Thursday, March 27, 2008

Still Waiting

Finally heard back from my doctor about the neurologist's appointment for my back. Looks like I can't get in to see him until JUNE 6!!! I'm annoyed, but relieved at the same time. I know I need to get some sort of an answer as to why I'm hurting, but at the same time I'm afraid to find out what is causing the pain and how it would need to be fixed. Everything I've read about sciatica has pointed to surgery if the pain radiates farther down then mid-thigh. Well, my pain radiates all the way down to my ankle so I just have this feeling that I will need surgery OR that there won't be anything they can do for me. Both are scary thoughts.

I had back surgery when I was 13 years old for my scoliosis and I really don't want to have to go through another one. I know there are people out there who are saying to themselves "Why? If it will get rid of your pain, why not go through surgery". And my answer is this: If you have never gone through back surgery then you don't know how frightening it is especially when the doctors put the possibility of paralysis out there. I know that there have been lots of advancements in surgical techniques since I had my surgery all those years ago, but there is still that possibility that surgery wouldn't turn out right. Maybe I'm just a big chicken. Yeah, I know I am.

I guess I will just have to wait and see. Maybe, come June, I won't even be in pain anymore. I HOPE I'm not in pain that long.

Monday, March 24, 2008

MRI's are NOT fun!!!

As I said in my earlier post, I had to have a MRI Saturday. I was freaking out a bit, partly because I had always been told that I couldn't have one because of the steel rods in my back and also because I'm claustrophobic. I asked a lot of questions regarding my rods and the nurses, doctors, radiologist, etc. assured me that they weren't going to come flying out of my back when they turned the mri machine on. I calmed down a bit on that, but the fact that I am claustrophobic still bothered me.

When I got to the mri place, the nurse gave me a Valium and a shot of Demerol. You'd have thought I'd have been in la la land, but nope. As soon as they led me into the room where the mri was located, I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. Just looking at the opening that I was supposed to fit inside scared the hell out of me. I took a deep breath though and proceeded on. After getting situated on the table and being as comfortable as I could be, the nurse put a washcloth over my eyes, put ear plugs into my ears and told me to relax and breathe. I did as I was told, but even having my eyes shut and the cloth over them didn't stop me from seeing how dark it got as soon as my head was inside the machine. I took a deep breath and kept telling myself that I could do it. that didn't happen though. As soon as I felt the sides rub on my shoulders and arms, I freaked out....big time! In my doped out mind, I was being very calm about asking to be removed, but in reality, the nurse said I was screaming for her to let me out and I was kicking my legs and flailing my arms. I just know that I was in tears by the time they got me out of the dang thing.

The nurse led me to a bathroom so I could splash water on my face and calm down. That seemed to take me forever to do, but I did. She then took me to the OPEN mri and told me that they'd just go that route instead. I don't know why they don't do that in the first place for people who are claustrophobic. It sure would have saved time and embarrassment. The whole procedure took 45 minutes to complete. I actually snoozed a bit while I was in the open mri. I don't think I could have done that in the other one.

I'm supposed to have the results this afternoon so I'm just waiting patiently for the doctor to call. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is just a pinched nerve, but I have this feeling that it is
going to be more then that.

UPDATE: Just got a call from my doctor and apparently my mri was too blurry to read. I knew from the beginning that might be a possibility, but it still annoys me that I had to go through something that didn't even work. Now, my doctor is wanting to refer me to a neurologist. I don't know if I want to go or not. I don't want to be shuffled from doctor to doctor, racking up humongous medical bills, but never getting relief. I've lived with this type of pain since I was thirteen years old so I am used to it. The only reason I went to the doctor this time was because the pain was lasting longer then it usually does. I guess I'll see what this new doctor has to say, but like I said, I'm not going to go through test after test. We just can't afford that.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back Update

Yesterday, I was in so much pain from my leg/back/hip hurting that I caved and went to see the doctor. I really thought they would just give me pain meds and send me on my way since that's how I've been treated since this stuff first started. I was actually quite surprised though. I saw a different doctor this time and she actually listened to what I had to say. She answered all my questions, did a thorough exam and basically went above and beyond what a doctor should do, in my opinion.

