There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Let me start at the beginning. Last summer I had an episode of torticollis. I swear, my neck hurt so badly if someone had led me to a pasture with a shotgun over their shoulder I would have happily gone. The aftermath of that left me with my left shoulder about 3 inches higher than my right with intermittent spasms, shortening of tendons and ligaments and haircuts that are always lopsided....really.

Then last fall, October 3rd and 4th to be exact, these two adventures happened. Remember? I was digging the 5 foot hole required to fix the water pipe Steve had crushed when he was using the auger to put in a post for the satellite dish. And then, I had voiced my last bitch about all of Steve's fucking boxes sitting in the middle of the garage. Yeah, that was a good idea, rosemary. Let me haul the boxes to the bucket on the tractor, I'll climb up the ladder to the appropriate shelf and then haul the boxes out of the bucket onto the shelf.....while Steve sat in the cab of the tractor (because his back is all jacked up) moving the bucket with a lever.

A few days after these brilliant exercises in stupidity my fingers started tingling and going numb....and then it went away, then a few days later tingling again and then it went away. Early November the tingling and numbness came back and has been there since. I thought it would go away eventually, but it hasn't.

Then early December I woke up one morning and felt clumsy, lopsided, drunkish. I was listing to one side or the other and if I moved too fast I fell over. It wasn't in my head or my ears, it was my body. Sometimes my arms and hands went slack and my legs felt like they were steel pipes. I finally had to tell Steve when I took a header in front of him in the living room. I saw the doctor mid January and had an MRI on the 20th.  Here are the short results.

Severe, multilevel discogenic, spondylitic and facet joint degenerative changes in the cervical spine as delineated above. 2.  Mild to moderate central spinal canal stenosis at C3-4 and C5-6.3.Central disc protrusions at C3-4, C4-5 and C5-6 abutting and mildly deforming the ventral aspect of the cord. 4.  Moderately severe narrowing of left C4-5 neural foramen. 5.  Moderate narrowing of left C3-4 neural foramen. 6.Moderate narrowing of right C5-6 neural foramen. 7. Prominent arthropathic changes at the atlantoaxial articulation, manifested by capsular thickening and/or pannus formation and a relatively gracile appearance of the odontoid process.

The doctor said I needed a neurosurgical referral. Well, I live in Sandpoint, Idaho. My sweet Steve has a crumbling back and waited 3 months to see a neurosurgeon who referred him to a pain clinic for steroid injections before proceeding to surgery correction. Said pain clinic is so backed up (and probably badly managed) he can't get the first injection until mid February because the clinic cancelled two previous appointments. I was referred to the same neuro guy and have yet to get a call.

I am frustrated at not being able to do the things I do every day timely and without hurting myself....vacuuming, exercising, walking, taking the dogs out, just pretty much anything. After my heart attack I worked my ass off to lose weight, changed my dietary habits, exercised daily and felt great. Now, it is almost dangerous to get on the treadmill and my legs can't handle the recumbent bike for more than 20 minutes. Forget getting on the elliptical. That frustration, no anger, reached maximum levels because I had a melt down Wednesday night and when I saw my doctor yesterday I totally fell apart in the office. I am not sleeping well and spend most nights wandering around the house, watching snow fall, petting the reading or computering because then I will never fall asleep. I'm not in real pain although my neck bothers me sometimes, but the clumsy shit is just way out of control.

Let me complicate this a bit more. I was an ortho-neuro nurse all of my nursing career. I realize that my experience was almost 20 years ago, but I took care of patients that had surgery for what I have and not all of them had good outcomes. I realize that medicine has made HUGE advancements. But, I am not really excited about an anesthesiologist sticking needles in my spine to inject steroids or a neurosurgeon slicing my neck open even with a tiny, teeny incision to do whatever. Not that any of this is a concern right now. I have no clue when I will see the neuro doc, if I am even a fair candidate for surgery because of my heart, or if the sun will ever shine again because I live in Sandpoint, Idaho and that is not the mecca for neurosurgery. As for the format of this post.....fuck trying to align anything because my fingers hit all the wrong keys......sorry.   It was all I could do to click spell check and be sure caps were in the right place.   On a positive note....I got a script for Restoril and slept like a baby last night. 


jp said...

Well I'm not Tiffany, but I did not see any errors in this post, so your typing is just fine.

And when you first described the symptoms my brain went to the even-worse case scenarios, which it wasn't. Not that any of this is good, but it wasn't that.

But I'm sad that this is happening at all, I thought and hoped you would get a little reprieve after Louie. Now I will hope that they get you AND Steve fixed up quickly and painlessly. You are the one who beat the shit out of Louie, after all.

rosemary said...

When this started I immediately thought MS.....then when the clumsy stuff happened I was worried. The doctor did mention that as a possibility but said my age in this case was an advantage and MS was rare in the "elderly. " Asshole. If it was just the tingling and numbness I could live with that. But, the other stuff just sucks. Let's call this stuff Dick.


well this is daddy always said the squeaky wheel gets oiled first..bitch, call, whine, bitch whine and call some more..make them give you an apt just to shut you the fuck does every day.
number 2..move to West..we're 80 miles from Dallas, Fort Worth area with tons of drs..we're 120 miles from Austin, same you're 300 miles from the beach..and a couple blocks from you and start bitching.

rosemary said...

Plan A: If no call tomorrow I will call Tuesday. Monday is never a good day to call and be a bitch. Plan B: Call Wednesday (see Plan A)....etc. etc. etc.

My name WAS Female, I shit you not! said...

May I suggest you see a chiropractor. I worked for one for 20 years & have seen issues such as yours resolved.
A chiropractor saved me from having surgery/fusion for a herniated disc when I was in my twenties. A good chiropractor will tell you if they can or can't help you after looking at your xrays, mri's, etc. (((hugs)))

booda baby said...

It's 5 am, so I had to stop myself from clapping at the badass cheerleading going on. I don't doubt at all that you know how to advocate for yourself, but with this new (great title!) sidewards development how could you not be tired. So, I'm with Jackiesue. It's a really good time to get really self centered. Because tick tick tick. (Oh, and maybe a tock.) (Besides, don't you live in the land of self sufficiency? I think they'd all put this under the Being Self Sufficient and Getting Rid of Dick column. Go Rosie!!)

PS. That chiropractor idea's awfully good, too.

Cucamonga Cris said...

I just read your blog of several years ago about Gilberto Aguilar. He was my uncle, whom I never met. I was born in 1953. My mom, Rose Marie (Aguilar) Guevara, is alive and well & living in So Cal, along with two aunts ( Vela & Irene, they live in Florida). I'm putting together a chart of my Aguilar relatives burial sites, here in So Cal, so I can help to maintain their sites.