Trips to Houston
Trips to the Doctor can be described in many ways; "unpleasant" has never been one of those ways. I thought I'd share a part of these trips and give you an idea of what I go through when I have to get my femur (thigh bone) x-rayed.

My doctor is in Houston, Texas so I stay with my good friends, Karen, Gary, and Heather. Karen and I have been friends since the 8th grade... We've been through a lot together.

First, let me introduce the rest of the Houston family, there's Smokey; a big fluffy, Queenie-type female cat... Pepper; a young, pouncy, tigger-type, male cat... and then there's Buddy. Buddy's the "little brother", Baby Huey type, male Rottweiler... You know, big as a pony, yet immature.. like a scaredy-cat, Mama's baby. -- I love them all.

Well, upon my arrival... and believe me, it's a BIG event... with the 4-leggeds anyway. I have to go through the Greeting Rituals. These consist of several, varying stages. First there's the dramatic elation with bumping and licks from Buddy... This is the most dangerous, as I'm not the best crutcher as is, much less with over 100 lbs. of jubilating happiness bouncing around me and the crutches. This stage usually ends with Buddy being held at bay, through tremendous efforts, while I quickly proceed to the nearest chair.

Then Buddy is once again released to continue with stage two in the Greeting Ritual... "The head" - it's bobbing and tossing everywhere and could indeed bring about a concussion if one does not watch carefully and take the necessary defensive maneuvering tactics to avoid collision. Then there's "the paw"... This one can, and does, keep the non-consistency of my skin coloring. Yes, I have black, blue, yellow, and purple tones on legs, arms, and chest, to stir up fond memories of my greeting rituals during my Houston visit.

(Oh yes, the rituals occur every time I enter the house... even if I've only been sitting on the back porch for a few minutes.) The next stage is the worst, though the less dangerous.. "The tongue" - yes, I can be as attentive as a cat to a bug, but I can't ever keep dry through this stage of the ritual. How something so big can be so fast, I'll never understand! In less than the blink of an eye, Buddy can slime (term of endearment for slobber wetness) my arm from elbow to armpit! What makes it so bad is that I'm super, MeGa ticklish! Plus, I just don't care to be slimed... anywhere! But, like I said, I love Buddy, so this is tolerated with a slight moan and a towel is usually already on the way to me. I've now been in the house about 5 minutes...

Pepper is nearby, usually rubbing on a crutch since Buddy is probably blocking him from my legs. Sensing the major harmful stage of the ritual is nearing an end, Pepper will jump onto my lap for his greeting rubs. Smokey has maybe come to peek in the door at me, but most likely stayed on her "Throne" pillow overlooking the events. I continue to pet Buddy, and play a little "fetch" with Pepper... if Buddy doesn't take off with the fetch-item. It's a coordination test to keep Buddy happy with patting and coos of adornment while playing fetch with Pepper, and talking to Karen during all this. Then Pepper will usually get carried away with his crumpled-paper hockey, ending up in another room, so Buddy is all mine and depending on how bad my leg is now hurting, I either continue to visit with Karen and rub Buddy, or I go take a nap...

Heather gets in from school and is off again for somewhere... Or her friends come over and it's another social thing... In the evenings, Karen and I talk while she prepares dinner, then Gary gets in and we will sit on the sofa and watch a good movie, or just talk, enjoying each other's company. Then Buddy becomes insistent to lay his head on my leg... yes, the broken one. So we use the distraction method to get him away from the sofa while I use the crutches as a barricade. The very idea is noticeably offensive to Buddy, and he will whine sometimes, but has never attempted to "break through" this barricade. I usually give in and let him get more close hugs a few times before bed time.

The day of the doctor's visit, Karen gets Buddy distracted while I hobble to the car. We go through the automatic gate (to keep the cows out of the yard) then another (to keep the cows IN the pasture.)

It's about a 45 minute drive, then we pull into the garage valet parking. (At this point, it's storming... It's ALWAYS storming... Why is that?) The guy gets my wheelchair out of the trunk, then Karen pushes me to the opposite end of the building, and we board the elevator, usually without hitting too many people, then proceed up to the 26th floor. (Last time, I hobbled it on my crutches, for the first time... arriving in need of the first chair, huffing and puffing with extremely high blood pressure... but, I think it's good to "test" my abilities.)

The nurse calls my name while signaling me to the room, where I begin to go through the Greeting Rituals with all the nurses, doctors, x-ray technicians, and assistants. (Yes, I'm a celebrity-type there... being a "miracle" patient.)

Then I'm whisked off to the x-ray table... once the x-rays are approved, I go back to the room and then Dr. Smith comes in, gives me a hug, then tells me the news about the x-rays... The femur's not healing, and neither is the knee joint. Then we go into "torture" time... He lifts, bends, wiggles and swings my leg until I scream... then says, "hmmm.. I just don't know about that knee. Sometimes they can take a long time." After hearing that for FOUR years, this last time (thanks to Mike and Noquisi telling me about herbs) he said, "It's amazing, the femur is 75% healed! The knee joint is also beginning to mend! It's only a fraction of a percent, but it is definitely beginning to heal." YaY!! No bone graft surgery this time! However, once it's 100% mended, I will have to have surgery to remove the metal rod from the femur bone. (The metal rod is in the center of my bone from the hip joint to the knee joint.)

