Tags: aches, arthritis, beans, diagnosis, doctor, exercise, fibromyalgia, joint pain, physical therapy, physio, physiotherapy, R.A., RA, rhematoid arthritis, rheumatoid, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rheumatology, shoulder pain
If I had to come up with a list of the top ten things I never thought I’d be saying, that’s got to be up there among them!
I had a physio appointment yesterday for my dodgy shoulder – the one the doctor said was RA and would probably need a joint injection. Well … according to the physio it isn’t and it won’t … and I think she’s right. She thinks it’s likely to be inflammation relating to a previous episode of joint inflammation which caused the joint capsule to swell, so that the muscles around the glenohumeral joint, the ‘rotator cuff’, were pushed about a bit and got inflamed as well. The joint problem seems to have died down, leaving the rotator cuff problem zinging away like a good’n, unfortunately.
Apparently one in three people over the age of forty have a rotator cuff problem anyway, nothing to do with RA, so it might not even be linked, but since I’ve had no injury etc. to exacerbate it, it probably is.
Anyhow, this physio seems to have had prior training as a torturer, although she assured me that she started as a physio straight out of uni last year, but I’ve got to admit that with her heavy and darned painful massage, ultrasound and various exercises, the shoulder is a whole lot better already today, although she says it will probably take three months to heal completely … and that’s if I’m a good penguin and keep remembering to put my nose on my elbow!
Yes, that’s one of the bizarre exercises I have to do to stretch the muscles. Stand feet about a foot from a wall, rest my forearm on the wall in front of me with my upper arm at right-angles to the shoulder joint and then … rest my nose on my elbow, for about three minutes a day, but not necessarily all at the same time. It really does stretch those muscles! Looks extremely odd though. I can hardly wait to do it in the office and entertain the junior penguins! (Or perhaps I’ll just slink off to the loo and do it there!)
The other main exercise involves lying on the bed with a can of beans and doing a kind of weight-lifting thing. At least having a can of beans by the bed makes it easy it to remember to do the exercise!
… it’s that it doesn’t obey the rules!
I’ve always been a very law-abiding citizen, a positive goody-goody in my youth, and I just don’t think that’s FAIR!
I’m not having a flare, I’m not in a great deal of pain, none of my small joints (you know, the one’s that RA affects when it obeys the rules) are causing me an problem at all. Hurrah. Believe me, I’m not complaining about that. Even my acromoclavicular joint, that little one in the shoulder/neck area that’s given me a lot of gyp in the past, is fine.
No, this time the problem is the wacking great big joint – the ‘ball and socket’ where the upper arm bone (humerous) fits into the shoulder – the glenohumeral joint apparently. Good job I have a love of words, because there’s very little else to love about my left glenohumeral joint right now!
As I said, I’m not in a great deal of pain – in fact no pain most of the time. However, something’s going on in that joint which is causing a nerve to get trapped whenever I try to a) lift the arm past horizontal height sideways b) lift the arm past what I can only think of, given that I’m reading a book about Germany in World War II at the moment, as Nazi salute height c) lift something heavy or d) sleep on that side. And when it gets trapped, IT HURTS! Fortunately it doesn’t hurt for very long, unlike that typical toothachy grinding pain of RA, but it does hurt… a lot!
I’ve had it for months – I couldn’t be bothered to go and see the doc. After all, it only hurt if I did things that I didn’t really have to do, and I thought it would just get better.
It got worse.
I also thought that it wasn’t RA. It might not be … but I saw the doc today and she thinks it probably is.
On the bright side, she’s referred me to physio. On the not so bright side it could take weeks, because I’m at work. If I was off work because of it, I could get an urgent appointment so I could get back to work.
If I was off work because of it, I would have no money coming in… I’ll wait.
Also on the not so bright side, she’s dubious about the physios being able to do anything about it. If they can’t, I’ll probably have to have an investigatory ultrasound (no worries) and an injection (nerve or joint related I’m not quite sure – decided I’d rather not ask …) … big worries! However, as I’m immuno-suppressed she’s not keen to go down the injection path because of risk of infection. I assured her that as I’m a wimp I’m also not keen to down the injection path, because of risk of pain!
Just have to sit back and wait for the physiotherapy appointment now, and hope it doesn’t take so long that I AM off work with the problem by the time I get the appointment!
Tags: aches, arthritis, doctor, fatigue, flare, flare-up, GP, joint pain, NHS, RA, rhematoid arthritis, rheumatology, sleep, stress, tiredness, work
No … probably not!
