I have many friends that I stay in touch with on social media. While I don't spend much time on Facebook or Twitter, I do try to check in every once in a while to see how things are going. Recently, I was lifting weights at the gym when a 35lb weight slipped out of my hands and slammed right down on my foot. I felt the horrible pain instantly and long story short it's shattered. I broke the first metatarsal and possibly the second metatarsal too.
The Emergency Room physician splinted the foot and told me to see a foot specialist as soon as possible. Now, I'm not a wimpy chick. But I have to admit these crutches are kicking my butt. I have fallen four times already, and it's only been a couple of days.
I'm scheduled to see the foot specialist on Wednesday. But in the meantime I wanted to get some opinions from my friends about "knee scooters." to aid me in my daily activities and make life a little easier. So I signed on to Facebook and posted what had happened to me on my personal timeline, which I don't usually do. I asked my friends if any of them knew anything about these scooters.
As I was waiting for responses from my friends I read a post by an old friend that I went to school with. (We'll call her Carol to hide her identity). There was a picture of her ankles and feet, and they were both pretty swollen. I asked her what had happened and why they were swollen. Recently she has been making comments about the fact that she was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Hypermobility syndrome.
She comments a lot on her page about her "diseases" and that she is "plagued and cursed with osteoarthritis" and has "severe pain" constantly. She told me that she was taking a "boat-load" of pills that her doctor had put her on. Twenty to be exact. She said she was only talking fourteen till recently, and he gave her six more on her last visit. I told her that there were a lot of medications that can cause swelling of the legs, feet, and ankles. And that it may be one of the new medications he had put her on since she had not had any previous problems with edema. I asked her to tell me the names of the medications he had added to her daily cocktail of drugs. She told me that one of them was Ibuprofen. I informed her that this was a medication that could cause swelling and that she should check with her physician first but maybe try not taking it for a couple of days and see if the swelling went down. I also told her that this was a process of elimination. Physicians in the U.S do not normally put patients on multiple medications at once because if there is a reaction (of any kind), it's difficult to tell which one is causing it. She currently lives in England, where I used to live. I also advised her to put her legs on some pillows and keep them elevated when she could. I explained to her that this would help keep the swelling down.
I also explained to her that the chances of it being related to a heart condition with her having no heart problems prior to the recent swelling was not very likely. She informed me that she did have heart problems. When I asked her to elaborate, she said she had "palpitations." Also, I told her that because the swelling was bilateral, it was not likely related to her heart. But again, that was something she should talk to her physician about. She told me that everything I had said to her was exactly what her physician had said. She told me that she couldn't stop taking the ibuprofen because she would be in too much pain and would need to take a narcotic, and that would prohibit her from driving.
I am always careful not to give medical advice to people I don't know and if I speak with a friend I make sure I always tell them to ask their doctor. I've known this friend since we were in high school, which has been over thirty years.
Now, a little about me. I don't even want to talk about my problems here, but I feel I have to for you to get the jist of this story. I have osteoarthritis in most of my joints. Every one of my discs in my back is bulging except two in my cervical spine. I also have radiculopathy; I have kyphosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis. I have plantar fasciitis bilaterally. I also have temporal mandibular disease due to a jaw deformity. I have endometriosis, restless leg syndrome, and I was recently diagnosed with bilateral rare hip deformities that will require bilateral hip replacements eventually. Because of the deformities in my hips, I am unable to externally rotate my right hip and have constant pain in my groin. I suffer from frequent migraines, and I had already mentioned breaking my foot a couple of days ago. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I have tachycardia that's controlled with a beta blocker. So, I think it's safe to say that I know what pain is, and I have my share of it.
Now I try to be compassionate with others and I never once mentioned to her that I have any of these medical conditions that I just told you about. I just tried to help her every way I could. I suggested steroid injections for her. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, yoga, exercise, massage, acupuncture, and aromatherapy. You name it, and I suggested it to her. But it began to become apparent to me that she may not want help. This is a concept that somewhat fries my brain. I cannot understand why someone would not want to be well.
A day later I went on Facebook again, to see if my friends had given me any suggestions to help me cope with my foot. One of my friends told me that the problem with me was that I can't sit still, and that's why I was having such a problem adjusting to this immobility situation. She's right. I love life. In the summer, I jet ski like a crazy woman, I boat, garden and RV camp, exercise by way of running, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga and lifting weights and I walk my dogs.
I then saw a post by my friend "Carol" that I offered advice to. Here's what it said on her timeline, "I would like to clarify some things. I would prefer it if people did not make suggestions about my many illnesses. Unfortunately for me I am very sick and have very chronic conditions, and I will never get well. I have a terrible disease called osteoarthritis that is debilitating and prevents me from doing anything. I also have fibromyalgia that leaves me unable to walk at times and hypermobility disorder that's debilitating. I will have all of these for the rest of my life. There is no cure, so please stop trying to cure me. It's just the way it is, and I just do the best I can."
