Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some Days Are So Hard - Like Today

I am exhausted. Completely emotionally drained. This was a very bad morning. A bad morning that began last evening when Michael received a phone call from our primary care physician saying that they were fixing to fax paperwork to Michael's work clearing him for duty. Now, just to give you an idea of how absurdly shocking this is, let me walk you through a typical day here:

-Morning: Michael takes Tylox, Neurontin, Flexeril, & sometimes Advil to get out of bed then grabs his crutches to walk to the dining table for breakfast. He has to sit in an ultra padded office chair that allows him to slightly recline. After breakfast, he uses this chair to roll himself over to the computer (or anywhere around the house). Sometimes he sits in the recliner for a bit.

-Afternoon:  His pain is worsening a bit (uh huh, you read that right, he's even worse now), so that the crutches & chair that were helpful earlier are now needed for movement. He eats lunch with us, takes more meds, & lays down. This is at my insistence, because I've seen how staying up & trying to help me (again, from his chair) are making his pain worse. 

-Evening:  Michael is up spending time with us (I also take Emma into our room sometimes so we're all together; she & I play & he can join in some from a laying position). We eat supper, & he relaxes in the living room until it's time for bed. Once it's time for bed, he can barely move from the pain because the meds aren't working as well now. Now, this is if he hasn't been trying to help out around the house off & on. If he has, then I have to help him get in bed by lifting one leg, letting him slowly lower himself, then lifting the other & helping him get centered.

What do I mean by "pain"? Shooting, searing, cry-out-loud pain that radiates down his back & into his buttocks, pelvis, thighs, & calves. This is accompanied by cramping pains in his legs, as well as weakness & numbness. Some of these are even happening at rest now. Sometimes he feels like he's going to fall over. And sometimes, the pain is so severe mid-move (sitting, standing, walking) that he simply cannot complete it.  

So tell me, does this sound to any sane person like someone who needs to be running around taking care of critically ill patients? No? Not to you either? So, that must mean that the "specialist" who saw him once, did not re-evaluate him, & yet flippantly declared him fit for work needs a mental health evaluation. That's my conclusion, anyways. 

So, that brings us to this morning. Knowing that Michael is being told he has to go back to work tomorrow . . . & knowing that he physically can't . . . & further knowing that if he doesn't he will lose his job, I start my day calling our PCP trying to get an appointment. My thought here is that we need to document his condition & that he truly isn't fit for work. My relief was profound when the scheduler worked us in for 9:30. Until she called back less than 5 minutes later telling us that there was nothing our doctor could do for us, so we needed to go to the ER. Now, I know you can't sit here all night reading this post, so I won't get into the finer points of the tussle that ensued. Suffice it to say that I made them aware of the gravity of the situation, including the consequences they would be facing if they forced him to go back to work & caused him permanent damage. It wasn't long before I got the good doctor himself on the phone. We, too, tussled - which is so very contrary to our normal interactions - until I finally broke down in tears, & told him I wasn't trying to be adversarial; I was just trying to care of my husband. I reminded him that he knows how much we trust & love him (we really do), & we just needed an advocate. All of this was through tears. He softened, called the specialist donkey (3 guesses which word I want to use), & agreed to resubmit the paperwork with an amendment saying that he - in fact - is not fit for work until released by the neurosurgeon. I hung up & sobbed, the sheer weight of all of these pressures finally breaking me.

This has been so hard. Two things that I am so thankful for today are 1) God softening our doctor's heart to be our advocate, & 2) the invaluable help of a church friend who works in Employee Health (& let me sob all over her when I called asking for more paperwork). We are definitely in the Refiner's fire right now, & it's very uncomfortable. I'm so thankful for Him showing us in big & little ways that He's right here with us, carrying us through the fire that He's ordained for our good. Please, Lord, don't let me lose sight of this. For Your glory, for our good. Soli Deo Gloria