Friday, March 30, 2012

A Letter to My Doctor

Names have been changed, not to protect the innocent or to shield the guilty, but to hide the identity and location of some of the most talented medical professionals to grace the planet. I don't want to lose access to them due to a sudden spike in earthly demand.

I just emailed my MDVIP Go-To-Guy. This was the subject line: "I made a decision..."

What an ominous subject line!

In the last few weeks, despite a STELLAR lab report [!], it's become clear that whatever infectious/inflammatory process is going on in my left shoulder/arm has not been stopped even with the very best efforts of a lot of good people, not to mention considerable pain, suffering, and pity parties here at home. Looking back at all the surgeries involved, it's equally clear that I've begun pushing my luck, since the post-op periods have become harder and harder; It also seems that CRPS has decided to take a dim view of these efforts as well, as it has spread up this left arm like wildfire in the past 8 weeks.

So when I saw Dr. ShoulderMan yesterday, I beat him to the punch and told him that the best option looks to be a flail arm. He tried to hide it, but he looked so relieved. As he said, "There are worse things."

I don't know where you stand on all this, but I hope you can follow my reasoning, such as it is. I don't think the odds of this problem killing me change one bit whether we proceed with another prosthesis (and then, in all likelihood, resume the chase for wily pathogens) or remove all hardware (and still, perhaps, cannot stop those wily pathogens). All things being equal, I'd rather not die in Lone Alp Hospital, with good-intentioned people poking my legs and telling me my whole problem is undiagnosed cellulitis.

So... I am not thrilled at the idea of a useless left arm and have many fears for the well-being of the right one. Fred is upset with me, but will get over it, I hope. Dr. ShoulderMan says that after about 3 months, the scar tissue that forms helps to provide some stability, and may enable more movement.

In other news -- I'm plagued, again, with spasms, almost always for an hour or two in the late afternoon, then beginning again between 8 and 10 pm. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. This one thing, more than any other, I cannot deal with...

Fever -- usual pattern, and staying mostly in the 100s -- for the last 8 days. Increasing pain in the shoulder, and returning pain in other bones as well, all of which is typical when fevers hit. And though it never seems to mean anything specific, I am exhausted! I am going to try and push myself some this weekend, as I need to get some stuff done around here. [ManorFest will not plan itself, y'know!]

That's about it. I think it's high time I stopped wasting medical resources -- looking over the bills from January and February, I am mostly shocked at the expense. There are more precious resources -- time, patience, and good will come to mind -- that have been wasted, too.

I am likely to get depressed thinking about the flail arm thing... My inspiration to counter that is going to be a young lady I've met online, named Hannah. Without complaint, she underwent a rotationplasty about two weeks ago. If she can do that and keep on trucking, I can do this little thing!

Take care -- and, as always, any ideas to defeat spasms are most welcome!

Retired Educator,

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