Tag Archive | cervical disease

Holiday Blues Again

Okay, I really thought, and so would most others that after 28 years I’d get over myself.

But I have not.

The holidays, most of them except the real biggies like Christmas & Easter bring about every time they come -the blues. The Holiday Blues. I let them creep into my life some time ago and cannot seem to shake them. It’s true that there are variables that I cannot be accounted for, but how I let it affect me is a whole different thing. I go through this every year.  Not every holiday but some of the ones that used to be very special and were quite traditional for me. Maybe the tradition is why breaking away is so hard.

Holidays and my lifestyle have a hard time getting along. My lifestyle is my safety net that surrounds my life of chronic illness. It has become one of necessity to be as comfortable as I can and to continue to function. My illness involves my central nervous system which leads of course to my brain. To say that I am hypersensitive would be a complete understatement. My body reacts to different stimuli that I cannot subject myself to. Many of these different things will be found at holiday functions of course. Its becoming harder and harder to tolerate most of these things so I just don’t participate and no longer even go. The perfumes, the smoke from BBQ’s, even the noises become all too much for my body. And very quickly, and before I know it, I am on tilt, my senses are all on overload at once and I begin to shut down.

Knowing these things can happen is enough to keep me away. Its embarrassing and feeling foolish on top of it all is just too much anymore. So I don’t go anymore. Today is the 4th of July, Independence day in the USA. I had always attended, or we were hostesses of our own BBQ party and picnics. This would traditionally be the holiday we would spend at the river or lake intil well past dark.

Years ago I found that I no longer could safely be at either one. BBQ’s or the water. Why?  Mosquitoes. If I am bitten I have a severe reaction and become violently ill. The first time it happened was in the mid 80’s when I had just started experiencing symptoms of my illness. I was so sick and my doctor could not find what was going on. Even Toxic Shock was being considered. Finally after a careful exam again over my body the bite was found. By now it was red and festered. I was asked about  it and I explained I had taken the girls to the lake and yes I had been bitten by what I was sure had to be a mosquito. They were all over the lake. Bingo!! Having Giant Cell Reaction from the failed implants in 1986 has left my immune system like it is on hyper alert. It’s response to things that normally would be nothing but an itchy bite becomes much more to my immune system.

Knowing that I am doing the right thing by my body by not attending the big to-do on the 4th of July is not all comforting. Trying to recall the feeling and pain of the effects after pushing myself to attend is not always enough to sway me. Instead the blues step in. Or rather… ahem.. excuse me,.. I allow the blues to step in. And it’s not like I am hard up for company for heaven’s sake.

I just get to thinking about the fun I’m missing out on, the time spent laughing with friends, and the food shared, and I get to feeling a little melancholy. A pity party for one on the 4th of July. Now that is not right and I am trying so hard to have none of it. Yet trying to supplement our own mini Shin Dig never does it. I’m not having any of that false make-believe we are all having fun, when the kids cannot wait to leave to join their own parties. I cannot blame them and I don’t.

I need to shake myself out of this.

©tjhelser2012

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

What would you do if I sang out of tune,

Would you stand up and walk out on me.

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,

And I’ll try not to sing out of key.

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,

Mmm,I get high with a little help from my friends,

Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.

Do you need anybody?

I need somebody to love.

Could it be anybody?

I want somebody to love.

By The Beatles

Note To Readers: Yeah, I struck through the word “high” in the lyrics. It is not so much of a moral statement as it is more of a way for me to note with seriouss and with great respect for anesthesia while appreciating the aspects of being given good drugs and have them monitored safely by a credible doctor or registered nurse when  appropriate.

