Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

The Perils of Cliffhangers


When I left it at that cliffhanger, I didn’t think that would come back to bite me and give me two other medical things to “deal with” in the interim.

So. I’d best write before anything ELSE happens on top of all the house stuff.

Best of good news with the house things: we closed on the old house! The new owners met with us for the signing with their adorable baby boy and it was a blast. The new house is going well, and John’s checking every day, there’s a photo album of the daily progress here.

The original medical thing was that my doctor’s office called me after my blood test and told me that I had the very first signs of pre-diabetes, and they just said that I should watch my carbs and get a bit more aerobic exercise and get another test in six months. I immediately cut out the donuts and milk tea mornings on Mondays and also nearly all the candy, cookies, and treats I snuck when I was bored. Most of all, it meant that I couldn’t finish off the dregs of honey gleaned from the processing I did to make the honey that I sold. There is a good quart or two of heat treated honey that I got from rendering the wax, which I can’t sell if I only sell not-heat-processed honey. And neither Jet nor John actually eat much honey on a regular basis.

At the onset, too, I cut nearly all the simple carbs out of my daily diet, limiting all my white bread, white rice, and white noodles, the saddest of which was all my homemade ramen. But I added a lot of nuts, meat jerky (which I really had to read the packaging on to see how MUCH sugar they added), and some choco zero almond bark to help when I really badly wanted something.

I immediately went from the 169 I weighed immediately after Puerto Rico to 154. It was a pretty drastic drop, but I was also finally listening to my body, and my tongue would feel a little funny every time I ate straight sugar without a lot of proteins or fats to help equalize the burn.

The biggest side effect wasn’t the headaches everyone else predicted when I quit sugar, it was that my brain finally cleared. I’d been going the last year or two wondering if I was always going to find it difficult to focus and spend much time on anything, and be completely unable to find the depth of thought I’d always had before. Even with reading I was finding it hard to concentrate for more than fifteen to twenty minutes and it wasn’t just because of the cervical pain of sitting still for so long. I thought it was a side-effect of the loss of hormones with being perimenopausal or that my thyroid was dying.

Instead, a great deal of it seemed to be the fact that I was poisoning myself with sugar and the honey from my bees... oops. The strange thing is that I now feel immensely better.

So the two medical things that happened *after* that was that on the Tuesday of the week of closing on the old house, Jet had an accident on his bike. As he tells it, he was just riding straight on the sidewalk when the front wheel turned sideways and he spilled. Other times he’ll also add that he’d gotten up off the seat to gain some speed, but there was nothing about the sidewalk or what he was doing to cause the spill. He just fell. I got a call several minutes later, when he’d lain on the sidewalk for a while to gather himself, and felt good enough to actually speak. And he asked me to come to him to help him get the bike home.

I ran through the neighborhood trying to find him and went the wrong way (of course) and found him right when he was about to give up pushing his bike home and sit down for a while. Taking the bike from him was a good thing, and he got home all right. We then spent an hour patching him up with big sterile pads, seven band-aids, and ice packs on his swollen and bruised left hand. It looked bad to me and I kind of wanted to go to urgent care, but when John came home, the two of them were like it doesn’t hurt that much, so it could just be a sprain. So we iced it, put compression on it with an ace bandage, and eventually a brace that John found at Walgreen’s. And Jet lived one-handed for a while and found that he really couldn’t use the thumb or fingers that well.

One of his friends has a mother who is a doctor and she was pretty concerned about him not regaining usage with a few days’ time. So on Friday (we closed on the house on Thursday morning), we took him to the Urgent Care clinic associated with UCHealth here in Longmont. Since he’s now 18, Jet got to answer all the questions himself, and it was a good experience all around. They x-rayed him and the physician there took one look and said, “We can’t deal with this, if we’re lucky, we’ll get the orthopedics folks to do a closed reduction today.” She ran off to get that all set up and came back to say that we needed to go to the Emergency Room at the local new hospital, and the orthopedists would meet us there.

A “closed reduction” was something of a puzzle for all three of us. Finally we realized that it was a reduction of the fracture, and when it’s closed it means that the skin remains closed, and that the open ones were surgical ones. The emergency room was ready for us, and we got through security with a minimum of hassle. Yes, security. They had a guard with a metal detector. It was interesting realizing that it must be because they have so many medications in the emergency rooms, so they have to actively guard them from people who want to steal drugs. That was oddly sobering, since I’d never seen that before.

But the nurses were all male, and they were pretty impressed with Jet, they’d been looking over the x-rays that had been sent over and one of the guys said to Jet, “We’ve had big burly guys in here with stuff that wasn’t nearly as bad, and they were crying. You’re just like, ‘it doesn’t hurt that bad’...”

