VEINLESS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Trickery (OR in this case, just tricky!)

Another day, another trip to the hospital. At least it’s something I WANT to do this time, but I will be gone most of the day. Sorry about that!

I was supposed to be at the hospital yesterday, but they got my tests mixed up, so it got canceled. The same tests, this time properly ordered, will be rescheduled next week.

It all has to do with veins and dye infusions.

I don’t have any veins.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I have lots of them, but they are all tiny and thready. Getting blood out of me is tricky (trickery?). I have often suggested I bring my own knife and slice off a piece of finger like I do at home. Just give me a vegetable to cut and I’ll produce gallons of blood.

Brivo CT325

Whenever I do that (which used to be often), there was blood absolutely EVERYWHERE. For some reason, the hospital never agrees. As I said: getting blood out is just a bit of trickery (and some nurses really have a magic touch for finding a viable vein) — a medical magic trick.

Getting a substance (any substance) into me is a nightmare. I have defeated two hospitals who could not find a usable vein and wound up infusing into my throat. Which, while not terribly painful, is really ICKY in every meaning of the word. And it looks ugly, too.

In both cases, it was that or die so I couldn’t argue the point … but this is a test. The reason they need veins is so they can put dye in me to make the test results sharper.

They should get Topaz’ new AI Sharpen filter. It’s amazingly effective and then, they could skip the dye and still have sharp results.

Regardless, I’m not going through the “hunt the body for a viable vein” experience again. Been there, done it, didn’t like it. We’re not doing hands, feet, or throat, sorry. If that’s the choice, whatever is wrong with me will just have to stay wrong.

I still have to be at the hospital in a couple of hours because I’m getting cortisone shots in my hips. Yay oh yay!

For the past few weeks, there’s almost no part of me that doesn’t hurt and last night I woke up crying because I hurt so much I didn’t know what to do. So of course, called the doctor as soon as he was open and said: “I cannot go on like this.”

More drugs are not an answer I would have to take a LOT more drugs and I’m already thoroughly drugged. I have to find a way to make my life less painful. I want to be able to walk. Even if it’s not a hike, just walk more or less normally for short stretches. Not such a big thing one might think.

So cortisone shots it is. For now.

I know the shots are not a cure. What’s wrong with me (entire spine riddled with arthritis) is painful, but not lethal. It won’t kill me. It might make me wish it would and it will linger on, getting worse as the years roll by. Not a pretty thought.

I remember being 30 years younger, living on Beacon Hill in Boston and hauling 40 pounds of groceries up the long hill to our apartment. Realizing my legs were like iron. I was muscled. Between hauling heavy bags up long hills, horseback riding, and walking everywhere in Boston because if you moved the car you might never find another legal parking space, I was in great shape.

The shoulder is an offshoot of horseback accidents. When you are riding, one of the things you learn is if you fall, hang on to the reins. If you don’t, your horse is going home. It’s a long, long walk in your riding boots back to the stable. It’s entirely possible you don’t even know the way back since as often as not if you are riding alone, the horse was your GPS.

In the course of falling off a few horses and grabbing reins on the way down, my shoulder got pulled out of the socket a few times. The surgery to fix that is normally not a big deal.

I should have taken care of it 50 years ago, but I didn’t.

I also have a left knee without an anterior Crucis ligament due to a bad fall — as well as the shoulder which could have easily been repaired when I was 25, but can’t be fixed now.

I waited too long. Like I did with my hands. Nine years ago they could have fixed the arthritic spurs but today, they can’t. It has advanced too far and I’m too old.

I yearn for those days when I had muscles in places I didn’t know you could have muscles.

I don’t have long-term answers. Cortisone shots a few times a year with some luck will help keep me moving. Nothing will repair the damage. There’s no surgery anyone is willing to do that will fix it. It has degenerated too far and the previous surgery caused as much damage as it supposedly fixed.

Right now, though, I’m glad enough that there’s even a respite — even if it’s just for a few weeks.

Long term? I am still working on that one.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “VEINLESS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. MAYBE BEST not TO THINK (At all???)
    I myself am so allergic to ANY chemical stuff that I probably will just have to die of pain instead of waiting for cortisone or other stuff to be injected. Also I am deeply afraid of injections, because I did, for many years, acupuncture…. 😉 I DO wish you ANY respite…. you so need (and deserve) it!

