a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Crappity crappy crap--or--What a glorious day!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Crappity crappy crap--or--What a glorious day!

SUMMARY: Maybe it's a torn meniscus. Probably looks something like my tires.

Thursday, 8:00 a.m.: Wake up. Lower back is a bit painful. Why? Dunno, maybe slept on it wrong. Knee is stiff and still sore.
T9:00 a.m.: Doing some exercises. Definitely have to focus on back stretches this morning; it just aches back there. Knee feels even "thicker" than it has over the last several days. Mentioned it to Physical Therapist on Tuesday. Maybe it's getting muscles. Maybe it's swelling again. I dunno. Not really painful, just a little.
noonish: Take Boost up for class. Because it's still puppy class, we're doing short drills, stuff I can do (although not perfectly) without running. Have already discovered that, if I'm not running, she doesn't drive to the end of the contacts like the crazy juggernaut she does when I am running. Bears out in class. Crud. Don't want her to get into the habit of being slow when ahead of me.
1:00ish: Drill involves the dogwalk. I try to take some loping steps (gently, gently) alongside; nope, hurts. I stop that right away and don't try anything else like it.
1:45: Class isn't over, but I'm feeling a vague ache in my knee. Time to go home.
Midafternoon: Why is my lower back bothering me? Really achey. Seems to pervade my whole lower torso.
Dinnertime: Knee is really thick. Don't know that it's any more painful than it's been, but I really feel it when I bend it. And what IS it with my back? Maybe I should spend the evening lying down; really don't feel well.
Evening: Icing and anti-inflammatories help the back some. Not really feeling up to doing exercises for legs. Back not great but bearable. I don't know what the problem is. Except--stress, favoring my sore leg, not doing my regular walking and activity, more stress about all of that, I just don't know.
Friday, 2:30 a.m. Wake up in misery. Back really, really uncomfortable. Knee aggravated. Can't find a comfortable position to lie in.
4 a.m. Cannot get back to sleep, as tired as I am. Get up, take more drugs, ice the back, then heating pad. Finally back to bed; discomfort fades and I fall asleep sometime near 6.
Friday, 8 a.m. Wake up. Back is stiff and complaining. Need to do something about it, not sure what. After breakfast.
8:30 a.m. Just sitting at the table, trying to eat my cereal, back is getting worse by the moment. Feels like it's on the fast track to going into spasm. Better do something. Stand up--Pow! Muscle in lower right ties itself into a big painful knot.
9 a.m.: OK, have managed to make it to the living room floor, struggled through some old back-relief exercises from last time it did this several years back, which makes it possible to get up and get some ice and ice it.
9:30 a.m. Icing helps a bunch. Wasn't sure it would. It's not great but at least I can move. Maybe the orthopedist, whom I finally get to see today, can help me with that, too, maybe muscle relaxants. I am not optimistic about how things are going.
10:15 a.m.Leave for Kaiser for 11;00 appointment. (Back makes it painful to get dressed. Been here before. Relaxants will help.)
10:45 a.m. Have checked in, paid my co-pay, have my crossword puzzle book in hand. I don't even feel good enough to do some of my knee exercises. Start a puzzle.
11:20 a.m. Getting tired of puzzles; that's three already. Look for other reading material. Find June issue of Newsweek. Better than Sports Illustrated anyway.
11:40 a.m. Ask at nurses' station what's up. Dr. is way behind. Her nurse apologizes profusely, assures me that she's a wonderful doctor and sometimes she gets behind because she really tries to understand patients. I do manage to do some of my knee exercises. I'm bored.
NoonI'm in a room. Blood pressure is good, 120-something over 80.
12:10ish Doctor arrives & introduces herself. Says I look like an active someone who probably has a favorite sport. When I tell her, thank goodness she knows about dog agility, at least has watched it a lot on TV.
12:30ish Won't have time to deal with shoulders and ankle this time but knee and lower back will get started on. Puts me on hold for 20+ minutes to return to another patient who's just come out of x-ray and needs surgery.
1-ish We look at the knee and ankle x-rays. The good news: Maybe a wee tiny itty bit of arthritis starting, but nothing that would be causing what I'm experiencing. The bad news: So what is it? She suspects a damaged, maybe torn meniscus, which would possible mean surgery. Crap crap crap. More bad news: She says, boy, there's a lot of fluid in that knee (that's why it feels so thick). Even more bad news: She needs an MRI of the knee, and it takes about 3 months to get an appointment. So I have to call on Monday to get on their cancellation list and then call back every day anyway until I get in.

Well, that's how I got into physical therapy earlier than originally scheduled, and into orthopedics earlier than originally scheduled. Kaiser has a problem in this area, obviously.

