Monday, February 25, 2013

Enough is Enough Already!

OK, I've decided to take things into my own hands and be my own medic.
I know, I know, I should really check with my doctor before doing this but I'm fairly certain she would agree with me.  (And I can't fit in a visit with her before Thursday ...)
Here's what I'm up to.
I spent yesterday again in withdrawal from those damned 'roids.  (OK, I used to call them rockin' 'roids but that was before I had to go off them!)
You will recall that my doctor wanted to go slow and easy in the weaning protocol.  Instead of decreasing the dose every three days, we would go every five days.
Well, the five day cycle didn't help much. I still went through obvious withdrawal discomfort with each decrease in dose.
So, yesterday I realized that may as well have gone off the stuff cold turkey and just got it all over with in one fell swoop.  But, since I was already at day two of the 3 mg level, I decided to alter the balance of my weaning program.
Instead of doing each of these next levels at five day intervals, I'm doing 3 mg for three days; then 2 mg for two days, and 1 mg for one day.
Then that's it. I'm done!
That means that tomorrow and Wednesday I'll take 2 mg.  It also means I might go through withdrawal again on Wednesday.
On Thursday I'll take 1 mg.  And might be inviting withdrawal pains on Friday.
But, by Saturday, I should be good to go.
Assuming, that is, that all goes according to the pattern that has shown itself thus far.
Perhaps, I'll be lucky and with the more rapid decrease in dose, my body won't have time to figure out what I'm doing and won't respond one way or the other.
Won't THAT be a treat?
My doctor warned me that those "rockin' 'roids" were nasty drugs!  She certainly didn't lie.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It WAS Christmas!

Hmmm, perhaps baking those "Christmas" meat pies yesterday wasn't such a bad idea after all.
This morning, John found a gift that he forgot to give me at Christmas time.
It's a gift that I knew he had bought too.
It's an electric gravy warmer that was on my Santa list.  I wanted it so gravy would stay hot at the table.
Even I forgot that I didn't get one.  (I guess we haven't had need for it in the past few months.)
What a pair we are!
It was a delightful surprise.  Can't wait to use it now!

Friday, February 22, 2013

It smells like Christmas around here!

I'm finally making the rest of my Christmas meat pies.
So the house, I'm told, smells like Christmas.
Perhaps I should be playing Christmas carols.
Putting up my village.
Going shopping.
It can't be Christmas again already, can it?
I think this batch of pies will have to be Easter meat pies!
No, I am not starting that tradition.  This is clearly an abomination.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

T G I T !!!!!!

Yes, thank God it's THURSDAY!  Because that means it's massage day.
My withdrawal symptoms 'withdrew' yesterday -- meaning I woke up feeling 'normal' again.  Fortunately, the nasty effects only lasted two days.
Good thing too because we had to go into the big city for a medical appointment (John's this time, not mine). On the way home, we made more than a few stops to pick up various and sundry stuff that we needed for the household (including groceries).  Now we can hunker down for a few more days and not worry about what the weather does.
I've managed to get back on the treadmill again, but ever so slowly.  Did 15 minutes on Tuesday, and 15 minutes again yesterday.  I'll try for 20 minutes today and see how that goes.  It's interesting that my stamina is declining as I reduce the Prednisone level.  I wonder how long I'll be able to do when I'm not taking any steroid?
My next reduction of dose is Saturday and I'm really not looking forward to it, if it's going to be the same as the last two.  I'm hoping that my body is now adjusted to the declining levels and won't object quite as strenuously with the next one.
Anyway, today is the day I get to loll about in my jammies until noon.  Then I'll shower and wait for my massage therapist to arrive.  An hour later, all my kinks will be ironed out and I'll be relaxed and mellow.
Aaaaaaaaaah, I love Thursdays!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm in withdrawal anyway

