Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Horse Hockey...


I would normally have composed and scheduled my Lenten Mystery by now, However tonight, God had a different penance/obligation for me.

It all started this morning when both my arms were numbing and tingly as my alarm went sounded. As I rolled over to turn it off and get up, I felt like a knife was stabbing me in the chest. It seems that my ribs don't stay in place like a normal person's, they move and poke out at random causing intense irritation (pain) of the covering muscles. During physical therapy last night, the therapist did "joint mobilizations" to try to decrease the pain although an increase in pain was the immediate side-effect. As the therapist placed a special kind of tape across the offending muscles, we noted that my chest was actually swollen where the irritation had been so severe. With pain this severe, driving to work is not really an option. Not only does this not put my bosses in a good mood; it also reduces my paycheck and increases my tension.

My day was made worse by the cardio-thoracic surgeon telling me today that surgery is basically my only option to relieve the pressure on the arteries in my neck/shoulder (thoracic outlet). He typically recommends physical therapy, but since I've been actively involved in that for almost 6 months, he said if it was going to work, I'd notice a drastic improvement by now. So he's going to access my thoracic outlet via my collar bone to reduce the risk of lymphendema -- especially since my mastectomy scars are already located in my axilla (arm-pit). There is a risk of lymphendema anyway, as well as scar tissue formation and further disruption of the nerves or blood vessels supplying my arm. However, he said he hasn't had any trouble with those kinds of issues, so I should be fine. If the surgery is a success it could actually improve my nerve issues as well as the arterial issues I'm having in my left arm/shoulder. If it is a failure, I can try physical therapy again. Or, if the surgery is *really* a failure I may actually have worse circulation and nerve conduction that cripples my left arm permanently. Great news for a 30 year old with 2 very active children 4 and 2 years old, a full-time job, and a disabled husband. <---- very thick sarcasm

This was not the news I wanted to hear. I do not want to have an 8th surgery. I do not want to have another 2 week (minimal) recovery off from work. I can't afford it. I don't want to risk more complications to the problems I already have. However, unless a second opinion differs exceptionally, I foresee another surgery in my near future. Since I was unhappy with the news I decided, with the kids avid approval, to go visit the horses down the road from us. Mr. Oliver and his herd of gentleman horses (a Belgian with feet at big as my head, a Quarter Horse with a back as bad as Andrew's, and four ponies that barely come to my hip), are always glad to have us visit. The horses enjoy the treats and attention we give them. Mr. Oliver enjoys our enjoyment of his equine friends. Horses have always been my anti-depressant too, do I figured it was a win all the way around.

I am slowly and carefully introducing the kids to the joys of riding. The ponies are so docile and small that it is no strain at all to lead and hold a child upon their backs. Andrew was in charge of leading and I was in the support role of holding onto our kids while they rode one at a time. I deference to the hot weather, both kids were in shorts. By necessity, they sit astride without a saddle (pony saddles are hard to come by and even more expensive to buy). Rachel rode first and she wasn't as enamored with it as she was the last time. I thought it odd, but didn't really think much of it -- she is in her terrible twos. Simon rode as well, but also wasn't feeling it. Andrew noticed that Rachel had begun digging at her legs really badly. I had noticed earlier that her excema seemed flared up, but just figured she needed her generic Zyrtec and a rub down with one of her various creams. So we headed home.

Upon our arrival we noticed Rachel's skin started looking worse and worse. We debated over giving her th generic Zyrtec or the dreaded Benadryl. Since she began having redness and itching all over we chose the Benadryl, but only 1/4 of a teaspoon. Her pediatrician has told me in the past that when her skin really flares up and we think it might be an allergy to give her this medication. We stripped her down to her diaper and washed her legs, hands, and face with luke-warm water. As I applied lotion to her legs, I noticed that the bumps appeared more hive-like than excema-like. I looked at her face and noticed some bumps there as well as some swelling.

Since I've become fairly well-versed at allergic reactions with Andrew, I became convinced that a visit to the ER or at least a convenient care clinic was the best answer. This is not a typical reaction for me; I tend to avoid ER visits at all costs. I called the pediatricians office. The nurse (PA?) advised me to give her another 1/4 of a tsp of Benadryl and slowly make my way into town to be closer to the hospital if things got worse. she recommended we go out to eat and if things got no worse or even better, to just go back home. As I kept observing Rachel I was more and more convinced to just go straight to the ER. So off we went.

We arrived and were immediately seen. The assessment by the nurse showed that even after 1/2 tsp of Benadryl on board, Rachel's throat was slightly swollen, she was still covered in hives, and her entire face was swelling. When the doctor arrived in the room, she was still playing and talking, but her voice was raspy and her actions a bit slowed by her constant scratching. The doctor ordered an oral steroid and an antihistamine shot. Then she was kept in observation for about 2 hours. She sucked down the oral dose and only cried for about 5 seconds for the injection. Then she set to playing. I set about keeping her occupied and watching for signs of improvement or worsening. By the end of the observation period, she was more than ready to go, but still showing some swelling and hives, so the doctor called in a prescription for steroid and antihistamine.

Poor Rachel was very hungry, so while we waited for her prescriptions to be ready, we wandered through Rite Aid. She gobbled down some peanut butter crackers and whole milk. Then about 5 minutes after starting our journey home, she fell into a peaceful sleep. She is even now (as I type it is 11:15pm) tucked into bed beside me. We are making plans for our entire family to visit the allergist in town. I am hopeful that the allergist won't forbid horse-back riding for Rachel. Hopefully we'll even get some better treatment options for her excema. All I know is that today has just not been a very great day. Thank you for all the prayerful support. It really means a lot to us all!!

No comments:

Total Pageviews

Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

Erika's Miracle Journey Continues's Fan Box