Friday, November 11, 2011

Strange feelings

If Husband RJ didn't work, I wouldn't even know that today was Veteran's Day.  My cutter made the appointment for today, and there was another patron there when I arrived.

This is a huge day in my family.  My Grampa John Irving was a veteran of two wars, with two purple hearts.  His best friend, my Grammy's Brother Henry Lamb went missing in action, presumably dead, the day before.

But today is like any other, except for the blues that Armistice Day always gives me.  Oh yes, the flag is hanging alongside our porch.  The paper is full of sales flyers.

My Grammy's poem graces Pat's Pond.

A special post on the Civil War Prison Camp is quite a change for River Visits.

My love and prayers go out today to all of you who lost a relative in any of our many wars, conflicts and police actions.  Special shout out to my ancestors and cousin Joel Baker, recently departed and a veteran of Korea.

If my heart keeps hurting, I will head out to the Chemung: bundled against the cold and using a cane to maintain balance.  My sight is failing slightly now, with a cataract and plain old age.  My hearing is a mess and the visit will be short.  Still grateful that I can walk, and see, and hear, such as it is.  The river will even out my spirits and tire me just enough for a midday nap.

You understand.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Better now.

If I had to guess why I feel rotten, I would probably pin it on the late pollen season.  Yes, the wet summer has indeed given way to a warm, wet fall.  Still not a lot of pretty leaf-peeping, and it's almost impossible to find my favorite allergy pills.  Soon I will be paying a premium for Chlor-Trimetron; one of the few relatively inexpensive remedies that doesn't raise my blood pressure.  I also have to take a Zyrtec (its generic equivalent) every day.  It's a very rare summer that requires the extra boost, and this summer has been a real b!+c#.

One very bright spot:  I got my knees back!

Must have been about 45 years old when I noticed that I no longer had visible knees.  Just a fatty pack of skin where they used to be.  I was exercising and dieting and walking, and nothing worked.

I gave up, resigned to lack of knees as being part of the whole middle-age thing, along with lack of waist-line.

This summer filled the air with so much pollen, so much rain, and so much suffocating humid heat, that I spent extra time indoors, playing my beloved Final Fantasy video games.  In order to not pile on the weight, I sit on a recumbent stationary bicycle, and pedal during gaming.  The resistence is set very low, because I tend to get leg cramps at night, and overworking those muscles worsens them.

The bad pollen season actually started in the early spring, with "tree season."  Most hay-fever sufferers know nothing about tree season, because most trees are non-allergenic.  Supposedly.   My older daughter also suffers from tree season, even though she doesn't get hay-fever.  My younger daughter gets neither:  lucky her.  I am allergic to just about any pollen anyone can name, and I bet would even show allergies if I moved to Arizona, with my Blog Sister, Karen.

So I've been stuck indoors, pedalling away in front of my games.  I started with Final Fantasy, the original and am all the way up to Final Fantasy 6, one of my favorites.  When I tire of TV, I go to my games; when I tire of my games, I go to TV.  I also walk five days a week with my younger daughter, right after she gets out of work at Barb's Soup's On.

And I also now must do yoga, since I sprained my back falling on ice last winter.

I found out about the knees when I sat down on a low seat and had to struggle to stand.  I finally grabbed my knees and rocked my way up.  In doing so, I felt...

Knee caps!!!  I am so amped! 

Maybe I will even get my waistline back.

Well, I still have to weather the eating season:  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Maybe next year.

Little Pond

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What the hell happened?

For crying out loud, I began the month on such a high note.  Honestly thought that the post summer exacerbation would not hit me.
Now here I am, gasping for breath, exhausted by an hour and a half of grocery shopping.  My legs feel like they were lent to me without the users' manual, and I somehow forgot some step or other in their maintenance.  I have to keep dropping my hands down into my lap for a rest between sentences.

