Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mary's new photos

Here are some of Mary's new photos from her recent photo shoot.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Good news and bad news

Well, I went for my three month check-up at the back doctor's today and he had great news. My fusion is healing like it is supposed to and the bone is growing in very well and strong. I am given permission to do just about everything I was doing before (minus the bad habits of slouching and sitting too long on the computer, and lifting heavy things, etc.) I can now even drive myself to where I want to go . . . however . . .

I need ankle surgery again! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! My ankle has been bothering me a lot for some time now and when I mentioned it to the therapist, she said "Oh, that's just because it's weak and healing, you have to push through the pain." So, I did. And then when she would massage the ankle tissues it felt as if something was ripping off and I told her that hurts like hell and she said that it's supposed to, that she had to break up all that scar tissue and get the ligaments and stuff loosened up that had tightened from little use after my back surgery. SO, I believed her. I shouldn't have because possibly she may have been pulling something out, or if the stitches weren't taking and healing was slow, she may have made matters worse. The problem could be from the RA/Lupus and the joint is having problems healing and she should have referred me back to my surgeon to check it out, and I also should have had common sense enough to call him sooner about it and question what she was saying since it didn't sound right to me that my ankle should be swelled to the size of a grapefruit and in such pain when surgery was way back on September 9th.

So, back to the surgeon who did the op. He looked at it and jumped back and said "Wow" and was shocked at how bad it looked. He did an MRI as I explained in an earlier post and that showed that the tendon was torn again, only worse this time and I have bone marrow edema in the bones of the foot and the bottom of the leg bone that meets the ankle. There is also fluid in the joint. The cortisone injection he gave me has taken some of the swelling down, but still hurts pretty much to walk on, and when I walk around too much, it swells quite a bit and gets purply red colored. The surgeon, who seemed baffled as to why his surgery repairs failed recommended I go see an ankle specialist of his choosing, but that guy wasn't on the plan, so I found out that my old Orthopedic group is on our insurance plan once again so am going to see the ankle specialist who I wanted to go to to begin with but couldn't because there was a contract dispute with our insurance company.

I now have an appointment for Monday to see the new ankle guy and will see what he wants to do, but my current surgeon says it's going to have to be repaired again, is his guess. And he acts like he doesn't want to do it. So I will let the new guy do it. I found out from my back doc that I can have a spinal anesthesia again since the injection is above the fusion, so no need for general anesthesia where they have to put the tube down my throat, etc. The downside of spinal anestheisa is that it takes longer to wear off and so am laying there longer on that bed. But the back doctor said while I may get sore, spasms, etc. the fusion itself is strong enough to handle it.

I will post more when I know more on Monday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wooly socks

I got a couple pair of these socks from L.L. Bean and they are so warm and toasty. They are wool with a soft fleece lining. I have cold feet even in summer and also have RA and gout in the joints of my tootsies so these help a lot with that. And it's been so bitterly cold this winter. I want to buy more of them and probably will if the price goes down some more. They are $8.95 a pair plus shipping and handling.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ghetto MRI

My ankle has been giving me tremendous problems lately and pain has been unbearable at times and always swollen the size of a tennis ball and sometimes even like a grapefruit, so went to the ankle surgeon on Monday and he told me to come back to his facility this evening to have an MRI. So, I asked if they had their own MRI machine and they said yes. So, when they called my name to come with them, and asked me to bring my coat I was a bit puzzled, and then stupified when I asked why and they said we were going OUTSIDE. I said, "Outside?" And she said it was a traveling unit.

Now hubby takes great pains to make sure I do not walk on ice and snow this year since I had the spinal fusion and the ankle surgery and still in therapy for all that. He dropped me nicely at the door of the clinic and now this little girl has me traipsing around the building through ice and snow and bitter cold to go up onto the lift on the side of a semi-trailer that opens up like a garage door and inside looks like a set from Mission Impossible. (See photos above.) It was so cold and slippery. I was hanging onto her, but I am sure if I would have slipped she could not have held me up.

Once inside, it only took a few minutes for the place to warm up enough to do the scan and I went along with it because I thought they would give the doc immediate results, since they came all the way there, etc. Well, after my scan, the older guy escorted me back to inside the clinic and he was a bit stronger if I did slip. And when I got to the desk they told me I would have to make another appointment for a WEEK later to go over the results. I asked what am I supposed to do about the swollen and painful ankle that is making me walk funny and messing up my gait so my back is pulling awkward and causing it to spasm and knot up. Well, they tried to say that they have no control over the reading of the report and yadda yadda yadda and that is when Jon got involved. He said that after $97,000 worth of back surgery, and thousands spent on ankle surgery and therapy that waiting a week was not acceptable and demanded the phone number of the MRI radiologist and he was going to call them that evening. Well, suddenly they went and got the doctor and he came out and was all apologetic and called me back to an examining room. He sent someone out to the truck to get the MRI disk so he could look at it. I mean, come on...he is a surgeon for crying out loud and uses these MRIs when operating on people. Don't tell me he has to have a radiologist explain it to him. Well, he looked at it and said there is fluid in the joint and then there is an area that looks like another tear. Crap! So, he said there wasn't enough fluid to go through the pain of aspiration so he gave my ankle an injection of cortisone (YEOWW!) and then wrapped it up in this black lace up and velcro brace that I have to wear for the next two weeks and no therapy for the ankle till we see exactly and officially what is going on.

Still have to have the official report from the radiologist which will determine if they have to go back in and fix something again. I hope not!

