A Challenging Week

Do you ever write blog posts in your head?

I did that last week, craving the time and the mental bandwidth to free my thoughts with the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard. I knew my blog would be waiting for me but I missed it nonetheless.  My idol keyboard tugged at my random thoughts, yet they declined to heed its call.

Put simply it was a long and trying week.

Last Monday I suited up in one-size-fits-no-one scrubs for a long-awaited MRI. Chronic and still un-diagnosed foot pain landed me in the clinic for this joyless procedure.

Have you ever had an MRI? The machine is loud enough to require earplugs, and a bit daunting in size and scope. It’s a fabulous diagnostic tool, but not something you want to incorporate into your day.  I went in with a sore foot, and came home with that same sore foot and an aching back. In my next life I’m going to design medical equipment with a modicum of comfort in mind.

Although the results of the tests are available in two days, your doctor determines when you can see them. I dutifully made my appointment for late this week. They will not release my test results unless I meet with my doctor. Welcome to the American healthcare system.

Throughout the past several months my foot has been on the pointy end of a cortisone shot not to mention several acupuncture needles. I’ve tried heat and ice, massage, mobilization, manipulation and ultrasound, electrical stimulation and targeted exercises. They took a peek under the hood with a diagnostic x-ray and finally the MRI.  This foot of mine has been the subject of speculation in my Pilates class and has received enough attention to warrant its own Facebook page. I fear that with all that attention my foot will only continue to swell.

Next up was a trip to the vet. Two of the three resident felines were due for a checkup. It’s kind of long story, but two of the kitties remain close to home thanks to our cat-fence enclosed yard. Mr. M. technically has a home, but prefers to eat, sleep, drink and make merry at our place, also known as the home for spoiled and wayward cats. It was his turn to go to the vet.

I’ve been taking cats to the vet for years, so I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I try to keep it on the down low, hiding the cat carriers in the garage till go-time. Then I execute my stealth move: in one fell swoop I scoop up the cat, bow the head toward the chest, slip the cat into the carrier and close the door before they thinks about exposing teeth or claws.

So carriers at the ready, Mr. M. manages to slip out the back door and disappear at the appointed hour. I kitty-kitty-kitty him in my sincerest voice, shake bags of treats, walk up and down the street and even venture one block over. Nothing. I sit quietly on the garden swing (how can he resist) and still nothing. I realize that I’m going to be late.

I place a compliant Lindy into the carrier, then decide to take Slinky in Mr. M’s place and off we go. I arrive 15 minutes late, then wait another 15 minutes, and now I’m too late to see the vet who is about to start surgical rounds. Reluctantly I leave Lindy and Slinky in the vet’s care to be seen later in the day between rounds. Then I head to see my first client of the day.

Fast forward through two days, three round trips to the vet, multiple phone calls and a sleepless night and both kitties are finally back home. Lindy checked out well. Slinky on the other hand, who was at the vet by default, has a heart murmur, elevated thyroid and a painful and worrying hard growth on her spine. They said she cried out in pain with the exam so ordered an x-ray. Those results were inconclusive. She’s now home and on two medications, one to control her thyroid and the other to help with pain and inflammation. She goes back in another week to be sure her kidneys can tolerate the medication. My poor, sweet kitty.

Thursday my son announced that he would be moving into the dorms several days earlier than planned. He received an email that day from university housing saying that “students with disabilities” would move in on the 15th. I was stunned. We’ve been mentally preparing for the big day for months, and this news really threw me for a loop. When I asked to see the email, my heart sank. We have a painful and troubled relationship with the sender, one that dates back to grade school. I’ve been softly weeping on the back steps, trying to keep my feelings to myself. My son never met her, but she caused our family a good deal of grief. I’ll share in more detail when I can muster some emotional clarity. Right now I feel raw.

A week from today he’ll be off. Careful preparations have brought us to this day. I know he’s ready. I’m trying to ease the remnants of our traumatic past that continue to ricochet against my heavy heart. I want to be fully present when he crosses the threshold into the next chapter of his life.

collage september 8

35 thoughts on “A Challenging Week

  1. Oh Alys, I do feel for you! It must be hard letting your son out into the big wide world. I do wish him all the best! Poor Kitty too… I hope the medication helps. I have also had foot problems all this year, so I really can sympathise… I have tendonitis in both feet, and have had various injections and electrotherapy too. Let’s hope we are both jumping around again soon! Have a good week (it must be better than the last one!) and take care.

