Split personality

November 21, 2011 at 9:44 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 5 Comments
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Well more split Penguin really – my right side is ready to take on the world this morning, but my left side just wants to go back to bed with a hot-water-bottle (or perhaps Enormous Cat on hot-water-bottle duty). This is not my usual pattern – usually I have, for instance, a bad knee and a worse knee, or a pair of bad shoulders, but this morning everything on the right is fine but my left hand, elbow, shoulder and knee are all stiff and painful!

I rather suspect that this has as much to do with fibromyalgia than it does with RA, because although the knee and elbow feel joint-related the shoulder is definitely muscular … well, when I say definitely it’s actually hard to be sure I find, but it doesn’t feel like the usual rheumatoid arthritis pain. I’ve had a few problems in the last few days with it, having foolishly swung round to grab something behind me on Saturday and then found myself curled up in a ball on my chair going, ‘Ow, ooops, I really shouldn’t have done that’.* Unbelievably I then did exactly the same thing twice on Sunday! It’s such a dumb thing to do for someone who knows damn well they get problems in neck and shoulders! I blame the fact that they’d felt so good lately that I’ve been less aware of having to be careful … which I suppose is something I really can’t complain about.

Oh well, I have a mountain of work to get through today thanks to the over-enthusiasm of a colleague on Thursday who, forgetting I was on my own for the first half of the week, may have bitten off more work than we can chew, so I’m going to have to let the right side rule!

 

*This is the expurgated version

Acceptance?

October 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately (although writing very little!) about what ‘acceptance’ of RA means, and also about redefining my idea of ‘normal’. I hadn’t managed, and still haven’t managed in fact, to get my thoughts into words, but I think this afternoon I came as close to ‘acceptance’ as perhaps I ever will.

As I was relaxing in the bath (sorry, probably ‘too much information, especially for those that know me!) and letting my thoughts drift along pretty randomly, I started to think about some of my friends and colleagues: one’s still coping with the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake; one’s recently widowed; one’s, to put it bluntly, losing her marbles; one’s spending this weekend picking up the pieces in her house, since large swathes of the downstairs flooring were dug up on Friday to find a leak.

Good grief, I thought – I’m bloody lucky! I have a loving (and all-round fab) husband, a terrific family (especially the nearest and dearest, including the recent addition of Mrs Mooseface), I have great friends, I enjoy my job, I have time (never enough time of course, but some time) to indulge my passions of messing around with textiles, drawing and pottering about in bits of nature, and although one could always be better off financially, the finances aren’t a complete disaster! The interesting point is that at no point during these thoughts floating over the bubbles did I consider, ‘Yes, but I do have this bloody disease to deal with, so perhaps not so lucky after all.’

It’s not as though things are going great with the RA at the moment either. I wake up every morning in pain, although it often clears for the most part within the hour. I go to sleep most nights in pain. I have pain and stiffness during every day. This is perhaps extra frustrating because for around four months between a flare in March and sometime around August, I felt as though I was pretty much fine, almost symptom free, nearly in remission. And yet, in a way, this on-and-off low-grade (for the most part) pain has just become the norm for me. It’s just another thing to put on one side and live with – and yes, I do appreciate I’m lucky that I can put it on one side at the moment, it’s not so bad that it stops me doing all those things I consider myself lucky for, but what interested me was the fact that it was so far into the normal, everyday that I didn’t even give it a thought when considering other people’s problems and drifting into comparing my life to theirs.

I think I might have once ranted that I will never ‘accept’ this disease, and don’t even mention the word ‘embrace’ in the same breath as rheumatoid arthritis, but perhaps this is acceptance, Penguin-style.

Physio on the A-C joint AND the knee – hurrah!

March 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments
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Well, I’ve had my physio – both knee and shoulder. Woohoo!  The physio had no problem working on the knee once she had the doctor’s note!

As anticipated, the ultrasound made the knee a bit worse to start with but then much better! I had the ultrasound Friday morning and by Friday pm the knee was already greatly improved. Of course I SLIGHTLY over-did it on Saturday, but when the local needlework shop is tragically closing down but magically having a 40% off everything sale, what’s a girl to do? So then yes, I paid for it on Sunday. Today the knee is fine again though, having had a rest yesterday.

I also had ultrasound on both acromoclavicular joints (joint between collar bone and … well, not sure which bone really, but see below), even though when I saw the physio on Friday neither were that bad. They continued to be pretty OK really until this morning.

OUCH! Today they’ve been really, really painful, and definitely reduced mobility in the left one, although not dramatically. No good trying a wax bath there either, so I’m wired up to my TENS machine at the moment. Stupidly didn’t think to take it into work today. DOH! I must remember to take it in tomorrow … and ignore the strange looks!

To physio or not to physio

March 4, 2011 at 11:04 am | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 3 Comments
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Well … half-an-hour’s drive, ten minutes or so waiting, thirty minute consultation … and the answer turned out to be, for the moment anyway, not to physio! Aaaaaaargh! I’ve only waited since January for this appointment. Still, there were perfectly sound reasons not to physio – and at least I had a fun time in the waiting room reading old copies of National Geographic!

There was one small thing I hadn’t accounted for … I’ve just started a (very) short course of oral steroids for a very swollen knee, and the physio that works for me, or has always worked for me in the past, is ultrasound. Obviously the steroids are busy trying to reduce the inflammation, and equally obviously that is intention of most treatments including the ultrasound. Aye, but there’s the rub … (talking or rubs I must rub some of that nice ‘Nature’s Kiss’ ointment into my knee … I keep forgetting about that … but back to the main point), the way that ultrasound works (putting it simply, which is the only way I know!) is that it apparently INCREASES the inflammation quite rapidly in order to trigger the body to go ‘ooh, that’s inflamed’ and kick into place a process for doing something about it.

