Why I am Grieving and Can't Seem to Move On
I haven't posted lately because I have been reflecting and pondering. In 2014 lower back surgery to free my spinal nerves, thus reducing my severe leg pain and weakness, was unsuccessful. Since then I have been weak, in pain, fatigued and "foggy." My swallowing and lung function have also become abnormal. So here are the losses I grieve about.
- •Mobility is very impairedI can only walk 30 feet or so without serious pain. If I walk about hundred feet maybe 150, my legs give out from weakness. I cannot push myself up from a chair without two sturdy chair arms to push from and a seat least 18 to 20 inches high. The normal toilet seat is 16 to 17 inches. So now I have a raised toilet seat, a scooter, a wheelchair, and canes.
- •Self-care is difficultI can't stand long enough to take a shower if it doesn't have a seat. My back flexibility is not good enough to be able to shave my legs anymore. I can't do my own toenails and foot care either. So now I have a walk-in bathtub with jets and get pedicures for hygiene as well as nail polish. I enjoy pedicures but not every time I need my nails clipped!
- •My career as a nurse leader and educator is overI expected to come back to work after 6-8 weeks and but instead I never went back. I wanted to retire a little early but on my own terms with my own timetable. Instead I'm on disability after 10 months of rehab left me worse than when I first had the surgery! I left projects unfinished and never said goodbye at work because I never was able to return after surgery.
- •My retirement is quite damagedWe were going to take long walks with our dog, camp, and travel. I was going to volunteer and take my grandchildren places. Instead we sold the camper and I can only travel if everything is handicapped-accessible. We used the camper money to purchase my therapy tub. There is no retirement for me.
- •My intelligence is declining fastI was always very smart but now I am often confused and forgetful partially from being on 10 medications. I am weaned from meds to the point that I tolerate pain of 3-5 all the time except when I am sleeping. All but two of my meds affect emotions, focus, mood, etc. I imagine some of it is also related to aging. I play online Scrabble and Sudoko with hope to preserve some of my brain yet still feel like I am much less intelligent than 2 years ago.
- •Reading is so difficultI have such limited focus I can barely get through a magazine article. I struggle to read the newspaper. In two years I only completed one book by rereading parts I already read to try to keep the characters straight. Reading was my main source of learning. I went to college for 12 years total. I read voraciously for pleasure. I feel as if I am regressing quickly. I love li.st in part because the lists often teach me stuff and they are short enough to read.
- •My hobby isn't much fun nowI love to scrapbook but it is too hard to sit and focus enough to get through a page. And I usually scrapbook about trips and outings. Now it just reminds me of my losses.
- •My independence is historyI can't drive anymore because of the medications so I have to ask my husband to take me everywhere. So I can't even get a haircut by myself. I can't set up my own scooter despite that it is one of the lightest they make. I often just stay in rather than ask. I also can't pick things up from within 6-10 inches of the floor or less. I have "grabbers" but if I use them too often I get bursitis in my elbows. So I have to even ask someone to pick stuff up that I dropped.
- •Socializing is scarceI can't eat well because of the difficulty swallowing and can't drink alcohol because of the meds. I can't really even do anything. Other people's houses aren't accessible for the disabled. So I am mostly home bound. I do love social networks but I'm a boomer. I grew up face-to-face. I crave it and miss it.
- •So almost every day I still cry and grieve and feel sorrowful about all that's goneThe first year I was in rehab and hopeful. Then I had a neuromodulator placed on my spinal cord to try to reduce my pain. And it did help. I need fewer drugs. But it wasn't enough improvement to get me off the remaining 10 medications. I am still very weak and now my swallowing is impaired, I cough all the time and my chest CT has abnormal opacities. They are now doing more tests - neuro and pulmonary. It drives me crazy!
- •Thanks for listening. I needed to get this out.I want to be strong and get over it but it just hasn't worked out that way. I am weak and struggling physically, emotionally, and mentally right now. I still hope I can adjust and accept my situation. That is really my last shred of hopefulness.