She thinks that I either have a pinched nerve or a bulging disk in my lower back. Either would explain the problem I'm having. Her first thought was that I needed an MRI of my spine to find out exactly what was wrong. I told her that I couldn't have an MRI because of the two steel rods in my back (I had/have scoliosis). I'd always been told that I couldn't have an MRI because of those metal rods. But this doctor didn't think that was right. I also told her that I didn't have insurance that would pay the cost. Again, she didn't think that was right. She filled out a couple of forms and then sent me down to physical therapy to get a few exercises to help my leg/back/hip feel better. I did those and just as I was getting ready to leave, a nurse came up to me and said that my MRI had been set up for Saturday. Huh? I know I had to have looked completely dumbfounded because I didn't think I could have an MRI. The nurse, seeing my total state of confusion, told me that my doctor had called over to the MRI place and asked several questions on whether or not I could have one. Come to find out that the big magnet that the MRI uses WON'T pull the rods out of my body(thank GOD!), but they might make the images too blurry to read. The doctor said that she really needed to find out what was going on in my lower back and that if it was possible for me to have an MRI then she wanted to go ahead and schedule it for me.

Needless to say, I kind of freaked out. Here, I'd been told all my teenage and adult life that an MRI would pull the steel rods right out of my back, any metal fragments that were in my body would be pulled out, any piercings, etc. would be PULLED OUT! And now they are telling me that isn't true? How is a body supposed to react to something like that? Skeptically, that's how. I immediately came home and started researching online to find out every thing I could about MRI's, how they worked, if someone with metal implants or pins could actually have one. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the MRI people and my doctor do know what they're talking about. It doesn't make me any less nervous about having it done, but at least now I can be a little more at peace with my decision to go ahead and let them do it.

I was also worried about the cost. Being self employed, our family only has major medical coverage insurance so unless we're in an accident or have something majorly wrong happen, any medical expenses come right out of our pocket. An MRI was one of those things that they didn't feel was a major enough thing to have done so it wasn't going to be covered. That is until I talked to the nurse at the MRI place today. She said that my doctor, again, was able to get the insurance to cover the cost. Well, all except our deductible. But hey, I can handle $125 deductible just fine. It was the $1735 that I was having problems with.

So, tomorrow morning I'll be heading over to get this done. I was told to get there 45 minutes early because they'll have to put me in "the tube" and since I'm pretty claustrophobic they'll be doping me up big time with valium and demmoral. I'm hoping that I just go to sleep and the time goes fast. I do have hubby going with to drive me home. I thought I would have to go by myself, but once they told me about the lovely drugs I would be getting I knew that I was going to need someone to drive me back home. I'll fill everybody in on what happens after the MRI is done and read. I am figuring physical therapy a couple days a week for a few weeks, but there is the possibility that surgery will be needed. I hope that isn't the case, but if it is then I'll just roll with that when it comes along.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Did You Know?

Today is Organize Your Home Office Day. Did you know that? Neither did I. I wonder where they come up with some of these "holidays"? According to this website I found, Holidays for Everyday , today is also Casey Jones birthday, Albert Einsteins birthday, National Preschooler's Day, National Children's Craft Day, Celebrate Scientists, Learn about Butterflies, Save a Spider and National Potato Chip Day. Whichever one you decide to celebrate, have fun and enjoy your day!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Bit of St. Patrick's Day Fun

With St. Patrick's day coming up on Monday, I thought I'd get a head start on the holiday with a little bit of fun.

Your Leprechaun Name Is:

Plucky O'Fiddles

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I always knew my daughter was a winner

My daughter loves to take photos. She got a new digital camera for Christmas and it is with her all. the. time. About a month ago, she entered a photo contest put on by her school and the public library. Well, yesterday she got an email announcing that she had won! She had two entrys and, get this. She won FIRST and SECOND PLACE with both of them. How cool is that? I don't have a copy of the first place photo, but here is the one that came in second place:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hello from the Walking Dead

I'm still alive, but just barely. I was so sick all weekend. This dang flu is for the birds! I took my guys to the doctor Friday. She gave my son some antibiotics for his ear infection and told hubby and me that ours was viral and she couldn't give us anything. This is what I figured she would say, it's just how it works. Pay someone to tell us that there is nothing they can do to help you feel better.

