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Archive for June, 2020

Frustrated by health issues

June 17th, 2020 at 12:54 am

It's spring, there's a ton of stuff to around home and garden and the last thing I want to do during a coronavirus outbreak is to see a doctor.

But I've been doing quite a bit of that lately.

Out of the blue, I had a scary issue with first seeing a very large, dark floater in my right eye, and hours later, I started seeing flashes of light.

I saw my ophtmalogist, who performed a very uncomfortable exam of my eye and told me the good news was that my retina was not detached. Yeah, retinal detachments can happen if you get punched in the eye or are in a car accident, but they also happen purely as a function of age. The vitreous fluid behind the eyeball is a jelly-like substance that sometimes shrinks with age; most of the time, that's all that happens but if it shrinks enough, it can detach from the eyeball.

I have to go for a follow-up on Friday for another painful exam where it felt like he was trying to push a small round cup through my eye socket. Doc informed that if this happens to one eye, you have a 90% chance of it happening to the other eye within the next 3 years, and it's important to get to the doc ASAP because they only have like a 48-hour window to reattach a detached retina if that happens.

The more challenging health issue is that I have a torn meniscus, the c-shaped ligament around the knee. Seems I have torn both the medial and lateral sides. This happened back in mid to late April, but I didn't pay attention to it as I should have. I thought it was another pulled hamstring, something I did 5 years ago. As best as I can tell, I tore the meniscus while working out at home, most likely when I was doing a modified plank. I vaguely remember feeling my tendons in the back of my leg stretch like a rubberband as I held myself on my forearms and toes doing essentially a push up.

At first I thought it was getting better, and then it wasn't, and then I thought it was improving, and then it didn't. This went on for weeks until I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon. Well, first I did a phone call and showed him my knee on the phone, but I guess that wasn't really adequate. I did an MRI and then saw him in person. The meniscus tear is complicated by an old injury I had on the same knee that tore the ACL. That was in my 20s, when my boyfriend was teaching me tae kwon do and I twisted the knee bad, although strangely, I don't even remember seeing a doctor for that injury.

The doctor has suggested surgery...not surprising since he's a surgeon, but as far as I can see, there are no orthopedic doctors who aren't also surgeons, so there's going to be a built-in bias toward surgery.

I've asked to try physical therapy and am praying that helps. My first session is tomorrow in a private room.

I'm still working from home, and there's been ZERO communication from my manager or the owners of the company about what, if anything, is going on or what the plan might be. I mean, I haven't heard from them since prior to March, when I began working from home. I only average 5-7 hours a week but have to hang around the house 20 hours a week during my scheduled days to be available if they need me. Doesn't strike me as fair since I don't get paid for waiting around.

But I'm a contract worker, and that's what the agency said is how it works. Bill only for actual hours worked.

My health issues are really having a big impact on my dad. Usually I'm there every week, doing light housekeeping, buying his groceries and taking him out to lunch and a drive usually, sometimes the barber shop and so on. I can't do any of that now though I still have been visiting.

I've been restricting my food shopping to mostly BJs because it's a huge store and I can keep my distance from people, but now with my knee it's all too much walking, so I may switch to Shop Rite. The little stress like Aldi's and Trader Joe's make me nervous.

My raised bed veggies seem to be doing mostly well. There's a teeny zucchini growing. Tomatoes grew great but there's some leaf shriveling going on which I'm fairly sure is grubs; I applied some milky spore but it takes time to have an effect. My cucumber plant also now a some flowers, which I hope to hand-pollinate tomorrow. I'm training it to grow up a plastic fence I've tied to a tent frame on my back patio. At each of the 4 corner posts there is cucumber, asparagus bean and luffa plant.

I've been eating tons of arugala and kale, which is even more crisp-tender than what I get at the organic farm in town.

In other health news, I finally reached my target weight of 130 lbs, which is just 5 lbs more than what I weighed in my 30s, I think. It's a good weight for me and my clothes fit better. The secret to my weight loss is very simple: 24-hour fasting.

It definitely requires some mental preparation the day before the fast, but it's not so horribly difficult as you may think. Hunger comes in waves; it comes and it goes. It does not get progressively worse as time goes on. What motivates me is reminding myself why I am doing it. (Weight loss was not my primary reason.) Fasting offers a wide range of health benefits, but the most valuable one to me is autophaghy.

Even if you totally pig out after the fast, you will still lose weight. It just seemed to happen without really trying, although I do tend to have a very healthy diet.

I am really hoping to learn a lot from the physical therapist tomorrow about what he thinks my outlook for recovery sans surgery is. I did not get this from the doctor. Five minutes is about what I had with him, and even though I had my list of questions, well, they didn't get answered. One specific question I had was what grade tear are they (as grades 1 & 2 may not need surgery, while 3 does). And I still didn't get an answer to that; he went off on some tangent. I'm thinking I don't have a Grade 3 tear since I imagine that would be much more painful.