Update June 10, 1999::: Well, the bone didn't set properly, so I did have to get the bone graft surgery. I am back to phase one of the healing again, but soon I shall be ready to race the snails again.

Update June 10, 2000::: S-l-o-w-l-y I crutch, step by step... (yep, still waiting)

Update November 18, 2000::: FINALLY some good news: My femur is about 90% mended! (It was less than 10% in June!) There is still the wait for the crushed knee joint to mend, but it's trying... about 10% now. At least I know I am finally mending properly and know I will have my day of release from the wheelchair and crutches! YaY!

Update February 14, 2001::: My femur is still mending ok. The knee joint is about 11% mended. It's a major wait situation, but I finally got an electric wheelchair. Every bit of independence is a huge help.

Update September 22, 2001::: This is new: after a week of pain and being unable to keep anything down... not even Mom's homemade chicken broth, Mom calls 911! Yes, at 4 in the morning, we light up the neighborhood with flashing lights, siren and all. I thought it was an intestinal virus and definitely dehydrated, as did the EMT at first, but when I arrived at the hospital, they said I had a gallstone blocking a bile duct and it had to be removed... then they said my blood sugar was 1750! The norm is 90-120. They said I should have been dead, or at least in a coma. (Not "my time.") So, they worked with me 5 days, filling me with liquids, in ICCU and finally got my blood sugar down enough to remove the stone. Then the next day they said my gallbladder was "attacking" my Pancreas, causing Pancreatitis, meaning it no longer produced any insulin for my body (Diabetes). They removed the gallbladder (surgery #23) and now I'm giving myself insulin shots waiting for my Pancreas to heal. Yes, Mom and I are going to a diabetes specialist and dietitian to learn how to eat again.

Update February 9, 2004::: After looooooooong waiting, the femur is finally beginning to mend again. There is only a small, teensy, hairline bit left to complete the mend. Then, it's another story for the knee, hip and back. My diabetes is now better. I can keep on the same food plan and take pills. No MoRe SHOTS! Yay!

... I'm not sure when it started; but, I knew something was wrong when I watched a neon green snake fly across my bedroom. They call it "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" - One more doctor... one more pill. My brain used up so many "stress-helping" chemicals that it can't make any more, so I see and hear things that aren't really there. It was kind of entertaining until the mafia starting surrounding my house... oh boy!

Update July, 2005::: The metal rod in my femur broke Feb 26th. Doc says they just lose strength after so many years, and snap. It didn't break through my bone, thank goodness! Once again an ambulance trip. The bone doctor here doesn't want me as a patient due to all my complications, so I get ambulanced off to my Houston surgeon, Dr. Smith. This I don't mind... I love my doctor, he knows all my complications and history, plus the EMT's who took me the 500 miles, were great! We had nice visits and naps. Stopped for burgers. It was a fun trip, and yes, I was drugged, but I know I would have enjoyed it anyway. :) Doc replaced the broken rod with a titanium rod. They do NOT break. He compressed it adding to the healing process. Once again, I am in the waiting stage...

Update Oct, 2006::: FINALLY, after 12 years, my femur has mended! ~\o/~ My crushed knee joint still has a lot of mending, but it's about 15% mended. The pressure is far less with the femur now mended. I return for more testing in March, 2007 to determin if it has set well enough to remove the metal rod. It's exciting and frightening all in one big emotion.

Update March, 2007::: I'm still crutching around, but it's getting easier. The other doc is still trying to regulate the meds for the stress disorder. No more snakes, but still hear police radios and see dudes with machine guns now and then. At least I know they aren't real, but at a 3am wake startle, I tend to forget that. Probably means more meds. (sigh)

Update Jan, 2008::: I can now hobble without the crutches! 14 years in the doing, but by golly I can WALK! I do have a limpy gait, but it's not too bad. I can go about 10 minutes, then have to sit to straighten out my leg, and rest my back. I still have the titanium rod in my leg, but I guess it's strong enough that I can keep it in my bone. That's one surgury I get to skip!

Update Jan, 2009::: Well, now it's been 15 years since the wreck, and I can honestly say it's been a heck of a time. I am so grateful to be blessed with all the wonderful people I've met, and the opportunity to learn so much. Yes, I have my problems, but I still feel the uplifting force of joy at knowing I am definitely still here for a reason. The knee joint is still not mended, but the pain is much less, and I can walk about 15 minutes now. I seldom need the crutches, and the only shadow lingering is the possible back surgery.

This, I can handle... for I have the love and support of my medical team, family, and friends... and all, yes even the slimer friends, are appreciated for their unwavering support.

May, 2010:::::::: I just can't believe it's actually TwentyTEN! Not only am I still here, but HUMANS are still here! YaY!!
My wimpy-limpy walk is better. I can almost pass for a "normal"... well... ok, maybe not; but, I don't go weak at 20 minute intervals anymore. I walk my pal Fluffy every night from one firehydrant to the other, and though we get home drooping, huffing and puffing; by golly, we get home without stopping. :)

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Copyright 1998-2010 by Snowhawk
This writing began March 17, 1998
Page Title: Houston Trips
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