Summer skiing

As I was sitting in traction this morning pulling my neck with a ten pound bag of water I was watching a video on YouTube. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of things to distract myself while I’m sitting there passing the time. My neck hurts today, my fingers are numb and when I finished traction my back wanted to punish me. As far as life goes I had a good weekend, as far as my spine is concerned just seeing a snow less ski slope invokes a feeling of cruel and unusual treatment. Although I enjoyed time with family and watching my niece graduate surrounded by the Green Mountains of Vermont I also knew what was ahead for the week, recuperation from the travel, i.e., many hours lying flat on my back.

For me the ordinary things require a lot of me, I’m not feeling sorry for myself, it’s just the way it is. From walking across the room to pulling laundry out of the washer, any activity that requires standing, holding a pen or even the telephone these days for more than a few minutes leads to my arm feeling numb and painful. Things aren’t going in the right direction for me in terms of my cervical and spinal conditions, but I’m trying, I’m not giving up. I’ve written before about the importance of that, how in moments that seems like victory enough. I’m ready for things to get better for me physically but unless I experience a miracle they probably won’t. I’m losing ground and sometimes that feels frightening, sad and frustrating but after watching a video of others experiencing their own challenges, surviving to tell their stories, I feel better. We aren’t alone in this fight, that gives us courage, it gives us the freedom to tell the truth. I’ve said this before and it’s worth stating again, life stinks, more than stinks and pushing forward a second at a time is a freaking victory.

Let’s do this thing people.

May be

Oh my, the time is flying, in this month of May as I’ve completed my traction routine I haven’t felt much like typing. My fingers have been stiff and tired and let’s not talk about the neck. I just wanted to write some words for this month as I’ve not missed a month of writing since we started this experiment a couple of years back.
I look forward to June and nimble fingers, a girl can AND should dream……

Traction or Dentist?

Yep, fun day I get to do both today. My back has been driving me nuts more so than usual and then sitting in the lovely dentist chair as they clean my teeth this afternoon has me so excited. When you have to take narcotics to go to the dentist not because you’re having a root canal or they are firing up the drill when they see you coming but to be able to sit in the chair you know it’s going to be a long day. I would never say traction was fun or easy but I’d take it today over my back at the dentist.

Wish me luck.

UPDATE
Dentist (who happens to be a guy I went to elementary school with so we immediately both act 12 when we see each other) suggested I go home and take half of a vicodin and drink two martinis…..see why he’s my dentist. About half way thru the appointment my drugs did kick in so I survived and best of all, no cavities!

Cool sip in, laser beam it out…..in honor of Elissa

Yep, I forgot to do this. When my niece was a child she had a dance teacher that used to tell her students to take “a cool sip in and laser beam it out.” I thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard and have shared it often with others. Nobody quite ever knows what it means but it always creates a laugh. I even suggested it at a work meeting once when things were getting out of hand. Ok everybody, lets take a cool sip in and laser beam it out for a second…..and yes, I got some crazy looks but it achieved it’s purpose of cutting the tension and getting some folks to “cool it” as my Mom used to say.

So I’ve forgotten to do this lately, to just take a moment, hence my melt down on my last post. I’m doing better today, maybe it’s narcotics or maybe it’s when I saw a bus of children with severe disabilities getting unloaded to go into PT that I was reminded how I have nothing, nothing at all to be complaining about.

So, when in doubt I’m taking a cool sip in and laser beaming it out and just trying to be grateful for all that I do have that works and dealing with stuff that doesn’t.

The definition of traction

So which do you prefer? “The action of drawing a body, vehicle, train or the like, along a surface, as a road, track, railroad or waterway” or how about, “the act of drawing or pulling” but let’s not leave out “the deliberate and prolonged pulling of a muscle, organ, or the like, as by weights, to correct dislocation, relieve pressure, etc.”

BINGO, I think we have a winner!

It made me feel better to read the definition and cringe a little. When you read something that has the power to make you wince you figure it must be creepy for real and yeah, it is. I’m moaning and complaining, I’ve been trying not to do either but have I mentioned lately I’M SO SICK AND TIRED OF TRACTION and if I don’t do it I can’t feel my hands and I’m sick of that too!

Ok, moving on.

“It’s a good thing”

Nope, I haven’t been sniffing the Martha Stewart glue stick, nothing like that, rather I almost fell asleep in traction today! This is a first and I think “a good thing.” It means I was relaxed and yes, comfortable enough and obviously tired enough to fall asleep. I caught myself just as my head was about to fall off my neck, rather the sling around my head caught me and suddenly I’m back sitting as I should be, but it was a thrill while it lasted. Not to whine, but I can’t describe the discomfort I have felt while sitting here most of the time and to know that I actually was ok enough with sitting here today that I could fall asleep, this is HUGE.

Yeah, I think I’m kind of exhausted with my sleep issues to allow it to more easily happen but I’m focusing on the being comfortable enough to let it happen part.

Gotta find some nugget of good here cause I’ve been losing my psych of late. I mean if it wasn’t for this crazy blog I’d be really struggling with motivation. It’s just hard to find a way to make your self sit in traction when your damaged spinal column hates you for it. If you know of a way to make that a happy place, please share. But for today I’m hanging and almost falling asleep and taking it a day at a time.

TGIM

Yeah, TGIM, Thank God it’s Monday……last week was a bad week, a lost week, I’m happy to be starting a new one! Let’s hear it for Mondays, the start of the work week, a start over, last week is one to forget.

