If exercise is the cure for all ills …

January 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments

… then I should be feeling pretty spry after today. If, on the other hand, pacing it is the answer to all life’s little problems, then I might be in trouble!

After pretty much an entire week of migraines and RA pains, to the extent that I had most of Thursday and Friday ‘off sick’, I woke up feeling relatively chipper this morning, so hubby and I (OK, mostly hubby) have put together two new bookcases for the living room. Sitting around watching hubby build bookcases (sorry, I mean helping) was relatively stress and exercise free, but then we decided we had to move some of the bookcases we already had, and also get rid of a load of old videos since our video recorder/player has finally given up the ghost and there’s not much point replacing it now. So … a trip into town lugging a load of videos (and I do mean a LOAD) of videos to one of the local charity shops, and then back to move more books and bookcases … only to discover that the new one we wanted to put by the window didn’t quite fit … more moving, more book shuffling … lots more dusting! More carting books and up and down stairs. We’ve tried about four different combinations of bookcases now … which is a lot of yanking bits of furniture about – not just the bookcases but everything else in the room, in order to be able to reach the bookcases.

We just decided to have a nice cup of tea (very English) and take a break from the chaos by coming upstairs to the computers. Both living room and dining room are currently uninhabitable and we have to go down soon and move one bookcases that we’ve already emptied, moved and refilled once!

Strangely I feel pretty OK .. but I wouldn’t like to make any predictions about tomorrow at the moment!


I’ve given in …

January 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments

So … I admit it … this shoulder is really starting to get me down, p me off, put my beak out of joint etc. I’ve finally stopped saying, ‘This too will pass,’ or ‘it’ll go away if I do my exercises’ or ‘I just need to adjust my neck pillow’ or whatever, and made an appointment with the doctor to see if she’ll refer me to physio.

My previous on-going physio sessions haven’t been going on since the summer, because they had a bit of an NHS shake-up at the hospital and decided that no one was allowed more than five appointments – everything can, apparently, be sorted out in five appointments, or so the top dogs say. So, given that I’d already had about fifty-five appointments, I turned up one day and was told, ‘Sorry, but this is your last one. Don’t worry though, you can have more if you get referred by your doctor.’ Fortunately it coincided with a pretty good patch and I haven’t needed to go back.

So … I’ve made an appointment with the doctor but I can’t see her until Feb 8th. Then there’s a five-week waiting list to see the physio (or at least that’s what they were planning when they told me I couldn’t have any more. It might be more than five weeks now. The point of  the five appointments only thing was to get the waiting list down to manageable proportions and make it a five-week waiting list. We shall see …

So …. by the time I DO see a physio (assuming the doc is willing to refer me, gets the letter dictated, gets the secretary to type it up, gets it posted), we’re looking at end of March. And that’s why I’ve been putting off going to see the doc in the first place, because I kept thinking it’s not that bad, and it’s bound to clear up soon etc. The silly thing is it’s not that bad … but it’s just niggling away all the time as these things do, and quietly affecting everything else in my life including what’s left of my sanity!

Still … thinking positively … if it has gone away by then, great – someone else will be in luck when they get a call saying there’s been a cancellation … and if it hasn’t then at least I’ll be seeing someone, and not deciding then to see the doc and having to wait until the end of May for an appointment!

Woohoo – the rain’s stopped and the sun’s coming out – and I feel magically cheered up all of a sudden!

Not a very positive Polly Penguin today!

January 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment

I don’t know why I’m so on edge today!

Part of the problem is that I’m not 100% health-wise … when am I ever, grumble, grumble, but the good ol’ RA is playing up slightly again – the migraine has gone away for the moment (thanks again to all for the comments and thoughts on that!) but the neck and shoulders are still giving me hassle, so that’s probably putting me on edge to start with.

