Sunday, June 29, 2014

MRI's, Doctors, Postponements and Dead chickens.......

My birthday is tomorrow.  Last year I was catching groundhogs and it was 
the best birthday present ever!  This year ....... OYE!  And can I just say I would like a do over for 2014?  What is up with this year?!  It started in January and just keeps rolling.  Enough already! 
Had a tooth pulled, back went out, and now a knee has revolted.  In some small way I wonder if my subconscious knew what was coming because I could have never done shows this year, or taken care of a dog or half the other stuff I usually do.  

When the back went out, an anti inflammation diet was recommended.  Great!  Toss out the grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, all sugar and move to a plant based diet with a little meat thrown in for good measure and a handful of pills, vitamins and herbs. 
I bought a vitamix although now in hindsight I could have just used the pugmill!  But that 2 1/2 hour cleaning would have done me in.  I love the vitamix and have just about smoothied myself to death. 

After too long I realized my back was great and I could touch my palms to the floor without screaming but I went back to the chiropractor because I wondered why my knee was swollen and radiating pain and I was eating too many ibuprofen.  
She ordered X-rays and we both figured it was arthritis.   X-rays back and the joint is intact and looks great!  Well that made me skipy but I fell over.  And I immediately became aware of all the four legged creatures I have ever known.  This two legged, bipedal thing is not so great if 50% or half  goes bad, it's not like I have three others to fall back on.  We just tip over.

 She ordered an MRI.

I have never had an MRI and had no idea what a treat I was in for.  When I arrived with knitting and a stack of Mother Earth News to read, I was told it would take about an hour and I would need to be very still. 
Well there's a challenge.  Ushered into a small room, fill out a form with weird questions, like do I have  a plate in my head and ordered to take off anything metal.  The woman checked me over and said..... Nope, you're wearing a belt and clean out your pockets.  Well there's a private peek into my life...... a couple hex nuts, a huge cotter pin, two quarters (making me immediately happy), two green acorns, a bluejay feather and a cool stone.  Yup, that's it!  

Then we walked to another room with giant white tube.  Hopped on the table.... WAIT!  I forgot my knitting!  Oh you can't knit.  You're going in the tube.  Oh no I'm not.....I thought just my leg was going in the tube.  And she laughed.....  just lay back and here's your panic button.  For what?  and she pressed another button and the whole flipp'n table started taking me into the tiny little tube!  I pressed the panic button!  Hey I think this is the wrong test, is this a stress test?  I signed up for the MRI.  Honestly my heart is racing just typing this out.  And then she asked...... are you claustrophobic?  No.  
and she pressed the damn button and back in the tube I went..... then I reached my arms over my head so I could grab the top of the tube and shoot myself out if I had too!  What demented person invented this thing?  I'm thinking he was a test tube baby.....   With heart racing and fighting the flight or fight thoughts running through my head.  Two tears slid down the sides of my face and into my ear canals and then the voice over the microphone said.... ok here we go..... DON'T MOVE!   I yelled out, wait a minute!  Cleared my ears, put the head phones on that were offered, tilted my head back so I could see the ceiling behind me, ignoring all neck cramps and we began.  It was like laying in a jack hammer.  When it was finally over and she asked me why I hadn't fallen asleep I just looked her and calmly said;  Get me out of this thing now.  And then she said....... Oh my did you have a panic attack because we could have blindfolded you!  my inside voice said; WTF?   I asked her if she was practicing her hostage taking skills?  She smiled and said you are lucky it was your knee and not your hip because then you would have had to go to the middle of tube!!  Nope.  
A friend later told me to take a jelly jar full of bourbon next time.  There will be no next time! 

After years of gardening, speed skating, landscaping, wedging clay on a cement floor I tore my meniscus.... I didn't even know I had one to tear.   

They cut me loose and said report to an orthopedic surgeon for surgery.  
The hunt began a week ago.  And do we all have our stuffing come out because the 
best date I could get in to see anybody is July 29th!  Then I blew a meniscus in my head somewhere.
Seriously, 6 weeks?  I called two pages of Dr.s, one was booked until the end of Sept. 
The best encounter to date:  Told receptionist I had a flap tear and needed surgery.  Receptionist says:  Oh, the Dr. only does knee replacement surgery but why don't we schedule you because if the tear is really bad we can just do a joint replacement!!!  and then my head blew off..... 
I had the feeling if you sat in his waiting room too long you were getting a knee replacement even though you really don't need one.  

