook, didn’t touch my laptop, hell only knows what bills and paperwork we missed because I didn’t touch any.  Really it was fortunate that Tuxedo HAD been made redundant because I needed full time care at home.

It didn’t matter what I threw at it in terms of pain-killers and therapies, nothing worked.   Not an increased (and increased, and increased) dose of morphine;  even the liquid morphine which is usually very effective for the treatment of mega-breakthrough pain only reduced the pain a little bit for an hour or so. 

Of course what little was gained by the increased dosage of morphine et al was offset by the rather nasty side effects.  First, the itching.  Skin crawling and itching itching ITCHING.  I tried as hard as I could during waking hours to resist the intense need to tear my face off with my fingernails, and go on from there.  Whilst sleeping, however, conscious will-power was conspicuously absent, hence waking up with blood and skin under my fingernails, and long deep oozing gouges in forearms and shoulders, leaking blood and lymph.

Sorry, was that too graphic for you?  Perhaps I’d better not mention the uber-constipation then?  Suffice to say that despite my usual prunes and probiotics, I had a few days here and there wracked by horrible stomach cramps and an abdomen like concrete.  Even a “trip down Fleet Street” (ie, a DIY Fleet enema) was looking good.  I now have a couple of those on stand-by, as well as sachets of Movicol and colloxyl and other delights.

* * * * * * * * *

I resisted (a) going to hospital and (b) having occipital nerve blocks etc, because I LOATHE hospitals, and the inevitable expanding-into-a-killer-whale that follows nerve blocks (due to the meds used).

Well I managed to stay out of hospital but only by being a vocal and stubborn pig-headed bitch.  “NO. NOT GOING.  What good can they do?  The only other meds they can give me, my specialist can give me in his office.  Hospitals equal total sleep deprivation with all the light, noise, clattering and chattering in corridors, other patients moaning and puking, nurses waking you up to tell you to go back to sleep.  Then there’s the lack of sooky fluffy cats; my own things around me;  and my HUSBAND.  NOOOOOOOOOOOO”.

My specialist thought I was an idiot; when I finally tottered into his office for my emergency appointment he reached for the phone and said “I’m calling an ambulance”.  So we had the above conversation for the fiftieth time.  Finally he gave me the dreaded nerve blocks, a couple of other shots to help the pain in the short term, and some B12 as well.

You’d think I’d be bouncing off the walls after all that, but it took several days for the pain to start settling down,  but from then on I was a little bit better every day.  Tuxedo said it was like getting his wife back; he hadn’t seen her for a while.

Three weeks plus later I’m much more active and lucid, able to sit up in bed and web-surf, write, email, IM.  My stamina and energy levels are much improved, to the point I’ve been into town with Tuxedo for a couple of quite long sessions of walking (avec walking stick;  I hate “old ladies” walking sticks so use a mountaineering stick with a rubber stop on the end, it even has a compass on the top of the handle!), shopping, lunches and brunches;  very pleasant and enjoyable.

And and and . . . I’ve started doing a little light exercise in the shape of floor-work ( a mix of core exercises, stretching, Pilates, yoga, with sit-up and so forth for good measure), hand-weights, and I’m going to try for a ten-minute session on the rowing machine tomorrow.

When I visited my specialist for follow-up we discussed going back to Square One in my “programme”; a few new types of medication*, and entry into an intensive rehabilitation exercise programme.  I’m actually looking forward to that.  It might even stop me blowing up into a gross white wallowing killer whale.

* in addition to the Santa sacks of goodies I cart out of the pharmacist every month.  My pharmacist really, really, really likes me.

* * * * * * * * *

And in related but more cheerful news:  I FINALLY found – and subsequently bought – a laptop tray with fold out legs to use when sitting up in bed.  It’s this one here.  I have been looking for such a thing for years and years, googling all combinations and permutations of “laptop tray” “bed tray” “lap tray” etc etc etc.  No luck.  Then Tuxedo googles and 30 seconds later finds EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for!  (Bastard.)

Badbacks.com.au is a fantastic site; the company, as well as being Australia-based, has an extensive line of products for people who are bed-ridden or have pain and mobility issues, they are all exceptionally well designed and if the lap top tray is anything to go by, of excellent quality. 

There are a fair few other things I want to get;  a cross-bed table on rollers like the ones they have in hospital (but not as hospital-y looking which is a bonus), various cushions and back rests for sitting up in bed, and other things to make life a bit easier and more comfortable.  The lap top tray has already made such a big difference;  I can sit up in bed whenever I’m well enough and tappy-tap-tap away or just aimlessly web-surf, keeping my brain occupied and my back / neck comfortable as possible, as opposed to just lying in bed being bored and frustrated out of my tiny mind.



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