What a few weeks it’s been.
The good news is that it’s “only” been an insanely painful bout of athritis in my left hip and a lower back spasm that sent me to the ER at midnight. Could be much worse.
And I am very, very grateful to have good health insurance, through my partner’s full-time job, that allows me to get the care I need.
I did something I have never done in my professional life — transposed the address of a crucial interview with a source for my book, so I kept looking in vain for 970 Broadway — when I needed 907. I was 30 minutes late, apologizing like mad, and told him “Pain meds will do that.” So will pain. It’s insanely distracting.
It’s not really my normal life to see the same Xray technician twice in three days and have him recognize me. He is a ggggggorgeous man (sexist, I know, but when everything hurts so much, anything pleasant is especially welcome) and gentle and kind. I tend to joke a lot when I am scared, and was cracking so many jokes during my back Xrays he finally said “You must stop this.”
Yesterday, it hurt so badly to simply lie flat on the table for my hip Xray I started to cry. I hate crying and know it can’t be fun for them to see. The technician was very sweet and said he could clearly see the arthritis on my Xray.
“But you’re so young!” he said, as surprised as I at what appalling condition I’m in; my 80-year-old Dad is exhaustingly, astonishingly healthy and unmedicated.
“You’re a sweetie,” I said. “But I really hope we don’t see one another for a long time.”
In the past two weeks, I’ve been to the ER, my GP, another physician, (with a neurologist’s visit for Tuesday and an MRI likely after that), had a massage, taken four kinds of medication (two of which wreaked total havoc on my system and the latest isn’t much fun either) and now await a needle full of steroids plunged deep into my hip joint next Wednesday.
I live in the New York suburbs and have spent hours driving, sitting, meeting doctors, arranging appointments — so serious, focused work on my book has halted for the moment. I actually had to pay to park at a hospital in one of the county’s wealthiest towns, Bronxville. Paying to park at a hospital?!
Chronic or acute pain, as some of you know, makes you so filthy-tempered. You are forced to be alone (can’t go out, see friends, exercise); in pain; tired. It takes a lot of strength to do stupid and crucial stuff like just go to the post office or bank, where even standing for five painful minutes feels like an eternity. You want to rip people’s heads off, which they likely do not appreciate.
The injection, veterans tell me, will make a huge difference. I may, like the Tin Man, seize up for a few days right after that, but I’ve seen this with cortisone shots to my knee, so I at least know what it’s like.
The challenge will be if a major magazine assignment comes through — which will put me on a plane to rural New Mexico next Friday. Walker, cane, wheelchair, whatever. I once covered an entire political campaign, in the winter’s ice and snow, on crutches — getting on and off of campaign buses.
I currently walk like a drunken sailor because every single step puts painful pressure on my left hip. I’m actually forbidden to walk or climb stairs; so much for my girls’ museum/lunch day tomorrow seeing the Jane Austen show at the Morgan Library I was so looking forward to. I’d go with my walker (!) but the doctor says rest.
As you can tell, that’s a four-letter word in my world.
The good news? Our local indie film theater has three films I am dying to see: Hurt Locker, A Single Man and Crazy Heart. I can easily shuffle from one cinema seat to the next, eat some popcorn and rest my aching bones — while enjoying a bit of the world.
I am really not 103. I just feel like it.