Health update and the power of supportive friends and family

Lots of updates. I will try to keep it brief – I feel like I’ve been talking about my injuries so much that even I am starting to get a little bored with them! But, in a nutshell …

On the health front:

– Every day is different. Some days are better than others. The pain moves and changes. Overall, improvement. But frustration when I find a new spot that hurts. Or a spot I thought was better is hurting again.

– I started having some pretty icky side effects to some of the medicines I am taking. I have 5 prescription medicines and 4 OTC medicines the doctors recommended. I feel like all I do all day is take pills. The side effects got so bad that I almost called 911 last week. Jeff was out of town and Anil was arriving in a few hours, so I was home alone (a rarity these days.) I was scared if I didn’t call 911 Anil would be finding a dead body, that’s how bad it hurt. But I hung in there until I was able to call my doctor and get some advice, and although I’m still having side effects, I’m no longer wondering if it could kill me (I’m not even joking here; I really wondered if I was in danger.)

– On the teeth front: I saw my father-in-law (he’s a dentist) this week and he x-rayed my mouth to see what was going on. In a nutshell – my top teeth have some pretty decent trauma to them, but so far there is no damage to the root. One of my top teeth is also becoming discolored (indicating bleeding in the pulp, whatever that means.) So we’re in a wait-and-see pattern. He said I should have pain for 4-6 weeks; that’s pretty typical. If the pain continues past then or if it gets unbearable, then I may need a root canal. So, for now I’m on more pain pills for that. (Sigh.) On the bottom teeth, get this – the impact of the fall was so hard that my teeth pulled up from the root, causing them to get taller. Let me say that one more time:  the impact of the fall was so hard that my teeth pulled up from the root, causing them to get taller. FIL says that is unlikely, but can happen. Jeff even asked if he was joking with me when I told him. Also, my bite got “off” during the fall. My top teeth and my bottom teeth don’t touch in the same place they used to. But he filed the teeth back down to a normal height, and he filed down the chip in my front teeth, and he adjusted my bite. It’s not my old mouth, but it’s better than my smashed-up mouth.  

– I still have neck pain and back pain. I wrestled with neck pain even before the fall, but the back pain is in a whole new spot on my body. Even my massage therapist noticed that it was “new.” My upper lip, where the stitches were, still hurts but less and less. I get random headaches which is odd considering how drugged up I am (don’t worry, they did CT scans and an MRI and all kinds of stuff; my head is fine.) My left knee still hurts when I put pressure on it, which makes me wonder about running, hiking, etc. But, overall, I’m getting better.

On the friends/family front:

– After I wrote to you last, my massage therapist Pippa came over last Thursday to give me a massage. Typically I go to her studio so it was so wonderful that she came to me. It was just what the doctor ordered; I was mush after. I almost fell asleep on the table!

– A couple hours later, Scott came over. He not only brought his wonderful personality, but he cooked me a “real” meal – pasta with alfredo and shrimp, and yummy oreo pudding. After consuming mostly liquids before that, it was wonderful to have a home-cooked meal! Jeff was out of town for work and Scott knew that, and he hung around for a while. We mostly watched TV and I’m pretty sure both of us fell asleep, but it was so wonderful to have the company. I already mentioned Colleen was here a couple of days before that, but it felt the same way when she was here. I am horrible company right now, falling asleep easily, but just knowing they are there makes everything better.

– A couple of hours after Scott left, I started experiencing those side effects from the medicine. It got so bad that I called Jeff to tell him I needed to call an ambulance. Anil called from the airport – he was on his way here – and I told him what was going on. Knowing he was going to be here in a few hours helped; I felt that he could help me decide what to do. I was literally torn – do I go and risk another high hospital bill for what could turn out to be nothing? Or do I not go and risk it being really bad and I really am hurt or worse? In the end, Anil arrived, I called my mom and my doctor, and it all turned out okay.

– Anil spent the weekend here, and Jeff had asked him to come that particular weekend since he was out of town. It worked out well because Jeff’s flight got canceled because of bad weather! And I was feeling really terrible – would have been really difficult to deal with it alone. Thank God Anil was here. He and I made plans with Colleen for dinner, and then I had to call and cancel because I started feeling sick.

