I must have been VERY bad

In a past life I must have REALLY pissed off someone – or maybe in this life – because the pain I’ve had the last few days is crazy.  A sore back sent me to bed early on Tues, where the pain became SO bad at 3am that Gerry said we should go to the ER.

Test, test, test.

Test, test, test.

Apparently I had had a kidney stone. Different tests showed that there’d been one, and the fact they couldn’t see it on the scan led the doctor to say that I’d passed it. “The pain should go away now, just rest for a few days and make an appt to see your own GP.”

But the pain didn’t go away, it got worse.

And added to this pain was an incredible skin sensitivity (think of how your skin feels during a bad flu, then add poison ivy pain to that) and I had a lot to talk about with my doc on Thursday. As she was examining the part of my back that hurt the worst, in the general location of my right kidney, I half joked, “It couldn’t be shingles, could it?”

Yes, yes it could.

My constant companion

My constant companion

I’m on the watch for shingles all the time, but for Gerry, not for me. Because of his stem cell transplant and various drugs he’s on, he’s more susceptible to develop shingles. There has been at least one time when I caught the symptoms on him just in the nick of time (earning raised eyebrows and a smile from our oncologist) At the time it was taken care of with a quick course of Valtrex.

But these shingles had a bit of time to settle in, and they are intense.  Everything you’ve heard in those TV ads is true. I have so much pain that I’m nauseous.

The nausea makes it hard to keep the pain meds down. It’s a vicious circle, and I’m in the center of it.  I haven’t had this kind of out-of-control nausea since my first pregnancy.  I can’t wear anything but the loosest cotton dress, anything touching my body is cause for agony.

In other words, I’m not a good date.

In fact, if you asked me what was going on with my body (and if I hadn’t had a hysterectomy and wasn’t 52) I’d say, “Obviously I’m in labor!”

Since Tuesday. This sucks.

Work Continues…

Our newest design, Lanark Plaid Cowl, worked in Bulky Loch Ness, Thistle & A Wee Dram

Lanark Plaid Cowl, worked in Bulky Loch Ness, Thistle & A Wee Dram

The worst part is that I can’t get much work done. I finished up some schematics for my new book and got that out the door, and yesterday I wrote up a simple plaid pattern for a multi colored cowl (in our new Caledonian Colors) but my concentration is poor, and I can only knit for a few minutes before pain causes me to change my position into a non-knitting one.

Thursday evening we had to reshoot three sweaters for my upcoming book, and I KNEW that if we didn’t do it, it would be BIG TROUBLE. Andy goes off to college next Thursday, and I really needed to get front shots of 3 garments.

My photographer (Lara Need of Math4Knitters) is amazing, and she did most of the work. The models (Andy & our friend Lydia) were beautiful with great attitudes, so it was as stress free as a shoot could go.

I consider it a huge success that I was able to wait
until we got home to be sick. We all have different yardsticks.

I haven’t been able to ride my bike (the idea makes me break out in a cold sweat) and that makes the fibro pain grow in unwanted ways.

Well, what doesn’t kill us… right?

I find myself SO hesitant to write about this (I’ve actually been rather hesitant to blog at all these days…) because I know that someone will pop up to say, “Stop whining about your pain, just work through it!”

And they’d be right in a sense. The best thing to do with pain is to find a path through it, and sometimes talking about it isn’t the best path.

But the last 3 days have been overwhelming. I gave birth twice, to two big babies, the last one (11lbs) with no medication. This pain is worse. And it doesn’t seem to want to end.

Having said that, the pain does seem infinitesimally better since yesterday. I think the meds are working, but the nausea is as bad as ever.  But even that small change for good is reason to hope.

The cowl, down Jasper gets around

The cowl in it’s down position.
Jasper gets around

Your Reward

For reading my long tale of woe is that I’d like to gift you with the cowl pattern!

Lanark Plaid Cowl To download click on image of pattern.

Lanark Plaid Cowl
To download click on image of pattern.

Bear in mind, it’s been written by a woman in pain, and the tech edit was pretty quick and dirty. But the pattern is crazy simple [notice I didn’t say EASY, just SIMPLE] and if you want, you can consider it a fun test knit…

And (because I’m not in my right mind) I’ll pick ONE name from the comments of a person to receive a ball of ModeWerk Bulky. This is soft, beautiful yarn – it knits up like a dream – AND it’s super wash. I so hate making a gift for someone, then attaching a “care instructions” card to it.

Just leave a comment below, I don’t care what it’s about, and your name will go in the hopper for the drawing!  I don’t want to restrict this to US folks, so if you want to participate and you’re in a foreign country you’ll have to pony up $10 for shipping (I’ll cover the rest, and all of the shipping costs if the winner’s from the US) Leave your comment by midnight on Sun, Aug 17th (US Central Time) and we’ll pick a winner on Monday.  Good luck!

So go, leave a message, and make me laugh.  Please.

87 thoughts on “I must have been VERY bad

  1. They say, “Pain is such a rush!” I hope you get some relief soon, Annie!

    Karen Faestel
    Oconomowoc, WI USA

  2. I don’t think I can make you laugh, but hope it helps to let you know that someone you met many years ago (at a KR Retreat at Graves Mountain) is thinking about you and hopes you get some relief from the pain. P.S. Your daughter is beautiful! But you knew that.

  3. Oh I have tears of sympathy reading your post! I Have a husband who had chronic kidney stones (now on diuretic) and an elderly father who had shingles. Both suffered greatly with individual illnesses!
    I hope you are on the road to recovery and are able to get back on the bike soon. I read that beer(!) is a good liquid to move kidney stone – was it here? If not, that’s what I heard!
    When I saw the cowl on Andy I thought – I want to make this!! Yay! Now I can.
    Hang in there!
    Wallingford CT

  4. I’ve been feeling like Fearless Fosdick (Lil Abner character, always had a black cloud over his head) all summer. I have many reasons for this, and so I know you must feel like this pain is never ending. Somehow it will end, and I hope very soon!

  5. So sorry about your shingles. I had them, too and they are painful and scary. They will get better., I promise. Thank you for the cowl pattern. The yarn is really beautiful. Get well soon.

  6. It sounds like you are picking up Chinese and your route has many left and right turns. And just when you think you are in the final stretch, there is one more turn. But by then you are laughing so hard your face hurts and you are trying not to pee your pants and for a moment you don’t feel the pain of the shingles.

  7. Oh, Annie. I watched my partner suffer through shingles. She who went through 4 major surgeries with no more pain meds after leaving the hospital was laid low by shingles. She’d watch the clock so she could take her next pill exactly 4 hours after the last one, and still was in constant pain. You can’t ignore that kind of pain. You have to acknowledge it and tell yourself “this hurts”. I hope it gets a little better day by day.

    The cowl is BEAUTIFUL as is Andy.

    Vickie (formerly of Maplewood – took a class with you at Knit Knack and learned skills I use EVERY DAY)

    • Annie, sorry for the 2nd comment, but Beverly’s comment got me to thinking and I had to look up Lil Abner on Wikipedia. Joe Btfsplk was the character with the black cloud over his head, while Fearless Fosdick was the Dick Tracy parody. My parents were huge Lil Abner fans and when we were sulky children, were warned about not becoming Joes. By the way, Btfsplk is pronounced by doing a Bronx Cheer. How’s that for your off-topic 1930’s trivia?

  8. I’d love to make you laugh or be pain free or at least know that the pain will be gone by a certain date and time. Instead I’ll tell you how lovely the Sherlock colors are, and how I have the sample skeins sitting in a bowl on my coffee table where I can feast my eyes on them often.

    Feel better soon!

  9. Annie – sending sympathetic healing thoughts your way. I developed shingles several years ago, location such that I couldn’t wear a bra for 2 months. Let’s just say it’s wasn’t a particularly attractive look.

    I found some (short term) relief at times from ice packs. Without a doubt, the worst pain I’ve experienced in my life. It will end…. in a while. Take care of yourself as much as you can.

    Best wishes,

    Kate M

  10. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. 🙁 Pain really sucks your life away. I suspect that people telling you to suck it up and go on have never dealt with that kind of pain. Even low-level pain (achy fingers/toes, etc) steals SO MUCH ENERGY from you.

    And pain is frightening. It just is.

    Wishing you peace and recovery and calmness through these trials, and hopes that you can come out and be better SOON!

    Very best wishes from a fellow bike rider!

  11. Bulky yarn? I haven’t knit with bulky yarn and big needles since I knit up “Cheerful” — a Debbie Bliss cabled etc. handbag pattern for super bulky yarn — turned out nicely but my hands didn’t appreciate it so I knit just a few rows at a time. Then there was the sew a lining issue and the first set of fat quarters from the craft store were the wrong red so I had to get a second set. Then it was sew it all by hand because the sewing machine was buried in the basement and hadn’t been used in about 30+ years. That got done, though, and DDIL said she liked the result (on project page in Ravelry). Also the sewing machine came upstairs and went out for a rehab and is now available, so that was a positive outcome as well. (See the sewing machine walking through the maze of collected stuff in the basement and up the stairs? I figured you could imagine that.) I’ve now used the sewing machine for a few other things (some on project pages in Ravelry). So yet another positive.

    I’ve had my share of major poison ivy requiring medication. I don’t think it’s anything like shingles on its own. Maybe multiplied by 10 or some bigger number. Wishing you fast medication results.

  12. Had shingles on my face 2 years ago (about a month after my doc poo-pooed my vaccination query ’cause I was “low risk”, age wise (53 at the time)… I thought I’d scratched my eye, at first. But “they” aren’t exaggerating about the pain and distress it causes. Mine wasn’t excruciating, like some I’ve seen (I’m a nursing home nurse) – about a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale – but for about a month it was relentless – day and night (forget sleep) – and then another couple of months of extreme sensitivity (having the sun shine on my forehead HURT!)… I’m the poster child for “Get the Vaccination! No matter what it costs!” (Can be about $125 if insurance doesn’t cover (I.e. “low risk” like I was). Makes me wonder if it’s why my younger daughter was soooo miserable when she had chicken pox at 18 months old. Feel better quickly!

  13. Oh poor you! My daughter has shingles right now and just looking at the rash over Skype makes me cringe. Be well soon. Now on to the laugh. A horse walks into a bar and the bartender asks “Why the long face?”

  14. I can’t image how you’re getting any work done with the pain! Wow!

    Hope you get some relief soon. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. I’m so sad about your shingles. But I’m going to try to make you laugh with my favorite joke.

    What did the sadist do to the masochist?

    Think about it for a minute. The answer is encrypted in the following– read every second letter:

  16. Perhaps it’s time to add to your CafePress offerings: “Knit on a Shingle” , the follow up to the “Knit for Brains” Collection.

    Feel better.

  17. May endorphins flood your brain and block the pain. Let’s see: How much does it cost to get a pirate some earrings?
    A buccaneer!
    Be kind to yourself.
    Jennxpt on ravelry

  18. Singles is nothing to laugh at. That said, I’m glad you found the humor in the situation. Wish I’d known you were an Outlander fan too. Love the Caledonia colors (had to go look mid-read) and plan to spread the word among the Clan.

  19. Thanks for the cowl pattern. Those colors really pop! As I read the construction note for the cowl I suspected you were taking quite entertaining meds. I hope the shingles and the pain go away soon.

    (On reading the rest of the pattern, I don’t think the meds are as entertaining as they should be: quite easy to follow and looks like it will be fun.)

  20. It’s SO NOT FUNNY, I couldn’t possibly make you laugh! Maybe get sleeping pills and just sleep for the next 2 weeks until the symptoms subside, wouldn’t Jasper take care of you?? He is clearly very devoted and knows that you need extra love…

    I hope the meds quick in quickly, you know it’s bad when working with yarn doesn’t mitigate the symptoms…

  21. Oh Man shingles are the absolute worst! Please don’t ever feel like you are whining about your pain.. Everyone feels pain differently, and everyone copes differently–and you have a right to your feelings.
    I hope you start to feel much better soon.

