Not long after the kids left, I scheduled an appointment to give blood at a blood drive as our blood stores were very low in the Metro area. Arriving for my appointment, I'm shown to a small cubicle and start the required procedures. First read this, answer questions, prick finger, get blood pressure...blood pressure...there's the rub. Six times they tried to take my blood pressure first on my left arm, then right arm, larger cuff, do away with machine pump take it manually, they could not get reading. I know I'm alive because the damn thing hurt like a bear. Finally they get a reading and I'm cleared to go have the blood draw.
I get out to the motor home where the inside has been converted to lounging couches and they get me situated and all hooked up to get started, once again a bloody cuff goes on my arm and it hurts like hell. In goes the needle and I spray blood all over my shirt. Second time I have given blood and that has happened. They clean my shirt and arm with Peroxide as Peroxide will remove blood along with washing...sure 'nuf it did, not a stain anywhere. I gave blood in record time less that 10 minutes. For my troubles I got orange Gatorade some nutter-butters, a new T-shirt, 2 free admission tickets to the Oklahoma City Zoo, a picture and magnet of the Channel 4 helicopter, got to see that baby land, and an entry to a drawing for a new car. No...I didn't win the car, but someone was given the gift of life.
I had a Doctor’s appointment scheduled to have my hip and shoulder looked at. Back in April the big boy (Fitz, the dog) and I got our legs tangled up and I went flying towards our coffee table head first. I did a quick quarterback stiff arm and a twist to keep from landing on my knees and to keep me from hitting my head. It was not a pretty site. I kept putting up with the pain, trying to rest the shoulder and the forearm but everything was so inflamed it it felt like hot nails were being driven into my forearm and shoulder. I simply could not straighten my arm or carry any weight on it. It just wasn't getting any better.
The way an HMO works is you spend $25.00 at your regular Doctor to look at it, determine that it is hurt and then recommend that you see the Orthopedic Surgeon at $35.00 a pop. An appointment is made and off you go to see his Physician’s Assistant. Phil has been with Dr. Schnabel for 25 years and assisted with both of my knee replacement surgeries. He ordered up x-rays for my hip and shoulder. “Hmm” says he “how far can you raise your arm” To the front about shoulder high, to the side not even to a 7 o’clock position. “The bursa is all inflamed, as well as the sheath covering the muscle in the lower arm that's attached to the bicep…it’s all connected”…“well I knew that!” So...he said he was going to give me a little joy juice and see if that helped, along with 6 weeks of physical therapy. Dave was in the room watching this procedure and didn't say a word or utter a sound.
I sat in a chair and Phil poked around until he found the HOT SPOT and quickly in went the injection of Cortisone. I felt a little sting and the pressure of the medicine being injected into the joint. The other shoulder has some arthritis and it was ejected as well. Phil had me lie on my side and once again poked on the inflamed hip, found the other HOT SPOT and injected that. That one I really felt and had to do some labor breathing to get through the shot. Afterwards on our way home Dave told me the needle was at least 9” long…Oh good Lord, I’m glad I didn't see it.
About 2 days later I had full range of motion and was feeling great. The shots even benefited my thumb joints which have arthritis in them. I was to the point of having to hold my coffee cup with both of the palms of my hands (like Willem Defoe in The English Patient) and not using my thumbs because I couldn't grip or hold on to anything. Then I started physical therapy…my left shoulder is hurting again at this point so I will have to talk to the Therapist at my next appointment and see what they recommend. I’m thinking some ice packs may be the ticket along with some Glucose-mine and Arthrotec.
I know the cortisone shots have played terrible havoc with my Blood Glucose readings. Trying to find the magic combination of exercise and food is not always easy in the first place but I have never had readings of this magnitude…261, was the highest it’s ever been. This afternoon I had my first normal 2 hour reading after lunch, it was 134! I was soooo happy! Anything under 183, 2 hours after you take your first bite of food is good but 134 was fantastic! About mid-September I go back to Phil and hopefully this will all be healed, otherwise more shots or an MRI and surgery. We will see...
I called one of my co-workers the other day to check on some information for our office, to which she said she had my walker that I loaned to her for her total knee replacement, that she needed to get back to me. I told her no hurry to which she replied that she was going in for surgery this coming Monday. When she told me what it was for I was shocked. Breast Cancer! “Barb” I cried, “No, No, No it’s all good” she said cheerfully, the Doctor had shown it to her on her X-Rays and it was the size of the round opening of a ball-point pen. They caught it on an annual Mammogram. Technology has advance so much that Doctors are now able to detect cancers before they get to stage 1. Barb will not have to have Chemo but radiation instead and will be back to work in no time. Please wish her well.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Don’t wait until then to get yours done. I’m getting mine scheduled week after next. Don’t take the chance and let it slide, you are too important to all those who love you.
457 days until I retire…