Frozen it is

I finally was able to see a orthopedic doctor for my constant shoulder pain. Waking up in the morning, with such pain in my shoulder, and not being able to move it the way the physical therapist wants me too has become discouraging. So the diagnosis is a frozen shoulder, which they will try to fix with an anti inflammatory shot directly into the shoulder. I hate needles, and not looking forward to it, but a friend of mine told me that he had it done twice and each time the shot worked. It may be uncomfortable, but I should feel better right away.  But I have a small window of making sure that stretching exercises are being done to keep it from freezing up again. And my hope is, that this is the correct diagnoses and not something else.

Another surgery on my hand is on hold until the shoulder issue is cleared up, because the doctor does not want to damage or inflict more pain in that area. This is another set back and I had hoped that we would be able to proceed with the prosthetic process by the end of may. But as a friend pointed out to me, I need to stop looking at the big picture and just concentrate on one thing at the time. As much as I hate to say it, she is correct. Otherwise I will feel disappointed in myself and my process all the time, when something like this happens.

Emotional Roller Coaster

The last couple of weeks, since Easter when I saw my arm, it has just been one emotional roller coaster for me. There are moments that I remember something of my past and I start crying. Then there was the moment when I realized I lost my beautiful hand writing, and I cried again.

The frustrations that set in when I can’t open something even when I hold it in between my legs. I get so mad that I feel like just throwing it. I have to go to the store always thinking, is it easy for me to open or to handle.

The latest breakdown came with a thing called mirror box at occupational therapy. You look at the reflection of your other hand in a mirror attached to a box, and try to trick your brain into thinking you still have a hand to help with phantom pains. I made it 10 minutes, before I realized my right arm will never look or work like that again.

Self esteem is at a all time low. It’s not just the stares from people when they see my bandaged arm, but it is also me thinking of all the different scars I have, emotional and physical that I don’t even like looking at myself.

So yes, right now this roller coaster ride I am on is not cool at all. But according to the therapist it is all part of the grieving process that I have to get through.  I am supposed to meet someone in the near future that has no limbs at all and talk to her. I am not even capable of digesting the thought of having lost one hand. How can one handle having lost all four? Usually the expression that there is always someone that is off worse then me, helps me putting it back in perspective. But right now all it does is just make me cry. Or when someone says there was a reason for this, I am not capable of seeing or finding the reasoning behind it. It literally has to jump out and bite me in my behind.

I guess we will schedule a few more sessions with the therapist. Hopefully we can get this roller coaster to stop.

The power of music

The last four months my world has been filled with pain, agony, doctors, hospitals, meds that worked and some that didn’t. Encouragement, prayers, positive vibes from friends near and far. Friends who have done more for me that I could possibly imagine.

Now I’ve started occupational therapy and it is hard work. Someone compared it to boot camp on my Facebook page. And I also have to do work at home to build up my muscles again. And it isn’t fun. I just went through the steps like I was asked to do. No fun.

But yesterday I realized that it has been four months since I turned on any music in my house, usually the TV is running for the better part of the day. So I decided to go old school, and my mind set changed, and over sudden I am up and moving to the music and did my stretching and movements with my arm. Made me realize how much I missed turning it up and having the house filled with music. And for a little while I forgot my problems and was in my own little happy world.

The power of music, what a wonderful thing.

Not as I had planned it..

It will be only a short time before I won’t have to wear a bandage anymore. And during the healing time the past months, I have never looked at my arm when the bandage is off. There was one incident early, just after I was home from the hospital and my daughter was here. For some reason the bandage had managed to come off during the night, and I felt that something was wrong and I opened my eyes and there it was. I looked straight at it and I freaked out and went to my daughters room and asked her to fix it. And she was like, Mom I can’t fix that. So she called the nurse, who came straight over and re-bandaged it. And that is the aweful picture I’ve had in my head all this time. So I had no desire to see it again.

I figured at my doctors visit next week, it was going to be the time, were he would say I won’t need it anymore, and that would be it. I kind off planned on it being there, with him and his nurse, whom all have just been absolutely compassionate and understanding. And I thought I would feel safe there.

