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Are all physical therapists sadists?

We’re three+ weeks out from the beginning of Zombiehandapalooza, and I can now definitively say that I am absolutely tired of this nonsense. Sure, sure, if it was a simple break, I’d still be a cast (probably poking pencils down in there to try to scratch it, because that’s the sort of difficult patient I tend to be), but my understanding of this whole bionic being-screwed-back-together thing was that I would be FINE in record time. And while it’s true that I can type again (hallelujah!), it’s also true that 1) my left hand still has a chronic case of The Stupid and 2) it huuuuuuuuurts.

That said, today I am prepared to add “and physical therapy will hasten your recovery” to the list of Dirty Lies Surgeons Tell You.

Listen, my physical therapist is a lovely woman. I’m sure she’s a good citizen and kind to kittens and all of that. But she’s trying to kill me and that just seems wrong, especially because it’s just my HAND, it’s not like I’m recovering from a spinal injury or anything. In fact, the entire ROOM I am now spending several hours in each week is the Hand And Arm Clinic, dedicated specifically to torturing those of us with compromised digits, probably because our hands are too weak to slap her. (more…)

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Various non-hurricane things

I feel slightly ridiculous, updating on random minutiae when so many people I know and love are battening down the hatches in preparation for Sandy, but here I am. Nothing I can do from here can stop a hurricane, which seems unfair, really. That’d be a good superpower to have. My superpower, instead, is WRITE ABOUT NOTHING AS A DISTRACTION. It’s not as flashy.

[Sidebar: I wrote something on Facebook this morning about how, when weighing the pros and cons of letting Chickadee move away for the year, "life-threatening hurricane" hadn't even been on my list of concerns. As I wrote it I was wondering for the 1,000th time if I should ask my ex if he's properly laid in supplies or if I should continue to assume he's a capable adult and not, you know, be a worrywart jerkface even though I'm nervous. And then Tarrant commented that, "Oh geez, after the year you've had, you'd think you would have factored that in," and that made me laugh so hard that I forgot to be worried for a couple of minutes. Thanks, Tarrant!]

Anyway, our weekend was SUPER exciting, I’ll have you know. (more…)

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I’m pretty sure I’m dying

In case I haven’t mentioned it 72,000 times already, my hand is broken. I know, you haven’t heard this before. It’s totally new news! And so, complaining that my hand really really really REALLY hurts is also news. (Feel free to punch me in the face, now.) (Maybe it will distract me from the pain in my hand?) I have been a bit preoccupied with the pain in my hand, is my point. Because it hurts. DUH.

Unfortunately, life still requires that I do tremendously demanding things like get dressed, take care of my kid, leave the house for appointments, and work. Harumph. At this point, anything with a “simple,” no-fuss solution is a-okay with me. Basically the less that is required of me, the better I like it.

So when I was at the doctor last week and she said my thyroid was off, and she said she was giving me some medication, I thought that was fantastic! There was a problem; there was a solution; done. Perfect. (Also, I’m not gonna lie—it was vindicating to know I haven’t been imagining my symptoms.) (more…)

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Hey kids, drugs are bad!

This is not a post I wanted to write. I blog about many things, but I think I have yet to blog about this particular thing. And yet, here we are.

Let us briefly retrace my medical steps of the last week. On Sunday night, I broke my stupid hand on a stupid apple. I then spent many hours in the emergency room with my long-suffering husband, and when we left we had a prescription for a heavy-duty narcotic (Narcotic 1). I had told the ER staff that I don’t do well with narcotics; in fact, most of them make me throw up. So when I mentioned this, they threw in a prescription for an anti-nausea med to take with it. This was very nice of them. However, I was still worried about taking the medication they’d prescribed, because—in case you haven’t noticed from the years of my neurotically writing about it—I fear nothing as much as I fear vomiting. The next morning (Monday), I saw my primary care doctor. I mentioned that I had been given a narcotics prescription but that I was afraid to use it. My primary care doctor, who is very nice, gave me a prescription for something “non-narcotic,” and said that it was unlikely to make me ill (we’ll call this the Not-Narcotic).

I did a small victory dance. Surely this medication would be the answer to my (pain) prayers. When Otto came home that night, he’d filled my prescriptions. I happily popped two of the Not-Narcotics, looking forward without to my pain ending without any subsequent silliness. Within about 20 minutes, I was completely stoned. Why yes, I AM a cheap date, why do you ask? (more…)

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Being bionic feels a lot like stoned

I neglected to tell you that the night we went to the ER, Otto and I couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, really, what can you do?

“How did you hurt your hand, ma’am?”

“I was making apple crisp.”

The questioner would do a double-take, and then we’d burst out into fresh giggles. Also Otto kept me entertained while we waited with great suggestions like, “Sooo… wanna play Rock, Paper, Scissors?” (We later decided to change it to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Crisp, but then deemed it too dangerous to play. Cue further giggling.)