– I thought I could handle a car ride, though, so we headed to Captain Steve’s – Anil wanted to experience a fish camp for the first time. We were in the “to go” area and I suddenly started getting deja vu from my fainting at the Diamond. The smell of fried food, the close quarters of the room and the crowd was all a bit overwhelming. When I started seeing spots I knew I was in trouble. I sat down on a bench and then Anil led me back to the car. I didn’t faint; I don’t even know if I was in danger of fainting, but I wanted to be careful.

– The next day Jeff got home and I had my biggest stint out of the house. Breakfast at Brugger’s (I had to cut my bagel into 500 pieces), then we went uptown and stopped by Colleen’s work. She was getting off in an hour and planned to meet us so we could go see a movie at the Mez. Poor Colleen – she got off, walked to the epicentre, and as soon as she got there the guys were whisking me away – they noticed I didn’t look so good, my hands were shaking, and I was crashing hard. I guess I need to take my activities in small doses. Instead everyone rallied at the house and I rested while the guys cooked on the grill and served a dinner which was delicious but I had a hard time enjoying it because of the pain. We watched a movie at the house (Red. Was awesome.)

– Sadly, Anil had to leave on Sunday. He said he’s going to try to come back in a week or two, and if he can’t make it, I had made plans prior to my fall to go to Phoenix for a while (I got a laser hair deal there). I know especially now that even if I’m not feeling 100%, he’s a great caregiver! In fact, his dad tried to get him to bring me with him – his dad wanted to take care of me. How wonderful is that??? As kind as Anil is, I’m realizing exactly who he got it from – his dad is an absolute sweetheart.

– Monday morning my dad picked me up and drove me all the way down to Florida. He only got 2 hours of sleep (I’ll explain why later). I was still feeling sick, and on top of that I had a client deadline starting. I was really concerned about my ability to a) ride in a car for 8 hours, and b) work while in the car and sick and tired and hurting. But, amazingly, it was actually a nice car ride. I got all my work done then crashed out in the back seat of Mom’s super-comfy Avalon.

– We stayed at my in-laws’ place on the Saint John’s river. I cannot even describe how peaceful that place is on a normal day, not to mention a day that I’m not feeling the greatest. On Tuesday afternoon I napped and Dad sat on the dock for two hours with a book while I slept. When I woke up I joined him and it probably turned out to be one of the best moments of my life, watching the sun set and feeling at peace with my healing and knowing what a wonderful support system I have. Earlier that day, Dad cried as he described seeing his “baby girl” in the hospital. I was full of emotion about how loved I feel from every angle – friends, family, everyone has been so kind. The breeze was perfect, my pain was minimal, and I wanted to sit there forever. I told John and Suzie (my in-laws) that their place was good for my soul.

– Speaking of, the next day was time to visit them in the dentist office. When they hugged me I didn’t want to let go. Their bedside manner is wonderful, and I feel so loved. I didn’t want to leave their office, I didn’t want to leave Florida. Despite my slow-moving and not feeling well, Dad and I had a great mini-vacation. But Dad had more people to care for (more on that in a minute) and on Wednesday it was time to leave. We made it back here, I made my client deadline (admittedly, it was nice to have the comforts of home back), and I’ve been resting and recovering from the trip since.

– Visits have been so good for me. Rebecca came over yesterday and Cara just brought me homemade soup today. I love having the company and the visit. I keep having a minor freak-out about my house being messy but I just keep telling myself people know why!

– One thing I’ve learned is that being a caregiver is a full-time job. I am fully aware of what it takes to take care of me. Jeff has barely been able to work, take care of the pets, and take care of me at the same time. He has no time to clean house, to do laundry, to breathe. I get antsy with the house being dirty but every time I get up to clean, my head starts swimming and I don’t last too long.

But, every day is just a little bit better. I actually slept through the night two nights ago for the first time since my fall! (Although I was up about every hour last night.) My time between naps is longer now than it was. I can sometimes go a while before I need a pain pill. My teeth look better and feel better. My face and knees continue to heal – and I look forward to everything being normal again.

Ok, so this update wasn’t as short as I wanted it to be, but now you’re all caught up!