Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sometimes Motivation Whispers and Sometimes It Uses a Megaphone

There hasn't been much whispering going on around here lately.  It seems the world is shouting at me to take care of business and to start doing it NOW!

Specifically, my mother.

Not that she's yelling at me.  It's just that her current health situation is yelling at me and telling me to get my act together or I'm going to wind up in the same boat a few years down the line.  Frankly, I'm already in that boat but I haven't done much but drift around in circles - it's time to pick up an oar and start paddling.

I can't really say when the first episode happened, but my mother, the diabetic, had blood sugar that just kept going up.  Her doctor put her on a new medication in hopes that it would stop this trend and start things going the other way.  It didn't.  What it DID do was inflame her blood vessels and she began to get what she thought were blood blisters on her feet.  Then they started spreading up her legs.  She went to the doctor - he didn't know what was happening.  She went to a podiatrist - he didn't know either.  She went to a dermatologist who took one look and diagnosed vasculitis.  Just to be sure, he went to the computer and looked up the medication she'd been switched to and sure enough vasculitis was listed in the "rare but serious side effects" section.  She stopped taking the medicine, got some advice on how to deal with it and went home.

Unfortunately, things just kept getting worse.  The lesions on her feet turned black and the infection went to the bone.  A follow up trip to the doctor landed her in the hospital straight from his office.  She had so many health issues and so many sensitivities that he felt it would be better to have her monitored and cared for in the hospital until they got past this critical time.  In the meantime, spots were appearing up her legs and on her hands and arms.  It was pretty scary since she'd been off that medication and yet the spots were still spreading.  After a few days, though, things seemed to be reversing themselves.  The new spots went away, but the original ones on her feet were still pretty bad.  Still, sure that she was well on her way to healing, she was released from the hospital and sent home.

That didn't last long.  She couldn't lower her feet below her heart level without them turning purple and the lesions were better, but never went away and then they began to hurt again.  Poor Dad was run ragged trying to take care of her.  She was frustrated by being confined to her bed.  He was frustrated by his inability to make it better and having to be "on call" all the time.  Finally, he brought her into town for her doctor's appointment, coming by my house to help me with Abby first.  You can read about how that went here. 

With Mom back in the hospital, Dad was able to relax a little and really get with the program of the diet they were supposed to be following.  I have no idea how much weight he's lost but the size too small shorts he'd just bought are a bit baggy now and his belt is on notches it's never explored before.

Once her heart was under control, Mom was moved to rehab to hopefully get her ambulatory again.  She's been bedridden for 6 weeks and her muscles need to be acclimated to walking and to be built up.  They work her hard twice a day and after each session, she goes back to her room and passes out from exhaustion.  It's going to take time to get her mobile again - they're thinking at least to the end of the month.

 I've had diabetes for a couple of years.  My blood sugar never seemed to go up (I had an A1C of 5.4 for a long time) so I know I got a little lazy about keeping carbs and sugars in check.  I didn't realize just how lazy until a call from my doctor came in today - I am now up to 6.8.  That's bad.  Now I need to REALLY pay attention to all those things I should have been all along.  My medication has been increased (doubled) and they're adding Naispan which causes flushing in me - oh great, now I can look like I have hotflashes all the time!  I'm also being referred to a rheumatologist because something in my blood work is elevated but they're not sure what the issue is.  Just that I have some inflammation in my auto-immune system.  I'm really hoping it's not lupus again and that whatever it is can be remedied quickly.  I realize that I live with some level of pain all the time but I'm so used to it that only when it's acute (like in my hands) do I even notice it.  Add to my misery the fact that I have never weighed as much as I do now and I am feeling the pain, shame and inflexibility of that. 

Insult to injury now...  I finally took my car in to have a recall item taken care of and my darned headlight that wouldn't let me get the bulb in there right looked at.  Of course they came back with a whole list of items that needed attention - some of them urgently.  My car doesn't even have 60K miles on it yet!   The headlight bulb is held in by a wire clip - which apparently broke and in trying to ground itself, burned the bulb out again.  They jerry-rigged a fix for that but if the bulb burns out again it's going to be $400 to replace the headlight assembly.  My battery is working at half power and needs to be replaced and I need a new set of tires.  The fan belts are dry-rotting and need replacement.  Oh, and the head gasket is leaking and needs repair.  At least that one is still under warranty and will be done free of charge.  The catch there is that it will take 2-3 DAYS to get it done since they have to basically remove my motor to fix the problem.  So it looks like the bike/bus method of commuting to work is going to be implemented.  I have to figure out how to get the boy to school (Darling Man can pick him up) though.  Perhaps he needs to go back to riding the school bus.  At least in the mornings.  I love my Subaru.  It's reliable and I've been driving it with no major problems (except the wreck) for four years - but when it's time to fix stuff it's almost as expensive as my Volvo was.  Hard to deal with when making ends meet is a chronic problem.  Once I get this stuff taken care of, I may park my car as much as possible and use it only for going to church, the grocery store or out to the farm.  Make that baby last.  With the price of gas, that migh not be a bad idea anyway.

And I know my body will appreciate the extra exercise.


Faye said...

I hear you, Sayre. This month my sister has been a real object lesson for me about taking care of my own health. At least your mother is getting with her rehab program. Tomorrow I'm taking my sister home after 7 days. She was supposed to stay 21 but wouldn't cooperate with therapist. I stress over her and while all her vital stats go back to normal, mine are sky rocketing.

Let's make a pact to take care of ourselves instead of being supwomen for everyone else.

joanygee said...

What a trying time you've been having! Hope things improve from now on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sayre,

Good luck getting with the program. I need to also. The lady that I am a caregiver to is in pitiful health. I see myself in her every day. I met my friends four year old granddaughter yesterday who took to me immediately. She asked if I'd play with her so I did. We sat on the floor and I could hardly bend over because of my fat stomach. Then...getting up...jeez. I seem to have no motivation.

I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Hope she recovers quickly. I am also so sorry about Abby. Faye is having to deal with poor Willie and before that Laurie with Boscoe.