Eventually they wrapped me up and sent me home with an orthopedist referral. And lucky me, I just happened to have an appointment for a physical the next morning, anyway, so they told me to give the paperwork to my doc and have them get me an appointment.

Meanwhile, I was lucky to even make it to the doctor in one piece, because I ended up sleeping only about an hour that first night. It turns out that broken bones HURT. (more…)

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And so here we are

Left to my own devices, I don’t often find it hard to write. My head is always full of STUFF—some of it important, plenty not—and the STUFF gets tangled up with pesky FEELINGS and then there is something about the act of extracting those things from my skull and committing them to letters and punctuation and letting other people see it that helps me make sense of things. It helps me to make sense of ME.

That’s inherently selfish, and I know it. Then again, a lot of things are. I’m not convinced the way I’m compelled to write is any worse than anything else, but I know this about it. I do pay a lot of attention to how I involve others—my family, my friends, random people—when I write, and I am all-too-often aware that the human penchant for personalization means there is no avoiding pissing people off. That, too, is part of the territory. Most of the time I don’t mind; I am careful, and if you read something I didn’t actually write (or construct something I didn’t intend), that’s on you, not me.

During the last however many months of feeling like life would never, could never, be normal again, my normally crunchy exterior shattered and left me exposed to pretty much everything right when I most wished to be impervious to others. It would probably be a good time to shut up. (more…)

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The “Phew, not going bankrupt” story

I don’t really know how interesting this is going to be for 95% of you, but someone asked me to write about it and after some consideration, I decided I would for two reasons: 1) A long-time reader asked, and I like her, and I’m a giver like that and 2) maybe even if this doesn’t apply to you and never applies to you, it is somehow informative to have some idea of how this goes, even if only just as a bit of an eye-opener about how health care works in this country right now.

So if you’ve been reading along here for a while, you already know that my daughter is now in her fourth month of residential psychiatric care, and our private insurance—which, for the record, goes though One Of The Gigantic Insurance Giants—carries exactly zero benefit for the care she’s receiving. Zip. Nada. Not a single cent of it is being paid for by insurance. I could write an entire book about why this makes me want to set things on fire, especially because our insurance DOES cover “acute care hospitalization,” which means that they DID pay for the times when the kiddo was an immediate danger to herself and spent anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks being “stabilized” at a facility that costs twice what the residential place costs. The difference is that THAT kind of hospitalization is “meant” to be short-term and THIS kind is “meant” to be longer-term and insurance companies would rather pay more for less time and OH GOD GIVE ME A LIGHTER.

In case you’re not getting my drift here, I think this is beyond stupid. Unfortunately, I don’t run the insurance companies. (more…)

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What goes up, must come down

It’s been just over a month since I finally dared to say it out loud, that we believed Chickadee was getting better, that our long nightmare of a year might—finally!—be headed somewhere more hopeful. Meds were changed, improvements took hold, and I felt like we could hope without holding our collective breath.

Since then, life here on the “outside” has marched on without my daughter. Monkey started school; Otto started back to work; when I drive past the high school in the late afternoon and see the cross country team out running, I quietly count to myself how many of the kids we know, and find myself predicting where in the long line of jostling teenagers my Chickie would be, if she was there with them as she’d originally planned.

When friends ask, I smile and tell them we’re hanging in there. But after the first couple of times, yeah, I changed up my schedule so that I no longer pass the high school when the kids are out. It hurts to look at them. The little stabs of tangled up longing-and-fear they inspire make it hard for me to breathe.

We are hanging in there. But it’s gonna be a long hang. (more…)

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I swear I am not making this up

It’s official; we have reached the portion of 2012 where things have been so incredibly suckalicious that my hands hover over the keyboard while I wrestle with the very real fear that you will just stop believing what I’m saying. Because it’s outlandish. How can one family have such incredibly bad luck? Surely I am just making some of this up, or embellishing, or I’ve just completely lost my marbles or I’m just screwing with you now.

(It would be nice if that was true, kind of. Except for the part where I’m either crazy or sadistic.)

Anyway. EVERYONE IS FINE. Let’s start with that. At last count everyone is still alive and has all their limbs, so not to worry! It didn’t kill us, it just made us wish it had made us stronger!

So. When last we spoke, my parents had arrived, and Monkey was on his second day of high but mysterious fever. I even noted that “he seems fine.” Cue the ominous music! (more…)

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The logistics of frustration

If Chickadee had cancer—if she had a tumor in her brain or rogue cells infiltrating her marrow—everything would be different. Well, almost everything. The thing that wouldn’t be different would be the fear and the worry and the what-if-ing I try to only indulge in in the middle of the night.

But people wouldn’t avoid us or say, “I don’t know what to say.” They would say, “I’m so sorry” and they wouldn’t act like we were contagious or whisper about our parenting.

Our health insurance would pay for her treatment, because that’s what health insurance is supposed to do. Even though brain surgery and marrow transplants are much more expensive than the treatment she needs, which they refuse to pay for, because health care in this country is undeniably broken.

And we could be there with her, all the time, and know what the heck was going on. (more…)

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