It has been quite a week at Shady Acres.
Monday, I played “Catch-up” with my washing machine and the mountains of laundry around here. I had a Chiropractic appointment.
And here, I guess, I need to tell a short story about my carnal heart. You see, when Nettie took her tumble back at the end of July, I was careful in how I responded to her because the slightest indication of disapproval, impatience or inconvenience is enough to send her into a slump. I didn’t figure that she needed an emotional upheaval in addition to all the pain she was (apparently) suffering. But in this disobedient heart of mine, I had lots of feelings. “Why couldn’t she be more careful?” I thought repeatedly. “I just don’t have time for all of this. And how can things really be hurting the way she is letting on? The X-rays came back clear. It just can’t be that bad . . .”
The doctors office had told me that, even though her x-rays came back clear, since she had been complaining of lots of back pain for a number of weeks, I should still get her in to see the Physician’s Assistant at Southern Delaware Orthopaedic Associates as soon as possible. She had her usual blood work on Monday morning, and while she was waiting at Lab Corp, I phone SDOA and was delighted to discover that they could see her that morning at 10:30. It took some real “finagling” and rushing about, but by 10:35 or so, we were in Lewes, films in hand and ready for the appointment. Henry looked the films over studiously.
“According to the report, and from what I see, the films look good,” he said, cheerfully, as usual.
“Why is she having so much pain?” I persisted. “We’ve been in physical therapy for a month and she is still having pain that she can hardly live with.”
“Where are you going?” he questioned. When I told him he said, “They’re no good. I have yet to see anyone who was really helped by their outpatient physical therapy department. I want her to go to Dover. And I want her to go three times a week.”
“Boy, Henry,” I said ruefully. “You sure know how to complicate my life, don’t you?”
“Well,” he said, “We could get an MRI and just see what is actually going on. Would you like that?”
I was so ready for them to do it. “Yes,” I said. “I really think it would be good to get an MRI. And then, if there is nothing, we will know, and if it is something, we can get on it and get some help In either case, we will know what we are up against.”
“Okay, then,” he said, still cheerful. “We will get you an appointment. Wait here.”
So we waited and they set the MRI up for Friday morning.
The rest of that day, and the morning of the next, I kept thinking about how I was ever going to juggle going to physical therapy three times a week in Dover. And I was thinking, too about “Why couldn’t she have been more careful? Is it REALLY as bad as she is pretending???” etc. etc. etc.
So, Tuesday morning, after seeing the PA on Monday, I was talking on the phone to my neighbor, Lillian, and went to get something over in the laundry room. Christina was here with Carson and Nevin. She was sitting in the corner on Daniel’s chair with Charis and the boys were watching a TV show. Anyhow, Daniel had gotten some new parts for his grill, and I had combined the two big boxes into one, and then let the empty box sit on the floor by the door way into the kitchen from the laundry room. It had some wonderful “poppy” kinds of packing, with the air bags being about 6X8 inches square, and I knew that someone would just love to stomp on those one of these days, so I hadn’t put the box out for recycle yet. Anyhow, somehow, I brushed my foot against the box as I went by, and lost my balance. I went careening into the kitchen like I was drunk, trying to not drop the phone, trying to regain my balance, but it was all for naught. I slammed onto the kitchen floor in great disarray, and my phone went skittering across the floor. I scrambled, slithered, or something so that I could regain it, and was relieved to find that the connection wasn’t broken.
“”Whew!” I said to poor Lillian, “I just tripped over a box and took a tumble!” I was lying there on the floor, frantically assessing what hurt, whether I had damaged or twisted anything, and I honestly felt pretty much unscathed.
Christina, with Charis sleeping on her lap, was pretty much alarmed, too, “Mom, mom, are you okay??? Mom, are you okay???” She could hear me talking to Lillian, so she knew I wasn’t unconscious, but she was, naturally, worried about the state of my knee and my back and my rather tenuous psyche right now. I waved to her over the bar cabinet. and said, in response to the alarmed noises that Lillian was making, “I’m fine, honestly. I don’t seem to have damaged anything at all — surprisingly. I appear to be jostled a bit, but I’m not hurting in any specific place.” I knew that I needed to get up, though, and so I tried to get up on my knees — “OUCH, that weally hurt, Charlie!!!” So I kinda’ maneuvered meself about until I was able to be vertical again. I honestly couldn’t believe that nothing was dreadfully damaged, and as the day wore on, I was achey and stiff, but I certainly didn’t have that “out of joint, broken bone, should I go to the ER?” kind of pain. The next morning, my left hip felt like it had a bruise on it, and sure enough, I did get quite a shiner of a bruise as time went on. I was really, really sore in my muscles, and it seems like I must have done something after, all to my knee. I can’t explain it, but the pain has been increasing ever since the fall.