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    • Cathy, I had no idea you were also dealing with foot issues. Thank you for letting me know. Are you seeing the benefits of your treatment?

      Not being able to use our feet the way we’re used to is limiting. Last week I scooped several layers of compost with a spade using my non-dominant, but uninjured foot. I was completely uncoordinated using the opposite foot and sloshed dirt everywhere. You have to think about everything, don’t you?

      Sending healing thoughts your way. xox

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      • The same thoughts go out to you Alys. I now realise how much I need my feet for balance and bending or kneeling as well as walking! And as for digging – that is something I will probably avoid forever now as I think that is how it started! xox

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        • Oh dear. I wonder if my foot troubles started there too? It’s hard to accept a more limited version of myself. Mentally I still think I’m thirty, but my body is in revolt. I recently bought one of those kneeling stands that allow me to got down on both needs on a lovely neoprene cushion. The sturdy handles on the sides allow me to get up and down.

          The odd thing with my foot pain is that it is often at its worst when I’m resting. The change of positions seems to aggravate the problem. Do you find that to be true for you?

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          • Oh yes, in the evenings I get stiff feet and ankles and sometimes pain at night. My doctor has forbid any exercises or physio until the inflammation goes away ( with the help of nasty cortisone injections I’m afraid), and I have to wear special insoles all the time. No more high heels or flip flops for me! 😉

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  2. Oh dear, things are coming at you from all directions. I think I would do a Mr M; just lie on the floor and cuddle a soft banana toy for awhile. All the very best for the coming week. Will your son be far away?

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    • You made me laugh!

      Thank you for that.

      Yup, laying on the floor with a soft banana doesn’t sound half bad. Of course getting back up off the floor is a different story these days.

      My friend Alicia brought our kitties those catnip bananas. In the first few weeks, I would round the corner and think “why is there a banana on the living room floor?” It defied logic. It wasn’t long before kitty drool and enthusiasm flatted them to their current state, but I remain amazed at the lasting potency of those toys.

      My son won’t be far away at all: just seven miles or twenty minutes by car. It’s the leaving part that is so hard.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Sweet Alys, Doesn’t it always feel like “everything” always happens at the same time and makes everything so overwhelming? That’s my life over here too, but guess what? Not every day is like that, just get through the tough ones and know that better days are just around the corner. Hugs to you!

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  4. Geez Louise! You’re going in every direction aren’t you? It hardly seems fair for little Slink to have health worries when she’s just come around to enjoying life again. Maybe that’s why she’s resisted cuddles for so long, she’s had this tender spot on her spine? I sure hope she’ll be ok/
    I’m really counting my luck with my health today too, you’ve been thru the medical mill and I can’t imagine how you deal. That constant pain must be numbing and dulling the joy that everyday should bring. I also read above the message from Cathy. Good grief, is it an epidemic? I’ll watch for your news from your MRI. OMgosh, I hope they figure this thing out soon ((( hon )))
    Any ailments I may feel periodically are wholly due to my lack of attention to a proper exercise plan. Like yesterday, we did a bunch of garden/yard work, mowed, cleaned hanging plants out and picked a whack of weeds in the lane so today my back is feeling stressed. But nothing of consequence. I’m so lucky.
    Hells bells Alys, what a week. Sorry to hear you’ve been traumatized by someone who’ll be involved in Chris’s Collage affairs now. My gosh, sounds like she was pretty horrible. Is a two-on-one for you and Mike be a possibility with her? Clearing the air so to speak? I suppose there’s always the hope that she’s changed.
    For all these reasons and so many more, I’m sure happy to know I’ll be arriving shortly. Not that I’ll have any sage advice, but at least we can distract you with few days of silliness and set aside some time for play. Even grown-ups need play time. I for one will relish our little break, I’ve been burning that preverbal candle, yes from both ends and I’m overdue. Sending ton’s of love your way sweetness. Only 21 days xoxoxoxoxo

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  5. Good heavens, Alys, it’s been a week of playing Atlas, hasn’t it? I’m thinking that because you’ve been having to do such heavy lifting lately, the foot is saying, “Yeah, I’m taking a break–you all carry on without me.”
    My head and heart are sending you big, warm hugs of confidence and healing. I will mentally throw westward as much comfort as I can muster. Keep your arms open, or chances are some unsuspecting pod of whales will soon be feeling unusually loved and courageous.
    ❤ ❤

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  6. A “challenging week” is putting it mildly -what a total nightmare! The emotional struggles we face as mothers and owners of pets are never easy but I hope it gets better for you. Yes, I have had two MRI scans and recall the noise only too well. Let’s hope for a diagnosis so you can move ahead with suitable treatment.

