Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington)
My mobility has actually worsened since my surgery in early February. Since that time, I have seen a neurosurgeon twice for a second opinion, a new neurologist twice, my orthopedic surgeon thrice, and a psychotherapist once (with, I suspect, many more times to come). I graduated from my walker to a cane during the trip to Spain in May, but recently have reverted to the walker more and more for both balance and support. Balance is especially bad, so cooking is a bitch (try slicing and dicing with one hand on the knife, the other on the counter), as is shaving and showering. And an MRI has proven that it's not my brain that's the problem, it's the weakening muscles and utterly deadened feet that cannot tell my brain where I am. In other words, neither surgery nor time has lessened the symptoms of the neuropathy; they have in fact grown worse, and there is no prognosis of where it will end, but I'm beginning to suspect it ends with a wheelchair. Oh, and I sold the pop-up camper because I simply cannot do the work anymore. (Just got back from the neurosurgeon, who said that cervical spine surgery will not correct the problem at all, and also said definitively that I will never walk normally again, no matter what I do. That's the first time that any of the professionals have confirmed what my body has known for a long time). Nevertheless, I will keep moving as much as possible, keep stretching, and keep up with leg raises and leg presses at the Y. (My upper bod looks great, btw!) And no one knows with any certainty what has caused this nor what I can do about it that I am not already doing. Nor do they know with certainty if things will improve at all, or what the prognosis is.
Things Ain't What They Used to Be (Mercer Ellington--Duke's son)
Speaking of upper bod, as long as I have a conductor's chair and the piano right in front of me, I am still a killer conductor from the waist up: Arms, ears, brain, wits, eyes all work fine, in some ways better than ever. Rehearsals with Erin's groups on MigraineDays have proven that. It's just that I seriously doubt that anyone wants a guest conductor who is held upright by his butt instead of his legs. I sure hope so, because I do love the guest thing; it's like being the grandparent--you get to have a lot of fun with the kid and then hand the little sucker back as you leave. And with a check in your hand to boot!
So anyway then, stairs are a big obstacle that can only be overcome slowly, curbs are tricky, travel of any kind is increasingly arduous (I always get a wheelchair in airports, and have since travel to Taiwan last December. Five dollar tips just fly out of my pockets!)
There you have it. My family has known this for a few weeks and now you do, too. You can help me by referring folks here, should they inquire as to my well being. I'd appreciate that very much. It's much simpler than numerous emails, and I'm damned if I'm gonna post this on Facebook. And I may alter and amend it from time to time, so stay tuned, will ya?
One final Duke Ellington tune:
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good