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I'm so worried about her

 
 
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:02 am
So my ex girlfriend is going to see her doctor today. Seeing a doctor by itself can be a scary thing, but for her it's something on a whole other level of fear.

Rewind about 9 months, and no this is not a story about pregnancy.

She was diagnosed early in life with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This by itself would cause her body and mind a great deal of pain as a child and through her adolescence. She would never be able to participate in athletics so she turned to her books and became an academic force of nature.

However, even with her relatively low level of activity, her body still weathered from the disease. And 9 months ago, shortly after her 23rd birthday, she was preparing to have surgery to replace her hip. The ball of her hip had become what the doctor's referred to as a "dead bone" and they were installing a ceramic prosthetic in it's place.

She grew very fearful that she would die. The idea of surgery was terrifying. She turned to her religious upbringing more as she got closer to her surgery. The night before her surgery, she attended mass and she said it put her at ease. While I'm not a religious person, I was very happy to hear something had put her in a peaceful state before the surgery.

The surgery went well and things seemed normal. Afterwards, her experience made her rethink the role she wished religion to have in her life and what was assumed to be her future family's life with myself and whatever children we would someday have. This forced a rift between us because we did could not come to a common ground. Neither one of us thought the other's views were offensive, and neither one of us felt comfortable asking the other to compromise. We decided to split up.

Three months later, she was almost healed all the way. She could even walk with minimal assistance. We still loved each other and stayed close. For me, it was hard to abandon the caregiver role. Even before everything happened, I used to provide daily assistance such as putting her socks and shoes (always double knotted) on and pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

We were out in public and a floor mat slid out from under her. She fell and hit her head and landed on her right leg. The same leg she had her surgery on. She sat up and said: "There's something wrong." I inspected her leg and with the minimal first aid knowledge I had, I suspected, but in effort to not panic her did not tell her, that her leg was broken. Pain began to set in. Me and the others with us worked fast to get her into the car and over to the hospital.

We arrived, and after what seemed like an eternity, they confirmed my fear. She laid there in pain crying, terrified. They would have to do another surgery, and this time she would not have any time to prepare herself mentally. The decision was to take her by ambulance to another hospital 100 miles away. I was there when they put her in traction. I saw her in such extreme pain as they extended her leg. I rode in the ambulance with her so that her parents could just meet us at the hospital (the one mentioned 100mi away) instead of driving down only to drive back.

I had been up for 24 hours at that point, and when we finally arrived at the hospital, her family was there and relieved me of my post so to speak. They sent me back to their home to sleep and shower. By time I woke later, the surgery had already happened.

She returned to school only a week later, although she was stuck at her home, unable to go out. She received many visitors and people came by a lot during the St. Patricks day holiday (A big deal at my school, they even give us a week off). It was the 100th annual and our senior year, so she was very much looking forward to this event. It was to be a part of the life normalcy she had not had her entire life, and she just didn't want to be left out again.

In effort to raise her spirits she began to plan a trip for herself and some others for our spring break. She did all the logistics work and put many reservations in her name. I had my own trip planned, and since we were no longer together, the thought at the time was that doing separate things would be better for both of us.

I called her as I left town on my trip. I called her to tell her to travel safe. She told me that wouldn't be a problem now. She was at the hospital again. While dressing herself, she had heard a pop sound. She feared something had gone wrong. She knew something wasn't right. It was what we had all feared, her leg had again broke.

At this point I should mention some things about why her leg was always breaking. You see the implant in her leg actually makes the leg's structure stronger. However when pressure is applied uniformly when the stress builds up at the ends of the implant. He breaks all coincided with the end of her implant. The implant itself had made her fragile like glass.

Her doctor relieved himself and suggested a different surgeon in the area. The second mend was far more complex and this time surgery took a toll on her body. After the first 2 surgeries she was very energetic the day after, this one left her lethargic for days on end.

After doing most of the semester as a distance courses, she returned to school. Three weeks later I received a phone call.

"I was really careful. I know something is wrong. Will you come look at it? Why is this happening? I was really careful. I didn't even get up."

I went over. Something was wrong. Her right leg was about 5 inched shorter than her left. I told her that she needed to call her parents. She was not in pain, but she knew something was wrong. Her leg was not broken this time. Not her leg that is. The titanium rod that had been inserted in her leg had been installed incorrectly. Just sitting and laying had bent the rod several degrees.

I waved good bye to her as her mother drove her off. This was her 4th surgery in 4 months. She didn't return to school. She negotiated with teachers on how to finish the semester and many of them just let her take her grade as is.

She did return to campus, but just for the graduation ceremony.

Summer cam and she moved back home to live with her parents. She stayed in her room most days just laying down. Healing. Eventually, her doctors told her that she was mending up fine and that she'd be able to walk soon. A month ago, the doctor ordered her to stay on the crutches an extra month just to be safe. She was not pleased, but she obeyed and still went to physical therapy as told.

Today.

Today she was scheduled to go to the doctor to see if she could move on from the crutches and start a more advanced physical therapy to help her return to walking (something she has not been able to do in many months). She called me early this morning to tell me she is on her way to the doctor. She says her leg is swollen, and that she is afraid to put weight on it. She is afraid that it's broken again. It's hard for either of us to tell if this is a real threat of it it is just in her head.

Either way there is reason to worry. Her doctor upon her last visit warned that her leg could not handle another surgery and that if it were to break again that her leg would have to be amputated. I don't have to say what she is terrified of today.

Every feeling of being too different.
Every bit of childhood normality that she was denied.

And now she worries that she will be an amputee for the rest of her life.

