The year starts with me continuing a fitness kick that began last year. Lots of long walks and self-directed physical therapy type weightlifting. I am living in the idea that at my age, any year could be the most middle age, but I am empowered to take some measure of control over when that is and what my quality of life will be like as time continues advancing.
Near the end of January, I consider seeing a doctor about some developing urinary tract discomfort.
February 1st, I make the first of this month’s 4 emergency room visits. Prescribed ciprofloxacin and released.
The second visit occurred days later. After the nurse failed to attain intercubital venous access over more than a dozen stabs, they cease that effort upon my third repetition of “dejar de violar mi brazo” and proceed to attempt venous access through the center of my wrist. Eventually I leave in far more pain the I arrived. My dominant hand spends the coming weeks worthless. That night a telemedicine doc prescribes an over that counter combo pill called “NeuroKetofen” containing Ketofen, dexamethasone, and an energy drink’s worth of B-vitamins.
Two days later I hear a pop while filing the coffee machine. My left wrist is now useless. I call the telemedicine line again to inform them I am discontinuing Ciprofloxacin because I read the documentation:
Taking ciprofloxacin increases the risk that you will develop tendinitis (swelling of a fibrous tissue that connects a bone to a muscle) or have a tendon rupture (tearing of a fibrous tissue that connects a bone to a muscle) during your treatment or for up to several months afterward. These problems may affect tendons in your shoulder, your hand, the back of your ankle, or in other parts of your body.
The timeline, and later discovery that taking a corticosteroid like dexamethasone with Ciprofloxacin increases the risk of tendon injuries by ~40 times has me sold on the cause and effect.
At some point in the first half of February I get an ultrasound and am informed I have Kidney, singular. The Lone Kidney is swole.
Approaching my birthday with my nearly useless hands, all of the Tendons in my limbs hurt to some degree. While navigating my own home, an ankle explodes in pain. An ambulance takes me to the ER this time. I spend the afternoon and evening of my birthday begging for an orthopedic boot or any kind of device to protect my ankle from further harm. No imaging was done this day. No orthopedic protection offered. In the end they load me up with tramadol, and feeling invincible I end up limping my way back home. I will not walk more than a kilometer again until April.
At some point I get a cane.
My world shrank. My hope for recovering any quality of life dimmed, but I persisted out of spite.
My hands start returning to a useful state. My legs not so much. Medical tests, scans, and specialist consults continue to determine what to do with Kidney.
Shaving my head for a while ceases to be about practically solving the problem of how to manage hair without third parties; for a time minimizing the barrier between G-d and my wrathful thoughts was the motivation to sustain this very practical habit.
Thankfully I enjoyed the compassion of an understanding employer and management team.
At some point I make the trip home from a doctor’s visit using the cane.
April, May, June
I start regularly approaching the 3km mark on walks with the cane.
Then one day, a cane-less around the block ramble turned into a kilometer long unassisted walk. It was slow, and my leg felt unnaturally wooden, but it happened. The wooden feeling while walking faded over the next two weeks.
Within a few weeks of that first unassisted kilometer, I was doing the 13-15 Km round trip to the beach to see some waves. I didn’t plan to that first time, I was feeling good so I redirected the walk because YOLO. It had been a while since I felt the L in YOLO.
In May, a knee and ankle ultrasound showed numerous tendons still inflamed with a partially ruptured Achilles tendon.
When I next saw the Rheumatologist in June she suggested I see the orthopedist for the protective boot I was begging for in February and March. I start physical therapy in July.
June ended with all of the pre-op consent forms an tests done to schedule an Open Pyeloplasty. My kidney will be getting some plumbing work done so it can drain good.
My health shit the bed in February in a cascade of failures, but I’m grateful to have access to Uruguay healthcare. If I was still living in the US this would have really sucked.