Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dealing with injury

I just haven't been able to get it together to post anything this week, and I look back and try to figure out why... busy? No, not really. Nothing to say? No, not really. I think it's just this lingering emotional exhaustion that takes over half the time. I am hoping this will go away soon, although I am sure not holding my breath. There are still a ton of emotionally exhausting things yet to do... my mother's memorial service at the end of the month, and at least one more trip to Baltimore to clear things out, not sure when. I know that it's reasonable for these things to wear me out, but it's still not what I want, and it's going to get even harder when the semester starts in just over a week. No, I am not ready.

But the really hardest thing has been Michael. His leg injury from last spring seems to have recurred... it was getting a lot better, but it's now much worse, so much worse that it's difficult for him to move at all; he's in a lot of pain, and he spends a great deal of time just worrying about it. The physical therapist says, this will get better, keep with the exercises, and we're going to try to get back to the doctor as soon as possible, hopefully next week, but this has just been so endless and grueling that he loses heart. The fact of the matter is that while he is an awesome 150 lbs. below his top weight, he is still more than 200 lbs. above his goal weight, and its been a lot of years since he's been close to that. The continual skeletal stress has taken its toll, and part of the problem is that he just keeps injuring himself again and again because nothing really heals. I know that this will eventually get better if he can just hang in there... I really believe that... but the waiting is interminable, and the worst thing is that every day he goes through this long cycle of worrying about it and talking about it and worrying about it, and so on. I think that this is doing less good than anything else, because it accomplishes absolutely nothing... he doesn't go through this head exercise and then feel better somehow; he just feels worse. And he makes me unbelievably anxious in the process. I say, we would both be better off if we could stop this cycle, and he seems to think that what this is about is me not wanting to be worrying about him. Well, yeah, this anxiety is not doing me any good, but that's not the point... it's that it's not doing him any good, and it's not progressing toward something better.

I know that he is frightened. I know that he is afraid that he will never walk normally again. I don't think that this is the reality, unless he stops losing weight, stops trying, but I can see why he would be afraid.

I don't know what to do really. I think that what he seriously needs is a commanding, reassuring person. Someone to say, I have seen a thousand people like you, I know how this progresses, do X, Y, and Z, and this will be perfectly fine in 6 months. Someone he could believe in. And we don't have this person; the doctors and the physical therapist are all ok, but frankly they give absolutely no impression that they have ever dealt with the issues presented by someone of his size. If I could find a physical therapist or personal trainer with that kind of experience, that would be fantastic, but I simply have no idea where to even start. So I don't know what to do to be supportive, to be helpful, other than listen... but this endless worry is not doing any good. I know that it's hard to disconnect from this when you're in constant pain, but somehow I think he has to try.

I don't know. That's the big thing. And it soaks up all the air in the room, and I sit here and know that I am not doing what I should to take care of things, to take care of myself, but right now, I have no idea how to start the process of doing that again.


The Bionic Broad said...


I'm just a schlubby old lady from Southern California, but here's my take on your great post: There's nothing like physical problems to remind a man that he's aging (no matter his age), so there's an element of depression in the chronic pain. There's nothing like caretaker burn-out to make the spouse depressed, because we can't help but love and worry about our husbands. You called it right. Are you in a position to get a second opinion? Maybe the current regimen isn't doing what it's supposed to. You both are doing so well losing weight that I hate to see Michael allowed to be in so much pain. Depression is a diet-killer. I'm praying for you even as I write.

Nina said...

You're completely right. And he is depressed, something that's an issue for him anyway. And I am anxious, something that's an issue for me, too, and everything about this just rattles my cage; I am on edge half the time, and it's getting worse, not better.

I've thought about getting a second opinion, but I don't know where to get a better one. The knee guy that he goes to is terrific; he's actually the only person in the bunch who really inspires a great deal of confidence. But I think that one of the problems with being super obese is that everyone wants to write you off, and those that don't simply don't have a great deal of experience dealing with success stories. Because, as we all know, there are not so many.

One of the hospitals here is trying to build up a specialty in bariatric surgery, and I've wondered if they might have some ideas about other physical therapists. As long as he's losing weight, he doesn't want to have surgery, although we've thought about it a billion times, but I'm thinking that maybe they might have some resources that I don't know about. I just don't know who to call or what to ask.

I just hate seeing him so miserable and feeling so helpless to do much about it.