"Happiness is a Choice." quote taken from an interview of Drew Barrymore by Kevin Sessums

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mom and Dad Arrive

My parents arrive just a few days before Christmas, flying on Southwest and arriving at Dallas Lovefield. My sons go with me and we literally park at the only remaining handicapped parking spot. Not only does my mom need it, but now so do I. I hang my red handicap placard, grab a crutch and the three of us go inside.

To say that the boys love my parents is an understatement; they adore them. My mom does “quieter” things with them like arts & crafts, baking, reading, watching movies, etc. She is a confidant and a cheerleader. My dad loves to bowl and play cards and the boys are learning all of his tricks. He is more of the disciplinarian with them, but he loves them and they love him too. So when the boys learned that they were coming for Christmas, they are ecstatic. Not that they aren’t normally anyway, but since this was Christmastime and it was assumed they couldn’t come due to Mom’s recent surgery, this visit was extra-special.

So when their flight lands, the boys want to wait at the bottom of the stairway where the passengers then go to claim their luggage. Eventually they arrive and they finally see me with the crutch and Aircast. As I thought, the RSD reality is now very real. Their active, strong daughter is now a RSD patient.

Once we get home and they get settled, I show them how the Aircast comes on and off. They look at my left foot and ankle and immediately can see that the base of the pinky toe still looks bruised. Mom doesn’t like the coloring of my entire foot and she also notices the nail changes on three of the five toes. They see the swollen ankle and the peeling between my toes. They notice that both feet are incredibly wet and yet the skin is breaking down at the heels. They notice that even with bare feet, I walk at times like I have a pole up my ass.

Elizabeth had asked me to stop shaving my legs to see if I had hair growth changes and indeed I do on both legs. Shaving my left leg in particular is like having a mini-EMG and now that it is winter, I don’t give a damn about shaving.

The search for a physical therapist is going nowhere. Elizabeth wants me to receive therapy that includes water. I would not actually get in a pool, but I would be able to get my feet wet for some exercises and massaging. Turns out that none of the local therapists have any sort of water therapy and my insurance limits what kind of therapy it will allow and I pay $20 co-pay for each session. Elizabeth wants me to have three sessions a week so every week I would pay $60 just for therapy, let alone doctor appointments and medications for me and the rest of my family. How in the world can I afford that let alone handle someone “desensitizing” my foot? I swear if someone even tries, I might just clock him.

I am also horrified to experience some panic attacks in public. While trying to finish the Christmas shopping, I am noticing that by the time I am at the payment aisle, I am ready to crawl out of my skin. The room begins to spin, the pain level is high and I feel like I’m going to throw up; all I want to do is get out of there. More than once a cashier has asked me if I’m okay and I honestly say I’m not. I have always found it difficult to hide my feelings and emotions and now these overwhelming emotions are no different. I am perfectly fine with Mom going with me to see Elizabeth at my next visit, but I also know that my emotions will get the better of me. I am not doing what Elizabeth wants therapy-wise, I am now crying AND panicking in public, my left foot nails are ugly and overall I feel like I’m getting worse. What else can I expect to go wrong?

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