Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everything But My Hair Hurts - April 13, 2011

Th6is morning, I had an email from a dear friend in the Philippines, in a comment
about her advancing years ( she is at least ten years younger than me ).  I can so
identify with her statement, "Everything but my hair hurts."  More and more, I
feel the same way.  I don't think I have a pain free moment, day or night.  At 66, I
think, "this is very discouraging!"

About 25 years ago, as an operating room nurse, I slipped on hydraulic fluid that
leaked from an orthopedic table and, three months later, I underwent a two level,
bilater laminectomy and fusion with a bone graft from my right hip.  It took a
whole year for that to fuse and, during that time, I wore a fiberglass body jacket
with a leg brace on the left, to keep me from extending my left leg and disrupting
the fusion.  That, of course, caused major changes in my range of motion on the
left side. 

Since that surgery, I have continued to suffer from back pain and tingling and
numbness in my left leg.  I could no longer work in the operating room or inpatient
psychiatry but I was very fortunate to become a forensic nurse and spent 21 years
in that field.

In January of 2008, on my way to work in the midst of one of our city's worst
storms, just two blocks from my office, a tree broke in half and toppled on top
of my van, with me inside.  The van, which I had just paid off, was totaled.
I spent a few hours at the ER and was discharged.  X-rays taken at the time
revealed I had cervical spinal stenosis!  I had also  been diagnosed with lumbar
spinal stenosis the year before when I saw my orthpodedist with ongoing back
pain that seemed different from my usual back complaints.

The tree had covered both lanes of Potrero, a divided street
and was on top of my car!

'For over a year now, I have been having bilateral shoulder pain and left knee pain.  I
had an MRI done which showed a left rotator cuff tear but, recently, when I saw my
orthopedist and had x-rays of both shoulders and knees, my doctor said I had "severe"
arthritis in all four joints and he recommended joint replacements.  I have a gastric
ulcer so treatment with NSAIDS is contraindicated.  I do take other medications -
non narcotic Tramadol - for pain and, occasionally, Vicodin, but nothing really
seems to help.  Sleep is sporadic and, every time I move or turn, I hurt so much.
I wake myself up with my moans ( good thing I have no romance in my life, huh? ).

I even have arthritis in my thumbs so typing on the computer isn't easy!  I'm going
to get that Dragon voice recognition software.  My girlfriend uses it and it has made
her life so much easier.  With it, I can do my blog while lying down in bed and
won't have to spend so much time sitting up at the computer!!

My doctor has given me medication for sleep but I rarely use it.  I know I should
since I rarely sleep more than four hours a night.  Maybe a couple of times a week,
I'll try it to see if it will allow me to sleep longer, pain free. 

Something MUST increase my quality of life if I'm going to be hanging around
longer!  I can live with chronic pain to some extent - I have for years - but this is
no fun.  I think it's time for a referral to a pain clinic.

What if my hair starts hurting????


  1. And to top everything off, you have had to deal with skin cancer and MOHS. Have you tried acupuncture for the pain? Massage? Hypnosis?

    The arthritis in my thumbs also impacts my typing ability, Raynaud's keeps my fingers numb when the weather is cold, Dupuytren's is causing the fingers on my right hand to constrict a bit as well. Thankfully both of my hips have been replaced. Shoulders and left knee are beginning to bother me .... My pain doesn't even begin to touch yours. Wanted you to know I'm thinking of you today ........

  2. manuela3:51 PM

    I believe you that it is not fun! wow, the strength you have, to carry all that day in and day out! I'd give you a ginormous hug if I were there!

    Acupuncture has helped a lot of people I know, and so has massage. You must ensure you get someone who knows what they're doing, though, so that they don't end up doing more harm than good.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you have so much pain. I have my complaints as well, but I think you have me beat. I have one leg that has been hurting for a couple of years...achy pain and burning too. This summer I upped my Vitamin D from 400 units to 2000 per day. Maybe that helped, maybe not...all I know is my leg is SO much better. You never might be worth a try for you. They say most of us are D deficient nowadays.

    That phrase...old age isn't for so true! Try the pain clinic. Maybe they can help.

  4. Bummer- I've been very fortunate- chronic shoulder problem and some issues that come and go, but nothing like you.

  5. Hi, this must be so frustrating... The tree experience must have been horrific too... But you will come out of it all...
    Namaste from India, hope you get well soon... Have a nice day:)

  6. Helen -
    I'm surprised you remember about my MOHS surgery. You've been through plenty if you've had two hip replacements. The problem with arthritis, I guess, is that it doesn't limit itself with just a couple of seems to happen in many of them!

    Manuela -
    I'm trying to take off some of this weight...I know my knees are worse because of it..and, if I do have to have surgery, I know my prognosis is better if I am not so fat. I'll take that hug, even long distance!!!

    Sharkbytes (TM) -
    I do think your hiking has kept you healthy! You are slim and active and I am pretty much the opposite, sad to say.

    Arti -
    Definitely, that tree was a surprise! It has left me very fearful when weather is stormy or when we have bad rains for many days. I avoid driving under trees during those times.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this. No fun to be in any kind of pain and I cannot imagine what you must go through on a regular basis. I was just talking to a colleague who has suffered some serious back pain for some years and is really finding a difference with some recent acupuncture treatment he has been taking.

  8. oh that was me in the previous comment. i forgot i was signed on as 'curriculum team' which is my work blog :)

  9. steviewren -
    I am not even taking Vitamin D. I ran out and didn't replace it. I'll get some next time I'm at Costco and will try a large dose of it.

  10. Anonymous3:57 AM

    I am so sorry you have been to so much pain but you are an inspiration to me. I will always think of you when I am in pain. I am also a non sleeper like you. I wonder sometimes how I function with just 4 hours of sleep in a week and I have to lift up at least 4 times a day Michael which is 75% more heavier than my 50 kilos weight. My determination is stronger than my physical capacity.

  11. We are hurt when our hairs turn white, but we are hurt more if our heart turn black.

  12. Oh you poor dear! I feel so sorry that it hurts all the time. Have you tried homeopathy? Some times alternate medicine helps. Thanks for visiting my blog. If you come to India, you should go for treatment in an Ayurvedic centre in Kerala.

  13. Oh Carmen, if your hair starts to hurt, shave it..You don't need another pain or issue in your life.

    My day is coming, I know it..Hang in there Carmen, and have a Happy Easter. You're in my prayer and thought.

  14. Kamana -
    I've talked to my insurance carrier to see about the possibility of acupuncture. I've often thought about trying that as well for weight loss.

    lotusleaf -
    I will definitely avail myself of all the wonderful modalities in India, including massage. I pray I can get there.

    ~✿~Icy BC -
    You gave me a wonderful laugh this morning, Icy..I will definitely shave my head, the second my hair starts to hurt! You are a delight and I pray you remain pain free all your life.

    rainfield61 -
    Though I spend a good penny trying to keep my hair brown, I pray my heart never turns black!!! It would be so unlike me.