I had a checkup on Wednesday. I told my doctor about an increasingly annoying feeling in my arms and legs. Not pins and needles, not tingling, more a sensation of blood not getting to extremities.
I have some medical issues ~ celiac, autoimmune things, and I’m a cancer survivor (thyroid cancer 28 years ago). With this new feeling, I worry that I have some sort of cardiovascular disease.
I start looking up things on the internet.
My doctor ordered blood work, some of which came back with the usual highs and lows, but apparently “nothing to be worried about.” Other tests, such as vitamin deficiencies, hadn’t come back yet. My doctor is gone today (Friday) so I can’t talk to her about any of this. I have to wait until Monday.
I’m worried it’s getting worse. Thursday night I woke up with the numbing, bloodless feeling throughout my body. It was alarming. I got up out of bed. I googled and most of the results came back as anxiety. Ohhhhh. Hmmm. Yeah, I have that sometimes but now I’m worried because this numbness won’t go away no matter how many jumping jacks I do, or walk around my room, or shake my hands and feet.
Finally, I go back to sleep. I wake up and I still have slight numbness all over my body, except my head, thank God.
One of my concerns is that I might have to give up coffee. I google until I find enough sites (including the American Heart Association) which indicate that coffee is good for circulation. I go get a cup.
I take a Bayer aspirin, in case it’s sluggish blood. I am not sure what to do as I’m supposed to drive up for a fun UMASS reunion happening near Burlington. This is our 4th year in a row getting together and I’m looking forward to it.
I’m not sure if I should go. I’m afraid to drive with this feeling. What if it gets worse? I randomly say a little prayer, “God, help me figure this out.”
I decide to go for a walk, which I have not done as much lately, since I’ve taken up yoga instead. Luna jumps for joy.
I get down to the bottom of the driveway. I’m walking past the daycare center. Across the street is where my neighbor, who is actually the nurse for my doctor, lives. I see a woman in a bright magenta shirt coming up the street riding her bike. I wave, because we all wave in these parts, to bikes, cars, horses.
The woman on the bike smiles and slows down, then stops. It’s my doctor. I’ve never seen her ride her bike on this road before. We are both surprised to see each other.
We speak for a few moments. She provides reassurance. She doesn’t think it’s cardiovascular disease. She asks if I’ve been stressed out lately. Not more than usual. We will talk on Monday after getting the other test results. I give her a hug before she rides away.
I feel better after seeing her. SO. MUCH. BETTER. It feels like a mini-miracle that she happened to ride by on her bike just then.
I stop at another neighbor’s house to see the work he is doing on his foundation. We talk contractor stuff for a good 1/2 hour. I’m interested in all that he is doing with his house. My dad was a contractor and I wish I had that skill set.
I continue on my walk. I remember how my friend Sam and I walked together many mornings years ago at the crack of dawn. We’d get frozen eyelashes in the winter, but we kept each other motivated and stayed in shape. She got a full-time job and our walks sort of fell apart. Recently I saw her in Hannafords and we talked about hiking parts of the Long Trail this summer.
Next thing you know, Sam drives by with her teenage son. Wow. What is with this walk? I tell her I was just thinking about her. I say that we have to get back to our walking, that I need her and she agrees!
After Sam and her son drive away, I look at the field of purple, yellow, and white flowers. The sky is an overwhelming blue. The clouds are puffy fat. My arms and legs still feel numb, but I am better.
When I get home, I tell my husband all that happened on my walk. He says he thinks my problem is a pinched nerve. For once, I listen.
I decide not to drive up to see my friends. I try to sit as little as possible all day. I make a stand up desk again – which I tried once before and disliked. This time I put it next to my other computer so I can stand a little and then sit awhile. I also fold up a yoga mat four times and make a bouncy area to stand on, which helps my feet.
Later I watch a video on sleep positions as the numbness is worse at night. I try sleeping using four pillows to prop every area of my body so that my spine is absolutely straight. I sleep this way Friday night. Today, Saturday, only my left hand still feels the numbness. I’ve taken so many vitamins, I don’t know if that has helped, but I think Richard is right, it seems like the problem is with my lower back and general bad posture.
I’m feeling better. Coffee isn’t a problem. I can work standing up. I can sleep with a million pillows. My doctor rides by on her bike when I need her. I’ve got friends and family who care.
Life in this small Vermont town of mine is pretty sweet.