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A Pain In the Neck

January 7th, 2012

Ever since Don’s latest health problem arose back in the summer, I have been careful to do whatever I can not to become sick myself. Because, really! That would be just what we need. We have many friends here in the Phoenix metro area, but no family whatsoever. And let’s face it, who better to impose yourself upon with a minimum of guilt than a blood relative? Milage-wise, the family member who is closest to us is a niece in Sierra Madre, CA, (373 miles) and she has an ill husband of her own. After that, it’s the nephew in Sacramento (763 miles), the sisters in Denver – one of mine, one of his – (853), and then we’re into Texas and Oklahoma.

So for day to day care, Don has me and I have him, and right now, he’s out of commission. When he’s on his feet again there are a couple of things need attending to but thus far I’ve done all right. Except that a few days ago I developed a pain in the neck, and I don’t mean a little crick. I mean I was unable to turn my head in the least degree to left or right, and if I tried the pain was excruciating. Hurts like crazy, which just adds to the fun going on around here.  I went Tuesday and had a massage, and I can tell that it’s better, though I still move like Primat Conehead* and can’t turn my head far enough to the right to be able to get out of my driveway without a spotter.

Primat

How this happened I do not know. I woke up one morning and there it was – like the comedian Jake Johannsen says, a sleep injury. The first day was agonizing. My neck and the back of my skull were on fire, and no amount of Ben Gay or arnica cream helped in the least. I could not put my head on a pillow and spent the first night propped upright in bed, trying to sleep and not succeeding.

The next day I had an emergency massage, which felt spectacular while occurring, and actually helped, though I still spent much of the next night propped up in bed. I’m much improved by this, the fourth day, though getting out of the driveway is still problematic. More than one friend has strongly suggested that stress is involved (“Gee, Donis, ya think?”) Carolyn in California recommended bourbon as a palliative. What a great idea!  Of course I’ve taken so much Tylenol lately that a shot of bourbon might make my liver fall out.  And yes, I think Dr. Freud might have a theory about my pain in the neck

Don’s latest lab reports were good enough that no transfusion is necessary right now, yay!  But he has had quite enough, and has decided to have the bit of diseased intestine removed.  The operation is scheduled for January 20. The surgeon told us that he will be in the hospital 3 to 5 days, maybe as many as 7, depending how things go.  Between now and then he’ll be getting all the requisite pre-op tests.  He has to report for duty on the 20th at 6 unbelievable o’clock in the morning, and his urologist will put stents in his ureters before the tummy cut.  We don’t yet know why that is necessary. Something to do with all his previous kidney and ureter problems, I’m sure. We’ll find out when we have the preliminary meet with the surgeon on the 12th. 

We’re doing fine right now – settled into our routine of me doing most of the daily chores and him doing very little.  He feels okay as long as he doesn’t have to move around, so I don’t have to be present every moment and can get out and do whatever needs doing.  Of course next week is going to be one doctor appointment after another as he prepares for surgery.  He has to see the primary care doc, the iron nurse, the cardiologist, and the surgeon.  Nothing on Tuesday as yet, except for the fact that I’ll be schlepping up to Poisoned Pen Bookstore that night to see my friend Larry Karp tout his new novel A Perilous Conception. And to get the notes from my editor on my new book, which I can only hope she finds acceptable. I’d love to be able to finish it up with relative ease while Don is recovering at home.

Usually when one is facing surgery, everyone has a horror story to tell you. But this time I’ve heard from all kinds of people who either knew someone or underwent a surgery themselves similar to Don’s, and it solved all their problems.  So I have great hopes.
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*If you get this reference you are either into classics or you are officially old.

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