back pain, caregiver, education, grey hair

The Sound of Silence

The days before the actual “first day” of school are the most precious and set the tone for my mental game, as I gear up for the year. The utter silence not only in my room but throughout the hallways, only to be interrupted by teacher chatter, hugs, and rushing feet from one room or meeting to another quietly emulate a natural high as reality has not hit. Kids. Paperwork. Rules. My plans are for obvious perfection and is the bubble of  life if only for a fleeting few days. It is then that schedules sound possible, discipline will be a breeze, and dress codes sound reasonable as jean days are put on the chopping block. It’s ok, we should dress up. Then week three hits and it hits hard. Suddenly, the quiet is replaced with chaos because the moving pieces are coming fast. It is a teachers life. It is precious but mentally and physically draining on a level few others feel.

Then it hits. It’s a stamicane, my own word for a stampede plus hurricane. Kids making their way down our halls breaking the blissful silence. First, the utter excitement is contagious but by week three “When is fall break” is my number one on the playlist on my mind, on repeat. With break approaching, I had a literal physical break after dealing with hospice, moving my mother out of an assisted living and into another assisted living. And yes, she is thriving, thanks to hospice. Try that. For nine weeks when you must put on a happy face, everyday. This is why teaching is a young persons game. The young do not have big life issues straight out of school. I broke physically and mentally. Mrs. Tough had her comeuppance. I divided my kids, with no tears and made it to the doctor with a full on ugly cry in the waiting room. But I made it. I spent the next two days feeling guilty for missing work and now the next few days of break in recovery and enjoying the simple sound of silence. It brings me pause and a true reflection of important issues and allows me to shake off the crazy. Not my kids. All the other educational nuttiness which does not fit on one blog post alone. It is more volume based. Truly.

The quiet of break and the reflection of my first days of school brings clarity for the busy that the remainder of fall brings. My thoughts of perfection have been replaced with my pacing guide, test scores, and a newspaper to churn out. The test scores are the sad reality portion but a truth that leaves my competitive soul always hungry for more but steeped in the reality of who my students are and where can they go in this school year. It is a balancing act. Journalism keeps me happy and if I ever get social studies again as a subject area, thrilled. Hiring for 8th grade civics. Give me a call. As my wounds mend and my own inner changes readied to implement continuous healing without another major setback. I remember that in the quiet I take to heal it is my own stamina and ability to block out the storm that brings me my success on a daily basis, where it counts. With kids.

back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

back pain, chronic pain, family, granparent life, grey hair, life

The Pursuit of Normality

Travel souvenirs are now adorned with stim stuff. From L-R Walgreens battery powered unit, Easy@Home rechargeable unit, and WI Touch Pro

Over the past ten days I have searched, researched, and guinea pigged my way back to a state of non-movement. By far this is the worst day I have ever felt in the history of my hip/back situation. No reasons. Probably, the large pops my body gave off after yesterday’s chiro session. No blame. The journey is long and the session was rough. But, as I lie around, I have good news to report. Yes. Good.

My favorite new TENS device is the Wi Touch Pro. The device itself is bulky, but it comes in green or orange, so at least I felt springy. I Just added batteries, downloaded the app on my phone, and chose my setting. Note: app can be wonky. Breathe. Yesterday, I did three sessions, for thirty minutes, in the morning and evening and was functional. Since this is a ten or more week rehab. I was not perfect. But I could walk, stop at a store, and buy Easter stuff for my grandnugget. I even made a simple dinner later on that evening for the hubs. He was shocked. It was edible. Double shock. Basically, I was enjoying simple pleasures that I no longer take for granted. No More! This feeling of progress was amazing. Then, late yesterday Dr. Chiro came back into my life. Ugh. Back to ice and heat today with a side of Real Housewives, one too many times. Due to my experience go buy Wi Touch Pro (non-solicitated) on Amazon for $89.00. It will be my morning and evening sessions, after my spasms stop. You can find it on www.amazon.com. It is worth every penny. Again, it is not a cure. It is just a helpful tool as you heal.