My doctor decided to go extra slowly in weaning me off prednisone, hoping to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Yeah, right.
It's happening anyway.
And I went one step slower than even she recommended.
She had me going from 7.5 mg immediately to 5 mg; but I went from 7.5 mg to 6 mg to 5 mg (at five day intervals).  Even with that, my bowels went wonky on me.
But by yesterday, with the reduction to 4 mg, my bowels really went fluid and then the fun started.  All day, I had chills followed by profuse sweating.  I couldn't be upright for more than ten minutes without feeling like I was going to pass out.  It was not a fun day.
Now I must say, this experience is nothing like what I went through when I went off Cesamet, but it is definitely withdrawal.  Just not intense.
My body wants me to give it more prednisone.
And it hasn't caught on that it isn't going to get any more than what I'm giving it each day.
I will win this battle.  I just have to hang on and hang in!

Monday, February 18, 2013

More fun with turkeys

Here are the turkeys arriving for their daily meal.
It would seem that on week-ends, they sleep late.  They didn't show up until 1:15 pm on Saturday.

They follow the same route every day.  Up the lane for a few feet; across the lawn; around the porch and deck; and into the alcove to where the food awaits them.

John still hasn't managed to catch a shot of them going down the lane before they cross the road on their return trip.  He'll get it one of these days!
They really are so much fun to watch!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

UGH! Another flare-up

Gosh, this is getting tired.
I apparently did too much last week, and had to pay the piper yesterday.
What was "too much" you ask.
Well, I went into the big city for my physio session on Tuesday.  One round trip.
On Wednesday, I went the same distance in the other direction to lunch with my Angel.  It's been ages since I saw her and we had a delightful visit.
On Thursday, my back went out while I was showering to get ready for my massage therapist.  She thought that perhaps I had done too much on the treadmill (that was my 27.5 minute day).  She suggested I back off a bit for a few days and left me with instructions of how to treat my back until it recovered.
On Friday, it was another round trip to the big city for our annual full-body check-up with our dermatologist.  I got a clean bill of health and don't have to go back for another year.  John had one spot that required biopsy and has to return in six months for follow-up (unless they call him back sooner).
And Saturday?
I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a dozen Mack trucks.
Oh it was bad.
So I spent the day on the sofa, reading.  (Well, OK, for a good part of the day I slept but when I was awake I was reading.)
Today I am marginally better, but only marginally.
My arms feel like I was in a sparring match (and lost!).
My hands are swollen and painful again.  (I had only just been able to start wearing my wedding band and had to take it off again this morning.)
My legs feel like rubber.  (Second consecutive day of no treadmill!)
All in all, it's going to be another slow and easy day.
But, I am doing the laundry that I couldn't do yesterday so I guess my energy level is a tad higher today.
I really don't like these flare-ups.
Have I mentioned that fibro sucks?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Big Sister

Today is my big sister's birthday (she has 18 months on me).
She's been by my side since the day I was born.
In fact, she brought me home from the hospital, so she claims (I don't actually recall the event).  But while the older siblings had been farmed out to various aunts' homes while our mother was confined to hospital for my arrival, she stayed home with our father.  So she of course went with him to bring "her baby" home.
And "her baby" I've been ever since.

That's me (the baby) with my big sister and our mother on my first birthday (we think).

We grew up very tight, never straying far from each other's side.
Obviously, life's circumstances took us in different directions but the telephone was always there.
When our children were young, we lived within walking distance of each other so the cousins grew up very closely, until their lives took them in different directions.
My best friend sister and I now live very separate lives, but our affection for each other has not changed.
Each time we speak (which isn't nearly often enough), it's like we've never left each other's side.

