Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Royal Pain in the Neck



 
After dinner when the heat of the day gets pushed aside by deep shadows in my back yard I’ve been sitting out on my deck reading until the fireflies announce that the light is fading fast. The new book club selection is over 650 pages of foreign words, strange customs and medical terms describing things I don’t want or need to know about. The story centers on a set of twins growing up in a small mission hospital in tumultuous Ethiopia during the ‘50s and ‘60s. If you’re getting the idea that I’m not enjoying the book, you’d be right. But I’m stubborn so I keep reading my required two chapters a night so I’ll get the darn thing finished in time. If there was a movie version of Cutting for Stone I’d cheat and rent it but it’s still in production according to IMDb. I’m only on page 361 but I understand part of the book I haven't read yet takes place in the slums of New York City where one twin becomes a surgeon while the other twin stays behind as surgeon at the mission, but I don’t imagine the change of scenery will make me warm up to the book. The story will still revolve around abject poverty, bloody surgeries and boys with lusty thoughts. After reading pages and pages and PAGES of detailed descriptions of surgeries, I could probably do vasectomies and turn babies around in breach. Crawl up on my kitchen table. I’ll take care of that. Two years on the New York Times Best Sellers List and all I can do is wonder if I’m the only reader who doesn’t understand half of what I’m reading and doesn’t care about the other half.

This evening as I read out on the deck the dog was being a royal pain. Usually he’ll sit quietly watching for rabbits who try unsuccessfully to violate the fence around the neighbor’s vegetable garden and listening intently for the jingle-jangle of dog tags announcing that pitbull’s who live directly behind us have come outside to play. This time of the year we can’t see them but Levi knows when they are happily running around ignoring his whining and barking pleas for me to let him join in their games. Please mom, let me go over there! “No, Levi those big boys could eat you for a snack and still be hunger.” Tonight was different. He wasn’t happy on the deck. Levi wanted to go inside the house, then when he’d get there he’d want to come back outside. Back and forth he went until I finally got tired of being his personal Jack-in-the-box, popping in and out of my chair like a wind-up toy and I went inside with him. Levi wasn’t finished annoying me. He made me follow him into the kitchen where I’d forgotten to feed him. He’s the perfect dog for an old person because there isn’t anything he’ll let slide. Food, water, potty breaks, dental sticks and bed time---he’s very vocal about all these things until he gets through to me that he’s got a schedule fixed in his head and I'm messing with that.

I had a good excuse for forgetting the kibble. I spent the weekend in a lot of pain---not the urinary tract infection kind, that’s gone---and I wasn't even feeding myself. This time it was shoulder and neck pain. I’m not fond of chiropractors, in fact they scare me, having known several people who ended up having a stroke on their tables. But I could feel something was out of place so I called Monday morning and by the time my afternoon appointment was over I was feeling 60% better. I left with instructions to come back if I wasn’t 100% by Wednesday. She thinks I pinched a nerve while sleeping on my side and we had the don’t-crack-my-neck conversation. “Sorry,” she said, “I’m going to have to do it.” She contends that anyone who has a stroke on a chiropractor’s table would have had one within a few hours anyway and having it then, where it’s recognized for what it is, could possibility save a person’s life. She used the example being home alone so you wouldn’t/couldn’t get to the hospital within the four hour window to get the drug to reverse a stroke. I’d rather not get my neck cracked, thank you very much, but I didn’t see a shotgun sitting in the corner to put me out of my misery. She did the dirty deed---without my permission---when I wasn’t expecting it, then she promised that was the worst thing she’d do to me. As I write this on Tuesday night, I can tell I’ll be calling back tomorrow for another treatment. Pain is still a melody playing softly underneath my every move. If I don’t post a blog on Saturday you’ll know the chiropractor killed me. ©


29 comments:

  1. So sorry about the pain. I've never known anyone who had a stroke on a chiropractor's table, and I haven't head of that happening. Yikes.

    Cutting for Stone was on my book club list, too. I didn't read it, but I read The Goldfinch. That was boring enough - but great adjectives. Do you guys serve food at your meetings? I don't know why I want to know that. We did. It sometimes made up for a bad book. :)

    Poor Levi. He want's to be one of the guys.

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    1. Twice a year we serve food at book club, at Christmas and in August. We'll be reading Goldfinch soon. Everyone in the other book club that meets the same time loved it. I'm just glad I don't have to buy these books.

      I feel bad that Levi has so little contact with other dogs. He used to get play dates and loved them, then the lady got a second dog and that was the end of them.

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  2. Ooh I too am afraid of having my neck "snapped" by the chiropractor. But I also know the pain you are in so I'd probably do anything at that point. I hope today being Wednesday that you get some relief at your 2nd visit. Levi seemed pretty good about letting you know it was dinner time. I don't get to forget Jean. Izzy is sitting and staring at me 20 minutes before 5pm. By 5pm she is closer and leaning on me staring at me to remind me it is dinner time. So good boy Levi!

