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In the past month, my grandmother-in-law has suffered from:

1. A jagged spiral fracture of the femur (just about the worst bone you can break)
2. Surgery to insert a plate to hold the bone together (it was that, or never walk again)
3. An allergic reaction to morphine following surgery that nearly swelled her throat closed (oh good, remind me to never let John have anesthesia, since his mother has also had allergic reactions to pain meds)
4. Shingles (and a really painful episode, at that)
5. A compartmentalized hematoma in the broken leg (think massive bruise within the muscle that can only be solved by time or more surgery)
6. Nausea so bad she has barely eaten and has lost 15-20 pounds in the last month (never good when your body is needing nutrients to heal itself)

And today, we can add the following:

7. A pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs)
8. A heart attack (likely caused by another blood clot)

If you’ve got any prayers handy, send them her way to help her heal, or at the very least to not throw a third clot and have a stroke. The poor lady has definitely suffered enough as it is, and we want her to get better!!

We’re currently debating a trip home at Thanksgiving, our second since this all started, and even knowing we have Christmas plans to be with her. However, my mother-in-law and I are both worried that if we start coming home a lot, my grandmother-in-law will think that we think this is the end, and mentally that won’t be good for her (my grandmother-in-law). Did that make sense? Regardless, we want her spirits to remain well.

So for now we’re sitting tight, and getting multiple daily updates. It definitely sucks being so far away right now.


My heart is aching a bit right now for two of my best friends, both of whom are suffering through some massive losses. Neither is my story to tell, but right now the world seems pretty cruel and unfair.

If I had to come up with one bad thing about love, it would be this feeling here: the feeling of utter helplessness when someone you love is hurting, and you wish so badly that you could take away their pain, give them what they needed to be whole, and make it all better. Instead, all you can do is be there for them. I know it counts for a lot–hell, when these people, and everyone else, were there for me throughout all the last two years, it meant the world to me–but at the same time it feels like so little in the face of so much pain.

I’ll try to be back tomorrow with happier thoughts.

I do something to my shoulder that makes it go back to the “hurty” phase of this whole damn saga.

I decided that my liver needed a break after two straight months of low-dose Al3v3 every day, so I haven’t taken any for a handful of days.

Saturday night, I don’t know what I did but it hurt. And it’s still hurting. Back to the Al3v3. And I only have one physical therapy appointment this week. Maybe I still need two. *sigh*

And it’s my left shoulder in the vicinity of my rotator cuff, where I’ve got the hypermobile issues. The left side has always hurt more than the right. My guess is that that’s because I over-compensated for injuring my neck and right shoulder blade by doing everything with my left hand, and the muscles just weren’t up to it. And now I’m terrified of over-compensating with the right arm and re-injuring my oh-so-delicate right shoulder blade. GAH.

But I got through my day without extreme amounts of pain, which was good, and tomorrow is guaranteed to be good.

Know why?

It’s my birthday. 🙂

Remember back, oh, maybe 10-12 weeks ago? When I mentioned I’d hurt my shoulder?


Well, I did. Somehow. The left side of my neck hurt. Then the pain moved into the right side. Then down into my shoulder blade. And then down into my side, to the point where I felt like I had a stitch from running to far, despite doing nothing but laying on the couch on a heating pad, eating ibuprofen like candy. It wasn’t fun.

I went to the doctor, and since I’m not a fan of Student Health’s physical therapy people (not being a student athlete and all), I got a referral to a chiropractor.

All was going well for the most part, and the pain was slowly going away. At least to the point where I was no longer single-handedly keeping ibuprofen people in business and could do things with my right arm. Simple things, like pick up a half-gallon of milk. Ah, the small pleasures in life, right?

Then, about two weeks ago, I started going backwards. More pain in my shoulder blade. New pain in the fronts of my shoulder joints, right where you’d draw an imaginary line between your arm and your body.

In fact, right where your rotator cuff is.

Wait, what now? Rotator cuff? Umm, not so good.

So off I went to see the doctor again, and got another referral to a physical medicine specialist, who gave me a referral to a physical therapist (thankfully a real one, not student health).

Up to this point, no one besides the chiropractor had done anything other than ask me where it hurt, to move my arm a bit, and to tell me I had a sore muscle. And they’d all asked me what I did for a living, then suggested I stop doing it. Riiiiiiight.

The physical therapist lady, on the other hand, was lovely. She asked a ton of questions, took a lot of notes, then had me do a bunch of resistance movements, with her providing the resistance and me telling her it was fine/uncomfortable/pressure/pain/ouch/etc. It took almost an hour. She also had me relax and then moved my joints around, presumably to see how much they did move.

Then she sat me down and gave me the news. Apparently, I have what’s called hypermobile joints in my neck and shoulders. This means the joints allow extra movement of my shoulder and/or vertebrae. More than the average person. A common symptom/sign is double-jointedness, which I don’t have, but I’m still hypermobile.

The pain in my shoulders and neck/back? While possibly stemming from some initial muscle pull, is likely from what’s called hypermobile insufficiency. Basically, the muscles around my shoulder joints (i.e. those four fun little muscle that make up your rotator cuff), as well as the ones in my neck/back/shoulders, are tired of dealing with the extra movement.

And so they’re complaining. By producing pain. And all the bench work and desk work I do for a living is not exactly helping.

And the extra fun news? Unlike a pulled muscle, this won’t get better. I can do physical therapy to increase the strength of the muscles to hopefully avoid more pain, but it’s going to be a life-long struggle to stay ahead of the weakness.