"Sisters by chance; friends by choice"

Happy birthday, my best friend sister.  (PS, only one more year to OAS!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Remembering my Namesake, my Aunt Catherine

Every year at this time, my thoughts turn to an aunt I never knew, but an aunt I heard plenty about  as I was growing up; an aunt who died on February 11th, 1936, fourteen and a half years before I was born.
My Aunt Catherine was my mother's older sister by five years.  She was born on May 4, 1920 but sadly, neither I nor any of my siblings ever got to know her; she died before her sixteenth birthday.
I was actually named after her -- my first given name is Catherine.  It was my godmother (my mother's youngest sister) who chose Catherine as part of my name.  My godmother would not have had much memory of her older sister since she would have only celebrated her second birthday the day after the funeral.   My mother agreed to my carrying the name, but refused to allow me to be known as Catherine because she felt that it would be a harbinger of bad omens because of what had befallen her sister.  Hence, I am forever known as C. Bonnie whatever!
It was fascinating for me to stumble across this baptism record a few years ago (I love those on-line indices!) and discover that my aunt's middle name was Brigid -- giving us both the same forename initials. The document also revealed that the man who was my paternal grandfather, Thomas Cherryholme, was her godfather -- another new fact for my genealogical records!

I guess it's because I was named after this person that I've always had a certain fascination for her story.
But details have always been very fuzzy; there's not even very many photos of her.
My mother witnessed the accident but she was only ten years old at the time.  Following is her report of the incident, as she wrote to Uncle Ray and the Corner Cousins less than one month after the funeral:
1936 March 7:  Another Beloved Member Goes to Far Country.  "Dear Uncle Ray,  This will be my fifth letter to your corner.  Uncle Ray, I have some bad news for you about my sister.  The day the king got buried, she broke her collar bone and was in the hospital for three days, then she came home.  She had to go back to the hospital and after a couple of days she had an operation.  She died February 11th.  Her name was Catherine and she was fifteen years old.  She would be sixteen on May 4th.  Please take her birthday out of your page.  Also take my big sister out of your page.  Her name is Mamie.
I put a couple of riddles in my last letter and you put my letter in but did not put the riddles in.  I will give you them now hoping to see them in your page.
1.  Which insect is best educated?  The spelling bee.
2.  When is wood like a king?  When made into a rule.
3.  When is a farmer mean to his corn?  When he pulls its ears.
4.  When is a house like a bird?  When it has two wings.
Attention.  Miss Mystery.  Can Miss Mystery send me the song, The Man On the Flying Trapeze?
Well, I guess I will be writing soon again.  Your loving niece, DOROTHY SHARPE, 5 Bertrand Street, Ottawa."
Uncle Ray responds:  "It was a great sorrow to Uncle Ray to hear of the loss of his niece, Catherine, your sister, Dorothy.  And all the corner cousins will sympathize very deeply with you and your family.  It is with great regret that names are taken from our birthday book for such a reason. Such a shining band of our bright boys and girls have gone to the far away country since we opened our Mail Bag club almost nine years ago! ..."
You can see how quickly the ten year old child shifted gears in her thinking, going from news of her sister's tragic death to telling riddles to asking for words to a song.  I know that my mother never forgot what she witnessed that day; nor did she ever forget her beloved sister, Catherine.  The story she told me had a little more detail than that letter.  But almost more intriguing to me today is that a ten year old child related the accident as having happened on "the day the king got buried" -- fascinating indeed!
There's no accounting for how errors occur in genealogical research but the following report is certainly one glaring example.  The Citizen article is clearly talking about my aunt, whose name was actually spelled Catherine, and she had died on the 11th of February (not the 10th as claimed in the article). 
1936 February 11 - Katherine Sharpe  "The funeral of Katherine Sharpe, 15-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sharpe, 5 Bertrand street, who died yesterday as the result of injuries received in a sliding accident on January 28th, will be held on Friday at 7:45am from her late home to St. Brigid's church for requiem high mass at eight o'clock.  Interment will be in Notre Dame cemetery."  
Following is a copy of the obituary notice that was in amongst my grandmother's papers, clipped from the Citizen at the time (sorry for the truncated copy, but I have to work with what I have):
There was even an inquest into the accident.  It took a mere three days to report the findings and it continued the misspelling of her name!
1936 February 14:  Finds No One To Blame For Death:  Coroner's Jury Investigates Death of Miss Katherine Sharpe  "That Katherine Sharpe, 15-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sharpe, 5 Bertrand street, came to her death from pneumonia probably brought on by injuries received while playing on a slide at the end of Vaughan street on January 28, and that no blame could be attached to anyone, was the verdict rendered last night by a coroner's jury investigating the girl's unfortunate death.  Dr. Harry Dover, coroner, presided at the inquest, which was held at the police station.
Miss Sharpe suffered a fractured collar bone when she fell at the bottom of a long slide constructed at the end of Vaughan street.  She was taken to the Civic Hospital where she was treated for this injury and on January 31, was discharged.  On February 4 she was again admitted suffering from pains in the stomach.  She was operated on on February 8th and died on the 11th.
Dr. H. T. C. Whitley gave evidence to the effect that when admitted to the hospital the second time Miss Sharpe appeared to be in a "nervous" condition which could have been caused by the shock of her injuries.  He said that he did not believe there was any direct connection between the girl's injuries and her death, however.
Roland Bernard, 4 Putman avenue, a youth who was also playing on the slide, said that he had followed Miss Sharpe down the slide, sliding on his feet.  He had waited until she had reached the bottom before starting.  Half way down the slide he noticed that she was still standing at the bottom and shouted a warning.  When he saw that he might strike her he sat down and slid to one side of her.  He did not know she had fallen until he had turned around."
I enjoyed re-reading these documents.  Finding my mother's letters to the Uncle Ray and the Corner Cousins column has certainly given me a renewed interest in the stories she told about the incident.  Because now I can make sense of what she was telling me and what the documents I have had in my possession for over twenty years actually reveal (had I just sat down and really read them ...).
Also among my grandmother's papers were a series of letters addressed to my grandfather:

The first letter, dated February 17th, 1936, was from the City of Ottawa.  That is my grandmother's writing in the upper right corner, "Our Inquiry into the Death of Catherine refusing her admission into hospital when we called them."  The letter reads:
"Dear Mr. Sharpe:  As promised you in our interview this morning I now beg to enclose herewith copy of letter which I forwarded to Doctor Robertson, Superintendent of the Ottawa Civic Hospital, and will again advise you as soon as I have his report before me.
Thanking you for bringing this matter to my attention and assuring you it is receiving my careful attention, I am, Yours faithfully, (Signed) J. EDWARD McVEIGH, Controller"
The enclosure, also dated February 17th, 1936, reads:
"Dear Doctor Robertson:  Mr. Samuel Sharpe, of 5 Bertrand Street, has requested me to call to your attention the case of the untimely death of his daughter, age sixteen years, who was admitted to the Ottawa Civic Hospital as a Public Ward patient on the 28th ultime with a fractured collar-bone and subsequently placed in a cast.
The child was discharged on the 31st ultime and, after reaching her home, I am advised that she had a very violent reaction and vomited almost continually and suffered severe stomach pains.
On the advice of a private practitioner her father appealed to the Hospital to re-admit the child but this was refused and finally, on February 4th, last, Miss Sharpe was again admitted from the clinic where she remained as a patient until her death on the 11th  instant.  I understand that pneumonia was designated as the cause of death.
Mr. Sharpe has interviewed me with regard to the matter and requested me to call same to your attention as Superintendent of the Hospital since he feels that the Hospital authorities exercised poor judgment in prematurely discharging his late daughter and he feels that it is possible that all the facts in connection with the case as he outlined them to me have not already been presented to you.
I should appreciate it, therefore, if you would communicate with me in writing on this subject after you have investigated this case.
Thanking you for your usual courteous consideration and prompt action in this matter, I am, Cordially yours, J. EDWARD McVEIGH, Controller"
A mere two days later, February 19th, 1936, another letter addressed to my grandfather from the City of Ottawa:
"Dear Mr. Sharpe:  In pursuance of my letter to you of the 17th instant with regard to the case of your late daughter, Catherine Sharpe, of the Ottawa Civic Hospital I am enclosing herewith copies of the report of the Superintendent, Doctor D. M. Robertson, together with copies of the reports of the Admitting Officer and the Nursing Supervisor of the Second Floor East in which part of the Institution your daughter was a patient.
Trusting you will find this information in order, I am, Yours very truly, (signed) J. EDWARD McVEIGH, Controller"
Enclosed with that letter were copies of three reports:
1) Dated February 19th, 1936, from Donald M. Robertson, M.D., Superintendent, Ottawa Civic Hospital:

"Dear Sir: Attached are statements re admission of Katherine Sharpe. As you can see by these, she was not refused admission, but her father was asked to make the usual arrangements. As it was, he called up about 6:45 Monday evening, and patient was admitted Tuesday morning. Sincerely yours, DONALD M. ROBERTSON"
2) Dated February 19th, 1936, from M.R. Downey, Supervisor 2nd Floor East, Ottawa Civic Hospital addressed "To Whom it May Concern" re Miss Catherine Sharpe:

"MONDAY, FEBRUARY the THIRD, sometime after six P.M., Mr. Sharpe called me on Second Floor East stating that his daughter, Catherine, who had been a patient on the Ward January twenty-eighth to January thirty-first with a fractured clavicle, had been vomiting since the day following her discharge and appeared quite ill. He asked that we send Dr. Whitley, the Attending Surgeon, who set her fractured clavicle to see her, but we explained that Doctors were not sent from the hospital and advised him, if worried and anxious about his daughter to call the Doctor who had sent her to hospital at the time of her first admission. Mr Sharpe was also told that if his daughter's condition was not sufficiently acute to require immediate medical attention, he was to bring her to the fracture Clinic the next morning, as previously instructed and that Dr. Whitley would see her there.
Following this conversation I then called Dr. Edwards, Admitting Officer, gave him the details of the case and told him of the possibility of it being referred to the hospital that night for admission.
Miss Sharpe came to the Clinic the next morning and was again admitted under Dr. Whitley.  Signed:  M. R. DOWNEY Supervisor 2nd Floor East"
3)  Undated, from W.M.J. Edward, Admitting Officer, Ottawa Civic Hospital: 
"Dear Sir:  Shortly after 6:30 P.M. on Monday, February 3rd, 1936, I was called by Miss Downey, Supervising nurse 2E, telling me of a conversation she had had with Mr. Sharpe, whose daughter had been in the Hospital.
Miss Downey stated that Mr. Sharpe had called her and asked that Dr. Whitley be sent to his house.  Miss Downey said that she explained to him that the Hospital had no authority to ask the Attending Surgeon on service to visit any home and advised him to call in a doctor (he being on relief it would not cost him anything) and ask him to make arrangements for admission, and if not urgent, to bring the girl to the Hospital the next morning where she would be seen at Dr. Whitley's Clinic.
Miss Downey said she gave me this information in case I was called up regarding that patient.  I do not remember having any conversation with Mr. Sharpe about the matter at that time.
Miss Sharpe was brought to the Clinic the next morning, and after she was examined, I admitted her to the ward.       W.M.J. EDWARD  Admitting Officer"
Now, I am beyond amazed at how fast the wheels turned back then!  This accident happened on January 28th, the child died on February 11th, the inquest was held, completed and had reported by February 14th; my grandfather requested an inquiry on February 17th and said inquiry was compete two days later. 
Someone, somewhere could learn something today methinks!
Anyway, back to the story of my Aunt Catherine.
Also among my grandmother's papers was a most interesting document.  And until now, I hadn't a clue of its import.
It's a very delicate document -- measures 5" x 5 1/2".  The front, as seen on the left, is clearly a receipt for "Private Ambulance Service" made out to Mrs. Sharpe, to take her from 99 Vaughan Street to the Civic Hospital, ordered by a Dr. Howard on January 28th, 1936 at 4:30pm (the time and place of the original accident).  The back, as seen on the right, is what is interesting because it would appear to be someone's detailed accounting (I don't recognize the handwriting) of the "care" she received and then the difficulty she experienced immediately following her discharge from the hospital three days later:
"Cast placed to injurie - Wed Jan 29thDischarged from Hospital - Frid - Jan 31st :  Arrived home about 8:30 PM.  Child was taken from bed to put another Patient in and sat in a Chair till she was called for.  Complained of Pains in Stomach, and started Vomiting at Home within 15 mts from time she reached the House"
Clearly, from the description above, a bed was needed so Catherine was sent home.  But just as is done in our hospitals today --  if your ride doesn't show up on time, you sit in a chair and wait until you are "called for" -- the child had to first sit and wait.  She didn't get home until 8:30pm and she started vomiting within fifteen minutes.  It would take my grandparents another four days to get their daughter the medical care she urgently needed; but by then it would be too late because ultimately she died as a result of her internal injuries.
