Tag Archives: Sciatica

My New Normal

Ring of Kerry_Atlantic

Lately, I’ve been dealing with what I’m calling my New Normal.  And, as with so many other things, there are several phases to go through to get to the acceptance level of my New Normal.  And I’m not really sure I’m there yet.

My New Normal life includes things like COPD, asthma, arthritis in both knees and moving up to my shoulders, a sciatic hip, and now, I have issues with my wrist from using the computer mouse wrong.  (Insert heavy sigh here.)  I’ve been dealing with the asthma for about 25 years, or so I thought.  Seems I was diagnosed with it when I was 12, but my Mom and my Doctor decided it wasn’t something I needed to know cause it was “low grade” asthma and it wasn’t really giving me much trouble.  I now understand why my Doctor would always tell me, “You know that stuff you had before?  Well, you’ve got it again.”  when I’d go in because I wasn’t feeling very well and was a little short of breath.  Was not pleased to learn this. It means I have had asthma for 48 years, give or take.  Oh, yea.

My arthritis is the result of “if I’d known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself…”  Too many twisted, popped, tweaked knee injuries over the course of my life.  I always was an accident looking for a place to happen.  But I can deal with the arthritis, as long as the barometer isn’t falling, or already in the cellar, then I have issues.  The sciatica, though, is another story completely.  I have yet to figure out what sets that off.  I can go for weeks before it flares up.  Then I can hardly walk.  Sometimes even sitting is difficult.  The same goes for my wrist.  Fortunately, when it starts up, if I just take a few minutes and let my arm hang down for a bit, everything goes away and I can go back to work.  Oh well…

The one I’m having the hardest time with is the COPD.  I’m having a real hard time dealing with the prospect of being on oxygen 24/7 for The Rest Of My Life.  I get so angry and frustrated with the stupid tanks.  I keep trying to stay off it, but I always have to give in and put the stupid nose hose on and breath the oxygen.  Oh, and I get a lot of “How long did you smoke?” remarks.  I have NEVER smoked.  The only thing I can think of is that when I was born, my lungs and sinuses were filled with mucus and not functioning very well, the Doctors put me in an oxygen tent for a week.  PURE oxygen.  For a week.  So many things get explained by that.  None of this stuff is due to anything I did.  It isn’t my fault, but I get to deal with it.  I know that having hernia surgery with the anesthesia that they used, so I wouldn’t have any problems, added to the crap with my lungs.  It was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I suppose, eventually, I would have ended up on oxygen, but before I hit 60 kind of sucked.

I still try to get away with not using the oxygen all the time, like I should, and then rush to put it on when I get winded.  So, like I said, not quite at the accepted level, still at the frustration level.  Still pretty unhappy and feeling that it’s just not fair.  But there’s a small, little voice that creeps in from time to time to remind me that the option is far less acceptable.

Well, when did this happen?

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Yesterday, My Mom, Sister and a family friend and I went garage saling.  Before we got started, we went to McDonald’s for a quick breakfast.  When Cindy was ordering, I realized that she ordered a Senior Coffee for me.  When did I become “a Senior”?  And do I really want to be one?  It’s not that I mind taking advantage of all the benefits that come with being “a Senior”, I’m just not sure I’m ready to admit that I am one.  I certainly don’t feel like it.  Except on days like today, when the barometer is in the basement and ankles hurt and knees hurt and shoulders hurt and back hurts.  For a change, the only thing that hasn’t hurt today is my sciatic hip.

Okay, so I’m now on oxygen 24/7, darn asthma and COPD, (and no, I have never smoked, just bad lungs, badly cared for when I was growing up.), I have trouble walking long distances, thanks arthritis, my right shoulder is now starting to give me grief, I find the occasional silver strand of hair from time to time and sleep and I have not agreed on sleep times for quite awhile.  There, that is my list of complaints.  There are a few more things, but they’re little and only bother me on  rare occasions.

