A week and a half! Damn! So much for Practice.
Since I last posted on Nov. 8th, Joel had another scare and ended up in the ER again. As she was going to bed one night, and was lifting her legs - or trying to lift them, she got a bolt of awful pain that could not be relieved by anything she or I could do. She was, literally, screaming with pain...and continued to do so as I called the EMTs. And with that level of pain, she wants only a doctor. period. That was the night of the 10th. She stayed in the ER for about 5 hours while they considered what they could do. They re-x-rayed her chest and added a shot of her right leg/knee, and pumped her full of a pain med that wouldn't conflict with the Percoset she had already taken. There was no one present (at midnight) to read the x-rays, so they asked her/us if she was willing to go home. She was. (yea) But, now she is really dopey and the leg - while no longer painful - was sore. They/she decided to put her in a full leg splint so that she could be confident that it wouldn't fold up on her. But on trying to figure out how to get her into my little Hyundai, (not possible with a splinted leg), it was decided that the EMTs would transport her home and help me get her into bed. We would not have made it without their help. We have 6 steps and a long gravel pathway to get inside. We all worried about the splint. Immobility is the enemy of joint recovery! So, Joel slept in the splint that night, but we took it off in the morning. After she got up, moved a bit, made it into her chair; we put the splint back on - fairly loosely - and waited for the PT. It all turned out ok. She lost a couple of degrees of flexion, but had it back again thru her exercises, by the 12th. Whew!
I don't really remember these next days as separate days, so I can't really tell you what I did when. I know there were days when I spent time with my butt in a chair, sometimes using the guided meditations, sometimes not. A few days I did a little Tai Chi, most often, the 5 Elements form. It's faster, and I can do it in my house dress... crappy reason for not doing the Yang form, but all I have as excuse.
On the evening of the 15th, we had ANOTHER scare - even me this time.. Joel reported a bad gripping chest pain! It grabbed her, ramped up from 5 to 10 on the pain scale in just seconds, lasted several seconds, then began to subside. She experienced 3 of these things in about a half hour or so, each one a little less intense. Joel is thinking heart attack, of course. I'm thinking, how can that be; every test on her heart has been beautiful and she's had a bunch of checks in the last couple of weeks.
We reported it to home health who had the on-call nurse call us. Her advice was to go to the ER if it occurred again. Well, they did occur again, but with less intensity and of shorter duration. I then called our friend/nurse/administrator at Home Health and had a fairly long chat with her about all these symptoms and the possible causes.
At this point Joel is adamant about NOT going back to the ER (not the finest hospital in the world). And I'm concerned that we are going to 'wear out our welcome' with Medicare/Medicaid and end up with a staggering EMT bill we can't pay.
But I heard Joel belching..and then I realized that this could all be digestive. She has an incredibly sensitive digestive system...and I had fed her a lunch from a generic 'helper' type of semi-instant food she'd never eaten before... another factor tipping the scale toward that choice is Joel's diverticulosis, a digestive condition.
Jennifer agreed with the idea of giving Joel some club soda to induce more belching and told us to call the EMTs if another episode occurred.
Thankfully, the club soda worked well enough that even Joel became convinced that the episodes were really just heartburn and not a heart attack. After a time as the sypmtoms failed to reoccur, she went to bed, sleeping with her head elevated a bit. Double whew!
Now, we're four days past that and confident that no heart problems exist. Symptoms have not recurred. Additional good news is that she has been taken off the Coumadin! Sunday, the 17th was the last dose of that medicine.
Joel has dropped way off the Percoset again, and is doing very well with her exercises, etc. Flexion is back up with the last measurement being 108 degrees. That's HUGE! We're very happy.
All of this is just a long way of telling you/me/Universe how tough things have been (on me) and making up excuses for my almost complete lack of focus on these 100 Days. I've come back to the meditation as of two days ago, but they are unfocused and I've used the CD to even remain in the chair. I've done zero focused tai chi in this week beyond helping a beginning student once or twice.
I hear the excuses. I recognize the lack of discipline and maybe the laziness. Though as the tears threaten a little, I know I want to claim fatigue as at least a partial reason. I seem to be washing clothes and floors constantly as three out of 5 members of this household are constantly peeing or pooping or spraying on them. Yes, I know; that's TMI. Everyone in this home is a bit off center, and have been for while. Carmel may be the only exception; he is enjoying his new heated condo in the mudroom. :)
So add a little pet-related guilt to the mix. That's real. I've just not made the time to take Maxie for her walks. Joel's problem is mostly just not having much time between the impulse and the fact. Bearly is - I don't know what! I can take him to the back yard 6 times in a day, and still find that he has pooped somewhere inside. I can only guess and all the things I've done wrong on that front.
I won't get started on the quality of the floor cleaning; everything leaves it streaky. Do NOT buy a cheap laminate ever! Finding a good product for cleaning them has proven impossible.
I have had a glimmer or two of insight. One is evident in this post. It's not really that I'm wearing a 'hair shirt', though that phrase did come to mind. I've just been wanting you to know that this is tough on me, too. Of course, you do already know that. Some of you have lived this care-giving stuff in ways that are just beyond me ability to comprehend, yet.
I'll be doing some more work with these ideas as they come to me. I'm not calling it quits on the 100 Days; there are still 39 left and a lot can shift in that time.