Friday, November 28, 2008

Taking stock ... of what some might call a hectic year

It's the end of the year...and somehow, my mind can't reconcile everything that has happened.  It seems like it is in a freeze mind where it only vividly remembers yesterday and everything else seems to have happened aaaages ago...

This might be partially why I am having such a difficult time with acceptance... because I don't see everything in perspective or that too much has happened too close to each other...

I feel that before I head on into 2009, I need to reconcile 2008 and get the facts straight, lest 2009 ... God forbid ... turns out to be just as hectick and causes even further mushy brainliness ... so here goes ...  (Heck, I hope I recall everything )

-  In the beginning of the year, I had wrist pains that the doctors could not figure out.  They initially figured it to be a "Ganglier", but couldn't find anything on X-Rays.

-  I was sent for physio, which just basically brought up more problems like the fact that my left shoulder and left side of my neck was in spasmism and spent a couple of months being stuck with acu-needles, probed massaged and generally "wringed out" from the head down.

-  Later in the year, I could not take the pain in my wrists any more, so I went to a new doctor close to work and he subsequently diagnosed me with Marfan's Syndrome and loss of cartlidge due to Osteo-Arthritis in my wrists, curtosy of the Marfan's.

-  I had my first major vehicle accident of the year, leaving me without a car for over two months.

- I had another minor incedent with my mom's car the following day

-  A cardiologist confirmed Mitral-Valve Prolapse with regurgetation and risk of aortic rupture, due to the Marfan's and I was placed on beta-blockers.

- Got diagnosed with flat feet due to collapsed arches curtosy of lax legiments in my feet thanks to the Marfan's, which required me to wear orthotic inserts in my shoes.

-  I had a severe Kidney-Stone of 5mm, which had to be removed surgically

-  I landed in ICU due to breathing and chest pains when coming out of theatre for the kidney stone and was labled a cardiac-risk which meant no pian/sleeping tablets for the duration of my stay in ICU.

- Had an absess in one of my teeth that had to be removed.

- I started getting increased problems with light sensitivity and after images, for which I went to an Opthalmologist

- I almost landed in ICU again during a Brain MRI for the cause of the after images

- Wound up at a Neurologist whom could only say that the after images is "Palinopsia" from an unknown cause, most likely being a cross-over between migraine's and seizures

- A month after getting my car back from the shop, I had another major accident ... in which I wrote my car off

- I lost my pet hamster due to old-age

- During a six monthly visit to my cardiologist, they found I also had an Aortic Valve prolapse with regurge.

- My home pc's screen-card blew

- Our one dog was diagnosed with spinal problems due to old-age

And now, I am closing off the year, with 

- Increasing instability in my right shoulder, which they don't know wether exercise will help work to avoid surgery.

- My home pc's power supply blew, taking the DVD-Drive with it

On top of all of this, I had numerous bouts of inflammation, pain, depression etc... as well as my medical-aid being depleted since April.

Hmmm...doesn't seem all that bad...does it?  No, it's not all that bad, seeing as I am still alive...

This year, I am selebrating new-years ... not because of the coming of the new year, but because of the ending of the old...

Here's to a more subdued and happy 2009 to all!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Buggered PC's, Eye-Catching Cars and Driving Experiences

Yay!  That was quick work I must admit.  I got my PC back in a matter of a couple of hours.  I can only test it properly once I get home, but it has a new heart ... as well as a new DVD player ...

That's right, the power supply toke my DVD player down with it.  Luckily, no other components ... especially my motherboard ... was injured during the burn-out.

I ended up chatting to the technician about my car, as I had asked him to put the pc in my car and he wanted to know if it was an ST.  I almost laughed as I saw his face fall when I told him no :P.  I have a Ford-Focus 2.0l SL and even though it doesn't have the Super & Turbo charged 2.5 of the ST, it still has enough grunt. Infact, much more than my Mazda 3 2.0l that I wrote off earlier this year.

I don't know what it is with these new Valve Tech engines like Mazda and Toyota...  The VVTI setup on them is just sooo sluggish in comparison with the Focus's VTEC.  The other major plus, is the roadholding and skid-control of the Focus, curtosy of the ESP (Electronic Steering Program).  I could have used that in my Mazda...bleh...

But on that subject, let me tell you the life story of my Mazda 3...  I had it for about a year and was finding it not too bad, except for the interior that kept on wanting to fall to pieces every time I opened the ash-tray and the Valve Tech making it a tad on the sluggish side ... or maybe a bit more than just a tad.  Then, disaster struck twice in a row...

Disaster One.

While driving on the high-way, I suddenly hear the noise of a horn, a loud "CRASH", a tyre flying past me missing me by a couple of inches and then a white sedan, literilly flying across the center devider from the opposite side of the high-way, straight into my line.  I snapped the wheel quickly to the right, found my self on the grass and jerking the wheel left and right trying to get the car to come to a stand still ... mind you, this was at peek-highway speed of 120km\h.  60m\h is about 100km\h?  

