Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fibro is sooooooooooooo frustrating

You know what I dislike most about this damned fibromyalgia?
Besides the pain, I mean.
It's the unpredictability of the syndrome that disturbs me more than anything.
Don't get me wrong, on days when the pain is at its peak, life is difficult, to be sure.
But it's the not knowing what's going to hurt when that makes me crazy.
And the not knowing what's not going to work well too.
For instance, one of the prices I pay for having fibro is the effect it has on my eyesight.
Yesterday, I could see just fine with my current prescription, thank you very much.
Today, those same glasses are just a little bit off, and my eyes don't want to give me a focal point.
I've tried every which way from Sunday to locate my focal point and it's just not happening.
We've run into this phenomenon at the eye doctor's office too.  On some visits, it's impossible for her to test me because she simply can't get a reading. She has, in the past, told me to come back when I "have a good eye day," as she puts it. Trouble is, we don't know when that day is (or isn't).
I never know until I start my day if my eyes are working or not.
Add this eyesight issue to never knowing which body part is going to be in a state of agony on any given day and you have a fairly good idea of that with which I'm contending every day of my life.
What does this mean in the scheme of things?
Well, do I plan a trip to anywhere at any time in the future? Do I dare?
I mean, reallly, what if I'm in a fibro flare-up on the travel day?  It would be almost impossible to make the trip.
And if I do travel, I know very well that I'll be inviting a flare-up, which could often occur while I'm on said trip.  How much fun would that be for my travel companion(s)?
I know what I have to do to manage my pain, and I know my limits.  While I'm at home, I seem to manage reasonably well.  But when I'm traveling, there are some things that are simply not in my control.
When you have fibro, this "silent syndrome," it's often difficult to convince others just how important it is to slow down and pace yourself.  I, for one, must plan a day of rest after a day of travel or activity (ie one day on, one day off). That can make for a lot of alone or down time for my travel companion.
Luckily, in our case, John loves to go off and take photos, so he can do that while I stay back in the hotel. But he feels bad leaving me alone so he tends to go out for very short spurts. And of course, because of my need for that day of rest, what could have been a four day trip turns into a seven day trip. That does not compute with my three-day limit for being away from home!
I am finding, however, that my regimen of weekly physio and massage therapy seems to be having a very beneficial effect on me.
And now that I've abandoned my walking program and got the bursitis under control again, my overall pain level is way down too.
My hands are still giving me fits though.  Must be the weather wreaking havoc with them!
And of course, my hip joints are still an issue and I guess that is not going to change until we find out just what the problem is and do something about it.  If we find out!   I'm due to be assessed at the Total Joint Assessment Clinic on February 7th.  I have two years' worth of X-rays to present to them and apparently, none shows degeneration of any degree to support the amount of pain I have or my seriously diminished range of motion.  'Twill be most interesting to hear what comes of the assessment, indeed.
Should the Assessment Clinic deem me to be in need of that ortho surgeon to whom my doctor referred me, I will then have to contend with the issue of undergoing hip replacement surgery -- twice.  I don't even want to think about what that will do to my fibro status.
My point is -- fibro sucks!  Big time!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh, for the want of an editor ...

