Thursday, May 5, 2016

Remember the Song?

"Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes.  Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose."  This is a song that I learned as a child.  As you sing this simple song you do the actions.  You touch each part of the anatomy that it is referencing.  You sing it faster, and faster.  I never lasted very long.  Quickly I would be touching my toes when referring to my eyes, or touching my nose when I should be touching my mouth.  As an adult teaching this fun little ditty to children, I'm even worse.  That is a good thing for the kiddies as they laugh hard watching me flail about!

As a soon to be sixty year old woman I have learned a different version of this song.  I preferred the original edition.  In the version for folks fifty and older, when they sing, "Heads," they are possibly thinking how much they miss those remarkable abilities to think clearly, and memorize without a pause.

Shoulders?  I know of at least four adults in my circle of friends that have had one or both replaced.

Knees?  Oh that one is ever so personal for me.  A little story will explain.  I have had severe, grinding pain in my knees for at least a decade.  I had issues before that, but the pain was always temporary.  I went to a Orthopedic Physician's Assistant to see what was causing my severe pain.

Solemnly he walked into the room.  He snapped an x-ray onto a lighted surface. Pointing to my knees he said matter-of-factly, "You have TERRIBLE knees!"

I felt like replying, "Thank you, yours aren't very pretty either."  (Sarcasm is often my minds way of dealing with difficult things).

He pointed to my right knee.  On the left side here, the joint is bone on bone.  It's wearing the bone down in your lower leg.  Your left knee is not quite as bad, but only because your right one is the worst of the two.  You need both of them replaced, and as soon as possible.  If you don't have the right knee replaced soon it will become more and more difficult to do the procedure."

As I picked my jaw up off the floor, (I was NOT expecting such dire news), I told him that I needed to go to another clinic because I had found out that my insurance did not cover this clinic as well as they would another clinic.  Sigh...medicine by insurance, how did we let that happen?

Off I whisked to another clinic.  This doctor echoed the first clinician's diagnosis.  On the other hand, he gave me a tutorial of knees, how they are supposed to function, and what surgery is supposed to do.

I called my insurance to figure out how to get the surgery done.  Imagine my sorrow when I was informed that they would only cover 80% of the surgery.  Granted, it's a good thing to get at least 80% coverage for major surgery.  The surgery can cost $10,000.00 or more.  It's a bad thing when you're disabled and living on a teeny, tiny disability income.

I live in a charming home, with two sets of stairs.  The stairs are a great blessing/curse.  They are a blessing because they help me keep the muscles in the knees working and functional.  The curse is because sometimes I can barely drag my TERRIBLE knees up and down.

Does anyone out there in cyber land know an orthopedic surgeon that would be willing to replace my knees for the payment from insurance?  It has been two years since my negative knee diagnosis.  My knees have NOT improved.  I manage to keep going by virtue of various types of pain management.  There is the alternative route, a topical rub that is made of essential oils, it's called Deep Blue.  Deep Blue is undeniably helpful.  Then there are lidocaine patches that literally numb the pain.

These tools are useful but they do not heal the wound.  I know for a fact that pain has a purpose, a value.  Pain is our bodies way of telling us to "Fix it!"  If you have a terrible toothache, it is probably due to a decaying tooth.  If you sprain your ankle it will hurt.  Again your brain sends the same message, "Fix it!"

If you are unable to address the issue under the it lingers on, and on, more damage is caused.  If you tear a ligament, or damage other soft tissue, it will continue to hurt, but the pain will become damaging to not only your wound, but the rest of your body.  Fibromyalgia, and arthritis join the choir, and soon the pain issues are not only in your knee but may impact your internal organs, and cause more damage, which cause more pain, etc. etc.  The worst type of cycle!

Back to the simple song.  My childhood had periods of absolute wonder.  I often marveled at our bodies and the many, many functions they perform at any given moment in time.

The wonder has changed.  Oh I still think the human body is a marvel, but degeneration, also known as ageing, and chronic pain have changed my perspective.

I do not wish to end on a negative note.  I am grateful every single day for the wonders of modern medicine, and the blending of western medicine combined with alternative medicine.  Our bodies are remarkable, and when they have problems, there ARE ways to address the problems.  "Heads, shoulders, knees, and toes...I'm so grateful to have all of these parts!

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