Angst Girl

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A Hairy Situation

Thursday I had an appointment to get cortisone shots in both knees because I have numerous bone spurs and acute arthritis. I got up, shaved my legs, took a shower; the usual personal care routine. I was very nervous about getting the shots because sticking needles in my knees just seemed, well, WRONG.

I was having the shots done in the radiology department of a local hospital so they could be done with x-ray guidance. I got to the hospital a little early and the radiologist was running a little late (of course) so I was sweating it out in the waiting room for about 25 minutes thinking the worst about the upcoming procedure.

I finally got into the room and met all the people who would be assisting the doctor. There was a total of four, yes four, people assisting the radiologist. I was surprised it was such an ordeal and that didn’t help quell my anxiety any. Finally the time came and I got situated on the world’s most uncomfortable platform. I was on my back with my knees slightly bent which is not the most comfortable position for me and it seemed to take forever for them to get started.

First he inserted a smaller needle with lidocaine to deaden the area. Then he inserted a bigger needle and kind of moved it around a little to get it in the right area. The lidocaine was really doing its job and I really didn’t feel too much. The first knee seemed to take forever then I switched around on the platform and he did the other knee. The second knee didn’t seem to take as long and before I knew it it was all over.

They had me stand up and walk around a little and assess my pain level. It was amazing; my right knee was pain free and my left knee (the one I had recently hyper-extended) was much better than it had been. I was over the moon with my “new” knees. The radiologist reminded me, however, that what I felt was the effect of the lidocaine and that it would wear off in about six hours. It would take a day or two after that for the steroid to kick in so the regular pain would return for a while.

So I thanked the team and went on my way. It was later that day that I was sitting in front of the TV that I noticed something horrible. I looked down at my right shin and saw it: a small row of hair that I had missed in my morning routine. Dammit!

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As you know, I’m leaving on my Big Trip to Europe in October and I’m super excited. However, I’m also super anxious. I’m a large person and that brings about all kinds of difficult situations. At home I’m able to mitigate those but on a trip where I’m encountering all kinds of new situations it will be more difficult. I’m worried about walking, standing, sitting on the plane, getting on and off buses, fitting in restaurant chairs, etc. The anxiousness rounds off the edges of the excitement and that kind of pisses me off because anticipation is part of the fun of a trip.

Intellectually I know that worrying about things isn’t going to do anything but make myself crazy. I’m not going to fit in the plane seat any better because I sat here and worried about it for months. Walking around isn’t going to be any easier because I stayed awake at night with anxiety. But knowing it and actually stopping the worrying are two completely different things. I’m a master of worry and I can’t seem to stop. It’s very aggravating.

I have taken steps to help ensure it’s smooth sailing (get it? I’m cruising through Germany on a boat). I’m taking a portable chair so I can sit if I need to, even if there aren’t any seats around. I’m taking a cane to help me walk and just in case I hurt my knee (AGAIN!). I’m getting cortisone shots in my knees before the trip to help with my knee pain. And I’m prepared to possibly be pushed around the airport in a wheelchair. But I still feel anxious because I’m going into such a huge unknown. Usually, at home, I avoid situations unless I know what it’s going to be like. So this is a HUGE step for me.

Every day, when I find myself worrying about things, I try to take a deep breath and tell myself it’s futile to worry about it. It helps. I’m finding the closer I get to the trip, the more excited I get and the easier it is to stop worrying about it. Writing this is helping me, too. Just the act of writing down that worrying doesn’t help anything has helped me believe it. So thanks for listening.

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Ongoing Knee Saga

Sigh. Here goes …

I hurt my knee AGAIN last Sunday, two days after I saw Dr. Hill. What funky thing did I do this time, you ask? I stretched out my leg to put on a pair of pants. Yeppers, that’s it. But I hurt it worse than I had hurt it before. I can’t straighten my leg all the way and can only put weight on it if I’m in a crouching position. Yes, I look ridiculous when I walk.

I called my regular doctor on Monday and explained that I couldn’t really make it in to the office. My doctor was on vacation but the nurse conferred with the on-call doctor and told me to ice it, wrap it, take Tylenol, and if it wasn’t better in three to five days to call back. I did those things and it wasn’t getting any better so I called the doctor this morning to get an appointment. Luckily he could see me this afternoon so I had a great friend help me get to the office.

The doctor looked at it, poked it, and moved my leg in a couple directions, asking me if it hurt when he moved it. He said he didn’t think anything was broken but it was possible it was a tendon issue or one of my bone spurs had broken off and was irritating it. He said I should get an x-ray and see the infamous Dr. Hill again. Joy. The nurse came in and said that Dr. Hill didn’t have any available appointments in the near future so they were going to confer over the phone. She then took me to get an x-ray. It was painful to have the x-rays taken but hopefully they will help some doctor to be able to tell me what’s wrong.

It’s all just so bizarre. When I try to straighten my leg, it hurts on the underside of my knee and on the left side of my knee. To cut down on walking I shipped my dog off to grandma’s house where, according to reports, she is being overly spoiled. I would expect nothing less.

My mother picked up my knee brace for me today (yes, the one that my doctor said didn’t exist) and I’ve been wearing that. Can’t say it helps me walk at all but at least I have it. I have to hurry up and get this knee healed so I can go on The Big Trip. What terrible timing. We have trip insurance so if something catastrophic has happened to my knee we can reschedule the trip but we’ve already bought tickets for various attractions and we would lose all that money. Plus, my friend I’m traveling with would probably never forgive me if we had to reschedule. But it is what it is and there’s not much I can do about it. I’ll follow the doctor’s instructions and take it easy but the rest of it is out of my control.