Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Lady with the Cane

Recently, I made a trip to the ER.

Now, I’ve had arthritis for quite some time. But after the Vioxx scare and the Bextra scare I decided to live med-free. I had too much pain going on to do that. I don’t know how to explain it. I just decided that I would no longer put meds into my system when they were being pulled from the market right and left. I just decided that I would no longer take a medication that might fix my pain today, but do me harm tomorrow.

I did a little research and started with supplements. To tell the truth Glusosamine did nothing for me. But I did manage to find a little miracle worker in MSM. I’ve been taking it ever since, as well as Calcium and a daily multiple vitamin. Oh, I still had twinges of pain, especially on rainy days, but nothing that was unbearable. In fact, I had much less pain going this route than when I was actually taking medication.

But lately, the pain began to creep in. At first, I didn’t pay it much attention as we are in the rainy season. But when it didn’t get better I decided to call the doctor. Sadly, she couldn’t see me until late June. But they would call back if they could get me in somehow. After a day and no call back I called them again. Still nothing. As I have the type of insurance where you need to see they doctor you’re assigned to, I decided to call the insurance company and see what could be done. They approved another doctor and I made the appointment.

But before I could get there I had a sudden burst of tremendous pain. All I did was step up on a chair to adjust a rack and the pain started as I stepped down. I didn’t even step down hard and it was the foot still on the chair as I stepped down that gave me pain. From that moment on, I couldn’t walk at all. I crawled upstairs to the bedroom, quite literally, on all fours.

It’s funny, really, how stepping down from a chair can cause a disability in an instant. I mean, I was on my feet last weekend for the Detroit’s Cinco de Mayo fiesta. . . moving things, lifting things, walking the parade route, etc. . . I was very tired, but my feet were just fine. . . How is it, then, that this chair managed to just incapacitate me???

The ER said bone spur and bunion. They gave me one of those special shoes and told me to use cane or crutches and sent me on my way. They did give me a prescription. I do have a discount card for prescriptions and was able to save some money on meds. So that was good news.

I finally went to the doctor yesterday. She said plantar fasciitis. And referred me to podiatrist, which I see tomorrow. We’ll see what he says. . . I mean, I have a history of arthritis. The ER said bunion and bone spur. The doctor said plantar fasciitis. Is it possible that I have every foot ailment there is???

For now, I’m the lady with the cane and the special shoe. I can’t complain, though. I’m walking now, albeit a lot slower.

And I really have to put this newfound disability in perspective. I’ll gladly walk with a cane for the rest of my life if I know that one more child will walk away from the rubble that was once her school in China.

I will gladly live with twinges of pain as I walk if I know that at least one mother’s pain will be vanquished when her only child, thought to be dead after the earthquake, is returned to her.

And you know, even though I had to make phone call after phone before I could finally see a doctor, I am grateful that I have health care coverage. I am thankful that my prescriptions cost me almost nothing.

I will hang on to my cane forever if it means that someone else who doesn’t have health care coverage doesn’t have a need to see a doctor.

And so, with every twinge of pain I say a silent prayer for all of those people in this country who have no health care.

My friend, Marcy, always says that everything happens for a reason. And maybe one of the reasons this has happened to me now is so that I could be much more aware of the larger view, not just my own. Compared to what others in this country and in this world are suffering, my pain is very small.

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