My goodness but reading the newspaper is becoming increasingly frustrating lately.
Perhaps it's been so for a long time now and I'm just becoming less tolerant as I age.
When I was in I believe about grade five or six, we were encouraged to read the daily newspaper to help us learn and apply our growing language skills.
I can recall the practice being one of the hallmarks of establishing my love of (and need for) reading a daily newspaper.
We would take articles of interest into class and our teacher would help us dissect them, taking every opportunity to teach us how the writer had used a particular turn of phrase to make a point or why the writer had chosen one word over another when clearly there were many that might have been used to illustrate the story.
And we did learn how to apply our developing language skills.
Today, language skills are not even taught in our schools.  Heck, they were barely being taught when MLC was going through the system.
And Lord love us if today's newspapers were to be used in the schools.  I guess they could be used to teach students how not to apply the language.  There are many examples of errors from which to choose.
For instance, following are some samples taken from The National Post  in the past couple of days alone.
January 24th:  "One in four students are depressed: Study"  
January 25th:   "Oprah Winfrey ... revealed that she had a half-sister ..."  
Same day, in another story:  "Four years ago Jamie Gillespie's woke up ..."  
And my favourite appears almost daily in numerous articles: 
"None of the charges have been proven in court."  Please, newspapers everywhere, "None of the charges HAS been proven ..."  (If you need help figuring this one out, consider that the word "none" is actually a contraction for "not one" and try the sentence again.)
Notwithstanding the difficulty I have when reading these, and many other errors in the newspapers, I have a terrible time listening to newscasts and hearing the dreadful misuse of grammar being uttered by some of this country's top newscasters.  Admittedly, on the rare occasion, an announcer will stumble and correct the poor grammar as it was written for broadcast.  Who's writing this stuff?
And don't even get me started on the various television shows I watch that propagate bad language applications -- in some instances of what should be very basic English.  I mean, really, is nobody paying attention?  Is there not anyone out there in TV-land who has a basic command of the English language?
Our children are learning how to speak by watching television.
For instance, I recall being really upset with Sesame Street (yes, I said Sesame Street!) when MLC was in Nursery School.  Apparently, I was the only parent who took the time to teach my child that Cookie Monster's use of "Me want cookie" was grammatically incorrect (never mind the ill manners that were being displayed).  Every other child in that Nursery School sounded just like Cookie Monster.  They had no concept of "I" -- only "Me."
Sad really.
My little chickadee used to groan at my insistence that she use correct grammar.  Yet today, she has become her mother -- and she now insists that her son speak correctly.  I hear her telling him the same tricks I taught her to help him figure out what's correct:  is it "I" or "me?" "take" or "bring?" etc.  So, I guess it's really true:  what goes around comes around!
For several examples of words that are often misused, check out John's list of frequently misused words.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wasn't that a party!