While I’m glad to know why I’ve been hurting for close to three months, I’m not exactly happy with the diagnosis. Frankly, a pulled muscle sounds better. Or at least shorter-term.

And so the verdict is: Physical therapy twice a week for at least a month, if not more. Chiropractor once a week, for my back, mostly. Diving is permissible for now if I never carry weight. Yoga is good. Biking is completely out the door unless I get handle bars that allow me to sit straight up and not put any pressure on my shoulders. Kickboxing is gone. Swimming isn’t so good until I’m stronger. Working at a computer for more than 20 minutes without standing up and moving around isn’t good. Working at the bench for more than 10 isn’t good.

After the first physical therapy appointment today, I can definitely tell how weak I am in my shoulders. I knew I hadn’t been able to lift heavy things, like a fully grocery bag or an empty pot (let alone a full pot), but I didn’t realize how little strength I had there.

Must be why I’ve never, ever, in my entire life, been able to do a pull-up.

My goal now is just to get strong enough to do normal life stuff, and then hopefully get back into being able to exercise (dive, bike) at some point after that.

But really? This kind of just sucks. And hurts a lot right now. I suggest you all buy stock in ibuprofen and/or aleve.

Do you ever have days like this?

On one hand, you’re to exhausted to even be exhausted. Where the stress, the working, the menial tasks, the meetings, the talking, the stress, the just being are far too much for you to handle? Where you finally get to the point where you can go home to your couch, only to realize how daunting the walk to the car is? Where, as much as you long to go home, all you kind of want to do is stop right where you are and lay down and cry?

Yeeaah, that’s about where I’m at.

On the other hand, days like this make the simple pleasures in life seem so much bigger and brighter: I remembered to bring my new tube of chapstick into lab!! And I just got to open it! Wheeee!!!

I know the last thing you all want to read about (or, you know, ignore and mark ‘read’) late on a Friday afternoon is how I’m tired of this cold. But I am. Two and a half weeks of it is quite enough. The cough and sore throat are mostly gone, but the congested sinuses and runny nose (how the hell is that combination possible?) are still here. I’m feeling more energetic and ‘alive’, so that may be a good sign, but the symptoms remain. Bah. I do not have high hopes for diving tomorrow–sinus pressure generally eliminates the ability to equalize ear air spaces–think the squeeze feeling you get on planes that are ascending or descending, but worse. This makes the 4am wake-up-call even less bearable. I’ll most likely spend the day standing in the surf hauling students in and out of the waves. Bah again.

So some fun thoughts…..

I may be completely out of those. Alas, alack.

Some crap went down over the holidays and I’m waiting to see how it’s going to sort itself out. It involves some people I care a great deal about, and some people I could and would cheerfully throttle were it not for laws against that sort of thing. It’s not my story to tell, though, so I’m sort of wondering how much of it to make public. That said, I’m here to unburden myself, so I’m guessing you’ll get an earful one of these days.

And this big elephant in the room, combined with a cold and being back at work after two weeks off, just sucks. I’ve been sleeping a lot, and reading a lot, and working a lot, and not much else.

However, there’s diving tomorrow, and then a wedding on Sunday! Happy day! I will smile through all this and take my victories where I can. Hope you all are off to have a great weekend!

The funeral is Saturday for our friend’s little brother. I wish, somehow, I could take all the pain away from my friend, but not only can I not do that, I can’t even really relate. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a sibling, and I hope I don’t find out for a very, very, very long time.

It seems so unfair that he was only in his early 20s, was a good kid, stopped to help someone, and suddenly is gone. I suppose life is like that–unfair in the extreme at times, but at other times, you get so damn lucky you don’t know what hit you, like with my mother having pretty much fully responded to the chemo.

And the big boss is doing okay. Apparently the problem was a combination of his body rejecting the heart stent (happens rarely, but sometimes) along with some minor blockage in the area of the stent, all combining to cause a heart attack. At least he recognized it and called the paramedics. He’s got a small son and a wife to support–hopefully this will be the (second) kick in the pants he needs to really start taking care of himself better.

Both of these things have driven home how important it is to live life they way you want to. With something like cancer, you have time to say goodbye. With either of these? Not so much. Gotta tell the people you love that you love them whenever you get the chance, I suppose.

Life’s a bit of a downer right now, sorry.

One of John’s co-workers got to work on time this morning, but was immediately followed by her aunt and fiance. Apparently her brother was killed late last night/early this morning when he stopped on a road near Reno to help a guy change his tire, and then was hit by an oncoming car. The brother was an ex-shop employee. I can only hope the end was swift and painless.

And the big boss is no where to be seen. The only info John or anyone else has is that when the aunt stopped by his house to let him know (the big boss and the co-worker’s family are friends), no one was home and a neighbor told the aunt that the big boss had been taken away in an ambulance early this morning. No one can reach him or his wife, and the manager boss is currently calling all the hospitals in the area.

It’s not safe to be a former/current employee there today, apparently.

There had better not be a plane crash on the way to Cozumel today, or we’ll be 3 for 6 of the people who are the full-time or close to full-time employees.

Drive home safe, love.

Edit at 3:30pm: Apparently, rumor on the street is that big boss’s body started to reject the heart stent that he had put in a year or so ago. Or possibly there was blockage around the heart stent? In either case, if the ambulance had taken him to the hospital he ASKED TO BE TAKEN TO, he’d be dead right now, because it was 10 minutes further away. Let that be a lesson–listen to your ambulance driver, dammit! And take care of your body, dammit!


January 2019
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