He Calls Me “Broke Foot”

IMG_1508My life is sucking right now. On a scale of Life and Death, which is the one Steven and I have used throughout each lymphoma tango in the last 12 years, I know this is all on the plus side of Life. No one is dying here. I also know that all the “think positive” crap that everyone, including ME, pontificates is generally the best way to go. But for right now at this point in time, I need to wallow in my anger and fright without being reprimanded by the gurus of good thoughts. I can’t get over being angry unless I take the time to BE angry. And damn, I am!

Back in July, I was leaving a client’s condo after an in-home consultation and while walking down the stairs to the parking area I had one of those “Oh Shit, I’m going down” moments where your life passes in front of your eyes and all you can see is the chalk outline of your fat ass splat on the the cement as the last frame. I’ve only been able to determine that as the scenario because I ruined my pedicure, scraped up my shoe and scared myself to death! I thought I was going to fall down the concrete stairs with and armful of lighting catalogs and a handbag full of things that suddenly seemed very unimportant! Luckily I caught myself before I tumbled in an area where the breeze off the river would have most definitely blown my dress over my head leaving my Granny Panties on display for the whole condo to enjoy.

My next step after the save was the one that revealed that I just suffered a huge mishap. Asimg_1287 soon as I put weight on my left foot, I knew something very bad had happened. I hobbled to my car like a woman who should wear Granny Panties and headed off to the showroom. My first thought was to go home, to ice and elevate, but I knew we were short-staffed that day and I wanted to give my co-workers the opportunity to take care of me. They did not. Since there was no manager or person of authority there, I relied on the veteran sales ladies to make the call. After I told them my tale, they smiled at the Granny Panty part and suggested I go help one of the customers wandering around the store. Ahhhh, another day this big shot designer would be selling light bulbs. How wonderful that my years of experience have brought me to this!

By the end of the day, my ankle was the size of a ham and when I finally got home I went MULTI COLOR MARTINISto the bedroom and never moved. Well, maybe I limped to the bathroom a few times to return the martini fixings back to the Beefeater gods. But other than peeing, I stayed on the bed with my leg elevated on several pillows while Steven timed the 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off icings so he could report good nursing practices to Alexis. He’s kind of afraid of her when it comes to all things healthcare. She can be a bit of a Nazi-daughter when we don’t take good care of ourselves or one another!

The following Monday was another short-staffer. And like an idiot, I expected that someone would take pity on the gimp limp. Nope… I thought I was dying, foot first. By the time I got home I knew this wasn’t a regular sprain. Something bad was going on. So bad that I couldn’t walk the next day, so I called in injured and went back to bed for the ice and elevate game.

img_1268I can go on about how many steps I walked on my “sprained” ankle after the Workers Comp doc put me in one of those big black boots with the Velcro tie downs and sent me back for “light duty”. I can lament about all my protests to co-workers that I was really hurting and couldn’t keep chasing down every wayward customer. I can even regret that I trusted the people with whom I worked to have some compassion for my pain and suffering. But, I can never communicate how mad I am about it.

It took almost four weeks before I was sent for an MRI. It turns out I have a broken bone in my foot and a img_1324completely torn ligament. My employers would not provide me with a “sitting duty only” job and filed me as out on Workers Comp without a blink. I received an email disguised with false empathy letting me know that I wasn’t welcome to return until I could come back at full duty. I got a call about a week later from the President. He said it wasn’t working out and that we had to part company. I was dismissed. They broke me and then threw me out. That’s why I’m mad.

I’m frightened because it’s been almost 2 months since the injury. I’ve been off my foot in a sitting or prone position for 2 months. My foot might feel a little better. It’s hard to tell without walking. My ankle still hurts like a son of a bitch. There’s a burning feeling someplace in there. It’s the same burning that you get when you pee and there’s something really bad going on! And it’s just as hard to diagnose. It’s not my ankle outright, it’s not my foot either. It is inside where I can’t rub it or ice it or make it feel better. It hurts in the boot and hurts out of the boot. It hurts sitting, elevated or down. And it’s not getting better and I’m totally scared because at 62 years old, I’m worried that it might never get better. I don’t feel any change in 2 months…so when is the hope of improvement just a dream?  Who wouldn’t lose hope if you went for 2 months burning whenever you pee?

I have no job. I need a job. Since Steven’s stem cell transplant, he’s healthy and alive and IMG_1424great. But he’s not in any shape to work. His stamina is way better than it was a year ago, but a year ago he had the stamina of a dead person, so….I need a job. But after no activity for 2 months, my back hurts. Of course, it only hurts when I’m lying around. The pain KILLS me if I’m standing. My muscles aren’t being used to hold me up and now they don’t want to play nice anymore. My knees worked after the menisci surgeries last year. But by not using them at all for 2 months, they don’t want to act right either. I’m not supposed to exercise. No walking, no biking, no swimming. So I’m atrophying into a blob and someone please explain to me how to present that blob for a job interview…with a space boot and a limp and gasping for air because a walk down the hall is now more aerobic activity than I’ve had in months.