We had a most interesting anniversary celebration day yesterday.
We left here at 11:15am to head into the big city via the little city (had to stop at my eye doctor's office to drop off my glasses for the lens switcheroo).  I'm currently wearing my old prescription while my new one is being installed in my existing frame.  The glasses I'm wearing now are the ones I was wearing at the time of my 60th birthday -- I can see just fine for distance, thank you very much.  But I can't see worth a damn for reading!  Have to take them off to read, in fact.  Thank goodness I have my new computer glasses, with which I can read just fine!  Gosh, life can get complicated without even trying, can't it?
Anyway, from there we proceeded into the big city for my physio appointment, arriving fully a half hour ahead of schedule (ever notice how difficult it is to figure out just how much time you need from point A to point C when you have to stop at point B for you don't know how long?)
My physiotherapist was most interested to learn that, since I abandoned my "walking program" for the week since I last saw her, my pain level has decreased significantly.  I had suggested to her that since adding the walking program to my regimen, I had aggravated the bursitis.  She was hoping I was wrong.  Well, apparently I was right because since I'm not walking, the inflammation has gone way down and so too has the pain.  Now all I'm left with is the hip joint pain (as if that isn't enough!).
So, she now admits that it is abundantly clear that my bursa will allow me to do nothing extraneous that involves manipulation of the hips -- nothing, I tell you.  It is all sooooooo frustrating.  Fortunately, I'm not exactly inactive, in the scheme of things.  In fact, I'm really quite active, for someone who can't move without considerable pain.
Her advice now?  Use the walking poles to go for casual walks when I feel like it rather than for cardio work-outs and certainly not on a daily basis.  She suggested perhaps once a week I go for a very casual walk (she stressed the words "very casual").  Other than that, I should just continue my day-to-day activity as I do now -- listening to my body and resting when it tells me I need to stop.  At least, she said, until we get the appointments with the hip replacement assessment clinic and, possibly, the ortho surgeon, behind me.  Because once I've been assessed, we'll know better how to approach this issue.
We hope.
Having been fixed by my physio session, we then went on to John's appointment to have his hearing aids assessed.  One had to be returned, again, for further repair; the other is again on trial to see if its wonky behaviour continues.  If it does, it will be sent for repair when the first one is returned.  That way, he's only left without one hearing aid at any time (good plan, I think).
Throughout these travels, we were in constant contact with my little chickadee who was at work, sick.  She was gauging whether or not she needed a lift to get home (there were lots of variables coming into play).
As we finished at the audiologist's, MLC decided enough was enough and she would take us up on the offer of a drive home.  While it was a bit of backtracking for us, we were happy to do it ... that's what parents do for their children, isn't it?
We picked her up and she looked awful.  Now normally, MBB goes from school to daycare where he plays with his friends until around 5:00pm when his Mom picks him up.  But this day, when I suggested that we go get him and drop them both off at home (she otherwise would have had to walk to the daycare and then walk home again), she jumped at the offer.  The timing was perfect since school was just letting out as we arrived.  Poor guy had no time to play with his friends this day, but one must take the rides when one gets them!  (Besides, I managed to collect a gazillion hugs and kisses so that made it worth every bit of extra travel!)
Now, heading out of the big city at 4:00pm is a great big No-No.  We probably would have been well advised to visit with MLC for an hour or so and then head home.
But we were going for our "romantic pizza dinner" in town, remember?  So we headed right home.
The usual route wasn't going to work -- accident ahead and traffic was not going anywhere.
We bailed off and used one of the few alternate routes. Got on the highway further out of town and still met up with what I call the "parking lot that is Ottawa's Queensway," so we crawled our way beyond the city.
Have I mentioned that my hip joints have decided to limit me to about a half hour in a vehicle?
Well, they have.
For the past couple of weeks, I've noticed that after about a half hour in the car, my hip joints start screaming at me.
And once they start screaming, nothing stops them.
Traffic out of Ottawa at 4:00pm is a slam-dunk more-than-an-hour's drive to our home, guaranteed.
Of course, once we were headed home, we were committed to the trip and once my hips were yelling at me, there was no getting comfortable.
I endured, constantly shifting position trying to get some relief, to no avail. (I also had to pee.)
We finally got to our favourite pizza joint, and I commented on the vast choice of parking spots awaiting us.
Of course there were no cars -- the restaurant was closed, due to "burst pipes!"
So much for our romantic pizza dinner for our anniversary.
So, we went back to the scene of the crime.  We went to the restaurant where we actually got married 14 years ago.
And we had a lovely dinner of beef ribs (a particular favourite of mine), followed by butterscotch pie (another favourite!) and coffee.
Then we came home (arriving here at approximately 7:00pm -- a full work-day after we had left) and had a glass of wine in our wedding glasses.  I must admit I was tempted to just use the glasses with water to take our evening meds by this point!
And that, my friends, is how we spent our anniversary.  As I said, we're such party animals, aren't we?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's my wedding anniversary

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary.
Hard to believe that John and I have been together 16 years already.
It was back in the summer of 1995 that we met -- on Carleton University's Freenet chat line.
John calls me his 'computer virus.'
After months of on-line exchanges, we arranged to meet in person on the afternoon of August 8th.
John told me later that when he saw me walk into the restaurant, he knew that his life was about to change forever.
I guess he was right!
By mid-September, he had offered to clear a drawer for me.
Everyone knows what that means.
Sixteen months later, on January 25, 1997, we married in a small, non-denominational ceremony in the basement of JR's Restaurant in Almonte.
I didn't want a church wedding.
I didn't even want to say the standard vows.
All that is legally required is for the officiant to ask if we want to be married and for us to say yes.
That would have worked just fine for me.
But John insisted on having vows. "I take .... in sickness and in health yada yada yada" and he wanted us to promise to love, honour and (there was no way on God's green earth I was going to take a vow to OBEY!) respect each other.
So, I acquiesced and we said vows. (It was, after all, his wedding too.)
I managed to say my vows without too much incident.
But when John was saying his, he puffed up like a peacock and it just struck me as funny.
I started laughing.
I was damned-near doubled over.
My little chickadee, who was my witness, was positioned behind me and she kept hitting my butt telling me to stop laughing.
Which just made me worse, of course.
Fortunately, it was a very small wedding.
And the guests knew me very well (except maybe for John's adult kids -- they might have been wondering what kind of nutjob their father had brought into their family).
The officiant commented later that he had seen lots of interesting bridal responses, but never hysterical laughter.
I just found the whole thing very amusing.
And all I could say in my defence was, "I told you I didn't want any of that nonsense in my wedding ceremony!"