Well, if that wasn't the epitome of a pity party I don't know what is. This woman is also about 300lbs, chain smokes and on the weekends her timeline is inundated with pictures of her out drinking and partying on the town. Hmmm?
Now, I wanted to shut my mouth but I absolutely could not refrain from responding to her post with this comment: "Carol, I am appalled at what you just posted here. You post comments every single day about how horribly ill you are. Your feet are swollen, and you post pictures of them. The next day your back hurts, leg hurts, butt hurt and the list goes on. If you are going to post these things then, your friends will suggest things to you that may help you. That's what friends do." She had about ten comments with suggestions just that day. I went on to say that " I am a nurse, and if I didn't have any clue what I was talking about then I would not have responded. But perhaps, if you don't want people to post responses to help you with your ailments, you shouldn't post them all over Facebook. Also, You may not care for what I have to say next but that's too bad. You're over 300lb, and maybe you should consider getting off your butt at some point and doing some exercise. While you may be able to convince others who don't have much going on with them medically and are not medical professionals, that you are unable to exercise, I'm not one that you can sell that to.
I have all the same medical conditions you have, plus many, many more. But, the first thing I thought about when I dropped a barbell on my foot wasn't how sad it was that this had happened to me. It was how saddened I was that I would not be able to swim my 50 laps a day, walk three miles a day, lift weights every other day and do yoga. You are pitiful, and you are engaging in a 'woe is me' attitude that I simply won't be a part of." After knowing her for 30 years, I de-friended her. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. I want positive people around me.
My husband is a nurse who places PICC lines in patients for a living. He travels around visiting rehab centers and nursing homes. He sees so many patients that have lost their will to live. They broke a leg or their hip and gave up. They chose to use drugs and not attempt to get sober. Instead, they just want to be left alone to die.
Your attitude is EVERYTHING in this life. Without a good attitude you give up on life and you die. Did it ever occur to my friend to get off her ass and move? What I didn't tell her (because she didn't want to hear it anyway) was that osteoarthritis gets worse when you lay around. You can get better if you move. But she doesn't want to know that. She doesn't want anyone throwing a monkey wrench in her chain smoking, 300lb, pity party. She enjoys being a victim.
She doesn't want to know that I believe Fibromyalgia is something they diagnose you with when they don't know what the hell is wrong with you. It's crap. Take some responsibility for your health. Ask yourself truthfully, would you rather be envied or pitied. I'd much rather be envied. It's the biggest form of flattery. I never want to be pitied...Ever! If you'd rather be a pitied like my friend then shame on you, you're a victim. You want to blame everyone but yourself for your problems. Maybe there are some people that will buy what you're saying, but I'm not one of them. You think you've got health problems now, see what ten more years of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself will do.
In today's society, everyone is a victim of this or that. Your Dad's alcoholic, your Momma's too fat. Some people want to call this type of behavior sick. I prefer to call it weak. While some may be offended by what I have to say, these are the same people that are self-proclaimed victims and they get to be bigger victims if they are offended by you. Personally I would like to help these types of folks find their inner child and kick it's ass!
My Mother-in-law, Muriel is a retired nurse. She is about to celebrate her 90th birthday this year. If you spoke to her on the phone, you'd think she was in her 30's. A few months ago she began to get very confused, and she was diagnosed with an infection in her knee, which required surgery. When my husband and I went up to see her in the hospital, they sent us to the wrong room. My husband and I walked into the room, and we were shocked. There lay this frail old woman that looked like she was circling the drain. We quickly realized that this was not her, and we walked out.
His mother was very sick, but she pulled out of it and made a full recovery. .She stays in assisted living, refuses to use a cane, and looks at you like you're crazy if you mention a wheelchair. "If I get in one of those, I'll never get out." She's right!
We were so worried that she wouldn't recover from the knee infection. But she has determination. She's enjoying life. She refuses to cop out and be a victim. She goes camping, fishing, dancing.
The last time we went to see her, we asked if Muriel was home at the front desk and they promptly told us "no, she's out with the boys." We wondered what the nurse was talking about till we saw several motorcycles pull up, and Muriel was riding on the back of one with a little 70s style skirt on and a big pink bow in her hair. The woman has more energy that three teenagers combined.
She refuses to grow old. She believes age is just a number. Perhaps my 43-year-old friend could learn a thing or two from Muriel. But although you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make him drink.
If you're like my friend "Carol" then please take heed. There are always folks that are much worse off than you, and I don't care how bad you are, that's a fact. You only get one life. Do you want to sit around feeling sorry for yourself till it's over? Then you can lie on your deathbed and wish you'd done things differently? Get up off your ass now and enjoy life while you can.
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