Category Archives: More Proof That Life Is Kicking My Ass

Why I Keep Hurting Myself

Hurting MyselfIn the Armenian language, the word “gamatz” means to go easy, be patient, take your time. It’s usually spoken by a wrinkly grandfather type in a sage sounding tone. “Gamatz, gamatz,” he’ll say, along with a calming hand gesture of some sort. If only I could listen to such great advice. Then maybe I wouldn’t keep hurting myself.

I understand the wisdom of this. But as a Manic Impressive, I have trouble taking the gamatz approach when it comes to my health.

I tend to barrel into things with great energy and enthusiasm, especially around exercise. That’s why I’ve had surgeries on my ankle, knee and rotator cuff in the past two years alone. Physical therapy clinics adore me. Continue reading Why I Keep Hurting Myself

Fear & Bravado

Surgery Turban
Yet another hospital selfie

You sign the forms because you have to. If you don’t, the surgery doesn’t happen and your weakness and pain never go away. You gulp and sign your name saying, “sure, I’m aware that the things you plan to do to me are inherently risky and could all go terribly wrong”.

Then they inform you, quite specifically, of all those things that could go wrong- infection, brain damage, death – and that you’re not to sue them if they do. Of course you’d be brain-damaged or dead, so it would be your heirs doing the suing (hey that rhymed, I’m keeping it in!). Nevertheless, it is you that must sign.

So you do what they say and wait. There have been no fluids or solids since before midnight, there is no jewelry on your person, and you’ve shown up on time – 6:30 am on a Tuesday morning. You’ve resigned yourself to the risk and you’re plunging ahead, even though your spouse can’t stand the stress of waiting with you and dropped you off in the parking lot and sped away. You wait alone.

Intellectually you know that this is no big deal, they perform thousands of these procedures and they’re good at it. But you take comfort in your indulgences from the day before, because, hey, who knows, you may not be walking out of here alive. Continue reading Fear & Bravado

Excuses, Excuses…

Yeah, I kBack In The Hospitalnow. I haven’t posted since Halloween. But as you can see, I’ve got a good excuse.  A dozen,  actually .  Three Xrays, two Ultrasounds, two MRIs, a kidney stone, three shots of Lidocaine and a big one of Cortisone.

My resilience was sorely tested during all of this, and I was starting to feel rather defeated.

But the meds kicked in, the prognosis is good, my out of pocket maximums have been reached, and the New Year is upon us.

Let’s just hope this is the last hospital bed selfie for a long, long time.

Some Comfort Here

Heart rate, blood pressure, temper, all spiking. My chest,  filling with pressure, about to blow. I was on the verge of fight or flight, when the most beautiful sound reached me from the backseat.

In a sweet, clear, boyish soprano, my son began to sing, “In the arms of the angel, fly away from here…” I joined in at the chorus, faking  the lyrics. But as I sang, everything lifted up and out of me through the moonroof. All the tension, the frustration, the rage.  Gone.

Flown away.

Once again, at just the right time and in just the right way, my son taught me everything I needed to know in that moment. What a wise, little, old soul he is.

Now, let’s all sing together…“Angel” by Sarah McLachlan

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

 

 

Life’s Backhand…

Emergency2

Nothing like a trip to the Emergency Room to deliver some perspective to my frontal lobe.  Crisis mode brings with it a tunnel vision and clarity of purpose that helps me know exactly which things need to be done and in what order. No wasted effort, no hesitation, just get ‘er done, stat.

Like Tyler Durden of Fight Club said, the “ability to let that which does not matter truly slide” was my guiding force, and everything that really needed doing got done, and nothing else. Perhaps  I should behave this way everyday…

The vital signs are stable, the patient is in good hands, the childcare has been arranged. The adrenaline has subsided and the fatigue of past 26 hours of stress and worry is washing over me in waves.  We’re out of danger, thankfully, though the next few weeks will be tough and all my carefully crafted summer plans are on hold.

Life just delivered a resounding backhand and I survived the blow. Time to shut it down and rest.

 

Please Disregard My Previous Post…

There I was all cheery and full of civic pride for filing my tax returns on time and paying my fair share. Then I got a call late tonight from my CPA – both my Federal and State tax returns were rejected because SOMEONE HAD ALREADY FILED A TAX RETURN IN MY NAME!

That’s right, I am now officially a victim of one of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft, dirty bastards ripping off tax refunds by posing as you. How did it happen? My only guess is that the data breach a few months ago by my health care provider loosened my social security number upon the criminal class, and they made short work of my tax refund.

So now instead of pursuing my dream of being a writer, I will be pursuing my new dream of not being a victim of those dirty bastards who stole my ID and my tax refund.