On top of that, yesterday was another ‘one of those days’ and then I didn’t sleep well last night … partly because of the shoulder and partly probably my subconscious playing through yesterday’s happenings, trying to make sense of them … and failing! The morning yesterday was full of really rush jobs – i.e. the client sends them and wants the transcribed file back an hour later. That’s fine, if it’s been agreed in advance, which it had. Once I’d done the two files we’d agreed on I asked him if he would have any more as I needed to pop out for half an hour or so, but could do it any time. This was about 11 am and he said, ‘Go now – we won’t have any more until 12’. So I went to take Genevieve up to the garage to do a ‘five minute job’ of replacing her fuse-box cover. I should know better than to believe a garage man when he says, ‘Five minute job,’ shouldn’t I?

So there I was, getting into the car at just gone eleven when I happened to glance up at the road in front of the car park and saw a very elderly man crossing the road. ‘Gosh,’ I thought, ‘he bears an amazing resemblance to Bart’s Grandpa in the Simpsons!’ at which point he vanished! After a second I realised that he hadn’t been a Simpsons-induced figment of my imagination, but rather he had fallen over and was now hidden behind the car park wall, so I rushed over to see what I could do. Poor chap only had to go about 200 yards from one building to another but it had proved a bit too much. A couple of other people rushed over and we managed to get him sitting up (having assessed that that seemed an OK thing to do!) and then someone fetched his daughter while I found him a tissue to mop the scalp wound which was bleeding profusely, as they do! His daughter was in the building he’d been heading for, and she and a friend got him back to the health centre he’d just come from and then off to hospital, so I was surplus to requirements and headed off, feeling slightly shaken.

Given that I was feeling slightly shaken and have no sense of direction, it’s a shame I didn’t decide to give up and go to the garage later, but there we go, I didn’t. So I was driving along, busy thinking about this poor old chap and hoping he was alright, and hoping I’d remember which road I needed to turn down, and thinking about the job I might or might not have at 12 … and I eventually realised that I’d gone sailing past my turning and was now about two miles down the wrong road!

So …. things are now starting to run seriously late … but I thought, ‘I’ve got this far now, so I might as well carry on …’ Got to the garage, pulled into the wrong unit (which I always do!), grinned sheepishly at the man in the unit I’d just pulled into (as I always do!), pulled out, got into the garage … ‘Take a seat and we’ll sort that out for you …’

So, after about twenty minutes of playing ball with the garage’s resident dogs (not that good for the shoulder, it transpired!) I was starting to get a big concerned about the time and went to chase up the car. They were working on it, which was better than I expected, but I think the ‘temporary fix’ they’d done to get me through the weekend was proving a bit less temporary than first thought! Anyway, eventually got away … dashed back to work thinking about this job that might be coming in at 12:00, into the office at 12:01 … wrote to the client and said, ‘I’m back …’ and haven’t heard anything from him since!

Then today, perhaps partly because I’m on my own in the office today and so I have no one to vent to, I’ve been getting really, really frustrated … climbing up the wall frustrated, with the fact that there are people in the room opposite my office nattering away at the tops of their voices about stuff that’s obviously of vital import to their business … like bee keeping, holidays in the Algarve, etc. I suppose actually it would be worse if they really were talking about stuff of vital import to their business, but it’s just as irritating to me either way. The problem is that it’s a tiny, windowless room and so people will go in there and decide to leave the door open so it doesn’t feel too claustrophobic.  Fine – but if you do that then have a thought for the other people in the building. Grrr … I shouldn’t be SO irritated because I know the people who were in there this morning were only using it as a temporary measure (thank gawd!) while another room is being decorated and it probably won’t happen again, at least with them.

I got so irritable earlier that I’m amazed they didn’t hear me going, ‘Shut up! SHut up! Shut the f***** up, I don’t want to know about your f****ing bees’ etc.!

I can’t escape for a walk either because it’ s pouring!!!


Migraines again!

