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Stomach Bug Central

One of the most frustrating things about having a compromised (and/or suppressed, depending on which medication I’m currently taking) immune system, is that other people don’t.

A handful of folks in the office are aware that I have an autoimmune disease. And like any office or school, anywhere, one person brings in a bug and it gets passed around for weeks. I was warned that there was a ‘flu going around and took more-than-usual precautions. Over the weekend I was hit by what I thought was a bad case of food poisoning, that kept me home from work Monday.

Came in on Tuesday to “Oh, it’s a stomach flu.”

More knowledge probably would not have spared me a miserable couple of days, but I could have treated it better if I knew what might be going on.

And now poor hubby caught it.

Also, my health maintenance plan yelled at me for losing four pounds in four days. I expect to regain some weight this week.

Thoughts of the Day

(Disclaimer: don’t expect anything too deep here, folks)

Favourite salad from favourite salad place? Not quite as healthy as you’d think, but not too bad for a meal-and-a-half. Sandwich version of the same? “Yeah, I can’t exercise enough to make up for that without causing myself a heart attack.”

On the subject of exercise: if it makes me sweat, ache, and I do it in a measurable allotment of time it counts as exercise. However, 20 minutes of vacuuming and my knees hurt more than a treadmill session. What?!

Lovely spring weather today. Since it is Florida, we can expect summer to begin tomorrow.

Mourning doves, cardinals, and ducks at the bird feeder. Yes, I said ducks.

Oh, and this was my 700th blog post. Who knew?!

Well, I am finally parting ways with my endocrinologist, and am too much of a wuss to tell her yet. I have had constant scheduling issues with her office. It is not far away, but I can only get appointments in the middle of the day which takes a chunk out of my work day. Plus, parking at my job is a real nightmare, so I lose even more time finding a spot when I come back. Once in a while I can just work from home the rest of the day, but that’s not a well I can draw from too often.

A month or so back I had an appointment. I woke up sick that day and had to reschedule (which was a hefty fee, but I was too sick to drive). I rescheduled, and a few days later they called my cell phone at work- a spot had opened up and could I come in the next day? I might have taken it, except that I don’t get cell reception in my office, so by the time I got the message they were already closed for the day. Then I noticed that they called after they closed anyway, so unless I had picked up the phone that minute, I had no way to confirm. I have asked before that they use my work number and they have “updated” my records at least twice, but obviously it doesn’t stick. The next day I was swamped in the morning and missed the window to take the timeslot. Oh well- I still had the appointment I had already rescheduled.

Skip to yesterday. I get a call on my cellphone YET AGAIN. Luckily, I walked into my office just as it rang (it was one of those rare instances when I actually had one bar). The reception was terrible, but it turned out that there had been a mis-schedule- the doctor would be out Tuesday and could I come in today? Normally I would say no, but it was a fairly quiet Monday and I was done with my meetings for the day. My supervisor okayed it and I jetted out the door after scarfing down a hurried (and less then healthy) lunch.

Only to get to the office and find the door locked since they were at lunch. Until one. And they had scheduled my appointment for 12:45. And they don’t take calls during lunch.

At this point I was seething. This guaranteed I would be out longer than I expected already, it was raining, and I had a broken zipper on my slacks. It was a winning day.

So I used my time constructively and called the medical centre where my rheumatologist is located. Do they have a endo on staff? Is she taking new patients? Would I like to make an appointment? You bet! Since the centre to associated with my Uni, not only is it *very* near to where I work, but I could take a shuttle instead of losing my parking spot, and would lose less of the work day.

Just as I wrapped up my call they opened the door, and I proceeded to wait behind all the other people who also had to be rescheduled. At this point it was over an hour after my rescheduled time. Then, I finally saw the doctor- for a whopping five minutes.

It is all so frustrating. I really like this endo. She has been frank with me regarding my health and treatment in ways that I appreciate. Without her we would not have been able to stabilize my thyroid levels for going on seven (?!?!) years now. But the inconvenience is too much, and having all my specialists under one roof will make the constant shuffle of lab work between my doctors so much easier (which is another ongoing saga that I have related here, before). So I didn’t have the heart to tell her- even made my next appointment and everything.

But deep down, I am SO relieved that I will not have to deal with her scheduling office ever again!

Spring has Sprung!

