Ever have one of those days where everything that could go wrong does? Of course you have. We all have. Today was one of those for me. Actually, I’d say it really started yesterday. Or maybe even a few days ago. But it all came to a head today. Lemme see….
Okay, just in case you aren’t aware, chemotherapy does a real number on a person’s immune system. Simple explanation, ANYTHING that might cause ANY kind of sickness or infection is much worse for a chemo patient than it is for the average person. The past few days have just been bad for me in this regard. I should, perhaps, start by mentioning the fact that I am the least graceful person I know. God bless my Mama, she put me in dance lessons back when I was a kid. Tap and ballet. Bless her heart, I reckon she had dreams of having a graceful dancer in the family. (She put both my older sisters through this rite of passage as well. I know because my friends and I used to play dress up with their old costumes.) Long story short, I have absolutely no innate grace. It isn’t just dancing, it’s anything that requires some measure of coordination. I stink at every single sport I ever tried to play because hand/eye coordination is a totally foreign concept to me. I’ve told this to people before, but it bears repeating. I remember my poor father trying to help me with the simple parent/child game of catch. He would toss the ball to me and repeat (more times than I can remember), “keep your eye on the ball.” He would toss and I’d watch that ball like a hawk. Watch it go right past my bat and land on the ground. I was always thinking, “I’m looking right at it and I still can’t hit it.” He eventually gave up. I cannot express how grateful I am that I grew up in a time and place that did not force children to take part in Physical Education beyond the 6th grade. I’d have gone insane if I’d had to do it much longer than that.
Another “cute” example of my utter physical ineptitude: several years ago Mark and I were pretty into tennis. We decided to go buy ourselves some rackets and play. The courts we used are public and located along one of the main roads through our hometown. I know this will be hard to believe, but I swear it’s true. I tried THREE times to serve the ball to him and I whiffed every time. A car full of young men who happened to be passing slowed down long enough to yell out the window, “Three strikes! You’re out!” Good thing I’m not overly sensitive about my lack of coordination. Okay, so now you’re aware of my lack of grace.
I had a Dr.’s appointment on Thursday morning. Nothing big, just a check in with my regular family Dr. So Mark heads out to the car and I’m following him and somehow – I’m not sure of the logistics – I managed to step on a small twig with my right foot and then kick it with my left. I wear sandals. The branch didn’t actually embed itself into my foot, but it scraped it pretty good. I looked down, didn’t see blood, and kept on going. By the time we got downtown, though, the blood had arrived. Not tons, but enough to let me know the stick had broken the skin. No telling how many germs I encountered there. I carry one of those nifty neosporin to go things and Mark hosed it down for me. Seems to be healing just fine.
I can’t remember if it was later that same day or Friday, but Mark and I had gone somewhere and left our chickens out while we were gone. In all the years that we’ve had chickens, we’ve lost more than a few to raccoons. Before we put this new batch in the barn we rewired the entire pen with heavy gauge wire to keep them safe. Plus, the raccoons generally only come out at night, so the chickens are safe during the day. Or so we thought. Mark and I pulled up in the drive and he slowed down when we came around the barn and there were no chickens in sight. They’re still young and a little intimidated by the outdoors so they don’t go far from that chicken pen door. Then Mark slammed on the brakes and said, “Look at that hawk!” When the chickens were little we kept them in a small outdoor pen with a heat lamp until they had all their feathers and could be put in the barn. That pen is sitting out in front of the barn where we left it after we moved the chickens down there. Perched pretty as you please on that pen was a LARGE hawk. One of the largest either of us has ever seen. He took off once we stopped but the damage was already done. He killed one of the hens and the rest were scattered all over the place. We went to round them all up but the ones who’d hidden inside the main barn didn’t want any part of going outside. Can’t blame them for that. Fortunately they’re fairly tame. You can push them with your foot and they’ll just sit there and stare at you. So after realizing they weren’t going to let me “shoo” them out of the barn and around to the chicken pen entrance, I decided to just pick up the two in front of me. Another long story short, one of them got in a lucky blow with a foot and opened up a fairly impressive scratch from the knuckle of my first finger to the base of my thumb on my left hand. More blood. More germs. Nasty germs too, considering a chicken’s feet are all it has to dig with. Yuck! A long scrub with soap and water followed by more neosporin and this wound, too, seems to be healing fairly well.