Yesterday while having the nerves in my neck, C3,4, C 4, 5, “Fried” I was never more grateful for the great gains in anesthesiology than I was during the RAF Ablation I had done yesterday. Help for both:  help with the light sedation that I found was necessary in more ways than I just assumed by what  my own need would be necessary during the procedure, and help with pain reliever which had actually never occurred to me that would be needed dduring the process. But it was. The general local I was given was never going to be enough. Despite the fact that Dr Swift had never had the procedure done himself it became obvious in a number of ways that he was concerned with his patients comfort. This is unusual in my experience. Typically the surgeon has no clue, wants none beyond the logistics of his or her role on the procedure, which I can appreciate. I am grateful that for the assurance that the process no matter what it is they are able to compartmentalize what is happening in front of them. That being said though there is a big difference between the doctors who are also able to be compassionate. I consider it a blessing to have a doctor who can do both.

For the sedation they used Versaid. [sic] The usual medicine used for surgery. It helps us relax, even in terms of receiving a General Anesthesia where the patient is put completely asleep it’s used to help the not remember a thing should they become aware of anything that was going on. It is the medicine most adults over 50 are familiar with, is used for colonoscopy’s.

The registered Nurse who was administering the meds intravenous was extremely conscientious with every step of the way. She was the only one who had told me about the fact that being burned on the skin from the radio-frequency at the procedure sight was a possibility. And that I being fair-skinned especially had a good chance. Its like being sunburned, which I get easily. The trick was going to be to ice it, ice and more ice.

Another aspect of the nurse whose name is Rene is that she was really good about explaining the procedure. I was wondering at the start of her explaining why Dr Swift or someone had not explained before arriving for the procedure. There are some elements that may have freaked me out, I may have gave in knowning about this, and then talked myself out of doing it. Once there and in her hands I felt safe. She explained to me that once the actual burning started that Dr Swift is excellent about staying in touch with the patient and asking how she is feeling. Rene said at any time I needed more of any of the medicines or the numbing agent to say something. DR Swift she said was really good about stopping, waiting for more meds to be administered. That I should not for any reasons hesitate. This information was platinum!

The pain medicine used, which I frankly had not though about needing except for post the procedure is another typical pain medicine used to keep a patient comfortable during a painful procedure if being conscious is the mandate. For an ablation it is necessary the patient be awake so that the doctor may talk with her during the process. I recognized that post the Ablation there may be points where stronger pain medicines might be valuable, the nerves are dying off after all and that cannot feel too good until they are in fact dead. And I have been warned that it can get worse before it does get better because of the nerves dying.

Without the help from these two medications I would never have been able to get through the procedure. Maybe not even the very first instruction given to me. Unlike the two test injections prior to this actual; Ablation they had me lie on my right side. The injections going in the left side of my neck as it is the left side that is being affected. The acual Ablation though required me to lie on my stomach, the actual Burning would need to go through the back of my neck. For anyone who has neck (cervical) issues, who has cervical surgery, and like me who  also has had a cervical fusion where I have a Titanium Plate graphed to my spine lying on my stomach is almost impossible. The positioning of my spine now I suppose because of the plate makes it impossible to bend my neck the small fractions it takes to move it into some sense of comfort. It helped that there was a massage pillow on the gurney table where I was able to put my nose, mouth, and chin. I could not though have been able to hold that pose for no 30 minutes without the pain medications and the sedative which helped relax my muscles.

Hence my above note regarding the lyrics I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.

My Personal  Sidenote: Cause I just happen to think its so cool.

Speaking of friends and small towns (well somewhere we were) I have to share a sweet piece of private trivia. My nurse Rene was mentioning that she was keeping an eye on the 10 day local forecast. I wondered why and asked,. She said she was getting married in 10 days and it was an outside wedding. I was not surprised, June weddings and all.  I had no real personal interest over her wedding but wished her well and promised to do the sunshine dance for nice weather. My husband had been sitting quietly beside us,  I assumed pretty bored at three women (our daughter #2 was there as well) discussing wedding plans.  Oh Ho Hum….But he perked up and asked her is she would not by any chance be marrying Dr S. My husband D sees Dr S at the same clinic that I see Dr Swift at, and the surgical center I was having the procedure at is connected to. Swift. So, Dr Swift, Dr S and the nurse that stayed with me the entire time all work for the same clinic. And the nurse Rene and Dr S are getting married. What a small world it is. As soon as she knew D is a patient of Dr S it was like we were family. In fact when Rene walked me out tp our car pin being released she hugged me! So cool that we live in such a small town, and sometimes I complain about being small and the medical community being so tied together. I am so happy tp see the good side of that. And I am seeing it more and more if I am jsut patient and wait.

