Her Best Shot

“The doctor says it’s probably a Vitamin D deficiency,” Heather told me over dinner.

Like that, a rock fell off my shoulders.

No getting back on the carousel. Not yet, anyway.

I should explain that my wife Heather has more verified medical conditions than Heinz has varieties, from a plethora of allergies up through Crohn’s disease. But the major culprit in recent years has been ankylosing spondylitis – a jawcracker of a term for something very like spinal arthritis that can, over time, fuse the hip, the neck or the back.

(Still at sea as to how to pronounce it? Put on a recording of Mozart’s Requiem and sing along with me “AN-kuh-LOW-sing …. SPON-duh-LITE-uss!”)

It’s been held in check and even dialed down by a monthly shot, which appears to be manufactured from gold dust, diamonds and the ground-up remains of a Hank Aaron rookie card.  We’ve gladly kept it going, relieved to see Heather re-enter the semblance of a normal life again.

But there’s always been some nervousness, too. Any day could re-open the carousel for business.

The carousel is how I think of Heather’s bewitched immune system. Remember that army of allergies I mentioned? Many of them are to medicines and shots, developed out of a clear blue sky just when something was working. More than once, it’s come after three days or so.

Start that up, and we get to go round and round looking for a new treatment. And with A.S, there aren’t many.

So when some mysterious aches, pains and fatigue began to appear, I was … well, anxious was an understatement. It’s a little like calling Clark Kent mildly concerned about the fate of Lois Lane.

And with each reprieve, I get reminded how lucky Heather and I truly are.

If we lived in a less medically fortunate age …

If we had less access to decent insurance …

If her immune system was even more psycho than it is …

If, if, a thousand if’s.

Funny thing about an uncertain future. It makes you really grateful for the today’s. And really determined not to waste them.

That’s not a bad thing. Not at all.

For now, the carousel’s closed. If we’re lucky, the shots will keep coming as though from an Indiana Jones handgun – plentiful and timely.  But even if the wheel starts up again, we know how blessed we’ve been.

The needles may just be for today. But the point will never be lost.

One Reply to “Her Best Shot”

  1. This is for Heather. There is a great organization for people with ankylosing spondylitis and other related diseases: the Spondylitis Association of America, http://www.saa.org. The association has a newsletter, messageboard, exercise videos, and a support group that meets in Denver. It has been a lifeline for me!

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