Okay, I mentioned in a recent post that I grind my teeth. I’ve done it for years and wear a mouth guard to protect my teeth. Mark likes to tease me about looking like a football player. Plus I do tend to try to talk with it in my mouth and that’s generally a recipe for hilarity. Anyway, with the chemo and all I tend to nap on and off at all sorts of random times. Okay, I tend to nap any time my head hits a pillow. So one day last week a fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up my tooth was hurting. This has happened before and while I was a little worried about it, by later that evening it felt fine. Fast forward to yesterday. I took another nap and woke up with the aching tooth again. It didn’t go away this time, though. It just hurt and hurt and hurt some more. Then it started throbbing. And it hurt to try to eat. It hurt inside and out. My face all the way up to my eye hurt to touch. Still, I decided to hold on to hope that it would go away. Of course it didn’t. I barely slept last night because of it. Oh, and did I mention that my Dr. put me on blood pressure medicine Thursday? I started taking it that night and woke up with the mother of all headaches on Saturday night. So, killer headache, horrible tooth ache, plus a couple of fresh wounds. Oh, no, that’s not all!
Mark was sick when he came home Thursday morning. Actually, he’s been building up to it for a few days. But he really started feeling bad on Wednesday night. By Friday he was just too ill feeling to do much of anything other than sleep. Amazingly, I felt fairly good on Friday. Better than I usually do on the weekend after my chemo. My neck was sore, but the all over body pain that I usually have was nowhere to be found. PRAISE THE LORD FOR THAT! Since Mark was feeling bad, we didn’t do anything on Friday. We stayed parked on the couch all day long until we went to bed that night. I’d made a roast the day before so I didn’t even have to cook. (Gets kinda personal here, so if you’re squeamish you might want to skip this. LOL) In the past, on these weekends when I usually can’t move because of the pain, I have had a bit of an issue with a sore tailbone. Yep, tailbone. I assume it happens because I sit too long in one spot. It’s only happened a couple of times, but it isn’t very comfortable. So Saturday morning, when I got up, my tailbone was so sore that I can’t actually sit down comfortably.
What are we up to now? Stick in the foot, chicken claw to the hand, insanely painful tailbone, killer headache, and mother of all toothaches. Yep, Sunday was NOT a good day for me. My schedule for today wasn’t clear, either. I had to be at the hospital at 9:30 this morning to have a follow-up CT scan. (I’m going to be totally honest and admit that some of this is my fault.) I wasn’t supposed to eat for 4 hours before the scan. Only I couldn’t remember what the time frame was. I ate yesterday around 3 and then NOTHING for the rest of the night. Yep, that wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Especially with the chemo, I’ve found that I need to try to keep something in my stomach. But I felt so terribly bad last night that I pretty much went to bed and stayed there all night. (In bed I could lay on my stomach. Hurt the tooth but helped the tailbone.)
I was awake at 5AM this morning when Mark called to let me know he’d hit a deer with his truck. It’s been a while since he mowed one down so he was due. He said he missed the big one but caught the little one that was following it. The truck is drivable if you don’t mind the tire rubbing against the bumper every time you turn left. (You should know that I’m laughing right now. What other choice do I have. LOL) Mark is still sick. He sounds terrible. He went down to the sheriff’s office to pick up the paperwork for the insurance claim then came on home. Since I dozed so much last night I woke up early and called the insurance company to get that ball rolling. We carry full coverage so they not only fix the truck, but provide us with a rental as well.
I left for the hospital a little before 9. I stopped down at the drug store to buy the strongest oragel I could find. I slathered my entire jaw with that, then went on to Madison. They took x-rays and did a CT. I had planned to stop at Walmart because I need a few things, but by the time I was done at the hospital I was ready to curl up in a ball and pass out. Carolyn offered to take me this morning and boy do I wish I’d taken her up on it! Between the toothache, the tailbone ache, the lack of food and the fatigue I was pretty much done in. So Walmart was out and a quick trip through the McDonald’s drive through was in. I actually went through the automatic car wash just so I could take a few minutes to eat. LOL It did make me feel a little better, but I was still hurting and tired. So I came straight home. I called the repair shop to make sure they got the paperwork from State Farm and they did. The car rental place didn’t, though. So I called State Farm. They told me I could expedite the claim if I went ahead and called the claim office instead of waiting for them to call me. So I did that. It didn’t take but a couple of minutes. She said she’d send the paperwork to Enterprise within a few minutes. The Enterprise guy said he’d call me as soon as he got it.
BTW, the headache is MUCH better. Mark thought I ought to stop taking the new BP medicine since it came on so suddenly and was so intense. So I didn’t take it last night and sure enough the headache is almost gone. Should have called the Dr. today, but there just wasn’t time. Have to do that tomorrow.