January 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 8 Comments
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Hmm, not feeling quite so fine any more! I had to finish work early yesterday because I woke up with a headache and it just got worse and worse until I finally realised it was a migraine. My migraines usually start with handy visual effects that flag up, ‘Hello! I’m a migraine’ straight away, but of course I was probably asleep at the point where those were happening, so I missed that.) Although it was one sided, it wasn’t that bad when I woke up so I just took paracetamol. It just niggled away all morning, and eventually I thought ‘migraine?’ and took a migraine tablet. by then I suppose it was waaaaaaaaaay too late.

At about three o’clock it was getting really bad – feeling sick, couldn’t see properly out of my right eye, bad pain … definitely time to give up and go home. Fortunately hubby had the day off and was there to get me tucked up in bed with an ice pack, a darkened room and middle-sized cat (who purred so loudly at the unexpected pleasure of an afternoon snuggle that I was very glad my migraines aren’t affected much by noise – only light!)

I felt slightly better by about six and was able to eat some dinner, which made me feel better still, but still completely washed out. I didn’t do anything all evening except watch a bit of telly once the headache had gone.

Still, at least woke up this morning headache free. Just one small problem … they’re painting at work! Aaaaargh – the smell of paint is bringing the headache right back again! Not sure how long I’m going to last this time.

Interestingly I’ve got pains in my right shoulder for the first time in a while, coinciding with a migraine over my right eye. I’m fairly convinced they’re related … but the doctors aren’t!

If there’s anybody out there that gets migraines that they think are related to their RA Pain, I’d love to hear from you!

A day of new beginnings?

January 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments

“Woke up this morning, feeling fine …” which was a good start to the day, and so far it’s just got better and better.

I’ve spent the week anxiously awaiting various deliveries and today all my Christmases came at once! I got a call to say my new PC had arrived at the shop and, as hubby had a day off, we went to pick it up. Then the post arrived with a letter to say our DVD/HD player is ready for collection, and in the same bundle of post was my anxiously awaited replacement bit for my tripod, amongst other goodies (thank you Maggie!) and some new work … and NO BILLS! Definitely a good round of post!

So now I’ve not only got my new tripod so that I’m able to play with my new lens, but I’ve got a PC that can actually cope with my downloading photos onto it without falling over! (I presume – it’s not out of the box yet!) Woohoo!

Now I just need some time, which given that I’m spending all day Saturday at an embroidery workshop (making Chinese tassels!), is probably not going to be available this weekend. Still, who knows, perhaps that will be a new beginning too and I’ll become famous as the world’s first arthritic penguin making Chinese tassels … then again perhaps not. Sorry, I tend to get a little ‘whimsical’ as we approach the weekend, as my rather unimaginative ex used to refer to it every time I said something slightly off the wall. Hubby, on the other hand, just comes right back with something even more daft, which is loads more fun!

Still feeling fine, too. Who knows, maybe this will also be the first day of life without RA … or even my first day of full menopause, which believe me would be something to celebreate*? Guess not, but still, to continue with the song lyrics, “Something tells me I’m into something good …”



* Yay, no more periods! Hallelujah!

A morning of minor frustrations

January 12, 2011 at 9:47 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Is it too late to make another New Year’s Resolution? So far the first and only two aren’t going so well … eat less, exercise more. I’ve managed one exercise ‘session’ and then come down with a very painful period … which is usually an excuse to eat more, exercise less!