When I finally got my car to a standstill and walked back towards the accident site, I was stopped easily a full km away from the main accident site.  As I got to the site, I was horrified.  The sedan was smashed with the hooter wailing and the driver, a middle aged lady, hunched over the steering column, with blood seeping from her mouth.  The rear passenger was screaming in agony as both her legs was broken and the front passenger was trying to calm her, having at least nothing more than a gash to her head.

I helped a bystander prie open the bonnet and sever the connections to the battery ... both to avoid any sparks as fuel was running across the road and to quite down the maddening screams of the hooter.  The Medics, Fire Department and Traffic police arrived and started working on the injured so I stood back.  The driver was airlifted to a hospital and the two passengers was transported via Ambulance. 

Once everything settled down, I headed over to the main investigating officer and told him I was also indirectly involved in the accident.  The officer looked up and I only then noticed him pulling a silver sheet over a driver in a Ford Bantam that had not been as fortunate to be able to get out of the flying car's way.  He nodded to me and then signalled to the medics that the guy was dead.  He followed me down the road to where my car was standing and I showed him the damage to my car.  Unfortunately for me, they had been trimming the hedges standing in the center devider and had left all the cut off-branches, leaving my car in a very sorry state.  

The radiator and air-con was impaled, the under-tray was ripped off and the whole right side of my car was scratched to hell and gone.  He looked at me and asked "So you were in this lane?", pointing at the lane where the tow truck was now busy hooking up what was left of the white sedan.  "Yep" I replied.  The officer looked at me for a moment, shook his head and grinned.  "Ok, we will get you sorted, but please be aware that it is going to take some time as this is now a homicide investigation.".  I didn't mind at the time, but then, I didn't know that it was going to take over two months before I got my car back.

Disaster number two...

Believe it or not, but a month after finally getting my car back, the next disaster struck.  We haven't been able to prove it, but it was definately due to disaster number one and poor checking on both the Panel-Beaters AND the Garage, whom I had given specific instructions to check for any unnoticed damage, that this occurred...

I was driving home at night, when I realised I had forgotten to send an important e-mail, so I wanted to climb off at the nearest exit and head back to the office.  As I pulled off onto the exit, I felt a sudden jolt and my car started to wildly skid across the road.  I was getting it back under control but my wrists didn't want to cooperate and I lost control of it.  

The next thing I remember, is seeing a blurr of grass passing in front of my windscreen, with gravity getting inverted a few times and then finally is sitting in my car, right side up, at the bottom of a 20m embankment with that nasty accident smell of twisted metal, melted plastic and exhaust fumes filling my nose.  My glasses was nowhere to be found but my night-driving clip-ons was in two pieces on my lap.  It seems like the driver side curtain was the only one of the four airbags to have deployed and it had smacked me very hard in the face, braking my clip-ons in half and bending my glasses out of preportion, flinging it across to the passenger seat.

Somehow, my seat was further back than what it was designed to go and feeling still shaken, I turned off the radio by kicking the dash as I was a bit pissed off at the same time.  Then I shifted my focus to trying to get out as I didn't like the "click, crackle, click, tick" that was most probably just normal damage sounds but I didn't want to take any chances.  I tried the door handle and nothing happened..  I tried locking and unlocking and still nothing happened...  I think at that stage I somehow started to get into a panick ... it is odd when your body and mind takes over and does things without your consent ... so I started kicking the door.  Then a voice came from the outside "Wait baas!  Wait!" and a road-works employee pulled the door open from the outside.  

I sat there talking to the guy while we waited for the ambulance ... don't move someone just involved in an MVA ...  When the paramedics arrived, the got me out of the car and onto a stretcher and was hauling me up the slope when I heard a "ZZZAP" followed by an "You Bugger!" and some hillarious laughter.  It seemed like I had clipped an electric fence on the way down and the loose cable caught the paramedic on the butt!  That was quite ammusing and he jokingly threatened to drop the stretcher if I didn't stop laughing.

As they got me into the ambulance, they were quite calm, up untill the point I reported that I was feeling nautious.  The paramedic slammed the doors shut and told the driver to gun it.  On arriving at the hospital, they rushed an ER doctor to me to check me over due to the nausia and the nasty bump I had at the back of my head.  The paramedic had my Medic-Alert card with him, as he had retrieved all my valuables from the car and as the doctor looked it over, she frowned, looked at me and asked me "Have you been checked for scoliosis?".  I was gob-smacked!  Not only did she know what Marfan's was but she had sufficient knowledge about it to know what problems to look for.

I told her that I have had X-Rays before and they didn't find any problems but they werent looking specifically for it.  "Ok, well lets do some of your skull and then we can include one to check for scoliosis while were at it"...gobsmack #2!  In the meantime, my parents had arrived and when all the tests came back negative, the doctor just informed them to keep me from sleeping for the next 24 hrs and that I should not watch TV or anything of that sort.