Moving on to my toothache. By this afternoon I knew good and well that it wasn’t going to go away by itself. Most likely, I have the start of an infection in one of my roots. I’ve had this happen before so I’m fairly familiar with the sensation. Normally the dentist would just go in and fix it. Or, in this case, the specialist dentist would since the tooth in question has already had a root canal and has a crown. (Had that done before, too. Did I mention my teeth are terrible!?) Trouble is, I can’t have any dental work done while I’m getting chemo. Not unless I want to give the chemo a delay of a month or more. So, there will be no fixing the tooth until the chemo is finished. The only option left is antibiotics to take care of whatever infection is there. I worried that my dentist would want to see me before she’d prescribe antibiotics. That’s not an option today since Mark had to drive the car to work and the truck isn’t going too far. I went ahead and called her and God bless her, she totally understood. She prescribed an antibiotic and called it in to the CVS a few miles down the road. She did ask me to double check with my oncologist that the antibiotic would be fine in conjunction with the chemo. I did that and they said it was fine.
The only issue, of course, is that Mark was gone and that left me with the truck. The deer didn’t actually do all that much damage. Less that they usually do. The front bumper is crunched fairly well and pushed back just enough that the tire does rub a little when you turn left. The bumper, like so many other things on vehicles these days, is plastic, though, so it’s more noisy than anything else. I started nagging the drug store within minutes of getting off the phone with the dentist. I went down there about an hour later and got my horse pill antibiotics. Funny thing – Mark’s truck is is DESPERATE need of shocks. Maybe the entire suspension needs to be redone. I tease him all the time that riding in it is like riding a bucking bronco. The seat isn’t exactly the most comfortable in the world, either. The truck is a 1995. It wasn’t new when we bought it. So, just for giggles, imagine if you will trying to ride a bucking bronco while sitting on a wooden saddle with a tailbone that’s so sore you can’t even sit comfortably on the couch……….. Yeah, it wasn’t fun.
It seems that my tooth hurts worse when I’m upright. It eases a little if I lay on my right side. So by the time I got downtown my rear was so sore that I could barely move, my tooth was POUNDING like crazy, and I hadn’t eaten since before noon. I felt beyond bad. I ran into the drug store and got my medicine, rushed into the grocery store to grab something fast to eat, and dragged myself back to the truck for the agonizing ride home. I actually took the first dose of the antibiotic before I left the grocery store. LOL At home I collapsed onto the couch. The phone rang and it was Enterprise car rental. I was glad that they’d gotten the paperwork so the rental would be ready for us tomorrow. First thing the guy on the phone says is, (hesitantly) “are you in Indiana?”
I said, “Yes. We live in Vevay.”
He says, “Well, I’m in Madison, WISCONSIN!”
Oh yeah, that’s right. I told the insurance claim person to use Enterprise in Madison, IN and she sent the paperwork to Madison, Wisconsin. After a couple of minutes of joking about the transportation/pickup fees for that trip, he told me he’d call the insurance lady and straighten it out.
Honestly, the past few days have just been awful. But, things are looking up. My head feels a thousand times better than it did on Sunday. My tooth even feels better now that the first big dose of antibiotic has hit it. My tailbone is still sore. I told Mark that with the way things have been going it’s probably some kind of abscess. (I am desperately praying that is NOT the case!) It does feel marginally better than it did yesterday. I figure the antibiotic might help that, too. The scratches on my foot and hand look like they’re healing without any problems. I haven’t caught whatever it is that Mark has. And while it’s never a good thing to hit a deer, at least we have insurance to take care of it. Basically, as bad as the past couple of days have been, I still find myself saying, “It could always be worse.”
I don’t like pain. What normal person does? I can handle it for a while, but after a couple of days I tend to lose my patience. I absolutely know better than to pray for patience. But I guess God sometimes likes to test it just a little anyway. Just to remind me to focus on Him. I’ve certainly done a lot of praying over the past couple of days! God knows what I need, even if I don’t. And He’s given me a way out of just about all the problems I’ve had. This is just one more of those instances where I am profoundly grateful for modern medications. By tomorrow I’m guessing my tooth will barely hurt at all. I’m getting ready to go scrounge up something to eat. Something soft. LOL My head barely hurts at all. I’ve had two wounds that could easily have gotten infected, but haven’t. I have a hubby who’s sick but I’m not. God is good! Now, if I can just fix the aching tailbone before I have to get back in the torture device Mark calls a truck….