I Didn’t Ask For More Pills
Slice of Life
By – Sheri de Grom
I’d gotten used to the ‘let’s get down to business’ style of approaching medicine my neurologist practiced. I couldn’t fault him in any way. He was always correct and that’s what matters in medicine – at least that’s what matters to me.
My doctor opened our appointment the same as always, “Have you fallen since I last saw you?” You may remember I’ve suffered five traumatic brain injuries and the last two were on his watch.
I was happy to report I hadn’t fallen a single time in the past three months.
Then he asked to see my hand and arm where I’d had surgery in February 2013.
Smiling and gritting my teeth required a bit more than I was capable of at that moment. This was a doctor that could see right through me. Darn him anyway. I hadn’t even opened my hand for him to see it wide open. Not because I didn’t want to, I couldn’t.
I predicted the next question, even before he examined my hand and my arm going all the way to my neck. “How long has this been going on?” He peered at me over his rimless glasses?
I’d rather have talked about anything else.
“Tell me about the pain.”
I wiggled in my chair. I didn’t want to admit that my entire right hand and arm felt as though they were on fire most of the time and that if I didn’t know better, I’d believe there were mini jack-hammers with picks and shovels putting on a mining exposition.
Doc swirled on his stool, “This isn’t going to get easier with time. “You obviously don’t want to talk about your pain, tell me, how are you sleeping?”
“That’s easy. I’m not. When I saw my endocrinologist earlier this week he wrote a script for 30mg Amitriptylin and that’s helping some.”
“Yes, it will help you get a little sleep because it helps your raw nerves calm down a little. I’m upping the dosage to 50mg per night. You cannot stay awake all night every night. Wait, don’t tell me you’re still taking care of your husband by yourself.”
“Yes, you know I am.”
“Sheri, here are the rules and they are not up for discussion. What I am going to do is set you up a series of appointments with an anesthesiologist and start you on a rugged schedule of physical therapy. You are entering the early phase of Stage II of CRPS. We still have time to slow this down.”
“This. This. What the heck are you talking about? And, I can’t start a regime of treatment immediately. I need at least two months to get things in order. I have deadlines and something critical is going on with Tom and we don’t know what it is. We do know it’s something neurological but I haven’t been able to find a neurologist to take his case. That has to happen first.”
“You have to know you could lose your right hand and arm if you don’t treat this ASAP. I’ll give you something for the pain but you have to follow the guidelines I’ll give you. Go home, research this disease and here’s my cell. You are not going to like what you read. Call me if you’d like to discuss this further. If not, I’ll see you in two months or less.”
What the heck. What was Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? I’d never heard of it.
My doc was right. I didn’t like what I read about the disease and I had a bit more respect for the pain levels. I also didn’t like the list of things I could no longer do or that I must cut back on immediately.
I’m to lift or move nothing over five pounds. Tom’s ill and we don’t know yet why he frequently falls. I help him up from the floor. He weighs more than five pounds. Of course, there are many other aspects of caregiving twenty-four hours a day that need to be addressed. I don’t know how to plan for Tom’s needs until I have a diagnosis and that’s becoming a real challenge. (Subject of another post).
I’m to immediately cut my gardening time by two-thirds. The garden is where I go to calm myself and find peace in my world. How can I not be in the gardens?
Cut down on my keyboard time. Shucks – why not just tear my heart out.
Bottom line – my posts won’t appear as frequently on Monday and Thursday. The doctor says I have to cut down and cut down I will. Please don’t count me out. I’ll persevere with a little help from my friends. I’ll continue to read your blogs as often as possible. Please stand by and I will posts as my hand and arm allow.