It’s so funny how I plan to write about one thing, and it suddenly turns into a story about MANY things. Some may call it chasing rabbits, I say, “SQUIRREL!” Bear with me!
It was August 19, 2016 and I didn’t say a word to my periodontist about the horrendous joint pain I had been experiencing. I was curious as to whether the pain pill he would prescribe for my extraction, crown extension, and bone regeneration would help my other issues.
I didn’t want him to think he would be enabling me to start needing pain meds on a regular basis. I truly did not want to depend on a pill to make me feel better, but I was indeed very curious. Advil and Aleve didn’t help at all so they were both placed back into my medicine cabinet several days prior.
I do not recall which of the three he did first, but when Dr. A was pulling my tooth, I was thinking how badly the rest of my body hurt so much more than having that tooth pulled. I had local anesthesia but I probably could’ve done without anything based on how the rest of my body felt.
Believe it or not, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but this joint pain and stiffness was kicking my butt! I was actually contemplating how I would stand up unassisted from the dental chair when he was finished with everything he needed to do (without audibly grunting and groaning.) It now takes so much strength, power, thought, and gumption to stand from a seated or laid back position.
At home, I can do it as ugly and noisily as I wanted, but in public, I had to have more couth than that. It’s actually quite comical because at home, we laugh heartily about the ridiculous noises uttered from my mouth when standing from a seated position. Laughing releases those magical endorphins that help ease pain and suffering. My husband tends to know when he can “make fun” of my terrible situation, but equally important, he knows when not to act or talk foolishly. I guess that’s what thirty-one years of marriage does. He’s the best! He’s not perfect, but he’s certainly close!
While on the subject, when we’re at church and we stand to sing, my son always reaches for my arm to assist me in standing so I don’t let out a groan and embarrass myself. Yes, I could stay seated, but sitting for extended periods of time is so much worse.
When I’m at work, I feel like I’m at home. I’ve worked there for twenty-three years so if I moan and groan when I stand up, they just ignore me. They’re used to hearing it. My manager also makes fun of me, but again, as equally important, he knows when to leave me alone as well.
Maybe I’m just good at projecting how I feel. It’s pretty obvious! I used to be happy, jovial, and accommodating to everyone all the time. Now, I’m different. I can’t say that I like it, but I’m still getting my job done. On many days, I wonder how I even make it to work, but so far, I’ve never missed a day.
One morning, not too long ago, Mr. Wine and I were talking about the adjustable stand up desks. I really wanted one so I wouldn’t have to get up and down throughout the day. This is no lie folks. We were mid-conversation when his phone “dinged”. He picked it up and looked at it. His jaw about dropped to the floor. (If you know Mr. Wine, you know nothing surprises him.) He turned his phone around so I could see, and there it was…an advertisement for a stand up desk!
I asked if he had been searching for one and his reply was an adamant, “No!” (Just in case you didn’t know it…big brother IS listening.)
Needless to say, this got the ball rolling. He asked if my rheumatologist could write a “prescription” for one. Maybe the company would order and pay for it if I had a doctor’s note. Sure enough, my RA doc mailed a letter explaining why a stand up desk would be beneficial for me. (I love my RA doc!)
Once we received that letter, Mr. Wine started the process of getting the necessary appovals for a stand up desk for my office. It hasn’t been delivered yet, but when I get it, I know it’s going to be so awesome! (Thank you Mr. Wine.)
Now that I’ve chased those rabbits…(or squirrels), I feel so much better. Stay with me…
Now, back to the pain meds that Dr. A prescribed. They didn’t work! Yes…you read that right! It did not help my pain one bit! I will say that instead of 15-20 minute power naps here and there, I was able to sleep hard for about an hour, but the incredible pain was still there when I woke up. There was no difference whatsoever! UNBELIEVABLE!
He prescribed 20 pills and once I figured out they weren’t going to help, I put them away with the Advil and Aleve. There are 15 of them left…from August 2016 to now, these pain meds serve as a reminder that my pain was much more than that. I don’t keep them to take them later, I keep them to keep me on track. I needed to know what was wrong with me. I didn’t need to try and mask the pain.
Although I felt very weak, not taking the pain pills made me feel very strong. Why take something that wasn’t going to help anyway.
Now back to August 25, 2016 before I started chasing squirrels!
I worked all day before leaving for an afternoon doctor appointment with Doctor #2. The numbness in my arms and legs was truly concerning. This added symptom to my ridiculous joint pain was like a slap in the face!
I had not seen my family doctor in probably ten years. The last time I sought care, I was experiencing ongoing headaches. Once he drew a little blood, he quickly concluded that I had low iron. He suggested an iron supplement and my headaches gradually and magically disappeared.
As I drove there, my thought was about how easily he diagnosed the cause of my headaches so many years ago. I suddenly had a a little streak of hope that he would be the hero in diagnosing my mysterious new illness. I just knew that two months prior to this very appointment, I was 100% normal and perfectly fine.
I had to fill out “new patient” paperwork at my family doctor since I had not been to him in so long. When the nurse called me back, she said, “Oh my gosh, you look so pretty. I love your shoes!” I had on some pale pink (neutral) high heel shoes that I purchased at my daughters grand opening at her boutique in Lexington a few years back. All I could say to the nurse at the time was, “Thank you.”
When she got me in the exam room and we started talking, tears started to swell in my eyes while I was telling her how miserable I was. The tears seemed to melt away my “front”. There was only so much pretending a person could do!
When the doctor came in, he was very cordial but he didn’t seem to be “in tune” to my complaints. That was okay. I didn’t really expect for him to be. It had been many years since I had seen him for my headaches. He did; however, order additional blood work. I went back to my OBGYN’s office that very day to obtain the blood work that Doctor #1 had previously done for me so I could take it to my follow up appointment with Doctor #2 in a few days. I thought it would be interesting to see the comparison…if any.
On my way home, I kept telling myself, “You are not crazy! It’s not all in your head. All of this is very real. Keep your head screwed on right. You know better than anyone how you feel.”
I also felt an inner tug to convey my quandary to the masses, but how do I do that? All I knew was, in the heat of it all, I needed to “carry on, and smile along the way!”
With the sheer grit to do just that, I still wanted to say, “I’m good, I’m good!”