So … if I had ultrasound, my physio basically thought that I might well be either inadvertently cancelling some of the steroid effects or, at very least, wasting my time because the steroids might counteract the ultrasound without it being able to do anything.

Now the physio wasn’t at all sure about this, and neither am I, but we decided it was better not to risk it so I’ve got to go back again on Tuesday morning!

The more I think about it the more I’m not convinced by this whole argument … but I’m way too tired to work out why now, so I’m off to bed and I’ll give it some thought tomorrow!

Poor Middle-Sized Cat

March 4, 2010 at 9:52 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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Poor Middle-Sized Cat had an emergency vet appointment yesterday after having spent most of the day throwing up … on various floors, various mats, our bedding … By three o’clock hubby was wondering if the end was nigh, so we got him a vet appointment. If you know cats you’ll no doubt guess that by 5:30 when we saw the vet he was quite perky and made us feel a bit silly for panicking.

Temperature: normal, colour (how they tell under the fur I’m not sure): normal, growling at vet: normal, showing interest in the bit of food she waved at him: normal. She actually said he was in excellent condition for his age, which was good to hear. The only problem … he’s got bad arthritis in one knee!

Poor lad, I do sympathise with that. I presume his is osteoarthritis, but dashed unpleasant nonetheless.

The vet has recommended cod liver oil, of all things! I thought that was on old wives tale, that it actually helped. People still talk about it ‘oiling the joints’ which is obviously nonsense, but presumably it does actually do some good. Anybody know how? I’ll be trying to track some down for him today, and hopefully he’ll actually like the taste! (If not there’s no chance of getting it down him!)

And while I’m talking cats, for anyone who remembers my old posts about Tiny Cat 2, you’ll be glad to know she’s settling down well, although ‘run away’ is still her favourite phrase. She does grudgingly accept cuddles most days now and is even sometimes happy to curl up on my lap (or sometimes hubby’s) for a good fuss and purr!

I’m glad my doctor’s secretary is so kind

July 23, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 1 Comment
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Just went to the doctors to pick up a letter the doc said he’d write so that I could send it to the train company in the hopes they’ll refund the tickets for a trip to Wales I had planned, but had to cancel because of the state of my knee. ‘Pick it up early next week’ he said. So I thought well, I’ll leave it until Wednesday to make sure it’s done.

Went in this evening – explained to the receptionist. She looked in the file. ‘I’m sorry, it’s not here.’

‘He did say I should pick it up early in the week.’

‘Well it’s only Wednesday now love.’

‘Well to my mind early in the week means Monday or Tuesday, and I left it until today just to make sure it was done.’

‘Well it depends how you look at it really, doesn’t it love? Early in the week could mean Wednesday too.’

‘No, not really. I’d call that midweek.’

‘Oh well, nothing I can do I’m afraid – it’s not here.’

‘Well could you at least check my notes to see if he’s made a note to do it?’

‘Well … I don’t know if …’ Sees the steam coming out of my ears, ‘Well, I’ll have a look … Oh, well it says here it was done yesterday. Thing is the secretaries have all gone home now and perhaps they haven’t typed it yet. The only thing I can suggest is that you call and ask for Dr Dashes secretary, Debbie, tomorrow, and she’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s happened to it.’

So off I go, fuming and steaming, not to mention limping, only to get home and find a letter on the mat addressed to me. Open it and what do you think is inside? The letter from the doctor.

Soooo thoughtful of the secretary to realise that she’s writing a letter about someone with a very swollen and painful knee, and wouldn’t it be a kindness to post it? Such a pity the doctor wasn’t equally thoughtful … as he’d told me to pick it up.

There, feel better for the rant!

More importantly my knee is also finally on the mend – I think the steroid injection, however painful it was at the time, has really done the trick.

Steroid injection in the knee – I think I’m glad I had it!

July 15, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | Leave a comment
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Well I went and saw the GP today – she rolled her eyes when I told her about yesterday’s phone conversation and commented that they used to be quite happy to see people and anyway what else was it going to be. ‘Funny you should say that,’ I said, ‘that’s what I said.’ I can only assume that with all the budgeting stuff that goes on now, the hospital would rather the GP was paying for the injection and they didn’t have to spend the money at their day unit.

But the good news was that my doc was able to do the injection at the surgery, and try to draw off some of the fluid as well.

The bad news was that she didn’t manage to draw off any fluid and it hurt like blazes. I shall have to remember, if I ever need one of these things again, to apologise in advance for any swearing, screaming, moaning or kicking that might ensue! Alright, kicking is a slight exaggeration and I think I just managed not to swear, but I’m really not someone who’s squeamish about injections and I normally pride myself on not being a total wimp! So doc and I had a mutual apologising session and then she did the actual injection.

She did warn me, and she was right, that it would probably feel marvelous for a couple of hours thanks to the local anaesthetic but that then it might well feel worse as the steroids wouldn’t kick in for perhaps 24 hours, and that I should rest it for at least that long. Perhaps fortunately for my knee, I was also starting to develop a corker of a migraine, so although I went back to work for a little while I soon went home and spent the day in bed.

Only time will tell, but so far although it’s hurting slightly I’ve already got a lot more movement in it than I did this morning, so it looks hopeful.

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