Easy@Home was my rechargeable unit. It gave me the non-pairing hassle and a simple on/off and plus/minus system for pressure. However, I found myself adjusting it often to hit all the areas of pain. But at home the odd positions, beeping often and glowing green until you beep off is worth it! My first attempt with device life was with the Easy@Home and have used it with success since my initial injury in December. This week, while visiting my nugget, and trying to survive my first attempt at normality. It was my go to product. My buddy enjoyed turning grandma on and off and my beeping. My robotic life humored him and allowed me to do priceless adventures. Since driving causes me to curse throughout the length of my trip, windows closed. Obviously. I decided to give Easy@Home a try while I drove home from Prescott. It was fabulous. In the world of buying a miracle, these units do mask the pain as you heal, and this lower cost unit at $36.00 produces bang for the buck. Go get it! www.amazon.com

My next unit, for school next week. Yes. I am a teacher. Pray. I have asked for forgiveness and have requested to wear lululemon dupes for the next few weeks. My go-to is Baleaf or Crz Yoga, all found on Amazon. Duh! So, if you see a teacher looking extra sporty. You found me. I have no choice as the units do not work under clothes that constrain. They hit the on/off button and poof, pain comes back, and you are left with your hand in crazy positions. Which looks odd in public, frankly anywhere. But as I teach. NO BUENO. Between the buttons, and consistently beeping. My students would go bananas. So, the AUVON system will be for my weekday school adventures. It is a wired product that has a remote, that does need Bluetooth, and controls with twenty-four different sessions. I am trying hard to be there for my kids next week, but I know staying in school last week damaged me further. Just my stubborn ways. Note to self. Back injury equates going home. This unit was $39.00 and I found it on Amazon. Duh! Please note that all of these units are reviewed just by me. That’s it. Me. I am not paid. Just another rehabbing patient trying to find inner peace.

back pain, family, granparent life, life

My Back Series #3

A variety of dribble…

I would like this back/hip pain to end. Truly, not my thing chatting about pain. Currently resting on heat, and planning my Pain is Gone Party. I will invite all of you. Don’t have a date, sorry. A party sounds fabulous and a way to celebrate the chains that bind leaving. Recently, I have stimmed myself into oblivion and now awaiting an acupressure mat, (review to follow) that looks like torture. Since, I am in this space, what is the harm? A big takeaway from this daily hell is that I have noticed how people treat daily pain. They give advice. Stupid advice. All I want is a hug and a cleaning lady on repeat. Not advice. But I listen, as running away is literally not an option. My son, true chronic pain sufferer, has dealt with my stupid advice from me for years. I have apologized. Funny, he gives no advice. Just hugs. Apology accepted. I hope. So, while I plan my party, as it will happen. I envision all my torture objects thrown into a bon fire and a celebratory poof to see them off. Too much? Probably. My second thought is a new MCM bag and a shopping spree. 🛍 That will do.

back pain

Anchor of Life

The original anchor of my life is my husband. But this post is about those we never want to see us hurt. Never.

My original anchor was always my kid. He pushed me through my seizure days, my days in back and hip pain, he pushed me to my limits. In a good way. In a great way. Now he is all grown up. I feel like there are days I do not push enough for me. Just me. So right now, while I heal, curling up in front of bad TV and writing chapter 2 of my book sounds great. But I got a little anchor. Gotta go.

Now, planning for a trip in pain is funny. I got a bag and threw whatever I saw into it. No thought, just clothes. I think they match. Not my usual packing ritual, which takes days, and coordinates for each day and event. But hell, he is three. My must is my galaxy watch and new fitbit to log my steps as I heal. He changes the watches wallpaper. It’s a thing. I love our things. He is my anchor. Two watches it is. I heard it’s a thing.

Now, I have been walking. But today I started my PT exercises from long ago. ****ing hurt. I screamed but then remembered my anchors. Both. It’s only been a week but I am fighting. Some don’t. I do. Today, it is a swimming lesson to watch. Soon, it will be other events. None I am missing. He is my anchor and this grandma will be there with bells on and a back that works.

back pain

The Back Industry Money = Hope

It’s true. My HSA card now is my best friend. You gotta watch the labels but many of the treatments such as back stimulator and heating pads, herbal meds, etc. are cleared. Yup. Cha ching, cha ching. No, magic. But clarity and peace as I heal.

So far stim is my savior. One is on batteries, the other by a phone app, and the third is charging. Readying for a two day trip takes an extra bag and five extra cords. But ok. It’s short- term and life does not stop when healing. So, if you have an HSA get a stim machine. I like the mobile. You do you.

Another HSA fluttering of cash is the Chiro, which is a scene and a half. At least for me. Moving tables, dropping magic slots, that move before the big adjustment happens, and a quick stop at the payment counter. In and out within fifteen minutes. But possibly working. A little soon to tell. So I have found other ways to keep the alternative medical community in business. Next up, a massage with CBD oil. A great place according to reviews that covers every form of pain therapy including infrared baking. I am sure I will attempt. Positive. I agree pretty wishy washy and none based in traditional science that my Mayo doctor would sign off on. But no one is replacing my pelvis. Nope. Oh, they can’t. Just gonna re-rotate it as far back as it can go!