The procedure went really well.We listened to Journey, Steve Perry doing the lead vocals. One of my absolute fave of a bands os all time. But it has to be Steve Perry doing the leads. I was kind of touched that someone in that OR room had remembered a conversation about music we had during one of my test injections. Small town, you gotta love it.I ended up having to have more of the sedation medicine and the numbing agent Lidocaine.administered fairly soon after the first catheter was put in place. I could feel it. True to the word the process stopped as soon as I said something. None of thise, “oh we’re almost there, if you vcan just hand on a lttle longer.” The meds received, the procedure went on. I was good again not neding more meds until the thrd burn. I could feel even the heat of the tip which I now cannot rmember how many degrees he told us. The things we block .The action once again stopped at my rewiest fpr what  dd not know. I did know it hurt and I was not able to handle it. They answer of course was more pain medicine. I am so glad they have done a few times ir so.

I was doing so well after they let me leaving earlier than the norm. The particulars now that are important are taking it easy for a couple of days, icing the area for both interanl inflammation but also for a possible topical burn from the radio-frequency.I am burned a bit not what I expected because I am fair and the site is on the back of my neck under my haor when the light rarely sees.  This is something I would have not known about had my nurse (Rene  who prepped me and stayed with me the entire procedure. All the way to the car as I expained.

I’ll see Dr Swift again in 6 weeks.

I’m feeling really sore, my neck is sensitve. But even though its a different kind f pain its doable with light pain meds. What is really interesting to me is that I feel sun stroked. Its the only thing I can relate it to. The surgical center as habit phones the patient the day after their procedure to check on them. When I was phoned I told her everything different I was feeling, I do have the all the typical reactions, nothing out of the norm although the feeling  have of beng sunstroked. I am hot from the inside out. I know hot. I have an issue already with not being able to control my body temerature that is not hot flashes of typical hormone related. It has to do wuth the Hypo-Thymus. gland she had only heard of it in a patient who also has MS. I do have Fibromyalgia, Connective Tissue Disease, and Giant Cell Response, and wondered if either of those could make the matter, Apparently the Fobro was the tcket. Because its thought (now) to be a central nervous system disorder they suspect that because I am hyper sensitive to such things. I am not surprised, I am hyper sensitive to a lot of things, things that Id never think of and then it pops up. For instance I cannot wear anything with nylon in it. And that tends to be a problem. 100% Cotton is the all over answer. This reaction then is not a surprise and not anything I need to be concerned with. Just hand out in all air condtined room.

I feel like I am doing really well. Sleeping alot which is really cool since I have svere insomnia. I am taking advantage of the sleep I seem to be craving, and listening to my body. It is nice that already I am feeling some improvement in my left shoulder and arm pain wise. And this is just the beginning. I have faith in this procedure for me, that it is going to be my ticket back to normalcy.

I so cannot wait.

Goals in my life…. look out…… Here I come!

©tjhelser2012

{ edited for spelling corrections.}

Wonders Never Cease.

That call came through!

After a good week of pure frustration I heard from the doctor’s office finally late yesterday afternoon. Seems there was a cancellation on the doctors Emergency Room schedule and it was offered to me. I gladly jumped on this offer with both feet before the elusive scheduler could even tell me at what UnGodly hour we would have to be at the surgical center in the morning. It didn’t matter. We were going to be there with bells on. I am at least.

