My doctor died and I’m really sad

I had this great doctor. He helped me get through a very rough and frightening time. And he died. Suddenly. Like I saw him a couple of weeks ago and have a prescription in my purse suddenly. When I got the letter from his office I thought maybe I had an overdue bill or something.

All those things that people write for condolences, saddened, shocked, I really feel that. He’d been someone I knew I could go to with my health issues. He’d made me feel like we were partners in my health care. He was kind, conscientious and a little bit weird. Just my kind of person.

This is the first time I’ve felt this way about someone I wasn’t related to. I’ll find another doctor, but I won’t find another him.

This surprises me not at all

So I read this article on the National Geographic site. And the information it contains surprises me not one bit. I never really had a garden before my husband and I moved into our house when we got married. And I can’t say that it’s ever been really gorgeous, but it’s been a sanctuary ever since we put chairs out there.


Once I did that we pretty much stopped using the living room. And once I really started spending time out there I found out how soothing it was. While there’s still environmental noise, there’s no tv, radio or computer. And while there is traffic noise, no way to get away from that  in Southern California, there’s also bird song. And birds.

And now they’ve found that not only do I enjoy it, it’s good for me. One more, really good, excuse to go outside and do something besides sit in front of my computer.



Another bad night

Had another bad night last night. It seemed like all the muscles below my knees cramped up at the same time and just wouldn’t stop. The pain from already sore muscles cramping up again was so bad it had me in me in tears, trying to stretch one side of my leg without triggering cramps on the other. Again, the kitty followed me around the bed as I moaned and cried. When I leaned my head on the bed trying to catch my breath when the cramps finally started to subside, she was right by me. When I finally got back into bed to go back to sleep, she curled up beside me. Our kitty actually wants me to feel better. This too brought tears to my eyes.

I am not having a good time.

I have not been feeling my best for a while now. For the last few months I’ve been sleeping a lot and feeling generally fatigued. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that I has starting to have joint pains and vague muscle aches. All the symptoms of just before I was diagnosed with lupus years ago. I decided that rather than wait to see if the symptoms would snowball I’d go to the doctor and find out for sure. My suspicions were well founded. After decades of dormancy my lupus is active again. Ah shit. I think I know why. I had a horrible cold while I was on vacation this year. I was actively sick for almost 10 day and then another month before coughing went away. The general malaise never did.

Right after the doctor told me, I was afraid it was because of my job. At the same time I went from a low stress job to a high stress job. And while I’m sure that change didn’t help, it really bothered me to think that it might be the cause. When I remembered about being sick I was actually relieved. I’m also happy that I was right about how I was feeling. Makes me feel like I’m not crazy or malingering.

One of the things that’s going on is that for the past couple of nights I’ve been having lower leg cramps so bad that I wake up screaming in pain, startling the heck out my husband and the cats. I basically leap out of bed and try to get my legs in a position that will stretch out the muscles. Unfortunately, that’s a bit difficult when both shin and calf muscles have seized up. And it doesn’t help that our bed is so high I have to stand on my toes to get into bed. It’s kind of funny, but the younger cat, after the first time, just took it in stride, following me on the bed as I walked back and forth. I don’t know whether she was trying to comfort me or just saw it as another opportunity to get petted.

If I’m honest with myself

I’ve been totally freaking out every time Mom has some procedure done at the doctor’s office or hospital lately.

Last Thursday it was a bone marrow sample. She called me at work and told me she might be a bit late getting home (we were supposed to have dinner) because the doctor was taking a bone marrow sample.

And again, though not as bad, I got really anxious. Fortunately she was home by the time I got there and all was well for the time being.

I spent some time thinking about it this weekend. Initially I thought it was just because of what happened with Dad, and while that is a component of my anxiety, it is by no means the whole of it.

From everything I’ve been reading lately, and yes, our experience with Dad, there is less and less that can be done to help you as you get older. And the risks of any interventions (procedures, surgeries, what have you) get higher as you get older. Most of my family, Mom included don’t seem to be considering that there are risks to everything.

And sometimes the reward just doesn’t seem worth it to me. The stent she had put in 12 days ago doesn’t seem worth it. She’s had quintuple bypass, a couple of which have closed off. She’s had a couple of stents put in already. But she went to the doctor and said she didn’t feel good and he tried to make her feel better. But he told youngest sister that her heart is functioning at about 40% efficiency. And there’s really nothing he can do that will change that. I don’t think the risk was worth it.

She’s had to put off the one thing that might improve the quality of her day-to-day life. She has ulcerative colitis that has made her miserable for years and recently got a new doctor. He wants to do a colonoscopy/endoscopy and won’t change any of her treatments until he’s done that.

It’s the one health complication she has that might improve with the right treatment. And now she has to go through another couple of months worth of misery until the cardiologist says it’s OK to go ahead with the scoping. The whole thing makes me want to tear my hair out.

The same thing goes for the bone marrow study. What are they going to do if it’s something besides simple anemia? If it’s some sort of cancer or something. There’s no way she could survive chemo or radiation. She’s been frighteningly fragile since the beginning of Dad’s illness. She already takes enough iron to build a battleship, which doesn’t help her digestive issues. I don’t think giving her more is practical. Another useless and quite painful procedure.

So, if I’m honest with myself the reason I keep freaking out when she has stuff done is that I’m really afraid that more harm than good is being done.