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  7. Dear Alys, I’m so sorry I’m late visiting. My girls and I have just concluded our annual pyjama party and I’m venturing back into the blogging world. Everything has come to a head by the looks of this – darn life, always piling the yukky stuff into one corner for us to trip up on in the dark! I’m wondering if this woman is the one you have told me of before – a poor wretched, hurt soul who needs to make others feel as bad as she does. I have a feeling your lovely eldest can weather this feeble psychic attack easily enough – and you will too for his sake. And poor delicate wee Slinky, like Boomdee I’m hoping the lump explains her touchiness and hopefully the vet does the right things and eases it for her. Animals are so accepting of what is and never complain! My thoughts turn to the last days of Stanley – and how my heart broke every time I looked at him staggering loyally out to greet his mum and waiting for her to get to the place where she could make the decision that needed to be made. He went to sleep two days before my birthday, the day before Joanna arrived in town – and was it seems mostly missed by Orlando who behaved very oddly for the ensuing five days! Danella made a beautiful ‘In Memoriam’ post for him on her blog and that helped her greatly I think.

    Loving our animals and living in close relationships with them sure is good for training our understanding on the brevity of life and letting go!

    So, I’m also hoping the foot thing gets a proper diagnosis from this MRI contraption. I don’t know if I ever told you, I lived with severe back pain for forty years that was largely diagnosed as mind over matter or low pain threshold until an accident and the ensuing x-rays revealed a spinal malformation that includes one and a half T bones where there should just be one and accompanying pinched nerves and bones rubbing against bones. A simple course of saline injections cured me in five days. I have little respect for medical diagnostic ability 🙂

    Sending you lots of warm, affectionate hugs dear Alys – I hope you are sustained by all the love that pours towards you from all over the globe and that you will weather this dust storm and emerge stronger and surer because of it. Don’t let that ugly woman beat you down in any way. I’m sure we are all hoping for the best possible out come for Slinky too – and I’m so happy that the gorgeous Lindy is going well – and Mouse, remains Mouse! 😀 xoxo

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  8. Jeepers, Alys–this is all so stressful! Talk about piling on! I know nothing about having kids and little about medical issues so I can only imagine how much these concerns are draining you. I do know quite a lot about cat worries . . . and to have that to nag at you–awful. I can say that, if Slinky’s spine issues end up being manageable, the hyperthyroidism may not be a huge problem. My Zack is hyperthyroid and was pretty sick from it but the meds can be very effective. He’s himself again, with no kidney concerns and we’re planning the next stage of care. I hope, hope, HOPE that your world calms down soon, with good outcomes!

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    • Thank you, Kerry. It’s so nice to have you support.

      I’m glad to hear that your Zack is doing well and managing on his medications. What a relief. Slinky’s appetite seems improved this week so that gives me a lot of hope. She’ll go late next week for a follow up.

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  9. You’ve certainly had a lot going on in your life, Alys. Goodness me, I hope you get conclusive news about your foot, poor kitty gets better, too, and your son has a happy transition into the next phase of his life.

    My daughter has her first sleepover on Friday and I am – naturally – a little apprehensive. But great for both of us!

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    • Thank you, Helen. I appreciate your kind words.

      Slinky’s appetite seems improved since the thyroid meds. which is hopeful, happy news. She’s still carrying her tale in a funny way, so no way to tell if the antiinflamatory drugs are working. I sure hope so.

      Best of luck with your daughter’s first sleep over. The first one is always the hardest because you just don’t know how they’ll do, but it is all part of that gradual process of letting go. Please let me know.

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      • Good to hear that Slinky is eating better.

