Sunday, May 30, 2010

Freedom's Not Free

Fun and games

Well. So much for the cheery attitude. It tanked yesterday! Absolutely bottomed out. And shame on me for allowing it. Sooz is more pragmatic about it. She reminded me that this lymphedema crap took me by surprise and I hadn’t prepared my mind to deal with it - so deal with it.

You, my friends, already know how I feel about being diagnosed with lymphedema – I don’t need to go there again. Much. But it’s true that I haven’t dealt with it yet – haven’t come to terms with it. And yesterday was the first therapy – the therapist called it the intense therapy and said that most people are overwhelmed by it. So, OK, I have an excuse. But, no, it’s not an excuse.

It didn’t help that the therapist has about as much compassion and sympathy as road kill. Perhaps that’s a touch harsh. Perhaps not. I said I’d like my friend to come with me to take pictures for my blog, and she said no. I, of course, persevered which probably didn’t help our relationship!

The session began with a very gentle massage of the unaffected side of my upper body and then my groin area – this was to stimulate the functioning lymph nodes in hopes they would pick up the slack. I asked why they didn’t know to do that already, since the entire body seems able to do that in almost any instance of injury, and she found no humor in my question and had no answer.

Her touch was very gentle, so gentle I doubt it moved any little hairs, let alone ‘stimulated’ beneath the surface of the skin. But maybe she’s a ‘healer’ and doesn’t need touch. Whew, I have a bad attitude about this!!! She said the serious massage to try to work fluids out of the affected arm would come with the next session. Goody.

Then the fun began. She wrapped my fingers, hand and arm, gently mind you (next time it will be tighter!!) to try to encourage the fluids to flow out of the arm. As she ‘joked’, it’s an instant ten pound weight gain…and boy, oh boy, is she right! The damn thing weighs a ton!

First a light weight stocking up the entire arm. Then the fingers, wound around and around with a light stretchy gauze, secured repeatedly around the hand. Then came some cotton batting, just to help keep everything in place. Then we started with, for want of a better word, ace bandages…layers and layers of ace bandages, starting around the hand and thumb, working slowly up the arm to the armpit area.

She said I’d be able to take care of myself, feed myself, bathe myself, and whatnot. No shit? I have no bend at all at my elbow. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t get a fork within 2 feet of my mouth if I don’t bend my elbow. She said ‘you have another hand’ – how foolish of me. Can’t even begin to think about driving (stick shift), which is another story entirely. Can’t get it wet, which means sponge baths, in 100 degree weather, and there is no way in hell I can reach one armpit. Thank goodness I gave myself a pedicure yesterday morning, and gave sweet Misha a bath – ‘cause I surely will not be doing anything normal for the next two weeks.

That is, if I keep the bloody thing on. She did say some people can’t deal with it and prefer not to wear them and go straight to the compression sleeve. That, of course, makes it a challenge to me to stick it out.

But Sooz is suggesting that I tell ol’ road kill that I simply can’t have it this tight and restrictive next Tuesday when I go to have it changed. I absolutely have to have the ability to drive, at the very least. Sooz is abandoning me on Wednesday, and I’ll be on my own for a week before my next wonderful caretaker arrives.

Yes, I’m cranky, grouchy and mad. The damn thing is heavy, hot, hot, and did I mention hot, and it makes me itch already!! Yes. I’m madder than hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. Well, I did say I’d give this a go, so I will – at least for a little while longer.

And, BTW, I want you to know – typing this took about four times as long as usual because the restricted right hand can’t stretch for the keys! Plus sitting at arms length from the keyboard means I'm far enough away that I can't see what I'm typing until the little red lines show up saying I've misspelled another word! Other than that, I'm having a wonderful day. We're going out to lunch!

There is some good news – our owl youngster is alive and well and has begun flying, although still like a child taking its first steps. We’re seeing the little devil almost everyday, somewhere – he brings a flush of joy every time we see him and he scowls at us again!!

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