Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We now return you...

...to my life already in progress.

Becky's visit was fun and exciting, and my life seemed to be pleasantly interrupted from regular activities. Except it wasn't, really. I mean, I still had doctor visits. I still had aches and pains. I still took meds. The only thing that was different was that I was in the company of a beautiful woman. Now that she's back home, and I'm focused more on myself than entertaining a guest, I have some things to report.

First, I goofed. When I arrived here to post today, it would seem I deleted my last post. I woke up not long ago, and my post about the abysmal care I've received from one member to the clinic I go to was erased. If you didn't read it...oh well. If you think I can remember that entire rant, you got another THINK coming.

Next, that night when Becky was here and I tossed my cookies...? It would seem my diabetic neuropathy has advanced in yet another way. The new condition is called gastroparesis. It's one of the numerous autonomic functions that can be affected by neuropathy. My stomach isn't doing all the churning and grinding of food that it should, so food and digestive juices just gather instead of moving on. Eventually the food just wants to get out, and it has only two directions to go. It can't go forward because it hasn't been broken down enough, so it goes back the way it came. (Good times, good times.)

Of course, this isn't an official diagnosis. It was briefly discussed while I was at the clinic during my pre-surgical visit. (That was the reason for the now-deleted rant. It turns out that the clinic CAN'T do all of the tests, as was claimed over the phone.) The official test doesn't sound like something I'd like to do in the near future. It would involve me eating a meal sprinkled with a mildly radioactive substance, which is then tracked over several hours to see how fast it's digesting. Besides, those were dangerous times, the days when I was the hero RADIOACTIVE MAN!

Okay...Brief side story. All those years ago, when I had osteomyelitis, I had a bone density test done. I was injected with a radioactive isotope, and then they took all kinds of pictures of my right foot. I was told the radioactive stuff would leave my body over the next day. But FOR that day, I would poke various hospital staff members and say, "You're contaminated." (Okay, I was more of a villain. =P )

Meanwhile, as per the nurse practitioner, I'm to play it safe come surgery day. Under normal circumstances, one shouldn't eat about eight hours before surgery. I'm to avoid eating twelve hours before hand. That actually doesn't bother me as much as not being able to drink. My addiction to diet root beer is truly a monkey on my back.

The trip Becky and I took to the mall has been a nightmare ever since. I mean, I enjoyed myself with her, with the grand exception that my knee feels like it's coming apart. I have two different ways of walking. When I'm at home and wearing slippers, I cheat and walk on the outside of my foot. When I'm in my diabetic shoes, I have little room to cheat; the soles are custom molded to my feet, so I'm forced to walk "normally," and that hurts. The result is my need for a cane, in which I recently discovered I'm taking about 50 lbs. off my foot while using it. (I tried to scam the nurse during weigh-in at the clinic, and she couldn't understand how I was weighing in at around 135 lbs. I was leaning my cane on the floor. =P ) Either with my cheat or the cane, I can move at a decent pace. But now, no matter what I do, I'm limping along, as I stiffen my knee while mobile to prevent it from feeling like it's going to fall off.

And that's truly what it feels like. Something is clicking in there, and the entire assembly feels like it's dangling from my femur. The pain and swelling...? Oh, those are just "bonuses." Honestly, I wish I could walk into the hospital on surgery and ask my doc, "Is there any way we could ditch the elbow surgery and have you do an emergency procedure on my knee?" But those pecky doctors don't like that kind of thing, so I'll be seeing him again three days after the sutures are removed from my elbow. We'll discuss my knee then, and hopefully get it fixed ASAP.

It's for that very reason that I'm not heading off to PA in July. Becky and I had thought it would be the perfect birthday presents for the the both of us. I would see her on mine, and a few days later she would see me on hers. But with the way this knee feels, it's looking like I may actually be having surgery ON my birthday. (It takes approximately one month for the elbow surgery to heal up, and my birthday is on a Friday. The doc operates on Wednesdays and Fridays. Lucky me.) Still, as birthday presents go, I'll take the repair of my knee over continued suffering any time.

