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I’m in transition

Rays of Hope

Rays of Hope (Photo credit: ~K~)

It’s been two months, shy a couple of days, since I had to quit work and begin physical therapy and home health care. It has been emotional and stressful, changing each day. There were unknowns to get past and a new way of living each day to get used to.  There were goals to meet as I worked towards increasing my strength and hopefully get back my ability to walk with its limitations. There was fighting the fear of being totally handicapped and totally dependent upon others for my care and wondering if it was actually possible to get better.

Now I am in transition. I have finished my physical therapy for now. I have progressed, fallen back, progressed again, fallen back and progressed to the point where there is nothing else the therapy can do for me. I’m the best I can be at this time. I am taking an emotional rest and trying not to think of the next step. That is still up in the air and the path ahead is once more hidden from my view.

In my last evaluation of the progress I have made, the therapist supervisor could tell a difference in my strength and endurance. I can get up from the love seat and transfer to my rolling office chair with success most of the time. Sometimes it is easier than others. I still can’t just stand up to use my walker or to get out of bed by myself. I have to totally pull my weight up with my arms and for now, it is working. Whatever muscles and help you use from knees and legs are not there for me. So I am totally dependent on my upper body strength to move around.

The last step, the only resource left, is to see an orthopedic surgeon about knee replacement surgery. If he is not willing, because of my lymphedema, or my weight, then I will continue to deteriorate until I can no longer walk enough to get to the bathroom and will be totally dependent on others to care for me. It is something I try not to think about.

And so, we are in a waiting time, trying to get the appointment with the surgeon while hoping that there actually is hope left to strive for. It has been an unexpected and emotional journey and we are entering the next phase. And so…the journey continues…

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the journey continues I am discovering that the biggest challenge is fighting my emotions; the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of the future. I have always been a worrier and have fought my whole life against the fear of change, fear of the unknown, the fear of almost everything. Now the fear is of being totally handicapped, unable to walk and unable to be independent or even bathe myself. The change in my life happened too quickly. And since I’ve fallen 3 or 4 times in the last 8 months, that is one of the biggest fears. I can’t get out of bed without help and most days need help to get out of my chair to do a little walking across my kitchen. Fear of falling? What’s the big deal? It’s because I can’t pick myself up. Each time it happens I have to call 911 and have firemen pick me up off the floor.

 

The reason for this rant is I’m beginning to wonder if I need an anti-depressant. My emotions are swinging back and forth. Some days I am encouraged by my progress and other days I am incapacitated by my fears and even the fear of trying to do more. As with any exercise, the more you do, the next day or two you pay a price. With me, it is usually pain and extreme soreness and what I call being crippled up. I have a harder time doing what I did two days ago….getting up, standing, walking to the bathroom…the knees are wobbly and try to buckle on me. Then the fear increases to the point of being afraid once again to keep at the same level of exercise or to strive to increase so I become stronger. Fear tells me the more I do the worse I will make the knees and legs that are barely supporting me right now. And the fear of falling again tries to keep me from trying. It is a vicious circle. Add to the cycle that I tend to be a stress eater, and another weight is added to the circle.

 

I have been on anti-depressants in the past and really don’t like the idea of taking them. I learned over the years that a positive attitude, determination and a lot of prayer goes a long way towards stability and sanity. I also realize that there are different levels to depression and sometimes the scale is heavier on the side of the depression while leaving the positive thinking swinging in the rafters. (I also recognize that some clinical depression is caused by something in the way the brain works and has nothing to do with positive thinking or trying.)  I’m starting to wonder if the fears are becoming too overwhelming and taking too much energy to fight leaving little energy to live and do what I need to do. Maybe I am needing a little help, something to help me push the fear away. It is something to think about…as the journey continues….

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our flooding

Laura Ness Flooding on Bell

The recent rain Wednesday evening and night in Amarillo, Texas caused our living room to be flooded. It came under the backdoor all along one wall, under the couch and under that wall into the computer room a bit and down the wall into the hall.  What a yucky mess. It’s not damage, just saturated carpet, but it is amazing how quickly rain/runoff water can start to smell while you are trying to dry out the carpet! We have all of our living room furniture kind of piled in the middle of the room while industrial sized fan is blowing LOUDLY to dry the carpet. It will be a couple of days of exciting fun! Later…

Originally posted on Estherlou's Blog:

My husband and I were driving on the local highway towards downtown, to pick up our daughter for an early supper together. We have set aside Sunday as the one special time the three of us spend together uninterrupted. One minute we were enjoying our conversation and the beautiful weather, and the next minute someone was trying to merge into our lane without realizing we were in it. Trying to swerve safely at 60 mph and honk at the same time is not as easy as it sounds! It seemed as if time slowed down and sped up all at the same time. It was quite unusual. You are strangely calm as well as full of the adrenaline rush and the terrifying realization that you have no control whatsoever on this particular second of time. Both cars survived untouched and went on our seperate ways as they swerved back and the highway…

View original 279 more words

 

Look Hear?