Some back story, I was born with a flawed spinal cord that basically has some non fixable issues, I’ve been told I need a new one. Yeah, really want to line up to be the first spinal cord recipient. Anyhoo, I have a neck that sits on top of a structurally damaged column so when it’s pulled in traction it’s not happy.

Enough of this filling in the blanks, my spine hurts, most of the time, sometimes a lot, but last week, yikes. Take a knife and poke me I think it would have been a nice diversion.

Point is, it’s MONDAY, a NEW day! Time to get on with it, pain is pain, you have to know it can change you, it really can, yet you fight it, sometimes you lose but you don’t give up. So TGIM!! I’m not saying next year at this time you’re going to be sipping margaritas and dipping your cheese sticks in marinara sauce on the patio at the corner TGIM’s, but come on, there’s worse names for stuff. I was standing in line at the pharmacy the other day and I saw a “Lance Your Boil Kit”……. so yeah, there are plenty far more offensive words and images out there. I mean the first time I heard my sciatic nerve was “damaged at the root” I was a little creeped out, but you deal, you move on and you learn that after a bad time you embrace and freakin celebrate the ordinary, therefore, Happy Monday……….TGIM!!

20 Minutes

It can be the worst 20 minutes or just 20 minutes. Every time I sit here I have a choice, I can make it more miserable than it sometimes feels or I can use my mind to psych myself up to push thru it. Today is hard, everything hurts more, my back, my neck, even my ear. I can’t seem to find a good rhythm to move the time. I usually have a routine, I initially sit here and just adjust to it, then I either pray or listen to music or read or just sit and think, hence……Thoughts in Traction……when I listen to music, I remember how long each song will last so I know how much time is left, some days the time passes faster, but today, right now 3:37 ticks away before my eyes and I want to scream but at the end I’ll hit replay and just hang on a bit longer.

Right now I’m reminded how much this sucks and how I wonder sometimes if I can keep doing traction. Then I realize I’m fooling myself to think I have a choice, yes, technically I have a choice but the results would be worse than the pain and discomfort of doing traction. I’m just feeling sorry for myself today, I just need to be able to hate this in this moment, it gives me a sense of control I really don’t have. I wish I never had to do this again but come two days from now, I’ll be back here again.

Let your fingers do the talking……

Uh-oh, numb fingers, usually don’t type when they are THIS numb but wow, just had to give it a try………yikes, it’s weird and a little painful. Ok, enough of this, now just typing with one finger….going to call it a day.

So, what’s up with this being so bad today??? Hoping for a better day tomorrow. I kind of want to type striking any key and let these fingers that have a mind of their own right now do the talkinggdjgfklld;vnlkadmldkfe,m oivcb ‘km elkv ocpgbemd fvZC?xm vzcvvmlsdnxc,.vjoiejedskl/,.xsweorjndlmsfv c,xl;vkije3iojm4egrksxcvm oerwep x.dkoen;jghodinvc.xxyoeslsla’dlalkdjflkf;sklvnocijeoivn.cxzzfdklvnx! Strangely that feels much better.

“Do I have to come in there?!”

Do you remember when you were a kid and an adult would say that to you? It could have been a teacher saying it to the entire class as they poked their head in the room from the hallway. It could have been your babysitter yelling to you and your sister as you were giggling instead of sleeping. It could have been your parent threatening a return to the room since the volume on the TV channel had not lowered since their request and your neighbors two doors down could easily hear what you were watching.

Did you ever wonder what would happen if they did come in? It always seemed like a pretty empty threat to me. Their last-ditch effort to let you know who’s in charge because they were distracted or otherwise occupied. Yet as hollow as the words may be, they work, if only momentarily, kids everywhere seem to straighten up at the question.

Today I thought I heard that phrase again, I thought I heard it coming from the room where I do traction. I could have sworn I heard it early this morning. Yep, I heard it one day last week too. When ever I feel like skipping traction I think I hear it, a call from the other room, yelling more like it. Honestly I’m not delusional, at least not yet, it’s just a voice threatening to come get me if I don’t just freaking sit and do traction!

At this point in my year-long relationship with cervical traction one of our biggest issues is compliance. I know it and it knows me, and well, sometimes we just don’t want to be together. But its in charge and it knows whose boss. If I don’t consistently do traction it will come calling. My pain increases, I start to drop things, my grasp weakens and I wake up with numb arms, just to name a few. It gets ugly fast. These are also the symptoms of many things but for better or worse I know why they are my symptoms. I know what it means and I know if I don’t behave it’s coming for me, so I best do it before I suffer the consequences.

There’s really no empty threat here, the only person I’m hurting is myself and so I have to find it within myself to consistently stick with the routine, be faithful or I’m the one to pay. It’s rather silly, given all of that I wonder why I still struggle to find the motivation to keep going….maybe because it just kind of stinks, even on the good days when it doesn’t hurt it’s uncomfortable, it’s never-ending, it’s tedious, it’s a lot of things that aren’t too fun. Ok, enough whining for today. I’d never choose this, I’d not wish it on anyone (well, maybe one or two) but it’s the neck I’ve got, barely holding up this heavy head of mine and today is one good example of why I am blogging. “Thoughts in Traction” holds me accountable, it helps me behave, it is something I’ve started to look forward to while I’m sitting here tied up, it makes my fingers want to work, it keeps me going. Before I know it maybe I won’t hear that not so friendly phrase coming from the other room.

Thanks for reading this, thanks for helping me.