After the ceremony, we had a buffet meal at the restaurant with the few people who had been invited to share our day with us, and then we all came back to our home for celebratory drinks. Other friends who had been invited to drop in that evening to join us for drinks were given the news of our marriage when they arrived.
Within a year of our marriage, we were enjoying long romantic evenings through the Ice Storm of 1998. Our power was out for 13 days and it wasn't pretty around here. We managed better than some because we have a wood stove in our living room but it was still a difficult time. I remember telling John that it was a good thing we were still in the honeymoon stage of our marriage; otherwise, we might have been looking for divorce lawyers by the time our power was restored! After thirteen days of having to live by candllight, our nightly candlelit dinners weren't all that special any more.
Later that same year John received his diagnosis of prostate cancer and that sent us into a tailspin. Today, he is classed as one of the fortunate ones; he is a cancer survivor.
Since our marriage, our blended family has grown by the addition of one grandchild (my beautiful boy). We lost a daughter-in-law to breast cancer, and we gained a daughter-in-law who brought with her several more extended family members.
It's been an interesting fourteen years, admittedly not without challenges but we've weathered them together.
And that, my friends, is what we vowed we would do when we made the decision to get married fourteen years ago.
Tonight, John and I will toast each other with our Wedding Glasses, as we do every year on this date. And God willing, we will do the same thing again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and ...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Anniversaries, Anniversaries ...

This is the month (or week anyway) of anniversaries.
Yesterday marked five years since Stephen Harper formed his first minority government.
More importantly, it marked five years since my official retirement date (since that date co-incided with the date of the election).
That's right.  I officially joined the ranks of the retired folk on the date of the 2006 election.  My last day worked had actually been several weeks earlier since I had to vacate the office I had been occupying within ten days of the writ having been dropped, but who's counting?
And, do I miss it, you might wonder?
Not one damned bit!
Don't get me wrong. I am still every bit the political junkie I've been since I was twelve years old.  And I truly loved my job.  But I am oh so glad that I have not had to be there through the years of these minority parliaments.
"Been there, done that," as the saying goes. Not interested in doing it again, thank you very much.
Of course, had the election not been called when it was back then, I would have been retiring anyway by that time. I simply couldn't continue at the pace that we were going and my limitations were catching up with me, seriously.  It just turned out that the timing was very right in my case because I had been off on so much sick leave that it was easy to roll those absences into retirement.

Today, I've been enjoying working on the computer using my new single-vision glasses which I just picked up on Friday.  Finally, I got smart and had a special pair made for use at the computer.  No more neck strain!

Tomorrow is another important anniversary in this household -- it is our 14th wedding anniversary.
We have big plans too. We're going to the big city, with a stop at my optometrist to leave my glasses (getting new ones already -- only five months since the last pair!) for replacement lenses to be installed. (I'll wear the next to last prescription in the interim.)  I have my usual Tuesday physiotherapy session, after which John has an appointment to (finally) get his hearing aids fixed (we hope).
Then we're going "out" for dinner for our anniversary.  After much consideration, we've decided we want to have pizza here in town -- best damned pizza anywhere.
We are such party animals!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get ready for a difficult month folks

Yesterday, my horrorscope warned me:
"With a fiery Mars opposite your Sun, you'll find you're easily impatient with others in the month ahead.  On top of this, with the Sun opposite your sign as well, you'll be more fatigued.  This combo requires extra patience and tolerance."
I'm always impatient -- that's my middle name.
So how is the month ahead going to be any different from the months past?
And as I've said here already, how can I get any "more" fatigued than I usually am?
Methinks horrorscopes are a bit nonsensical.
Or course, I've been saying that nigh on forty years now.
But I still read it.
Every day. (And I forget what it says as fast as I turn the page.)
It's just fun to see how accurate they can be.
Have you ever wondered how it could possibly be true that there are only twelve types of days ahead for the entire population of the world?
Think about it.
There's how many people in the world?  And all those people share twelve zodiac signs (OK, maybe thirteen now).  So they all have to belong to ONE of the signs.
Scary, really.
Surely there's more variety than that in this world (in fact, we know there is).
Of course, the horrorscope in one newspaper is different from that in another newspaper, so I guess one could choose the more favourable one and just go with it.  (And that fact alone introduces more variety being shared by the world's population since there are so many publications printed throughout the world, each presenting its own twelve predictions.)
Good thing I don't believe in horrorscopes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another explanatory Horrorscope

