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Archive for the ‘Medical Jewellery’ Category

Feeling a bit stiff today, but it’s for a good reason! I have been sticking to my walking schedule as best I can, pacing myself and ramping up slowly. Not only am I now walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day that I walk, but for the first time I walked three days in a row! This means that, in theory, I can finally meet my 5x a week walking plan (150 minutes a week). I have walked up to 35 minutes a few times, and usually do at least a quarter mile at a low incline to build up my thigh muscles (which helps my knees). I haven’t walked this regularly since hubby and I were doing 5ks a few years ago.

I’ve broken 10,000 steps a day a couple more times, but I am not pushing that hard (maybe eventually). I’m not walking very fast, but every time I step on the treadmill it’s a success. My left hip is doing much better for the regular exercise, and my lower back has improved somewhat. I’ve managed to avoid any blisters and am religious about stretching so I haven’t had any charley horses. I’m so grateful for the treadmill and hubby’s support (he did get in a few “I told you so”s, but they were well-deserved!)  ;}

My FitBit had an update recently and it now tracks my sleep time automatically. Before I had to toggle it on and off manually, but with my medical band that was difficult to do (and since it is controlled by tapping, my hands were often an issue). So far it seems to be tracking accurately and it’s a great feature! I do need to replace my current band which is wearing out (the metal medical band that I wear on top is probably contributing). I’m hoping for an after-holiday sale that I can take advantage of.

In January I will start tracking what I eat again- I’m focusing on maintaining my walking schedule for now and will give myself a free pass on food until after the holidays. This means I’m not losing any weight, but I’m also not stressing out over food. I have lost some inches around my waist and ordered new jeans in a smaller size- here’s hoping they fit okay! I am also keeping a close eye on my sneakers and may replace those in the new year as well- walking on the treadmill wears them smooth after a while.

I am way behind on holiday anything. I did get the door wreath up and the lights on the front bushes, and brought some ornaments to hang on my team’s tree in the office. With the kittens were are probably going to skip the tree at home entirely this year. We’ve gotten a few cards so far and I intend to send some but am still working out holiday gifts (looks like my packages will be going out after Christmas again this year). I’d like to do more, but I’m also trying to pace myself and maintain my sanity. The disadvantage to exercising is it takes a chunk out of my evenings since I then need to shower afterwards, but in the long run I know it is better for me. I am practicing allowing myself to not do things- it’s almost as challenging as walking on the treadmill.

I do think exercising regularly is helping my anxiety some- whether it’s endorphins or just physical stress relief I’m not sure. I’m not listening to music while I walk right now- I think having time to just quietly zone is probably good for me. Exercising is helping my digestive issues also, so it’s just all-around a good thing for me. In time I’d like to start using light weights again, but I think that will wait for January as well- I want to make exercising a solid habit.

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One of my work colleagues has a medical bracelet similar to the “Livestrong” wristbands. I really liked the idea, but my medical alert company did not carry them until recently. As soon as they had the option, I ordered a package with multiple bracelets (one by itself was $25, while with six bands it was only $30, so completely worth it).

A835

To put it simply, these are the best medical bracelets I’ve ever worn. No fiddly little clasps that are hard to open, break, or snag my sweater cuff. Comfortable fit that can stretch on and off, and I can change color based on what I’m wearing. No ruining a leather band when I wash my hands, either! My old nylon bracelet with the sport buckle was wearing out (especially since I play with my bracelet during meetings- I’m a fidgeter), and the long end of the band hanging out annoyed me (I trimmed it and melted the end so it wouldn’t unravel, but it still looked messy and sometimes got in the way).

It is possible for the metal portion to be lost, but you’d have to work on it, and so far the plastic bands are holding up well. I can still wear one of my fancy beaded wristlets if I’m dressing up, but for something that is obviously a medical band but still has a low profile, it’s perfect for everyday wear.

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…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.)

