Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Side Effects

 So this treatment has had some interesting side effects, challenges you might say.  By Thursday evening though the aching pain in my bones was subsiding and I was feeling much better, less nausea and I was able to start cutting back on some of the meds.  About 4:00 Dad and I were sitting in the living room talking when out of the blue I get this shooting pain starting in my hip or back, I am not sure but then it shot like a lightening bolt down my left leg and into my left foot and instantly my left ankle and foot swelled up to about twice its normal size.  What is this?   It was quite painful and my ankle was weak and didn't feel like it would be able to hold me up.  So I limped into my bed room and hunted up my old ankle brace.

About nine years ago Larry and I were getting ready to go on vacation to the Keys.  I was happy and having lived in Key West many many years ago I always love to go back.  I was an Agriculture Teacher for Special Needs students in a school called May Sands in Key West before moving into social work there.  I only lived there 2 years and this was in the late '70s.  So as we are getting ready to head down there for a week I am dancing down the stairs to take the laundry to the washer which was on the first floor and I misjudged the steps and fell breaking the tip of one of the bones in my ankle.  My ankle and foot swelled up  and turned blue and I had to crawl back up the stairs where I again passed out on the couch.  When Larry came home there I lay with my foot elevated swollen up as big as a grapefruit and lovely colors of blue, green, purple and red.  So the next day as we were leaving town I stopped by for an X-ray, just to be careful and then we headed down to the Keys.  I did some walking on it, but it was terribly painful and a few days later I got a call from the lady babysitting the dogs to tell me that the doctor and the X-ray office had been calling and leaving messages.  They needed to see me right away.  So I called Dr. Mauney and he asks, "Where are you?"  I hemmed and hawed and asked him what was the matter.  He wanted me to go in for more X-rays and then to get into his office right away to discuss my broken foot.  Ooops, I thought for sure all I had done was twist it, which I had done, but I didn't realize I had broken anything.  I messed up the foot so bad that I was in a walking rocker boot for 2 years and then a leather foot brace for 5 years. And at one point the podiatrist wanted to diagnosis my condition as Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).  I said no thank you, I don't want anything else right now and I stopped going to see the podiatrist.  Symptoms of RSD include redness, swelling, weakness and pain.  I guess you can refuse to accept a diagnosis, but that doesn't mean you don't really have it.  And every once in a while I have a little flare up, but as long as I wore the brace, very few flare ups.  But when I moved up here I stopped wearing the foot brace.  I just took it off one day.  I bought real shoes and for the most part it has worked out just fine.

So flash forward to Thursday.  There I sit in the chair, the shooting pain and then all the symptoms of RSD.  But I had forgotten about all of that.  My foot continued to be swollen Thursday night and I had to get Dad to help a lot more as my ankle got weaker and the pain from  walking on it got worse.  It was finally too swollen to wear with the foot brace, so I had to take it off, and by this time, there is no walking.  So I take a Naproxin for the swelling and go to bed.  About 2:00am I went to get out of bed to go into the bathroom and did not give my foot a second thought, stepped out of bed on that foot and went straight down and then the pain reminded me that something had happened to my foot.  So I crawled to the bathroom.  The foot was red and swollen and could take zero pressure on it.  So I crawled back to bed, elevated my foot and then tried to think what I was going to do.  I obviously needed pain meds, but they were in my purse in the living room, I had no way of getting there and the pain slowly intensified from 2 - 5:30 when I again crawled to the bathroom.  By now I am weeping with the pain.  And I don't know what to do.  So I crawled back to bed and as close to 8 as I could wait, I called Mary.  I told here I was in excruciating pain.  And I have to say, this is the first time in my life that I have ever been able to use that term, excruciating.  I would say I was at a level 9.  On my chart, 10 is vomiting until you pass out.  Nine is excruciating with vomiting.  I was a 9.  I called Mary asked her if she could get me crutches, and yes, I needed her.  Could she come over?  Ms Moon voice trembled with the pain I felt.  She said of course and we hung up.  Then I heard Dad at the other end of the house, so I called to him as loudly as I had it in me.  He heard.  Dad has severe arthritis in his back and getting around is hard, but he came as fast as he could.  I told him where my purse was and asked him to bring it to me so I could get my pain meds.  I showed him my foot and explained what had been happening and that Ms Moon would be coming soon.  He got me my meds and I took them.  Would they work?  How long, how much longer could I take this pain.  I can handle the pain as long as I know there is going to be an ending.  I don't know what is going on with my foot, but I am sure that it isn't going to last forever, so I try to be less dramatic and stay calm.  