…and Allergies Begun! Hubby and I are both suffering and our cars are covered in oak pollen. I know that I shouldn’t complain since most of my friends and family still have their cars covered in snow, but even so…

And speaking of spring, insert annual time change gripe here. Need I say more?

In happy spring news however, the mockingbirds were warbling in the front tree yesterday and we saw one collecting nesting material, so hopefully they will rebuild last year’s nest that was partially knocked down by storms a few month back. Yay!

After two weeks of limiting my sodium I’ve had a fairly significant drop in weight, which confirms that my intake was too high and hindering my weight loss. I find that limiting sodium also puts we way under my daily points, so balancing my eating plan has been a challenge. I have already dropped a point from my daily target, so hopefully that will balance out further, soon.

I asked hubby to nudge me to get back on the treadmill. After his first “nudge” session, we then discussed encouragement versus nagging, lol! I was exhausted from grocery shopping and had done extra walking yesterday and he was hassling me to do five minutes on the treadmill, so I agreed- as long as he did 5 minutes on the elliptical. Good for us both in the long run, but I am still wondering if it was a good idea the way my knees and hips have been.

My RA has been having “mini-flares” for the last month or so. It’s painful and exhausting. I’m trying to do all the right things, but mostly all I can do is wait it out. I had a frustrating conversation with a colleague who I do not see regularly, who is convinced that if I just keep trying different treatments I’ll eventually find something that works (she is into some more esoteric health techniques). I finally gave up trying to explain that it doesn’t work that way- something that’s great now could stop helping a few weeks or months from now; there is no permanent “fix” for this. And while managing my diet and moderate exercise is good, heavy exercise can cause even more damage. I have a hard time determining if something is everyday pain or injury pain, so it’s hard to know when it’s okay to push myself for an extra mile and when it’s time to take a break. She means well, but I don’t know her well enough to go into every detail of my health history.

Mustering Motivation

…both for blogging and for other things!

Life has been a bit crazy lately, and since hubby and I are playing a new game most of my downtime has been exploring exotic lands and fighting strange creatures (fun *and* cathartic!). I did want to make an update, though, on my most recent doctor’s visit.

Good news: waist circumference is down

Eh news: I am still gaining and losing the same five pounds

Bad news: my cholesterol spiked *way* up

Not sure why, especially since it has been going down somewhat previously. Also, my blood pressure (which is usually on the low side of good) is creeping up, so I’m focusing on cholesterol and sodium to see if I can determine what changed. Last time my sodium was high my ankles swelled up. My left ankle has been a bit swollen, but I honestly thought that I was doing better than this. I am still off-and-on with Trendy Health Management Company, but unfortunately their tracking system isn’t customizable, so now I’m keeping a digital spreadsheet in addition to tracking on their website for effectively double the effort. I’m not super-pleased with this, and am dallying with the thought of letting my membership lapse (again). No decision made yet, though.

I do need to get into a regular schedule with the treadmill. I received the replacement part and installed it myself (yay me!) and it is now fully functioning again. Yesterday was a major grocery store haul and housework, but I plan to hop on the treadmill today and hopefully make that a regular thing again.

I had a funny encounter picking up a sandwich for lunch today- the woman at the register admired my medical bracelet and bemoaned the fact that she has friends with serious allergies who don’t wear one. I talked about the company I use (Medic Alert) and she liked the more fashionable look, so hopefully she can talk her friends into some “useful bling”.

Overall, my health has been fairly good. I was hit with my first serious migraine in a while last week and left work early when I started to see trails. Again, I’m not sure what the trigger was, other than a poor night’s sleep, stiff neck, and heavy air pressure from storms moving through (granted, some days all it takes is just one of those, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised…)

I have an appointment coming up with my endo in couple weeks and I’m hoping that everything is okay there… sort of. I’ve run into this before, when there is a general malaise or odd things are acting up and I don’t know why, and I kind of hope that I could blame it on my thyroid levels being off because that’s a clear explanation and an easy thing to adjust. Sadly/thankfully, that’s rarely the case.

I’m working on a separate post about recent advocate activities- I really need to work on documenting better. I kick myself for not being more involved, and then realise that I’ve actually been involved in three or four separate events in the past month. Go, me?

