Saturday, December 15, 2007

Things Could Always Be Worse

Daumier: Le Malade Imaginaire

My primary goal for my trip to Maine, apart from helping my ailing mother and stepfather, was to stay well. I thought I'd accomplished it, then Tuesday night I came down with fever and chills. Those were followed a day later by what I'll term the "weight-loss phase," which still continues, albeit with less ferocity.

Yesterday, looking a bit peaked and green, I had a 2nd appointment with a surgeon who's going to remove what my orthopedist termed a "big-ass tumor." It's a lipoma, an apparently benign fatty mass about the size of a duck's egg, nestled amidst layers of muscle under my right shoulder blade. It was discovered during a CT scan after my equestrian fiasco 1-1/2 years ago, but I was told I could ignore it for a while, as there were several urgent injuries to deal with. Now it can't be ignored any longer, so it's coming out on January 2. For those keeping score: this will be surgery #7, medical facility #6 (3 hospitals, 2 surgical centers, 1 endodontics office).

Fun, huh? But wait, there's more!

This morning at 7:00, I was lying on my side in bed and shifted my hips a fraction of an inch, which caused an explosion of pain in my lower back. How well I recognized it: a herniated lumbar disc that's flared up several times in the past, usually in December during or after a viral illness. I thought I'd pass out when I had to walk all of 15 feet to the bathroom, clutching the doorframe, towel bars and sink for support.

In a footnote to yesterday's post, I wrote that one of my mottos is, "When the going gets tough, the tough go to bed." So that's where I am--flat on my back, a pillow under my knees, Max cuddled under my left arm with a paw resting on my hand. Good thing I never dipped into the Valium while in Maine, as threatened, because it's the only thing that eases the spasms. (The disc flared up when I was in France several years ago, and I was popping those little yellow pills like Pez. I called it my "Valium de Loire" tour.)

Edit 12/21:
Per my D.O. today, the spasms emanated from my sacrum, not the herniated disc. I've been up & about for several days now; traded the Valium for popcorn & chocolate.


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Bella, keeping your body well sounds like a full-time job!

Bella Stander said...

Sure is these days.

Eileen said...

oooh Take care of yourself.

Bella Stander said...

Doing my best, thanks. Better living through Chemistry: The Valium has helped enormously & I can actually sit, stand & (somewhat) bend over without paralyzing pain. And I'm soooo calm.

Max is the only one who's displeased with my progress, as he spent all yesterday and this morning draped over my chest. But he'll get his in 2-1/2 weeks, after my surgery. Jenny's eager for me to be mobile again, as I give her the best walks. Can't please all the critters all the time...

Mr. Obie Joe said...

At least your injuries waited until you came home. There is nothing like the comfort of one's own bed and covers. Will the surgery have to wait until the back injury eases its insult?

In the meantime, sending you many healing wishes and prayers!

Sustenance Scout said...

Bella, so glad we were all able to get together before this onslaught! Poor you! You know you have more than a few literary ladies in Denver available to help as needed. Just send out the call! K.

Bella Stander said...

I'm having the surgery on Jan 2 no matter what. Fortunately, the lumbar pain has eased significantly, thanks to much time on my back and constant dosing with Valium--and no doubt the passing of the virus symptoms as well. I can even sit, stand, walk and lie down my very own self, with no help from Darling Husband, no cane and only a modicum of wincing/groaning.

However, I may still send out an LLL call, as there's only so much reading & TV/movie viewing one can bear to do. Though Valium does make the time pass faster, if only because one spends so much of it asleep or in a fuzzy haze.

Carleen Brice said...

Bella, I'm so sorry to hear this! Hope you feel better soon.