        Anyway, my daughter has packed her favourite blanket and ‘rabbit’, so even though she will be in unfamiliar surroundings, she will have some familiarity.

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  10. I had to come back to this to respond. It hurts my heart to hear about so much difficultly and pain being visited on you all at once. The feet, stepping into a new future, can be troublesome. I can ditto what Pauline said about medical diagnostics, the care and the psychic attack. I’m so sorry your are having to deal with that on top of everything else.

    I’ve had an MRI and a CT scan of my brain. It ruled out stroke and confirmed damage to the 7th cranial nerve. Bells. I’d gone partially deaf from it so the noise wasn’t the biggest issue for me.

    I hope Slinky had good luck with his medical issues. And that you get this foot thing resolved. I still have a bunion that does not want me to spend a great deal of time on my feet either. When our feet hurt, everything hurts. It looks like so many are sending love and energetic protection your way so lets hope it’s enough. I had been thinking of you the last couple of days and had a feeling that you were on overload. Take time to restore, as you would tell me. 🙂 You have so many in your corner that all must be getting better soon. Hugs from here.

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    • (((Marlene))) Thank you for your words of love, support and understanding. I got a little weepy reading them, but that seems par for the course these days. I feel so supported and understood and that carries me forward. I had a little pity party today, but I’m over it now. Some times a little wallowing is just enough to get you past it and on to healtheir thinking.

      I’m teaching my son how to use the bus independently on Monday, when hopefully it cools down. I couldn’t see a twenty minute walk to the bus stop this week in the 102 degree, spare the air misery we’re calling early September in San Jose. Are you getting slammed again too?

      I’m sorry to hear that the Bells affected your hearing. Now that you have a definitive diagnosis, will it change anything in your treatment? I’m always hoping you’ll wake up one day and that all will have returned to normal. I hope your eye is healing well from the surgery, and that better vision is just a few days away.

      Psychic attack is a good way of putting it. We often overlook, or perhaps even come to expect, that aspect of medicine. It’s certainly not conducive to healing. When I was pregnant the second time, I eventually fired my doctor and found a midwife instead. My care and sense of well-being improved from there.

      I value that advice and hope to have a quieter weekend.

      The news about my foot isn’t good. I’ll save the details for another day.

      xoxoxoxooxoxoxox

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      • First off, I’m so sorry the news on your foot wasn’t good.
        Second, Good for you in firing your doctor. Men should not be obstetricians. Everything is energy and when someone harbors ill thoughts of you, they can be felt and can do harm.
        Third, we are having another wave of heat but nothing like what you are talking about. My son is back in Burbank and is miserable. By Sunday, we will have more normal temps and Monday brings the possibility of rain. Yay!
        Fourth, this is getting silly. but the Bells was diagnosed 5 1/2 years ago. That’s when I had the CT scan and MRI. Treatment is non-existent. The virus is dormant once again but the damage was so extensive that no one had ever seen anything like it. I looked up Ramsey-Hunt Syndrome after reading a Chicken Soup story and the symptoms were similar. The poor woman had surgery to get here smile back. I miss mine but not worth it at my age. Vision was more important. Still struggling with it the last couple days. It will get better but the eye still doesn’t blink or lift.
        Last, we all get 10 minutes on the pity pot, then we have to pull up our big girl pants and go on. Sometimes a little more than 10 minutes under certain circumstances. 🙂 Those are my rules for myself. 🙂 Sometimes I think people who are in pain inflict it on others. Spreading the wealth I guess. Don’t let them get you. Lots of hugs are here for you from your “virtual” community..

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  11. What a difficult week for you, Alys. You must have been thinking “What can happen next!” I do hope that you have re dived some good news by now. Your son is so lucky to have your love and support, it must be reassuring for him to know that he is off to the new stage of his life with you at his back. Big hugs to you.x x x

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    • Thanks for those big hugs, Anne. Your support means a lot to me.

      My son is off to college on Tuesday so here we go. He’s feeling good about arriving a bit earlier, but he’s understandably nervous too. I’m so proud of his developing confidence and resourcefulness. I’ve learned as much from him as I think he has from me.

      Slinky’s appetite is improving so that is wonderful news. She goes in next week for a follow up blood test.

      The test results are in on my foot, but sadly none of it was good news. I’ll share more sometime next week. Have a terrific weekend.

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