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Fighting the Flare

So, yeah, definitely a flare. Sometimes you don’t realise how well you’re doing until, well, you aren’t anymore. So I thought that I’d post about how I am getting through a nasty flare on this Friday the 13th workday (oooOOOooo… sp00ky!)

I suspected a flare yesterday. P/T actually made me a feel a bit better, as light exercise usually does. I fell into bed just before 10. Based on my therapist’s advice, I have been sleeping with a throw pillow to try and keep my back supported but must have tossed it on the floor sometime in the middle of the night. There really isn’t room in our bed for two large adults, at least one cat if not both, and extra pillows- we’ve been thinking about maybe someday getting a king-sized bed, but it’s not in our budget at the moment. I woke up once at 3:45, which is too early to take my thyroid medication, so of course I then fell back asleep until after 6 a.m., which means taking my medication late and throwing off my morning schedule. This has been an issue lately, but I really don’t want to set my alarm for 5:30 since that is awful for both me and hubby.

So thanks to all that I woke up miserably stiff and exhausted. I finally got out of bed about 6:45 which is pretty late for a work day, gathered breakfast, morning meds, and dosed up on Tylenol arthritis to hopefully get things down to a dull roar. I then dozed back off on the family room sofa. Hubby offered me a ride to work, which I greatly appreciated. I dressed in warm, comfy clothes, put on my arthritis gloves (I really need to wash these. I have two pairs so I can swap them out but forgot to put the clean pair in my bag) and staggered into work.

Fortunately, my job is 85% desk. I opted out of a non-mandatory meeting, and took a short walk to get a hot drink (ah blessed chai- how I adore thee!). Keeping warm helps a lot, and I keep a dress jacket at work for extra layers. Sadly, our office is still way over-conditioned… we now have an “Ice Planet Hoth” sign hanging up in geeky protest. With an impending birthday I added a small space heater to my wishlist- if I am not gifted with one I will most likely buy it for myself. Yeah, it’s been that bad.

“But Elisabeth- why didn’t you stretch/do yoga/meditate/swim/walk/run/etc. in the morning?”

I have discovered through trial-and-error that an extra half hour to an hour of sleep does me more good than trying to exercise early when I am stiff and groggy. I’m much more likely to aggravate my joints or muscles in the morning than if I wait until after work when I’m loosened up, and risk exhausting myself further before my day has even started. At this point in my life, a paycheck trumps exercise or housework in my schedule of priorities. (Also, I am stupidly clumsy in the morning- anything that requires balance is automatically Probably Not a Good Idea.)

All that said, I really, really need to find my exercise ball- just sitting on it in the morning and doing some gentle stretches helps enormously in the loosening-up process. It is somewhere in the Box Room of Doom, I just know it (shudder).

I haven’t resorted to Prednisone yet today and hopefully won’t have to. My discomfort is probably down to around a 3-4 and that’s low enough to function at work. I am extremely tired though and will try to take it easy this weekend other than my therapy exercises. Speaking of which, my therapist gave me a couple swimming pool exercises, so I’m looking forward to giving those a try- I’m going to laminate the pages so I don’t have to worry about the pages getting wet. Shmart!

I wish I had more good tricks. Luckily our workload is usually fairly light on Fridays, so if it takes me a bit longer to get something done it’s not an issue. I can get up periodically, walk around, and do some easy stretches at my desk which helps a lot. I will probably buy a hot lunch on campus- I am a little microwave-mealed out. I’ve been doing better about bringing lunch, but it’s mostly been leftovers.

Any other suggestions for getting through a work day flare?

Images from We Heart It

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Mornings

It is an understatement of almost epic proportions to say that mornings are not my best time. The last four or five days have been especially bad. I have been dreaming vividly, which always leaves me tired when I wake up. I am getting to sleep sooner and sleeping as late as I can (so much for yoga at 5:30) and I still barely have the energy to haul myself into work.

There are a lot of factors at play causing this, a big one being the cold weather. I have been taking cyclobenzaprine the last few nights, and it does seem to help some of my stiffness in the morning. Mostly I am trying to get as much work done as possible before the holiday and get any last-minutes cards and packing done. I keep a wary eye on the weather reports and my fingers crossed for smooth travel on Thursday.

But mostly, I just don’t have enough spoons. I’m not sure if it is rushing around to get things done for the holiday, but I feel like I’m winding up for a flare like the one I experienced at Thanksgiving. I’ve spoken with a few folks who list stress as a trigger for flares, and I’m beginning to suspect that may be the case for me as well. There are a few other issues I am tracking that probably have an impact as well, but I’m still new to identifying and tracking my RA, so it may take a few more rounds to know for sure. This is especially frustrating- knowing that x may or may not make things worse, but not knowing what I can do to head things off other than what I already do.

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