So, here’s the thing, I still FEEL like I’m in my forties or fifties.  I know, age is a matter of mind, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  And most of the time, I could care less how old I am.  Sometimes, though, I feel old.  Today is one of those days.  Low barometer, wind, and heat – 76 degrees today, March 6th.  76 degrees.  In March.  It’s a little scary.  I don’t do well in heat.  I’ve had 2 “episodes” of heat sickness and the last put me in the hospital.  So there’s another thing that doesn’t work so well any more – my internal thermostat is shot to pieces.

Still, I guess I’m really not too upset about the Senior thing.  I just don’t know exactly when it happened.  And why…

Woo Hoo!

fireworks

Well, its all over but the celebrating.  I will be getting my back pay fairly soon, without, I might add, proof of mental competence.  Seems the last person I talked to at the Social Security office “got to thinking”.  She went back and re-read the deposition 3 times and couldn’t find any thing that said I needed a personal representative to handle my finances.  Woo Hoo!  She ended the conversation by saying she was sending out the form to release my back pay that day.  Don’t really know when I’ll be getting it, but I KNOW how much I will be getting.  I have my budget all worked out.  Woo Hoo!

Had a Doctor’s appointment today.  It went pretty good, all things considered.  Blood pressure is almost normal, blood sugar is back down below 200 and I’ve lost another 4 pounds.  Had discussions about the oxygen.  Seems I’ll just have to learn to live with it.  My lungs seem to have been damaged a bit more than the Doctors thought from the anesthesia.  Oh well.  I can handle it.  Don’t much like it, but I can handle it.

Today, even my OA (osteo arthritis) doesn’t bother me very much.  Neither does my sciatica.  All in all a good day.

Oh, I also got a “raise” at work.  (My hours were increased.)

Woo Hoo!

And now we wait. And wait. And wait…

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So on Tuesday, at 10:30 am, I had my Disability hearing.  Had to drive to Pueblo, which is 125 miles west of here, but first we had to drive to Colorado Springs, another 50 miles or so, because my sister had a dental appointment.  Then back to Pueblo for my hearing.  I was on time, my lawyer was a little late.  We had enough time for our conference before being called into the Judge’s hearing room.  The hearing started at 10:24 am and ended 23 minutes later at 10:57 am.  There were 5 people, the Judge, the clerk, the Representative from Social Security, my lawyer and myself.  We made some concessions, they made some concessions and the hearing ended.  My lawyer says he thinks there is a 95% chance that I will be getting Disability.  He thought the judge liked me, mainly because I looked at him when I answered his questions and I answered all of his question “intelligently”.  Whatever that means.  So, now, I wait for the ruling.  It could take 4 to 6 weeks before I get the letter from the Judge saying Disability has been granted.  Then I have to wait another 2 to 4 weeks for Social Security to set up a phone call appointment to verify every thing and then another 1 to 2 weeks before I get my back pay, minus the lawyers fee.  So, I’m still waiting.

In the meantime, however…  On Valentine’s Day, I spent the morning in the ER because I had severe pain in my right hip.  Pain so bad I couldn’t move without crying.  Turns out I now have Sciatica.  The medicine they gave me for that makes me light-headed and nauseous and a bit disorientated.  I have two more days of the meds to go, and then we’ll see.  Still need to call my Doctor for an appointment.  So, yea, I gotta do that.

Plus I qualified for free weatherization of the house.  They will be here next Friday for 2 hours.  Oh joy.  It is a good thing, really, I just have a lot to do before then and, as usual, not a lot of time to do everything in.  Especially when I’m getting dizzy and disorientated and stuff.

All in all, though, I feel pretty good.  I agreed with the lawyer, I think I will get my disability, and the lawyer and Mom both think I’ll get closer to the higher end of the range, which would be wonderful.  I do feel better, even if I am groggy and light headed and stuff, and getting this house weatherized can’t but help me save money, so, all in all, I’m good.  For a change.