The bells will be only temporary of course; as all jewelry must be removed, sans my wedding ring which I make them tape up every time. It’s been off my finger three times in our 42 years of marriage to date. I am extremely sentimental and believe strongly in symbology; meaning in this case that the ring staying on our fingers represents to me the unbroken circle of our vows. Of our marriage. I was not into taking my rings off any time I chose, willy nill.  I recall seeing aunts and cousins take their rings off for a number of reasons. Sometimes that reasons being out of anger. Seems like arguments were worth removing their rings, or leaving them beside the sink to wash their hands or dishes, often rings ending up down the drain getting knocked in accident. Sometimes not. My rings have come off once on our 20th anniversary when we renewed our vows, we had our rings cleaned and an engraved inside. Then on our 35th anniversary my husband D. took his grandmother’s ring, which she left me, and had the diamond removed from its center stage. My original wedding band was split in two, (I know the engraving is still there albeit altered now) and a third band added to it so there would then be a wide enough base to hold 6 prongs. The third time I have had the ring off was to have a prong fixed that I had somehow bent. I cherish this ring even more. Now because of its added financial value which is huge (now I know what they mean when they say a diamond is girl’s best friend) but the sentimental value is priceless. My band alone which we bought as a matching set back in 1970 held its own unique value, now with D’s grandmother’s diamond (which I never owned before) makes it a family heirloom. That to me makes it the most valuable materialistic thing I own. There is so much love in that small circle that it’s value lies out of this world. 

I digress. I’m sorry.

Obviously some nervous energy shining through the story about my rings.

I am to arrive at the surgical center at 9am this morning Pacific USA time. I am a tad nervous and am feeling grateful that I am set up for  light sedation this time. No arguments from me. The first test injection I thought despite being nervous I’d be tough and not need the offered sedation. By the time they were actually ready to take me back to the OR room I was not doing so well. Despite using mediation and prayer which usually is enough for me I had worked myself up so that even my blood pressure and heart rate were both racing up the scale. Dr Swift popped in again to se how I was doing and talked to me about the sedation. Told me it meant nothing if I needed it. It did not make me less than because I used what was obviously going to help in this situation. I told him it honestly had nothing to do with trying to be tough, not really. Just that if there was no need for more chemicals why automatically accept taking them just because. But in my own anxiety I had lost sight of my own rationale.

I accepted the mediation which after a very short time entered my blood stream. I could immediately feel the warm blanket of its chemical effect and immediately relaxed. I realized then that they had bumped another [patient ahead of me to allow time for the medication to work that it was not just about me. That I was affecting the running of the operation rooms systems. I will not make that mistake again.

Checking in, putting their gown of the latest fashion on, Tied in back please. Thankfully D will be with me to help tie my gown, to hold my hand, to talk with me and side track my focus of attention. I am no way as nervous as I get when I am being given a general anesthesia, being given just a local, light sedation means that post procedure the recovery time required before being allowed to go home with my driver D. They make sure you have a driver, know their name, and make eye contact with them. I was recently in that role for my husband D,  he had his arthritic thumb operated on.  And is doing well thank you.

Shall I just bring my sleeping bag and teddy bear?

The nurses at the surgical center were laughing with us last time we were there,.Teasing me. Between D and I we will have been there at the surgical center 5 times in less than a month’s times, so the nurses were teasing me by laughing and offering us a Family Rate; and why did I not just bring my sleeping bag and stay. Thy all are beginning to feel like friends. I’m not sure what that means.

Ring of Fire.

This morning as I enter the actual cold sterile operation room where will be the two nurses I know now, and an anesthesiologist,  And Dr Swift.  All dressed in matching attire, Dr Swift wearing his rad looking glasses that are magnifying glasses at what strength I have no clue. The music in the background has already been requested. Not by me. But by my Johnny Cash loving doctor. Today the entrance song has been promised to be Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash.

Naturally!

I fell into a burning ring of fire

I went down, down, down and the flames went higher

And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire

The ring of fire

~lyrics: Johnny Cash

Gotta love his sense of humour!