So no celebrating Tax Day for me – gotta go file affadavits with the IRS, my local police department, the FTC, the credit bureaus, my health care provider and anyone else who will listen…

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

gout-pain-foot-300x224

That about sums up the last 24 hours. There I was in bed sleeping, minding my own business, when all of a sudden my foot starts to blow up. Woke me up at 3:30 am, all swollen and hurting like hell. WTF?! I hadn’t done anything to it, hadn’t fallen, tripped, smacked or kicked it. What the hell was going on?

Psuedogout. That’s right, PSUEDO-GOUT.  Apparently, people who have recently had surgery on a joint (hello! ankle and knee here!) often have  calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals show up, which in turn causes said joint to blow up and inflict intense pain.

It’s just like regular Gout, but without all the fun of gorging on steak, lobster and beer for years and years and years.

I had to go downstairs and ice the thing from 3:30 am – 6:30 am before it calmed down enough for me to sleep. Doc said the intravenous fluids during the surgery were the most likely cause and that it should go away on its own. Otherwise to come on back for a cortisone shot.

Right now it’s about half the size it was, but still tender to walk on. Hopefully there’s nothing more to see here, show’s over, move along. Still,  can’t help thinking, WTF is gonna happen to me next?!!

Recovery: Life’s Been Kicking My Ass – Now It’s Time To Kick Back

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Marianne Williamson

Look around my living room and you’ll see the evidence: crutches, walker, wheelchair. There’s a handicapped parking permit on the way as well. I am down for the count, won’t be able to walk for six weeks, and work is out of the question.

Thank God for State Disability Insurance.

It’s going to be a while before I can resume my regular life, and besides the doctor visits and physical therapy, I’ve got some time on my hands. How to spend it? There’s the TV. Netflix, Vudu, Hulu are all just a remote control away. I could just sit here and get caught up on everything. Even start some new addictions.

But what would that get me? More mid-life angst about not pursuing my dreams, more shame over squandering this gift of time, more worry about the ticking clock of my life. I’ve always been haunted by the thought of being old in that rocking chair, not having made the most of my talents and opportunities, feeling regret over the things I didn’t do. Carrying my music to my grave. So maybe now is the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done okay for myself. I’m solvent with a good day job, I own my home and have my financial house in order. I provide for my family and we’re okay – not wealthy, not fancy, but reasonably secure.

But there is a gnawing hunger in me for more. Not more things, but more accomplishment. I worry that if I died today I would be quickly forgotten by all but my friends and family. That is not enough to justify the life and abilities I’ve been given.

Now is the time to make something more of myself. To do some creative work, take some chances, and unleash it on the world. Continuing to playing small will not make me happy when I’m old. I need to swing for the fences now while I still have enough life force left in me to step up to the plate.

So here it is. I’m going to build some new habits and challenge myself to produce something. I’ll start with this here blog and see where it takes me. I’m going to fight my fear and perfectionism and put something out there for the world to judge. And if in fact it is good, and it turns out I have something to say that people want to hear, then maybe doors will open and new and exciting things will come into my life. But if it doesn’t, I still win. I’ll be able to sit in that rocking chair and know that at least I went down swinging…

“You Know You’re Crazy, Right?”

Yeah, I know. That’s what I told her. My wife. When she poked her head in my office just now and said, “You know you’re crazy, right?” “Yeah, I know.”

What could I say? It was 4:55 am. I was pulling an all nighter again. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got through the whole day and night and hadn’t gotten in here. But I just had to, so then I did.

So I’ll be shot for tomorrow. My day won’t get started til very, very late. There’s lots to do and not enough time, and I’ve just sacrificed half the day.

But I just had to get in here. Because when I don’t, I fail. I can get by with little sleep, but I can’t afford to fail. And now you’re all caught up…

 

Surgery

Yesterday was quite a day. They rolled me into the operating room about 7:30 am – from there my memory just didn’t record anything. Next thing I know I’m in a recovery bed, my wife at my side, and my leg all bandaged up. It’s 10:30 am, two different doctors just operated on two different parts of the same leg, and now I’m about to go home.

But first I have to make the clock on the wall stop jumping around.

If you’ve ever been under anesthesia you may know the feeling. My brains had been scrambled and they were trying to make a comeback. Took about an hour, three cups of water and a bag of animal cookies (no, not the frosted pink and white ones with the sprinkles, but the plain dry ones, and not from the lion cage box either) to clear my head, then off in a wheelchair and back home.

The crutches are a hassle, but the pain is quite bearable. They found more problems than they saw on the MRIs, but they cleaned them all out and my prognosis is good. Physical therapy starts Monday…