This past Saturday evening, my nurse was removing the bandage, and I lifted my head with my eyes open, because something had caught my eye on the floor, and there it was. And I stared at it and all I could do is start sobbing. My nurse started to hug me and I sobbed and sobbed. I’m not sure how long she held me, I just know she finished the bandage change – quietly, with me crying.

After she had left, and I don’t think she wanted to leave me, because she is such a sweetheart, I sat in my bedroom and cried and I had all these emotions going through my head and the questions.  45 years old, with all these scares inside and out. How many more, will I have to have, before Life says okay we are done with you.

I went to bed crying, I woke up crying. I had to finally get my act together and put on a brave front for a visit with friends for Easter dinner. I got home, and called my mom, who called while I was there. And it started all over again. And this time even she felt helpless, because I could hear it in her voice that she was crying too. She is usually my go to person, the one that pulls me up and puts me back together again, but not this time. All she could tell me is to go ahead and cry.

Last nights bandage change I watched, I cried but not like the night before. My nurse called me a brave, strong person. But right now I sure don’t feel like it. Today was better, but the box of tissues is looking low, I’m planning on getting more tomorrow.

First physical therapy appointment

I never considered myself a sporty, exercise, go and run 5 miles a day kind of person. Every time I did consider doing some exercise to shape up I start all excited and eventually it slowed down, I over do it and I start hurting and completely stop. I did think about taking up yoga to help me, tone up some muscles that once you hit 40 over sudden disappear and all you see is flappy skin. Sorry, I’m trying not to be to graphic here, but the people my age who read this will understand what I mean.

So this brings me to my first physical therapy appointment this past Monday.  I knew I was going to have some issues going in, and explained them to the therapist, especially that her idea of me sleeping like I was nailed to a cross didn’t work so well, and left me with a stiff sore elbow and shoulder every morning. So she told me I did not have to do that anymore and just try to do it a couple times a day for a few minutes. Which I thanked her for.

She felt the knots in the back by my shoulder blade and worked on them, then slowly worked with me on stretching the arm, bending the arm, the elbow, simple things, nothing hard and I was thinking that this wasn’t bad, I can handle this. I felt good for the rest of the day.

But the next morning, when I got up I thought a truck had parked itself in between my shoulder blades and that I aged about 20 years overnight. It took me almost the whole morning, leaning back on a pillow, stretching my shoulders to get that truck moving out. The arm, elbow itself wasn’t too bad. So I was grateful for that.

I am hoping that as we progress with physical therapy, I will keep the truck from parking itself on muscles that have been found and are being used and eventually I wake up feeling like a spring chick.

Dreams

Since the accident, I noticed the total absence of dreams. No nightmares over the accident, which is good. No dreaming laying in the sun on a beach somewhere or anything until a few days ago. I attributed this to the amount of meds I inhaled on the daily basis, and now for about 2 weeks now I have slowly cut back on how many or how often I take them. It has been working well, unless my missing hand decides to go crazy by having the muscle tissue grow back or my nerve ends finding no suitable spot to call home. Who knows.

But now I have crazy dreams, from being a international spy to chasing people around in elevators and even and dare I say it , about my ex-husband and his fiancee. Which really was so stupid, I woke up and could find no explanation why I would dream such nonsense and kept me up for hours after. But I remember them, and most of the time you are not supposed too.

I usually go and search on the internet what certain dreams mean, key items that stick out, when I have very vivid dreams and remember. But the nonsense that has been displayed to me lately I don’t dare look for an explanation. I am just hoping that eventually they will turn into more serene, relaxing, comforting dreams. Because I like those a lot more, then pushing elevator buttons and going up and down and through revolving doors looking for people.

Phantom what?

When you loose a limp, be it a arm, leg or like me a hand, you experience what they call phantom pains. Meaning your brain still believes there is a hand present and it wants to move it. And those are the worst.

In the beginning they were bad. I could feel pain in my fingers or in the inside of a missing hand. You also get the sensation of how your hand is actually positioned, be it in a fist or open. Now 3 months later, I still have that sensation, but not like it was in the beginning. Right now my worst sensation is the healing of the nerve ends. My arm feels like it is falling asleep and tingles. But once they figure out where to go and heal, that sensation will become less and less and go away.  Desensitizing is something else I have to work on, where you slowly touch the area with something soft and get it used to normal touch again. My nurse does that for me. I am still not able to clearly look at it nor touch it. I need more mental therapy for that part. I know it is not there and that it will never come back, but I can’t look at it. And then maybe I am still in denial and my worst nightmare will come through that I will have a mental breakdown when the time comes for me to finally see it. Acceptance I suppose is my struggle, and I hope when the day comes where I have no other choice then to finally look at it, I am strong enough for it.