I ran by the pharmacy and picked up my son's meds then came home and proceeded to fall into bed. This was at 4:00pm. I didn't move again until 9:30 Saturday morning! And even then it wasn't any farther then the bathroom. I spent the entire day in bed, either snoozing or watching tv. I ate nothing, drank nothing, just moaned and groaned. I was sore and feverish and just felt like crap.

I did feel a bit better yesterday so got up and ventured out into the living room. Hubby followed behind and sprayed Lysol on every thing that I touched or even came close to. I know he doens't want to get sick again, but geez. I didn't do that to him, not in front of him anyway:) It's hard to feel loved when you're treated like you have the plague.

Today I'm, again, just a tad better. I have invoices to make up so am trying to sit here at my desk and get those done. Between coughing, sneezing and just plain old not feeling well, I guess I'm doing an okay job. However, if someone gets a bill that says they owe $30,000 instead of $3000, you might want to let me know.

Edit: Just got a call from my daughter. She's coming home sick. This means that everybody has now had this stupid sickness! If Spring doesn't get here soon, I don't know what I'll do.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dad's home. Now I'm sick!

Dad came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. The heart doctor agreed after observing him over night that it was indeed his migraine medicine causing his heart rate to go to low. They had been monitoring his heart rate all night and saw no drops at all. Dad is now home, ordered to rest for the rest of the week/weekend. He was told that if this happens again when he is no longer taking the migraine medicine though that they'd have to look into that pacemaker option a bit more thoroughly.

I have to take my son to the doctor today because he is complaining of popping/painful/stuffy ears and his cough is not getting any better. Hubby is still feeling the same only his fever is still here. Well, lucky me, woke up this morning feeling pretty rough and the later this day has gotten, the rougher I have felt. Finally took my temp and it is up to 100, my throat is sore and I'm starting to cough. Anyway, when I take my son to the doctor, hubby is going along and we're just going to let our doctor look at all three of us. I'm sure we'll be whacked for three office visits, but that is fine. I'm just so tired of everybody being sick around here. This winter has been tough on all of us.

Thankfully, the snow storm they forecast for us to get today looks to be staying farther to the south of us. Now instead of getting 6+" of snow, we're looking at an inch or less. Yay! The wind is really gusty though and sounds like it could rip the shingles off the roof at any second. Where in the world is Spring? I'm so ready for it to arrive and stay.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ice Storm and the Emergency Room

Did you miss me? I really wasn't awol that long, just a couple of days, but those two days were pure madness around here. Fair warning: This is a really, really long post and I tend to ramble when I'm retelling stories so if you are short on time, just skip this.

First off, Tuesday we got a major ice storm. It wasn't too bad until the power went out at 10:50am and didn't come back on the rest of the day! It was actually fun for the first couple of hours because the kids were home, my phone (cordless) didn't work, and we just lazed around, played some board games and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Once the temperature started to really drop however, it took all the fun out of the day and we just kept wishing that the power would come back on. Finally at 6pm, hubby and I decided to just go to a hotel in town. We all climbed into the truck and slipped and slid all the way into town, but were able to get a couple of rooms for the evening. It was nice and warm and quiet. As the kids and I watched the sleet then snow swirl around outside our window, we also kept an eye glued to the tv, waiting with baited breath to see if school would be cancelled for the following day. Well, come 10pm, when there was still no sign of our schools being closed I told the kids that they'd better go to sleep...just in case, really doubting that school would be open the next day. I mean, we'd just gotten 1/4 inch of ice, who in their right mind would send kids to school with all that junk on the roads.

Apparently, our school district would because the next morning when I flipped on the tv, there was no mention of our schools being closed. I even took the liberty of calling the district office and was told that yes, there was indeed school that day. So, even though I'd not slept more then a couple of hours the night before (I never sleep well in a hotel) I begrudgingly woke the kids and hubby up at 6am to get dressed and head back out to the house to get ready for school. At least the power was back on. It had come on at 4am according to the message my mom had left on our answering machine.

