Tag Archives: Healing

Eyeball update

It’s been almost three weeks since the surgery on my eye to remove a cataract. I thought it was time to give an update.

My old good eye is now my bad eye, although still pretty darn good. The surgery went well and I can see ten-times better. On my first post-op visit two weeks ago I was complaining about a slight double vision in the surgical eye. The surgeon gave it a good look and then offered a scenario where, because of the higher than normal pressure in that eye, I was probably having some swelling along the incisions. This would have the affect of giving some visual aberrations that should go away as the swelling goes down.

I think it’s safe to say she was right. Those doublings seem to have gone away.

So now I have lens inserted into both eyes. The old surgery (cataract surgery in 2008 on the right eye) is still in great shape. She said there is a slight bit of fogging on the old lens, but that can be taken care of by burning it off with a laser. That’s something they would do if the vision hits 20-25 in that eye.

I have one more post-op visit next month where they will do a full vision check and see if I need to be fitted for glasses. My distance vision is pretty darn good, but I need readers for computer work.

The miracles of modern surgery!

Hot Chocolate on a Cold Night

There are certain things in life, regardless of whether you live on Park Avenue or park bench, with the ability to instantly sooth the heartache of the moment. Some of these are the smile of a child, the warmth of a faithful dog lying by your feet, a letter from an old friend who laments your absence, or a cup of steaming hot chocolate on a cold night. Feeling the warmth of the vessel against your cold hands and the slight tingle of cocoa aroma as it connects with your olfactory system.  Savoring the taste when you raise the cup to your lips and sip the chocolate nectar as it spreads across your tongue, engaging taste buds in some kind of pagan dance ritual.

Certain foods have the ability to massage away the pains of the day, whatever they might be – a supervisor bellowing some unjust accusation, a bill collector twisting the knife of need in an already gaping wound, a family member disappoints or a lover without understanding. There is a sort of chocolate healing that goes on inside that steamy cup; the same kind of magic reserved for alignment of the planets or moments when providence shines through with good fortune.  Once consumption occurs, a spell unwinds through the marriage of cocoa and milk, heat and loving care, and begins to weave upon the willing recipient. Suddenly you see order where there was chaos, solutions for all your questions,  happiness in a barren soul, and light where there was only darkness.

And after you pull the cup of magic away from your lips and drag the flavor across the roof of your mouth, you search for words that can give scope to the experience, but fall flat as you exclaim, “Man, that is one good cup of hot chocolate.” Somewhere in the cosmic domain of the chocolate universe an Angel sighs, robbed again of a simple thank you.

Oh, if only all of life’s little bumps and bruises could be healed with a cup of hot chocolate, what a better place this would be.

“Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a long time.” ~Anonymous

Tis the season

Bell’s will be ringing; it’s Christmas time. A time of reflection and renewal – for gratitude and forgiveness. One lesson I have learned is happiness cannot be bought and paid for; it cannot be bribed or given out like candy at the Christmas parade. It has to be nurtured from the inside out. Anytime I hang my happiness on something outside of me, whether it’s another person, a job, an activity, or the things I buy, I am usually disappointed because they fall short of my expectations.

Not wanting to sound like a bumper sticker here, but happiness is an inside job. It’s coming to terms with yourself and deciding to accept life on life’s terms. All the money, property, or prestige in the world is not going to fuel the engine of happiness within me.  That must come with my own acceptance of where I am in life – how I feel about myself, the things I do, and what I can bring to life, not what life can bring to me. By learning that lesson, I have found that I can be happy regardless of my circumstances. So the solution, I have found, is to simply decide to be happy. It really is that simple.

So, what does all this have to do with the Christmas season? Not much, really. The internal components I am referring to relate to life in general, whether it’s Christmas Eve or National Dance Like a Chicken Day (May 14th in case you were wondering.)

You can decide to be happy this Christmas and be a positive influence to those around you. I know some people take prescribed medicines for clinical depression. By all means, take your meds, but at the same time be responsible and do the other things that promote healing. What it comes down to is making the decision to heal, to be whole – to find some peace amidst the turmoil of daily living.

Is it easy? Not in the least. It’s one of the hardest things to do. But, if I’m going to have any serenity in life I’m the one that has to put it there. There’s too many negative influences at play to leave my mental well-being to chance. I can’t tell anyone how to do it. They have to find what works for them. For me, I found it in the service of others – putting my needs aside and being available when opportunities for service arrive in my path. I’m one of those guys that believes everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. My part in it is to be open-minded and do the right thing when it’s before me.

So, in spite of whatever is going on as we transition into the holiday season, don’t put someone else in charge of your happiness. Disappointment is the likely outcome. Take charge of your life and find the happiness within. It’s there – trust me.

Oh, and Happy Fruitcake Day! (December 27)

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. ~Benjamin Franklin

How’s the shoulder? …and other questions

It’s been several days since I last blogged so I thought I’d give you an update.

A day over six weeks since the fall and I am in that zone they initially talked about.  The doctors offered up a healing time of six to eight weeks.  That was the initial evaluation.  Two weeks ago an orthopedist told me that realistically, I am looking at ten to twelve weeks from the time of the fall.  That would be end of September.

To quote Colonel George Taylor (Planet of the Apes): “… damn you all to hell!”