It was good. They really did a good job of getting Jet settled in and calm, and I was really happy with them and how they set the tone of ‘we’re going to take care of this’. The Orthopedist came in and it turned out that she was the physician’s assistant for the orthopedic department, but she had every idea of what needed to be done, and she went about it quickly and decisively. She had to add a lead apron all over because she was pregnant and had a scanner that emitted a small amount of radiation as she worked, and she didn’t want to risk the baby at all. She gave Jet a local anesthetic and then she and one of the emergency room nurses basically pulled on Jet’s arm and pushed the fragment of bone until it slid back into the place it had vacated.

The problem was that he’d gone a few days, and she said that there was a good chance it was going to just pop out again because Jet’s body had been trying its best to compensate for the missing bone, and adjust to the new situation with the broken bone up and off to the side. Jet said that the process felt very unique, and later when the anesthetic wore off that day, he said that it felt like his body was protesting the new change as well, that it didn’t really want to go back where it used to be either. So that was a little worrying. But the physician’s assistant got us scheduled to see Dr. Bishop on Monday.

We spent the weekend thinking that Monday was going to be when they were going to decide if Jet needed surgery or not, and if the closed reduction worked then it might not have to go to that; but we were wrong. On Monday, Dr. Bishop showed us and x-ray of what Jet’s arm looked like both before and after the closed reduction, and while it was better it was pretty obvious that the broken piece was not only offset, but that his wrist and hand resting on top of it were all also out of kilter. He had Jet attempt a few very simple gestures and Jet couldn’t do them.

In order to get full range of motion back, he recommended surgery as soon as possible, not that it was an emergency, but it was better to do it before the bone tried to knit completely back together. His surgery coordinator managed to work the minor miracle of getting us a 7 am surgery the next day.

Oddly, it felt better knowing that Jet simply had to have surgery than it was fearing that he might have to, and we were all up at 5 am the next morning and to the hospital pretty quickly. Jet couldn’t eat anything after midnight, so the super early appointment made it easy. We got him there, saw him in at 6, and then were kind of dismissed by the nurses around 6:30, and were told that the hospital had a pretty good cafeteria, so we went there and found that it was true!

By this time, I’d found out that while I couldn’t have a lot of simple carbs, I could have some if I mixed them with plenty of proteins and fats. So having one biscuit with sausage gravy, accompanied by a single sausage and a single scrambled egg worked out beautifully, and the hospital coffee was quite good, not something that I can usually say about most cafeterias. It was a good breakfast, and it made the waiting a lot easier.

I had a 10 am appointment, which we hadn’t thought would be a problem, and Jet had asked John to turn in some calculus homework for him at 9 am. We had originally thought Jet would be done by then, but when the surgeon came out at 8:30 to say that everything had gone smoothly and that it would be a while before Jet came out of the anesthetic, John ran off to deliver Jet’s homework. Around 9:30, they came to get us to say that Jet was starting to wake up, but it would be a while before he was conscious enough to go home. So we got to say hi to him for a bit, and then asked the nurses if it would be okay to send me home and John would be back in 20 minutes or so, then I could go to my appointment and John would be there when Jet really woke up.

Later, Jet said that he didn’t remember, at all, that initial conversation when we both said hi to him when he first was coming out of the anesthetic. This lines up with how those things affect me, too, and probably everyone else. But it was funny to Jet.

After his surgery Jet spent most of the morning napping, and then having a little soupy lunch with me. The numbness lasted until that night, and he was on his opiates by then, which were making him a bit silly, but did help him manage. By the next day Jet refused to take any more of the opiates and opted for ibuprofen for just the day and then was off everything by the next.

He had full usage of his fingers back and his thumb could do the gestures he couldn’t do during the test with Dr. Bishop and in the week and a half since he’s now typing, playing video games again, and everything feels great.

The second surprise thing that happened was that I went in for a dental cleaning yesterday and they found a cavity underneath an old filling, or what they thought might be the shadow of a cavity. They asked me if I wanted to deal with it now or let it go until my next cleaning, which would have been another three months away. I decided to just deal with it, and it was a good thing because the cavity went a lot further than the dentist had originally thought.

In fact, when I actually saw the “filling”, I realized that in the old days, it would have been a crown; and it came closer to the root than the dentist was happy with. But with the new 3-D printing technology, they were able to make a perfect match for the stub and a better match than the original for the area the tooth was taking and the bite opposite it. I had a gap back there that was trapping food with the way the teeth were shaped, so the dentist did the good work of rebuilding that tooth with more material in the right places and it doesn’t trap food at all anymore.

When I came home a little woozy and still numb in the tongue and mouth, Jet was so sympathetic it was kind of cool. *laughs*

So lots of things at once.

But I’m finding that there are a lot of benefits from the pre-diabetes warning, as the lack of sugar really has helped me regain my brain again. The dental craziness has ended up with me having teeth that are easier to take care of and much less of a likelihood of me having another cavity there (okay, I will be the first to admit that even I can’t brush *under* a filling). I can’t say that it was good that Jet broke his wrist, but I’m really grateful that he’s now well on the way to mending, and that he’ll have full functionality before the summer is in full swing. That will be a very good thing.

Tags: dentist, grateful, healing

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