Thanks again for all your support everyone. Know that I will use it in medication and prayer. Between the power of both those very meaningful showers of love and the use of chemistry I am going to be better than fine. I am in Good Hands by being in God’s Hands the entire time. This is what I have been needing to have done and from here on out my life that has felt in limbo comes out of that cocoon to life full force again.

I can hardly wait.

~

©tjhelser2012

Still Waiting…..and Waiting….On The Man

For those of you who also follow me on other blog FullCircledMe @ fullcircledme.wordpress.com/ please know that I will be reblogging this same post there. (so if you an alerted twice know it is the same post) I want, and even maybe need to share this on both blogs. Only you followers of both blogs will have the benefit to the post I have initially posted about this at FullCircledMe. I just realized that could be a bit of an issue.  We’ll see, I am always up for an experiment.

I am so not the patient person that I wish sometimes I was. Like today

I am waiting and have been waiting for ALL of my life for a phone call. Okay, not all of my life, but certainly the past say… er… 5 to 6 weeks. And definitely the last 3 weeks I have been waiting. And the call I am waiting for involves a pretty important man in my life right now.

But still I am waiting….and isn’t there a song?

The phone call I am waiting for and that is making me a bit wicked because of its failure to ring is from a surgeon. A neurosurgeon to be exact.

After much hullabaloo to get into see this physician I then went through a two-part series of injections into the cervical nerves affecting my ability to function, and my pain levels that I deal with daily. The two-part test injections were performed, I was given the okay to go ahead by the doctor who agreed to the procedure, and my insurance company. Last week I was told by his medical assistant that my pre-auth had come through, I was just had to wait for his surgical scheduler to phone me. Cool.

If I seem like I am little  too excited to have this procedure done,… you’ve got good instincts. I am impatient and I need to have this done. My life feels like it is limbo right now. But I waited for the Elusive Scheduler to phone.

I am still waiting…

I am waiting to have a Radio-frequency Ablation (RAF) done.

Some of you may be asking yourself what is an RAF and why would she be waiting to have one done.” The what it is in some detail is inserted for your convenience if you are interested towards the bottom of the page. The why I will briefly explain only as I have been living with unacceptable pain again from my spine in the neck for  the last two years. It has also in the past nine months started to affect my range of motion, and ability to function. I have been in Physical & Occupational Therapy for pretty close to a continued time of over one year. The pain is affecting my life to the point where I am unable to find any position to be comfortable in except the pile of different pillows on my bed that allows me to lay against them, and they surround me like a nest. The pillows offer the soft support I need.ave even purchased two pillows from www. My Pillow.com that are the best pillows I have ever had. I purchased one and within one week knew I had to have two. They should be a medical write off but I am not sure yet.

I also have Connective Tissue Disease and Fibromyalgia which creates a hyper sensitivity to almost anything touching skin and my muscles. There days when even the spray of a shower hurts I know that my pain levels and inflammation levels are sky rocketing. I have a lovely shower head that D bought just because it can be adjusted to even almost just a dribble. The setting I that I like is just like a gentle rain which is why he bought it for me, but there are days when even that is just too much.  Like the past week. Our poor cat, Truman has no clue that while he is walking across my body with his sweet little white booted paws he is hurting me with each lingering step. It’s all I can do on some days not to help him along just a little bit. 

Because the pain levels have built to a point where I am needing stronger pain medication, I am not sleeping, unable to do a lot of physical activities because right now it is excruciating painful to have my left arm hanging at my side, and that I also am unable to raise it above my head, are the reasons why I am waiting to have this procedure done. 

