Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Year Later...

*This post is a downer. A little self-serving with a side of pity and a big scoop of 'poor me'.*

Today marks the first (and hopefully, last) anniversary of my leave from work.

This is a sad day for me.

One year ago yesterday, I woke up with a crick in my neck - you know the feeling; like you slept wrong or your pillow is getting old. Just a kinked neck, which I knew would work itself out by the end of the day.

By lunch time, it was REALLY sore and it was giving me a headache. A bad headache. I enlisted one of the supervisors to rub my neck and massage it a bit because I was certain it was just a tight muscle. It felt really good.

For about 10 minutes.

After listening to my whining for most of the morning, my coworker suggested I call the massage clinic on Campus and go get a massage. I called - they couldn't get me in until the following day.

I don't remember now if I stayed the whole day but I know by the time I got home, I was in some serious, serious pain. I begged off taking TroubleMaker to swimming so my husband took him instead. I rested.

It didn't help.

I won't forget the pain - people say we forget pain. That pain is not something I'll ever forget - even if it's because the pain is still present (however, when it happened, pain was a 25 on a scale of 1-10, now it's an 8/9 with the odd 11 thrown in if I do too much). I went to bed that night and did not sleep. I think I altered back and forth between ice and heat and finally fell asleep around 4am.

At 6, when I awoke 'for work', I decided to not go to work and to go see the doctor instead.

By 8am, I was in emergency.

The rest is history, as they say, but it's a somber and sad anniversary. I love my job. I love my coworkers. I love what I do. I'm a shell of myself. It took me nine months to get surgery - a wait, that I believe now - cost me my recovery.

The longer a nerve is impinged, the less likely full recovery is possible. Now, partially, this is my fault - I knew something was 'wrong' in February 2012... I didn't actually seek treatment until July 2012... Due to our broken system, I couldn't get the necessary MRI until January 2013 (that is until I presented so severe, I got it via the emergency neurology clinic). None the less, I waited a very long time for surgery and even though I knew the odds were low, I was confident - more than confident - I would make a 100% full recovery. There wasn't a doubt in my mind, if I survived the surgery, that I would be 100% post operative.

I'm not. I'm still off work. I still have no feeling in the hand, feet, legs and other assorted areas (due to the severe disc compaction - it spent the better part of year pressing on my spinal column). I still have pain - lots of pain - which means I'm on the drugs that scramble my brain. I have weakness, can't grip anything or pick up stuff well. I can't do the things I love and enjoy (nor can I do the things I don't like). Plus now, I have the added bonus of 'swallowing' trouble. Fun stuff. I also can't turn my head which means I can't drive. So I'm trapped in this house all day. Every day.

I know this is all very 'poor me' and I'm not seeking sympathy. I just needed to get this out of my head - after all, spewing this stuff is an essential part of recovery. Those who know me will tell you I'm an extroverted introvert who is pessimistically optimistic. I am struggling a lot with this because it's just not me.

Today is one full year since I've worked "full time". What I initially thought was going to be 'nothing' but my body telling me a needed a new pillow, turned into another spinal fusion, which turned into a YEAR + OFF WORK. My optimism is now pessimistic at best - I can't keep doing this, I can't. I'm tired, I'm frustrated, I feel let down - worse, I feel like I've let everyone down.

Yes. I'm getting help. Made the call today.

I know today is just a really bad day - being the anniversary of my demise (I'm not feeling optimistic, remember?). I'm a year from 40 and I feel bROkeN. No one wants to be 39 and broken. No one.

I've been reminded several times how awesome it must be to be off work... And if I was fully functional and totally my usual awesome self, I'd be rocking it. But I'm not. Dressing myself is painful. Doing my hair is excruciating (I'm falling in love with my curls again out of necessity).  Sure, I cook still and I dress and I do 'the basics' (like bathe) because I absolutely refuse to have my son cut my supper up anymore and I won't let my husband help me get dressed anymore either. It's the last vestiges of my sanity and I can't give those up. I had three weeks of NOTHING. I'm not a 'do nothing' kind of person so 12 months of it has given me my fill.

Tomorrow is a new day and maybe tomorrow, I'll wake up and everything will be better. It can't get worse, right? But it did. The coordination I thought I'd regained must've been leftover drugs because it's gone and I haven't tried to play guitar in over a month.

I'm going to go be sad in the corner over there. I'll talk to you tomorrow when I'm past this 'one year' mark.

PS One of my "40 by 40" goals is to GET BETTER. If I put it on a 'bucket list' is has to happen, right?

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