My friends, I can't tell you the worry this causes me. I now live 1000 miles away which only adds to the feeling of helplessness which I've felt every time a medical emergency occurs with her.

I'm worried.
I'm scared.
I'm waiting on her to call me when the appointment is over.

Thinking of her
K
O
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 3,715 • Replies: 48

 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:09 am
@Diest TKO,
Ooooof...

Such a difficult situation.

One of those times I wish Noddy was around to give some peerless advice.

Although I guess advice isn't really the thing, is it? There isn't much you can do. It sounds like you've already gone above and beyond. You broke up for a good reason, nothing to feel guilty about. I understand that you still care for her, but I wonder how involved you would be in her life if she hadn't had all of these emergencies?

Regardless, I wish her the best of luck.
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:14 am
@Diest TKO,
Diest- You had been very close with her, and are obviously still very emotionally attached. It is very difficult to stand by and watch someone that you care for suffer, especially when you can't do too much about it.

But there is one thing that you can do. Be there for her emotionally. Listen to her when she is frightened, and help to reassure her. No, you can't make any promises. Her condition may stay the same, or it could get worse. You need to be prepared for that.

My best advice to you is simply to be a loving friend, so you can help her through her ordeal.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:16 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
One of those times I wish Noddy was around to give some peerless advice.


Soz- I was thinking the same thing, as I was writing my answer to Diest. From out in the cosmos, I could hear Noddy saying, "Hold your dominion!"
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:17 am
@sozobe,
Thanks. I just need the presence. I'm alone out here on the coast. I don't know anybody close enough to express this to in person. That and most people are at work at this time...

Just waiting by the phone.

T
K
O
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:18 am
@Diest TKO,
Yeah, I understand.

We're here.

Hope the news is good, when you get it.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:24 am
@Diest TKO,
This is horrifying. It never seems comprehensible, why some of us have to endure so much more than others. It's easy for sensitive people to find themselves in a ball of anguish for people who are suffering unfairly. Ultimately, thought, I think--Phoenix is right. The best thing you can do for her is to be a caring friend. Try not to sink too far down in pain with her--you're more helpful to her if you can hold yourself apart a bit emotionally. I know this is close to impossible for some people.

Thinking of you...and glad she has you.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:32 am
Bringing a chair into the room and sitting with you TKO
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:38 am
I sent a text. No reply yet.

Thanks for pulling up a chair.
K
O
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 07:46 am
@Diest TKO,
You are a good man TKO. I'll wait here too, if you don't mind.

Noddy is never far from your heart...
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:03 am
@Diest TKO,
It's early. What time was her appointment?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:03 am
TKO, we all sometimes just have to have courage to accept what we cannot change, and sometimes caring is all we can offer. But sometimes caring is offering quite a lot.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:26 am
One text: "another surgery..."

No word if that means she is going to keep her leg.

T
K
O
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:41 am
@Diest TKO,
I'm sorry, Diest. I know you're frantic. Will wait with you as long as you need...
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 08:43 am
@JPB,
It seems like if she's being that brief, "amputation" would be the obvious thing to say if that's what's happening...

So hope that "another surgery" is good news.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:09 am
Just got off the phone.

"surgery next Friday"
"I had just got an apartment."
"I had finally moved out of my parent's house"
"I had started to meet people."
"How am I going to meet people when I'm stuck at my parents house?"
"Neko (her cat) was finally going to be able to live in a bigger place and not just stuck in my room" (her father is allergic)
"Nobody is going to talk to the girl in crutches."
"I'm supposed to start gradschool next week."
"I have to go now. I'm going to work. I have to tell my boss and see if there is any way to work from home."
"I need to redo my make up so my coworkers can't tell I've been crying, and I need to rehearse how I tell them I'll be gone for surgery so it comes off as light hearted."
"If I cry at work, it would be too much to handle."
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"
"why can't I be normal?"

Tell me what's left to learn form this.
K
O
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:12 am
@Diest TKO,
So no amputation though? I couldn't quite tell. "Girl on crutches" (as opposed to "girl with one leg") sounds promising.

It sucks, for sure.

Probably too close to say stuff really can be learned from it. (I wouldn't wish going deaf on anyone, but there were real lessons that I really value.)
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:27 am
@Diest TKO,
I'm glad you were able to talk to her, Diest. The news isn't good and she's devastated, but you are able to help each other cope just by being there with each other -- even if by phone.

Long distance makes it hard.... Cyber/phone hugs and hand-holding aren't quite the same as real life hugs and hand-holding but, just as you've been able to turn to this group for real support, she's able to turn to you. I'm glad you're there for her even though you don't feel that you're there.

((( Diest TKO )))
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:27 am
@sozobe,
No amputation talk at this moment. Doctor said that her leg looked to be in good condition. Had this happened earlier, her leg might not be in such good shape.

To update: Once again, the titanium rod in her leg has failed. The x-ray does not reveal a break, but the doctor said that it's unlikely that the rod would break and the bone wouldn't.

I think what hurts the most is thinking about the assault on her dignity. She has totally been robbed of her independence from this. She is becoming terrified of everything, and she even thinks that

"God is trying to kill her"

It doesn't matter if it's rational thinking. Her fear is 100% real.

I told her I care. She said it doesn't matter because I don't love her anymore.

I wanted to tell her I did, but I knew that the platonic love I have for her would hardly be a consolation prize worth mentioning.

This is maddening
K
O
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 09:33 am
@Diest TKO,
She's going to say things that don't come out right. She knows you care, she knows you wouldn't still be doing what you're doing if you didn't love her.

It does matter.
 

 
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