In the late 1990’s I had these same symptoms, which led ultimately in 2000 to having a Cervical Fusion Arthoplasty. This that is creating the symptoms that I am dealing with now 12 years later are not from my fusion. I am told it still looks “great”; that the hardware which is made of Titanium is intact and in good shape. For me who had jaw implants that failed in the late 80’s this was extremely reassuring. But I did not expect anything different as this implanted material was researched ad nauseam before the surgery was even agreed upon. By myself.  I was told that my neck is “wearing out” above and below my fusion. This is the least invasive technique that may give me some relief available.

The history behind what got me to where I am at today is on my other blog if you’d like to know more: www.fullcircledme.wordpress.com/

So as the spine in my neck is “wearing out”, “the arthritis is spreading into the thoracic regions; and the thinning inside the bones of the spine which is “cervical stenosis”: are all happily doing their things.

And I am still waiting for HIS phone call.

One phone call. It has been a week since last I heard that “someone will be calling you to schedule a date and time for this procedure.”  Did not happen! No phone call yesterday. Okay I thought it is a holiday.

So at 9:01 AM this morning I was on the phone. I left another message, feeling now that I almost  am having to beg to have this procedure done. Begging while praying all the time that Dr Swift’s support staff in his office start doing some supporting. I have a hard time with patience and tolerance when it comes to a job not being done with some sense of professionalism and with organized consistency. I am not the most patient person right now. I admit it. And usually this is not a big problem with me. I was surprised really when about just an hour and half later my phone call was returned.

Finally!

Another person’s whose name I never have heard before calls. Ellie tells me that they just received the pre-auth this morning.   Really?  was feeling just a bit cheeky now after all this absurdest nonsense just to get an appointment. I responded to her that I find it interesting that apparently one hand is not talking to the other in her office – because I was told the same thing a whole week earlier. She was quiet.  I was ticked.

I would much rather have someone tell me a mistake had been made than to act like I, or they, do not know what ANYONE is talking about. Pretending to be dumb when something goes awry must be being taught to the people in business school these days. While I was calling her out she started to back pedal, finally discovering that to tell me that the pre-auth just showed on her desk sounded plausible she stuck with that.

Yeah, that was the ticket. and in the mean time I tell her that…

I am still here waiting….

I agree with her that is likely what happened, and let the petty argument go. I, after all need these people to at leat not hate me, to not be annoyed with me when I come in for the RAF. I kind of would like the surgeon and his staff to have a favorable attitude towards me. I am thinking this would be a good idea. I can find a way to let  those who are in the know at said clinic  be aware of the circumstances that surrounded this fiasco on another date. For now I need to keep peace. After I have a brief and gentle blow out on Ellie’s dime I hear her tell me that she is going to give The Scheduler, another Elusive Scheduler, a note on her desk to expedite the scheduling process and to get me scheduled as soon as possible. I pray this is so.   I asked her what this meant for me?  This week?  Next week? Another three weeks?

I know….. I know…, rather cheeky. Maybe it was not necessary. I’ll never know.  I explained as best as I could ( without storming out loud to her  all that I was thinking to myself) that it had been an unbearable & unreasonable three weeks out the last two years that the pain and other symptoms like numbing hands and fingers had been going on. That my life is at a standstill it seems because there is so much I am unable to do. I tried as hard as I could to stay assertive and not become tearful. I told her just how frustrated I have been, and trying to get even further along with what I need to share, that if having to wait for another week I will then be at a breaking point and the clinic’s credibility with me is going down hill fast!

All the while….I am still waiting..

I believe Dr Swift has a right to know what has gone on in his office. Such like the issues I had when trying to get my first appointment. How can what they don’t know about get fixed?  I wonder though if this might be a sampling of why Dr Swift is picking up his lily pad and moving to another pond. I’ve heard from everyone I speak to about him that HE IS THE MAN! He is the man worth waiting for. So I am praying for more patience, ..ahem…. maybe I should be saying praying for patience.. any patience would do at this point….

While I am still obviously still waiting!