It’s just possible, maybe, perhaps, that I’ve sliiiiiiiightly overdone it this week! The plan for this week was that on top of work (quite busy) I would also have: the dreaded surgery Patient Panel on Monday – bound to be acrimonious as they’re introducing a telephone triaging system which has gone done like a lead balloon with most patients; my second Spanish lesson on Wednesday (a drive all the way in tew the ci’ee (aka Norwich); on Thursday morning a reunion meeting for a course I attended last year (again in the ci’ee); an Embroiderers Guild talk to attend on Friday night (in the ci’ee); a botanical drawing course all day Saturday (an hour’s drive away); and finally taking mum out for a mother’s day meal (in the ci’ee again) today.
I had also committed to growing a sour-dough started for ‘Herman the German Friendship Cake’, with the extra starter to be passed on to three friends on Thursday and the cake baked on Friday.
What I hadn’t considered when taking all this on was the possibility that BOTH the ‘junior penguins’ might be off sick (there’s a dreadful sinusitis bug raging around our wee town at the moment!) and that I’d therefore be incredibly stressed at work, trying to meet deadlines and earn money for three! Hubby suggested I needed a notice above my desk: ‘Penguin: Working to earn your sick-pay.’
Something had to give – and unfortunately it was the reunion, which I was really looking forward to. I obviously couldn’t have the time off work with the other two both sick! I went to the patient panel – and walked out after 1.5 hours, having spent the first 45 minutes wasting time discussing stuff we’ve been discussing since it started in 2008. It was just starting to get acrimonious when I said sorry, I had to go, but I’d made my points by then.
I was already tired by Wednesday but determined not to miss the Spanish lesson, as it was only the second one, even though my brain was pretty fogged by the end of the hour and I’m not sure much went in! I must remember to say no to the generous offer of Spanish-strength coffee when I arrive; I didn’t get much sleep that night due to caffeine buzz!
Nevertheless, the work got done, the cake got baked (and delicious), the talk got went to (see – told you by brain’s fugged – can’t do grammar proper at the moment) and the plants got drawn, but I have a nasty feeling I’m heading for a flare – or at least a fizzle! Well no, let’s be honest, I’m HAVING the fizzle and hoping it’s going to be a damp squib and not a flare!
At least mum’s driving us into the ci’ee today for our Mother’s Day meal so all I have to do is eat and pay. Think I can manage that!
Tags: aches, filing, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis, transportation, Wales
I have just got back from a short trip to Wales – or a long trip, depending on how you look at it. I was there for about 2.5 days – but I also spent 16 hours travelling! I don’t know why sitting on your butt on a train is tiring, but it is! Fortunately I was fine RA-wise while I was there, even though I was visiting a friend with a dog and a bunch of mad cats that periodically had to be chucked off me, the bed or sundry bits of furniture, and even though we spent most of the 2.5 days filing.
I am NOT good at filing. First we cleared out a load of old papers from a filing cabinet, and then we cleared out a load of papers from boxes and put the ones she needed to keep IN the filing cabinet. The trouble is that neither of us are any good at filing – firstly thinking of suitable headings for things – like car insurance: do you file it under insurance, car insurance, motor insurance, auto insurance? ‘Well, where would you look for it when you went to find it?’ says I. ‘Dunno,’ says she … ‘I’m putting under car insurance,’ says I with a sinking feeling that EVERY time she’s looking for something in future I’m going to get a phone-call asking what we filed it under.
Secondly the actual physical act of filing. It’s a lot of hand movement for one thing, and my hands are rather sore this morning. Also, you know those cabinets with hanging files that you put papers in? Well I KEPT putting the darned papers in BETWEEN the hanging files so they ended up on the bottom of the drawer instead of filed. I’d only realise hours later when I went to file another car insurance document only to find that the car insurance file was empty. ‘I know I filed some of these earlier … ah … there they are, on the bottom of the drawer …’ It was biiiiig, deep drawer in quite a tall cabinet. I think this may be why my shoulders are also aching this morning.
Still, even with all that going on I was fine … until I got home. I think it’s a question of when you stop you realise how tired you are. While I was there I did not stop! I have now ground to a rather achy halt!
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday Polly Penguin, Happy Birthday toooo me… and a very jolly birthday it’s been in spite of the cold, the snow, the lack of water supply and the intermittently painful wrist.
