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Friday, April 24, 2009


Just Say No

Isn’t life ironic? Lately, things have been spiraling out of my control. Let me expand on this story.

About 2 months ago, while on a power walk, a heard something in my rib cage go POP! I immediately felt a horrible, stabbing pain. Couldn’t do a darn thing about it but carry on, much slower than the original pace and get home. I could barely breathe it hurt so much. Next morning I was set to power walk up to our local bagel place to meet a friend and fellow freelancer for breakfast. We do this every couple of weeks-chat, commiserate and compare notes.

Thankfully my daughter-in-law-to-be was still working from home and helped me out. She drove me the 1-1/2 miles-it was obvious I wasn’t in any condition to drive or walk the distance. My friend drove me home. I rested up for the rest of the week and slowly did my walking after that.

My rheumy said it sounded to him as if I did something to the cartilage and to let my pain be my guide. I did.

A few weeks later, we left on vacation. I mentioned my herculean walking/exercising in a past post. Came home very sore, very tired and then went through taking care of my mom/dad during my mom’s surgery. I was still not doing very well-but I didn’t listen to my body.

Stupid me.

Then I realized that I was “in trouble”. My entire rib cage hurt so much that I was nauseated.
I should point out that with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) the pain isn’t just in the joints-it’s an autoimmune disease and it can hit heart, lungs, everything. And this time, it did.
Almost 2 weeks ago, I called the triage nurse who instructed me to get myself to the ER.

Here’s the ironic part: 5 days before I gave in to what was happening, that’s when the LA Times contacted me about publishing my story on RA. Talk about ironic!

After spending several hours in the ER, where they gave me intravenous anti-inflammatories, pain-killers, took x-rays, an EKG and some 16 vials of blood-they sent me home with instructions to JUST REST MRS. NADEL. I had costochondritis-a severe inflammation around the rib cage due to RA. Pretty much, in layman’s terms, I was an idiot who overdid myself and added the stresses of time change, pressurized plane cabins and helping my parents to the pot.

I came upstairs somewhere in the late afternoon to discover that my tale of encouragement about my being in remission had gone “live” in the newspaper.

Anyway, that was-as mentioned-almost 2 weeks ago. My rheumy also got wind of what happened and insisted I come in to see him. He ran a CT scan (that experience is another story) and decided to make a gallant effort to getting me back on track.

Unfortunately, part of this was giving me a time-release prescription of morphine.

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t do well with pain-killers in general? Well, this episode really proves it-I spent the next 48 hours riding the old porcelain bus. The intent was to help get rid of the pain the inflammation around my rib cage had caused; instead it made me violently ill and only made the pain worse.

I’m still having bouts of looking and feeling “green”, but the pain has subsided and I’m learning that saying “no” isn’t a crime-it’s a necessity.

To add to the fun, my 78 year old mother was just re-admitted to the hospital. Seems in her effort to “rest up”, despite my sister and I constantly telling her of the importance of getting up and walking, she didn’t-which caused her enzymes to start breaking down her muscles in her legs. Now she really can’t walk. So we’re dealing with that. I’m in the “sandwich generation” mode. Fun.

I’m posting this on our son’s 25th birthday; our daughter’s birthday is next week, followed by our son-in-law the week after. Normally I would make a big party and have the local family join us.

I’m not doing that this year. Later today, I’m going to Costco and buying a couple of ready made roasted chickens, a bag of restaurant style tortilla chips and salsa, I have spinach and tomatoes on hand for a salad and I’m buying some cupcakes.

I think you can tell I’ve learned my lesson: JUST SAY NO!

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