It never ceases to amaze me how bang on the horrorscopes can be!
I've been totally whacked out for days now, and have been at a loss to explain the lack of energy.
My horrorscope this morning brings everything into perspective.
"Today to Sun moves opposite your sign where it will stay for the next month.  Since the Sun in your source of energy, this means you are going to be more tired than usual.  Therefore, get more rest."
So, there we have it.
I'll be "more tired than usual" -- problem is, in my case, if I get any more tired, I'm stopped.
That explains my having come to a halt this past week.  (I've always been ahead of the curve!)
Truth be known, this has been a busier than normal week for me, with commitments on four of the five days.  By my calculation, that left only one day for rest.
Not nearly enough for me, I'm afraid.
I need one day on, one day off.
Not pretty, I know, but that's the way it's been for a very long time now.
On Tuesday of this week, I went into the big city for my physio appointment and I stayed overnight at MLC's because I simply was not up to the drive back on the same day.
The next morning, I took MBB for breakfast (we hadn't been in quite some time so that was a nice treat) and then I drove home, making two stops en route.
The rest of my day was a wash because I was sooooooooooooooo done for.
Ridiculous I say.
Today, all I have on my plate is my massage therapy.  And I really need that session.
Problem is, I have to drive fifteen minutes to get there.
Now, that might not sound too onerous to some.  But for me, driving is becoming extremely painful because sitting is now causing extreme pain in my groin (my hips don't like that configuration at all, preferring to be held straight and insisting on very frequent relocations).
Tomorrow, I go for my hip X-rays in anticipation of my assessment for the ortho surgeon (that appointment has now been assigned for February 7th).
Then we're going to my Angel's for lunch -- something to which we are both very much looking forward.  It's always nice and relaxing to visit with her and her family.
I'll rest on the week-end, honest I will.
Next week is not quite so busy, although it is the week of our 14th wedding anniversary -- 14 years!
Who'da thunk it? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feeling "bummed out"

My horrorscope for today reads:
"You might feel bummed out.  It's not a big deal.  It might not show, because you like to keep up appearances.  (One does.)  But everything requires effort, even a smile.  Well, a decent one, at any rate."
Ain't THAT the truth!
At least, it's a truth that sums up my being for today (for the past several days, actually).
I am totally drained, and every movement requires hurculean effort on my part.  But I have to go into the big city for physio and I know it will help.
So go I will.
Later, gotta get ready to keep up appearances.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sorry for the absence

