I MIGHT LIKE LIVING IN A BUBBLE – Marilyn Armstrong

LIVING IN A TRAVELING BUBBLE

I don’t like to talk about pain. So many people are in pain and many are worse off than me. My problem is mine is constant and can’t be fixed. The repairs they did back in 1967 crumbled decades ago. No one is willing to go back in there. It’s messy.

It hurts, but so would a surgical replacement. Take your pick. Naturally growing pain or surgical pain. I think I’ll go with natural. Because the cut to my septum (to repair my heart) never healed (that would be the cartilage that didn’t glue itself together  — the bones are fine) hurts when I breathe, when I lift, and sometimes, it just hurts.

It’s movable. Sometimes I can press here and there and make it settle down for an hour or two. Again, nothing they can do for it except open me up, cut it loose and wire it tighter. Somehow, I don’t think that is going to make me feel better. I’m a bit resistant to more surgery. I can’t imagine why.

An awful lot of people tell me it’s all a lack of exercise. The exercise I get is cleaning. The house. Washing the floor. Vacuuming. Changing the covers on the sofas. Hefting my  10-pound PC 100 times a day from my lap to the side table. I have strong upper arms, but my wrists are fading.

Constant pain is tiring. I walk. I could get a wheel chair but there’s no ramp from up here to down where it would need it. The chairs are not good on grass and other “rough” surfaces, so it wouldn’t take me where I want to go.

As long as I have legs that get me moving, I’ll will have to use them.

Some stuff doesn’t improve, especially at this late stage, but if I’m lucky, it might not get worse.

Medication helps, but there’s only so much I can take. Prednisone helps a lot, but it’s dangerous. It lowers ones ability to heal from injury, even very minor injury. I have problems with that anyway because of the heart surgery. Prednisone would make me feel better temporarily, but it wouldn’t cure anything. Though I think I deserve a two-week Prednisone break at least annually. Like a vacation, you know?

There was a time when a shot in both hips and my spine would give me weeks — sometimes a month or two — of living normally. It was heavenly. The more often one gets the shots, the shorter the relief from them. Despite rumors, they wear off. Unless you are dealing with a temporary injury or irritation, one day, the pain is back.

I hate the disappointment of the shots wearing off. I feel like Charlie in “Flowers for Algernon.”

I could also take pain medications earlier in the day, but they make me drowsy — which I don’t like — and they also wear off. Addiction is not on my agenda this year.

Some problems don’t go away. I get tired of people telling me it’s all “mind over matter.” These days, it’s too much matter and not nearly enough mind.

About that bubble. If I could get a bubble to carry me around, wouldn’t that be cool? A traveling bubble. A trans-continental bubble. An up and down the stairs bubble.

We aren’t going to be Mr. and Mrs. Popularity like this, I’m afraid.

And here the final irony: the thing that hurts most is just standing around. Not working, digging, lifting or walking. Standing in one place, waiting. If I am moving, even slowly, I can make my body do it. But standing still and waiting is a killer.

That and miniature golf.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

27 thoughts on “I MIGHT LIKE LIVING IN A BUBBLE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I have my electric wheelchair, but only for outside, and I go far with it. It moves well on most surfaces, some better than others. The problem is the bumpy bits when crossing the road, but I got used to it. At home I am dependent on a Stick perhaps my walker if I have stuff to transport. The advice to do exercises annoys me as well. Some I combine with the housework, shifting balance from one leg to another, but the housework alone gives me enough exercise and daily.

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    1. Don’t you love doctors who tell you “housework” isn’t work? I’d like to see them wash the floor, change the covers on the sofas, vacuum everything and finished by changing the covers on the bed. THEN tell me it’s not work.

      This house is hard to navigate. Dogs. Dog toys. Very narrow hallways and stairs. And pretty steeply inclined stairways. I’m not even sure I could get a walker down the hallway without making a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s terr’ble to have to cancel social engagements because you feel “iffy”. I am sure people are irritated. But if you know your body is gonna go south on you, better to risk irritation than a really bad night at the social event. Mercy!

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  3. I’ve considered a wheelchair too, but the doorways in our house are too small and there’s just no ramp on our home. I’d be stuck in the living room. You have my sympathies.