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    1. I hope I get some relief today, too. I can't go on like this for long. And I can barely turn my head to drive safely. Thankfully, I don't have to go far.

      Izzy is a polite beggar. LOL

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  3. Good luck with the pain. I hope it eases soon.
    That's one of the reasons my former book club stopped reading books and became a "let's just get together and talk/rant/listen group!" We individually didn't want to plow through books that we didn't like.
    Best regards,
    Leze

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    1. My book club has been meeting a year now and we still haven't really jelled as a group. About 1/3 don't ever finish the books and always want to know how they end. Our facilitator puts a lot of work into getting the books and questionnaires and keeping the discussions on topic but we aren't getting to know each other very well.

      Only have to wait another 45 minutes before the doctor's office opens and I can call for an appointment!

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  4. Oh, dear. I, too, am a Compulsive Bad Book Finisher, and I don't even belong to a book club. I would slog through horridly boring and sadly awful books, thinking "But what if it suddenly gets really, really good and I miss it?" Ugh.

    I'm sorry about your pain. Of course you've already tried the applications of heat/ice--one or both to no avail. Been there; done that, too. I have cervical myofasciitis and when it flares up I go to PT. The therapeutic massage they do (although they call it "soft tissue manipulation/relocation" so that insurance pays for it) fixes me up mightily.

    Maybe dump that book while you don't feel so well?

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  5. Hadn't thought to use ice or heat. Leaving for the doctor's office in two minutes so I'll ask her about doing that.n There is a therapeutic massage person as part of her practice, so I'll ask about that too. Thanks.

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  6. I knew there was a reason I didn't join a book club. That book is sitting in the to-be-read section of my Kindle and thanks to you, it may stay there. I'm too old to waste my reading time on something that I'm not enjoying. I deleted one last night that just wasn't working for me.
    Sure hope you get your neck straight. I use Arnica gel for muscle pains and my torn rotator cuff. It works marvelously. Be well soon.

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  7. I've gotten to the point where I'll quit a book if he doesn't grab me by he mid point, but not with a book club selection. The fact that millions were sold and the reviewers all rave about makes me curious about what they see that I don't.

    Never heard of Arnica gel but I put it on my want list. Doubt it would help in this situation because it's not muscle related but I do get those kinds of pain from time to time. Saw the doctor late this morning and she said she has no doubt I'll get my full range of motion back, but it might take one more treatment on Friday, if it's not back by then. The treatment today didn't hurt as much as yesterday and I can feel the improvement. I'm bummed out because I lost last week to the UTI and this week to my neck pain.

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  8. I cannot make myself slog through a slow moving book. I did buy Cutting for Stone on my Kindle and I've started reading it a few times ... but it just has never grabbed me.

    OUCH for neck pain. I have never been to a chiropractor ... how did you find one? It just doesn't seem like "real" medicine to me. But I never heard of anyone dying on the table! I definitely wouldn't get up there!

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    1. Cutting for Stone is not slow moving, I just don't like the places it moves to. I just finished two chapters on the sexual awaking of two young boys, for example. I could care less.

      I used to work on a very large website for stroke survivors and that's how I ran into the people who'd had strokes during neck cracking treatments. Rare but it happens. People have also had strokes from the pressure on the back of the neck from getting their hair washed at a beauty salon, which kind of gives credibility to the theory that a person was going to have a stroke anyway.

      I don't go very often---maybe 8 times in my entire life---two of them this week. But I do know they have a LOT of years of schooling. I got my current chiropractic doctor from a recommendation and I'm happy with her. My head was literally stuck in one place. A medical doctor would put me on muscle relaxers and pain pills until the bones found their way back to where they belong. (Been there done that.) I had a floating rib out of place---painful as all get out---a year or two ago and this same chiropractor gave me instant relief, never bothered me again. People have strong feelings one way or the other about chiropractors. Some medical doctors are trained in chiropractic treatments and do them but since they don't do them all day long, I'd trust a regular chiropractor over a medical doctor in this area because they do have more practice.

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  9. When I was young went to an osteopath who also did manipulation -- no neck cracking -- and he really knew his stuff and helped me. I have been to chiropractor on occasion years later, but would be very selective -- would shy away from any who might claim they can fix everything via spine as some have. My mother did have a stroke shortly after trip to a chiropractor (first time to that Dr.) for sciatic nerve pain. She was not pleased with treatment compared to what she had in State where she had lived, and I didn't like sound of it either. I'm convinced her slight stroke affecting her balance mechanism would have been avoided if I hadn't taken her there -- instead taken her to a physical therapist who can provide various treatments and exercises. I find them much more effective now for me for other issues, but not all P.T.s effective. I do know a P.T. years ago who did find a Chripractor she determined to be knowledgeable and did go to that person on occasion. Guess it all comes down to any Dr. or discipline in the medical world finds some are more adept tailoring their treatments uniquely to each patient's needs and others who seem less able to do that, often using what I call a cookbook approach or one size fits all.