My grandparents launched the inquiry into the hospital's failure to re-admit their daughter because they truly believed that she didn't have to die.  I can read this file today and know that she would not likely have died today, if she presented at a hospital with a similar injury and/or symptoms.  Hell, I'm not a doctor and I know what continuous vomiting means following a head / neck injury!  But this is now, and that was then.
What I truly marvel at though is the speed at which both the inquest and the inquiry were held. 
You see, the way I recall the story of my Aunt Catherine (and remember, I'm this person's namesake so I was enthralled; I listened very carefully, and I asked very often):
"She died as a result of an accident at a local playground where there was a huge ice slide.  She had gone down and the boy who followed her, who was wearing skates, didn't wait for her to get out of the way before he went down.  He ran into her back and knocked her over and she couldn't breathe.  I ran home and got my mother.  They went to the hospital and then she was sent home after a few days but she shouldn't have been.  My mother tried to tell them that she was still really sick but they wouldn't believe her.  My mother wanted to fight the hospital over it but we didn't have the money to fight them." 
It all makes so much sense now that I've actually read the file!
But none of the official reports of the accident makes mention of the other child having been wearing ice skates.  I clearly remember my mother including that point as a serious contributing factor to her sister's death (she always insisted that the skates had pierced her sister's back).  She never left that point out when she told the story. 
Did nobody ask her at the time of the incident?  At the time of the "inquest" that took all of three days to deliver its report?  She was a witness. They did talk to the other child who went down the slide; he admits to having gone down standing up and only sitting down when he realized that Catherine was in the way and at risk of being hit.
I've heard my mother tell the story so many times, sometimes I think I was there.
And I don't have to be a doctor to know that if a child is knocked to the ground by having been impacted in the back with enough force to have broken a collar bone, there may well be other injuries.  Perhaps an internal bleed or two?  But again, this is now and that was then.  Since the hospital report makes no mention of any injuries other than the broken collar-bone, obviously the skates did not "pierce" her back as my mother had worried.
My mother often said that her sister might have lived -- if only they hadn't been so poor -- obviously echoing her own mother's sentiments, but I wonder now if what she was really saying was, perhaps someone might have listened more closely, if only they hadn't been so poor.
The photos below show Catherine as an infant with her father; as a six year old in the only "school" photo that my grandmother had of her; and as a fifteen year old, obviously in the summer of the year before her untimely death.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fun with turkeys

We continue to enjoy our daily visits from the flock of wild turkeys.
They visit at various times throughout the day, in varying numbers (up to eight at one point), but seem to have settled on six of late.
In the morning, they come through from across the road, where it would seem they have spent the night.  They feed under our kitchen window, where we now have to be vigilant about putting out seed first thing every morning lest they arrive before their breakfast is served.  We also have to be very careful not to be at the kitchen sink when they're eating because they get spooked very easily.  Hence, our breakfast clean-up often can't happen until late morning!
(Photo by John T. Fowler)
Once they've had their fill, they head off into the woods back of our place, where they spend a couple of hours before coming back through for lunch.
(Photo by John T. Fowler)
After lunch, they go back across the road for the afternoon.
Had John been home yesterday when I took these two photos, he'd have been able to get much better shots of the ritual.  (He's the photographer, not I, as is evidenced by the two top photographs compared to the pair above).
Most days, they usually come back through in late afternoon and do the same circuit over again.
It really is a delight to watch these birds but we have to watch them surreptitiously because they can detect the very slightest of movement and run off for protection from the perceived threat.
They should have caught on by now that we are no threat to them. We're the ones providing all that easy food. The least they could do is let us watch them eat it!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My new exercise regime

