Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sometimes, They Come Back

I am, apparently, growing my own forest. Who knew?

It’s a good thing I’ve always been fond of trees. I have great memories of a business trip to San Francisco where one of my contacts showed up at my little B&B in the Marina District in shorts and hiking boots, encouraging me to shuck the work attire. We then had the best business meeting ever, walking out in the coastal redwoods for hours and hours. It was fantastic.

When I lived in Moscow, I loved the birch trees (beriozki) that dotted the Russian landscape, their white bark dappled with spots that reminded me of appaloosa horses. And I adored the enormous weeping willow that graced the back yard of my parents house in Illinois. I still smile whenever I see a big weeping willow in someone’s yard. Saw one just the other evening, as a matter of fact. It was already blooming in our warm spring weather. I saw it on the way to the drug store. I was out of ibuprofen, and my head had started to hurt rather profoundly.

I described the pain to the Sasquatch as being like an icepick through my skull. Truth is, it was a wider pain than that. The space that hurt was broader than the tip of an icepick. More like a long, heavy drill bit.

That same night, I could not get warm enough to sleep. I piled blanket upon blanket on my bed, yet I was wracked with chills. When I finally did sleep, I had hallucinatory dreams. I woke up feeling groggy and unable to function well. With the headache still pounding – and with a particularly distressing sensation building behind my bad eye – I started to worry.

A trip to the Eye Guy has confirmed my fears. A new blood vessel has grown up behind my retina. The doctor described the situation in terms of trees: if the other blood vessels were like small saplings, this new one was a great big redwood. Hence, the great big pain in my skull. Voila!

I’ve undergone a procedure to see if this one can be stunted. Fortunately, this one is not encroaching on the center of vision like the others did. Unfortunately, it’s big, which means, if it keeps growing, it could encroach on the center of vision. And, overall, the doctor isn’t sure if this new development means that I’m simply going to keep sprouting these insidious things.

If I have to undergo a full new series of shots, I’m not sure what I’ll do. With my impending bankruptcy, I’m in a dark, dark place financially. I make “too much” money for assistance, but not enough to cover things. Lucky me, lucky me, I think I'm becoming one of those “she slipped through the cracks” people. Ain’t life grand?

I’ve followed the doctor’s directions exactly. I’ve been so cautious. I’ve even found myself praying that this would be over, even though I’m not a religious person at all.


Even with the best treatment and the best intentions and the best prayers - and God only knows how good those are from a former Catholic heathen like me - sometimes they come back. And they bring their big brothers along to play.

“Hope is a good thing,” as Andy Dufresne wrote to Red in The Shawshank Redemption. “Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

Here’s to hope. Let it never die.

But as for those things that really should die? Well, I could use some serious headweed killer right about now. Anybody know how to take down a retinal redwood? Does Ortho make something for that?

And now, back to the comfort and safety of the sofa...


Chuck said...

Merujo...so sorry to hear the bad medical news. Hope they find a good medical solution for your eye issue. I'm very sorry to hear about your problems but it does sound like you have good doctors so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

E :) said...

I'm not a religous person at all either. But I mean it sincerely when I say that you are in my prayers. I will hope for you...

Jim Bohannon (aka Maché Artist) said...

I fondly remember the weeping willow that sat in the corner of the little yard of my boyhood home, a place that I still miss terribly. I'm sorry to hear about your medical problems. I've been suffering from severe headaches for several months, so I feel for you. You are in my prayers! ~ Jim

Loracs said...

First, I'm so very, very sorry to hear about the new "tree", but now to warrior woman stance.

I know you said this eye treatment is considered experimental for a person your age, so your insurance won't cover it, but can you (or your doctor) show the improvement in the eye from the first round of treatment and put in a request for payment for this second set (if you need them)? Does your state have an insurance commission to oversee insurance companies? Can you register a complaint against your insurance company? Any local politicians running in Nov. who might put some pressure on the insurance company to "do the right thing" and cover this procedure? I think the court of public opinion is ripe for slapping an insurance company upside its head for this kind of crap. A candidate (or any local politician – esp. at the State level) might just get the kind of spotlight on this company and this stupid, stupid decision. Letter writing campaign?

How about pitching the drug manufacture for free drugs? I don’t know how much of the cost is from the doctor’s office, but maybe they could waive their fee or a portion of it. If that doesn’t work, how about a local teaching hospital – switching doctors in the middle of this is rough, but teaching hospitals love “unique” cases for their students. Maybe you can get free or reduced care there.

If none of this works, I’ll fire up the stove and bake a batch of “Save Merujo’s Eye” cookies for a bake sale.

All kidding aside, this just pisses me off. Adding the pressure of paying out of pocket for medical care to all the physical and emotional crap one goes through when dealing with this kind of thing, just makes me see red. We don’t run our police, fire or basic infrastructure needs on a for profit basis; why do we allow the care of our bodies to be held ransom at the whim of profit making companies? Grrrrrrr *sputter, sputter* foaming at the mouth mad . . . . . . . . . I better go to bed before I blow a fuse thinking about all this shit.

Finally, and again, Merujo, I am so sorry and if there’s anything I can do let me know. If you want to talk, send me your number and I’ll call you, esp. if it’s one of those can’t sleep nights – I’m usually up until at least midnight or 1 am left coast time.

As you might remember, I fall in that ex-Catholic, spiritually challenged catagory, but for what it's worth, you're in my thoughts.