Thursday, January 23, 2014

Health & Beauty // When Health is Poor

Things are decidedly unglamorous in my life at the moment. While good bloggers manage to have streamlined (and, you know, new) content and themes to their blogs, I'm about to get a little rogue with my own. It's my blog and I'll go rogue if I want to. We'll just file it under "Poor Health & Beauty".
To condense over 30 years of health history into a sentence: I have a form of spina bifida that inhibits my mobility and has caused several "side effects" that have become greater problems than the actual SB. Currently, I am dealing with another round of bone infection (osteomyelitis) in my left foot, which got into my foot via a 25 year old open ulcer on the bottom of my foot. Which was caused by a cast that I had on after a leg surgery when I was 7. A leg surgery that was necessary because of the SB. This is generally how my biggest problems occur: the snowball method. 
In the past, I was very hesitant to discuss my medical issues with people. Of course, most of this occurred during the formative years where "blending in" was the main mode of survival. Gimpy kids don't get the benefit of blending in. My next survival method was silence. I only discussed my health problems with a small group of close friends. (People I still call friends today.)
I used to be embarrassed about my issues. I also was afraid of "oversharing" or people thinking I was a hypochondriac. Perhaps the Facebook age of oversharing has cured me of this. Perhaps it is becoming a bit "older & wiser" that has made me want to open up. I could say that I want to open up in the event that it helps "just one person", but at this point that one person is just me. I am hoping for some healing and outlet through sharing on the journey I am about to embark on. And if I can cough out a post or 2 on lipstick to keep this ship of dreams alive, we'll be all the more glamorous for it.
While this is not my first time at the osteomyelitis rodeo, this marks the second time in which I will be getting treatment via a PICC line. This IV port will be in my arm for 6 weeks so that I can receive fluid antibiotics in hopes that it will rid the bone of infection. The first time I had this done (for my right foot) was successful. My hope is that my experience will be similar, though my benchmark of "normal" is not the same as the average person.
The side effects of just maintaining the current infection are numerous: other sites become infected, oral antibiotics give nasty side effects, and the topper: a piece of bone broke off of my metatarsal and shot out of my foot ulcer like a cannonball. It currently lives in a Ziploc bag. (To answer your question: I am fucking serious.)
To complicate matters, I am currently visiting my mother in my home state of Michigan. While luckily I have a doctor here that has known me for several years, I make my home in California with my husband. Due to the severity of my symptoms (and the extreme severity of anxiety I am having), I made the difficult decision to stay in snowy Michigan for the six weeks of treatment. On the plus side, this will expedite the process as the hospital is small. The first available appointment I could have had with my doctor in California was next week, and that was no guarantee of getting the treatment started same day, if at all. (Isn't it just like a doctor to dink around questioning the orders of another doctor? At least, that was my previous experience!)
On the downside, of course, is the fact that I've left my husband and home in California behind. This is compounded by the fact that I have only been home for 3 days since Thanksgiving having spent 2 weeks in Taipei (an old haunt) and then to Michigan for Christmas. Because of the increasing difficulty with my foot, I put off going back to California twice because of my inability to board an airplane with an inflamed foot. The guilt I feel for leaving my home and family in California is that much greater as I spent so much time on myself in November and December. Complicating matters is everyone's friend: anxiety. Every time I think I have a plan in motion, I second guess myself. To be honest, the anxiety is more crippling than being crippled...
Yesterday I was brave. Today, I am running on fumes having had little sleep. Tomorrow I look forward to the arrival of my husband who will escort me to my PICC line insertion. I will do my best to stick with a plan and not let 55 plans run through my head (one of which includes running away to avoid treatment). But for now, I am exhausted, devastated, and though I hate to admit it, scared.
Today I am in: basket case mode.

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