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I renewed my annual membership for my MedicAlert medical jewellery and ordered an updated tag that includes my ant bite allergy. There was a sale so I decided to get myself a pretty leather band as well:

It’s like a watch band, and I like that the tag has clips on the sides so I can move it to my black sport band if I want. I may make some beaded bracelets for it as well. It’s very comfortable although the leather is thick so it’s a little tricky to put on when my hands are stiff- I expect that to get easier as the leather relaxes.  I was worried about the leather stain bleeding if/when it gets wet while washing my hands, but so far it’s holding up just fine. There is one item I am keeping an eye on, however: the black loops that the clasps attach to are elastic- nice for a little extra give when you are flipping over the tag to read it, but I can see it getting stretched out over time. We’ll see how it holds up!

Update: Four months later and I’m still getting lots of compliments on the band, but I do not think it was really intended for everyday wear. It had gotten wet a few more times and while I was pleased that the color did not bleed, the leather layers have started to separate, and it can still be a challenge to put it on in the morning. There is a little staining from being worn and the end of the band is fraying from being handled. In all I still love the band but do not think it holds up well under everyday wear, and due to the cost will most likely not replace it. Ironically, the elastic loops which were my biggest concern have held up great. I did discover that the clasps make this tag a little looser on my black band than I prefer but I can probably add a couple stitches to address that.

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Chronic and Crafty!

I missed the deadline for ChronicBabe’s craft blog carnival, but I’m so proud of myself that I’m sharing pictures anyway!

I have recounted my medical bracelet angst in the past. Well, my service sent me their quarterly catalog/wellness brochure, and looking it over I was struck by the lovely pearl bracelets. And their prices, which were even higher than the sterling silver bracelet I’ve been tentatively admiring.

Looking closely at the design I realised how smart it was- clasps on both ends attach to the loops of the medallion, making it easy to change out bracelet styles and much easier to put on and take off than my security clasp (and more attractive than my sport version). In fact, I already had all the same supplies from my jewellery making days.

At that point lightning struck, a gong sounded, and the world stopped turning.

I COULD MAKE THAT!

I haven’t done much with jewellery-making in a while. Swollen joints are not very friendly towards fine motor skills, but stringing beads is super-easy, so I dug out my supplies and got started.

I had picked up some lovely Czech glass seed beads a while back for a necklace that I never made, so I started with those. The bracelet with medallion needed to be 7″. I wanted to do a multistrand bracelet that would be nice enough for work and go with my usual earth tones. I did not quite have enough beads for four strands, but I think three works well and it left enough beads to use for spacers in a second bracelet. I had plenty of findings- my only wish is that I had used brown or black thread. I may restring this at some point in the future for that reason. (Sorry that the pics aren’t all that great- trying to take a picture of your own hand with a cell phone wasn’t the best method. Also, geez my arms are freckly.)

The second bracelet took a little more work. I tried several different patterns and combination of beads. I did remember to use black thread, but my first attempt was a bit too short. I had a large red glass bead I had thought to use in the middle, but it was much too heavy and when I took it out I found that I needed to add two more of the medium beads to make up for it. I restrung it and accidentally left a little too much give in the thread, so I will definitely restring this one in the near future.

You can see that at this point, Mr. Pesty-Puss Zachary decided to get in on the camera action, because I couldn’t possibly want to take a picture of anything other than him. (He is a cutie patootie, however, so I didn’t fight it too hard.)

I am really, really happy with how they both came out, and it’s so fun to finally use these beads for something I can wear every day at work. I have plenty more beads and findings, so I can make more as the whim strikes me. This definitely helps assuage my need for sparkly bracelets, without having to compete with a medical bracelet or struggle with difficult clasps. I just wish that I had thought of it sooner!

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Just a few odds-and-ends kicking around inside my brain-pan today:

  • I really need to put my medical bracelet back on or start wearing my sport bracelet, since I can take that one off and on by myself.
  • Must get dates for the controlled burns by work so I know when I will have bad asthma days.
  • Try the dental-floss picks and see if they’re any good. Cranky hands make for poor oral hygiene. Possibly write a product review.
  • Buy more earplugs. Possibly write a product review of silicone plugs which are effective but icky.
  • Pick up prescriptions from pharmacy tomorrow. Whee- just how I want to spend my Friday night.
  • Start paraffin bath as soon as I get home so I can treat my hands tonight- this makes me happy.  :}
  • Schedule my sonogram and bloodwork for endocrinologist.
  • File GI contact in my medical file- things are going better but I don’t want to lose the info.
  • Schedule a massage!
  • Don’t forget lab work appointment for the rheumatologist today after work.
  • Need to change the bedsheets and vacuum today to try and cut down on whatever is making my allergies crazy.
  • Call mom and find out how they’re weathering the snow with her broken wrist.
  • Put away clean clothes.
  • Get hubby’s new work #.
  • List of houses to view to realtor.