But I had to think about how God loves Nettie so much. As I sat on the floor after the fall, I was hearing someone saying in my head, “Why wasn’t she more CAREFUL. It probably isn’t as bad as she is acting.” And I got very compassionate really, really fast. I’m glad I didn’t fuss or complain at her, but I wish I had kept my snivelly heart in check. I especially wished it after the MRI on Friday, when the tech came out to the waiting room after I was waiting.
“You do have a follow up appointment, don’t you?” he asked with concern showing on his face.
“Yes, I do. On Tuesday. Why?”
“Well.” He stopped and pondered a bit and then said, “You really need to be sure to keep that appointment. I am not supposed to tell you anything, but she needs to be kept quiet this weekend. Don’t let her do anything strenuous. There IS something going on here. Get in touch with your doctor.”
So I did, and the nurse was mad because he “told Nettie something” and he had “no business telling her anything.” and she refused to even let her in to the office hours they were having that day. “Just keep your Tuesday appointment,” she said sharply. “And do what the tech told you.” And so, I did.
Monday, I was in the throes of the very busy day, doing laundry, etc. I was exhausted, and Nettie was in severe pain. I had paperwork to finish for the state, and I kept Nettie home since I was going to be home for the most part. I did run out to the Chiropractor — where I discovered that my personal fall had done some unpleasant damage. I was hoping that I would get better quick cause we had corn coming on Wednesday. Lots of it.
Tuesday was the day that Nettie was to get the returns on her MRI. Guess what? Sure enough. An acute compression fracture in the T-12 vertebra. “Now what?” I asked the long suffering Henry.
“Well . . .” he said reflectively. “There are two things we can do. The one is a “warm” brace. They put it on warm, and molds to your body. It is cumbersome, hot and uncomfortable. From what I have observed with this patient, I doubt very much if she would wear it.”
“And I would think you are right about that,” I said. “Considering that she won’t wear her false teeth, I am pretty sure she won’t wear a ‘cumbersome, hot, and uncomfortable’ brace. So what else is there?”
There is a procedure where the doctor injects cement, like is used for joint replacement, into a fractured vertebra and it stabilizes, often bringing “immediate relief” according to Henry. Henry had been a PA for a Dover doctor and it seems he is the only one who does this particular procedure in this area, and so Henry called for an appointment there ASAP. Said doctor is in Africa on a mission’s trip, and will be back to the office on the 18th. They put her in for the first morning, first thing. and advised us to keep her quiet and let her take it easy until then.
Wednesday, the expected corn came, and we all worked together to get a thousand ears all husked, silked, blanched, cooled, cut off, packaged and into freezers. What a day! I felt so inadequate that day, but my knees were not co-operating and it was almost more than I could do to keep going. But somewhere during that long, long day, I finalized a decision about these knees.
I have an October appointment with Dr. Choy that I have gotten rescheduled to September 8th. Henry told me several times that he would expedite it any time that I gave the word, but I thought I could make it until October. Guess what? I don’t think I can. So I told him this week that it was time and he nodded like he thought I would never ask and said he would get right on it. Why does this make me cry? I had to cry when I told Dr. Riddle that I was going to get them done, and he said, “You really have no other choice. It is time. I think you should.” I guess I am a little bit more than chicken about things, and I don’t know quite what to expect. But when the doctors tell me that they don’t know how I am even walking with these knees, and 800 milligrams of ibuprofen coupled with the strongest vicodin three times a day doesn’t hold the pain, it is time to do something.
There’ve been some wonderful times this week. Our chickens went to slaughter this week, with good preliminary statistics, and last night, JR and Linda picked us up at 4pm to take us on a surprise outing to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary (which was July 14th). We had a wonderful night on a supper cruise out of Havre de Grace, MD, and the evening was perfect in every way. It was a comfort to my very soul that seems to be so stretched right now. We both needed a chance to get away, and to spend it in the company of good friends, enjoying a boat ride and great food, while my Sweet Mama and Beloved Son in law and Eldest Daughter took care of the home fires — let’s just say, it was a blessing of monumental proportions.
And now, we are getting ready for our girlies to come home. Or, well, I SHOULD be getting ready. There are some home things that need getting in order so we can enjoy those first few days home without distraction. And I am so excited to see them again. It seems like only yesterday that we took them to the airport and sent them off — and here we are, ready to bring them home again. I don’t think I let myself really think about everything until this week, and now it feels like they’ve been gone forever, and it is just high time they are back.
So, if you are still with me, you are brave indeed, and I am so thankful for my friends. God has certainly taken care of me in that department. I am so grateful to each of you for your love and care and PRAYERS. Please don’t stop now. I need them more than ever in these challenging days!
Blessings to all!