The ringing in my ears is drowning out the sounds coming from the laundry room downstairs.  Last night was one anxiety dream after another, each followed by a trip to the bathroom, often with no success.

And I still feel like I could have some sort of potty accident at any minute.  The cats need flea medicine and I don't dare drive up to the Tractor Supply.

I blame it all on Wednesday, when I pulled out the hose to clean and tie up the awnings.  Wednesday was cold and foggy, so after about an hour of being soaked from head to foot, I stopped everything and took a warm shower.  Then I dropped into bed for a two-hour nap.  When I woke, the sun was out and the porch was sparkling.

Is it possible to trigger and exacerbation in one short morning?  Wednesday afternoon I felt sick to my stomach and very iffy, in need of staying close to the bathroom, for both ends.  My lungs are clogged, my head and neck hurt like the dickens, and even my eyesight sucks.

Good Lord.  What the hell happened?

If this doesn't clear up by Monday, the neuro is getting a call.

Little Pond

Monday, October 03, 2011

Hurray for the cool days!

Finally.  Weather I can live with.  I must be made for the Equinox.  I've always said that I want to retire to Bermuda.  The temps rarely go out of the 70's F (low 20's C).

This summer played havoc with the immune system:  I'm taking two different allergy medicines.  Generic Zyrtec and generic chlor-trimetron.  Nose still runs like a leaky faucet; coughing up lung "biscuits" galore.  A low-intensity headache is the norm and being asleep is my favorite state.

At present I get most of my exercise in the basement, riding a recumbent stationary bike.  While playing my favorite RPGs, of course.  My younger daughter walks with me after work on weekdays.  And I still wander the riverfront with Ellie on weekends.

One more week to go carrying Ellie around to avoid steps.  Then we can return to the lower portion of the Chemung, just downstream of the city.

Don't expect any pretty foliage shots this fall.  There aren't any.  I even go out without my camera.

Hope everyone is recovering from all these natural disasters.  We are still waiting to get a contractor for roof work.  Same as everyone else in the neighborhood.  Wind and rain make for leaking houses here, and complete flooding for my unfortunate neighbors along the Susquehanna.

Little Pond

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ahh, the Information Age!

My last "conversation" on the phone:

texter: Hey

pb: Hey yourself

texter: Whats up?

pb: Ok. Who's this?

texter: This is joel.  Is this john?

pb: Nope. Wrong number.

texter: Ok lol.  Im sorry to bug ya.

pb: No problem

texter: K. Unless your a girl and want to chat.  Haha jk

pb: Female.  Wanna talk about SocSecurity or AARP?

texter: Ha ha sure :-)

pb: No. Seriously. 57 years old.  Have a nice day.

texter: K.  Have a good one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Older and wiser?

I thought long and hard over this one, but finally decided to post.
In 2009, my then-neuro put me on diazepam for the twitching legs at night.  It really does help, but I still have trouble some nights.  This spring, my family doctor diagnosed depression and put me on sertraline.  I was hesitant, but decided to follow through.  It had been a rough winter full of death and difficulty and further disability, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

This week I was filling up my little day-by-day pill dispensers, and I held the bottle of diazepam and looked at all the pills in there.  For the first time ever, I made a mental note that one could easily kill oneself with that many pills.  Then I finished prepping the dispenser and put away all my drugs.

Two years ago, such a thought would have me tearing up and reaching for my Recovery books.  I would have been afraid that I might carry out the notion.

This time I simply finished what I was doing, and decided to think about it later.  When I did, I finally concluded that I just don't want to die right now.

For the first time in my life, I am in a fairly decent place.  I am not overworked, although I am now naturally underpaid.  No one expects too much of me, either as family member or otherwise.  It is obvious that I cannot be the go-to person now.

Wouldn't it have been so much better to have learned to say NO sooner, instead of waiting until I was undeniably ill and incapable of performing as Superwoman any more?

I would love to say that I am teaching my daughters not to be Superwomen, but...  BUT.

