Month: April 2016

Tough Skin, Pain medication, and reaching out for help is ok:

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First for people who do not know me, I would like to make a disclaimer: Please forgive in-cohesive sentences, grammar mistakes, and run on sentences. I have been running on three hours of sleep each night this whole week due to the pain I am having and I am medicated. So, in the world of Internet grammar police, please put the red pen down and enjoy the article.
When I started this page two days ago I started to realize I have a lot to share. There may be plenty of people out there like me. People who are going through pain for the first time and have no idea where to turn to or who to ask for help. I may reach out to someone to learn how to start a web page and a blog, so that I can share my experiences and be able to help them. This page is for my wife, but this article is for them.

Tough Skin.

I emphasize the period. You need to develop tough skin. I did not have it eight years ago when this all started. The first time I had pain in 2008 and needed surgery on my leg I thought it was going to be a one and done process. It was this thinking that made me hold back from asking for help. I also thought I would only be off of work for a few weeks and I would go back to living a “normal” life. I was prepared for therapy and the pain I had to endure to get back to work. I did end up going back to work for a short time, but it did not take long to realize that the first procedure did not take and I was on to surgery number two and off of work again. It was during this second time I learned I needed to develop though skin. What I didn’t realize is that there were going to be people out there, who did not believe me or doubted that I was in as much pain that I am in. No matter if it was one or two people who thought that, I can say it honestly hurt. I felt like maybe I was lying to myself about how much it hurt. I started to get worried what my friends thought and maybe what my family thought. I was not prepared for people to doubt me. Heading into Christmas, which was about a month later after hearing about the doubt people might have for the first time and my second surgery now completed, I was hit a second time in a month by a non-immediate family member. The person looked at me and stated, “Are they not ever going to fix you and how long do you plan on milking it?” Milking it??!! There is a cast on my foot! I was hurt, shocked, pissed, stunned, and angry all at the same time. At the time I just kept my mouth shut and shrugged it off. (Let me tell you if that happened today eight years later, it would have turned out much different due to my tougher skin). There have been many other examples but for the sake of condensing, I want to say do not be surprised if people try to downplay what you are going through or do not even believe you. Keep fighting for your health, ignore them, and get the help that you need. Seek out help from other people that have been going through the same thing. And do not be surprised if doctors are not the ones to give you that help, but that is another story for another time. If you need help I will help you build that tough skin.

Pain medication

It took a long time for a doctor to say maybe you should seek out pain management. I had medication from all of my surgeries to help with pain, but after none of it helped what was I going to do? Physical Therapy did not help, surgeries did not help, shots, tens units, non-prescription medication, there is nothing that is helping me at this time, except pain medication. I am currently thinking about acupuncture and preparing for a neurologist appointment. However, when I realized I was going to be put on medication, I knew it was going to take another layer of tough skin to keep me going.
Even to this day I have friends and strangers alike that tell me that they would never take pain medication regularly. If I heard that eight years ago, I would start doubting what I am doing. I would think, am I doing things right, should I be taking this medication if they wouldn’t? I guess people’s opinions use to affect me. Let me tell you, if you are reading this and you are in extreme amount or have chronic amount of pain and your doctor says take pain medication, I say look at all your options, decide with a doctor or a loved one what is best and if the decision is to take it, then take it. Work with your doctor to make sure you do not get addicted to it, which is always a possibility. People who say they would never take prescribe narcotics for pain or they tell you they would suck it up and just deal with the pain, truly never been in pain that required it. Do not let other people influence you from the help you need.
The best case in point is what happened in my state of Pennsylvania. Pain medication did not help their loved ones, let alone sucking it up. The people of this state fought and won to change the laws of PA to legalize medical marijuana. They knew what was available did not help the amount of pain some people were in and they knew there might be a solution to help their loved ones and they went for it. So, I say go for it and seek out any treatment you can to get rid of the pain you have. I am on doctor 17 coming up and I will go to doctor 18 if needed.