And I can tell you how this is going to go down.
1. By the end of July I will have come to terms with the 
pain and swelling and learned to live with it and just forget about the busy Dr's. 
2.  I will youtube the surgery channel and fix it myself..... kinda like the kitchen project. 
3.  I will call the vet, have him fix it and get a free puppy....  they do anesthesia by the pound.

Gardening is a lot better when you can bend your knee..... 

Along another line, the business line of life: 
Next weekend should have found me moving into a new gallery space at W78th street studios.  
I have prepared, waited, put off other shows to move in.  It's a 650 square foot space, it's a lot to get ready.  It's a lot to fill.  Friday night we ran into the owner and I said I was really looking forward to moving in next week.  And he said oh the space won't be ready for another 3 months.  
And when were you going to tell me this?  
OK I know mercury is retrograde and there is just a lot of crap swirling around the heavens right now but honestly this is just bad business and bad communication and you sir have screwed with the way I earn a living.  I wrote a bridge burning letter but after talking it over with a good friend decided not to burn the bridge, get the surgery, grit my teeth and wait.  I am writing a letter concerning communication skills........ in a PC way and not my flame throwing, underpants on fire way.
I have delivered all the pots that were slated for my awesome gallery opening out to other galleries. 

Then yesterday one of the chickens died.  She had been sort of moping around and had never really recovered from last winter.  Yesterday morning she really struggled to get down from the coop and out in the yard.  I picked her up and placed her in the yard, she didn't seem to interested.  It was intensely hot yesterday and she was dead when I checked on her in the afternoon.  I walked over to the door to let the other girls out.  Usually when I open the door they bolt for the grass but today they ran over to the dead chicken and then ran back to me.  I know, she's gone, go eat bugs, I'll take care of it.  I picked her up and placed her in the fresh grass of the compost pile.  The gang of eight wandered around the compost pile while I returned with the shovel.  No, you girls go eat bugs, they finally moved along. I shoveled out a deep hole big enough for a chicken. (and had a lightbulb moment of how I screwed up my knee, digging holes!)  With the hole dug deep, I went back to the compost pile, picked up the chicken and returned to the gapping hole in the azelea bed.  All the other chickens were standing around the hole looking in.  I placed the old girl in the hole, where all eight chickens looked down in the hole for a few seconds.  I took up my shovel and the gang of eight returned to eating bugs while I filled in the hole.  You were a good chicken and you will be missed........  we are now down to eight. 


  1. at first I thought you were burying the chicken in the compost !
    Sorry to hear about your chicken, and your knee. It really sucks that our parts wear out !

  2. I feel your pain dear friend! Aging sucks - but considering the alternative I am happy to be here.

  3. Bad knees, check.
    Bad back, check.
    Getting old, double check.
    I have bad knees but I find walking helps,and, certain exercises. The first thing THEY want to do is replace.
    I'm not big on having you cut me open. There has to be a better way.
    Love the chicken story, somehow they knew.
    Get better soon and avoid the quacks, a
    I'm not talking about ducks.

  4. Oooooo chickens in the compost pile..... yuck but a great resting spot! Gosh it was like the viewing for the gang of 8. Maybe there should have drinking involved before the send off :)

    My brain is in denial on the aging factor, my body is now reminding my brain. Ahhhhh the alternative. I have starting thinking long and hard on that very thing. My goal and indeed I think everyones goal is to slow down painlessly. So many people I've worked or lived with over the years just went like hell until the day died. They kayaked, fished, gardened like there was no tomorrow. I intended to go that road. I only heard one friend who lived to be past 100 say: This aging thing is so cruel, I cannot believe this is how a life well lived ends. He was a farmer, Mr Gordon Barter. I think I now get his point.

    Yup, Meredith that cutting you open is just not in the game plan. I googled myself silly on this and there doesn't seem to be a good alternative, except to live with it. And the snake oil just isn't cutting it :)

    I am amazed this has all gone to hell in a hand basket in less than 5 months.