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    1. I have only gone osteopathic doctors since my teens and I remember well my dad getting chiropractic treatments from our doctor. We were told somewhere along the line that the only difference between osteopathic doctors and medical doctors was the former was trained in chiropractic treatments and the medical community didn't believe in them. But otherwise they study from the same medical books. No sure much separates them anymore as here they both have privileges in the same hospitals.

      That's sad about your mother. It's hard to make peace with some of our choices sometimes when the "what if's" weigh heavy. Sciatic nerve pain is something I've had and it's terrible...a trip to emergency for me and physical therapy. When my husband had his stroke that's exactly what he thought was happening to him---he'd had it before---and he took a muscle relaxer for it and because of that decision when I finally got him to emergency, they took a wait and see approach, thinking he'd overdosed on the drug.

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  10. I'm needing to call and make an appointment at my Chiro-Cracker. He will not do the neck twist. He might do a neck and shoulder stretch, which seems to bring relief to my neck pain. These age related things are getting to be a real pain in the neck!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. It's frustration how quickly these things can come on and upset our plans and days. I've been worse that a potted plant this week.

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  11. I generally rifle through the pages to get the gist, then check out the ending - and then read the book only if it grabs my interest!

    Curiosity: why do Americans say "I could care less" when they mean, "I couldn't care less". That's puzzled my for ages, and initially thought it a typo when I saw it in press (but see it all they time so its not a typo). When I saw you using it, figured now's the time to ask. ~ Libby

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    1. You should read this link: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ico1.htm The phrase has been around for a very long time 1900s and seems to be from Great Britain. Trust me, it's "properness" is debated here in grammar circles.

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    2. Jean R - many thanks! just read the text on your link and at last my curiosity is satisfied. I also regarded it as "logical nonsense" but its language - and it grows! just like "gay" is now a very different connotation to what it was when we were growing up. Thanks again. ~ Libby

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    3. No problem. I use the phrase a lot and wondered about it myself.

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  12. Just One of the things I find annoying about getting older is that things tend to go wrong in 'batches'. I hate going to the doctor so I tend to tough it out, but there are some things you just can't.

    I just abandoned a book because of too many foreign words in italics, so you have my admiration for slogging through your book club selection.

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    1. I hate the "batch thing." I've gotten two out of the way so I'm expecting one more. LOL There was no way I could tough this out but I also tend to do that on many things.

      I foreign words. I have enough trouble with English. LOL

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  13. Oh, ugh, I've had those pinched nerves in the neck with pain radiating down the arm. You definitely have my sympathy. While I've sometimes seen a chiropractor for quick relief from the pain, my own preferred treatment is physical therapy. I like the fact that, once they've relieved the immediate pain (for me, usually by using traction for stretching out those vertebrae), they give me exercises and tips for avoiding the problem in the future. I hope your feeling 100% soon. -Jean

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    1. How do you get a prescription for physical therapy without seeing a medical doctor first? That could take several weeks here and I couldn't have gone on another day, the pain was so intense. I do like physical therapy, though, when I can get it.

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    2. I'm lucky that my primary care provider is a physician assistant who shares my belief in PT. Sometimes she will phone in a referral to PT without seeing me, but it can take several days to get an appointment with the physical therapist. The last time I had a pinched nerve in my neck, the pain (muscle spasms in my arm triggered by the inflammation of the pinched nerve) was so bad I was in tears. They got me into the Dr.'s office right away that day and started me on a course of prednisone to get the inflammation under control.

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    3. Sounds like you had the same pinched nerve in your neck episode as I did. Miserable condition! I love prednisone! I wish I could keep a stock of it around. If I have to go back to the chiropractor I'm going to ask if she can write prescriptions for PT. She does have an two onsite therapeutic massage people (one male, one female) that she has patients work with. I think neck issue was coming on for a long time.

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  14. Isn't it something how well your Levi can keep a schedule and know what the time is, I think all animals have this knack because our Dixie is the same way, keeping us on track I suppose.

    Cindy goes to the chiropractor and it is never cleared up in one visit, they can help you a lot but I've never seen it done in one trip. I hope you are feeling better soon.

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    1. I have tried fooling Levi, thinking he's picking up time clues from me, but he knows better.

      The only time I ever had a chiropractic problem cleared up with one visit was when I had a floating rib stabbing me. It was instant relief and I was glad of it. My chiropractor and I was just talking about that this week and she said she knew a guy who went to the hospital with the same thing and it ended up costing him thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary tests.

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  15. I shared this column today -- I think for the first time... I've been enjoying your stories for quite some time, but never thought to share until today. I'm sorry I only now thought of it.

    I love the fact that you can talk about your pain in a humorous manner. Wish that I could. I'm learning from you.
    thanks so much!

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