Ms Moon walked in with new crutches from CVS.  Isn't that amazing that they have crutches at CVS?   You can just walk in and get them.  Well, I guess if you need them, you might be having problems with walking in.  Anyway, now I could get out of bed.  I had already called Judy and the doctors.  I left an urgent message.  Normally when I call I say, "this is not urgent"  This time I called I said, "this is an urgent message."  And it was.  The nurse called back as Mary was there and helping me to get dressed to just drive to the doctors.  She said she would look and see when I could come in that day.  About that time, Bob my lab jumped up on the bed and kicked my foot a couple of times and I screamed and howled into the phone until I realized what I was doing and I threw the phone to Mary, grabbed my foot and rocked back and forth sobbing.  The nurse told Mary to bring me in now.  I guess I should thank Bob, maybe later.

So Ms Moon drove us to the doctors and I managed to get out of the car and into the office.  We sat next to a lovely woman who had lymphoma and then later they found lung cancer.  They can slow the lung cancer down, and it could go into remission, but they can not make it go away or necessarily even make it go into remission.  But she is an amazing woman with a positive attitude and looking forward to life and enjoying her grandchildren.  What a lovely woman.  So they call us back to see the doctor and the nurse walks up to the scale and directs me to get on it.  I can not put any weight at all on my left foot the ankle is still quite noticeably swollen.  The pain meds have kicked in and I am no longer in excruciating pain, but I am still no where close to walking, let alone hopping up on a scale.  So I looked at the small part to stand on, and I look at the nurse and I look at my crutches and I ask her how she wants me to get on the scale?  She gives me an exasperated look asks me if I weighed myself this morning and I must have looked at her like she was crazy, because she just said never mind and led us to the back room.  When the doc finally made it in, I gave him a brief history of the ankle and let him do his doctor thing which is of course to push on anything that looks like it hurts and say, "does it hurt here?"  I mean is this a class at med school or something?  And then after a few more questions he rolls back and says, "this is not from the chemo, I don't know what it is."  And that was that.  So Mary asked him if it was possible that there was a stress fracture, he looks down his nose at her and says that anything is possible.  So Mary snaps right back, well I don't think an elephant came in and sat on it.  He then wrote out a prescription to have it X-rayed and a note for him to be called ASAP.  Bottom line, no new fracture.  They could see the old one, but nothing new.  So I guess it is just RSD.  

And now it is Saturday, the foot is still swollen and my toes look like fat little pink pigs stuck on the end of a balloon half blown up.  My foot is red and hot but as long as I can get my brace on, I can walk, with difficulty, but I can at least get around.  Of course I have already been on my feet too much today and I am guessing that is why it is so swollen.  So I will keep my feet up as much as I can for the rest of the day and put ice on the foot.   

Dad and I have finished all but one person on his gift list, and he might be able to finish that one up tomorrow.  I ordered a few things on line for him, and did the best I could to get him all finished up.  I will have to order a few things tomorrow that I marked on my list and that will be the beginning of my Christmas shopping.  

Mr Moon brought Dad and I a wonderful dinner from the Rare Door last night.  Mr Moon is as sweet as his dear lovely wife.  Really.  This evening I will finally make some raviolis with sauce, a nice salad and some garlic bread for our dinner while we watch "Braveheart".  Dad had said he would like to see it, so I put in a request with Netflix, and it showed up in the mail this morning.  Perfect timing.  And then tonight my brother and his wife will drive in with their daughter and tomorrow we will all have breakfast and then they will head back home.  And Dad and I watched "Disconnect"  the new FC Rabbath film.  Ms Moon and her youngest, Mean Aunt Jessie are in it along with a lot of other talented actors.  It is a 30 minute film and a lot of fun to watch.  Ms Moon has a link to it on her blog and I think you would really enjoy hopping over to her site to see the movie.  Ms Moon is amazing in it. Yes, I am prejudiced, but even my dad was commenting on how talented she is, so there.

The foot is running its course, bad timing, but what are you going to do?!  I will keep it up, enjoy my last night with this visit with Dad and hopefully tomorrow it will continue to keep getting better.  Got to keep positive, just challenges that I have to work through, and really, nothing that bad.


  1. Good Lord Kathleen! You brave, brave woman! All I can say is never think it is a bad time to call anyone when you need help...your dear friends love you so much and if I lived near you , just like Ms. Moon I would be doing whatever was needed. Keep that foot elevated and please don't do a lot...TLC coming to you...

  2. Good Lord indeed! What are the odds that something that painful would flare up now? Cruel, and not at all fair. I am amazed at your strength in the face of such pain. And happy you have such a wonderful friend in Ms Moon. She is a fine actor, isn't she? When she cried in the movie, I cried.
    Take care, and wishing a much improved weekend.

  3. I am sorry to hear about your foot. I hope that it will resolve quickly for you, especially with your dad leaving soon. I know that it has been great to have him near.

  4. You SHOULD have called me at two in the morning and next time- DO IT!
    I would not have minded at all. And you know that.
    I will talk to you tomorrow. I sure do love you.

  5. Kathleen, you are a wonder! All of this awfulness and you deal with it with such thoughtfulness and humor.