I am near tears. What about Nationals, if it is a torn meniscus? Well, says the doc, then you'll go to Nationals and run on a bad knee. Probably won't feel great and probably won't run well, but you could certainly do it. If it needs surgery, if you do it before the Nationals, you certainly won't be going. But it could wait til afterwards. But hopefully you won't need surgery. But we won't know til we get the MRI, plus one week for processing time. Could things get any worse? Crap.
1:30ish My lucky day, it's the Farmer's Market at Kaiser day, and there's a hot dog vendor. I'm starved. Makes a good, quick lunch while I'm waiting for the pharmacy.
1:45ish Pick up prescriptions for Valium (muscle relaxant for back) and vicodin (pain relief for back--codeine and acetominophen).
2:00ish Pick up bottle of water at Rite Aid to wash down Vicodin and Valium--dont' want to wait to get home, and meanwhile I can finally go pick up the new glasses I've ordered.
3:00ish Dang, there was a long wait to get the glasses, too. But it's so NICE to have scratch-free lenses again, and no more broken frames. These are self-darkening, plus I have snap-on polarized sun lenses. I think this will be much better. I stand up to leave, and my back doesn't instantly hurt. I stride cheerfully out to the car, and realize that I'm striding. The drugs are setting in. Plus, it's a TOTALLY GORGEOUS sunny day! Life is good! Birds are flying, sun is shining! What could be better! Boy, I love codeine and valium!
3:10 I'm off the freeway at a stoplight, almost home. I have done NO billable work all day today so far; I'm SO far behind for this week. But who cares, it's a LOVELY day! Whee! I could use a nap! Whee! The nice mailmain in the postal vehicle next to me smiles and waves. I wave back. He points at my tire and says something. I roll down the window. "Your tire is low," he says. Crud. But luckily there's a gas station--with free air, no less--two driveways down. I stop. It isn't low, it's straight-out FLAT. What a lovely day! The world is good! I fill it up with air, can hear it hissing back out, and head the mile or two down Blossom Hill to the tire shop I already know about and like--they're usually cheery and fast and do good work.
3:15 There is no one else at the shop; no one! Can you believe the luck? The tire needs replacing; the outer tread is down to the wear-mark. Both rear tires are down to the wear-mark. Plus they're wearing unevenly, so that means the van needs 4-wheel alignment, too. There goes pretty much all the money I didn't spend on the last 2 agility trials. Guy says it won't be 5 minutes, but I'll be surprised how quickly they can get it done.

3:20 Car is already up on the thingie, and they're already rotating tires and replacing the bad ones.
3:25 Holy tire tread, Batman, the *inner* tread, which I couldn't see, is gone, completely gone! And there's a huge split in the tire where it had worn away. I'm so lucky--I could've been on the freeway, in the dark, in the rain, on the way to an agility trial, miles from anywhere, having to change a flat (or worse) with my crappy shoulders, knees, back... but noo, it's a beautiful, LOVELY day (did I mention what a great world this is and how cheery I am? And I'm thinking I probably need a nap, too?) and the tire store is RIGHT THERE. How lucky is that?
3:35ish They're still working on it. 5 minutes, my eye. But there's plenty to do--like look at the fountain at the miniature golf course across the street.
3:45ish Tires are on, but the alignment machine is being used by one of the 9 (!) other cars who pulled in after they got started on mine, so I have to wait. But there's plenty to do, like take pictures of the sign with their old name that will soon be replaced by "Goodyear".
3:55 Yup, plenty to do, hang out in the sun that feels so nice, back's not great but much better, knee's hanging in there. But the sun's getting lower--I'm running out of afternoon.
4:00 And so many fun things to do. Watch the light rail go by. Read the halloween-store billboard.
4:05 Van's on the alignment machine now, and the guys ask whether I want them to pose, since I must be shooting photos for a guy's goodyear tire calendar or something (yes, they're kidding with me). I tell them it's for my blog. None of them have any idea what I'm talking about.
4:10 All the wheels get these interesting devices clamped on for doing the alignment. (Crud, Firefox screwed up the uploads--the bottom halves of these last 2 photos don't seem to be there....Fixed one the next day, but this one's still flakey.)
4:15 Self-portrait with new glasses with clip-on sun lenses... and, ah ha, car is ready! So, I'm not surprised at how quickly they got it done, but I am surprised at how long it took considering that I was first in line and how confident they were that I'd be surprised at how quickly they'd get it done-- But no matter! It's a lovely day! I feel great! I should probably go home! Better living through chemicals! And through Wikipedia!

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