A health storm descended on my family's lives...
|The Comforting Touch of a Spouse. ©James Sobredo|
I was released from the hospital with instructions to see my primary care (PC) physician as soon as possible. It was crucial that my doctor order an enhanced MRI. The main goal was to seek referral to a specialist within a few weeks. By the following day, I saw my PC. The day after, I underwent a more enhanced MRI scan that took about one hour and half. Never mind that I don't do well in tight spaces. The MRI scan was brutal to my equilibrium. The piercing, jarring sound from the machine seems to stay in my ears weeks later.
We are still numb. We are anxious to hear regarding my doctor’s referral to the University of California Davis Medical Center. My case is pending review, I was told a few days after Christmas. The waiting is agonizing as the symptoms come and go as they please. Ever so grateful that my husband is by my side to reassure me I am not facing the next ordeal alone. As if being diagnosed five years ago with a crippling systemic autoimmune disease, severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), wasn’t a sufficient health challenge. But we faced that challenge and all that it entails head-on. The Universe conspired then to help me reach functionality, the best-case-scenario one can hope for a disease without a known cure. So for this life challenge, I stay resolute that I can transcend the newest medical storm.
|Our Marina After A Weekend Storm|
|Storm Brewing in Northern California. ©Lu Sobredo|
A HOLDING PATTERN
Imagine being in an airplane on a holding pattern waiting for clearance to land. One hopes that the aircraft had fuel for these circumstances. That happened to our flight from Spain to San Francisco International Airport a few years back. The pilot had to fly the airplane in an oval pattern over the landing area which just happens to be by the San Francisco Bay. My unfamiliarity to what was happening, and the off chance we might land in the water, caused such unease. Unable to totally bate my anxiety, I must have said the rosary in my mind multiple times. After an hour of this, we safely landed.
Disappointed that it was too late in the day to return the call, I stayed antsy all night. Strong emotions welled up from deep in my gut as I realized I would soon see a specialist. It was a night of sobbing. Anticipation for morning made for a disturbed sleep.
Morning came. There was much incentive to wake up early and make the call before the the phone lines at the Medical Center got too busy. I told myself to take a cleansing breath. I made the call to the Neurosurgery Center.
Emotions were mixed as I called for the appointment. Relieved that my case was reviewed and I would finally see a specialist. Dispirited that the person on the other end of the phone seemed detached and clueless. I could handle “cluelessness.” Lethargy in her voice gave the impression of indifference. And she had such a pretty name, but absent of affect. We got through the process and I have a date to consult with a neurosurgeon. The earliest appointment I could get was in two and a half weeks.
I am not angry. I am not even angry at having to wait, or be subjected to indifference. I bemoan that a staff at the neurosurgery center, a place designated to deal with folks facing a life threatening condition, is lacking human touch.
|After the CT Scan. ©James Sobredo|
About the Author
Lu Sobredo is writer/publisher at Lu Travels Abroad, a blog dedicated to folks whose limitations do not hamper them from traveling. A year into early retirement her world collapsed from the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Her total life changed, but she did not let RA define her. With love from family, friends and an awesome doctor, she regained some functionality--her new normal. She will have RA all her life. And she now writes about life and travel with RA. During the pandemic of 2020, she stays put and writes poetry and a first novel, a travel of sorts but in the heart and mind.