Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB
After I finished radiation treatments, the “exhaustion” factor took over, and I was also put on an estrogen inhibitor to prevent cancer recurrence. Then the exhaustion—inexplicably—really kicked in. Also, I felt my arthritis was acting up again: knees hurt; back, too, sometimes; fingers; especially my thumbs. Not all at once, but annoying twinges every now and again. I’m finding it harder and harder to get up—especially from a couch. Difficulties abound in getting in and out of cars. Always solicitous, my husband helps me in and out, up and down. I hate walking like an “old woman!” (Never mind that I am one.)
Then I found out the hormone suppressant could be causing the extra exhaustion. Moreover, it’s known to cause joint and bone aches. And I thought I’d just “slept funny,” the morning I woke up with my right leg aching below the joint, and half-way down the lower leg!
Since the achiness seems to come and go, and only rarely lasts for more than a minute or so in duration—though it may occur several times a day—it is annoying, and ultimately adds to the exhaustion as a nagging, this-is-going-to-keep-happening-all-day-long kind of pain.
Oh, they could put me on massive doses of vitamin D, which might help with some of the side effects; they could change me to a different medication which doesn’t have the same side issues (though it’s also not as effective). I just want to stop hurting. The constant recurrences are what have me down.
Then a few days ago, I remembered a presentation I’d gone to at UVU, while teaching there some years ago: Aron Ralston. He’s the guy about whom they made a film called 127 Hours, starring James Franco. Ralston spoke to a UVU audience not all that long after he’d gotten out of the hospital, having been trapped by a boulder in a Utah slot canyon. I love James Franco, but I still haven’t seen the film. I want to. And I will. As soon as I can forget Ralston’s riveting account:
His only escape, after several days’ captivity, was to cut off the lower portion of his trapped arm. He shared his painful, fascinating account: after trying to free himself, he’d given up—no way could he escape. Nor was he likely to be found in this remote area. He recorded a final farewell to his parents with phone/ camera, so that if his body was ever found, his parents would know what had happened to him. He did not expect to live through the night. But the following morning, surprised to be alive, he realized if he could break the trapped arm, he might be able to cut it off and free himself.
I’ll spare you the rest of the gruesome details.
Suffice it to say, once freed, and still needing to hike out several miles to get to his vehicle, some other hikers and a helicopter were seen, and eventually came to his rescue. He didn’t want to get into the new ’copter with its nice, leather seats, because he was all bloody and filthy. They insisted—thank goodness— and he was taken to the hospital.
You know that 1 to 10 scale medical people give you to estimate the amount of pain you’re in? Well, he told them he was about a “3,” I think it was. Filthy, bloody, missing a hand and part of his arm, and he was a “3.” The medical people were sure he’d misunderstood the scale and tried to correct him. But he really meant a “3″: he’d broken the bone, carved away at putrid flesh with a knife dull from chipping uselessly away at the rock which pinned him, and he was now a “3″.
“No. I know what a ‘10’is. I mean a ‘3’—when I cut through the nerve in my arm,” his last stroke before freedom, “that was a ‘10’.”
OK. So my twinges, bone aches, excruciating thumb yesterday for at least a minute-and-a-half was a . . . can you say a ‘half’?
See you day-after-tomorrow for Wednesday’s WIPs!