Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy New Year, and What's Happened Since The Last Time

Happy New Year, everybody! Here's hoping you've all gotten it off to a grand start after winding up the previous year with a Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.

You're noting the huge gap in time since the cygnet last sang to you. It's be a crazy time for me and mine. Some lives transitioned from one plane of existence to another between holidays, and we celebrated it all with all the bitterness and sweetness that such occasions engender. And there have been other pieces of the business of life for all of us.

For me personally, it has been health issues. If you remember from my last post in early November, I got a job and surrendered it at the end of the first training day. In addition to the reasons I cited then, the events that have followed have all convinced me that I did indeed decide wisely that day.

At the end of that post, I outlined a course of action that included paying especial attention to my health, namely, my chronic back problem, which has steadily deteriorated over the last approximately 11 years. It also included taking steps to apply for Accessible Raleigh Transportation so that getting to and from future jobs might not be an issue in any one for which I applied. I jumped right on both of those things.

First was an initial visit to my current orthopedist, who x-rayed me, asked me questions, started me on steroids, nerve pills, and the most effective pain killer I've had to date, and sent me to get an updated MRI scan. When I returned to the ortho, MRI CD in hand, she sent me to an ortho surgeon. About this visit I will not speak except to say that I hope it is long and long before another such person engenders in me the thoughts and feelings with which I left this person's office. I dragged myself, courtesy of a friend, back to the ortho, who pledged to help as much as possible, did a brief exam, added another drug to my painkiller, and told me to come back in two weeks. The two-week visit was two days ago. On that day the ortho filled out the requisite portion of paperwork that must be completed as part of the application for ART, scheduled me for an injection to address inflammation in some joints in my lower back, and sent me back to the pharmacy for more stuff. The pharmacy didn't have the stuff, because it's quite new on the market; and I guess I must have been the first person whose doctor prescribed it, because other similar pharmacies also reported not having any. In addition, the price of the stuff was such that I knew I wouldn't make it financially through the rest of this month if I tried to get it, so I didn't.

The good news, if it can be called that, is that I now have a completed ART application to take to the appropriate people to set the wheels in motion for one part of the program. Once I finally remember to schedule an eye appointment, I can get that worthy person to sign off on the application for the other part of the program. Then I turn it all in and wait—and pray—for a favorable outcome.

So why is all this an issue? WebMD and these good folks can tell you why my type of back pain is an issue generally. For me particularly, the standard treatments—pain pills, heating pads, electric massage therapy, physical therapy, diet and exercise, injections—have not done very much for my back, if they did anything at all. Some of these things I've tried repeatedly, to no avail. Some of these things—diet, and what exercise I feel motivated and able to do without too much additional pain—I will continue to try, because while they have done nothing for my back specifically, I know experientially that they have great benefits in other ways, and I want to reap those benefits. However, not only has my back gotten progressively worse despite the trial of all these things and the benefits some of them have had in other ways, I have experienced an increase in rapidity in my back's worsening, and other parts are beginning to be compromised. If this continues, there will arise challenges that I will need to prepare to meet.

Getting approved for ART will help me to meet some of these anticipated challenges. Other things that I have done in the last couple months will help as well, and I will tell you about them in an upcoming post. I will also keep you apprised of my continuing trials and triumphs in my other challenges that are already ongoing. Stay tuned!

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