I must apologize to my readers for my recent failure to post here.
No excuses to offer; I have none.  Simply been busy I guess.
Let's see, since my last post on Tuesday, the 11th of January, with what have I been occupying my time?
On the Wednesday, I went into the big city for my physiotherapy appointment.  And left there a tad worse for wear because my esteemed therapist felt it would be prudent to "assess" my hips one more time just before I left her premises.  She confirmed precisely what she expected to confirm:  my problem rests with my hip joints.
Let's back up a wee bit.
Earlier that day, I had watched the Dr. Oz episode from the day before.  And he had been discussing sciatica.  During that discussion he made reference to the fact that sciatica can cause pain in the groin -- something I had not previosly heard.  I had been of the impression that groin pain was clearly indicative of degeneration of the hip joint.  I wondered, "Am I going to see an ortho surgeon for naught?" 
Anyway, Dr. Oz demonstrated an easy test that can be done at home to determine if your lower back pain is in fact sciatica (lie on your back, and have someone passively raise each leg in turn to see how high it will go before pain stops you from allowing it).  I had John do the test on me and each of my legs can be raised fully perpendicular to my body with little difficulty:  obviously, I don't have sciatica.  I guess that's why neither my doctor nor my physiotherapist has ever suggested sciatica as the origin of my pain.
When I mentioned this scenario to my physiotherapist, she very patiently explained where my pain would be if it were sciatica.  She also stated quite emphatically that I have never presented with anything that would suggest sciatica, in spite of my many other "issues," as she calls them.
So that is why, by the end of my treatment that day, she wanted to perform another "test" to demonstrate to me that my pain is absolutely caused by the hip joint.
She proved her point and then some.  It took well into the next day before the pain subsided!
Later that evening, I had my hair cut and spent the night at my little chickadee's place, collecting many kisses and hugs from my beautiful boy in the process.
The next morning, after a few more kisses and hugs, I went to meet my good friend, RLR, for breakfast.  We sat and talked for two and half hours; the servers at the restaurant and getting used to us and they just keep the coffee cups filled.
I got home around 11:30am and had to leave before 1:00pm to go for my massage therapy.  In spite of the hit to my pocketbook, I've determined that I must have that weekly session to help manage my pain.  This new therapist is doing a fabulous job of working the specific muscles that need extra attention each week, while still providing a full massage within the prescribed timeframe.  And I'm definitely aware of the benefit to my overall wellbeing so the cost, while significant, is very well worth it.
On Friday, we attempted to install the new blinds in my sanctuary.  We managed to get one up and I didn't like it.  We left it in place for a few hours, while I decided if I wanted the others installed or it taken down.  Eventually, the decision was made to take it down, package it up and return all three.  The quality simply did not do the room justice.  I don't want to break the bank covering these windows but I don't want junk either.  And these were junk, as far as I'm concerned.  So, back to the drawing board on window coverings and in the meantime, the windows will remain naked.
Fortunately, there is no real need to cover the windows so there is no real  urgency to solving the problem.  It's really a matter of providing overnight guests the opportunity of closing up the room .  They might want privacy, although it would only be from the wildlife.
Yesterday, I simply felt like vegging.
I just didn't want to do anything.
So I sat around and watched my canned television shows that had collected all week (thank God new episodes are finally airing!).
And by mid-afternoon the sneezing started.
And then the coughing and wheezing started.
And my eyes were watering profusely.
I felt miserable.
But at least I managed to eat dinner.
And then I took a non-aspirin neo-citran (I have no idea what it's called, but it's a lemon-flavoured drink that uses acetaminophen rather than aspirin) and went to bed.
I actually had a rather lousy night though, waking at about 12:30am and then sleeping very fitfully from that point on.
Finally, 5:30am hit and it was OK to be up and about.
I'm feeling much better this morning but my nose is still quite runny, although I'm no longer sneezing or coughing.
Hopefully, the nonsense of yesterday will not start up again later today.
I plan to take it easy again today because I have a rather busy week ahead of me, with appointments on three of the five days (yucko!).
Later, gotta go veg.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My new walking program

NOTE:  If you were referred here by the Wolf Grove Diary, expecting to read "Another mysterious story," see my blog dated January 10, 2011,  "The end of my migraines"