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    1. I had surgery on my spine when I was 19 and a lot of what is wrong with me are the after effects of a surgery that was not done well. To be fair, they didn’t have the technology they have now. It would be done entirely different now than then. I’m not only allergic to many things, but I’m very sensitive to a lot of things which are effectively the same as allergies and they make my body very unhappy. Fortunately, pretty much NO ONE is allergic to cortisone. It’s the ultimate ANTI-allergy drug. The real question is whether or not it will work.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was impressed with the doctor today – her skill at giving you the cortisone shots — 1 take each. quick and efficiently. I hope the shots are giving you time off from the usual hip pain you must endure

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope somewhere along the line you find the miracle cure you need. I got cortisone three days after the other for an MS relapse I had and that really helped, so I hope you also get some relief with the treatment. This whole drug game seems to be a lottery.

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    1. I’ve had it work once VERY well and not so well a couple of other times. A lot depends on who does the injecting. When done right, it works a whole lot better. If THIS works, I’m going after my right shoulder and if I can find someone willing to do my spine, that would be next. But the spine requires a very delicate hand. done wrong, it would make it much worse so I have to be really careful.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. So far, it feels fine, though my lower back hurts a bit more. The radiating pain left the hips and moved back home to my spine. The doc is ordering a CT scan of my spine to see if shots would help — or even if they are possible. It’s pretty messy back there, so we’ll see.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve had the cortisone in one hip and both ankles and it has been bliss. Sadly it doesn’t touch all the other arthritic bits but at least my hips (both replaced) and my ankles are happy which makes me happier. I hope the cortisone works for you. 🙂

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  4. aaahh Marilyn. I can so relate. Just coming out from under my first (and hopefully only) Diverticulitis attack!! I kept thinking, “Wait, isn’t this an old people disease??”

    Uh, hello.
    I know all your hassles are not as simple as age and such a pain in the…name your spot.

    Was it Bette Davis who said Aging is not for wimps!” Never understood that until the last few years.

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    1. No. Diverticulitis can hit children, young adults, old adults and everyone in between. I remember when my first husband had kidney cancer and I kept thinking that only OLD people got cancer. I soon learned otherwise.

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    1. So far, so good. She was flawless in finding where to put the needle. I didn’t even feel it go into the bursa. She wants a CATscan of my spine to see IF it’s possible to get a needle in there. I may not be possible. It’s pretty bad, but if the CATscan says it’s doable, they can do it. Meanwhile, my hips feel better, but my spine feels worse. The pain that was radiating from the spine into my hips is now all centered in my lower spine. But I WALKED UP THE STAIRS! Almost like a normal person.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. My spine is literally encased by calcification from arthritis so nothing will make it go away. It’s non-operable and because it’s spinal, it sort of makes everything hurt. BUT cortisone does help and if I can get the pain level down, I can try some exercise which might not help the arthritic issues, but might just help my muscles.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. My sympathies! Last night I woke up to find I had a mouthful of blood. I don’t know where it’s coming from either, and have a suspicion that the light bulb that exploded left microscopic bits of glass and somehow those have gotten in my mouth, but I can’t see a point of puncture nor tear. Nothing hurts either, well nothing that normally doesn’t hurt. After I rinsed my mouth out and brushed my teeth again, everything looked normal. But this morning there was another mouthful. Something’s wrong. If this occurs again tonight, I’m off the ER. It’s freaking me out. Here’s hoping the cortisone shots work for you and provide a respite of a few months or more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have great veins. Nurses who have to draw blood love me. Not so much with my wife though. Her veins are tiny and hard to find and she freaks out any time that she needs to have blood drawn.

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    1. Mine have ALWAYS been hard to find and my granddaughter has the same problem. She also freaks out when they want to draw blood or infuse anything. I’m old enough to just say no, but she’s young and doesn’t seem to know she can say NO if she doesn’t like how things are going. My son has GREAT veins and Garry’s fine too. But mine are all tiny and thready.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Stupid comment / question time. I swear by glucosamine chondroitin for the arthritis is my spine and hands. At this point, two capsules each morning are working well. Have you already tried this? Hopefully, you’re not allergic to it. Hugs to you, as being aware of your body sucks, but especially when it hurts.

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