Hmmmm and Owwww!

I got a call to go down to the public clinic that I used to go to, in order to pick up the X-rays that had been taken of my hands a few years ago after the infamous “elk attack” I experienced (I thought I had posted about this attack here and was going to post a link. It appears I didn’t!). Both hands had been broken and a finger nearly torn off, amongst other more minor injuries.

While waiting in the line at reception to ask for them, I noticed a sign on the counter which announced that my favourite doctor at this clinic, the one who had, in fact, seen me after the elk attack, “in accordance with requirements by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada” had “voluntarily relinquished the right to prescribe” opiates, barbiturates, and other “scheduled drugs”. I had noticed a note on the front door stating that he was on holidays.

This was a real surprise. He was always very professional and concerned about my blood pressure and my weight (with good reason). I liked him very much. Since I had transferred to a different clinic and now have my own doctor, I hadn’t seen him in a few years — since he took my stitches from the attack out, I think.

I guess wish I knew the whole story. Such a shame.

The “Elk Attack”

Back a few years ago (Sept. 27, 2008, apparently), Mom and I went for a drive up on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. On a sudden whim, I decided to surprise Mom with a trip through the “safari park” near Montebello. Neither of us had been through one before. This one has Canadian animals like Elk and deer. We stopped in at the park store and bought carrots to give to the animals and went on our way into the park.

Never having been in one of these places, I didn’t know that (although they didn’t tell you not to) it isn’t a good idea to roll your windows down all the way. Since none of the animals are the sort that would be likely to rip our throats out or disembowel us if we opened the windows, We figured it was safe to do so. Safe but not necessarily a good idea. As we drove into the first paddock, we were surrounded by Elk, females and young ones. They immediately started sticking their entire heads into the car and grabbing the carrots out of our hands. While I was busy fending off the two with their heads in my window, Mon was busy with another. Meanwhile, a 4th stuck its head in and grabbed the second carrot bag that was on the floor of the car on the passenger side. When it did so, it pulled Mom’s purse out, too.

After tossing both about some in order to get carrots and being unsuccessful, it walked away.  I had wound up both windows and when it was apparent to the Elk that the kitchen was closed, the all wandered away. Now… I KNOW that you don’t get out of your car in these places. I KNOW you don’t dick around with wild animals thinking they are “cute”. Knowing this and actually heeding this are two different things. With the herd off a good 100 yards, I decided that I could safely get out, run around the car, grab the carrots and my Mom’s purse and get in the car without any problems.

So that’s what I did. I got around the car, picked up the bag and purse and turned to go back around the front of the car… and found myself face-to-face with a very large female Elk. I think back on it and, quite apart from not getting out of the car in the first place, there were several options which could I have chosen and avoided what happened next. Mrs. Elk and I stood looking at each other for a few seconds and then she reared up on her hind legs (looming about 7 feet above me when she did so) and started battering me with her hooves. The first few blows connected with my head and to save my face, I put my hands up to cover it. Then my hands took some blows. I manages to turn my back on her, whereupon she got my back and ribs and as I lay on the ground, she pawed my legs severely. As Elks, like deer, have two sharp hooves, she left bruises and scraped all over my back, thighs, and calves. I thought she was going to kill me. If she had been a he, she probably would have. She finally walked away, probably partly because I was now lying flat on my face and partially because I was bellowing for help.

It could have been worse. My mother then in her early 80s was trying to get out of the car to help me. Luckily, she got confused and couldn’t figure out how to get out of the car… Thank GOD!

I was able to get back into the driver’s seat but then realized that I couldn’t drive, partially because I felt like I was going to pass out and partly because my hands were so damaged. I got out again, managed to hustle my mother into the driver’s seat and me back into the passenger seat and we went back to the park entrance where they called an ambulance for me.

I was COVERED in blood which looked worse than the damage that the blood came from, a tiny contusion on my forehead that needed one stitch and a little glue. My legs and back and ribs were badly bruised and scraped and hurt like Hell but were not broken. The worst injuries were to my hands. My left middle finger was broken between the first and second knuckle.

The right ring finger was broken in the middle of the palm area. and my right pinkie finger was nearly torn off and required 15 stitches in a 1 inch area from the first knuckle in the palm to the back of my hand.

I was certainly the talk of the Emergency room at the only hospital in the district, even more than the drunken man who had been shot by his equally drunken wife with a .22 who had been brought in just after me. I earned the title of Madame Wapiti from the orderly on duty (Wapiti being the Native word for Elk).

I was lucky though. I could have been killed. I went home the same night and, despite having a splint on one hand and a half-cast on the other and having to work by typing with two fingers and moving the mouse with one hand and clicking the buttons with the other (my work requires me to work on the computer all day) I consider myself to be very lucky. I couldn’t take time off because I had no paid time off left after using it in the Spring when I fell on the front stoop and injured my back.

