Monday, November 22, 2010

Revolt of The Legs

Living in Quandary

Have I mentioned lately I love my job?  Even with the travel, even with the pain, even with the fatigue I love doing what I do.  It's hard to define why I love it because what I do is not set in stone, it varies from day to day, sometimes it's not easy or pleasant, and physically even though it is a desk job it is becoming difficult to do.  I enjoy everyone I work with.  My bosses are great and supportive - plus they know what they are doing and are passionate about what they do.  It's intellectually stimulating and mentally challenging. I work with healthcare administration and healthcare finance which is a field I chose to work in approximately 20 years ago. I get to work with small hospitals all across the United States many in rural areas, and advocating for rural healthcare is another passion of mine.

My sister said when I got this job over eight years ago that I had found my dream job.  She was right!  I campaigned for this job.  I could tell from my first interview with them that not only did I want to work there I HAD to work there.  It was a big change for me.  I went from mega corp to tiny corp; from tons of direct reports and fiscal responsibilities to no direct reports and no fiscal responsibilities.  I went from exasperated and aggravated to excited and engaged.

I am sad tonight, not about my job or my work, but about whether I am going to be able to continue with my job, my work.  My body is not recovering well from my last trip.  I fear increasing disability, increasing medication, increasing pain.  I am wondering, am I now really disabled?  Is there someway to absolutely know?  I have great amounts of will power and have been using it to keep going but now even that may not be enough.

I experienced a great deal of pain in Michigan, and medicated and kept going even when I shouldn't have.  Even getting in and out of cars was becomming difficult. Coming back, in addition to the adventure of the flying puke fest, I experienced a great deal of difficulty walking and standing.  Flying is always an issue because of the walking necessary, and the standing necessary, and getting on and off planes while hiking a PC and a carryon full of medication.

Last weekend was frightening as the leg malfunctioning continued to evolve.  Saturday walking was very difficult.  I felt like I was shuffling along or using my thigh muscles to scooch the legs where they needed to go.  Saturday night the pain was pretty bad.  Sunday morning I woke up with big round numb areas in the bottoms of my feet and my legs tingled all the way up to my hips.  Before Sunday, the tingling only reached about six inches above my knees.  I felt very tired.

It is now difficult to get up from a couch or a chair.  I feel my legs are very weak.  The pain increases and decreases throughout the day but I ended up going home early today because of it.  Driving is hard, sitting is hurtful, and walking is an ordeal.  My incontinence issues started increasing almost two weeks ago and have settled into a new kind of normal that is worse than it was before Michigan.

I saw my PCP today and we discussed these issues.  I could not move my left leg, my left knee, my left ankle, my left foot against resistance.  I could barely move my right leg against resistance.  My reflexes have been gone almost a year now, and I think the damage decided to take another leap forward (or perhaps that would be a leap backward??).  I am much worse than I was a couple of months ago.

My PCP wants me to get EMG testing, even though I told him that Dr. Sassypants said there really wasn't anything anyone could do. I don't have structural issues that can be fixed. He also wants me to go back to the local neurology group which I really don't want to do.  I have issues with that practice, and he really doesn't have anyone else he can refer me to.  He knows why I don't want to go back there but felt like this is urgent enough it wouldn't pay to try to get established somewhere else out of the area.

When The Headache was in its full undiagnosed horror I had a neurologist, Dr. Dense, in that group that not only did not listen to ME, but also ignored the advice of the neurology group she sent me to in St. Louis.  She refused to prescribe the only medication that works for The Headache which they had prescribed in St. Louis for a few weeks until I could get back to her. After a month without any pain relief she told me she would only prescribe the medication that worked (indomethacin - NOT a narcotic)  if I signed a paper saying I would move my care to another practice! Totally unethical. I'm not thrilled at the prospect of seeing her again.  My PCP says he will speak to the head of that department but I don't think I will have any luck getting reassigned to a different neuro.  sigh. I have absolutely no confidence that Dr. Dense will be able to help me at all.  A waste of time, money and effort that I can ill afford.

Per my PCP, I am to stay off my legs as much as needed to keep the pain at bay.  Unfortunately that would preclude walking at all.  I am to let them know if it gets any worse.  I was told that I may need a fancy schmancy rollerator walker soon, and may have to retire BLING.  I fear even that would be a stop gap measure until I am forced to full out wheelchair time.

My PCP has modern views on pain management, and wants me to keep him in the loop if I need stronger narcotics, and told me to keep taking the Soma also.  With so many people having issues getting adequate medication for pain relief, I am very grateful that my PCP understands and is willing to prescribe.  I am very sparing in my use of pain medication (although I did take some tonight) and am still working on prescriptions I filled last spring.  He would like me to take more and do it on a schedule in order to stabilize the pain, but right now I am willing to be in some pain in order to function at a higher level.

I have an appointment with Dr. Calm to discuss the cyclosporine and The Hives tomorrow.  I took blood tests for that today.  All these appointments are crammed together because I had to reschedule while in Michigan because we extended our stay.  Already tired of seeing docs!

Going to bed soon, as my pain meds and my antihistimines are making me sleepy.  Hoping that maybe The Legs will be better by next week.  Sigh again. This way I can delay making any decisions I don't want to!!

Hey, at least the cankles are better!!!  And if I have to get a rollerrator walker, I'm gonna trick it out with spinners, rear view mirrors, and a special paint job - and maybe curb feelers and some fuzzy dice, and one of those horns that plays songs!!


  1. I know how much satisfaction you take from your job so I'm really sorry you may have to make this decision. Maybe a positive would be that you could spend more time working on your amazing artistic talents. You also have an fabulous way with words. Just because you may no longer be able to do what your currently doing doesn't mean you don't have a ton to offer us!
    As for the physical, there is nothing I can say other than you certainly drew the short straw. I hope than one of the doctors you see can offer some help. No matter what, count yourself blessed: Every day your attitude amazes me. Thanks for the inspiration. As always, hang in there!

  2. Kristin: Thanks for the words of encouragement! I am definitely a Debbie Downer this week.

    I generally have a plan about the future, and right now I don't even want to THINK about the future, let alone plan. Too busy being bummed out! Wishing there was some kind of stimulator that would make The Legs work.