The four of us

I’ve been awfully sick of late. I finally went to the doctor on Thursday and took the following list of symptoms. The list also included some things I’m doing to better deal with the pain because I’m absolutely on the edge of falling apart at times. It’s a little hard for me to share the following because it’s so personal, but I’m not going to let embarrassment about who I am and how I deal with things inhibit my free expression. For one thing, I almost never get anything but positive reactions on this blog no matter what I post, and for another, I know that when people react negatively to what I share, it tells me more about who they are than who I am. I know that most of you are more reticent than I, and that’s fine, but if you’re coming here, you’re obviously open to me being different. I can’t even tell you why I’m different, and I don’t care enough to think about it because I accept myself this way, and I know that all of my regular readers do too. You guys are among my best friends.

As for the doctor, he looked at the list, complimented me on the things I’m doing, and said he was going to run tests on me for everything but pregnancy. I’ve haven’t gotten the results yet because I couldn’t get the tests done until yesterday—Friday. My doctor, Kirk, is but four months younger than my age of 67 (my birthday is in March, and his in July), and I worry about him because he’s looking feeble. I love and respect Kirk to the point that if he ever needed anything, I would be there for him if I could. There are few blessings in life that are better than a good relationship with a doctor, and few curses that are worse than a bad one. I’ve had doctors I adored, and I’ve had doctors I wanted to shoot because when youre hurting, scared, and vulnerable, and your doctor is uncaring or incompetent, the former constitutes a betrayal that you never forget, and the latter can kill you. But enough. Here’s my list:

Trembling of fingers

Difficulty keeping feet still

Muscular tension that I have no ability to control for more than a few moments at a time




Anxiety and despair focused upon my seemingly hopeless and ever-escalating downhill slide coupled with worries about Peggy’s eventual death, our sick cat, earthquakes, crime, the world situation, etc.

Difficulty concentrating

Poor appetite

Feeling too hot one minute and too cold the next

Ten pound weight loss over ten days starting on Monday a week ago

Constipation when I take oxycodone, diarrhea when I don’t

Continuing pain in mid to upper back, both shoulders, and both knees all of which are sufficiently severe to keep me awake and make adequate exercise impossible

Back pain frequently so severe that I often find it hard to think about anything else

Increasing difficulty staying out of bed. Spent most of every day and night in bed last week, but am now able to be up, although I feel fragile and exhausted

Lack the strength to carry on usual activities, have any sort of a social life, or handle life’s common stresses

First time onset of what I assume are pollen allergies, as evidenced by sore throat and scratchy sinuses


Go to Sacred Heart Sleep Clinic tomorrow for office visit re-evaluation of BiPap settings

Start a 15-hour “Live Well with Chronic Pain” class on Monday

Start a 12-hour “Grief, Loss, and Peace” class on Wednesday

Lose another 10-pounds to hopefully avoid knee replacements

Ask you for a prescription for—and a medical certificate of necessity for a new TENS unit because Empi, the manufacturer of the old one, went out of business, so I can't get pads.

Re-visit my pain specialist on April 26 (his efforts at alleviating back pain have thus far been of little benefit, but he has had some luck with my knees).

I should add that Peggy and Brewsky aren’t doing well either. Peggy has a severe iron deficiency problem (not that it’s slowing her active lifestyle down much), so she too is having some tests done. As for Brewsky, his bladder problem is so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if it killed him. Right now, he’s on Valium, and talk about strange! He’s going around doing things he just never does. For instance, getting into the bathtub, jumping up on the kitchen countertop, and pacing the house with a look in his eyes that says, “Who am I? Where am I? When Peggy was a teenager, doctors tended to think that every complaint a female adolescent had called for Valium, and Peggy quickly came to love the drug, so she keeps threatening to take Brewsky’s. I said to her, “I guess a woman knows she has a drug problem when she starts stealing her cat’s medication.” I should add that she didn’t really mean it. As for Ollie, he’s eight months old, and and driving the rest of us crazy by running around like a cat who’s had way too much coffee.