Reach out for help

This is short and simple, do not be stubborn like I was. Do not be afraid. Do not think about not asking for help. Just do it. Plain and simple, do it. No matter what it is in life not just medical, if you need help ask for it. You never know what you might receive if all you do is ask.
Thank you everyone please share this and my page. My wife helped me and continues to help me with my tough skin, certainly when it comes to riding a scooter in a crowd. That is probably where I have the weakest skin, of having everyone watch me or what I think everyone is watching me. She is the best and I do not know where I would be without her. Also, let me know what your thoughts are about starting an official blog. Thank you again!!

The Next Day -The Story Part 2

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Pushing past the disappointment of missing a day and a half of Disney and not getting the chance to see the worlds section of Epcot, I wanted to salvage the remaining day of our honeymoon.  After a night’s rest at home in our apartment, Amanda and I decided to spend our last full day off at Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

We gathered some snacks and filled our water bottles and after few weight-bearing exercises for my new nurse/wife to confirm my foot was feeling well, we hit the road to celebrate our last day of our honeymoon together.

Getting to the Aquarium was uneventful.  Minimum traffic and finding a place to park close to the building was a major plus to help start out the day.  What made it even better was the line only had a few people in it and we were able to go in right away.  These were the days before buying online tickets became the norm for us.

We spent around a half hour inside the building before we made it to the second floor.  I remember we were getting ready to see their dolphin discovery exhibit.  As we were heading down the hallway towards the exhibit, what happened next was surprising and unexpected. Without a warning or an inkling of pain, I found myself falling face first onto the floor.  Stunned and shocked I just sat there on the floor for a few minutes, I recall there were more than a few people surrounding us making sure I was ok.  Amanda asked if I tripped and I said no I must have just fallen and that I was fine.

I shook off the shock from falling, checked to make sure my shoes were tied and I got back up with the help of my wife.  It only took one step for a jolt of pain faster than a lightning bolt to strike.  It started from my ankle and shot up through my leg and in a split second I was back down to one knee.

I remember feeling the pain for the first time.  I was in panic.  It was not like at Disney when everything was sore and I could not weight bear.  This was a jolting shocking pain and every time my foot touched the floor I could barely stand it.  I managed to limp back to the car not more than an hour after we got there.  Amanda drove us home and helped me get back into the house.  The next day we called my doctor and scheduled the first of many appointments to come….

As I look back, I wonder why the Aquarium’s employees who witness the fall and my limp back to the exit did not offer any help.  This was the first time I found myself truly vulnerable.  It was also my first experience that has molded me into a person who wants to help motivate anyone that is in pain to keep going.

To be continued……..

 

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The Beginning

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As one of my favorite characters on television, Sophia Petrillo, would say: Picture this Disney World, May 21st, 2008.

It was a usual Florida summer day.  The temperature rose to 85 degrees, but rain showers helped us keep cool.  We were recently married on May 15 and we were five days into our honeymoon.  Everything in our lives was looking up.  I started a new job at a local bank as a CSR and Amanda finished school and was hired as a Nurse at a local hospital.

The first four days of our honeymoon was bliss.  We walked everywhere, we bought everything, and we ate until our stomachs were busting.  On our fifth day we found ourselves heading back to our resort at Port Orleans very early.  My ankle was starting to become very sore, I thought maybe I walked a little too much or may have twisted it.  Amanda did performed motion tests and determined that I should relax the rest of the day and put my ankle in a wrap to help the swelling and give it support.

With my ankle wrap purchased I sat down on the bricks outside, while Amanda wrapped it up.  I managed to stumble back to our room, took some medicine we found at the resort and relaxed the remainder of the day.

I awoke the next day ready to go, Epcot was up next on our list and I couldn’t wait to get to Italy in the world section of the park. I hopped out of bed and landed on the floor.  My right ankle gave out and I could not put weight on it.  It was very sore, but there were no signs of swelling. Discouraged I crawled back on top of the bed.   Amanda suggested I better stay in the rest of the day.  I encouraged her to go to Epcot and then let me know how it was. (At this time I never thought of using a motor scooter and I did not know you could rent one.)

The next day it was time to go home.  I missed a day and a half at Disney, but more encouraged that my ankle was feeling better.  The pain had passed and I was relieved…..

To be continued……….

Below is the picture of the gentleman who sold us my first ankle brace. I honestly thought it was going to be my last:

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