I was hoping to be back on Pearl and writing full time by now, but it’s just not happening.  I certainly don’t have the range of motion or strength in the arm to get back on the bike and any extended typing starts giving me a slow burn in the rotator.  Worst case I might have some rotator damage that will require surgery, but they won’t even begin to diagnose that until the hematoma heals.

So today, I am off for another visit to the Orthopedist.  I hope they move that time-frame again. I’d like to be back on Pearl by the end of August.

I’m afraid I am not a very patient patient.

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie. ~ Stephen King

The Walking Wounded

Between the drugs and the pain lives the walking wounded, a writer with a story and no way to tell it.

It’s been three weeks since the fall and almost that long since the last blog entry.  I figured it was time for an update.  Sleep has been fleeting, at best.  Can’t seem to find a comfort zone that will keep me in nocturnal bliss more than two hours at a time.  I want to do more than I can do and every now and then I will move a certain way and get a sharp reminder that I can’t.

I finally put it in perspective last week when I used the words “Broken arm” in a sentence.  It sounds much more definite than a “Fractured humerus,” now doesn’t it.

Anyway, I will be back at the VA a week from today getting a new X-ray and the next set of marching orders, which I hope includes exercising and moving the arm, which in turn gets me that much closer to being back on Pearl.

It also means I should be able to get back to doing a full days of writing.  Just these few short paragraphs have my shoulder in a soft burn.  It will be hard to make word count with this broken wing.

I want to write and I want to ride.  Sucks to be me.

“I write to escape … to escape poverty.” ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs

Our Day at the VA

The day was going to be a crap shoot from the git-go.  I had all the documentation. I had my discharge papers. I had the injury that guaranteed a pitiful look when I graced the doors of the Veterans Administration at 9:00 am.

What I didn’t have was an appointment or a VA Card saying that I was certified to receive veterans care. I knew with any kind of government bureaucracy involved, I was going to have to have a combination of luck and the right people sitting across the table from me as I went from triage to some kind of care.  Honestly… with everything I had heard about the VA, I figured I had a 50-50 shot of getting seen today.

So I did my part.  I looked as sickly as I could.  It wasn’t too difficult considering I was still recovering from the Lortabs they gave me at the ER on Sunday night. Couple that with the broken wing in the sling look and I had turned pitiful into an art form. Debi kept saying, “You look pretty sick to me.”

I wasn’t acting. I felt as bad as I have felt in many years.  At that point in time I had stopped taking the Lortabs almost 30 hours before, so I didn’t have to fake the pain – it was real and on my face.

The first stroke of luck happened as soon as I hit the ER.  The triage area was empty and they got me right in to see the nurse.  Considering I was not in the VA computer, she could do little more than take my vitals, I suppose to make sure I wasn’t on the verge of keeling over dead, and then send me to Roy.

Roy is the guy that looks at your paperwork and makes sure that you have everything you need to be put in the system.  My heart sank when I handed him my DD-214 (Discharge papers) and he said, “This is the wrong paper.”

I sheepishly responded, “That’s what they sent me from records.”

His, “We’ll make this do,” was very encouraging.  Fifteen minutes later, I was a full-fledged, bona-fide, patient of the Veterans Administration and the rest of the day was more about waiting.  Waiting, I could do.  At least I was going to be seen.

Long story short, they sent us up to the Urgent Care unit.  It’s more of a Doc-In-The-Box kind of place, except it seems to move at a little slower pace.  We waited there for an hour or so before the triage nurse there steps out and shouts, “Michael Mills!” (Okay, now you know the truth. Mickey is a nickname. As far as the VA and the IRS is concerned, I am a Michael. Keep that between us, okay?)

So the nurse takes be back and once more takes my Blood Pressure one more time.  I was shocked to see it much lower than it was Sunday at the ER.  It was 131/84, much lower than it has been.  She sets me up with a Physician’s Assistant.  By now it’s around 11:30

The PA gets us in and he starts asking me all kinds of questions about what happened, how I landed, did I hear any pops of bones breaking, and on and on.  Then he does something kind of strange.  He starts Googling something.  We were a bit taken back by the Doctor googling symptoms.  I think he picked up on our obvious distress and explained, “There is a specific view I want the x-ray tech to provide and I wanted to make sure I called it the right thing.”  I suspect that topic will be covered in some upcoming class at Med School.

So…. Off we go to Radiology to get x-rays done. By far, the worst part of the day. To get the special picture of the shoulder the PA wanted, the x-ray tech had to get my arm in a position it did not want to go in.  The pain was excruciating, but he got all the pictures and then some.

After a bit of lunch, we went back to the PA’s office for a 1:30 appointment, which didn’t start until 2:00.  It was the moment of truth.

The Humerus is that bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow.  It has the ball on top that fits into the rotator cuff.  I have a hairline fracture in the bone just below the ball.  The PA had a consult with an orthopedic guy and the verdict is:

1-      No surgery needed
2-      Six to eight weeks to heal
3-      Don’t screw it up any worse

After picking up pain meds (not Lortabs) and an anti-inflammatory at the pharmacy, we got out of there a little after 3:00.  All in all, the day was a resounding success.  We have a recovery plan.

A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever. ~ Jessamyn West