Reframing a rubbish day in positive R.A. terms

October 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 7 Comments
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I have had a bad day … but a good R.A. day!

Here’s how the day’s gone:

1. I had completely forgotten I had a blood test this morning, went sailing off to work, got there, realised that I should be going to the GP, turned around, and the red petrol light came on. Mad dash to fill up with petrol from my spare can before the appointment, because I KNEW that otherwise I’d forget.

Positive R.A. stuff:

  • All results from the previous test were fine – in spite of a recent increase in MTX.
  • The nurse only had to have one go at getting my blood instead of the usual Penguin is a pincushion routine.
  • I got the top of the petrol can and it didn’t hurt!

2. For some reason the red light wouldn’t go out, so I decided to go and buy some petrol. Just as I’d driven PAST work on my way to the petrol station, the petrol needle readjusted and the light went off!! Aargh. Decided to get some petrol anyway and fill up the can. Filled up the can, put some more in the car, went in and joined the queue. There was a man in front of me but I didn’t take much notice of him, as you don’t. When I got to the front the conversation went something like this:

Penguin: Pump 2 please

Assistant: Wha’?

Penguin: Number 2 … please.

Assistant: Huh?

Penguin: Pump … number … 2 … please?

Assistant: Ohmegawd, ohmegawd, ohshite, ohmegawd, stop Mr Pratt … Mr Pratt, Mr Pratt!* oh no he’s gone. Lydia, Lydia, shite, heeeeeelp.

As you may or may not have guessed, the aforementioned Mr Pratt had told her that he was on pump 2 and she hadn’t checked. It was obviously not deliberate as he had an account with them so it can be changed on that, but it caused havoc as far as me paying went, and added about ten minutes to my already delayed start at work.

Positive R.A. stuff:

  • I worked the petrol pump and it didn’t hurt at all! (This is not usual at all for me.)
  • Standing about patiently (and then mildly irritably, and then impatiently) while the assistant sorted herself out didn’t hurt either. My feet were fine.

3. I get to work, tell ‘the boss’ what kind of morning I’ve had and firmly announce that from now on the day is GOING TO GET BETTER! I am determined that this will be so. I am thinking positively. NOTHING ELSE is going to go wrong.

Then, at about 10:33 I realise I’m supposed to be in the cafe down the road meeting a friend for coffee …at 10:30. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh. I tell the lass that works for me (a.k.a. the boss) that if my friend phones, say I’m on my way (she’s a good lass, she could have worked this out for herself, but I’m panicking at this stage), throw my coat on and run (well, jog … well OK, walk fairly fast) down the road.

I’ve only gone a couple of hundred yards when a horrible realisation dawns. I phone the boss and ask her to check my calendar. Sure enough it’s NEXT Monday I’m meeting my friend for coffee. Another few minutes wasted out of a busy day!

Positive R.A. stuff:

  • Racing down the road and my knee didn’t even twinge!

4. Had to take middle-sized cat to the v-e-t this evening. Hubby rang at about 4:30 to say there’s no way he’d be home in time. ‘That’s fine,’ says I, ‘I thought you wouldn’t be.’ I wondered why he was sounding so bothered about it. Then I got home, put MS cat in the box, picked it up and thought, ‘AH! That’s why hubby’s worried.’ I’d forgotten that MSC weights a tonne (approx.)

Positive R.A. stuff:

  • OK … it hurt, I can’t deny it … but it didn’t hurt anything LIKE as much as it has done in the past!

So hurrah – what a great day – what a lot of signs that the MTX might be doing its job properly at last!

* Names have been changed to protect the idiot.

I’m not having a good morning

August 28, 2009 at 6:29 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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Woke up at 5.30 and my iPod (normally life, or at least sanity … or at least remains of sanity saving at this time of day) was out of charge … because I fell asleep with it on last night!

So I crept out of bed so as not to wake hubby up, thinking I might sneak an early coffee and breakfast as he’s on a fasting blood test (more of which later if I get round to it) and can’t have anything until the nurse has been round at half-past-seven.* Of course I instantly woke him up and now he’s up too … so much for that plan.

So I thought I’d charge my iPod and I put my PC on … only to find a small spider running in and out of the keyboard. Fortunately I’m not arachnophobic … unfortunately I’m a big softy and don’t want to squash the damn thing … and arachnaphobic or not, frankly I don’t fancy the idea of it running up my fingers and down my arms … eeeeeeeeeeeooooooo.

Oh yes, and the reason I can’t sleep is that work is really stressful right now …

So this thing about getting enough sleep and avoiding stress … I think I’m having some problems with it right now. Now where did I put those coping strategies … probably somewhere under that enormous pile of work …

* Before you faint at the idea of a nurse coming round at 7.30 (especially Frankie) she’s not NHS – she’s part of a research study … obviously a well funded one! More on that later though.

Reason to be cheerful – revisited

August 13, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments
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I was just revisiting my first ever post, about reasons to be cheerful, and I was pleased to see that most of them still stand (the last one doesn’t and one other … if you read it, and if you’ve read some of my other posts, I’m sure you won’t have trouble guessing which one no longer stands! But the point is there’s obviously a lot to still be cheerful about!

While I was at it I thought I’d revisit the nearest post last year to today’s date, and guess what? The car broke down then too! Now that time it cost me an absolute fortune, so another reason to be cheerful is that it’s really not so bad this time. (Although to be honest the car really has got to the point where I should be thinking about replacing her.)

And a final reason to be cheerful is that I’m SO much better, health-wise, than I was this time last year! I was having a terrible time with the RA then – giant puffball knees, every joint aching (or at least it seemed that way) and probably as yet undiagnosed fibromyalgia on top of that! This year it seems that maybe they’ve finally got the medication dosage right (for now anyway) and I’m really doing very well indeed. If that’s not a reason to be cheerful then I don’t know what is! Here’s hoping it lasts – and wishing all my virtual and actual RA friends a similar and long-lasting outcome!