On the bright side, the day started well with coffee in bed and some lovely pressies, including a complete surprise pair of lovely earnings from hubby (as well as the book I’d asked for, which is splendid), followed by a leisurely trip to Norwich to visit the new Art Nouveau exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich. Most definitely worth a visit, especially as I’m planning to enter an Art Nouveau themed embroidery competition. Their new cafe (very nice indeed apart from dodgy milk jugs) had just opened too so we were able to get a nice coffee there. (I’ve over-done the coffee a bit today and won’t be sleeping tonight I fear!)
We then went into the city centre seeking lunch and decided to try somewhere I must have walked past a hundred times – and it was FAB! (More coffee, of course!) It’s called ‘The Library’ and details are here for anyone passing through Norwich. We will definitely be going back!
Then dragged poor hubby round a couple of shops ’cause it was my birthday and he couldn’t say no … and that’s where things started to go fractionally down hill. Coming out of one my right wrist suddenly twinged, and it’s been twinging every since. Now a twinge sounds pretty mild but I don’t know how else to describe it – it hurts like blazes for a second or less, so painful I sometimes cry out involuntarily, stops and starts a few times, and then is alright for several minutes. There’s no redness of swelling and I have full movement so I don’t know what the heck’s going on! Any ideas anyone? I have it wrapped in the wheat-pack bro and SIL got me for Christmas, which seems to help a bit.
Also when we got home and went to make tea like a true Brit, I discovered there was no water coming out of the cold tap in the kitchen! Having got poor hubby emptying out the under-sink cupboard, unscrewing the tap, shoving wire hangers down the pipes, checking the cold water tank in the loft etc. I finally thought, ‘Perhaps I should check with Anglian Water to see if there’s a general problem …’; at roughly the same time, hubby thought, ‘Perhaps I should check with the neighbours to see if they have a problem.’ Again at roughly the same time I established there was and he established they did … currently Anglian Water are hoping it will be fixed by 8:30 … let’s hope so. Fortunately as we’ve been out all day we have a pretty full water tank!
All in all though, in spite of minor tribulations, a damn fine birthday. Off to read one of the super books I got. Probably the plant evolution one and not the crochet one, as I can’t crochet too easily with one arm wrapped in a wheat pack …
I recently became the proud owner of a mobile thermal therapy knee support thingy. I’ve been finding recently that the cold really triggers the pain in my left knee, and recently I’ve had plenty of cold to test out this theory with! The biggest problem is driving to and from work, as the car doesn’t have time to heat up so it’s a cooooooooold ten minutes or so. I have a couple of lovely thermal wheat pack thingies that you heat up in the microwave, but wasn’t too sure how safe they’d be balanced on my knee in the car while driving … so, before I got all your excellent suggestions about crocheted mini-wheat packs that I could strap on etc., hubby bought me a ‘mobile thermal therapy’ thing that has a gel pack inside that you microwave (or freeze depending on what’s required) and slip into the strap-on thing and wear on the knee.
The gel pack certainly works fine. The strap-on thing also works fine as far as keeping it on the knee in the car goes.
When it comes to ‘mobile’ though, I’m not so sure! I was going out to meet a friend for a coffee this afternoon and the knee was really playing up so while at work I thought I’d heat it up and strap it on.
I think part of the problem was that I was wearing jeans. Every time I tried to strap the darned thing on it would either slip or my jeans would start to ride up. We ended up with Junior Penguin 2 sitting on the floor holding down my trousers while I strapped on the support! Heaven knows what any passers by would have thought, had they chosen that moment to look in the window.
Anyhow, it stayed put right from the door of my office to the front door of the building … and then started to slip slightly. by the time I’d reached my car it had slipped a LOT so I opened up the car, sat down, adjusted it and then set off again (on foot) to meet my friend. The crossing was about 50 yards away … before I got there it was slipping again.
Did I mention that this thing is BULKY too? I felt a complete clown hobbling along with this thing slipsliding away … so I took it off, tucked it under my arm, and hobbled to the coffee shop with a frozen knee.
On the bright side, when I got there, I was able to strap it on for our hour’s chat and warm the knee up again!
I think it works better with ‘proper’ trousers as opposed to jeans, so will try that. Otherwise, back to the crochet and wheat-pack drawing board!
