Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Dickens' Ghost Visits

Over the last few weeks I feel I’ve had a glimpse from Dickens’ ghost of  ‘Yet to Come’.

I mean this by the way that I have been existing for the last few months with the feeling of what it must be like to over 90 years old. It’s as if I’ve been hovering round, doing the out-of  body experience, you know, having a look-see, at what might be my future self. What I was; was a drained, wobbling, withering shell of life that had seen better days. Was this what I could expect if I’m allowed to live to be 90?

I took a hard look at all the other  90 year olds in the hospitals waiting rooms, they were running circles around me. They were full of life, and I’m looking at them thinking, why is it so easy for them to get out of a chair? Granted, they’re breathing through a oxygen tube but they do seem so spry. Why don’t they need a wall to lean against? 

See, after my pituitary surgery, my decline happened so gradually, didn’t even realize I lost my strength weeks and weeks ago. It crept up on me in such small little ways.

My waiting room read, a collection of D.H. Lawrence short stories and poems, began to get to hard to hold, I had to give it up (I suppose I’m just tired, I’d say.) I thought I’d gained weight and hadn’t noticed, (humm, I look the same) because it was hard to get up out of chairs, or to reposition myself in bed. I was beginning to see that this was all heading to a crisis situation. I took the car in to the mechanic, because it wouldn’t turnover properly. The guy turned it over, like seven times in a row. No problem. I told him to watch me try, because I had a problem every time. We concluded that I didn’t have the strength to turn the key far enough over in the ignition  to make the contact. I was so upset. (This was the day before my November breast surgery- it was also my 10th operation this year)

When I’d had my follow-up with my neurologist, on November 7th, Dan and I  told him of our concerns. My slightly slurred speech, the weakness in my arms, and my generally tired, stiff body. He didn’t seem to have anything to say about it other than suggesting that I go and see an endocrinologist.  They ‘kindly’ made an appointment for me on December 19th. That meant waiting practically 6 weeks!

 Around that time I had to have Dan help me get in and out of my shirts because I just couldn’t get my arms raised enough to pull the thing over my head. I could drive a car - but I had to be pulled up-out of the car every time. And the few times I was out driving  myself I had to drag myself out almost on the ground then pull myself up over the car door  - just to stand up.

What were they thinking? After my surgery, I just would have thought it would have been a no-brainer for the brain surgeon to know I would need an appointment with an endocrinologist just as soon as I could after surgery - and not to have to wait 44 days.  I was on the phone every morning trying to get the appointment moved up. Those were great days! Not!

One amazing hi-light in my new old age was that my friend Stacy ( my wonderful, great friend Stacy) gave me the gift of having watercolor lessons. I had wanted the lessons for about 6 months, but, I just couldn’t do it financially. I’m so grateful for those lessons. I have to say I was at my worst point physically, but there was nothing going to stop me from having those lessons. It was a week long course and I could hardly stand but I did it. And, this is bragging, but I was best in class. I would do the same picture over and over until I was happy with it. I really learned so much, it was really special. I’m going to keep it up -  keep painting. I made a breakthrough and I know I can be happy enough to feel that I’ve made a painting that is successful. It’ll help me not to concentrate on my achey self.

Once my classes were over I went back to the busy task of getting my appointment, in horror of ending up in a hospital bed sooner than later.
After crying into the phone, practically in hysterics, I finally got my appointment moved. The lab report said that I had zero adrenaline, zero cortisone. I was put on Hydrocortisone immediately and immediately felt better. I could take off my own shirt like a grown-up. I have to take thyroid pills as well, and it might mean I’ll have to take these replacement hormones for the duration of my life. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my ol’ pit gland to kick in and start producing for me again. I have new PET scan coming Feb 7th. And I feel that I’ll be returning to see my endocrinologist a lot sooner than planed. I know my pit’s shortchanging me in the hormone department, something has to be done about it.

PS:  A funny photo of me. This is how I looked while doing my christmas shopping. I had my Roy Orbison disguise on. I had just come back from having my retinal tear looked at, so I had to wear the dopey/cool? sunglasses under my glasses - then have the hat on to cut down on my floaters! A good look for me? I scared people and even had the mall security follow me around a bit. I also had a funny gait to my walk from being so stiff. I must have looked like a lurker about to slide some loot in my jacket!

I also want to thank Brad and Barry for their spectacular Holiday Spectacle. I so wish I could have been there to enjoy the fun. Thanks for your thoughtfulness!



  1. Your watercolors are beautiful, Letha! My prayers and thoughts are with you. I wish you all the best.

  2. I like your holiday shopping look, Letha. It is very paramilitary incognito/Roy Orbison.
    We're thinking of you here. XOXO.