Now if only we could hear a bit more about that ‘one injection cure for RA’ that was being so hyped this time last year …

Did I Avert a Flare by a Hair?

March 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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Well after my last ‘but feeling OK’ post, I came a-crashing down last Thursday. Just felt awful, dead tired, in lots of pain, the whole shebang. So instead of my usual ‘I’m busy, I must push through this’ approach, I said to myself, ‘you’re the boss Penguin, GO TO BED!’ That IS supposed to be the advantage of being the boss, after all, although usually it doesn’t seem to work out that way.

Anyway, I did that. I got a total of eleven hours’ sleep that afternoon and night, after having had three nights with less than five hours, and while I can’t say I felt like a new penguin on Friday, I felt a heck of a lot better than I had, and I ended up having a very enjoyable and active weekend.

So – I guess this suggests that the OT is right about the vicious spiral and all that, and that I broke the circle/spiral by stooping and resting. Then again … maybe it’s just coincidence. That’s the trouble with RA – it’s so hard to tell!

Oh well – I feel better; that’s what matters!

Stress, stress and more stress … but feeling OK!

March 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 3 Comments
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So, are my flare-ups related to stress, or not? I thought they were but I hope they aren’t, because if they are I’m in for a big one any time now!

Yesterday I had my first ever row (maybe too strong a word, but very strong disagreement) with a client, on the phone. I was, to say the least, short with them. I was convinced I was standing firmly on the moral high ground as they’d made a bit of a mess of things, and I told them so… only to realise mid-conversation that I’d also made a mistake. While theirs was more serious, it caused an earthquake in my moral high-ground leading to rather a landslide.

It took the rest of the day to try to repair some of that, and to TRY to stop constantly worrying about it, while also trying to get on with some work.

It was all put into perspective somewhat when I got home to find that one of my friends had lost his job, another’s cat had died and a third’s husband had had a stroke!

All in all not one of my best days. I ended it by telling myself firmly that tomorrow WOULD be a better day, and it has been. (Not that that would have been hard!)

As for the RA, I had practically no problems yesterday and although I was pretty stiff on getting up this morning, it didn’t last too long. My neck and shoulders are stiffening up again now, and slightly achy, but that may just be because it’s been over two weeks since I had physio, as my physio isn’t well and had to cancel the last appointment. Employing positive mental attitude to assume that’s what it is, and not the start of a stress-related flare!

Yay! I’m having Monday off!

March 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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I’ve had a really, really lousy week. Work’s been completely bonkers, I haven’t slept well and I’ve been stressed out of my mind. Funnily enough the RA side of things has been pretty good (not fantastic, but better than for a while!) I’ve noticed in the past that when I get tired and stressed the RA seems to get worse, but now I wonder if I had my cause and effect muddled – the RA was worse, which made me feel tired and stressed.

This time I know it’s work that’s done it, not illness.

I’m having Monday off, that’s THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF IN A ROW! Last time I did that was Christmas, I shall return to work on Tuesday a new Penguin – full of beans and the joys of spring. (OK, so we had hard frost this morning and they’re threatening snow, but hey, the bulbs are string to poke up above the ground, the sun is shining, the crocuses are flowering and tiny cat is starting to go out again – it must be spring.)

Of course the relaxing didn’t last long …

March 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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Having had a wonderful relaxing day on Saturday, I felt full of beans on Sunday and did lots of sorting out and tidying, as well as a thrilling trip (this is sarcasm, for those of you who might doubt it) to the DIY store. Of course I was pretty shattered by Sunday night and no longer feeling the benefits of Saturday. DOH! I really should know better by now.

At least enormous cat and middle-size cat did their best to make me relax in the evening. I was trying to do some embroidery and it involved wielding a huge embroidery frame – the two of them made sure that was quite impossible as enormous cat sat on my lap and middle-size sat on my chest. Tiny cat remained aloof, but I think she was laughing.

The cats certainly do seem to often know when I’m really not well and make a point of coming and snuggling up, but I think this time it was just a case of enormous fancying a lap and middle-size getting jealous!

“I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No”

February 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 5 Comments
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Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not quite sure which, this is not in the context of the song from Oklahoma that the quote is from. The thing I can’t seem to say no to is work!

I need to relax. I need to de-stress. I need to work less hours. I need to ‘respect my disease’ – god, that’s an awful expression, but if you’ve got RA or know someone who has then you’ll know what I mean.

So why is that when some guy rang out of the blue yesterday and asked if I could do a 9,000 letter mail merge and print run (which is BIG and not my ‘specialist subject’ either) I found myself saying ‘Yes’? He’s coming in this afternoon and I’m going into the meeting with the ridiculous attitude of ‘actually I hope he decides not to use me’. This is DUMB!

The problem with working for yourself in the kind of work I do is that you tend to always say yes when people ask for a quote, because you might be madly busy one week (or month) and dead quiet the next. I used to work from home on my own, but now I have an office and an employee I have overheads to cover (although in fairness my employee more than covers her bit of overheads!) so it’s extra stress again.

I’m wondering whether to give up the office and go back home, but clients do like a snazzy office address rather than a ‘9 Acacia Avenue’ type obviously home address! And they like, once in a while, to be able to come into the office, which I wouldn’t do if I was at home.

Then again, I’ve got this guy coming in and I don’t really want him (so to speak) so maybe that’s a plus in the home office thing.

Oh no, decisions, decisions … more stress. Wibble.

Anyone seen my marbles – I seem to have mislaid them.

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