Look Hear? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a stress eater my whole life. I was someone who sucked my thumb as a child. When I quit that at age 12, I think I replaced that with food. I realized very late in life that food fed my insecurities, my loneliness, my depression and my desire to fit in. It became a way of life. And it is not normal.

My husband is the kind of person who can buy a pie, or a bag of cookies, or chips…eat a piece or a handful, and then put the rest away for the next time which could be a week later. I have never understood that. I have friends who quit eating when they are depressed. I wish! Who does that? That is something I don’t understand either. My sister was like me. Her husband was an alcoholic. He couldn’t understand the way we looked at food either. So she asked him if he bought a pint or a quart of liquor would he take one drink out of it and put it away for another day, or would he finish it off? He said of course he would finish it off and then he understood.

A lot of M&M's.

My favorite binge food was to get a one pound bag of m & m’s and a large bag of chips…how can you improve on chocolate and salty together? And I would eat them until they were gone. Thank goodness those days are long gone, but the urge to eat when stressed or anxious about something is still there.

The Thai versions of Lay's Potato Chips. Most ...

The Thai versions of Lay’s Potato Chips. Most of the flavours are seafood oriented. Why can we not get these flavours in America? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, after supper, there is always the urge for dessert, or ‘something more’ or ‘I just want something else’ that I have to fight against. Sometimes I will eat less earlier in the day just so I CAN have that ‘something more’ later to feed my inner security blanket.

So as someone who needs to lose weight, being a stress eater never helps the new situations when they come. That sneaky little urge to feed the anxiety or the boredom or the fear or the depression is always hiding inside ready to pop out unawares. I think that maybe once I’d like to try the other side…the side that quits eating when upset. It’s amazing how odd that seems to me. I guess it is all in what’s ‘normal’ for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics

Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent health problems have taken me to home health care once again. I had it for a short time 6 years ago when I was recovering from a severe case of cellulitis that required some supervision and care after I left the hospital.

This time, I am seeing nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. It has been a traumatic time for someone who has been healthy despite fighting obesity. My normal health issues were all attributed to aging and/or arthritis. I started taking drugs for an overactive/leaky bladder…not crucial, just annoying.

I have bone spurs in my knees which crept up on me over time without my noticing until I one day couldn’t straighten my knees very much. How did I not notice? I had been progression from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair over a long period of time and I was always sitting down with the knees bent most of the time.

Then I discovered the deterioration and change from cane to walker etc. was not just because of the bent knees but because I needed two knee replacements.

As time passed, my mobility got gradually worse and one day I woke up and wasn’t able to get up by myself any longer. Hence, the home health care and therapy.

This is just a shout out and note of appreciation to my home health care. I have seen many nurses, as they come once a week to check me out and take vitals. I have seen a physical therapy supervisor who evaluates my needs once a month and an occupational therapy supervisor who did the same. Then I have had a physical therapist 3 times a week and an occupational therapist 2 times a week, I even had a middle of the night emergency and a visit from a nurse. I am just so pleased and thankful for all of these professionals in my life. They have all been kind, courteous, understanding, and willing to listen and encourage and even pray with me when I needed it. They are compassionate and have listened when I needed to cry. I can’t praise them enough. They have made a frightening and overwhelming change in my life much better and I greatly appreciate them all. They are a wonderful part of this journey…and the journey continues…

 

English: Walking trail Lonnekerberg Nederlands...

English: Walking trail Lonnekerberg Nederlands: Wandelroute op de Lonnekerberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Denny's

Denny’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started working when I was 16 or 17. I was a waitress in a Denny’s restaurant. I was working with my friend who became my husband. He was the greeter/host/seater for customers. I got married at 20 and had my first child by the next year. I stayed home for about 1 1/2 years and went back to work. I had our 2nd child right before my 23rd birthday. I stayed home another couple of years and then money needs sent me back to work.

I am now 64 years old. I have worked most of the time over those years. I stayed home one summer and baked bread and gained a lot of weight but thoroughly enjoyed that hot buttered bread. I went back to work. I once again took a short time off, going back to school to finish my bachelors degree and work toward a masters, but had to work part-time to help pay the expenses. The point is, I’ve worked about 45 years or so and it becomes a way of living, a way of doing.

Now that I am not working, my day and my thinking is quite different. I am concerned with health issues and physical therapy. I leave the house only for doctors appointments and then have to physically recover for several days afterwards. My world has gotten much smaller. I watch t.v. and read. I read and write blogs. I do my exercises. I take naps.

Day-to- day gets repetitious, but it can change.I worked in the same industry for almost 30 years before my situation changed. I have found the change frightening and unexpected. I have enjoyed the rest from work, but coping with new realities has been a challenge. I don’t know what the future holds for me. It is still unclear. And so day-to-day also becomes a way of living my life without knowing the next step. It is a journey of unknowns as well as lessons in patience and dependence in faith. It is a new twist in the path. And so the journey continues…

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