I was too embarrassed to tell anyone but a few VERY close friends and even my family and work were told I was accidentally knocked down a flight of stairs while holding a glass bottle. I finally came clean with them in the New Year, nearly 6 months later.

Biopsy Results

My doctor called just now and told me the results of my biopsy. Apparently, there were no abnormalities!

I now have to go for yearly mammograms instead of bi-annual.

My advice? When your doctor tells you do get your bits and pieces tested… GET YOUR BITS AND PIECES TESTED!


I had my biopsy done today. I wasn’t sure if I should expect to have a lot of pain –during OR after the procedure.

The DURING was not the most pleasant experience, not from the biopsy, itself. It was from the crick in my neck from the “table” they use. I have no idea who designed this contraption but either they have no idea how women are actually built — that their breasts aren’t placed somewhere near their bellybuttons — or it was designed for elves.

The table is rectangular with a large (2 feet across, probably)  saucer shape in the middle leaving about 3.5 feet at the top and bottom of the table. The saucer had a hole in it large enough to fit your head through. The hole is where your breast hangs and is compressed by the Mammogram machine. You lie on the table with your boob through this hole and your head “resting” within the saucer. They give you a flat pillow (not as seen in the image, below) which is useless. You end up bunching that under your neck so your neck is forced into a flex. The weight of your neck makes this quite painful. I finally asked if I could have something to rest my forehead on and was given a wadded up towel. That reduced but didn’t erase the crick I got.

Stereotactic table (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)

So, with your boob through the hole, you are left with your legs sticking out across the end of the table. They have a sort of leg rest (thinner than seen above) that they can pull out but in only extends as far as mid-shin. I am only 5’4″ tall. I can only imagine what someone taller than I would feel like. The table, itself looks exactly as above, with the exception of the pillow and the leg rest.

Once they have your breast compressed (this wasn’t as compressed as is needed for a regular mammogram) they inject a local anaesthetic into it. Since the tissue they were biopsying was fairly deep behind the breast, they had to put in a lot of freezing. Then they insert the biopsy needle using Stereotactic imaging. It takes images from two different angles and provides the location of the tissue to be removed. The doctor can pinpoint the area that is being biopsied and guides the needle around and remove the tissue. I could feel the needle moving about but it was only slightly painful at the end, when he was actually removing the tissue. They then place a Titanium marker into the breast where they removed the tissue so that they know exactly where it was before. The marker looks like a small “R” (About half the size of the one you see here).

Even so, it was only a mild sensation of pain. They showed me all the scans and an image of the tissue removed. The microcalcifications look like grains of salt. Since they removed them all, if they turn out to be benign, there is no chance of them becoming cancerous later on. I suppose that if they are cancerous, there would be some radiation therapy.

They said that I might have no bruising, a little bruising, or bruising that extends from my bellybutton to my chin… They said that I might have some pain as the freezing left. I had a bit if itching pain earlier this afternoon but nothing that two extra-strength Tylenol couldn’t handle (no aspirin because of the blood-thinning effect).

Biopsy on Thursday

I got a call this morning setting up my appointment for the biopsy next Thursday. Should be fairly straightforward.

Photo Hunt: “Informative”

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something for this week’s Photo Hunt challenge. Whilst squinting at my photos on my Fotki profile, I was thinking about how nice it will be to get my new glasses so I can actually see without squinting. My appointment was on Thursday (My new pair will have graduated lenses for reading, computer, and for distance). I had a retinal scan and my doctor checked to see if there was any scarring from my long-lasting Shingles scrape. A small scar, not in my area of vision…

Anyhoodle… This brings me to this week’s Photo Hunt…

For some reasons, my Shingles postings have been found very informative to people who have either been diagnosed with facial Shingles, think they have facial Shingles, or have been misdiagnosed and KNOW they have facial Shingles. Very many doctors don’t seem to recognize the symptoms of Shingles on the face. Nor, do they seem to understand the need to promptly prescribe the antiviral OR understand the danger of facial Shingles (If the virus gets into the eye, itself, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. As a result, I have had so many people contact me asking if I think they have Shingles, what they should do, to complain about their doctor’s lack of concern, and/or to ask questions about my experience with Shingles.

And… apropos Photo Hunt… The entirely gross and embarrassing photos of my Shingle-y face have been found to be very informative to a lot of people.

Mom back home

Mom is back home and feeling good. Nothing directly related to her heart. Basically, she fainted.

Of course, Mom can’t just “faint” she has to draw a crowd. I told her last night that if it weren’t for these moments of excitement, I would have to take up chainsaw juggling to fill the void. We always joke that the only reason she does it is so that I will meet men in uniforms, but I am beginning to think it is SHE who wants to meet men in uniforms.

She is fine and watching TV.