  5. If I didn't have the brain of a ten year old, I would probably realize my body didn't match the brain age, but ignorance is bliss, haha! My body is doing ok, it's the eyes and the ears I'm losing!
    Yep, I thought you were tossing the chicken in with the compost too, wondered what drugs they gave you with that doc visit, HA! Poor chicks, they had a little chicken funeral.... I love seeing your grown up girls, seeing what mine will soon become :)

  6. OMG! You have been thru and are dealing with a lot these days. If you were in Canada, altho' our medical system is 'free', you'd have lots of time to think about your decisions ... My uncle waited 6 months or so to see a orthopaedic guy and then another year for surgery! A friend of mine just went thru knee surgery ... It's a long road to recovery and she still needs the other one done. Lots of decisions ahead of you. Take care, my friend!

  7. Tracey! Gotta say after reading your blog post on meds I was right there! Turned down every pain pill they tried to give me. The over the counter ibuprofen works when I need it and honestly that is not too often.

    and on those chicks...... the best is yet to come!!

  8. Brenda, wow! 6 months and then a year! Wow...... yup I'm going youtube, worked on the kitchen plumbing!

    perhaps a bit of bourbon in that smoothie :)

    I hate the wasted time sitting in Dr. offices it drives bonkers! I foresee knitted hats for everyone this year!

  9. sandy ,sorry to hear about the trials of this know, my knee sort of 'sploded last autumn..mahjor swelling,pain etc...since it was the end of the old health care and a delayed start of the new, i just waited and long as it is getting better, even slowly, i will just nurse this thing..i'm pretty sure there is arthritis, and too much weight bearing issues..i changed to zero drop yet cushioned shoes to get rif of the forward tilet. in my mind, it think i probably tore a miniscus or something. then i read that 35 per cent of us are walking arounf with torn menisci, and that sometimes , stuff does heal...
    my nightmare was what you said..that no matter what, the doc would be primarily interested in doing a fokking knee replacement.
    i discovered bicycling feels great. i also hauled my ass through countless stairways in china with a walking stick and , though it was ugly, the knee responded positively as strength is 9 months later..i still have this gnawing feeling that my knee may 'go out' again, but i have to say that it seems to have healed. i will never take certain movement for granted, and i may have done my last full on funk dance on the dance floor, but i am determined to figure out how to live positively with the creaks and ows as long as, who has 60,000 for a knee replacement...if i come to apoint where i really need it,i will consider it, but i think the rate they overprescribe these things borders on criminal..and problems do not always go away..i know many who are on their second or third replacement.
    cartilage tendons,ligaments take upwards of 9 months to heal. not trying to give advice here, just facing some of the same damn on, lovely lady!
    stephani Stephenson

  10. oh and i forgot! strategic use of ice packs and knee braces. the ace kind that have a splint down each side. they kind of suck, but on some days , or even for a few hours on a certain day, they keep everything supported, in place, and not grating together like two grinding stones. my knees tend to get worse when i am tired or have had a long day. periodic use of the above, reduces overuse and subsequent inflamation, pain ,etc...though, again, they look hideous . :)

  11. Stephanie! Welcome!! OMG! thank you so much for sharing this!! There is this huge part of me that thinks it will heal.
    So wait for this one! More than one Dr. keeps saying, Well you know at your age you just need surgery. But my Xray clearly states no arthritis and the joint is in good shape.

    I had a 10 hour day in the studio on Sat. and even with cushy mats I'm painfully aware I am standing on concrete although doing laps around the slap roller at mach speed, I'm sure is not too great for an injury.

    One Dr. said swim, bike ride or get yourself on eliptical, all are good for your knees. Lay off walking on concrete and sand and take a break from jogging. Just blew the dust off my bike.

    The knee brace helps ..... a lot! But again Dr. warned against wearing it too much as it weakens the knee and the muscles will never be supportive again.

    So huge thank you for sharing! Honestly I wonder how I will be this old knee will be in six weeks. Wouldn't it be grand if the swelling was gone? Maybe waiting is a good thing :)

    Party on in that mini skirt and stiletto heels, I say rock that knee brace! hmmmm but then I'd have to shave my legs...... :)

    Don't you wonder what people did 30 or 40 years ago? It doesn't seem like joint replacement has been around that long. Now they are done in numbers that are just staggering. I think it's nuts and money driven.

