Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I’m sitting in the livingroom wrapped with my electric blanket, a fleece vest borrowed from Jeffrey, my sleepy pup burrowed under my legs and fingerless gloves holding a Grande Skinny Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. My body can’t seen to regulate it’s temperature and I’ve been on a constant fluctuation between chills and sweats for days. It might be hormonal. Or, it might be my body saying “WTF!” since I spent most of the winter last year in my temperature controlled hospital room where I kept the thermostat at a toasty 80 degrees so that I could lay around with no pants and tolerate the tile floors when I was forced to move from my bed to the toilet. I think almost wistfully of those months spent looking out the 3rd floor James window to my view of the valet parking and a tiny corner of OSU campus that was so pretty covered in snow. I never had to leave and I could listen to online radio in my underwear when I wasn’t sleeping or being poked and prodded by the constant barrage of doctors and nurses. The passivity and lack of personal responsibility during this time is enviable. This is also my first winter without a garage. I have a remote car starter, heated leather seats and automatic heat sensors in my car but I still squint my eyes under my red organic wool hat and run from the house to the car as fast as my crippled legs will take me.
And yes, My legs are kinda crippled. The fracture in my ankle has healed but the MRI revealed that in addition to the avascular necrosis in my hips I also have this condition in my feet/ankle joints. This is the pain that I have had in that area for months. I was fairly depressed about having this condition in my hips but the ankle situation is worse. It’s more difficult to prevent impact on my ankles and there is no “ankle replacement” surgery option. So, what do we do about it? The solution is for my bones to strengthen and repair themselves. I have joint pain most of the time and it’s because of the disintegration of my bones. I have been prescribed calcium, vitamin D and bisphosphonates. The IV treatment of Zometa that last landed me in the hospital is probably going to be given again. It gave me a high fever, flu-like symptoms and severe pain for a day and a half but then I was pain-free for 3-4 weeks. Worth it? I’m not sure. To be honest I’d probably try it again. I’ve been told that only the first dose has severe side effects because of the activation of t-cells. Some of the people I’ve talked to are shocked that I would do it again considering the poor reaction I had last time. I think I must hide my symptoms well. I’m in pain ALL THE TIME. I also refuse to take the proper dosage of pain meds to cover it cause I don’t like opiates and I’m still not allowed to take OTC pain meds.
The cold is making it more difficult but I have an arthritis/injury class at the YMCA. I’m the youngest in the class by 30 (40?) years. That also makes me the most attractive by default. The silicone doesn’t hurt. I go to work, the Y, the hospital and home. That’s about it for me but I’m happy. My hair is growing. My face is thinning and I feel more normal. It also helps when I try to eat closer to my goal of 1500 calories a day instead of the 700-800 calories on which I was subsisting. I still don’t want to eat. I eat because I have to. I’m considering starting a diet of just Soylent to avoid the need to eat at all. I’ve tried other dietary supplements but the sugar content gives me migraines. The place where I feel most normal and healthy is at work.
To me, my job has been easy to get back into. I still easily prepare for and provide therapy but dread the paperwork. For those who don’t know I’m a speech therapist for special needs middle school children. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wore a wig for a few days when my hair was being obnoxious and I didn’t want to take the time to style it. Some of my students were terribly confused. “Ms. Tadlock, did you get your hair cut?” I answered yes. A half hour later the same student says, “Wait, was your hair used to be longer?”. And this is coming from one of my students with the least amount of disability. I’m now locked in to wearing the wig since I can’t stand to confuse them even more. It’s okay. I seem to be taken more seriously with a “normal” haircut.
A summary of my days in a picture: