Day 42: The Valentines Mess

The motto “happy wife, happy life” was going to be severely tested that evening.
Date: February 14th. Valentines Day
Location: Montgomery Country General Hospital (Olney, MD) & Potomac, MD


Valentines Day, our first as a married couple, was pretty much one mess followed by another. Disaster actually might not be the most accurate way to describe how the day and night went. Valentines Day isn’t always all roses no matter how much we want it to be.


The purpose of this particular post is to not dwell on the symptoms so much, but to shed light to the toll Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) takes on personal relationships.


I began the Valentines Day with a trip to Montgomery County General Hospital in Olney, MD for a bone scan. This was the second hospital visit in as many weeks. If you recall from my post about Day 36, I went to the ER with chest pains that proved to be nothing. Dr. Sethi wanted to run another test to see what might be going on and to confirm the possibility of CRPS. The bone scan was going to rule out other issues while at the same time look for signs of bone resorption (absorbing of bone tissue). Bone resorption is most often associated with certain cancers and osteoporosis. Resorption is also an issue with CRPS as atrophy and disuse of limbs can cause bone tissue to be absorbed. I didn’t know this at the time. I know it now. Regardless, I went into the scan more or less thinking it was a diagnostic and not that resorption was or could be an issue.


When searching Google for the purpose for a bone scan, you find:



The part that mentions cancer was  enough to make me stop reading and have elevated amount of fear. I wasn’t at all prepared to dig further. Now I went into the test knowing I might have some strange thing called CRPS that some medical professionals lacked familiarity with the diagnosis or I could have cancer. So I had that going for me.


Five hours worth of medical testing is quite long. Hell, it is quite long for any type of testing. The reason for the duration of the scan is for a tracer dye is used to help identify the bone issues when imaging via an X-ray machine. It turned out I should’ve done more homework as to how the test was administered because I was woefully underprepared. I didn’t realize the dye needed a couple of hours to go through the blood stream for the test to properly function. I arrived without reading materials or a phone charger so after receiving the dye I had a lot of time on my hands in the basement of the hospital. I eventually went and bought a few magazines. It was mostly difficult to block the mind from wandering into dangerous thinking. The imaging itself was easy like any other X-ray. The testing wrapped up around 3:45pm and now I had to wait a week for the results. Results were due back in a week. More waiting.


When Crissy picked me up to head home, I was spent. I couldn’t call it a day yet as I had to get to a number of things for clients. It seemed as if my coverage simply did not take care of my clients so I was now staring at about 4 hours of work around 4:30pm…on Valentines Day. The motto “happy wife, happy life” was going to be severely tested that evening.

Happy wife, happy life

By the time I sat down in a desk chair at home, I had so much pain all throughout my left arm and my upper back that I didn’t think I would get through much. Due to the pain in my neck (the pinched nerve), my entire neck and shoulder area hurt and was weakening quickly. I was barely able to bring even my right arm to typing on the keyboard let alone my left. I often let my left hand rest in my lap, occasionally letting it hang down by my side because both positions lessened the neck pain. caused pain all throughout my neck and shoulders part of my upper back. My work is fast paced and deadline oriented so it was not as if I could just let it go. I actually enjoy being a hero for my clients so I plugged away writing proposals, sending quick rough estimates, and kicking off projects. With each additional task knocked out, the pain caused more fatigue.


Not 5 minutes after I sat down for a delivery dinner with Crissy by candlelight and the phone was already ringing a few times by the same number. Ok no big deal, right? I’m happy to help as best I can. Well, let’s just say this wasn’t going to help me live by that cute motto. The call was actually from a client trying to track down a non-responsive colleague. Not good! Crissy was part angry and part upset.


Let me be clear, my wife was mostly upset at the situation. We were used to being out to dinner for Valentines. We were supposed to be in Florida. Neither of those things happened. My health robbed us of both. Crissy could hardly stand watching me suffer in pain and now I took the call during dinner that would result in more work post dinner. I definitely didn’t want to further stress my exhausted body, but the clients calling were at one of the firms I worked most closely with so it probably could indirectly help me. What kind of stupid is it to invite more pain into your life like that? In any event, Crissy is my rock and sometimes when I’m my own worst enemy, like that night, the only person who knows how to get me to stop and see the light. Thankfully, she let it helped me realize how dumb I was being to promise anything that night.


During some reflection the next morning, I began realizing two things:

  1. 1) my health was probably much worse off than anyone thought or had explained to me and
  2. 2) attempting to balance work with whatever I had was quickly becoming unsustainable. This prompted a conversation with my manager to potentially take a week or two off to see if it might help calm things down and get me back to 100%. Little did I know a third trip to the hospital was looming on deck.


Let’s break here for now. There is an awful lot for me to write in my post about days 46-51. Those six days were quite long. I’ll get to that in another post or two. I might decide to give another health update to the present. Sorry for some of the yo-yoing in my journey. I’m doing my best to balance chronology and some positivity. Feedback is always welcome.


Beat CRPS!


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[…] next, was the Valentine’s Day Mess on Day 48. You really should read that post though the quick hitters are bone scan, debilitating pain, still […]