Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Blech! Icky! Yuck!

For the past two weeks, my positive attitude slipped to where it nonexistent. Not even once a blue moon does it happen. It's been years since I've had a full week with no redeeming qualities. I guess I was about due.

Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Wait I can only get up on one side of my bed, so that can't be it. Even if I could sleep in my bed. (I explain this farther down)  Nothing tastes good. Nothing feels good. And, all my little blessings that I count on for hope vanished. I was a horse rode hard and put up wet. Even today, it hasn't let up and I'm feeling depression creep in.

It started after I got a letter from Social Security. They have scheduled me for a competency evaluation. No one in my entire life has doubted my mental competency before. I'm the one everyone runs to with their problems. I have some cognitive issues since my stroke. I'll admit that freely. I can't add or subtract in my head anymore, but I always have a calculator handy. I can't count change correctly, but I mostly use my ATM card for that very reason. All my bills a guess-ti-matedly paid in advance until February.

Reading may take several attempts before I fully understand what I am reading. I don't write coherently pen to paper, which is why I use the computer when I can. The dyslexia makes reading fiction almost an impossibility. The fact that I still seeing black dots in my left eye compound my vision problems. The black dots are floaters of blood inside my eye. They are getting smaller and in time they will disappear just like when I had a partial tear of my retinal a dozen years back.

Yes, there are quite a few things I cannot do because of my physical limitations, but hey, I'm taking care of all my daily needs. I hit the majority of things that have to be done and I'm not afraid to ask for help. I haven't burned my house down around mt ears, yet. I did manage my terminal husband's care before he died and was Johnny on the spot for everything. But yet, I may not be competent mentally and physically. Didn't a judge rule me ineligible for disability almost two years ago? What's up with that?

This whole thing has stuck in my craw. What if I'm deemed incompetent? A guardian has to be appointed. There goes any freedom and independence. Everything I've fought so hard for almost four years to regain is for naught. It's a whole, big, jar of stinky, festering worms. It doesn't help that each day I realize something new I'll lose. The prospect actually terrifies me to no end. Just the possibility.

So all of this has been hanging over my head for two weeks and still another week to go before the appointment.

During this also I impinged and tore my rotator cuff in my affected shoulder. Don't ask me how I did it. I have no idea. I just woke up one morning with moderate pain in my shoulder and almost screamed when I tried to move it. One school of thought is that it was induced by my upper arm spasticity. Surgery is again out of the question since I failed my last cardiac stress test. I wouldn't wake up from the anesthesia. So once again it's more therapy for my shoulder. and cortisone shots  but I've used all my insurance visits so it's private pay.

Now back to why I haven't been sleeping in my bed. Charlie horses in my unaffected leg. At first it was every couple of days now it's a couple times a night and it lasts until I get up and walk it off only to return an hour or so later. It only cramps up when I lay in my bed. I can sleep in my lift chair or sitting up and no cramps. I boosted my potassium and magnesium intakes with supplements thinking that was the problem. It's not. That's the major malfunction with the diuretic I take for my heart condition. These mineral levels can drop significantly. None of my other drugs have changed.  I'm not exercising too much, the pressure sore finally healed again.

The thing about these, besides the lack of sleep and pain, is when I reposition my leg to relieve the charlie horse the front muscles of the leg will go into spasm. So it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. I'm writhing in pain trying to put on an ankle sock, AFO, and shoes to get up and walk around because then, neither muscle will cramp. There will only be the hangover effect of the pain when I crawl back into bed fifteen minutes later. I'll just fall asleep again when that dull ache sharpens and the cramping begins again. I've turned myself around in the bed to press the headboard (neat trick with only one repositioning my whole body), but the spasm is too strong. I'll have to do the process all over again. This hasn't helped my awake disposition any.

This week in southeast Georgia we had a cold snap. Night time temps hit the upper 30's. I still had my windows opened. BRRRR!  It was in the low 50's inside my house. Why were the windows opened? They've been opened since my girls opened them. They require two hands to operate even to close them. Not that I minded when it was warmer, but this nice, cold breeze was now coming into my house. I called my daughter and told him that I was going to call my neighbor to close them. She told me not to bother that she was getting off from work in a couple of hours and would do it.

I went to therapy and when I got home, she was here. She closed the double casement window and turned to say something to me, her feet tripped her up, and she fell. She landed on her knee first and then pitched head first onto the carpet. She reached her hand up to her forehead and it was pouring blood. Head wounds always bleed bad. So I went and got a towel out of the bathroom to staunch the flow. It stopped within a few minutes of direct pressure. Then I looked at her knee. A bad bruise was already forming. She said it hurt but I helped her to her feet and she could hobble. We cleaned and bandaged her head. I knew she was hurt. She fell in the office but my floor are only padding and carpeting covering a concrete slab.

