Am I a slacker?

Where in the world is Patti the writer?  I’ve not been doing much of anything, to tell the truth.  Well, working.  Sometimes.  But, writing?  Yeah, not so much.  I come home from work exhausted and in pain.  Most days, it’s all I can do to get the basics done.  You know, dishes, laundry, feeding the cats, cleaning the litter.  I tell myself I don’t feel up to writing.  I don’t feel like sitting in front of my computer and trying to come up with something to write about.  And I most certainly don’t feel like doing the actual writing.

But, the thing is, writing has always been my escape.  When I was younger, it was my emotional escape.  Why in the world would I refuse to use it as a means of escaping the physical pain I’m in every day?  I think, for most writers, the act of writing allows us to focus on something else.  And I could definitely stand to direct my focus somewhere other than the pain.  So why haven’t I been doing it?

I’ve been feeling somewhat alone in this battle with arthritis.  I’ve spent most of my adult life living by myself.  For most of that time, it’s worked well for me.  But lately there have been times when I find myself wishing I had someone here to help me out, to carry some of the load.  Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing friends.  Many of them have offered to help me out, to go to appointments with me, pick up prescriptions, and so on.  And my step-sister is just the best.  I know she’d do anything I need her to do.  I’m having a procedure done on my shoulders next week.  Originally, the doctor was going to do a more invasive procedure and I was going to need someone to drive me home.  Kathy offered to do that for me.  What I didn’t tell anyone was that they also told me I’d need someone to stay with me for 24 hours.  That just seemed like such an imposition.

So, what?  I think I’m better than other people?  That I’d do that for them, but wouldn’t give them the opportunity to do the same thing for me?  Or that they would turn their backs on me when I needed them?  Or that I don’t deserve their help?  I don’t know.

See?  This is another thing writing does.  It allows me to look at myself and try to figure out what in the world is going on.  Why do I behave the way I do.  Why am I so hesitant to ask for help?  I know no one likes to have to ask for help.  I know it isn’t easy for anyone.  And maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to look too closely at my feelings, my fears, my desires.  If I acknowledge those feelings, then I kind of feel obligated to do something about them.  And it’s a lot easier to ignore them than it is to deal with them.  Not healthier, just easier…in the short-term.

I think it’s time to get back to writing because I need to figure out how to live with this pain.  I don’t want to just survive it.  I want to be happy in spite of it.

Deep in thought...

Deep in thought…


Nightmare in B’town

Dr. House's Vicodin Dream

Dr. House’s Vicodin Dream (Photo credit: Totally Severe)

I saw the rheumatologist on Thursday.  After talking about how much pain I’m in every day, she gave me a prescription for Vicodin.  Am I like the only person who had never taken this stuff before?  Seems like everyone I work with had taken it and had either advice or horror stories to share with me.  I picked up the prescription after I got off work on Friday and took one when I got home (I avoid trying new meds until I’m at home and don’t have to go anywhere…you never know what’s going to happen).

I went about my evening and, a couple of hours later, noticed that my pain levels had diminished…okay, that’s a good thing, right?  I felt a little bit odd, but still…nothing too bad.  When I went to bed, I read for a while.  When I felt like I could go to sleep, I turned the light off and settled down to try to sleep.  Of course, Spook and Scout were right there with me.

Well, I tossed and turned, unable to go to sleep.  I eventually turned the light back on and read a little more, then tried the whole going to sleep thing again.    This time, there were fragmented pictures flashing behind my eyes, one after another, so fast I couldn’t really see what the pictures were of.  Then suddenly a deformed monkey reached out for me…he was clearly visible, then he disappeared and the broken pictures began falling apart and reforming behind my eyes.  All of a sudden, a face, with mouth wide open in a scream, surged toward me before spinning away only to be replaced by the pieces of pictures again.

This went on all night, every time I closed my eyes to try to go to sleep.  I must have finally dozed off.  When I woke up there was a pool of blood right where Spooky had been sleeping by my pillow.  I began calling for her, worried about her.  There was no way a kitty as little as she is could lose that much blood and still be alive.  When she walked up from the foot of the bed, I had to check her over.  Of course, everything was fine.  Oh…and when I glanced at the pool of blood…yeah, you got it…it was gone.

I kind of felt like I was playing a part in a Stephen King book.  Hey, wait…I can probably use this in a book…perhaps a bit more gruesome than my normal writing, but when you have the story line you need to run with it.  Oh…and…uh….yeah, I didn’t take the Vicodin before I went to bed last night.  Thought I could do without another nightmare in B’town.

Giving in to the pain?

Dr. Miles' Anti-Pain Pills, Edmonds Historical...

Dr. Miles’ Anti-Pain Pills, Edmonds Historical Museum, Edmonds, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have several doctor’s appointments coming up over the next couple of weeks.  And you know how much I’m looking forward to that, right?  The thing is, I find myself  blaming the doctors because I’m still in so much pain every day.  It feels like they’re not really taking it seriously.  I know I haven’t been actively seeking medical treatment for the pain for all that long, but I’ve been In a lot of pain for several years now.  Maybe I need to stress that when I see the various doctors this month.

There are days I go to work wondering how I’ll make it through the day.  Granted, I’m usually able to survive the entire day at work, but at what cost?  Sometimes I cry all the way home.  Other days I manage to work my way through the basics before I collapse in bed.  Isn’t there something the doctors can do to help ease the pain?  I’ve been on Celebrex for several months now…it’s sure not doing a lot for me.  Can’t we look at what I’ve already tried and find something different that might work?  Why keep prescribing the same thing when we know it’s not helping?  And why am I so dumb that I keep taking drugs that don’t do anything for me?  Why can’t I just tell them I want something stronger?