They are much more likely--and already are--doing as I have done, rather than listening to my good advice.  Now I simply pray for all us Superwomen, and hope we can bow out before we are knocked out.

Little Pond

Friday, July 01, 2011

We can give again!

It's been over fifteen years, but I have finally rejoined the fellowship of those who give blood.  My old work buddy, Stephanie, was looking for anyone to join her at our Clemens Center.  We hugged and then rolled up our sleeves.

Not too different after so many years.  The major difference is that I am no longer hovering just above the lowest weight allowed.  Truthfully, its been more than fifteen years for that, but this time I had no problems with fainting or dehydration.  I ate like a pig before I went.

It's good to be back.

Little Pond

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In case you were wondering...

what I have been doing with all my time.  I am exercising on a recumbent bicycle about an hour or so every day.  I am still unable to use a treadmill, but I do also walk a couple -- and by couple, I do mean two--blocks with my daughter.
I haven't lost any weight, not to crow about, but I have been multi-tasking with my video games.

Yep.  I am still a game geek.  Only now I have to admit it.

Little Pond

Thursday, April 21, 2011



This week my Recovery training finally kicked in.

I had not recognized my doctor's use of the term "resisting" when he diagnosed the depression.  It simply irked me that my neuro and my family practitioner had consulted "behind my back."

Classic "fearful temper."  And my decision not to attend any sort of therapy:  classic "sabotage."  It is not up to me to diagnose and reject the professional's prescription.

I have returned to my training and am re-reading the three books I acquired over the years.  If necessary, the website offers an updated bibliography.

My next doctor's visit will be in two weeks, I will discuss what happened with him.  If he still decides I need therapy, it is my job to follow through, one way or another.

And my last post?   Anyone trained in Recovery will recognize the sabotage and the resulting physical symptoms.  Most of them have abated.

Little Pond

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Either the Zoloft is working, or my daily walks with VeggiGirl are brightening up my day.

Still have uncontrollable shakes, and the sprain is intermittent and echoing at my hips.  I assume the pains in my hips are connected to some sort of compensatory body adjustment.  Still, I am determined to keep at the exercise, and a walking cane is mandatory for any foray from the house.

It's almost comical to witness and discuss my MIL's walking problems.  She claims she doesn't need a cane, but insists that the only problem is her balance.  Well, duh.  Same here. 

VeggiGirl suggests I use a walker in the winter, but frankly, that seems a bit extreme.  If the cane went out from under me, why wouldn't a walker do the same?  It's time to recognize that icy roads and sidewalks are a bit more dangerous for a woman with osteopenia.  My "sprained" finger still hurts, and hurts even more during exercise.  And it's interesting to note the discomfort I feel during the back stretching routine.

Oh, well.   I will do "as much as I can for as long as I can."  It's always worked in the past.

Little Pond

Monday, April 11, 2011

Informal update

At this time last year, it was just beginning to dawn on me that I was disabled.  I could not remember much about the past winter, especially Christmas of 2009, and I was frantically trying to get a grasp of my situation.

Now I do know that I did NOT have an exasperation.  The MRI showed no new damage.

What I did, and still do, have is a worsening of the symptoms.  I am now more tired than ever, although I am  working out as much as possible.  I walk with my daughter on the sidewalks near home, and every week I take her and the two dachshunds to the river for a leash-less visit.

Most of the feeling is back in my hands and legs, but heaviness is the rule, and not the exception.  I sleep eight hours a night and two more at noon.

I am taking very good care of myself, and am being treated for depression.  I know me:  I will adjust and I will come back.

But I cannot yet predict a return to work.

Little Pond

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I'm too old for angst.

At least I thought so until this winter.  I know it's because I am stuck in the house.  The sprained back, reinforced by the broken pinkie, is keeping me inside during this snowy winter.  No more falls, please.

