Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hello, G-d? I'm ready to be healthy now.

A psychologist could have a field day with me right now.


I'm a little dazed, a little confused, groggy, forgetful, and barely able to move around today. I'm also "losing time" - unable to account for long periods of time between yesterday afternoon and tonight. I had a blip of total clarity last night, for about two hours. Then back to confuzzled.


And I confess, part of it is my fault.


See, I had physical therapy (PT) yesterday for my neck and back, from the injuries sustained in the auto accident I keep mentioning now and then. And PT starts with ten minutes on the treadmill. No big problem, there. The problem is that I MISS working out. So I pushed the treadmill up to about 3 mph and a 20% incline to see if I could handle it for even five minutes, thinking that if I COULD, then I could maybe return to either treadmill or my favorite - the elliptical machine - at the JCC a couple of times a week.


And I was doing well. Really well. Until, as I was striding along, my shoulder must have moved just so, and >>ZAP<< there was a sudden, stabbing, searing pain in my shoulder, slicing down my arm and up into my neck, and I had to punch the treadmill's emergency STOP button and cradle my arm, lest it fall off or I pass out.


I tried walking it off, at 0% incline and 1 mph, but it hurt too much, so I sat down and did some stretching. Mind over shoulder, I did my PT through the pain, my friend drove me home (picking up my kids on the way), and I took two Tylenol. (Note: Tylenol® is a registered trademark of McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc.)


An hour later, nothing had improved. Somehow I made it through most of the afternoon, then when Husby came home, I took half of a Percocet (Note: Percocet® is a Registered Trademark of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc..) Now, I know that I'm sensitive to medication and have a high tolerance for pain. Not always a good combination. The Percocet knocked me out for about six hours, just in time for me to take my prescribed Flexeril (Note: Flexeril® is a registered trademark of ALZA Corporation <-- Hey! My dad worked there!). I only take half a tablet because the full tablet will knock me out for up to 24 hours. Did some work on the computer, caught just enough of Love Monkey to determine all the good parts were in the promos and I hadn't missed much, and fell asleep again.


I woke up, finally, early this afternoon. Apparently Husby tried to wake me up - he even claims that I got up and promptly fell over again - but I was pretty much incapacitated. The good news is that my shoulder doesn't hurt. As much.


The suspicion from three doctors is that I have a torn rotator cuff from the accident. If the tear is too big to heal on its own, they're talking surgery.


So I've just decided, I'm done being injured and in pain. I'm tired of being groggy from the pain meds and muscle relaxants, tired of not being able to use my right arm for much of anything, tired of not being able to pick up my children, tired of not being able to drive or work out or hold a siddur without firing up my shoulder.


Hello, G-d? I'm ready to be healthy now. Anytime. Sooner would be nice.


I'd like to have my mind clear enough to do some book-writin', my arm well enough to drive and not have to rely on friends and Husby, my neck well enough to allow me to read for more than 20 minutes.


And I have learned some good things from all of this. There ARE good lawyers in the world (maybe not lots, but I've met at least four). I have friends who have stepped up and offered meals, rides, child care, companionship, and who call just to keep my spirits up. Husby has gotten the laundry down to a science, and found an awesome dairy-free kosher shepherd's pie recipe. Youngest Son and I are really VERY fortunate that it wasn't worse.


I found out that last part yesterday, when the auto body shop fixed the driver's seat, which had for unknown reasons, flung back to its farthest-back position upon the first impact, and couldn't be adjusted after. They removed the seat and the culprit became obvious: the truck hit us hard enough that it BENT THE RAIL on which the seat slides. One new rail and now the seat works perfectly again.


I think my brain keeps trying to make this just a little fender bender when it was probably much more. It's just that 6,200 lbs of truck at 30 mph doesn't register. It's like a bad dream.


That's it! Maybe I can ask that this just be a bad dream and tomorrow I'll wake up pain-free and without weeks of PT and doctor's appointments and medication awaiting me.


And now my psychology training kicks in and wonders if I'm heading out of denial and into the bargaining process of MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) recovery.


Nah... It's just a bad dream. Right?

2 comments:

Rivster said...

Sheyna,

First of all, thank God. Thank God that it was just the car. Thank God that it is "just" your rotator cuff. Thank God that you and your little one were able to walk away from this.

Then get mad. And sad. And all the other things that you are feeling. In other words, allow the healing process to do what God intended it to do -- heal.

We can make ourselves guilt-ridden and crazy with gratitude. The truth is that you wish that it had never happened and it just stinks that you have to go through this part -- no matter how lucky you were.

Last year, when my children and I were in what really was a "minor" accident (only about $2500 in medical bills, about $3,000 to fix the car, whiplash, and bad dreams), I was shocked to discover how traumatic it felt. I did a lot of reading and learned that it was pretty normal. And that actually helped. I really thought that the pain in my neck and jaw would be permenant and that I would keep replaying those frightening few seconds over like a bad LP.

This morning, as I passed by the spot where the phone company repair truck forced our car into the curb, I wonder if having to drive past it on the way to work/preschool has aided in the healing.

The chiropractor, ice, and a lot of cleansing breaths while braving SoCal freeways have helped as well.

One last thing -- gomel. Yeah, I know...it's the Frume Sarah in me. I just can't get away from the sense that ritual really has an important role in the healing process.

Sheyna Galyan said...

People keep telling me that I need to allow myself to feel angry, but I can't shake the image of the truck driver running through the snow to my van, a horrified look on his face. "Are you okay?" he gasped. "Is everyone okay? I tried to brake... I tried... I'm so sorry!"

The road conditions were horrible - it had just snowed about six inches and the plows hadn't come through yet. Yes, he was driving too fast and by the time he realized it, it was too late. But all I feel toward him is empathy.

It's funny - I fear complaining too much so I opt for gratitude instead. But I know you are right.

Sometimes there are problems with being able to see from too many other perspectives!

And I couldn't agree with you more on bentching gomel. The first Shabbat after the accident, I was given the opportunity to bentch gomel. For reasons I'm not quite sure of, I was never given the opportunity after the birth of either of my kids (though I should have been), and this one was especially powerful.

It was beyond ritual... it was like having the "secret handshake" to say THANK YOU in a more formal and profound way.

Maybe I need to get angry in Hebrew. :-)

All joking aside, I think I'm going to do some offline journaling about the accident. Thank you for visiting!