My New Walking Program

My physiotherapist says I MUST walk. Last week, I asked her what exactly we were trying to achieve with this walking business (I had my reasons).
She very sweetly explained that it is important to build up the muscles and especially so if, as we expect, the ortho surgeon wants to perform hip replacement surgery.
Then I told her about how each time I went walking, I suffered terribly for having done so.
I've been walking with the Activator Poles which allow me to walk in spite of the pain -- they are truly wonderful for that. But, just as the physical assessment of my range of motion would get my hips all riled up and cause intense pain for 24 hours or more, so too did the walking.
I would have worse leg pain all night long while I tried to sleep.
The leg cramps would be heightened, and both bursa were inflamed.
And the following morning, I was in much worse pain than I normally am on waking.
My physiotherapist listened carefully to what I was telling her, and she sympathised with me but she did not want to advise me to abandon the program.
So she said I should walk -- even if for only three minutes at a time but perhaps a few times each day. I have to strengthen those leg muscles!
Well, it's winter.
And I live in the country, on an unpaved, hilly, road.
What she is suggesting would mean I would be walking to my mailbox and back. I think I can do that!
However, as the saying goes, "Houston, we have a problem."
As I already mentioned, it's winter.
And I suffer from cold air induced asthma. Last winter, I had a serious asthma attack just from going out back to fill the suet feeder.
I absolutely cannot exercise outside during cold weather.
I know, I know, I could go to a "mall" and walk indoors, as so many people do. But am I really going to bundle up for winter, jump in my car, drive fifteen minutes to the nearest (and only) indoor "mall" in this area, for the sake of walking for three minutes, then go home, unbundle from the winter gear, just to do it all again two or more times that day?
I think not.
So, as a compromise, I've established a path in my home (my sanctuary lent itself to the project quite nicely) that allows me to walk, using the poles, for as long as I can tolerate.
This morning, I did five minutes.
I will try again this afternoon for a second round of five minutes.
If my sleep tonight is not any more disrupted than it usually is, I will walk tomorrow morning before I head into the big city for my physio appointment.
My therapist will be delighted that I've found a way to do the walking that is so essential to my treatment plan.
In the spring, when the cold air is behind us, I will move my program outside again. Who knows, by then I might be up to fifteen minutes?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The end of my migraines

Today marks the third anniversary of the end of my migraine headaches.
That's right.
Three years ago tonight, a migraine to end all migraines ended.
And I've not had even a hint of a headache since.
Bizarre, really, when one thinks that, since the age of 12, I've suffered terribly from migraines.
When my little chickadee was a wee chickadee, she dreaded coming home from school to hear her mother in bed, being sick, and responding "I don't know" to the simplest of questions.  (I swear, had she asked me my name, I would have responded, 'I don't know.')
At one point, my doctor had me on an anti-migraine medication that was so powerful, it affected my hair (I was not able to have perms, colour my hair etc).  The vomiting episodes were so violent that I burned my esophagus. (It seemed there were times it was coming out of every orifice of my head!)
Suffice to say, it was not a fun time.
We eventually found out, through trial and error and because I kept a food diary, that peanut butter was one of my main triggers.  I had been unknowingly keeping myself in a migraine state (I looooooooooove peanut butter).
There ended my consumption of peanut butter and/or peanuts; that was in about 1985 or thereabouts.
It was a truly sad day when I had to admit that I could not eat my beloved peanut butter.
We had also learned that chocolate was another of my triggers but that wasn't difficult for me to avoid since I had never been a chocolate lover -- with the exception of cherry chocolates which Santa would bring me every Christmas (and thereby induce a major migraine attack!).
Once I eliminated my trigger foods, the frequency of my migraines was significantly reduced. Then, my doctor finally found a magic bullet that worked well for me when a headache did strike. I could take a Maxalt RPD at any point in the headache's progress and stop it dead in its tracks. Finally, after more than 20 years of no relief, I could function like a normal person most of the time.
Fast forward to January 10, 2008.
I was at that time in about day five of a horrid migraine -- it just wouldn't quit and it wouldn't respond to any of the remedies that had been working quite nicely for the previous seven years or so.
Now admittedly, it was a high stress period and I figured I just had to ride it out.
The phone call came shortly after 8:00pm that evening.
"Hi Bon," my sister said through her tears, "she's gone."
And at that precise second, my migraine stopped.
I've been eating peanut butter on my toast every morning for almost a year now; and Santa brought me cherry chocolates this past Christmas again. Changes to barometric pressure that previously would have guaranteed a migraine don't even get a twitch out of me now.
My sister says that my mother took my migraines with her that evening; that she gave me in death what she wouldn't give me in life.
I don't know if what my sister thinks is even possible.
But this date marks three years since that call, and it's also precisely three years since my last migraine.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bizarre episode again last night

