131. My expectation is…

This is me playing at O&TL's wedding in '07 - Aunty D could tell by the way I sat at the piano that I had a major crick in my neck.

This is me playing at O&TL’s wedding in ’07 – Aunty D could tell by the way I sat at the piano that I had a major crick in my neck.

My back started hurting last Thursday. I thought I slept it off, but the “hurt” kept coming back on Friday.  So I told Mom I was going  to lie on the Ceragem bed and “my expectation is that I will feel better and then I’ll go see Polly.” (This is code for using my elliptical machine.)

The Ceragem bed was originally a gift for Mommy.  She has RA and when I first moved to Oregon it was acting up and had not been diagnosed yet.  I, of course, was horrified at this turn of events, especially since Tanpo had just had a triple bypass.  I was ready to quit the job I had barely started and come home, but this course of action was not looked upon favorably by the Tan Fam so I consoled myself by purchasing a Ceragem instead.

Before I left I rearranged the furniture in Ai Ai’s old room so there could be no “where do we put it?” excuse for this idea of mine to not become reality.  We had actually gone to a Ceragem clinic up 270 and quite liked it (except Tanpo, who didn’t find it to be as soothing as Mom and I did). Back in the day I think the main service they offered was the use of a Ceragem and I heard that people would drive over an hour daily just to use these beds.  It really is like a bed.  It has jade rollers and “far infrared heat.”  The rollers do 4 full-body loops and then the rollers go up and down your spine, stopping at strategic points.  A full cycle takes about 40 minutes.

Now I’m not educated on the science of how the thing works etc, all I know is that it feels good and has helped me in the past when I’ve gotten a crick in my neck.  The relief I experienced when this happened to me in my old life was enough for me to think that purchasing one for convenient home use was a great idea, even if it was kind of spendy.  I purchased the Ceragem over the phone and it was delivered and set it up for Mom and Dad with no problem.  I had no idea that I would end up being the primary user.  I just finished one cycle and I do feel better knowing I did something good for my body, but I haven’t been downstairs to see Polly yet – I’ll go right after this.

I figure that “expectation” is important in this case.  I think the phrase, “My expectation is…” is a very helpful phrase, especially for performance reviews at work or when explaining a fine-dining experience to a child.  As my recovery has lengthened my expectations have slowly started to come into focus and I’ve started verbalizing them.

At hospitals 3 and 4 (RIO and ARHM) I kind of just assumed people would either know or intuit the salient points of my medical history.  Since then I’ve realized that although my doctor(s) might have some of my documents (sometimes they don’t), it’s a lot of text to absorb and if there’s anything important I should probably highlight it verbally for them.

People say that if you need to consult your doctor on anything, write your questions down and bring a friend to help you advocate.  I’m blessed with two friends – their names are Mom and Dad.  Mom told me a story about how Dr. Dogan (my surgeon) came to see me once at OHSU.  He and his entourage (it’s a teaching hospital so there were lots of people around learning) were about to leave but Tanpo  made him stand there and answer a long list of questions regarding my prognosis.  That is so Dad, I thought.  And then my friend Je told me that it sounds like something I would do, too.  She was right – who am I kidding?

So I’m finally following suit (kind of) and when I started seeing CMD  I rigged up a brief medical summary for her.  I wish I had thought of this 6 months ago – but my awareness and caring level has only increased relatively recently.  Here’s my new “resume”:


PS.  I did go see Polly on Friday and on Saturday, too.  Friday’s attempt was very tentative.  Saturday was better, but I’m still moving rather gingerly.  I’m going to tell CMD all about it on Monday morning.

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5 thoughts on “131. My expectation is…

  1. This organization & initiative is so “you” and I love it. It’s also just a really smart idea… reminds me of the “help me help you” idea.
    Hope you feel better really soon, friend.

  2. The siblings in our household also have to eliminate excuses when mom needs something done medically. Nice to know we’re not the only ones that run into this.

  3. Humor is good expectations are good God is good so is going to Multnomah Falls with the grandkids on spring break and
    eating ice cream. Love you

    • Oooh! Ice cream. And Multnomah Falls. I remember not being able to make it up the trail and trying to jump ship mid-way and telling my friends I’d meet them at the espresso stand at the bottom :).

  4. Huge YAY for Mom and Dad for being the best examples of patient advocacy! So thankful they were able to be with you during those early weeks when this was so necessary and vital. Thankful, too, for the special care givers in each hospital who made a lasting impact on us, as well as you, by their special attention, compassion, and care. Among others, I remember the one ICU nurse who we weren’t particularly fond of bc of her not-so-gentle and seemingly cold bedside manner. But then on the last day of my first visit, she stood there by your bed and cried with me as I was getting ready to leave for the airport. I suppose first impressions aren’t always accurate. 🙂 Thankful that you can be your own advocate now – along with a lot of willing supporters to back you up as needed! XOXOs

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