  12. oh, Happy Birthday!!!
    You know, I'm not all woo woo into natural healing and everything, but I do believe in the power of the body to heal itself with a little help from nature. Since I have started making soaps, I have been reading about healing herbs and essential oils. I made a serum for Gerry's scar and you would not believe how well it is healing. I wonder if there is some sort of natural remedy for knees and torn things.....
    I also have a friend doing acupuncture for her knee with great results. We don't always have to go under the knife.
    I also found tequila very helpful for pain, haha!

  13. Thank you Tracey! I'm not so much into the woo woo healing but I do have a very nice woo yellow glaze :)

    I do believe we have fallen so far from what a healthy lifestyle is, it is now considered out of the realm of normal. I will say the anti inflammatory diet, though severe is helping immensely. Turmeric and Ginger, also helping immensely! It took about a month to really notice the difference but last month I could barely walk erect. I think we need to use it all! I haven't found western medicine very good at prevention and I don't want a pill for everything that ails me if I can eat a stalk of celery instead. This is my first experience with ibuprofen and it has allowed to me sleep on those occasional nights I can't get my head away from the pain.
    Ha..... is it possible to have balance? Oooooo stay tuned on that one :)

  14. I too think that Dr's are too quick to operate and not wait to see if you can heal on your own with some gentle therapy. Maybe the fact that no one can see you in short order will be a blessing in disguise. I hope you are feeling better soon.

  15. Happy Birthday! Toes crossed that the next year will have you dancing round the sun again!

    RE: The Knee.....I tore my meniscus several years ago; not badly, but painfully. I was fortunate to have an orthopod who agreed that I had nothing to lose with therapy. His group maintains a therapy center that worked wonders for me. It took about eight weeks but it did work. I did have a long term cortisone shot to deal with the initial pain and swelling. I don't know what your resources are, but you have nothing to lose with trying therapy first!
    Remember the old ad, "You're not getting older you're getting better!"? Somebody had a strange sense of humor there!

  16. Good Morning Michele' I think the wait is now good. Have done a bit of poking around with several Dr. friends and they too are saying the wait is ok. I guess when you tack the word surgeon after your name you just don't have many options to offer.......

  17. Morning Suzi! Thank you!! Stayed in the studio all day and it was pretty great :)

    Thank you so much for sharing you knee experience. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that Dr.s really suck at looking at other alternatives. If you are a surgeon they only want to talk about PT after they do the surgery. Seems backwards to me. In the month that I wait it seems like there should be something proactive I should be doing but there is no advise to be given. Finding the whole thing quite frustrating and I am not talking about knee......... :) Dancing is the studio is on my list....... sooner than later!

  18. Nice post Sandy. You know you're getting old when your back goes out more often than you do. I've been inside that tube and I fill it up a lot more than you do. Not a lot of fun. Good luck with the knee.

  19. Hi Dennis, thanks :)

    arghhhhh you've been in the tube?! I have no words for the tube and when I found out some lucky people have to go all the way in the tube I don't even know what to say! I would need PTS therapy.

    great to be a potter in this sultry Ohio heat :)

  20. As for the inflammation, I am using coconut oil. It's supposed to fix everything wrong with you. I'll get back to you on that, though I am noticing some changes. Also letting you know there are open mris so one doesn't have to go through the claustrophobic hell of the jackhammer tube. Didn't find that out until after my mri. By the way, they mri ed the wrong body area for me.

  21. Sorry about your dead chicken. Interesting that the other chickens observed the passing of their fellow fowler much like people do.

  22. Sorry about your dead chicken. Interesting that the other chickens observed the passing of their fellow fowler much like people do.

  23. You have my sincere sympathy! it is horrid how the body can give so much trouble, and it can be frightening finding every-day things difficult or impossible to do when joints break down like this. I do hope that you are healing. You manage to write such an entertaining and funny blog, in spite of the pain! I love the description of the MRI.
    Kind Thoughts, P

  24. Peter, thank you! The hobbling has kept me in the studio and that seems odd for this time of the year, imagine you are wearing sweaters now :) Time to pop over and see what you're up too!

  25. Hey Wendy, thanks! Trying everything at this point :)