I understand that the doctors are trying to find meds that will work at the lowest possible dosage…I get it, I do.  In the meantime, what?  Just keep hurting?  Just keep on not being able to sleep?  Just keep trying to make it through the day in a fog of fatigue?  Most of the time I find myself giving in to the pain, thinking that I’ll just have to live with it, that there’s no help for it or for me.  Whew!  Do I sound like a whiny brat, or what?  Hey, there are times that the pain will do that to you…

Another painful day…

a baked potato with butter

Image via Wikipedia

I knew, when I woke up this morning, that I was going to have a rough day as far as pain is concerned.  I had to be at work at 5 am, so didn’t get enough sleep.  And it was truck day, so I was doing a lot of heavy lifting for probably 5 hours of the day…not exactly a good way to deal with a body in pain.  But, what can you do?  It’s part of the job…

When I got home, I took some Advil and went to bed, ended up sleeping for over 2 hours.  When I woke up I didn’t hurt quite as much…ahh…sleep…it does a body good!

I ate a relatively healthy dinner of a baked potato and cottage cheese…nothing else sounded good.  Soon I’ll be off to soak in a hot tub for a while…and then back to bed so I can face the workday tomorrow.

Visit with my doctor

Blood pressure

Blood pressure (Photo credit: williamhartz)

Hmm…that almost makes it sound like we went out to lunch or something, doesn’t it?  Nothing quite that enjoyable, I’m afraid.  But don’t be concerned, it was nothing traumatic either.

I went in for a routine check up and to discuss the pain issues I’ve been having.  Surprisingly, my blood pressure was a little high…that doesn’t happen very often.  She did give me a prescription for a diuretic, with the explanation that women often have a slight rise in their blood pressure when they’ve been retaining water.  Okay, that I can accept.

Of course we discussed my weight.  I’d applied for a free program that my company was offering, but it was based on our biometric screening and my numbers on everything were I was turned down.  Her comment was that I “wasn’t sick enough”…I suppose that’s a positive thing, right?  Got to get back to my daily visits to…it works when I work it…just like most everything in life.

Then on to the pain issues.  There was nothing she could find wrong during the routine check up, but she has scheduled a couple of tests during the next two weeks…so maybe we’ll know more then.  Oh yeah, and I can’t forget that she’s scheduled a mammogram next week…yippee…not a lot in life that I enjoy more than a good mammogram…but it’s a necessary evil, so I’ll force myself to follow through with it.

I’ve only been seeing this doctor since last fall, but I really like her.  Unbelievably, she remembered things about my work schedule, the stresses in my life and my issues with food, weight and body image…so, I’ll see her again in a couple of weeks and we’ll go from there.  Until then, I’m trying to eat better and exercise more…solves a lot of problems when I do that…how about you?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 67

I had the day off work today and accomplished virtually nothing all day.  I worked 12 hours yesterday, woke up aching this morning.  It hurt to walk, my hands were hurting, everything was hurting.  I pulled myself out of bed, wobbled around for a bit until I loosened up.  Then I  fed the cats, gathered the trash and took a walk.  The sun hadn’t even peeked over the horizon yet.  There was a cool breeze ruffling my hair, the birds were serenading me, and there wasn’t another person in sight.  I love walking in this kind of weather, early in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up and gets crazy.

When I came back in to the house, I was still hurting so I decided to take a couple of Advil and go back to bed.  I laid in bed reading, constantly shifting positions trying to find  some way to make the pain go away.  I eventually dozed off and slept for a little over an hour.  I felt a little better after napping, but still didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

That’s pretty much how my day went.  I did hop on the exercise bike (okay, “hop” may be too active a way to describe what I did…maybe I should have said “I gently eased myself onto the exercise bike”) and stuck with it for 15 minutes…I have to tell you, I really wanted to quit after about 3 minutes, but I didn’t.  That kind of feels like success to me today.  I also did six core exercises today and some stretching.  So not a bad day of exercise considering how lousy I felt for most of the day.

Today was going to be a day of pushing myself as far as the exercise went, but I just couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t lack of desire on my part, it was just my body telling me to take it easy.  I guess working 12 hours the day before might not be conducive to a power workout, at least not for me at this point in my life.

My eating was okay today primarily because I just didn’t feel well enough to eat much.  I finished the day with a little under 1400 calories.  I did prepare a pasta salad with veggies and hard-boiled eggs.  I ate that for my dinner tonight (sorry, no pictures) and will take it for lunch for the remainder of the week.  I almost always use whole wheat pasta these days, so it’s a little healthier…very quick and easy lunch for tomorrow.

I’m going to make myself go to bed a little earlier tonight and keep my fingers crossed that tomorrow will be a day with less pain.  I’m not even asking for a day free of pain, just to be able to manage it a little better than I did today.

Rough day…what a pain in the…

A typical examination room in a doctor's office.

Image via Wikipedia

…shoulder.  I’m not really sure what I’ve done, but I’ve been having terrible pain in my shoulder for the past few weeks.  Sometimes it’s so bad that I have a difficult time lifting my arm.  This wouldn’t be good in either arm, but it’s my right arm and I’m right-handed, so I guess I just keep making it worse every day.

I haven’t gone to the doctor yet…I know, I know…I’m terrible about going to the doctor.  I have to be just about dead before I drag myself in to my doctor’s office.  But I’m thinking it’s time to make an appointment.  I keep going to work, coming home in so much pain that I can’t even sleep.  Ahh sheesh..whine, whine, whine…I know there are lots of people who live with intense pain each and every day.  At least I’m still able to go to work…and maybe get my butt to the doctor so I can feel better.

On a lighter note, I had the day off work today…took a walk and took some pictures…

pansies on my front porch

isn’t this just the best shaped tree?  and I get to walk by it every day.

beautiful…I love spring!