My Life in the Pain Lane–Further (Mis)Adventures in Medical Care

Anyway, life in the pain lane refers to the not quite 3 months I have been dealing with a painful leg. On October 1 2011 I fell and banged the living daylights out of my right knee. I’ve referred to this earlier, specifically in these posts:
http://www.i-dont-think-so.com/?p=1116 and
http://www.i-dont-think-so.com/?p=1108

Over the last three months, my leg has gotten worse and worse to the point I actually asked my doctor to authorize a wheelchair (for those of you that care, he refused to authorize a wheelchair –he said that people who start using a wheelchair rarely if ever get out of it once they start using it and that they generally go downhill fast; I had already heard that from a friend).

But he did agree to authorize a four wheeled walker similar to this http://www.amazon.com/Rolling-Walker-Shopping-Basket-Burgundy/dp/B000EGGS7E or this http://www.novaorthomed.com/Listing.aspx?id=415)

My insurance won’t cover it, and a walker that is rated for my weight (which is none of your damn business ROFL) runs anywhere from $155.00 to $189.00 not including shipping.

I’ve seen 3 doctors (I have seen my primary care physician at least 4 times). I’ve had an ultrasound of the entire leg (to rule out additional blood clots) and an x-ray of the knee plus 3 x-rays of the entire leg. I am scheduled for a sleep apnea test on January 9 2012 and waiting for a referral to an orthopedist (probably in January 2012 also)

Everything is normal……..except for the fact that my leg hurts all the time.

I was originally prescribed generic Vicodin for the pain. It helped me sleep, but it made me weepy (24/7 waterworks –except when I was sleeping — is not my idea of fun!). I take Trazodone and generic extra-strength Tylenol to help me sleep. I was also prescribed Tramodol for pain, but the side effects (drowsiness and dizziness) have scared me off of taking it.

So I started out with severe knee pain (which has gone away); I then progressed (or digressed, depending on your point of view) to 1) severe inguinal (thigh and groin) pain 2) tingling in the side of the calf 3) foot falling asleep easily 4) muscles up and down the back of the entire leg feeling like they have either swollen or contracted (never relaxed). My leg hurts from my rear end to my ankle, mostly the back of the leg and in the inguinal area. However, tonight I got up from a long nap and my thigh had decided that the rest of the leg was having too much fun and that it needed to join the party!

Walking on the bad leg is problematical because I am right-dominant, and its my right leg that is injured. My left leg is taking up some of the slack but my whole body is out of whack due to the right leg. I have to stop after 5-10 (a maximum of 15) steps and either just stop or bend over and say ‘s–t, that hurts’ or ‘d–n, that hurts.’ Usually, I also have back pain and pain in the gluteus maximus, sometimes to the point that I have to sit on the ground or on the floor to temporarily relieve the pain

This is exacerbated by the fact that I do not have transportation other than the local bus–the nearest stop is a 5-10 minute walk from my house. Sometimes I take taxicabs, but its been $8.00 — $10.00 (not including gratuities) each way no matter where I go. I normally earn $85.00 per week and get paid twice a month — that doesn’t stretch to cover very many taxis. Nor does it stretch to cover a new walker that is rated for my weight (I hate to harp on the weight issue, but even the ones that are rated for 300 pounds really only support people up to 275 pounds–I can’t wait until I lose 30 pounds to start using the walker, there would be no point in even buying it, since even if I was crash dieting–which is not healthy–it would take a month and a half to lose that much weight, and I’m in pain NOW)

I am becoming more sedentary because of the pain which is not good for the leg, or for my other health issues (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, borderline diabetes {type 2} just to name a few). Also, its next to impossible to lose weight without being able to get some regular (3 x – 4x a week) exercise, and I usually walk once or twice a week (to the bus stop, to Safeway from the bus transfer station and back, and then to my house from the bus stop). These are 5-10 minute walks at most (usually interrupted by frequent stops because of the pain) and while they may raise my heart rate for a short time which is healthy they are not enough to consistently help with weight loss.

Sitting on the toilet hurts! And not to be gross, but its that time of the month. I do not like sitting on the toilet to insert tampons as I prefer to squat on the floor. I cannot squat long enough to successfully insert a tampon — the pain is so great I nearly fall over (so I’ve given up and sit on the toilet and swear about it)

I hurt when sitting–other than sitting on the floor or the ground. I hurt when walking. I hurt when sleeping — although not as much as when I do anything else, partially thanks to lying down and partially thanks to generic Tylenol and Trazodone

The last time I did laundry it took me 10 days (I kid you not!) to get 3 loads done. You see, I don’t have a working clothes dryer, and its 1/16 of a mile (maybe even less) walking distance to the clubhouse where there is a working clothes dryer. ONE walk to the clubhouse wore me flat out. My laundry would still be sitting in laundry baskets in the clubhouse if I hadn’t asked the park manager to retrieve it for me.

A friend suggested that I post here asking for suggestions to 1) ease the pain, preferably using natural methods or herbal supplements as I already take 15 prescription medicines for various ailments 2) get a walker that is rated for my weight (that won’t break the budget) 3) make walking easier. As usual, spam is NOT welcome — and again I earn $85.00 per week and my insurance does not cover most medical equipment so please consider those things when linking to (again) non-spam solutions or (again) non-spam possible solutions.

The things that I have tried so far or have been recommended to me by friends

1) I emailed my local Lions club to ask for help with the cost of the walker (no response yet)
2) I contacted a site called One Blue Rose to ask for help with the cost of the walker (no response yet)
3) A friend suggested that I take magnesium supplements, and I plan on buying these with my next paycheck (January 6 2011)
4) Another friend suggested that I get more exercise, less sleep (I would welcome ideas on exercises that would gently strengthen the leg without killing me)
5) I recently bought a wheeled cart that will allow me to haul groceries and laundry without having to be a total pack mule!
6) Money is always gratefully accepted (JUST KIDDING FOLKS!)

Other considerations: The muscles are not atrophying (yet) as I do move around the house on a regular basis and I do walk to the bus stop and back, from the transfer station and back at least once a week)

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