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    1. That’s pretty much MY problem, too. The chair would have to live in the basement … and I would have to get to the basement. The stairs are narrow and hard to maneuver just walking. I have the lift from our floor to the front door, but then there’s a bump to the stoop and another bump to the sidewalk and a rough sidewalk full of dog toys and whatever else they’ve left for us that day. And finally, there are three frisky dogs and a gate to open, close and there’s me yelling “BACK YOU HOUNDS!” So it’s legs, as long as I’ve got them!

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      1. I have a walker that lives on the porch. We didn’t measure the doors correctly and it’s just to much of a pain to fold it up every time I want to go through a door. Now it’s an expensive porch chair.

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        1. That’s what I figure would happen. ALSO, around here, there are no sidewalks — and the ones in town are pretty bad. Very broken. So unless I’m planning to go to a mall — and I gotta tell you, that is REALLY rare — I could use it to go up and down our broken driveway. It would have to be very light to fit into the trunk, or I’d have to buy a lift for it. Basically, yeah, a really expensive chair. For the deck, maybe.

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  4. I would check like, but somehow it feels wrong to LIKE this post. I can empathize with you though, I do understand constant pain. This getting older stuff is really getting old! It is hard.

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    1. It’s hard coming to grips with things that you can’t fix. Because in our lives, EVERYTHING can be fixed or at least made better. But sometimes, things just are what they are. What’s aggravating are all the people who have not yet bumped into a non-repairable problem.

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      1. Oh wow do I know what you mean there about people who have not yet bumped into adversity. though I love your description of it as a non-repairable problem. I am glad that you expressed how I feel and that I am not the only one who felt that way.

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        1. Some things, they can fix. Some other things, maybe they can make better, if not completely fix. Other things, you just have to live with them. Sometimes, you can improve how you live with them with exercise and diet etc., but there are things — and the older you get, the more there are — that can’t be repaired or improved, though with a little luck you can help keep them from getting a lot worse. I have all of the above and I get tired of people who have yet to bump into a problem for which there’s no repair who cannot believe such a thing is possible. Haven’t they been to a funeral yet?

          My favorite is that I have a genetic problem with keeping enough salt in my system. This is not a new problem. I had it as a kid too, but no one realized how dangerous it could become. So I have to control what I drink. Straight water or fruit juice is something I can have — a little bit — but mostly, I have to drink sports drinks because they have the potassium and other stuff I need to keep living.

          So a friend asked me “Well, what did they do in ‘the old days'” as if to say back before medicine, we had natural remedies for everything — which if true would have resulted in a lot longer a lifespan than it did, but let’s not get into that.

          I said “You died.”

          “Oh,” she said. It never occurred to her that some stuff just plain killed you. Now, we have things that don’t cure the problem, but make it possible to live with it. Which beats out an early death.

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  5. Housework is very good exercise, and hard work. What hurts me most is lying in bed. These days, there’s no position I can take that doesn’t cause pain of some kind or another. Once I’m up and moving (albeit very slowly), the aches tend to work out a bit, but never completely. Prednisone scares me. I was on it for 2 years due to my colitis, and it starting eating my bones. Thinner bones hurt – don’t let anyone tell you differently. Still, the aches and pains are better than the alternative, and so far my mind, at least, is still intact.

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    1. The worst part of the day is getting up in the morning. I really stiffen up at night, so it can take a while in the morning for the joint to remember how to move. It is also really hard to sleep — and we have an electric bed which used to be enough. Not any more.

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  6. My sympathies. And funny you should mention that standing and waiting thing. I can walk, for short amounts of time, but make me stand in one place for very long? I’m apt to fall over. I have become addicted to the power chairs at the grocery, which is the only place I really go any more, besides doctor’s appointments. Living with chronic pain isn’t for sissies. Maybe tell that to the entitled asshat who suggests you aren’t ‘exercising enough.’ And nice reference to Daniel Keys. I’ve never met another who actually read “Flowers..” Funny old world, ain’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard to explain to people who haven’t lived with chronic pain what it means and how much it takes out of you. Does it make you lazy? Probably. It certainly doesn’t make you eager to do much of anything. I figure if I am NOT in pain, just breathe and relax.

      There really is a class of people who believe that a bright smile, a positive attitude, and lots of exercise solve EVERY problem.

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