A week later, whiplash set in and I went to the doctors for some pain meds.  He looked me over ... frowned and then said  "You know what?  I am almost positive that if it wasn't for the connective tissue disorder, you would have had a whole bunch of broken bones instead of just whiplash!"  Just goes to show, every clowd has a silver lining ...  I ended up with just a neck brace for two weeks and no car for another couple of months.  Thinking back, I was lucky in many respects...  One of them being not ending up in the pond, a meter or so further from where my car came to a stop and the other being that I had pulled off onto the high-way exit and not having had the tyre blow out while in traffic.  That, by the way was the cause of the whole disaster...  a blown tyre, due to a flaw picked up from disaster #1, which no one picked up on ... including me.

This was only two of the many MVA's I have had...and honestly, it is all just bad luck.  I have only had one single accident that I could be blamed for ... and that, had to do with driving tired after working till 3 in the morning ...

Reckless Speeding & Driving Drunk, is the two things I will NEVER permit my self, as that is irresponsible and just plain stupid.  Having a 2.0l does not give me a licence to race, and in fact, requires respect and responsibility from the driver.  It does however save my body from doing too much work in the sense that 2.0l's usually has more luxury and proper interiors along with driving asists such as ESP and Cruise control, which reduces the amount of foot work tremendously and stops my body from constantly getting inflamed due to a bumpy/uncomfortable ride.  The other advantage is having power to overtake and climb gradients without having to wade trough your gears and clutch to get the steam back up.  That is one thing I can't afford tho...  automatic gearbox.  

Correct me if I am wrong, but our country is really backwards.  The majority of cars is manual/stick-shift.  Only 10% of the cars on our roads is automatic and they come with a very hefty price tag, whereas in places like America, it seems to be almost the opposite with only the more sports orientated vehicles having a manual gearbox for driving affect.

That, is part of my driving experience thus far...  Maybe next time I will tell you some of the more hillarious ones ... especially the one involving a traffic jam on the high-way ... and a supposedly over-zealous bike-cop.

Bio Visit & Hardware Breakdowns

So I saw the biokinetecist this morning...  

He didn't do a lot of probing and/or prodding but scheduled another appointment for Monday as the usual Bio is having an operation. Once again, he is most probably painting a picture of the worse case scenario... He toke my X-Rays & Sonar as reference in terms of planning my exercise routine but he didn't seem too I understand it, most of your rotator cuff, is held together by legiments and there is only a slim chance that strengthening the surrounding muscle will stabalise it.  

What's more, is that my left shoulder is starting to ache ... and funny enough, I recognise that ache ... * Looks at right shoulder, looks back at left shoulder *  

To make matters even computer at home had a heart attack... I turned it on and fizzle, pop, flame out! There was literally flames coming from my power supply. I had to take it to a computer equavilant of a hospital for a heart transplant... and hopefully, none of the other "organs" was affected. Holding my breath untill the "surgeon" phones me with the results. What next! Sheesh...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hmmm... Physio here we come

For now, the doctor wants to put off surgery as much as possible. The X-Rays and Sonar at least came up clean for any damage thus far so that's a good thing. Bad thing about that, is that it just confirmed my Doc's suspicions that my legiments in my shoulder is way too lax. 

He wants to try Physio & Bio first, to see if we can't maybe get the muscles to take over the work from my legiments. So far, it has worked for my knees, albeit just to stop them from popping out as they can't do anything about the chondro accept try and halt the degen.

No degen in my shoulder is a reason for selebration tho 
:D. The last thing I need now, is yet another osteo joint. I am seeing the Bio tomorrow and hear what he has to say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Need a shoulder to cry on? Sorry, no can-do

My shoulder has been becoming more and more sublux and I eventually caved and went to my doctor, just to be sure it's not gona cause any problems.  Well, the answer is "Yes"...  If I were to leave it as is, it's gona chew up the cartlidge, bit by bit.

The doctor was not at all impressed with what I showed him and made an appointment for an X-Ray & Sonar tomorrow...

The trouble with my shoulder is:

-  My right arm now hangs flush against my body but my left arm still hangs outwards.
-  I can only lift my right arm 25-30 degrees when my arm is extended.
-  My arm drops/pops while held up in a bent position.
-  I can partially pop my shoulder on demand (Not a good idea as it obviously eat's cartlidge for breakfeast).
-  I can lift my right shoulder-blade without moving my shoulder.

Best case scenario, I end up with my arm in a sling for a couple of weeks and some physio...

Wors case scenario, they have to opperate which carries a 6 month recovery period.

I am not even looking forward to having my arm unuseable for a couple of weeks, let alone 6 months...

Wishfull thinking ... it just turns out to be nothing more than a sprain...  I hope...