So now I feel the lack of sunshine: aches, anxiety, and depression.  Never mind that I'm already on anti-anxiety meds, along with anti-depressants, as well as loads of antispasmotics.  Several deaths in the family have me crying to go home to my aged mother and father.  At least before they, too, join the growing line of the recently passed.

This trip will cost a fortune.  I cannot stay seated for the eight hours it will take to get to Maine from Elmira, so we are planning on an RV.  This will allow us to bring the kids and grandkids, the latter which my parents have seen in person.

So naturally, the gas prices are rising, perhaps to $5/gallon this year.  The RV alone will likely cost over $1200.00 to rent!  The kids are chipping in, of course, but still, we have to eat and to pay our rented site at Yankeeland Campground.

If we don't pay taxes this year, we can easily afford it, but I know better than that.

We have got to somehow afford this trip.

I just don't know how.

Little Pond

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not to make it all about me, but

RJ's Dad died after several weeks of struggling with congestive heart failure and pneumonia.  It was all so sudden, given that we all visited at his home for our yearly Christmas Eve party.

We are currently busy creating a slide show for the funeral home.  I couldn't sleep much last night, and finally got up around four to sort through and replace photos after scanning them.  The show has 27 pics now, and I expect at least one more.

We've been keeping my MIL busy with the preparations, and RJ and I have been driving her around.  First it was the Nursing Facility, and now to the funeral home, and back and forth between our houses.  I am not getting much rest and my silly back sprain is achy.

We were spared a lengthy goodbye, except that Duane, my FIL, was flitting in and out of reality.  So glad I quit smoking early on in life, and wish RJ would do the same.  Heart disease is in his family, so the recent events will surely play out again with him.  It was and is so hard on my MIL, so it's like a preview for us.

In the meantime, we are all doing the best we can, and hope all the arrangements will do Duane proud.

He deserves it; he was a good guy.

Little Pond

Monday, January 31, 2011

A word to the wise

Don't do what I did.

I have four canes; two are already pretty and two are old, wooden ones.  I decided to decorate the canes, to make them more appropriate to the Little Pond.

I found some Chinese dragons stickers and some tiny butterfly stickers.

The Chinese dragons are large and snake around my heavy cane, the one I use for walking around the city blocks.  Good support and rather cool.

The teeny, tiny butterflies took forever to apply to my lighter cane.  Looked pretty to me, so I lacquered the cane, to set the little buggers forever.

Unfortunately, I have since seen photos of my granddaughter playing with the butterfly cane.  They are too tiny.  If anything, they make the wood look diseased.

Now I am painstakingly picking off the dozens and dozens of butterflies.  AND the lacquer made them UN-stick.  It's a mess, and will probably take weeks to undo.  In the meantime, I will try wrapping the cane in green grosgrain ribbon.  Green is a good color for me.

I used pretty Christmassy ribbon to make candy canes over the holiday.  That also taught me that big is better and bright is right.

Tiny doesn't cut it.  And don't lacquer the results.

Little Pond

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stretching is bad

...and good.  I had the exercises down pretty well.  The PT told me I was doing them wrong, but the wrongness was that I had added an extra step.  That step was one of the new exercises.

I wound up doing an extra step to ease the pain of some of the stretches.  So that was good.  What wasn't so good was the other new exercise.

Simple pelvic tilts send me climbing the walls for relief. So now I just revert back to the earlier stretches afterwards until the spasms abate.  Then I try again.

Looks like it's going to be a longer road to recovery than I thought.

Meantime all the bills are pouring in from the sprain and all its earlier missed diagnosis-related visits.

And--along with everyone else in the area--our heating bills jumped a full 1/3 higher!  Guess we all will just be eating less this New Year.  No need for resolutions.

Little Pond

Friday, January 14, 2011

Permission to stretch

...has been granted.  Let me tell you, stretching is definitely better.  The PT watched me carefully as I practiced the two simple exercises.  I will do them  2-3 times a day with reps of 5 each for now.