It’s been rough

4 surgeries, 2 additional ER visits and Hospital stays due to the side effects of some medications. Water in my feet, checking for blood clots in my legs, blood tests to see that my liver and kidneys have not been damaged because of the meds, the painful bandage changes for 2 months straight, all of those things made me just not want to be strong anymore and move forward. My visiting nurse who through all of this has been so supportive and become my biggest cheerleader for when good things happen. The surgeon that I was so lucky to have, that actually cares, usually you don’t find those anymore. Who actually felt bad when he had to perform another surgery, shortening my bone, but with the hope that my bandage changes would start being less painful and my nerves would get more cover and not be exposed and finally heal.

And within the last 3 weeks over sudden it seems we have made more process then in 2 months combined. I stopped taken the meds that gave me all the side effects that included me not being able to move and get out of bed or walk, and collected the water in my legs. Biggest fear was that they managed to damage my liver or kidneys and I would need dialysis on top of everything. But thankfully that did not happen. I always say when I hear a commercial for a medication, once you hear the side effects I rather go without.

Anyway 3 months into it and each day I get better, I see it as a small triumph of getting closer to a full recovery. Baby steps…..baby steps.

The pissed off days

Yes that is what I call them. Those are the days when I wake up at 3 in the morning, pissed at the whole situation and the world, it makes me sick to my stomach. I ask myself over and over why me. What did I do so wrong in my Life, to have to go through this. My whole world turned upside down. Questioning everything. Wondering why the biggest douchebags, wrong doers, no good for nothing assholes go through Life care free, without anything bad ever happening to them, getting away with shit and here I am feeling punished for something I have no clue for what. I cry till I can’t cry no more and then just feel like giving up and say to hell with it. Why bother trying to get better and return to a somewhat normal Life, to return being a productive person.  So something else can happen to take me back to hell? Try not to be happy, because as soon as you do, the next pile of crap will show up.

I hate those days, and that is when I have to call my mom. She is the one that puts me back together and talks some sense into me. And after she puts me back together again and I hang up, I feel so selfish, because I think of all the soldiers that are injured and come back with legs and arms missing, something they sure did not sign up for. And who are continuing to live and fight with every ounce of strength they have left. I am sure they have worse days than me, so my pissy days are small compared to theirs. My friends all try to remind me about the good and try to help with their own pieces of advice, which I truly appreciate. But it’s me that has to make sense of it all, and I don’t think I am nowhere near it.

I start mental therapy monday. My first session with a therapist. Thinking it will be an interesting one.

The ups and downs

Leaving the safety net of the hospital was hard. My mind coming up with all these different things, as to what or how I will function on the outside. Things that you do on daily basis over sudden become a chore, a quest as to do them now with one hand. Forget dressing yourself in a pair of pants with a button and zipper, sweats it is. Opening jars, bags, bowls. Even trying to clean yourself or doing basic cleaning chores.

Thankfully my kids were able to come home and stay with me after I was released from the hospital to take care of things for 2 weeks and come up with some ideas on how to make it easier for me.

Friends and even ex-family members bringing meals and buying groceries and stocking my freezer so I only have to heat them up. Visiting to clean and help with simple things. Friends taking care of my dog while I am healing. So many people stepping up to coming to help me, that I will never know how to re-pay.

My first breakdown came the day coffee creamer spilled all on the floor and ran under the fridge as I was taking it out of the fridge and I could not mop it up, I was even trying to move the fridge with one hand to get to it. It was like my world just came to an end. And all I could do was lay down wet towels to soak it up as it came running out on the side. That was one of the worst days I had so far in realizing that things are not the same no more.

Relying on other people to take you places, no more driving, I know my friends don’t mind, but it drives me nuts.

Some days feeling good about yourself when you accomplish something on your own, and then there are the days where you feel helpless and curse like a sailor.  More to come….