And if I ever have to have an MRI with these people again I am going to tell them I will go to the hospital or this other MRI center to have it done. That was just plain ghetto to make a person with a bum ankle walk all the way around a building outside whether snow or no snow. Crazy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My new phone

For Xmas, hubby bought me a new LG Dare phone pictured here. (I just ordered the red case cover online a couple days ago.) I love it! Everything is touch screen and it has a built-in camera and a drawing pad.

Besides the case I ordered the earphones, too. For some reason my Bluetooth from my old phone won't jive. I read online that some brands of Bluetooth don't work with the Dare phone. But the earphones will be fine since you have to have the phone nearby anyway or it won't work.

In addition to the earphones, I ordered a car charger, mini disk and screen protectors. I got them all from various vendors via and the whole bunch of stuff was only $49. Just the car charger alone from Verizon is $35. So, I got very good deals on the accessories.

The feature I really think is cool on this phone is that you can write on the screen to write text messages to people. Write on the writing pad with your finger and it comes up as text. It's awesome! I haven't figured out the voice command thingy yet, but will set that up sometime soon. I also want to figure out how to load music into it for ringtones via the micro disk. Anyone know how to do that?

Anyway, that's my new toy!

Snow and more snow

Today it's snowing again. We got about eight inches of the white stuff last night and today we are supposed to get a couple more inches. We have had an unusual snowy and cold winter, so far. We have had a various amount of snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving and that hasn't happened in years and years in our area. If I wasn't afraid of falling and knocking my screws out or breaking something, I would love to go for a walk in this. When it's snowing everything is so quiet, peaceful.

But I have been working on my exercises to get well. I have lost five more pounds and hope that is just from working out and not the Lupus. When I went to the doctor the other day, she said that my blood bone enzymes were very elevated and probably means that I am having a RA or Lupus flare. I have been feeling aching all over like I have the flu and nothing really helps much except Norco when it gets unbearable. What I really would love is a soak in the hot tub, but hubby still hasn't fixed the leak. He is having a sciatica problem and so he would benefit from the hot tub, as well. I wish he would just hire someone to come fix the damn thing once and for all (or get a new one).

Yep, hubby has sciatica all the way down his leg like I did. It wasn't bad at first, but now I can tell he has to be in considerable pain because he is very "snappy" when I talk to him and that is how he gets when something is hurting him. He gets like a bear. He won't take any medicines either because he says he doesn't take drugs. I told him that it would really help him to take some Naproxen or Ibuprofen, and that stuff doesn't make you sleepy so he doesn't have to worry about that. But he says no. But he did say he will go with me to the back doctor and talk to him then even if they charge him double office co-pay. That's on the 23rd so not too far off. I should crush the meds up and put it in his food to make him feel better. He is such a crabass when he doesn't feel well.

Jeff and Whitney made a very good lunch. Fried polenta and seasoned sweet potato wedges. Yummy, they are so tasty! They are really good cooks and make these dinners from scratch nearly every night even when they have to work late. I am not so much of a cook-from-scratch person but do it more now because I have to watch my sodium intake and sugar in my diet. But we are still meat-eaters though the portions we now eat of it are a lot smaller. Jeff and Whitney are die-hard vegetarians and never eat even a speck of meat.

Well off to write some letters and have a cup of hot chocolate to warm me up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Where have you been in the USA?

I have seven states left to visit. We traveled extensively with our kids over the years, and that mostly involved camping and really getting "in touch" with the natural surroundings of each place we stayed. Nowadays, we prefer hotels and comfy beds, but we still love to travel. I can't wait to recover and able to take the vacation we missed this past year. I would also love to start traveling overseas in the near future, starting with a visit to my friend Susanne in Sweden!

visited 43 states (86%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

Friday, January 02, 2009

Awesome socks - infused with aloe

I bought a pair of these socks last week and had to find more of them. They are of the softest fabric I have ever felt. I only wear these in the evening after I have my jammies on because I want them to be special. I wanted to buy a couple more pairs of them but when we went back to Kohl's they didn't have them except for a pair of toe socks in that same soft fabric. So I got those and wear them with the toes hanging off the front because I can't stand how the toes feel.

I was disappointed that there were no more of these socks at the store here in town, so on the way home from work yesterday, Jon stopped at the Kohl's near where he works and they had lots of them! He surprised me with a pink pair, another aqua pair and pale yellow. And I didn't think he was paying attention. What a sweetie!

(They also sell these at Bath and Body Works)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I can't believe that 2008 has come and gone already. Looking back over the year, it's been a pretty good one, and a pretty challenging one at the same time. I had struggles with my health at the beginning, going to therapy for upper back and neck problems. Then the gout attacks and the big gout attack before Jeff and Whitney's wedding. But I managed to recover from that enough to dance at their wedding.

The wedding was the highlight of the year in May. And now they've been married for 7 months. They are still living with us, downstairs in the apartment we have made for them (well, it's nearly completed and taking much longer to get that basement kitchen finished than hubby first anticipated.) Hopefully, all of their plans for the new year will materialize and things will work out so they can get their own place before too long. Maybe a year or two. I think once the downstairs kitchen is done it will be better for all of us. That's the only thing they need to come upstairs for is cooking. And we like to watch movies and certain tv shows together on the big screen once in awhile. One thing with having a daughter-in-law living under your roof, you get to know each other a whole lot better than with occasional visits.

The last four months of this year are pretty much a blur for me with having the ankle and back surgeries. The in-between with the pain from the back was probably the low point of the year. That was so awful I don't even remember those weeks.

But now on the road to recovery and hope to get fit enough to do some light hiking and stuff this summer. I go to therapy three days a week now for the back and ankle. About 2 hours each time. Then home exercises every day. I hope I lose another 20 pounds from all this and then that will be where I should be for my age, height and weight.

So, hope 2009 is a better year, medically. And hope it's full of good things for everyone I know.