July 20, 2005

X-Rays of the Soul

Laying on the end of my bed tonight is a large mailing envelope full of x-rays. It has been branded by the markings of 3 doctor's offices, with ID numbers and dates that mean nothing to me anymore. It holds about 30 or so x-rays, of ankles and feet and toes. The dates start at April of 1992 and continue to May of 2004. The first one shows the x-rays of a 10 yr old girl's ankles and the last one shows, in startling clarity, a 2 inch screw in the foot of a 22 year old woman.

Tomorrow I will be taking this package of x-rays to a doctor in Madison, WI. I spent today tracking them down and taking them from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where they were sent in hopes of getting me an appointment, and bringing them back to Wisconsin. I have almost given up hope for getting an appointment at Mayo. I knew it was a long process to get in with them. But I can't wait any longer. I have to have some help. Now.
So, I will be going to a doctor in Madison tomorrow, with the hope that I will walk out of there with some answers, and not just a new pain medicine to try.
I want to know why. I want someone to do something about it. I desperately want someone to tell me that they can make it better. I don't want to just manage the pain, I want it gone.

It's been a long and frustrating day. I found out that my x-rays didn't get sent in time for my appointment in Madison, so my only alternative was to drive to Mayo and get them. I drove for 3 hrs to get there, waited for an hour, picked up my package, was told to not worry about getting them back soon because it was still going to be a long time before they needed them, and then drove 3 hrs back to work.
Things have been stressful at work lately because of some situations that have come about with the staff and I spent the majority of my time on the road thinking about those situations and trying to figure out what their resolutions looked like.
But when I got back, I pulled out the x-rays from the big manila envelope and starting looking through 13 years of pain and frustration. I was in the lobby showing them to my boss and explaining how the x-rays fit into my life chronologically. As I watched her, I saw the understanding and sympathy hit her eyes as she grasped what my life had been like while I dealt with my feet. She's only been around for this last surgery, so the rest of this stuff wasn't something she really associated with me.

I've been doing this for a long time now. It used to be such a huge part of me. But then I got a break for a couple of years at the end of high school and early college, and I learned what it was like to be able to just do whatever I wanted and not worry about my feet. Even when this thing with my toe became a problem, I just viewed it as a minor inconvenience. The cortisone shots helped me pretend like nothing was wrong, since I couldn't feel the pain anymore. Going into the surgery, I still had the mindset that this was just going to be a quick little procedure, and that it was going to set me right back into the lifestyle that I had only enjoyed a little while. Life without orthopedic surgeons and casts and pain medication.
Unfortunately, it didn't do that. And I may be wrong, but I think tomorrow I am going to find out if I get to keep that mindset, or if I'm going to have to revert back to what life used to be like. Part of my problem this summer has been that I haven't been taking enough precautions and saying no to doing stupid things that I know will cause problems. I've tried to live my life like I don't have a medical condition that limits what I am capable of doing.
I just really liked those few years when I had a break, and it's hard to let that go. I've tasted freedom and it was good. I want that back again.

I know it sounds like I am just whining and having a pity party(...and why am I only writing this summer about my stupid feet!? I know, I know. I'm sorry! I'm so self-absorbed this summer!).
But in all honesty, I'm so freaking nervous about tomorrow and what this new guy is going to say. I'm so scared that if he tells me that he has no answers, or if he hands me a prescription for pain medication and admonitions for taking it easy, I'm going to lose it. I already broke under the weight of this thing once this summer. I hit rock bottom that day I wrote and I don't know what it would look like if I went there again.
So, I guess the only way to find out is to go to sleep and let tomorrow come. I hope I have the strength to deal with whatever it brings with it.
Gnite.

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