Anyway, the new one is to try not to let a day full of minor frustrations build up into one major bad mood!! This morning will be testing. It’s not nine o’clock yet and so far:

  • I woke up at 5:50 am with a very painful back (period) and hip (who knows, maybe RA?), to hear the pitterpatter of not so gentle rain on the roof. Oh goody, another wet and painful day!
  • I checked my emails to find I’d managed to slightly upset a client. (Long story I’m not going to go into here, but let’s just say I’d anticipated that, and of course it’s his fault, but still not nice to have it confirmed.)
  • I went into the kitchen to make my lunch and found that Middle Sized Cat had spilt his water all over the floor. Needless to say, I found out by stepping in it.
  • I chopped up a variety of bits and bobs for my salad, and then threw them on to the floor and into Middle Sized Cat’s refilled water bowl!
  • I was running a bit late coming into work and then had a minor run-in with an idiot driver who thought that he had the right to pull out round a stationery bus into my side of the road because he drove a BMW and I only drive a Corsa. Wrong! Genevieve (my car) and I don’t like to be bullied, so we carried on. He wasn’t actually drawn up with the bus yet and had heaps of room to pull over on his side, but he sat there for a minute, pulled right out onto my side of the road and glowering because he thought I should have waited for him. HA! Anyway, we won that one at least, but it didn’t make me feel any better – just cross about more things!

So here I am, sitting at my desk, telling myself that none of these things are exactly a major crisis – especially as both hip and back ache have now gone – and that I should pull myself together and plan for a GOOD DAY.

Erm … so far it’s not working. Part of me is going, ‘Come on Penguin, positive thinking and all that … smile and the world smiles with you and all that jazz.’ The other part’s going, ‘Oh shut up you stupid old bat. I’m entitled to the odd bad mood if I want one!’ Have to wait and see which part wins!

Actually, seeing them all written down on the page helps rather to see just how trivial each individual incident is; the trick is just not to let the frustration build up. I feel better already!

Spare legs anyone?

January 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! One of my new year’s resolutions is to get back to posting, now that my City & Guilds embroidery qualification is out of the way – or at least I hope it is. The last assessment piece went off to be assessed a bit before Christmas.

It’s been an up and down few months – mostly up, and very up from an R.A. point of view, but down due to all sorts of hassles with central heating incurring large bills and the need for new pipework, a new tank and a new office floor. All that, plus rows with the flooring people, rows with British Gas, minor irritations with the plumbers is now … done and dusted. (I’m hoping that’s not famous last words!)

So with the new floor down, the new pipes in, the City & Guilds qualification completed, this should be a year of new beginnings … or at least picking up the old threads that got dropped along the way, including my blog.

One other thing that got somewhat dropped, not helped by the horrible weather we’ve had lately, is my photography, so yesterday I decided to go and spend my Christmas money (it’s great still getting Christmas money from relatives at 42 – I know people whose relatives told them they were too old for Christmas presents now at 11!) I bought a brand new, shiny tripod (had to go for a light-weight version as, thanks to the good ol’ R.A., even though it’s not particularly worrisome at the moment). I’d put together a certain amount of money for a tripod and found that if I was going for light weight I either had to double that money or go for a ‘compact’ at considerably less money. Although the compact isn’t quite as sturdy, that’s what I opted for. So, with the money ‘saved’ and a handy second-hand lens available in the camera shop that was just what I wanted, I got a lens too! Then hubby and I had lunch out and hammered out some work-related stuff I wanted to discuss, and finally we’ve ordered a new DVD/hard drive. Nothing like a good bit of retail therapy to make it a cheering new year.

So … on to today. I decided it was too darned cold to test out my new gear outside so decided to go round to mum’s to test it out on her splendid Christmas Cacti. Never got quite that far – I broke the tripod!!! That’s where the spare legs come in … alas, I can’t offer any spare legs to anyone although I’m sure there are a few people reading this who could do with them, as could I, but I fear that’s what my new tripod is going to be. The legs are fine but I have irrevocably broken the head and it’s ENTIRELY MY FAULT, which makes it ten times worse, not only because I’ve clearly invalidated any guarantee but because I feel such a fool!! I shall contact the manufacturer on Monday and see if they can supply a new head for less than the cost of the whole tripod, in which case fine; otherwise I shall have to get a new tripod and then, looking on the rather limited bright side, I shall have a set of spare tripod legs if I ever need them!

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