In the "how the heck did I get that?" department, I have a tentative diagnosis of ringworm. (No, it has nothing to do with worms.) As dry as my skin is, and for all the times I wash my hands during the day, (nothing OCD-esque), one has to wonder how I got it on the knuckle closest to the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. It started quite some time ago, back when I lived in AZ, and has remained untreated. As such, it's been flaring up every few months.

I had dismissed it as something wrong with that particular knuckle. It was isolated to the top portion. It would swell, become tender, and eventually fade away, only to come back several months later. Only when it appeared on a toe last month did it come into question. And now I'm left to wonder how I got it to begin with. The only suspect I have is...Eddie!

Anyone remember Eddie? He was my neighbor back in AZ. He's one of those guys who uses the bathroom and doesn't wash his hands. (And now I live with a pair of goons just like that, which has me secretly wandering about, spraying the place down with Lysol when no one's looking.) It's spread by skin-to-skin contact, so he must have passed something to me and I reached out to take it with my left hand. (Not uncommon when my right is hanging on to a can of diet soda.) Add to this the fact that diabetics are walking, talking Petri dishes, and it's ALMOST explained. Except for the fact that Eddie didn't seem to have the symptoms himself. Maybe I just missed it. The web also says it can be spread by animals, and Nike isn't the only little beast I've pet.

So I have no idea how I REALLY got it. I just know I need to treat it. My knee has had me minimizing my activities, so there's been a slight delay on getting the meds I need. I should be picking that up today. And to be on the safe side, Becky has been warned about it. "Any circular, painful rashes should be looked at by a doctor immediately." (Yay! I'm a plague!)

Finally, on the ulcer front, I'm still healing. Gina was ready to declare me as healed, but I still have a bit of drainage on the right foot, and one of the ulcers on the left foot donated a scab during shower prep last night. It's an "almost, but not quite" scenario. It helps that I now know how to properly care for such wounds, so now, and in the future, I won't be filled with blind panic. I even have a few spare antibiotic pills left over. Should this kind of thing happen on a weekend, I have the two most common pills that are prescribed, so I can start taking them immediately, and hustle in to see a doctor on the immediate Monday.

All of that is on the medical side of my life. On the "Becky side," her visit seems to have acted like a pressure valve. I still love her, and she still loves me. But we are no longer acting like a pair of love-starved teenagers. We've grown very comfortable with one another, and don't look to fill every moment of our conversations with something meaningful. The prime example is how we spend much of the time on Skype now. We call one another, then hop onto World of Warcraft or City of Heroes. (Becky convinced me to finally use a WoW game card I've been hanging on to for well over a year.) Either we play together, managing to remain somewhat more coordinated by the fact that we're using a voice chat mechanism, or we do our own thing, still filling the air with silliness.

Me: Ooh! I found a thing.
Her: What thing?
Me: A thing that I need.
Her: What thing that you need?
Me: This thing right here.
Her: Yes, but what kind of thing is it?
Me: A NEEDED thing.
Her: You're crazy, you know that?
Me: Yep. Crazy about you.
Her: And silly.
Me: Yes. But that doesn't mean I love you less.
Her: I love you.
Me: And I just said as much about you. Now let me get this thing.
Her: Goofball.

That's not an actual conversation we've had, but it's quite similar. And the need we had prior to her visit to always be saying something meaningful...Well, that was when we were trying to prove something to one another. It was a time when all we could do was say the words, "I love you." Now that we've been together, and we've proven it, we don't ALWAYS have to say it. Mind you, I still deem it important to say. But now it's a reminder, and not a desperate claim being made to try and prove that the feeling exists without having met. We got that last part taken care of. Now it's the occasional silly or tender reminder.

And that's all there is for the time being. I'm going to risk various pre-surgical tests today. I could and should have had them done last week, but I keep trying to make every effort to stay off my right leg. With any luck, I'll be getting it repaired next month, and I'll be able to return to a somewhat normal means of locomotion.

Be well, all. =)

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