A few weeks ago my good friend, LC (my other daughter's mother), offered me her treadmill.  She prefers walking outdoors and no longer uses it.  John and I had already decided to get one so the timing was quite fortuitous.  I accepted.
My physiotherapist had already given me the green light with instructions on how to proceed (slowly, very slowly!).  She was delighted to hear that I would be able to embark on a walking program regardless of the weather.
It didn't take us long to arrange to pick up the treadmill and get it to our place.
The acquisition of the treadmill happened on January 26th. (My little chickadee and Pauple met us at LC's home to load the unit into John's truck.  John and I were able to unload it and get it into the house.  A neighbour came over the following day to get the sucker upstairs for us.)
On Sunday, January 27th, I did my first two and a half minutes on it.  (Wow, that was hard work!)
I increased my time gradually, as instructed by my physiotherapist, but with a twist.  She had told me I could add two and half minutes each day, which I did until I hit the ten minute mark.  But the day following that, I couldn't get past six and half minutes.  Yet the very next day, I did 12.5 minutes with ease.  So I developed my own work-out pattern.
I add two and a half minutes every other day; and I do half the next increment on the day in between.  Therefore, this past Friday, I managed 20 minutes (16 of them while on the phone with MLC!).
On Saturday, I did 12 minutes (should have stopped at 11 minutes -- ooops).
Today, I will aim for 22.5 minutes, with tomorrow's goal being 12.5 minutes.
When I get to the 30 minute mark, (which I'm scheduled to do on Saturday, February 16th), I'll no longer increase my time.  Then, I'll settle into a pattern of 30 minutes one day, and 15 the next.
My massage therapist is already noticing the difference in my calf and gluteus muscles.
Hopefully, as the prednisone declines in my system, I'll start to notice weight loss.

Friday, February 8, 2013

'Roid Removal

I saw my doctor yesterday.
She walked into the examination room where I was sitting waiting for her, took one look at me and said, "We have to stop the prednisone.  It's too dangerous for you."
This because she could see the puffiness in my face.
And the weight gain.
I was already concerned about the fact that I wasn't really getting much benefit from the dosage I was taking.  So why take more?  In another month my body would simply want more again.  (Being the child of alcoholics, I am genetically an "addictive personality" and my body very quickly adapts to drugs.  Every time we find something that works, it's like my body is saying, "That was fun, now give me more of that good stuff.")
I explained to the doctor that I was only getting a good night's sleep about every fourth or fifth night.  And I'm sure that was happening only because I was so exhausted.  She commented that she could see I was tired.
In any event, as we talked, she explained that I simply could not continue on the prednisone.  I would gain another 50 pounds in no time at all.  And that simply would not be good for me, on many levels (risk to bones; effect on blood pressure; increased risk of diabetes; etc).  It obviously wasn't working for me as we had hoped.  So why add all the negative side effects?
Then I told her about my visit with the surgeon the day before.  She was pleased that he was requesting an MRI, although she commented that that might be another six months (let's hope not).  But his suggestion that she increase the prednisone was obviously a non-starter.  It's simply not going to happen.
BUT, what are we going to do about my hip pain?
I have to go off the prednisone slowly.  Decrease it by 1 mg a day, every five days.  It will be early March before I am off it completely.  That should prevent a bump response to its removal from my system.
We discussed the patch.  I'm really not inclined to go that route.  It's an opioid and I'm afraid of them.  She gave me the name of one that is not Fentanyl (BuTrans) and asked me to consider it.  In the meantime, since I am comfortable with using Codeine, and for some reason I tolerate it well, that is what I'll use.  As needed.  (Codeine too is an opioid but for some reason I can take it as needed and my body doesn't 'crave' it.  Go figure!)
She also adjusted my Lyrica dosage.  I had been taking 150 mg twice a day (300 mg a day).  She wants me to try taking 150 mg three times a day (450 mg a day) to see if that helps keep fibro flare-ups at bay, without increasing my leg cramps.  She's concerned about the frequency of my flare-ups and the loss of finger use with each one.  (I'll run out of fingers if this pattern continues.)
All in all it was a good session with her and I'm encouraged that she is determined to find a solution so that I can "have a life," as she puts it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hurry up and wait

