I'm almost back to the point where I was before the injection, which was over two weeks ago. Pain is still worse but I'd say mobility is now almost back to where it was before the injection.
So right now, I wake up able to walk around a bit. Monday and today, I woke up thinking "Maybe I don't need the wheelchair today." But then I needed it after all. If I were to just lie in bed and do things around the house, I wouldn't need it. Or if I went to work, parked right outside the door, and only got up to go to the bathroom and to go home again, I could get along on crutches or maybe even just the cane.
I am super happy that I managed to drive to school yesterday & teach and drive back.
Then in the afternoon I sat up for a long time and went out to the park with my parents and Moomin. They played a sort of hilarious pickup baseball game using different parts of the play structures as bases. I sat and watched and took photos. I was reminded of how awesome my parents were and can be as I saw how naturally they invited all the kids around to join in and how sweetly they taught them and how creative they are with coming up with fun ideas. They're so much fun when they're being fun! When we were little, they were so often the fun parents who would play with us. My mom would get in the pool and make up excellent games and do the shepherding and structuring that showed us how to organize group things. Then after a while she would declare it was boring grownup time and she'd go lie in the sun like a coppertone-slathered zombie. Anyway, I watched them do their thing, and realized how rare it is. I think maybe parents like that tend to get sucked into structured activities, like being coaches. Instead, they excelled at improvising in any situation. I remember so many times when we'd be stuck somewhere and my mom especially (but my dad too) would never allow it to be boring. Once we had gone to see some popular movie, and couldn't get in, and decided to get in the roped-off line to buy tickets - we must have driven to Boston for it or something - and instead of being bored we played some weird game while sitting on the floor. Anyway, back to the time in the park. They have no dignity. They were goofy and affectionate with each other as I often remember them being. I was watching and felt so proud. And happy that Moomin gets to experience that. It really made me feel sappy and like crying.
It was an effort for them but once my mom got past her initial pitying freaked out comments they dealt very well and were totally normal with me. That was a relief.
Back to my progress report. Pain getting a bit better. I can sit up for much longer at a time. Also, I can do my physical therapy exercises again, since last Friday or Saturday. However, every night, I have wanted pain meds (it's just that I'm stubborn and want to feel there is progress.) The last two nights I didn't take them. But right now I want to take something. Was doing okay up till about 2pm, and then I hit the wall of pain all of a sudden, tried to ignore it, couldn't, and went home.
Did the steroid injection into the joint help? Or just set me back 2 weeks and cause me extra days of extreme pain? I have no way to tell. I do notice that once people have a procedure done, they have something of a vested interest in believing that it worked. They don't want to have made a bad decision. They don't want to not trust their doctor, also. They don't want to have suffered for no purpose. However, I think that way of thinking is essentially a combination of pride and a natural tendency towards false correlation. Once you go down that road you get more and more "invested" in a particular pathway to deal with whatever the problem is. For instance, if this injection is deemed to have not worked, they might tell me to *do it again*.... "sometimes it takes more than once". But also, if I had just waited another few weeks and kept on with physical therapy, I might also improve. There is no way to tell in any individual case. There are only big clinical studies that try to track the issue over a larger population. And whether the studies are well designed or not is not readily apparent.
Did it work? I dunno but I don't think so.
Was it a bad decision to do it? I don't think it was so bad.
Would I try it again? Not unless things get worse for me and stay worse for a fairly long time. Otherwise I'm going to be toughing it out and going the physical therapy route. The week of extreme pain and inability to take care of myself really sucked, and I have not yet seen any obvious benefits or results.
The orthopedist is telling me to increase the Celebrex, take the pain meds right away when I come home, and to ice more. So, be up and work in the day, be as mobile as possible, and then take the pain meds before I am desperate. There was some waffly talk about not letting it all fire up before medicating it. I will try to believe this, and to do it at least for a few more days and I'll see how that goes. I hate it as an answer, because I was feeling proud that for 3 days I have not taken anything stronger than Celebrex. Also, I have a lot of work to do, and I need to have my wits about me in the evening in order to do it.
Anyway I will go see the ortho again this week. Probably Thursday.
The orthopedist and med. assistants keep being surprised that the pain goes all the way down my leg into my foot. Like there is pain in the low back, and then the point where it progresses from there to pain radiating into your butt. I certainly have that. Then it goes down your leg. Check. Then into your foot. Well YES. And that is one of the more horrible parts of the pain. Plus, the intermittent numbness and weakness and collapsing-of-the-leg. So I think it's that I am younger (how can this be? am almost 40) than they expect to see this in people generally. There was an old dude next to me waiting for surgery two weeks ago who was getting the same injection I was. I nearly died when I heard him report to the nurse that his pain level was "2" on a scale of 1-10. If it's only 2 why the hell are you here, dude? Mine is still ranging from 4-7. I guess a few weeks ago it was more like 5-7. So that is maybe a sign of improvement. Maybe it gets up to 8 now and then. Just like with any other ongoing medical problem they are not going to believe me until they have heard me say it about 4 times over several months. Unless I get better by magic in the meantime it is going to be a bumpy ride.
My temper, patience, and ability to cope are improving a little bit. That is partly because the pain is less, but partly because you just have to learn to cope over time if pain isn't going away. I had learned how to deal with anger (including letting myself feel it) and how to be patient, when I was disabled before. But those were skills I mostly forgot and I have to relearn them. Sometimes I feel irrationally angry with everyone (including myself). Anyway if I am being a bit negative or lose my temper, I have to cut myself a little slack. It helps me to joke around about it.
Was saying to pete at work today that i get in this meta-level where i realize a lot of what i am feeling is loss of privilege many people never have anyway and it is from my huge sense of entitlement. This is not a bad thing. In fact I do believe that one good thing that can come out of a sense of entitlement is a bit of outrage and action on it, as long as the action is to benefit everyone and not just one person.
Endlessly processing all this stuff... It is eating up a lot of my brain power right now as well as my emotions.
I still can't decide whether to get a super awesome chair or not. I am holding off. I still have a vague hope that I'll be out of the chair soon. But that might not be realistic at all. If it isn't, then I'd like a kick ass lightweight chair that I can feel really free and powerful in.