I have been depressed. In fact, much to my chagrin, I threw a giant tantrum the other night. I think I scared my poor hubby who thought I was angry with him at first. I guess I can see why he thought that since he was in my line of sight when I threw my planner across the room. Oh yes, we’re talking bawling like a baby, throwing anything within reach kind of tantrum. Luckily for all involved there wasn’t much I could get my hands on by way of projectiles, but therein lay the rub. There isn’t much I can do; even when I want to throw a fit I’m limited and I am having a hard time enduring it all with grace. I have a little less than two months left and I feel as if I’ve already been at this for months at a time. Maybe because I have in a way; I mean even before surgery I had been slowly giving things up because of the pain. I know… I know… we all have things we have to change or let go of, but sometimes I have to remind myself to grieve each and every one or it catches up to you in some form or another. It is no wonder, really, that my last few posts have been a bit depressing as well. So, I decided it was time to look on the humorous side of things. Trust me, having to navigate the world while riding in a wheelchair or using my crutches can prove quite entertaining.
For instance, giving a urine sample… Imagine, if you will, attempting to navigate the world using two crutches. I have one word for you, EXHAUSTING and EXASPERATING! OK, well that was two words, I couldn’t resist. Think about it for a minute. I have to rely on the kindness of others to do simple things for me like open and close doors, carry my purse or other belongings, write my name down on the check in list at the Dr’s office etc. At the risk of TMI I’m going to share with you what it is like when the Dr needs a urine sample and you don’t really have a “leg to stand on”, so to speak. I need to back up a bit and tell you that my blood tests show that my kidneys are struggling. We’re not sure why, they chalk it up to autoimmune disease (surprise, surprise). When the numbers get to looking really ominous the next step is to take a urine sample. While staying in the rehab hospital it was easy (NOT!!!) they just put a catheter in and kept my urine on ice for 24 hours for testing. Ewwwwwwww!!!! Sadly I would have taken that over my next adventure.
After sitting and discussing my general health and well-being (or should I say ill-health and not-so-well-being) with my GP he decides I need to provide a urine sample. I’m sure I visibly blanched at the thought because he looked at me and said, “Ah, I think you can manage that, right?” Um, no, not really. What I wanted to say to him was something along the lines of, “You realize my equipment is different from yours, right? And it’s not like I’m on crutches or anything. I mean I can’t just stand and point and shoot, this is going to be a bit more complicated!” Instead I mumbled, “Uh, ok we’ll see how much actually makes it in the cup.” So I take my orders, and by take my orders I mean put them in my teeth because both hands are otherwise occupied (duh), and head to the lab with my head held high. After completing the easy part, the blood draw, the lab tech proceeds to hand me a cup. She stands there looking at me expectantly as she holds the cup out to me at which point I muster the biggest shrug I can manage and say, “I can’t really take that from you…”
“Oh!” she says as if it has just occurred to her that I’m on crutches despite the fact that they’re bright teal with reflectors and everything. I think she even took them from me when drawing my blood and actually handed them back to me before we ventured this trip down Fiasco Lane together. She then follows me to the bathroom and realizes that she’ll need to help me with the door. I’m hoping she realizes that she’ll need to help me stage a few things as well but of course that escapes her. She takes the lid off of the specimen cup and sets it about 5 feet away from the toilet on the sink. I look at her and I think she reads the panic in my eyes because she then moves it to perch precariously on top of the toilet paper dispenser. Before I can say another word she promptly turns on her heel and breezes out not even bothering to lock the door behind her. You can’t really blame her, I’m sure it’s not every day that these lab techs encounter ladies on two crutches who have to give them their pee. Ugh!
I sigh and crutch over to the door then balance precariously while locking it. I turn slowly and face the conundrum at hand. Well, I’ll need some paper towels which thankfully are distributed from an automated dispenser with the wave of my hand or my arm or my head. Then I note sadly that there is only one grab bar by the side of the toilet which is looking terribly low to the floor. “Humph.” I put the paper towels between my teeth, blech, and then make my way toward the loo. Gingerly dropping the paper towels as close to the toilet as possible without catching my crutches on them but still landing them within reach becomes a daunting task indeed. I think I’ve managed and attempt the precarious balancing act that it takes to actually use the bathroom. Seeing as I can’t use my legs for support in this endeavor let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I make desperate attempts to clean up and get the specimen cup closed and “touchable” for the lab tech. It is embarrassing but I have to leave it on the floor of the bathroom, there is absolutely no way I can pick it up. Oh well…
After making my way to the sink, washing up, and then carefully opening the door… ok, wait right there for a minute. Have you ever tried to open the door while both hands are occupied and you can’t put your weight on your legs? Neither had I up to that point and let me tell you, I thought they meant it when they said it was handicap accessible. They must be joking because even though the door had the little handicap sign on it, that bathroom was anything but accessible! I try knocking first, that doesn’t work. Then I balance on my crutches and attempt to open the heavy door. The door has to be opened in stages, a little tug, then move a crutch to stop it from closing, add another tug followed by using the crutch as a doorstop again and so on until finally, breathless, I get it open enough to call for help. Again, the same tech comes and looks at me like I’m an idiot until I point with my crutch to the cup on the floor and give her a pleading look. She finally gets it, again, and rushes to my aid snatching the offending specimen up from the floor and off she goes. Well, “I guess we’re done here” I think to myself.
The results you ask? Inconclusive. There are things in my pee that are high that were expected to be low and others that were low that were expected to be high. Just par for the course when it comes to me… I’m all topsy-turvy, who knew!?! So the Dr has asked me to make a return visit next week where he would like more… Yep, you guessed it urine. Oh for the love, here we go again.
Meanwhile back at the farm, I went to the eye Dr as a follow-up to several appointments where we’ve been addressing the fact that my autoimmune system is destroying the glands that produce tears. Don’t get me wrong, if you know me well you know that I can still call forth the water works when necessary but I can’t seem to keep my eyes lubricated. I’ve been on a prescription eye-drop called Restasis for over a year now and still my eyes are extremely dry. This means I get double vision quite often and let’s face it; that makes life kind of rough when you can’t see straight while attempting to maneuver without the use one’s legs. Sheesh! Will the madness ever end? No, not really, the eye doc decided it was time to plug my tear ducts. I know, I know, seems counterintuitive right? Well we have two ducts per eye and the theory is that if you plug one of them it acts as if you’ve plugged the drain in your bathtub allowing the water to pool longer in the eye before it drains out of the other duct. So there you have it, I am now comparing my eyeballs to a bathtub and the last teeniest, tiniest part of my body which had never before been touched by a doctor has now been thoroughly violated. And by violated I mean he took a small metal tool which he used to “dilate” my tear duct, in other words, he stuck it in that little hole and rooted around for a bit after which he inserted the offending plugs. It really wasn’t all that bad, he numbed my eyes first but I must say it is very disconcerting to watch because, well you have to watch it; it’s your tear duct for Pete’s sake! What did you think? I could squeeze my eyes shut to the horror of it? Naw, I’m a big girl, watched the whole thing. Ok, so maybe I had no choice but oh well, what’s a girl to do when her entire body is trying to kill her off slowly one tear duct at a time.
So there you have it, my latest sob stories. At this point what can you do but laugh? Besides, I’m almost a little afraid to cry after the whole tear duct plugging thing. I think I have one tiny spot on one of my cheek bones that hasn’t been desecrated by modern medicine… oh wait, nope, there was that time… No, I won’t go into that. You’ve probably read your fill today. And instead of leaving you with the wishes from one of my favorite songs ever, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack I’ll say instead “I hope you laughed!”