I continue the heat therapy, but has stopped the morning dose of Naproxen.  Still shaky by night-time, so I dose for the evening.

Things are much better now that I can feel stretching, and know I am helping, not harming.

Putting off my doggy walks until at least Sunday.  By then I should be in good shape.

Husband RJ is completely taken up in ferrying my MIL to visit my FIL at the hospital.  Plans are now being made to tranfer to nursing facility.  MIL is definitely not in any shape to care for him.  A few hours' visit and she needs home, food and rest.

I am still unable to visit, until they move him where I don't have to worry about catching something that could kill ME.

Little Pond

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank heavens for heat patches!

They are plentifully available.  I buy the ones that go across the back, double-wide, and  split them in two.  The sprain is just in my lower left lumbar area.

Really puts the scotch on driving, floor and carpet washing, and even dog walking.  For now.

It's nice not to feel that sickening, tearing feeling; I must be getting better.

I remember my dad wearing a brace for what seemed like years.  Guess I have it easy.  Physical Therapy, consisting of ultrasound and manual massage, again tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm trying to keep the house clean and food at ready.  FIL is still in hospital, but somewhat better.  I'm hoping to entice my MIL to eat again.  She looks so drawn and depressed.

And I can't be much help, except to leave out lunches while I do the midday nap thing.

What a mess.  God help everybody.

Little Pond

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Funny how it's playing out.

Until this back injury, I have been unaware of any real feeling from the chest down.  There is distress when I need to empty my bladder, but not like anything I used to feel before MS.  There is a very minor discomfort when I should empty my bowels: unfortunately, not enough to prevent an accident away from home.

In fact, one could even prick me with a pin or knife or any sharp object, and I won't feel much more than pressure.  So I'm not really surprised that I injured a muscle without realizing it.

So, okay, I've sprained my lower left back.  The most amazing thing is the amount of pain: enough to send me to the doctor with fears of a kidney stone, abscess or even a tumor.

I am told that a tumor would not necessary hurt at all.  In fact, we are worrying about my Dad right now.  He has blood in the urine and no bladder symptoms.  They are looking into any possibilities of renal cancer.  In fact my Grampa died of cancer in his urinary tract, although I had always thought it was bladder cancer.

The doctor prescribed 500mg of Naproxen twice a day, and heat for any further pain.  I have some of those nifty patches for heat, and am testing them against my skin.  I half expect to show a nasty rash from the adhesive, but I am willing to test it first, since they really do help.  Also, the patch can be stuck to a tight-fitting undershirt if need be.  It's all good.

Finally, I visit the physical therapist this afternoon at 4:15.  Oddly enough, that should be an excellent time. Husband RJ will be home to field any calls from MammaDog, who might need sitting services.  More importantly, by the late afternoon I am practically in tears from fighting the pain all day.  And the shakes are unmistakable and uncontrollable by then.  Perhaps the PT can help with these.

I'll keep you all posted.

Little Pond

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Another diagnosis

I finally went for an xray, to determine if there was a kidney stone.

There wasn't.  The doctor referred me back to my usual family physician, presumably because he has my MS history and knows more.

Now the diagnosis is a sprained lower left back.  With the heat therapy and prescription Naprosin, I am finally getting some relief from the pain.  The expensive antibiotic did clear up the leukocytes and blood in the urine, so I think I will save it for later.  UTI's are a constant threat for me.

For now, it's pain killers, heat stick-ons (which work very well, thank you very much), and physical therapy will begin three times a week, starting Wednesday.  It's at the end of the day, when I am shakiest, so it should be interesting to observe.  Let's hope it's not painful to accomplish.

Little Pond

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Uh Oh

Pain felt better from ibuprofen, not from healing.  Now I can't put on socks or tie my shoes.  Guess I'll go in for an X-ray Monday.  I was supposed to go Thursday, but call me Cleo.  I'm the queen of denial.

Little Pond