Friday, August 13, 2010

Helping Mom and Getting a Medical Education

What a week it's been. At 12:30 on Wednesday morning, my dad calls and says "Can you come down... mom took a turn for the worse." OMG -- of course I started freaking by hearing the tone in my dad's voice. The pain became so intense for her she simply couldn't stand up any more. It was a frantic, emotional evening and I sat with her in the emergency room until they FINALLY (after 4 times in the ER!) admitted her to the hospital around 7:00 am. Since they had an official diagnoses from an orthopedic doctor (spinal fracture from osteoporosis), they agreed to admit her. They immediately put her on morphine. It's harrowing to watch a loved one be in so much pain and you are basically helpless. She also was very dehydrated from throwing up from percocet meds. She was in rough shape. Much longer story shortened, she's currently in short-term rehab trying to deal with the pain and today she received an epidural. No, you're right -- an epidural isn't going to help a fracture. It turns out she has another ailment that's causing her so much pain. Here's my word of the year and my new found education: Spondylolisthesis. I'm still practicing how to say that one and can't get it out right anytime I try to say it. It's slippage of the bone in the spine and the excruciating pain she's been feeling is from the pressure the slipped bone is putting on the nerves. Thus, the epidural. We are praying it works and gives her some relief. She can't take much more pain. So her issues are twofold: the osteoporosis spinal fracture (the pain doc called it a sacral fracture) and the spondylolisthesis which is the real culprit. Oh, it can be caused 5 ways, one is degenerative arthritis which is her diagnoses (along with the osteoporosis). If the epidural works and the get her pain under control, she's coming home on Monday. You have no idea how much I'm praying her pain subsides. Poor thing. As a side note and you can think what you'd like on this one, we went through 6 doctors, a nurse practitioner, and countless radiology techs and nurses to get a doctor who explained to us today in 20 minutes more information than we received in the past 6 weeks. My mom and I BOTH were astounded at all the information that came out of Dr. Dunn's mouth in layman's terms. We were absolutely thrilled to get so much information. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions if something isn't clear. What an experience.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Taking Care of Dear Old Momma

It's official -- my mother's diagnosis came on Friday and the doctor was right, "You have a serious, serious problem." She has advanced osteoporosis and the pain she's been having is from fractures in the spine as a result of weakened vertebrae. It's so heartbreaking to see her in so much pain and not being able to do normal things anymore like run the vacuum or stand and wash dishes or cook. And there's no remedy for recovery - no surgery, no therapy, no nothing -- just pain pills for a little relief. The doc said recovery for the fractures is long. Please, whether you are male or female, take care of yourself now -- today. Osteoporosis is often brought on by a lifetime of not getting enough calcium and habits that deplete the calcium from the bone such as smoking, drinking alcohol and a high animal protein diet that leaches protein from the bone (this one is controversial, but my parents are huge meat eaters their entire life. Growing up, it was never unusual to see pickled tongue and heart in the frig - yuk!). The disease IS preventable. Don't smoke, watch your calcium intake and eating foods that leach it from your bones (salt, phosphoric acid in sodas, alcohol, animal proteins), get vitamins especially vitamin D, and EXERCISE! Running, jogging, jumping, walking, dancing, and free weight lifting (no machines) are preventative measures to fight it off. I'll never stop running or walking/hiking. The bike and swimming is not enough -- you MUST do weight-bearing exercises.

The Rattling 25K run and 25 mile bike race is OFF my schedule. I can't take the time to finish training for it right now. The only event I'm definitely doing is the BASH, and the Capital City Challenge. I can squeeze in an hour or two of riding/running/paddling to stay semi-fit for the Cap City Challenge, but that'll be it. I'm very fortunate momma lives next door and I can stop by as much as needed. Right now, we're on an every-other day schedule. We're taking it one day at a time. Now go have a glass of soy milk!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2010 Jackson Allstar Review - More Than A Playboat