Once we got home, my son decided that he still didn't feel well enough to go back to school. He'd been sick since Sunday. I took his temperature and it was up to 100 degrees so, even though I think he could have went, I let him stay home. Once my daughter and hubby had left for the day, I had every intention of laying down in my own bed and taking a nap. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. My son said he was going back to bed too so it would have been perfect. It didn't happen though. As soon as I walked into my bedroom, the phone rang. It was my brother. He said that my dad had passed out at work again and they were taking him to the ER. Would I go tell mom because he couldn't get through to her to let her know. So, I changed clothes, ran a comb through my hair, told my son I had to leave (he was fine being here alone and slept pretty much all day anyway) and drove to my mom's. She greeted me at the door with an immediate "What's wrong" and when I told her, she immediately went into freaked out phase. She calmed down though when I made her sit down and take a few deep breathes. Dad had been sick all week and we figured he'd just passed out because he tried to do too much, too soon.

Fast forward a few minutes: My brother arrives and we all pile into mom's car (it's front wheel drive and handled awesome on the icy roads) and head to the ER. When we got there, dad was already in an exam room and mom went back to be with him. My brother and I took up residence in the waiting room. When mom comes out, she says that the doctors think it was dad's migraine medicine that caused his heart rate to drop too low and that's why he passed out. They are, however, going to continue to run tests. My brother and I take turns going back to see dad. He's acting fine, like his usual self, joking with everybody who comes in. I went back out to the waiting room and called my son, my hubby, my daughter, etc. My brother came out and did the same by calling his wife. Then mom comes out and we can tell that something is wrong. She comes up and says that now the doctors are wanting to admit dad because they think he needs a pacemaker. What??!?!?! When did that come into the situation? What happened to it just being his medicine? So, now we wait on them to find a room for him. My brother and I are both pretty tense, but keep trying to keep the mood light.

Finally, after 6 hours in the ER, they finally get dad up to his room. When we got up there, he was still laughing, happy, joking around. We sat and visited with him a while longer when the heart doctor came in. He examined dad then talked to all of us. He said that he still thinks it is the migraine medicine causing dad's heart rate to plummet and really doesn't think a pacemaker is needed, but they want to watch him for 24 hours to make sure. If, after that amount of time, his heart rate doesn't rebound on its own (once all the meds are out of his system) then they will consider a pacemaker, but he assured all of us that he really doesn't think that will be the case. The doctor leaves and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We stayed for awhile longer, but then dad said that he could tell we were all exhausted and needed to go home. He wanted to take a nap himself.

So, here it is 8 hours later and we are all dragging ourselves out to the car to head home. When I got here, I had 30 (yes, you read that right...30!) messages on the machine. I was so tired after not sleeping the night before and then spending all day in the ER that I didn't even listen to them. I just went in, took a bath then went to bed. Me, in bed at 6pm, that's odd unless I'm sick. I needed it though. I slept straight through the night until the alarm woke me up this morning. I've gotten everything that I missed yesterday done today and am now just waiting on mom to call me from the hospital to let me know when/if they are going to release dad. I will keep everyone posted as I know more.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Is Spring Ever Going to Arrive?

After a beautiful day yesterday (sunny and a high temp of 73), today has turned cold.....again. It's raining and the temps are slowly falling. It's supposed to eventually get down to around 30 degrees and then this lovely rain is going to turn into sleet, freezing rain or snow. They haven't decided which we'll get yet. Who knows, we might even get all three. Tomorrow the crappy weather continues and then the remainder of the week is just supposed to be cold. Hello? Spring? When are you going to arrive and stay?

With all the flip flopping temps, my son has also gotten sick...again. He woke up yesterday with a slight sore throat. Didn't think much of it because he helped out in the recycle center Saturday and was yelling back and forth with his sister. We all figured it was just strained from that. Should have known better. He woke up this morning with a 103 degree temp, full blown sore throat, cough and headache. Can someone say flu symptoms? Blech, blech, blech.

I keep telling myself that it is now March and that warmer weather and less illness are just around the corner. But, believe me, that corner can't get here soon enough.