Change is a part of life. Some changes are harder than others. In the past few years, there have been many changes in my life.
Yesterday I had an appointment with my ankle surgeon. He had me press hard against his hand in various instances. And pronounced that he was very, very pleased. I have strength in pushing against his hand. He said yesterday was a big improvement. I could see the pleasure on his face.
I listened through ears that are like speakers that lose their sound from time to time, then crackle back. I sometimes feel that I am underwater and I'm trying to listen to the world where everyone else is above water.
It has been two weeks and three days since the ear injury. But I still don't understand why both ears are involved. I have an appointment with the ENT doctor I recently saw next week.
I had no idea, for all you people with hearing issues out there, though hopefully mine is temporary, that it makes you feel so vulnerable. That there is lots of confusion involved because you can't tell where sound is coming from.
This ENT doctor is out of my network, because no one else could be found the day before a holiday, and I was in a lot of pain.
So yesterday I called BCBS of Oklahoma and said I needed help trying to find someone in my network. For some reason these days, there never seems to be a cut and dried answer.
I can call a doctor's office and read from my insurance card and ask if they take my insurance, and they don't know. Call BCBS, they tell me. Who in turn tell me to call doctors' offices.
I called BCBS yesterday, and tell them that in the options for specialists, there is no Ear, Nose & Throat doctor in the list. I ask them what to do? I tell them I think perhaps it falls under Otolaryngologists.
They put me on hold. They come back and tell me that what I need to look under is Opthalmologists.
I tell them, no, that isn't right.
Yes, they tell me, it is. They checked.
I am losing patience. I promise you, I tell them, that that is incorrect. They put me on hold. They come back and tell me that no, I need to look under Opthalmologists.
I sit and ponder what to say next. This is an insurance company. I am speaking to a representative of said insurance company. And they don't know what an opthalmologist is. They think they are doctors that treat the ear, nose and throat.
I am frustrated. I call various ENTs I find online and ask if they take my coverage. Once again, they don't know. They tell me to call my insurance company, who is going to tell me to call opthalmologists.
I wonder how many people they send to an opthalmologist who in fact has ear problems?
I feel like I've been on a roller coaster, and once I step off, I am a bit dizzy. The world seems to be off balance.
I can't take anymore, so I give up for now. I can only handle so much frustration, which is coupled with the fact that my hearing, for now, is impaired. I am tired.
My brace for my ankle came in yesterday. I was exhausted from driving in the boot, so had come home and sunk into a bathtub of warm water, trying to relax.
I hear the phone ring, and the man who sculpted my leg for an exact replica to have my brace made, told me he would bring it to me to make sure it fit. I am ever so thankful. It is after hours and the traffic would be brutal
This is what he brings in...
This is my new normal.
This is what the surgeon has been working toward. It is a very hard brace from the ankle around to the other ankle. You lace it up over a sock, and then put a sneaker over it.
He had me get a shoe. It will not fit. He tells me to order one in a size larger so it will accommodate the brace. And I get online and do so once he's gone.
I have been waiting weeks for this brace to be made for me. My $1300 brace that is, my surgeon assures me, an improvement over a boot. And I should not get in trouble, should I get stopped, for being in what is considered an incapacitating driving situation with a boot that goes up to knees.
I am thankful for an option. Sometimes, if you don't count your blessings, you will go crazy. But I grieved a bit. The brace is hard as rock. I wonder if I can ever grow accustomed to something that hard that fits solidly against my foot. And wear it every single day.
For $1300, I certainly hope so.
I think of my closet with the plastic boxes full of shoes I once wore. I think what it was like to simply reach up and grab a pair of shoes and slip them on. A cushy leather loafer. A pretty little sandal.
Not my normal anymore. They sit on the shelf with dust collected on the lids. I keep them because I hold out hope, I suppose.
Suddenly I want to cry. Out of frustration, and loss and that everything I used to do, seems so much more difficult now. That today, after driving around town yesterday, means I have a lot of pain in my ankle and it is hard to walk at all.
Then I catch myself and am reminded that so many people are much worse off. And that I shouldn't fall into the doldrums and feel sorry for myself.
There is always someone worse off.
So I must now accept my new normal. And move on.