Wednesday, September 19, 2012

leaving for America

One good thing about going to America this time of year is that I will get to witness the colors of the leaves on the trees. This will be the first time I will have been to the US since I made aliyah (moved to Israel and became a citizen) during this glorious time of the year. Each time the fall season rolls around, I get nostalgic for, well, Boston and New England, actually, where I have very special memories of the foliage in fall. I won't be visiting those parts, I'll be in New York (Long Island, specifically) for this trip, but I know the leaves will be just as beautiful there. We used to call it "leaf-peeping" in Boston when one was able to get away on a trip during this time of year for a weekend at a B&B in Maine or New Hampshire. Oh, it was a slice of heaven.

This whole time, since I organized my travel arrangements a week ago, I have been back and forth in my head about whether it is going to work out or not. Many levels going on there, but one of the major ones was how am I going to handle things over there, when I am in so much pain?! The pain has been slowly increasing, and recently I had some days of pure agony. This is with my regular dose of the fentanyl patch and the new nerve medicine.
I had been, until today, supplementing my new nerve pain medicine with some Lyrica a few times a day, according to need, until the time came that the new med would be up to it's proper dosage.

Some weeks ago I started telling Dr. Z that my joint pain is getting progressively worse. It had been getting better, but has been on a decline for a few months. Adding in the impingement problem in the right hip as a new development, I didn't even have a normal way to limp. It was ridiculous; I'd be walking home from shul on Shabbat, in crazy pain,not even having a way to limp and favor one side because they both hurt.

Last night I started having flu-like symptoms. That was what I thought to be a clear message that the trip must be cancelled. I felt awful, but without fever.

Then it clicked- I was behind by one day in replacing my path. It is supposed to be replaced every other day, and this one was one day too long. Classic withdrawal form narcotic is flu-type aches, but with no fever. I have unfortunately quite a bit of experience with that.

The increased pain paired together with the flu symptoms and I finally felt the two-by-four banging me on my head.

Well, in order to know if I am going to be able to manage this trip, I decided to take Dr. Z's advice and raise the Fentanyl dosage. Ostensibly, this medicine was primarily for the joint pain, and the new nerve med is for the nerve pain.

Well, what I [re]discovered was that the Fentanyl influences the nerve pain, as well, and can deaden it to a point.

I added the extra dose of patch last night, and woke up perfect this morning. Remained pain free walking to shul (on Rosh Hashana), as well as walking home, hosting a meal (14 ppl), *and* cleaning up after the whole meal for the first time in who-knows-how-long. Yes, I needed to rest after all that, but I wasn't in pain.

Then and only then could I make my final decision that I am indeed able to go on an 11-hour transatlantic flight and stay for the 11 days. I will be able to concentrate on being with my Mom; my parents.

I gotta tell you-- it was *amazing* to be [relatively] out of pain today. It happens so infrequently, We (Robert & I) honestly forget how things used to be before all this pain began. Robert said today that the "me" without pain is a distant memory. (ouch. That was hard to hear.) I want his memory to pick up where mine lets off, and inspire me to believe it can be that way again. Or have a new way of life- a better one, without PAIN. Because honestly, in my heart of hearts? I don't believe it will get better. It's a life of heavy medicines and heavy surgeries. If I try to expect more, I am not living in my reality.

The evening was filled with packing, and that, for me, is always tiring. I always start too late at night, and take forever to figure out how to pack lightly while taking what I feel are what I'll need to feel comfortable there.

And my big mama pillow is coming with me; I am quite sure I can't sleep without it. Actually- I forgot to bring it on our Haifa trip. Thankfully the hotel provided me with an abundance of pillows. My kids caught a picture of me hoarding them with me from one bedroom to another (room switch). Here's that one:

I'll give an update when I can... or need to... which ever happens first.
Unfortunately my mother is still in hospital and we don't know when she will return home. My father and I will be traveling to and from the hospital every day instead of being all home together. I'll be sleeping in my brothers' room (both brothers were in one room) because the nurse sleeps nights in my room.

OK, I really gotta go to sleep. My eyes are weary, and my sleeping pill has finally calmed down my head from spinning with all this travel stuff.

I'll see my daddy tomorrow evening. I'll see him walking Upright!! New hip did wonders for him! I'm jealous. I want one... or two...

Gonna read and sleep a lot on the airplane. I hope for an in-flight upgrade to business. I learned that it is cheaper (much) if you try to do it that way, because they already see the seat as lost money, so to get however little more out of an already paying customer as possible, that customer can get an upgrade for a tiny fraction of the real cost. And, of course, this is a trial run, to see if riding coach class is too difficult for me at this point. If it is too much on the way to the US, I'll have to try for an upgrade on the way back. moneymoneymoneymoney.... doesn't grow on trees...........

Good night, and I will see you in New York.
Write me any time either on facebook, on this blog, or at my email address. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Leavin' on a jet plane............


  1. I'm glad you getting a handle on your meds. How great to start the new year pain-free. I hope you enjoy your visit with your parents.

  2. Yeah!!!! Can you take a cane or a walker? Maybe they will move you to first class out of sympathy. ;)

  3. Sarah, have a safe and pain free trip. I hope things get better for your mom. Shana Tova.

  4. safe trip Sarah, wishing you all that you wish for yourself l'tovah - hugs

  5. My darling Sarah, may this be a trip of surprising pain-free experiences. May your mom be so happy to have you there her health raises again. I wish you all the best, really--not just words, always!! ♥ ♥ ♥

  6. Hope all goes well for you and your Mom
    Shana tova

  7. May you go safely and come home safely. Already missing you!! Give our love to your parents, too.

    Love, Miriam et al.

  8. may you and your mom be inscribed for complete good health! have a safe trip, and keep strong. gmar chatima tova, rochel.

  9. Best wishes for a good, safe flight, a good homecoming, and increasingly good health for you and your parents.