  22. I hope you are feeling better soon. Pain sucks.

    Hopefully after it is all finished and a distant memory you will get many sound nights of sleep unlike when you actually deliver a baby and you never sleep again!

  23. You’re not complaining, Annie, just explaining. After all, when we haven’t heard from you in a while we do worry. Not that your having shingles is good news, but life could have been so much more nasty for you. Hang in, it does come to an end; my husband had it and I got the vaccination as soon as I was allowed (when I hit 60), having seen how very painful it was.


  24. What did the fish say when she hit the wall?


    When I was pregnant and people were insensitive about my plight, I threatened to barf on their shoes. It didn’t make me feel better, exactly, but it made me feel a wee bit less helpless.

    You can get through this! The pain and the nausea are here and they are no joke, but like the kidney stone, they will pass.

    Holding you in healing light and wishing for all good things for you.

    Don’t be afraid to reach out for support or just to complain. Sometimes it helps to know that other people are rooting for you and there to listen when you need an ear.

  25. I think the biggest irony of pain is that it never seems to leave when we are in MAKE IT GO AWAY mode! But having had shingles some years ago, I will hold a thought of healing for you, and hope you feel better quickly!

  26. It’s a bit of an anachronism, but here goes:

    Putin and Medvedev walk into a restaurant. Putin orders a steak, a bottle of mineral water, and some ice cream. The waiter asks, “And for your vegetable?”. Putin answers: “Oh, he’ll have what I’m having.”

  27. I wish I had some magic potion lying around to give you. Sadly I haven’t even got a recipe. May modern science heal you quickly and ease the pain even quicker.

    Also, Lara Neel from Math4Knitters is local? How did I not know this? Not that it matters, really, but I like to know when wonders are nearby.

  28. Sorry to hear of your plight. My mother had shingles a few years ago, and she said the pain was worse than childbirth, too (and she had 5 children). Hope that things get better soon … and this is a lovely cowl pattern. Thank you for sharing!

  29. I am so sorry you have had such physical issues. I had shingles but I caught it so fast that I didn’t end up in the pain you are experiencing. My sister did and for some reason she found comfort in gummy bears. (Don’t know why but she did). Since shingles affect the nerves, I was told that eating pineapple helps the healing process. It can be canned or fresh. There’s suppose to be an enzyme in the fruit that helps the nervouse system. I don’t know if it’s BS but it’s can’t hurt. I did eat a lot of pineapple when I had it but again, I had a mild case. When my husband had Bell’s palsy (3 times!) his doctor recommended it, too.

    Feel better and rest, rest, rest whenever you can.

  30. There’s only getting through pain like that a minute at a time, focusing inhale/exhale. I, too, have had such times and the minutes are horribly long.

    May you feel ease and focus on breathing.

  31. Oh, I feel for you! I can so empathize!! I had shingles at 28 on the right side of my head. You’ve reminded me to ask my doc if I should the vaccine to prevent reoccurrence. Hang in there! I love the cowl and it was a fun surprise to have at the end of your blog. Keep writing. I’ll be anxious to hear how you’re doing.

  32. I don’t believe you could ever be bad, let alone very bad! Thanks for the beautiful cowl pattern and hope you feel better real soon!

  33. I have had the shingles and you are exactly right…they’re the biggest pain! I sent everyone I know out to get the vaccine!

  34. sorry you are having such a difficult time!!! I would love to be the lucky winner of the draw!!! I live in Canada but would either pay the shipping or have it sent to my brother’s US address. I haven’t bought any of your yarn but it is so gorgeous. “window shopping” online late at night looking at gorgeous yarn is one of my favorite things these days.

  35. So sorry to hear about the shingles. I can only attest to the pain of the kidney stones and that is quite painful.

    Ok, now the joke.

    A policeman spots a woman driving and knitting at the same time. Drawing up beside her, he shouts through the window….”pull over!” “No,” she shouts back, ” a pair of socks!”

  36. Oh Annie. I am so sorry to read about your shingles. Wishing your pain away.

    You’re so sweet to host a giveaway, while you’re not feeling well.
    Love the pattern!

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