Sorry I haven’t been updating. See, here’s what’s been going on. The Lyme infection that started last spring but only got diagnosed last December finally gave up the ghost after 4 courses of antibiotics. I was starting to feel a lot better. Hudson rebounded quickly from his fear of the vet’s office, and thinks it’s fun and interesting again. We adopted a second dog, Bailey, who we think is an American Staffordshire Terrier, which is one of the breeds that gets lumped into ‘Pits’ – about 50 lbs, black and white tuxedo markings including a dusting of white on her snout that makes her look like she poked her snout into a snow bank, and the most people-oriented dog I’ve ever met. She’s a dog who loves her people so much that she dances and wags her whole body when you’ve been gone for 30 seconds (no exaggeration). Unfortunately, she’s a rather oily dog, so we can’t let her in the bedroom, because it makes both of our allergies worse, so she sleeps in her crate downstairs. She adores my fiance, who feels pretty similarly about her, and they take each other out on walk/runs every morning and some afternoons. She’s a rescue, and has had at least two litters of puppies before she was removed from her former owner by the SPCA. She’s somewhat fearful of women and children, but she seems to be improving quite quickly now that she’s in a happy home. The SPCA estimated her age at 3-5, but I think she’s even younger than that. She acts rather puppy-ish in the most endearing ways – the playfulness and desire for cuddling and belly-rubs. We’d hoped that Hudson would take to her; in practice, they mostly tolerate each other and only very occasionally play together, while the closest they come to cuddling is both of them trying to get the spot at my feet.
About 3 weeks after we adopted her, Bailey very suddenly got very, very sick. She couldn’t keep down even water. It turned out that at some point before we got her, she had swallowed a corn cob. The vet told us that’s not uncommon for dogs; apparently, they love corn cobs. Anyhow, it was blocking the opening from stomach to her intestines, which is why she was so sick. She needed surgery, and quickly became our $5,000 mutt. Fortunately, the shelter provided us with a health insurance plan that lasted for 30 days after the adoption, so $750 of her care was covered (the maximum benefit of the plan). Anyhow, while that make for a really eventful week, that’s not really where all the trouble started.
In October, less than a week after we adopted Bailey, the dogs knocked me over. Hudson was frisking because I’d just gotten up for the day and Bailey was frisking because I’d just let her out of her crate. They were running in and out of the kitchen doorway, and one of them (I think Bailey) jumped sideways to avoid colliding with the other and instead knocked my leg out from under me. I fell sideways into the wall. It felt like a minor thing, and I already had a prescription for physical therapy on my back because I’d twisted wrong in my sleep and tweaked something. So I started seeing my physical therapist, who is really, really good. Usually, when I’ve done something to the muscles in my back, I start feeling better VERY quickly – like, within 2-3 visits. But this time, it was getting more and more painful, and I couldn’t get to his office because my fiance’s hours kept him from driving me and the taxis were only making things worse. I saw my doctor and got referred to the rehabilitative medicine specialists attached to the good inpatient rehab center in my city. They put the fear of god in me, because they pointed out that by the time I saw them, it was sounding more and more like a spinal injury. Now, there’s a chance that all that’s going on is that the paraspinal muscles – the ones that run right along the spine, which in older medical lexicon are known as the erectors spinae – are spasming and pressing on the nerves as they exit the spine. But there’s also a solid chance that I’ve injured my spine, either in the neck or in the low back/lumbar region. I finally have the MRI scheduled for this Saturday, and they’ll be doing a whole bunch of views of my neck because there’s a chance that what’s going on is that I have cranio-cervical instability, which is a Known Thing in people with EDS (in fact, one of my closest friends just had surgery to stabilize hers this summer). Basically, your head is attached to your spine by connective tissue, and as we people with EDS have lousy connective tissue, sometimes the head isn’t attached well enough, which can lead to what’s called internal decapitation – pretty much what it sounds like, the head and spine moving apart and severing the spinal cord. It’s a scary possibility, and unfortunately this recent injury ups the likelihood that I’ve got that going on somewhat.
Anyhow, for the last half of October, November, and the first half of December, I was basically stuck in bed totally horizontal more than 20 hours a day. Some days, I only got out of bed long enough to go do the very minimum to survive – eating and using the bathroom. I hope you’ll all forgive me for being somewhat incommunicando under those circumstances. Out of the blue, I woke up one day in December feeling much better. Like a sensible person, I decided to travel across the country and spend the holidays with my family. Okay, I’ll admit it wasn’t sensible, but I only get out there on alternating years for Christmas, and I have a very much loved nephew who is growing up so fast…well, I couldn’t bear to miss the holidays. Fortunately, things have stayed much the same physically for me for the last month or so. I have bad days now and then, but for the most part I can at least socialize for most of the day.
The new semester started this Monday, and I have already missed two classes (though only one was entirely my fault – the other is because I had to switch classes after finding out that a class aimed at people who ‘speak Spanish’ really demanded fluency, when my Spanish is more or less broken). The one that was my fault, well, I have 2 classes back to back Tuesday and Thursday, and the one that goes first on Tuesday is in the room with the chairs that are uncomfortable at best. With my back behaving the way it is, ‘best’ is not a common state.
So that’s where things stand now. I find out next week or so what my back looks like and how we’re going to have to treat it. It’s been quite, quite rough, and frustrating, and I lost a full semester of work, which means I have to petition to get an extra semester beyond what my school normally allows as the absolute maximum for people to graduate. The dean says it’s likely I’ll get it, but I’m anxious. And I’m anxious about my back. It’s just been more stress than anyone should have to deal with, but it sometimes feels like that’s just a day in the life of Kali.