I almost "drowned" again last night.
It was bizarre, to say the least.
Regular followers of this blog might recall my post of 17 August 2010, The most bizarre experience ever, in which I discussed the sensation of having been drowning the night before.
Well, the same thing happened last night.
I had gone to bed around 9:00pm and sat up reading for a bit.
Then I settled down to go to sleep.
But once I was flat, and just as I was drifting off, I was forced upright as fluid rushed from my nose and I was coughing and sputtering and trying to catch my breath.
I had been drowning!
It took a while to recover and I eventually settled down to go back to sleep.
But each time, just as I was losing consciousness, I was bolt upright again, coughing and sputtering and struggling to get my breath.  The amount of liquid that flowed from my nose decreased with each episode.
My darling husband slept, undisturbed, throughout (he told me this morning that he was aware of something going on ... Bless his soul.).
After about an hour and a half of this repeated nonsense, I added an extra pillow to help elevate my head to see if that would put a stop to whatever was happening.
It must have worked because the next thing I knew, it was several hours later and there had been no further drowning incidents.
I'll be damned if I can figure out what causes this phenomenon, and when I discussed it with my doctor last summer, he didn't seem to have any ideas (other than to suggest that I was "made on a Monday").  He did, however, explain that it was suggestive of my breathing being hampered (by what, we know not) and commented that it's a good thing I waken when it happens.
I'm assuming that if I didn't waken, I would in fact drown!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The importance of following up ...

Oh dear, where would we be if we didn't follow up on others' responsibilities?
Back in November, I had called the hospital to inquire whether they had ever received my doctor's referral for my steroid injection in my left hip (I was anxious).  At that time, I was "in the queue but not yet scheduled," meaning I would receive a call in due course.
So, I continued waiting, secure in the knowledge that the call would come, probably soon.
In early December, my doctor did the paperwork to refer me to an orthopaedic surgeon about my drasted hips.
I have had a scheduled January 13th appointment with my doctor for several months now (I essentially see him every six weeks).
A good friend who is also a patient of the same doctor, just happened to be aware of the fact that our doctor would be away on the 13th.
So, I called my doctor's office to confirm my appointment, or lack thereof.
"Yes, he's away that week, we were going to call you and reschedule that," says the voice on the other end of the phone.
I have no pressing need to see my doctor just now so I rescheduled six weeks hence.
Then I called the hospital again to find out why I hadn't yet received that call about my steroid injection.
"We have no September requisition," says the voice.  (Not sure how I could have been in the queue in November but now they don't have the request?)
Back to the doctor's office I go.
"That was definitely faxed on September 10th," she says, "but I will certainly fax it again since it sounds like they've lost it."
"I'd appreciate that," I said, "but could you also check to see if the referral to the ortho surgeon was ever made?  That was supposed to have happened back in early December."
"OK, I don't see it here.  I'll have to check your file.  I'll call you back."
The call back two hours later informed me that the referral never happened, "but would be sent immediately."
So here I sit, my hips have been giving me increasing trouble, making every movement a herculean effort, and I may or may not get that steroid injection soon.
The hospital assured me they would put me at the front of the queue in light of the circumstances so I should get that call before too much longer, I hope. 
I have no idea how much longer it will be before I hear from the surgeon's office, since my referral will only have been received by them as of yesterday.
It is all so distressing.
Had I not asked the question, that referral might never have happened.
Now I have to go chase some blinds that were ordered in November, charged to my Visa within days of the order being placed, presumably shipped on 23 December, but haven't yet arrived here.
If I don't get them soon, I might find out that I can live quite nicely without window coverings in my sanctuary.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a new beginning

A new year is upon us.
And with that, a chance for a new beginning.
Out with the old, and in with the new, as it were.
Yet, when I awoke this morning, the same old pain was present.
I got to the washroom and I had no idea what day it was.  I just hoped I didn't have to go into the big city today.
Fortunately, turns out it's Saturday and I don't have to go into the big city.  In fact, I don't have to DO anything today.
So, I'm not.
Well, I made John his traditional Saturday breakfast.
And I took a shower, only because I hadn't showered since last year and I couldn't bear to go another day without one.  I'm now beautiful again, and clean to boot.
So now, without further ado, I'm going to proceed to do nothing for the rest of the day.
Happy New Year everyone.