Friday, June 17, 2011

Needs and Wants

Howdy, all, and welcome to my 501st post. Yes, that's right. I've been at this for a few years, and it would seem my last post was the 500th. Pity I didn't realize it, or I would have made some kind of big deal about it. "Hey, I've been gushing about my life and various thoughts for 500 posts! Have some cheese with my whine!" If you've read every single post, you win an official Rob Meadows no-prize. Just send me your address and proof of your having read every word, and I'll get that in the mail to you ASAP. =P

Oh, come on. No one remembers when Marvel would send out "no-prizes" for pointing out story errors? It was the best thing to not receive ever!

Anyway, I've had some time to do some thinking over the last couple days, and I've decided that I'm not very happy with my current foot situation. In fact, some deep part of my genetic code is currently deciding when and if I should sue someone for all of my current pain and suffering. Aside from the fact that Charcot's foot just happens to some diabetics, I'm sure this prolonged process of dealing with it is someone's fault.

The immediate issue is the pain I'm in. I have a fentanyl patch feeding me a steady supply of painkiller designed for those who are opiate resistant. "Resistant," as in, "I've been in them too long and am not getting the relief I should." And yet I have been prescribed opiates for breakthrough pain. Oxycodone and dilaudid, to be precise. When people hear that I'm on these meds and taking them regularly, they're usually stunned that I'm even conscious. One person even commented that it says something about the pain I'm in, as I'm not laid out and drooling in a corner. Maybe that's true, but the counter-argument to that is that my body just doesn't recognize these prescription chemicals anymore.

There's also a question in my mind about whether or not my pain is real. That is, we can all probably agree that a portion of it is real, but is there any portion of it that's imagined? Reading the MRI report on my right foot and ankle certainly didn't improve anything for me.

Over the last two days, there's this one pain that's seemingly getting worse. And to understand exactly where it is, let's all look at this, shall we? Okay...You see that spot on the side view, where the navicular bone and the cuneiform bone meet? (See the top view for the names, but the side view for locating where my worst pain is.) Right along the bottom, there, where the foot would feels as though someone has shoved a knife in there and is just poking away at the bones. Mind you, I broke something in there many years ago. I foolishly kicked a car in my late-ish 20s, and those bones collided, resulting in one of them chipping. I no longer remember which one, but that spot has always been a site that aches during incoming rain and snow.

Neither the navcular and cuneiform bones aren't even mentioned directly in the MRI report...although the cuneiform gets mentioned as part of a group. "Grossly abnormal appearance of the talus, all of the tarsal bones, and anterior aspect of the calcaneus." the increased pain imagined? Is there a problem that's simply not being seen because my foot is such a mess? Is this a result of an old wound becoming incredibly painful because my foot's a mess? I just don't know. As for the aforementioned fracture of my talus, (see last post), I'm feeling "discomfort" there, but no severe pain. Is that because my painkillers are actually working? What, pray tell, is going on in there, and why can't I get any solid answers from anyone whom I've already seen?

This all brings me back to my post title. We all have needs and wants. In fact, a recent video post by Hank Green talks about that which qualifies something to be considered "alive." He claimed that all living things "want." I countered, in the comments, that living things actually NEED. Humans, for example, need to breathe and eat, and can do these things on their own. His attempt at discussing the concept of Google being alive...? That doesn't work, as Google, itself, needs nothing. Oh, it may need maintenance, but Google will wait an eternity until someone comes along to take care of it.

As to my needs...Something is wrong with my foot. Seriously wrong, and it seems to be progressing in a bad way. I NEED this problem to be addressed, and rapidly. Because somewhere in my heart, I believe I also need to be on IV antibiotics, which will help to resolve the issue. I believe I NEED that bone biopsy.

As for what I want...? I want to be able to walk. I want to be able to engage in "extracurricular activities" with my beloved without the perpetual distraction of severe pain in my foot. I want to start working on shedding the weight that's been slowly increasing because I spend most of my day on my back doing nothing at all. And I want a happy resolution to my current medical problem, without it costing me a foot.

You see, this is where the comment on my last post kind of pushed a button for me. I know Ale didn't intend any harm, but that last line..."...that's always good news, no matter how bad it may be." She was referring to possible treatments, and the worst would be an infection so deep-seated that the only way to rid me of it would be to take the foot. That terrifies me because...

Okay, you might think I'm nuts, and I've only ever shared this idea with one person. (Sorry, my love, but it's time to share with the world.) It seems to me that when a diabetic starts losing body parts, they're dead in about 10 years. I haven't researched this in any way; it's just that when I hear about a diabetic having lost a foot, the story goes on to said diabetic dying within 10 years. I just found love, and have been building a future with her. I'd like to fend off my superstitious fate for at least another two or three decades, if at all possible.

So, come next Wednesday, I'll be seeing the "special specialist." On that day, with Becky propping me up, I'll be making my best effort to insist certain actions be taken. I need that biopsy to make sure there's no infection creeping around inside me. I need treatment that will help to fix this whatever the heck is going on, (because simply calling it "Charcot's foot" no longer seems to be enough).

And I want my life back, as limited as it was to start with. Because if I'm going to be prone for the remainder of my years, then the future simply looks bleak. What good is a stay-at-home dad if he can't play with his kids or rush to them when they need him? What good is the husband at home who can't even do the dishes or get the trash ready to be taken out? I may have been disabled prior to all of this, but I was able to imagine, and even execute, some of those activities. Now...?

My life NEEDS fixing. =(

Be well, and DFTBA.

* * *
Just as a side note, I have been failing to mention other possible treatments for my foot. It's always been as minor as IV antibiotics or as traumatic as amputation. There is apparently middle ground in there somewhere. My podiatrist said there's a good chance the special specialist will wrap my foot up in a cast. My fear of that is that my foot will be "forced" into a position that doesn't feel so great.

Another alternative would be to visit the more "aggressive special specialist," who would attach all the bones of my foot to a wire frame and have my bones "suspended" away from all of the others. I'd be able to walk on this contraption and it would prevent my foot from collapsing in on itself, as is what tends to happen to a Charcot's foot.

And if osteomyelitis involved, they can open up my foot and cut out the infected tissue, then use "prayer tactics" for the bone to grow back infection-free.

Those were only mentioned. There's no knowing exactly what will happen next. Hence, all the "fun" I'm having of late. =/

As I said...Be well, and DFTBA, folks.


skywalker said...

I've heard the "once a part comes off, the diabetic is dead in 10 years" thing before. Hopefully not from you, since altho I would be honored to be called your love, I don't swing that way and I doubt that pesky fiancee of yours would be too pleased to find out it isn't her.

Just so you know that I have heard it somewhere, so it's not that weird. (I still think you're nuts, tho)

WalkingTarget said...

I remember those Marvel no-prizes, Rob. I use the term myself sometimes, but nobody ever knows what I'm talking about.

As usual, I don't have any experiences that provide any insight to your problems, but I'm still pulling for you. Here's hoping that your upcoming specialist things helps make some headway.