That's what I call this game of dealing with doctors.
The surgeon was certainly sympathetic to my complaint.
He has ordered an MRI of both hips to find out what's really going on.  He explained that in cases like this, it's never really "bursitis" -- that's just a name that everyone has come to call it.  It's almost always something going on with the tendons.  And he can assure me that removing the bursae will NOT put an end to my pain.
Once he has the results of the MRI, we will discuss my options.  (Apparently there are some but he refused to give me even a hint of what they might be.)  I am to see him again a week after the MRI is done.
I've just checked with the booking department at the hospital, and depending on the urgency the surgeon has put on the request, it could take anywhere from a week to four months for my appointment.  I'm fairly certain I heard the surgeon tell the assisting doctor to "put a rush on that."  At least I hope that's what I heard him say.
In the meantime, the surgeon suggested that I ask my doctor to increase the prednisone dosage to carry me over until we find a resolution.  He agreed that we don't want to use prednisone as a long-term solution.  I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow morning and that was one of the discussions I had planned to have with her.
Hurry up and wait ...
Perhaps, if we can find the right (safe) dosage of prednisone, we can make my wait a little more comfortable.  I'm becoming seriously sleep-deprived!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sleep woes

After enjoying two consecutive nights of almost-decent sleep (five hours straight, followed by three more), the past two nights have been not so decent.
In fact, the past two nights have been downright awful!
Filled with dreams of being in pain.
Frequent awakenings to try to get comfortable.  And once awake, having great difficulty going back to sleep.
Suffice to say, today I feel dreadful.
And I have to drive into the city for my physio session (which I need badly).
This is one physio session I can't cancel because tomorrow morning, at 8:30am, I have my appointment with my surgeon.  It is my one year check-up on my hip replacement and we have much to discuss (ie what are we going to do about this bursitis that is preventing me from enjoying the benefits of his wonderful work?).
Since I have such an early appointment tomorrow, I pushed my physio session to a later time today and will stay overnight at my little chickadee's.  That's always a bonus.
Of course, by staying overnight in the city, it breaks up the trip for me and makes it not so onerous.
Half the trip today; other half tomorrow.  
That's good planning when I feel this awful.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My search for Philip Nowlan

I guess they're not interested.
Which saddens me greatly.  
I really would have liked to connect with Philip Nowlan and his family.
It's now been three weeks since I messaged Philip's sister on FaceBook.
It's been a week since I messaged Philip's daughter.
Not even a return message asking me to leave them alone.
But, I can take a hint (or two, or three).
I am absolutely confident that I've found the right Nowlan group.
I simply don't understand why they don't want to know about their Canadian cousins.
But, should they change their minds, they'll know where to find me.
So, Philip, Teresa, Jess, PJ, ... whenever you're ready, I'll still be here, open to meeting you.
(I guess this is sort of my first "failed" genealogical search.  Although the search itself did not fail, having found living relatives, I failed to connect with them.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

They found it!

The flock of six wild turkeys found the bounty that we provide!
This photo was taken through our kitchen window.
They stayed around all morning too.
Sure hope they don't push the original two out.
It's wonderful fun to have this gang showing up every day, but at the cost of seed, I'm not sure we can afford the entertainment!
Might have to take out a mortgage on the house to help sustain our bird watching habit!