Monday, October 3, 2011

A Change of Space


My little home office in our master bedroom. I've been all over the house trying to figure out where I work best. What I finally came up with as a comfortable, private place to work is what you see here. It comes with the largest (and last) quilt I ever hand made on the wall, pictures that make my heart happy, a comfy chair, and a pretty pink teddy bear and little bunny my dad bought me when I had my surgery last year.

And I am so. Sad.

Because I can't work here anymore. My pain levels have gotten too high, the space isn't ergonomic (which I always thought was bullshit, but apparently it's not), and I am no longer comfortable typing there. It used to be that computers were those big old desk top numbers. The ones with keyboards that could be placed on pull out desk drawers in direct proportion to the angle at which you were going to be typing. Now we all have laptops, which means using the mouse on the desktop and typing at an angle that is very unnatural and disturbing to our bodies. Well, bodies like mine.

As most of you know, I have fibromyalgia. The symptoms come and go and the first rule of fibro is that it is insanely, consistently inconsistent. But one of my fibro gifts is a constant pain in my right shoulder. This was the first pain I ever noticed in relation to this nastiness and it has been my continual companion since I was 19. The pain in my shoulder was directly responsible for my right lung collapsing in 1989. No, I'm not kidding.

I had gotten tired of feeling that nagging feeling in my shoulder and went to my primary care doctor, who I had picked for the simple reason that he was in my HMO plan. Never a good reason for choosing a doctor. But I was young and what the hell did I know? I should have gotten the hint when he repeatedly told me he thought I was pregnant without doing a pregnancy test or an examination and despite the fact that I hadn't had that pesky monthly thing going on for 15 months. I wanted a baby desperately at the time and every time he would tell me he thought I was pregnant (without doing a test, for God's sake), I would be elated until I went and bought the EPT and got that heart sinking "negative" sign. He shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. At least he should have examined me and tried to figure out why I wasn't getting a monthly gift on a regular basis.

So, I went to this doctor and told him about the pain in my shoulder. He decided cortisone injections directly into the muscle would stop the pain. And knicked my right lung, causing it to collapse. 90%. I gingerly went home, called back to say that I had a lot of pain from the shot, to which he responded with a narcotics prescription so I could go to work. I went to work that evening, coughed constantly, and my boss asked me if I was coming down with a cold. I said, "I don't think so." After a couple of days, Justin insisted I go back to the doctor, the doctor listened to my lungs with that cold stethoscope thingie, and said, "Oh my God!" (words you never want to hear come out of your doctor's mouth). He told me I needed to go to the Emergency Room immediately. I didn't understand what the fuss was all about. Until they told me I needed a chest tube to reinflate my lung and I spent four days in the hospital begging for my next injection of demerol. By the end of my stay, they had to direct it into my thigh muscles because they were running out of large muscles to stick with the needles.

I switched doctors. I had physical therapy. I stretched. I joined a gym, which I never went to. I continued to complain about the pain in my shoulder and avoid needles.

Jump to 2011. The pain in my shoulder has expanded to include my entire right side. It runs from my neck to my ankle. My current, decent doctor tells me I now have sciatica in addition to the fibromyalgia and it has taken up residence in my right hip, a sharp, shooting pain that runs down my right leg when I move it. There is also now a shooting pain in my right hand, to go along with the one in my right shoulder. It's the pain that is severely limiting my cross stitching.

But it's the shoulder pain that has caused this:


Yep. That's the same blank screen you saw upstairs, but it is now down here in my lap as I sit in the recliner, typing in my appropriate, totally ergonomic lap. With my feet up on that coffee table. And My Name is Earl up on the big television over the fireplace, making the digital box I stole for the bedroom television when we got our HD box (Justin will never notice that additional $5.99 charge on the Comcast bill!) completely useless. I should take it back over to the Comcast people and get that charge off our monthly bill, but the last time I tried to go over there to pick up the HD box, the entire way onto the freaking street was blocked and I ended up with that horrible lady telling me "recalculating...recalculating...turn right at the Hooters directly ahead." Okay, there's no Hooters in Winchester, but I think there's one in Stephens City, which is probably where the hateful GPS woman took me.

I keep wondering why there isn't a programming option that will say, "Hey, yo, BITCH! Ya made a wrong TURN! Make a u-turn and get yo head outta yo ass!" (Yeah, I don't speak gangsta. Sorry about that.)

Anyway, the point of this little rant is that I am no longer staring at my blank screen with that blinking cursor that will not stop mocking me in my nice, cozy, private, quiet master bedroom while Justin works in the office downstairs. I am now right on the other side of the wall that separates the office from our family, typing in the recliner and praying that my hand holds out long enough to complete this post.

Yeah. Fibromyalgia sucks. Not as bad as some things, because at least I can move myself to a (hopefully) more comfortable place. I know not everyone has an option that will decrease their pain levels. (Notice, I did not say decrease their illness - I know this is for life, unless some really great researchers get on it, like, now.) But it bothers me that I can't use that desk and chair and look at my beautiful (?), pink, hand-made quilt and that my office has ended up (again) in the room that we also watch Starz and unordered HBO in. And that the kids troop by when they come home from school. Or want a snack. Or just want to say "hi."

I like the fact that I am downstairs during the day, because I feel like it's really better for me mentally to not be in my bedroom for the 14 or 16 hours a day that I am awake. But maybe we could restructure that space upstairs by getting rid of the useless desk, chair, and bookcase, and buy a really cool massage chair (with heat) from Brookstone and get my doctor to write me a letter saying I have to have it because of my fibro. Yeah, he probably would do it too. And I could write in that chair while watching a brand new big flat screen television mounted over the entertainment center in the bedroom while choosing my massage and heat level. I'd be like Chandler and Joey in that Friends episode where they got new recliners and decided to send the take out orders to Monica and Rachel's apartment so they never had to get up.

There's a part of me that wonders what the next progression will be in this daily fun trip into old age. Maybe it's that Mac Book Air that weighs less than the iPad I thought I wanted until I saw the wonder computer that Justin directed me towards at Best Buy. Hopefully it won't heat up my lap and cause hot flashes like this one does.

But that's another blog entry.

Chelle

 

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