I see the doctor on Monday. I’m going to give him a copy of this post. He needs to know I’m freaking out. This injury started as my foot and ankle. It’s now destroying my entire body. It’s messing with my mind and it’s making me lose my sense of humor. I can’t let that happen. I need that. Because deep down inside I might still see the glimmer of hope that this will all work out. And when it does, I’ll need to be able to make fun of it and I need my sense of humor for that.

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I’m Happy to Say, “My Husband is a Pain in the Ass!”

DUMBASSThat’s right!  I said it!  Steven is a pain in the ass!  He’s pissy and needy and demanding.  He’s driving me crazy and I think that’s AWESOME!  It means he’s getting better!  Sick people don’t generate these feelings in normal people…or even cranky, bitchy people like me!  Even WE feel empathy for sickies, we feel sorry for them, we feel caring towards them.  “Well people” exhibiting the same behavior are a pain in the ass.

Steven’s blood pressure is still unbelievably low.  In clinic this morning, he tested at 71/53.  And that was after walking to the front entrance of the hospital in 88 Blood Pressuredegree weather and then having me wheel chair him up to the 7th floor…which may or may not have involved a minor crash into the elevator wall, a close call in almost knocking over an industrial trash can and parallel parking job that nearly crushed another patient.  But even after all that, which by the way made him a little snippy, low blood pressure comes with the common-sense safety precaution of monitoring his every move.  Only now that he’s back on the outside where reality involves gravity, there are moves that he thinks he can make…but probably can’t.  Unfortunately, if anything bad happens where gravity introduces his bald head to the rough concrete, it’ll be on my watch…it’ll go on my permanent record.  So it’s safer and will make me look better if I just wait on him…and damn, he wants a lot!

I need my charger, I need my meds, I need something to drink, I need to go to the bathroom, I need to take a shower, I need to eat, I need, I need, I need.  Do you know what I need?  I need him to shut his pie hole and let me collect my thoughts.  Yesterday he was in a safe bed with everything at everyone’s fingertips.  If he needed help there was a nurse who was only caring for him and the guy next door.  Granted it was a 12 hour shift of constant care, but she didn’t have laundry or errands or calls from work, the insurance company or AT&T.  She was already AT work and also had a PCA to help her if both patients needed her at the same time.  And there were about 4 techs running around assisting the nurses and PCAs.  And they were all in a goddamned hospital where everything was set up for the ease of all of those rat bastards.

MOANING IN BEDNow it’s just me, trying to navigate a glorified hotel room, a regular bathroom and an average mid-sized SUV to cater to his every need.  And, by the way, I still have that arthritic toe (read my 2nd post ever – My Guide To Surviving Cancer) so I’ve got my own aches and pains that slow me down.  And after almost a whole year of cancer being the focal point of our lives, I’m a little tired.  I’m tired of rushing to work without getting everything organized before I leave.  I’m tired of racing out of work knowing I’m already exhausted but I have a million things that still need tending at home.  I’m tired of driving from Satellite Beach to Orlando or Gainesville.  I’m tired of trying to figure out how to put in a full week’s worth of work into 3 days.  And I’m tired of always being 3-4 weeks past due for a hair cut or pedicure or washing my own underwear.  So I’m getting a little cranky.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I can see Steven is finally on his way back to recovery after a really hard hit.  It’s just not quite here yet and we’re both in that vortex of irritation.

Today we were in the out-patient chemo room on the 7th. floor of the BMT wing at Shands. I could see our old stomping ground Chemo Room 6-18-15from there.  But instead of getting infused in a bed, Steven was in one of the comfy chemo loungers.  The nurse had given him a plumped up pillow and 3 warmed blankets to keep him cozy.  And all the patients there were wearing street clothes because when the IV pump beeps that it’s done, we all got to leave.  We get in our respective cars and go somewhere that is not a hospital.  And I am so happy that we’ve finally come this far.  I could see the stem cell collection room from there, where we started our journey.  And I could see our future in front of us, with all the fabulous new experiences yet to come.  And now, I can see Steven getting back his strength and stamina and energy.  And I just pray that I have a little more patience to get to that time.  Because sometimes, with a pain in the ass, you imagine him asleep as you hold a pillow over his face…

And if you’ve never felt that way about someone you love, then you’re a big fat liar.  I just say what other people think and I think we all have had similar thoughts sometime.  In reality, I know I’m the luckiest woman in the world.  Steven and I have come so far in this incredibly challenging situation that I’d never really kill him, I’ve got too much time invested in convincing him I’m a trophy wife, that the world revolves around me and he’s the luckiest man in the world…and he is…which makes us the perfect mates!

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widgetTHIS IS IT! Unfortunately, we don’t know when Steven will be released from Shands or how long we’ll be at Hope Lodge afterwards. What that means is that I don’t know how much time I’ll be away from work without pay. I’ve only got 2 sick days and 1/2 a vacation day left and our bills still keep coming! If you think you’d like to help us, we’d really appreciate it. Visit our GO FUND ME page and drop a bit in the hat if you have some to spare.