On the Horizon

It’s dreary out and I feel this post is a good reflection of that. Over the last day we’ve been having the wettest possible snow. It weights an absolute ton. And so I opted to take my hour of shoveling as substitution for today’s daily yoga. You can call it cheating, but frankly I’m too sore and exhausted to give a fig.

All kinds of stuff has been going on over the last two months with regard to work. I keep thinking I’ll have something worthy of announcing, but it’s all complicated and nothing is truly settled so mostly I’ve been vague. I do have a Very Important Test in April that I just spent more money on than I think is adequately fair. I’m really excited about the whole thing, but I’ll be much more excited if something actually comes of it. I’ll be utterly over the moon if that happens quickly, though, these things rarely do.

Tomorrow is my first appointment with my new rheumatologist. It’s actually a good time for this given I’ve been having increased issues with pain the last week. The stiffness and pain is back in my neck — and actually it was bothering me on the opposite side last week, which was a first — and I’m noticing issues in my left leg again. We’ll see what comes of it. In other health news, I’ve had an unpleasant bout with migraines over the last month. I think it might be from a combination of sinus issues and allergies since I tend to get migraines when I’m extremely stuffed up, but the last few have been incredibly bad ones and I’m sad to say I’m seriously thinking I may have to go back on meds.

I completely have forgotten the other things I was going to post because the phone just rang and utterly distracted me.

Oiy!

I know I’m being annoyingly vague about all the things going on here currently and I’m very sorry that I’m not going into more detail, but presently I’m just not comfortable announcing it to the whole of the Internet. I expect that will change shortly enough and I hope you all can respect that.

Anyway, things here are frantic. I kind of feel like I’m three days off from a final exam and only just discovered I have half a course’s worth of material to go over. It’s a whole combination of things and actually school stuff is part of it, though, strictly speaking classes don’t start until next week. I do at least have my books, which is something of a miracle. I’m in this weird place at work right now where nothing is going on but there are tons of things in the planning stages which will most likely be dropped in my lap because that’s just how things go. And I’m having a lot of inconsistent pain issues; not the least of which is a migraine that has been insistently lingering for the better part of a week.

Hmm . . . doesn’t all seem so bad when I write it out like that, but in any case I’m kind of trying not to let myself be overwhelmed by the many things that need to be done and the difficulty of figuring out exactly how to manage my schedule to accomplish this. Oh, and among the doctor’s appointments in the next few weeks I have one with the eye doctor coming up, which is always terrible in some way. I really need a new pair of glasses, though, because the ones I got last year have been adjusted no less than four times and they still pinch my nose to the point that my skin has been rubbed raw.

So, well, this was kind of a non-update. . . .

The State of the Bleu

Things here have been all manner of stressful. It’s mostly not anything to do with me. And the stuff that is directly related to me is of such a personal nature that I really can’t discuss it here. But there is one issue that I kept promising to post about. I apologize that this is such a longtime in coming. It just seemed pointless to write until I had something substantial to share and for the most part I’ve only had a frustrating nothing.

On Monday January 30th, I woke up with a stiff neck. At first I just assumed I had slept funny and didn’t think much of it. By the end of the day my neck wasn’t just stiff, but in an incredible amount of pain and had spread through most of my arm. On Tuesday, I couldn’t even lift my head or maneuver myself into a sitting position without causing shooting pain in my neck. I literally fell out of bed to get up. Throughout the day I was still incapable of moving my head or lifting my left arm and I’d developed pain in my back, too. I was still operating on the idea this was caused from the stiff neck, since that was the main source of pain. And since I hadn’t dropped dead I was relieved to rule out meningitis. On Wednesday, I was able to sit up and get out of bed even though it wasn’t particularly pleasant to do so. I could turn my head a bit and I was able to lift my left arm. However, my back was definitely worse than the day before and felt like it was on fire. I described the pain to a bunch of people, including my father who is a nurse and some friends who deal with chronic pain. They were all concerned and offered various theories as to the issue. So, I made a doctor’s appointment for the next week.

Anyway, after a week I was still in pain. My neck was still sore and slightly stiff and even though I could move my left arm fine there was a definite ache. I’d also developed a dull ache in my left leg. But all that paled in comparison to my back, which literally was causing me so much pain I couldn’t find a comfortable position at all to be in and any movement I made was with an almost superhuman effort. I was miserable. And so it was in this state that I went to my doctor’s appointment. He seemed far less concerned than I expected him to be, but I supposed I was just not really capable of explaining how damn much I hurt. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, though, so the sheer fact that I was complaining at all should have registered to him in my opinion. Plus, it had been a week and it was certainly not getting better. At my insistence he drew some blood for tests and then wrote me a script for a narcotic.

Over the course of the next week my situation didn’t improve. In fact, the most alarming symptom surfaced: my hands became stiff and painful. For most of the week I wasn’t able to even close my hand into a fist or flatten my fingers. At my follow-up appointment that week I was told I had fibromyalgia. My response was to inquire what other possible cause of the pain because as far as I was concerned that was a non-diagnosis. For one, there is no test for fibro. In fact, it’s usually diagnosed in process of elimination style by ruling out other things that can be tested for. Furthermore, there is no treatment for fibro, which given the excruciating amount of pain I was in was not entirely acceptable to me.