Tags: aches, arthritis, exercise, fatigue, joint pain, knee, pain, R.A., RA, rhematoid arthritis, rheumatoid, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rheumatology, sleep, stiffness, tiredness, work
I’ve spent the last six months on a very useful course run by our local university business school, on helping small businesses to grow. It’s been great and I’ve met some lovely people along the way. Tonight we were asked to do a ‘showcase’ where each of the businesses on the course had a little exhibition stand and said a few words into a mike and generally chatted to invited guests, university bigwigs, previous course attendees and each other.
Unfortunately I was dreading it because I knew the admin was a mess. Fortunately although the admin was a mess, a handful of very brave people had stepped in at the last minute to salvage what they could, and they did a marvellous job. However, as suspected, when we arrived to set up our exhibit, rather than the floor-plan with everyone’s tables labelled, display boards there and of course, vital for me, and definitely requested in advance, CHAIRS, there was organised chaos.
Fortunately the wonderful people who’d stepped in at the last minute were on hand to sort everything out, and equally fortunately we’d brought some folding chairs with us! I did feel sorry for some of the others though, as there were no chairs available at all.
Having said that, once the evening got going I hardly had a chance to sit down, as we were all buzzing about and chatting to each other. There was a really good atmosphere and, in spite of not looking forward to it, we had FUN. On the other hand, I’m absolutely wiped out, completely shattered, totally exhausted … and my left knee is giving me gyp from so much standing around.
Entirely my own fault of course. I had a chair, I have the capability to sit down in it, but I suppose it was partly not wanting to miss out on anything and partly the old not wanting to admit I had a problem, leading to one of those conversations. You know the ones: ‘My auntie’s got arthritis too. It’s all cleared up though since she started rubbing in bindweed’ or ‘all you have to do to get rid of it is lose some weight.’* What I should have done was go and have a chat with the yoga lady and get her to give me some stretching exercises – but every time I looked in her direction (at least right up until the last few minutes) she was deep in conversation.
Oh well, working from home tomorrow so I think that might start with a bit of a lie-in!
* Not that I’m denying that would help!
As you’ll know if you’ve been reading this blog, or many other RA or inflammatory disease blogs out there, for a while, IAAM is the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement – and it aims to bring help, awareness and understanding to people with autoimmune diseases across the world.
They have a number of interesting and useful projects in the pipeline, and like all charities, they need financial help in getting them going.
Find A Cure Panel (FACP) specialises in patient research for serious diseases including RA – and NEXT WEEK, FACP has an anonymous and confidential online survey for those with RA who are on medication. If you complete the survey, FACP will donate $25 to IAAM!
Unfortunately I can’t participate as it’s for US patients only – but I know a lot of my readers are in the US, so please do take the time to fill this survey in if you possibly can. It’s for a worthy cause!
If you’d like to participate, or see if you qualify, please email email@example.com AND WRITE: FACP RA Survey/IAAM IN THE SUBJECT LINE. Don’t forget to add IAAM in that email so that they get the funding!
I was woken from a deeeeeep sleep this morning by hubby going ‘beep beep, beep beep, beep beep …’
‘Eh, g-g-g-wha? isi time ta ger-gup?’ I said sleepily.
‘Yes, and I want my coffee in bed!’ replied hubby. Well, how cruel! ’Seemed a shame to wake you from such a deep sleep,’ he said cheerfully.
‘Didn’t stop you from doing it,’ I grumbled, climbing creakily (and crankily) out of bed.
‘Well, no. You told me yesterday, when it was actually your turn to make the coffee but I made it, that I should have woken you up and gone “Get out of bed you lazy bird, it’s your turn to make the coffee.” I didn’t do it then so I’m doing it now …’
Me and my big mouth! He’s quite right, I did say that yesterday. I don’t know what possessed me.
I groggily hunted for something to put on over my nightie and found a tatty, ratty and definitely catty old jumper. ‘What?’ I hear you cry. ‘Doesn’t the poor penguin even has a dressing-gown to keep her aching bones warm?’ Well yes … it’s warm and pink and very, very snug … and I’m sure the cat lovers among you will understand when I say:
But in the end I’m glad hubby got me up relatively early, because I managed to squeeze in some exercise before starting my mammoth New Year cookathon, and of course I feel a lot better for it.
Isn’t motivation a funny thing? I (almost) always feel better for a 20-minute embarrassing bop in front of an exercise video, and yet I can rarely motivate myself to do it! Mind you, it’s a darned sight easier when I’m not at work for nine hours a day. I guess that’s the fundamental difference. Anyone think I’m overworking?