Thursday, April 28, 2016

In Which I Fall Off a Ladder and Get Laryngitis

This is me.

I fell off a ladder on December 23rd while putting Christmas lights on top of the armoire in my dining room. I didn't do anything ridiculous like standing on the step inscribed with the warning, "This is not a step." The tree was already up, and there were Christmas cookies in the oven, and I had a friend over---and so I was excited to  be finished with the lights, and I simply backed up to admire my handiwork. But I was still two steps off the ground. When I fell, I collided with a dining room chair which tipped over, and I planted my ribcage onto its edge, and the ladder planted itself on top of me.

The treatment for broken ribs is the same as the treatment for bruised ribs unless you can't breathe or are coughing up blood or you have a bone poking out (so says the Internet) so I didn't go to the ER. I did the things Dr. Internet said would help. Rest. OTC painkillers. I did a ton of OTC painkillers.  My ribs got better, but the hip I'd landed on (the left one) still hurt so I took more painkillers. And it was Christmas so I ate five dozen Christmas cookies and special desserts, and I was tired from not sleeping well because of the hip and rib pain so I drank a lot of coffee. A lot of coffee. And a lot of wine. So much wine. And after I did these amusing and entertaining things, I napped (on my right side, which is the side to lie on if you want to be good to your heart, but the left is the side that is good for your stomach.) And I didn't go to yoga and got fat.

All of this led to acid reflux (all the while my stomach felt fine) which irritated my vocal chords and  little growths formed and my voice got huskier and huskier. I couldn't sing. Wait. I could never sing. The only songs I can remember the tune to are Happy Birthday and Jingle Bells.

The irritated voice was irritating. But then my knees swelled to the size of grapefruits and I was as stiffer than I'd ever seen my mom. And my fingers were swollen and stiff too. The knees and fingers are improving, but the confluence of the many symptoms led me to go to the doctor. The swelling and the stiffness is still a mystery in progress, but I am now officially on my first prescription med. And the medication can deplete your body of calcium so now I have to take an OTC med for that. It's probably temporary. But there you have it. Don't fall off a ladder. Because one  thing leads to another.  The next thing you know, you'll be taking drugs and more drugs.

And meanwhile, I've now had a total of three bad dreams about my mom. Two in which I woke up crying for help because 1) she was a zombie trying to drag me off  2) a ghost controlling things in my house 3) spending all my money.

The therapist from my bereavement group says I'm going through a kind of post-caregiving collapse. But I'm really okay as long as I'm not having a nightmare, and I'm doing more yoga (with a billion modifications) and following the lifestyle changes for acid reflux as best I can. Don't Google all the yummy things you're not supposed to eat or drink. The thought of giving them up will give you nightmares.

Read this quote by Rumi instead: This day of sunshine will not walk to you; you must go to it. And that's my rough paraphrase because I couldn't find it on the Internet. But the yoga teacher read it to us today at the end of class.


Ms. Moon said...

One of the cruelest things about getting older that I've discovered is how so much of what we thought was simply a blip in the radar becomes a life reality.
Throw in an injury or an illness and the dominoes fall and by god, it's so much harder to pick them up in orderly way than it ever was to knock them down.
I am so sorry, Denise. But you are not alone.

lily cedar said...

O dear. I hope you're feeling better soon. This getting older, it's not for sissies:)

Allison said...

I am so sorry to read about the damage you have sustained. As I get older, it takes longer to get over everything. We've been marooned in Tucson while my husband recovered from surgery from a ruptured Achillles tendon. We were bored, so we took a spur of the moment trip to Paris, and I came back with pneumonia. It's always so damn thing and it's never good. Hope you improve and return to your previous state.

37paddington said...

Oh Denise, my God, I know this story, too! My left hip injury revealed itself on the day of a relative's funeral, and from there it was a spiraling clusterfuck, forgive the mixed metaphor. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself, and that you finally went to a doctor. I didn't seek out a doctor for over a year after the first flare, by which time the pain was chronic. And grief can do a number on you too. Especially grief combined with sugar and lots of coffee. While I don't think a glass of wine now and then is bad, not exercising (because it hurts too damn much) is probably the worst thing, so you're smart to get back to yoga, too. Oh Denise, the passage of time after the passing of our mothers just sucks. So much of the lingering grieving is unconscious, so we aren't prepared for the times when it gob smacks us suddenly. I'm sorry about writing a blog post in your comments. Feel better, friend. xo