Vignettes: Seventh Sympathetic Nerve Block and a Neurologist Check up

By this point, you know the drill as well as I do.

I went straight to the neurologist from the airport. The check-up went very well. He measured my calves, still noticing the significant atrophy of the right leg. This time, I looked. The right is 1.75 inches smaller than the left. I was shocked because I thought since I had been riding my bike so much, I would have rebuilt some amount of muscle. Apparently, if the muscle doesn’t fire properly (beyond crazy spasms), then the muscle can’t build mass. Go figure.

But that was where the not so good news ended. My doctor noticed that the temperature difference between my two legs was not as severe, nor was the color difference. The swelling was almost completely diminished. My right toenails still don’t grow at the same rate as my healthy left toenails, but they have started to grow again. These are all very promising signs.

The pain is still excruciating, and my leg still goes into spasms, but my neurologist looked me square in the eyes and said, “you might be one of the very few people who overcome CRPS.” He paused for a minute to let that news sink in. Then he added, “but you have to be patient. It is going to take years, so you have to keep doing what you are doing. I want to see you again in February.”

If would have skipped out of the office, were I able to skip…

The nerve block went without complication, I suppose. Needle through the spine, injection that feels like an alligator is chomping my leg and abdomen, recovery. I’m an old pro at this by now.

However, my pain doctor is not satisfied with the level of pain I continue to to experience on a daily basis. She wants me to have a lidocaine infusion a few days prior to my next nerve block, hoping that it’ll provide a one-two punch to the pain. Who knows. I’ll try almost anything she recommends at this point, if it means I might return to a normal life.

After leaving  my appointment, I stumbled upon a Downton Abbey exhibit. It appeared to be full of the costumes and furniture and history and all sorts of other secrets that only a reservation and $35 would reveal. I loitered looking in the windows for a few minutes and then moved along.

I also took a ballet class at Ballet Arts, from my favorite teacher, Kat Wildish. She was, as she always is, warm and welcoming and kept a close eye on me.

And I guess that was it…

Sort of…

This entire trip was tainted by the stench of a CRPS hijacked life. You see, the day before I left for New York, my dad went in for his regular health check up and ended up being immediately admitted to the hospital.

Despite his blood work and lab work showing stellar numbers, something was very wrong. He was admitted to the oncology unit. Something about the liver, possibly the bile duct. His abdomen was filling with fluid.

He needed tests and scans and tubes. He needed his family there to support him. And yet, I had to go to New York for my CRPfuckingS bullshit. I needed to get the treatment. I didn’t have the choice to stay and help comfort and take care of the person who has helped and comforted me the most in these past few years.

Leaving him in the hospital the night before I left broke my heart. When I came home, we still didn’t have any definitive answers, but he had been released from the hospital with the news that there would be no good news.

Meanwhile, my next appointments are scheduled for the first week in February. The lidocaine infusion, a check up with my neurologist, and another sympathetic block. Something has to change. Something has to work. I can’t keep living my life in the claustrophobic confines dictated by CRPS. I need to be able to be available to help my family. I am very scared about what the future has in store, and I know the difficulty will only be compounded by CRPS.

 

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