In my stunned state I neglected to inquire about the results of whatever tests he’d performed, but I went home and informed my family of my diagnosis. Not surprisingly, my family reacted with pretty much the same response I had. My father strongly advised seeking a second opinion by way of getting a new doctor entirely and suggested I see a chiropractor. I had actually been looking for a new GP that was more convenient to travel to now that I’m not in Albany, but so far hadn’t found anyone. But I did find a chiropractor who took me in later that week. I was petrified to go, but at this point I figured if he snapped my neck and accidentally killed me at least I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. What did I have to lose? He didn’t have any epiphanies to offer on the cause of my pain, but after my appointment I was able to move my neck without issue. He told me to come back in a week and I did.

I saw the chiropractor a total of five times. And then I stopped going since he was not covered under my insurance and his services were not cheap. I also didn’t feel there was any substantial progress being made now that I wasn’t in excruciating pain. About a month after I stopped seeing him I called and spoke with him again and he seemed in agreement with me ceasing my visits, stating that it was possible that continuing to be adjusted without noticing any improvement might be more detrimental than helpful.

Meanwhile, I had two more visits with my doctor during which I was tested for a bunch of stuff including Lyme that all came back negative. I continued to stress my discomfort with the high level of pain I was in and all I was getting were various prescriptions for things I didn’t want to take. I was scheduled for a third appointment and got stuck in traffic en route. I arrived exactly 15 minutes late and the receptionist refused to let me see the doc even though the waiting room was virtually empty and it is common knowledge at the office that I don’t drive and I live outside of Albany! It was there policy and they were sticking by it, though. I was furious. When I got home I found a letter from the office in my mail. A form letter stating that the doctor no longer wanted to see me as a patient.

It took me about a month to find a new doctor and straight after that I had a slight insurance snafu that pushed my appointment smack dab in the middle of my endless jury duty. I also found another doctor who was supposedly a specialist with fibromyalgia and set up an appointment with him as well. Unfortunately since I was a new patient who required an extensive physical, rescheduling the appointment with the GP meant I was shunted to the very end of the availability and I was stunned when they told me the first appointment they could give me was October 5th! I accepted it, thinking this was probably a bad sign, but I did have the appointment with the fibro doc before then so I was hopeful somebody would be able to help me.

Well, the fibro appointment turned out to be almost as much of a non-event as my initial GP’s visits were. Honestly, I felt like he was scared to touch me and when I left I had pretty much decided that specialist or no there was no point in seeing him. So, I went another six weeks not having any idea why I was still dealing with this chronic pain issue . . . and yesterday I finally had my appointment with my new doctor. And to sum up everything, I’m very pleased with how proactive she’s being about this. She took a ton of blood for various tests, most of which I’ve forgotten what they are, though I know she’s doing another test for Lyme. She isn’t ruling out fibro, since a lot of my symptoms do mesh with it, but she’s more strongly concerned that the issue might be nerve damage. Or possibly related to my thyroid, though I have been tested for thyroid issues at least twice before in my life and had normal results. She was very sweet and incredibly thorough and mostly I give her huge props for how well she handled Uschi because I found out during my blood draw that she is terrified of dogs. Uschi was very protective, in a non-aggressive way, during my examination and every time the doc moved she would position herself right next to her, making sure the doc knew she was attentive to whatever was going on. It was honestly pretty hilarious. Anyway, I have an ultrasound in a week or so and hopefully am hoping something will come of that or the blood work to shed some light on the pain issues.

Suffice it to say I’m kind of in agony today after being poked and prodded so extensively. My back and neck are definitely making it known they are not happy. But for the first time since this all started I actually feel confident that I’ll get some answers. Hopefully, they’ll be the kind of answers that can we can do something about and even if they aren’t it will be a great relief to have a concrete diagnosis.

Done!

One word says it all. At roughly 3:30 p.m. yesterday we were dismissed from jury service after coming to a verdict of not guilty on all six counts in the case of Quincy Atwell. If you feel like paying a subscription fee, you can read the original news article about the attack here and this morning’s piece on the court case here.

I have not read either article and I have no plans to ever do so. Our verdict mostly came from the fact that we all had reasonable doubt as to his guilt based on lack of evidence to prove that it was not self-defense. My personal feelings are just that and, at least right now, I have no plans to share them in this space.

I will say that yesterday was utterly torturous. The deliberation itself went pretty smoothly, but trying to concentrate and listen through a massive migraine was not my idea of fun. I admitted quite honestly to the other jurors that if it had been work, I’d have called in or gone home. None of us knew what would have happened if I had done that or how or if it would have affected the case.1 Not to mention, this far in I wanted to see it through to the end.

Anyway, I’m still feeling plenty lousy this morning so all the pent up snark will have to wait. In fact, I’m crawling right back into bed after I hit “Publish” on this post.

  1. We had been told we could call in if there was an emergency or something, but that was before we had entered deliberation and the alternates had not yet been sent home.

Can You Say “Deliberation?”

Deliberation officially started yesterday afternoon.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, that means it is quite likely that today will be my last day of jury duty. *crosses fingers* I can’t begin to tell you how much joy I have about this.

I also can’t begin to tell you how much pent up snark I have about all of this. You all know how I love to share the snark and having to keep my pithy commentary all to my onesie is pure and utter torture! Couple that with the mind-boggling boredom and, well, let’s just say I expect to get a lot of mileage out of jury duty related posts. Judging from the number of people who have all but begged to “hear all about this” I can only assume this will be well received. And, if by chance it isn’t, I’ll find it cathartic and that’s really all that matters anyway.

In other news, I have a migraine. This does not make me happy in any way.