The oddness of the last two years brought service to our doors which is a help to anyone who is busy or recovering or both. Life is about living, not spending hours in a grocery store. Many, even my hubs would disagree. However, while food is necessary evil, I am going 2022 since driving makes me cry. Menu please. No. I went the route of emeals thru Walmart and their free delivery. Done and done. A whole week of keto fresh meals ready to be prepared came to my door. No tears plus healthy food is a win. Might keep this in our lives as the time it saved me to do other things today was amazing.

So, while the money train for any injury will always keep on running, as we all want to be back on our feet asap. The comforts of 2022 makes life under the rehab gun a bit easier as I get through my first week with my daily minimum of 3k steps, stretches, stim, heat, and freezing cold to take away the spasms of pain. All of which, would take the amount of time I would spend at Walmart.

back pain, chronic pain, echelon, family, fitness, granparent life, grey hair, keto, life

Sorry KWL

Truth be told. I can be a b****. While my life revolves around my family. I can be a bit much. Call it demanding. Not b*****. Better. Years ago my son was diagnosed with a back disease. Fast track to today and he has a million dollar back and hypothetically is the bionic man. It is genetic. But I have fought mine off, until this week. Pain brought me to my knees. To make it through the week before spring break with my 6th grade mayhem of love, I just kept saying, “What would Kyle do?” Then I cried, thinking of all the times, I have been critical of anything in his life. Not truly realizing that slap pain into life that does not abate takes over until you can just do so much and sometimes the fluffy life stuff does not matter. Truth. I skipped two showers. Could not do it. Did. Not. Care. I smelled of powdered shampoo, sweet oils, and the fragrance that was the closest to my grab on my make-up table.

I am sorry KWL.

So, I have faltered. Worst ever. But that is that. Now, I finally recover forever. I tend to overdo, over diet, and fail. Enough. Life is finite and being on a roller coaster is loopy and unproductive.

Onward.

Few steps back. Yes. But forward. Forever. The toughest part is where I am currently. Heating. Cooling. Resting. Walking at a snails pace for 10 minutes. The beginning. It’s where my FOMO sets in. Frankly, without social media there was no FOMO. It would be good to toss it aside right now, but not gonna try. Too much between food changes, back self-care, and trips to the chiro. So, my mindset is now changed to without healing there is nothing. And nothing is not acceptable.

No FOMO.

So, instead of running around and enjoying. I am canceling plans and scheduling me time. Healthy care, healthy eating, manicure and pedicure, hair and chiro, chiro, chiro, stretch, stretch, stretch, walk, walk, walk. While I heal (6-12 weeks total) I will putter around the house aka clean slowly and mindfully, organize my spring school clothes, aka as fashion, and put me first this time which will allow me to put what’s important to me back to its proper first place status now and forever and get over this crazy coaster I have been strapped into for the last twenty years. It’s time.

Ailment in a nutshell.

My back. But not. It is a pelvic rotation that is over 35 mm from normal. 8mm is severe. How have I survived twenty years. Who knows. Obviously, this inner movement tugs on the back. Greatly. Causing extreme pain especially when sitting and ooh, driving is a killer. But in my three chiro appointments I have seen relief. Since PT has been apart of my life for this. I know the drill of bridges and pelvic tilts. Yup. Three times a day. Everyday in accute stages. This classified. Other non-medicated methods are THC oil and Formula 303 (starting tomorrow) a natural muscle relaxant. Naproxyn, is on order for pain. Again, no addiction, thank you. If any of this becomes magic. I will blog and share. Heck. Gonna blog and share anyway to keep me going on this journey. Which kicked off today saying goodbye to my Echelon and Peloton friends for a minute. This was sadness. Five rides away from 200, 50 more miles away from my race goal. Poof. But today I got out, walked to a short Peloton program. While sharing with you about this pain that haunts, but could be worse I hope to gain insight and lend a positive spin on pain as the reality is mindset is part of the process. Millions are in pain daily. Maybe I will crack the code or just make you laugh along you own journey. One that only you can shoulder and usually in silence. Why? As I am finding out unless you can make pain happy or positive, no one wants to know. It must be catchy.

The contagious factor.

It’s not. But unless you experience relentless pain. You have no response other than to buck up, take an Advil, stretch, lose weight. Etc. Idiots. I was one.

I am sorry KWL.