Folks, the boat really does make ALL the difference. But don't let them tell you one or the other is best -- you gotta test drive it for yourself and make your own determination. I guess you could say I'm a beginner play boater after 5 years of river running and doing ez surfing in a Wavesport Diesel. I wanted to graduate to a small boat and did in fact use a Wavesport EZG 50 for a season, but the uncomfortable outfitting made the boat unbearable. My legs were too long and feet were too big to get a good fit no matter how we rearranged the outfitting. Our local outfitter, Blue Mountain Outfitters in Marysville PA, brings demo boats to the winter roll practice sessions and I sat in a Jackson 2010 All star. The comfort of the sweet cheeks, happy feet and a little more space for big feet and knees was immediately noticeable -- even in such a tiny boat. I fell in love with the boat and wanted one. "But Jill, we run rivers and this is a playboat" my husband tells me. So I gave the idea up -- but still thought about the comfort every time I sat in other boats. This season I went on an all out search for a comfortable river running playboat with no luck. Nothing compared to the comfort of the Jackson All star. So I demoed the Allstar -- even after the outfitter said the boat is too big for me (It's really not - I'm 145 in a 130-180 weight range) and hubby kept telling me I didn't want a playboat to run rivers. We were sold in 15 minutes but hubby made me stay in the boat for at least ½ hour so I didn't experience the pain in my legs like I would in the EZG after that amount of time in the boat. ½ hour later - no pain. A roll was in order but I haven't tried since roll practice and I'm not a great roller. Tuck, snap and up - It rolled like a ball with ease. Very smooth and controlled. Wow. Hubby says, "let's go" and paddled away toward the takeout because he knew immediately that me rolling that easy sealed the deal. He was no longer skeptical about a play boat. The question remained; will it be ok for running a river? We took it into a local "practice" area to see how it would handle in heavier flow and I had no issues other a noticeable difference in attaining (it took more work), but this past weekend was the maiden voyage down a lesser-class river (II-III) and all I can say is amazing, absolutely amazing. There was no fear or apprehension to try waves and ferrying against pushier flow that I wouldn't have even thought about doing in the Diesel. The boat is ultra quick to turn and because of the roundness of the design, there are no edges for water to catch. And the few times I DID feel something catchy it didn't take much to snap and compensate for the grabby water and prevent a roll under. Even in the Ledges wave (a popular play wave), I thought for sure I was going under several times but every single time I pulled or snapped and out of being buried I came. Another paddler asked me, "how does that boat fit -- isn't it too big for you." I'm not sure what the fixation is with folks thinking this boat is too big for me. Possibly they are thinking all-out play moves like cartwheels or flips which I don't plan to do for quite some time if ever. The boat is perfectly sized for a river running playboat for an individual in lower end of the weight range. It surfs like a charm and peels out with ease in the heaviest of flow. I'm in love with my 2010 Jackson Allstar. I think hubby is jealous.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Blubbering on My Mom

Sorry... can't help it - but my mom seems to be the center of what's going on in my life right now so here's a little more on her. Fate has its way of working and she called me last evening and said she's not going to see CATS. She developed nauseousness and vomiting; likely from the pain meds she's taking. Damn I feel bad for her and wish it would just go away. It made her happy to know her first suggestion of who to give the tickets to, took them. Rick's son, Neal, and his girlfriend Jessica (who loves cats by the way) are going to the show tonight and they were thrilled. I must say, I was pretty darn happy too they took them. Today (Sunday) is packed with catch-up work as best I can: a little weed pulling, a little harvesting and storing of food (swiss chard), a little house cleaning for me, a little house cleaning for mom, delivery of tickets to Neal in Millersburg, delivery of Rick's mom's wash (we do her wash for her every week 'cause she can't see to do it -- she's 92 with macular degeneration), a 10-11 mile trail run on virgin trail I never ran on (Ned Smith Center in Millersburg), then collapse this evening from exhaustion. Maybe I'll have a glass of wine. Oh, I didn't mention I have a new kitten. Pictures are coming. I found her sitting on top of a culvert in the middle of a back country road, meowing and crying for food. I picked her up and she purred all the way home (about a mile). Someone dumped her off. We've seen that happen before and old sappy Chili can't walk away from a dumped, friendly kitten.