~

If you are interested in knowing  more:    

Main article: Radio frequency nerve lesioning      [ Resource: Wikipedia.org ]

RFA, or rhizotomy, is sometimes used to treat severe chronic pain in the lower (lumbar) back, cervical, (neck) and upper back, where radio frequency waves are used to produce heat on specifically identified nerves surrounding the facet joints on either side of the lumbar spine. By generating heat around the nerve, its ability to transmit pain signals to the brain is destroyed, thus ablating the nerve. The nerves to be ablated are identified through injections of local anesthesia (such as lidocaine) prior to the RFA procedure. If the local anesthesia injections provide temporary pain relief, then RFA is performed on the nerve(s) that responded well to the injections. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure which can usually be done in day-surgery clinics, where the patient is sent home shortly after completion of the procedure. The patient is awake during the procedure, so risks associated with general anesthesia are avoided. An intravenous line may be inserted so that mild sedatives can be administered. The major drawback for this procedure is that nerves regenerate over time, so the pain relief achieved lasts for only a short duration (6–24 months[12]) in most patients.

Still more information and details can also be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiofrequency_ablationofrequency_ablation

Resource:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiofrequency_ablation

©tjhelser 2012

Grounded From Wheels

I’m goin’ home

And when I wanna go home

I’m goin’ mobile

Well, I’m gonna find a home

ON WHEELS, see how it feels

Goin’ mobile

Keep me movin’

 I can pull up by the curb

I can make it on the road

Goin’ mobile

I can stop in any street

Invitin’ people that we meet

Goin’ mobile

Keep me movin’

 ~ The WHO

 Due to circumstances I’ve not much control over I voluntarily have grounded myself from my wheels. Driving has always been a passion of mine –  here I am talking in past tense – the freedom to just get up and go is one now I realize I so took for granted.

I don’t have the exact day I stopped driving. Again. Because I have done it two times before this time. I stopped before neck surgery and after the cervical fusion of C4, C5, & C6. I had little range of motion that is a requirement for driving on the streets of the USA. Maybe it is different else where but the thought of people driving without being able to turn their heads left and right is a disturbing one. I knew straight away how dangerous it had become to drive when on the streets of downtown Seattle in broad daylight I was trusting my faith in God and His angels to help navigate me – pilot – uphill from the crazy busy stop and go traffic of Pikes Market to the quieter pedestrian corners of what is affectionately known as Pill Hill, but in reality is First Hill. It took me only a few times too many to admit that becoming a Seattleite and parking my wheels in the garage was the wisest choice. Only to be brought out for trips to the burbs, and long distance to the kids.

But I was not happy doing it. Nope.

And for the third time now I have parked my wheels. I cannot give the exact day I did it this time. It has not been long after the second time. I thought then that the short time grounded was the last time. I now know there will never be a last time because of the mechanics of my neck and shoulders.

This time, this third time has seemed permanent. It’s not been a year, but it’s been more than 6 months. I miss the little things about driving that I took for granted. Being able to jump behind my wheels and make fast trek to my favorite paper arts stores, craft and art stores. I have a system and when I need replenishing I prefer the luxury of driving myself, alone, not feeling the need to hurry.

I have the most ardent and sweet chauffeur. He never is too busy, always ready when I need to be somewhere else. There are tender moments that would no doubt be missed if I was not in need of a ride during the middle of the day – and in the middle of a project. No matter what I think is urgent, no matter how far and during the traffic crunch I’m sure to need to be, my BFF is as always my gallant Knight in Shining Armour. He is who comes to my immediate rescue.  How blessed am I?

Yet having to give up my wheels is still not something I am doing with grace. I wish I could say that I am. To be honest I am somewhat resentful. It’s not making a happy camper out of me having to be grounded from my own four wheels. Despite that it has been completely voluntarily so.

I miss things about driving that I only have dreams and wishes about, as well as the everyday things I took for granted. I have on my ever-growing bucket list two things regarding driving; Nascar Racing, and to travel across different countries, small rural areas being the focus in a luxury touring car. A Mercedes will do nicely, thank you. Speeding at 200mph around an oval track and slowly and with purpose trekking through mountain roads in places like Madrid.