I also realised that I didn’t actually talk about motivation yet, have I? I’m trying to find a goal or reward for sticking with tracking until my next physical in a couple months, and I have been drooling over a camping hammock. I really miss camping, but sleeping on the ground is pretty much off my radar at this point, even with an inflatable mattress. I have heard really positive things about hammock camping from others with back or hip pain. I was thinking of gifting myself one for my birthday, but if I can keep up on my tracking until my next appointment (and see an improvement in cholesterol/weight), I might make that my reward. I always have a tough time finding a reward that I want enough to maintain motivation, but this might be it. (Plus, once I have it, maybe I can talk hubby into another camping trip!) Obviously. losing some weight will make the hammock more comfortable as well.

(This is another reason that I might ditch Trendy Health Management Company- I have a hard time finding other folks in the community with my interests, to say the least.)

So, it’s been a few weeks now and the anxiety meds are completely out of my system… and I can tell. It’s a rather bittersweet experience and makes it very clear how much I both gain and lose when medicated.

I don’t talk about my anxiety here very much, partially because it is relatively mild and partially because it is (was) controlled. Off the meds, I am seeing some old behaviors resurfacing, and I have very mixed feelings about it.

For example, little things bother me more. I am honestly sitting here at work thinking about how I will clean the bathroom mirror when I get home because it is driving me crazy. It’s hardly the end of the world, but I keep thinking how much I want to clean it just so it will stop bothering me. Generally, this urge expresses itself in spontaneous cleaning binges- I take care of one thing and next thing I know I’ve gotten half a dozen things done. It means that my home is cleaner and more organized, but it also means that I am worrying about little things that really don’t mean anything when I need to focus on other tasks. The medication helped keep my moods even, but it also sapped some of my focus and motivation.

All this irritability and anxiety sometimes spurts out for ridiculous reasons because it has been building up. I find that exercise is a great way to get my head out of a rut and release tension, so you can imagine what happened when I was stressing out last night and found out that my new treadmill is not working… I wanted to put a fist through the wall *before* that- after I’m amazed that I didn’t completely ballistic (*and* our Internet was down, which is why this is being posted today instead of yesterday). Little frustrations suddenly turn into life traumas. I hate the feeling of being reliant on medication, but random anger for no good reason is not fun, either. It’s hard to find the good side of mood swings, but while the medication kept my lows from being too low, it also mean my highs were regulated as well.

Another example is the air gauge on my tires. With the cold weather my low tire pressure sensor was triggered. I drove on low tires for much longer than I care to admit before I did something about it. The indicator bothered me, but not nearly as much as I was anxious about filling my tires myself (I had never done it before). Honestly, last winter it got so ridiculous I had it done at a service station- I was willing to pay someone money to do a simple task rather than face my anxiety about filling the tires myself. This year I was determined to beat my anxiety and do it myself and finally did yesterday, but I recognize that it was a huge production over a fairly minor thing. I always have a tough time doing something new for the first time- I definitely didn’t miss this process of agonizing over something until I worked myself up enough to just get it done. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to figure out a positive spin on this, yet.

And I guess that sums up why I don’t talk about my anxiety very much- it’s so hard to do. When I write it out it sounds so trivial, but when I have an anxiety attack or burst into tears over a flat tire because I just can’t handle one more thing… so, yeah. The medication I was taking was not meant to be a maintenance medication, but I am seriously considering starting again. I have an appointment coming up in two weeks when I’ll talk about this with my doctor- until then I’m going to keep working on my coping mechanisms, but I’m having to relearn how I handled this before the meds and it’s a bumpy ride.

The Good: I have my treadmill- yay! Used it two days in a row. I’m starting slow and walking one mile a day (about 20 minutes). Saturday I also did yardwork, which was probably a bit much since I had a charleyhorse in the wee hours this morning. I am doing my daily back stretches before getting on the treadmill- guess I need to give my hamstrings a little lovin’ too.

The Bad: Our elderly cat passed yesterday. He’d had a pretty bad day and we knew it was time. He rallied enough toward the end to eat a little and purr when we pet him. It was still heartbreaking though.

The Ugly: Hubby has had a nagging cough and a fever that spikes to 102. After fighting it for nearly a week I finally caught it. It’s really kind of amazing that I lasted this long. I am worried about the fever though- I can’t let it get that high (that’s an ER trip for sure). My natural body temp is pretty low (97.4) so 99 is a low-grade fever (which is where I am now). Crossing my fingers for luck. The is also the issue of us both being Very Sick at the same time. And did I mention that classes start tomorrow and it’s my second busiest week of the year at work? I suspect I’ll be skipping that tomorrow. Argh.

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