An evening out

Tonight my friends were playing at a local bistro. Since the show starts early and ends early and it is close to home, it is great for Mom — and Mom Loves the band!. Since her birthday is next week, it was a good time to have some cake. My friend Krys made her wonderful Guinness cake.

Mom had a wonderful time.

Just a few minutes after this photo was taken (with the cake-baking Krys), we were leaving and she passed out in the middle of the floor. We called paramedics because although she sort of rallied a bit, she wasn’t really “with it”. While the paramedics were there, she passed out again and was sick. Her heart rate was really slow and her blood pressure low. So she had to go in to emergency. They’ve decided to keep her in for observation over night. They said that everything seems fine but they just want to make sure.

In looking at the photo, I can tell that she’s not really looking as perky as usual. I put it down to her being tired. I should have gotten her home when she first said she was tired. Oh well. Hind sight is 20-20…

Blood Pressure

I knew my blood pressure was probably pretty high, what with the stress of the last few weeks. I finally had it tested and it was *gasp!* 167/109 and 105 bpm. A few minutes later, it had gone down to 153/104 and 96 bpm. I haven’t tested it in a while because I can’t find the blood pressure monitor. Until the whole thing with the problem with the Board of Directors is over and done with, even though I quit the Board (it hasn’t been accepted, yet, but I have no duties so I won’t stress out). Even so, because the General Meeting is still ore than a week away, I am still fretting over the possible outcomes of that. I can’t sleep at night but then am so tired by morning that I inevitably fall asleep and wake up far too late in the day…. Vicious cycle.

That Dreadful Insomnia by Sheeyo

I have tried taking sleeping pills… The first night I fell asleep fairly soon and woke up 3 hours later and wasn’t able to get to sleep, again. Every other night I have taken it and simply lain awake all night. Last night I dozed of fairly quickly and woke up an hour later, wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep.

I have tried my anti-anxiety meds. I have tried the anti-anxiety meds AND the sleeping pill.

I have tried Melatonin. While that worked like a charm the first time I tried it two years ago, it has never worked since.

I tried Chamomile tea… Nothing.

I have tried eating a little something.

I have tried eating nothing after 7pm.

I went without coffee or tea for most of last week.

Now, of course, I could lie in bed and sleep all day. I just CANNOT get to sleep at night, or if I can GET to sleep, I don’t stay asleep.

Tonight I am trying Calcium and Magnesium. That also worked once but not after that. And it isn’t as though I am anticipating not getting to sleep. I get myself in the mood, curl up, try and put myself on a beach or in a field of grass — or, my usual fall-back, my “house” relaxation technique. [I imagine a place… street, road, path… city street… and imagine myself approaching the house. I imagine what the street looks like, that the surroundings are like, how I am getting there (car, carriage, walking). Then I imagine walking up the steps or path to the door, opening the door or knocking to be let in… whatever suits the house. I imagine the entryway, the hall, the walls, and where my room would be… Sometimes I imagine the whole house. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to sleep but usually I get to sleep within 15 minutes, sometimes I don’t even remember where I was before I dropped off.] Problem is that it hasn’t worked recently. Thoughts keep intruding and I simply cannot concentrate and end up fretting AGAIN about “What if…”.

It is stupid, I know. And I know that whatever happens, things will eventually calm down but until then, it is all I can think about.

And right now my eyes are shutting and it is only 5:30.

A pain in the…

On Thursday, I took Mom in to FINALLY have the growth on her head removed. The doctor couldn’t specifically identify what it was. She did say that it resembled a particular thing the name of which escapes me. She is treating it as “precancerous”, however, and sent it for biopsy. She said that if it was what she thought it was, it was likely benign.  If it was what she thought it was, they often grow to quite monstrous sizes and then fall off all on their own. However, since it was painful and disgusting-looking waiting for it to get to where it “falls off all by itself” just wasn’t an option.

It was already the size of the end of my ring finger and the affected area was about an inch in diameter. It looked sort of like a flaky, crusty stalagmite….

So we are both relieved that it is now gone. She because it hurt and I because I don’t have to look at it!

Now she had a large hole in her scalp which will have to heal. She hasn’t had any pain at all!

Shit, shit, shit…

I have some sort of viral infection in my eye but the clinic doesn’t think it is Shingles… or at least that it is STILL Shingles. It could be Herpes Simplex or some other virus but there’s no way of telling, at this point.

More drops… more visits every second day to the Eye Institute.

They said my vision in my damaged eye was “better” than when I was there in February. However, I have a difficult time reading documents which is a pain since that is a good part of what I do. At least on the computer, I can expand the image so I can read them. The actual documents are a bit more difficult and I have to hold them right up to my face if the image is too small or the resolution is poor (and with historical documents, more often than not, the copies are REALLY bad).

Off to put the drops in, again….

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