As previously mentioned, this is the 5th cycle since surgery. I had three days of cramps leading up to george, who started on time on Friday, April 1st.
I was spotting by the end of the day on Thursday. It increased by Friday morning. I really didn’t want to go to work, but I pushed through the cramps, which were at a 4.5 on the pain scale. I loaded up on 600mg of Ibuprofen, looked up the bus schedule, walked to the corner, and waited for my bus.
The bus passed me, stopping three blocks up. I was so pissed off. I had relied on a local transit planning tool online, and also checked the schedule mounted at the bus stop. After the bus passed me, I looked up nextbus.com and found that there is no longer a stop where I stood. I then remembered that last year, there had been three different cuts to service routes, and I recalled that people were really upset over it. Proposition 22 passed in November, but it was too late by that time – AC Transit had suffered and made cuts before the prop passed.
I wasn’t personally affected by it at the time, because I still had a working car.
I walked back to the house and woke my husband, asking what I should do. I told him I was cramping, so I didn’t want to ride my bike to work. I told him my car is about to die, because it’s sputtering (spark plugs need changing), the exhaust is fubar, the rear brakes are leaking fluid and the drums are fubar, and the alignment is off due to a hit and run while parked last weekend when I was not paying attention to my car because we spent that weekend at the hospital visiting my husband’s father. Oh, and the “check engine” light had just come on this week on top of everything else.
I asked for advice – should I rent a car, take a cab, or did my husband want to drive me to work? And I could then have time to find a bus home later.
My husband said he’d drive me to work, much to my relief.
I got through the work day on only 600mg of Ibuprofen, simply because I was too busy to take more Ibuprofen throughout the day. The good news is that the pain did not ramp up enough for me to say, “Ok stop, I need medication NOW.”
The bad news is that since the pain was merely a 4.5 on the pain scale, that meant it was a continuous low drone of pain throughout the day that I neglected to properly manage. Thus, I made my day rougher than it should have been.
The pain started to ramp up by the end of my work day, and so I was pleased when a co-worker offered me a ride home. She also suffers with chronic pain (Interstitial cystitis) and multiple food and environmental allergies, so we’ve had many conversations, as misery loves company.
I cannot remember what I did when I got home, aside from taking half a Tylenol 3 and more ibuprofen. I think I just sat on the couch in a pain haze.
My husband got home from work a bit earlier than usual, so I thought we were going to the hospital to visit his dad again. Turns out he is just burnt out and wanted to leave work early. I get that. He whisked me off to grocery shopping for junk food, and we went to a friend’s house and hung out for the night.
During that time, I consumed another half Tylenol 3, some wine (yeah bad monkey, so sue me), lots of popcorn, cheese, strawberries and other sundries, and about 3 pints of water. I also had another bronchospasm – I’m still prone to those after getting bronchitis in February. What set me off was her husband having gone downstairs for a smoke and coming back into the house with smoke still on him and in his lungs. UGH. And my inhaler had been emptied the day before, so I had to push through that, too.
So that was Friday.
Saturday, we slept in, and then my husband dropped me off at the BART station, where I took the train to my long-awaited hair appointment (no sitting on the nasty seats this time – I stood and held onto the aluminum poles).
It’s been 3 months since I last saw my awesome hairdresser. It was right after surgery that I saw her, so I was excited to get something new done to my hair. It was my ME day and I wasn’t about to let the pain destroy it!! I popped 600mg Ibuprofen and half a Tylenol 3 and got on the train no problem.
Once I got into big scary San Francisco, however, things changed. Despite having GPS on the iPhone, as well as printed out street maps, I still could not get my bearings once I emerged from the subway BART station. I walked around in circles, trying to find the imaginary bus on California Street.
Within 10 minutes I realised the same thing that happened to me the day before in my hometown was also happening in The City – the buses are on tighter and changed schedules, now. Prop 22 didn’t do a damned thing to change that. GRRRRRRRR.
I called the hair studio and spoke to my hairdresser friend, who guided me to the next street over. I got to Sacramento Street and hopped on the 1. I got to my hair appointment 22 minutes late, but my friend still graciously accepted me and cut my hair exactly as I wanted it.
The pain had spiked when I sat down for my haircut, and I’d told my friend that I was at a 6 on the pain scale. I had popped another half Tylenol 3 by this time, too.
When my hair was done, my hairdresser instructed me on the best way to get back to the BART station. She suggested that since it was a lovely warm day, that I just walk the one mile back instead of dealing with the fubar bus system. I waffled at first, wondering if the just-recently managed pain would flare again. My hairdresser suggested I just hail a cab if the pain returned. I gave her a hug and set off into the unusually warm San Francisco day.
On the corner, I ducked inside the Out Of The Closet thrift store for a few minutes, before deciding I was far too distracted on the pain meds to pay any real attention to detail, so I set back off again, walking.
A half-mile into my walk, which was thankfully on a slight downhill step, I paused to get some photos of my hair (which you see above). After photoing myself, I felt a presence behind me, so I turned. There was this tall man, standing mere inches from me, and more to the point my backpack on my back. He turned away suddenly and began muttering to himself. He shifted on his feet, stumbled back a few steps, and lingered for a moment, looking at me out the corner of his eye.
I just glared at him, took a “I am going to KICK your ass” stance, and began swinging my very large, wide, heavy aluminum water bottle. He turned on his heel and disappeared around the corner.
This experience of course set off an adrenaline rush, which allowed me to walk the rest of the way to the BART station. When I got on the train, I was exhausted and drip-sweating. I refused to take off my hoodie, though. I stood the whole ride home, preferring to look like a speed freak, drip sweating and darting my eyes around, so people would leave me the hell alone.
When I got off the train, I waited for maybe 10 minutes before my husband arrived to pick me up. I thought I could go home at this point, but he reminded me that we were to visit his dad in the rehab center he’d just been moved to the previous day.
I ate a protein bar, got some hot lemon-ginger brew from the local free-trade coffee and tea house, and popped more ibuprofen, and we set off for the rehab center to visit dad.
Admiring a new iPad
His wife also came to visit him in the rehab center, but left after eating a meal in front of her husband that she knew he a) wanted and b) could not have due to his diabetes restrictions. Her total visit was about half an hour. I wanted to strangle her. But that’s another story for another time.
After a couple of hours, we told dad we’d hunt down his lost glasses at the dialysis center, and then we were off to dinner. The center was closed, so we’ll have to return again next week. We ate some sushi at the local hole-in-the-wall we love so much, and then returned home for the night, where I hung out on the couch with the heating pad, finally.
It was a rough night. I woke several times with gushing and pain. I stained my bed clothes, I am bleeding so heavily. I woke again this morning and had to take 600mg Ibuprofen and half a Tylenol 3 off the bat. I’ve been on the couch with a heating pad the entire time.
No idea what I’ll be able to accomplish today, though we do have to get our taxes done, so I guess I’ll start organising all my schooling receipts.
Today is Day 3 of george, Day 2 of pain at or above 6 on the pain scale, but most importantly, my third cycle where I have not (yet) been bedridden. Hope abounds.