I continue to dream these possibilities.

Being grounded from my wheels is only temporary for me. Who am I to be so ungrateful? This is not permanent and with work and skills I will get myself back behind the wheel knowing with all confidence that I can look left, look right, and even look over my shoulders. So why am I whining so? I detest being dependant on others for anything, and for me this is what having the privilege to driving is. Yet when illness or injury have a whopping effect on the ability to so safely it’s time to put away pride along with my keys.

I’d love to meet you, putting faces to names is one of the magical things about life and people. However; I trust you’ll give me  a rain check this time. This time until the restriction for your safety is lifted.

Being grounded from wheels is a bummer – just a little bit of one.

©TJHELSER 2012

My New Pillow = Restful Nights

Sounds like an odd post right? A Pillow? Read on if you dare….

If I have you this far it’s because you too do not sleep well. I need to say that I’ve no clue if this is ethical per WordPress (WP), or if my friends here at WP will be offended that I so openly and brazenly endorse and advertise something that has changed my nights.

But for the cause I’m doing it anyway. I am someone who lives with pain day and night. Just like millions do, and just like a large percentage of bloggers here at WP do. Not being able to have a restful nights sleep is huge. It is one key element of my coping skills that I need to rely on. If I am unable to sleep and get away from the pain mentally for at least 4 hours at night I am no good to anyone. And if that kind of night continues into 2, 3 and even 4 nights or more I become unable to cope at all. My threshold diminishes drastically. I need to sleep.

Part of why I don’t sleep well is because I have spine disease in my neck. I have had a fusion with a Titanium plate in 2001. I have stenosis and osteoarthritis above and below my fusion. As my doctor states my ” spine is wearing out above and below the fusion. The symptoms are many and the impairment on my range of motion are at a maximum. Sleeping at night hs been a war for me for over 25 years, but just getting into a comfortable and restful position has been a nightmare for the last 12 years. Not being able to find a comfortable and supportive position for my neck and upper trunk is imperative to at least resting, even f sleep is not possible. By the end of my days my head is so heavy on my neck and shoulders I am unable to function anymore.I need that rest. And I need not fight for hours just arranging all the pillows on my bed. When I say that I have so many that they often run my husband off into the night is no exaggeration. And it’s no joke.

I have found something so amazing that I have to share. I have been advocating for myself and for others who live their lives in chronic pain every day and night but they try to live with purpose. It is for my comrade’s in the war of insomnia and C/P  that I dare break even my own rule. I never endorse anything to anyone. Just not my style. 

But… I found a pillow that has changed my nights. Has helped change my days.

I need to share this find.  this fantastic weapon I have found against insomnia I need to share. Please trust when I say that I have no interest in this company, no interest in whether a pillow is sold or not.  I just need to tell what an amazing difference this one pillow has made for me.

I am making myself comfortable in a matter of seconds, instead of fighting my herd of pillows and bed covers throughout the night. Not getting even one ounce of rest let alone any hope for real sleep. I am able to climb into bed, lay my head and neck against this pillow, tuck a part of it around both sides of my head, and fall back into it. I am in heaven for the first time that day since rising in the morning.

This pillow is doing everything it claims so far. So much so that I have purchased a second one. I have gone from resting/sleeping in a sitting position to being able to lie down like normal people do. I no longer am struggling with my neck hurting because of no real support. No longer fighting the night because the tingling and feelings of numbness being created from the nerves that are effected keep me from falling asleep.  

Of all the items I have purchased in over 28 years of dealing with one type of physical pain or another this one pillow has made all the difference. One that no other item has. I can think of over a dozen other reasons why someone might benefit from this pillow. But I shall not digress.

Just One Queen Size Pillow.  

[if you are interested in more information or reading about a 10 year warranty on a pillow you can find this and more at www.mypillow.com ]

©tjhelser