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Misadventures of a dedicated knitter …

July 26, 2009

Life is what it is and we muddle through. The one activity that keeps me grounded has always been knitting. Whether it be constructing a sock, sweater, blanket, or a trinket denoting my love of yarn and string, knitting has been at my side nearly 24/7. What happens, then, when events beyond our control keep our fingers from caressing the yarn and creating the fabric of our love? This question leads me to describe events of the past few weeks.

First, I began Summer’s End with high hopes of completing it in short order. I have taken a hiatus from such pursuits due to a hospitalisation and a surprise visitor. On July 15 I experienced a heightened BPD (Bad Pain Day) due to the issues stemming from an advanced caste of Osteoarthritis in my neck. This condition has plagued me for a very long time and is now creating much grief when it comes to knitting.

I’ve met with a surgeon to cure the issues of spinal stenosis (narrowing of the canal where the nerves live) that causes debilitating pains shooting from my neck area right down into my fingertips and, at best, a nasty pins and needles / tingling in my fingers and arm (right side). I’ve experienced partial paralysis and numbing fingers on my left side for nearly three years now. Needless to say that these issue are not always conducive to knitting. Life goes on, right?

Normally I’m fairly patient with a full understanding of the woes of our Canadian health care system. I understand the frustrations of an overworked medical staff. I patiently await for referrals and the like to come about. However, when I have a general practitioner and an emergency room doctor intently tell me that surgery is necessary I become a little less patient and a little more eager to make it through the system and receive some sort of resolution. Am I expecting too much?

Since July 13 I’ve more BPDs than is usual for me. Excruciating pain radiates into my head and acts like a severe migraine (not good for knitting). On one such day I made my way, under the direction of my family doctor, to the Emergency Room. I spent over 10 hours on some lovely morphine, but unable to knit. I was led to believe that I would receive surgical intervention to deal with the issues once and for all. Near the end of the stint, another Neuro Surgeon came by and decided against surgery and against an immediate MRI and sent me on my way with advice to merely adjust my pain medications and he will go off on holiday the very next day.

I did just that and the new pain medications have been alleviating the bulk of the pain. All is well? I’ve slowly increased the knitting time over the past few weeks. I am now in the system once again and waiting for a Neurologist consult to rule out things like Multiple Sclerosis as the root of the issues. (Never mind this was ruled out three years ago!) The Neurologist has a wait list of 18 mos. minimum. In the meantime, the only option that is left is to visit the ER each and every time I experience a BPD. I continue to use the meagre resources of the system until a surgeon takes pity on me (or gets sick of me, whichever comes first) and suffer the resulting pains and decreased quality of life all the while knowing full well what the root cause of the issue is.

My big question is this: Setting aside the not being able to knit like I used to issue, I wonder how I’m expected to continue to make my living (considering that it means I am at a computer writing for most of it)? Not one of the healthcare professionals has been able to answer that yet. They are intent that I “sit and rest” until resolution is found. I’m hoping that this happens BEFORE I retire.

Don’t misunderstand me as I am convinced that we still have the best healthcare system in the world. However, it is in desperate need of a check up itself, especially from a patient perspective. I am grateful that I have a choice of a doctor, that I receive a good quality of care when I see a healthcare professional, and that I don’t receive massive bills while I am recovering or ill. I just wish that more of the medical professionals would listen to me when I tell them the issues. UGH!

On the up side, I had a house full last week. My oldest daughter came for a visit for the entire week. We laughed, we teared, and we knit. She once again returned to her roots and began knitting. Her muscle memory quickly returned and we sat and knit the hours away. It was a good, but busy, week.

She used to knit when she was little. Every stuffed animal in her cache was styling a scarf or blanket of knitted construction. Garter stitch ruled her world and she became quite good at it. She lost the love of yarn when the trials and tribulations of puberty hit, much to my disappointment.

It was a welcome surprise that she requested a set of needles and some yarn to work with. She quickly set to work on a simple project (a coffee cozy for me). The yarn, needles, and pattern made into her bag as she returned to Regina. She hopes to have it finished upon her return in August. Join me in sending her good knitterly vibes that her love of the craft returns and grounds her while providing her with the enjoyment and opportunity for self-reflection that is has for the rest of us.

Life moves along no matter what issues present themselves. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are not so good. I have experienced both ends of that spectrum over the past couple of weeks. Ultimately, I’ve a few mediocre days and finished my Winnipeg Vanilla Socks and make a few rows of progress on Summer’s End. I reconnected in a knitterly fashion with my oldest daughter and enjoyed some much needed alone time with her. I have my good days and bad days, but have learned to enjoy the good more and move through the bad with the patience that is needed. In the meantime, I will stitch when I am able and I will enjoy every moment of it grateful for the talent that the fates have given me.

Happy Stitching!

July 21, 2009 (Saskatoon Knitting Circle)

Mary's 2 socks at once (toe up version)

Mary's 2 socks at once (toe up version)

Mary’s two at once, toe up socks.

MM_expertly died yarns

MM_expertly died yarns

Mary’s our expert yarn dyer. These are the newest additions to her collection.

Christine's socks

Christine's socks

Christine, now that her Harry Potter scraves are complete, decided to turn her attentions to socks.

Shakthi's Lace

Shakthi's Lace

Shakthi’s Lace scarf. Many of us were coveting this beauty.

The Diva

The Diva

Ending on a high note: My favourite little stitcher, The Diva. Melistress’s daughter joins us on the occasion and livens up the afternoon.

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