And in little, fun things, one of the student groups on campus was selling long-stem roses for a dollar to raise money for Relay for Life, so I got myself a yellow rose and made my day 100% happier. I got myself a super-yummy (if not particularly healthy) lunch, and someone wrote on the pavement in pink chalk: “Don’t step on the cracks- they’re lava!” I tried to take a picture and failed, but it still made me smile. :}

Images from WeHeartIt.

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I have, without a doubt, some of the most wonderful friends in the world!

While at a friend’s house on Saturday I noticed that they had a HoMedics Paraffin Bath. A discussion on the ChronicBabe forums recently touched on using paraffin baths as heat therapy for arthritic hands, so I asked how well it worked for them. The next thing I know I had been eagerly gifted with an underused paraffin bath, two extra packages of wax and a glowing recommendation. While they loved it, they hardly ever used it and it was only taking up space. I have had some success with heat therapy so I was grateful and eager to try it out.

The version I have is slightly different from the one pictured here- my friend no longer had the direction booklet so I looked it up online. The directions were very straightforward, and I wasn’t previously aware of the benefits of paraffin therapy on dry skin, which is a bonus since my arthritis gloves do dry out my hands (not to mention the cold, dry weather lately). I powered up the bath and it took about two hours to fully melt the wax.

Following the online directions I dipped both hands in the wax ten times, with a pause in-between to allow the wax the cool slightly. The bath is a fair size (it is large enough to dip a foot in) but I only had the minimum amount of wax in it, so it didn’t quite cover my wrists, which also benefit from heat therapy. I later added the two extra wax bricks which should be more than enough to cover my wrists next time.

I then caught myself with some poor planning. The ideal treatment requires slipping your hands into a plastic bag and then wrapping them in a towel to retain moisture and heat. Since I had waxed both my hands, I clearly couldn’t do this. My husband was very tolerant (and amused) when I begged him to slip a Ziploc bag over my hands and wrap them in a towel. That achieved, I plopped down on the couch for the recommended 10-15 minutes. Unfortunately, I do not sit perfectly still very well (it would have helped if I had popped in a movie before I started the process), so I did not wait quite the full time before I stripped off the wax. I was able to put the wax back in the bath for next time, and my hands did feel wonderful! I blotted the paraffin and slipped my arthritis gloves back on. I definitely call the process a success and can see myself doing this once a week or so.

One issue with this process: I have to take off my medical bracelet to keep from dipping it into the wax. This requires me getting help to take my bracelet off and put it back on again (in fact, I forgot to put it back on for work this morning and my wrist feels strangely bare). I’ve chronicled my love/hate relationship with my medical jewellery before, and this is yet another case of safety vs. convenience. With my hands such an issue and not being able to put my bracelet on and off my myself, and I am seriously considering getting a more accessible bracelet or necklace for days like today. I am registered with MedicAlert but have not yet decided whether I like their dressier jewellery (I have a chain bracelet and a sport bracelet already). More on that later.

The only two drawbacks that I can see to this process? I have to be careful not to drip or shed wax (a legitimate concern of my hubby’s, especially with curious cats following my every move), and any treatment that requires me to sit perfectly still for any period of time is annoying. If I was more of a television watcher it wouldn’t be so bad, but, really, being forced to sit still for a bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing- just an unusual situation for someone who is usually reading a book or surfing the Internet.

One note- I see that they have scented waxes for sale online. Has anyone ever used a scented wax? I like lavender (my microwave mitts have lavender in them) but I wonder if the paraffin bath might not be too strongly scented?

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