Sunday, November 4, 2012

Been Distracted This Week & Another Excerpt

I've been distracted this week by shoulder pain. With the steroid injections in my shoulder late Friday, it still feels like a sledgehammer pounded it. It should ease up in another day or so. Alternating heat and ice in the mean time, and the doctor was nice enough to prescribe some pain killers to take the edge off. I don't know if any of you have taken Ultram, but it's as effective as peeing on a house fire in dealing with strong pain. But it does does the sharp edge off so I can sleep. I can't write a coherent sentence on it so it must be doing something.

Now, additional's back to therapy under private pay. My wallet is really not looking forward to that. Twelve appointments at a minimum of $120 a visit. I was also given another catch-22...possible surgery to repair the damage. I'm not looking forward to that either. My orthopedist will have to battle with my cardiologist and my neurologist on that front. So I've been muddling through all this new influx of information this weekend. Needless to say, I'm scared despite my faith...not of dying, but having another stroke. The final decision date is coming up December 14th.

My mantra during my three bouts of cancer...1) I'm in God's hands, 2) I'm too stubborn to give up, & 3) I'm too mean to die; is wearing a bit thin after months of setbacks. I still have faith and will say my usual prayer,"Lord, if I die during surgery, I will be content because my work is complete and I'm with You. If I live, I know my job isn't finished upon this earth." I will put this in my "Give it to God Box" and His will remains supreme. I'm still doing all my home therapy to try and not lose anymore ground.

Enough morbid stuff! I promised you and excerpt. I've managed a 1,000 words this week. Yeah me! It's a working WIP.

Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad (c) 2013 JoAnn Mefford All Rights Reserved
Section 2 TCU excerpt. WARNING: the content does contain a cuss word and it is about a bodily function.
(excerpt begins)

Bowel movements are an entity all to themselves. Before you had your stroke you were probably like me and you looked at what you deposited in the toilet. Color, composition, and texture hold some very important clues to your health. Now, it's a six-point turn to look, but I still do. One of the questions on most forms when you go to new doctor deals with this.

What? You don't? Well, aren't I just Mrs. Abby Normal again! Well after my stroke, I didn't dare even try. I didn't feel the urge to go. One of the questions asked on admittance to the TCU was when my last bowel movement was. I had to think back. It was Friday the day of my admission to the local hospital for my stroke. Almost a week had gone by.  But then, I was on IV fluids, and I ate less than 25% of the liquid diet and puree. Not much solid waste to dispose of, I reasoned. It was determined that I needed a laxative to get my bowels moving to determine if the problem wasn't stroke related. Now, I rarely use laxatives because they always cause diarrhea in me even the gentlest ones. I normally eat a thirty grams fiber diet which controls any bowel issues.  It works for me. So they ordered a daily stool softener and laxative.

Let me tell you it was a mess. The urge to go to the bathroom hit just as I was wheeled into OT, not first thing upon waking. I told my therapist I needed to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was huge and meant for maneuvering wheelchairs around. Think the ultimate handicapped bathroom. I could almost fit both of my two full sized bathrooms in this one room. As was usual, I got diarrhea from the laxative.  I was in there so long, my therapist checked on me twice. After I was finally finished half my OT time was gone.

I still had the urinary catheter in place. Then came the clean up. I honestly tried to wipe myself. Since I'm left hand able only and the toilet paper holder was on my right, I held a roll of toilet paper with my good hand. The roll of toilet paper got away from my one handed self and rolled towards the door with me holding one end. I figured I could pull what I needed very gently and pray the cheap stuff wouldn't tear. My balance was horrendous so just the simple movement of sliding to the edge of the raised seat to wipe my bottom put me in the precarious position of falling off the commode seat.

I grabbed the safety bar to steady myself and lost my hold of the end of the toilet paper. Maybe I could reach the end with my good foot. I pulled the non skid socks off with my weakened foot. I stretched out my foot as far as I dared and grabbed a tiny edge with my toes. My toes shredded the paper, and then I had small pieces of toilet paper stuck between my toes. It was as if I had been painting my toe nails. Slipping, my brain's alarm bells went off and I could feel my left foot arching inwards, shifting my body weight closer to the edge of the toilet and a started tilting forward. I had to act fast to keep from falling. Like a sole survivor of a ship wreck clinging to a round life preserver, it was either hold the bar or slip to cold, hard tiles floor making a further mess at the very least, or hurting myself. My naked left foot firmly placed on the floor and my right leg and ankle too weak to hold me. The floor was my least favorite outcome.

I was stuck. A dirty job to clean up, me teetering on the edge of the toilet, toilet paper unrolled across the floor and out of reach with bits between my toes. I swallowed my pride and hit the emergency call switch. The pull cord was draped over the safety bar. All it took was tugging it with my pinkie of my good hand. So much for my "I do it" attitude. I was defeated. What other choice did I have?

My therapist came in saw the roll of toilet paper spiraled across the floor as if a cat had played with it for an hour, and me hanging onto the grab bar as if it were the only thing saving me from certain death. "Need help?" 

I nodded thoroughly ashamed. Her voice was so matter-of-fact and I imagined she'd seen it all before, but still, this was me.

She adjusted me back centered on the commode, donned some gloves, and pulled some of heavy-duty diaper wipes (think huge, thick diaper wipes-if you haven't seen them) which proved to be useless. The lotion to protect against skin breakdown they put in them made more of a mess. She took a clean roll of toilet paper from the cabinet. She stood in front of me while I bent over and hugged her legs for balance while she cleaned my bottom for me. Just like my daughter cleans my five-month old grandson's bottom, I thought, and as I done hers so many years ago.

By the time it was all said and done, that was my ADL lesson for the day. Mortified and completely cleaned inside and out, I lay in my bed utterly done in from the experience thinking this was an awful first impression for my therapist to have of me. She must think I'm a real ass. She had seen more of my buttocks in that one session than my face.
(end of excerpt)

I know there is some over use of some words in this, but this is still a rough draft.

You know you want to!

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


  1. Oh, Jo! That's a picture, alright. ; )

    And Ultram. Ahhh. That's what I take with the Fibro Flares hit. Sometimes I can't even read. Write? Are you kidding? No way! ; )

  2. Marie since they took Darvon off the market it's the only pain killer I can take :( My fibro is basically under control on my other meds.


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