She closed the rest of the windows and almost immediately it got warmer inside. She said she was going home and would pack her knee in ice. This child had spent her entire life fighting rheumatoid arthritis, she knew what to do plus she worked for hospice. I told her to call me when she got home. She promised she would.

The next day she couldn't bear any weight on the leg. So she went to the ER. Results- a mild concussion and a fractured knee cap. She sees the orthopedist next week to find out how much damage she did to her ACL and meniscus. I know she's probably has some torn cartilage in there too. Which will mean surgery before she can go back to work. Her patients will miss her. My home owner's insurance will pay for everything, thank goodness. My poor baby is miserable and it's all my fault. Me and my limited body.

I was already feeling under the weather. Post nasal drip trickling down my throat was causing more esophageal spasms to the tune of three times a day. This really sucks because I'm basically choking with a partially obstructed airway not to mention being hoarse and croupy afterwards. By Tuesday, I knew I had a sinus infection. Not only could I see it, but taste it as well. Darn allergies. I called my PC figuring I could at least get an antibiotic. It being Thanksgiving week, I knew he wouldn't be back in his office until Monday. His office staff are his family members and I remember them as small children. His daughter said he was seeing his last appointment, but if I could come in, he'd check me out. I was thanking God for every green light. I walked out with a new nasal spray and a prescription for Leviquin.

I rushed to the pharmacy to get it filled. Once home again, I popped the first horse pill and shot the nose spray up each nostril. I sure didn't want to be sick for Thanksgiving. The spray brought instant tears to my eyes followed by a burning sensation in my sinuses.I looked at the ingredients of the spray to make sure it wasn't hot sauce. After a couple of minutes the pain subsided. I washed my face and started cleaning the bunny cages. When I put each rabbit's toys and cuddlies (a square of fleece blanket) back in their cages they always make a big show of rearranging their cages to the way they like it.

Finally, I sat in front of my computer and read the instructions on the spray. Twice a day. Needless to say I was leery about doing it again. But the second dose wasn't near as bad. The first onslaught just told me how bad my sinuses were inflamed. Now it doesn't bother me at all which is a good thing.

Thanksgiving was bittersweet. For once I could stay as long as I wanted because I didn't have to rush home for my husband. All my brothers and sisters were there, their children and their grandchildren. A house over flowing with too many conversations going on at once. I was lost. It was only at the end when it was just my baby sister, her family and my daddy that I could actually tune into and participate in a conversation. We talked about her first memories of Daddy, different foods we had eaten, etc in a more relaxed manner. All I could think about was how turkey and dressing was my hubby's favorite meal and the competency evaluation coming up.

How have you been?


  1. Oh Jo - I am sorry to read this ... life can throw wobblies at us: I hope things will improve in the next few days and weeks ... I'm glad you enjoyed something of Thanksgiving once the crowd had gone down ...

    All the best with that evaluation ... Hilary

  2. Hi Jo, sorry to hear all your troubles.

    Interesting though, the guy who cuts my lawn came over today for lawn work and was telling me that he got a letter for a "competency evaluation" from Social Security last week and has to go to their office for an appointment to have this evaluation done. He is not on Social Security but his mom is (she's in a nursing home) and he thinks it's all about he didn't fill out the proper paperwork re: paying her nursing home bills with her SSD check. He told me just today that SSA does this routinely, competency evals on caregivers to make sure they are handling everything (financially) in the right way. He stated that worse case scenario, SSA would take over paying his mother's debts directly rather than allowing him to do it, if he was ruled "incompetent".

    However, I'm a bit confused as you stated you were "ineligible" for disability? So are you on SSD? Is this "competency eval" about your benefits? or is this competency evaluation about handling your husband's affairs? If it's about your caregiving roles -- I wouldn't worry about guardianship etc. That pretty much has to go through the court system, not SSA. Worse case, I think my lawn guy is right, SSA would just take over financial stuff for your hubby's benefits, maybe do an audit or something. However if it is about YOU and your benefits -- and if it really happened, you could request one of your children to be a "guardian". You would have to go through county court system for all of that.

    Can you talk to an attorney before you go to the appointment?

    Hang in there. I do think you are doing well, despite all this crap.


  3. Hey Jo,

    Obviously this all sucks, but you've been through hell before, and come through happy and optimistic. You'll do it again. Love.

  4. Um while I do believe you are definitely competent to help yourself maybe with all these physical issues a guardian might not be a completely bad thing if he or she offers real assistance and does not just lock you up in the house like some disgrace invalid? Don't hate me!

  5. How did people who had a stroke survive this level of stress before the Internet offered information and support? Hang in there until some of this passes.

  6. I've been out of commission with hand surgery and a virus, but I think it's time for a few {{{{{hugs}}}}}, Jo. Good luck!


I love to hear from you! Agree, Disagree, matter. Even if it's to say you were here.