So I just looked at a full-page calendar and realized that yesterday was 18 weeks since surgery, so last week was only 17 weeks.
Last night I slept fairly well, about 6 hours. The night before was a struggle, since there were some loud thunderstorms over head and I had really poor quality sleep.
A couple weeks ago my doctor asked me to track my blood pressure more often, since it was high recently, and he wanted to adjust my meds accordingly. So I was taking b.p. readings 3 times a day, same time that I do the finger-stick for glucose. It’s just easier for me to do these things at the same time. Yesterday I sent in 2 weeks worth of 3x daily b.p. readings, and he thanked me for my diligence in tracking the numbers (which struck me as odd, since that was what he asked me to do), and then told me which direction he would adjust my meds.
In most respects, I am feeling pretty much recovered and heading toward being okay. Most days are pretty good, and I manage to get done most of what I want to do. It’s getting better, anyway, although there are a few things I’m watching still; nothing serious, but just some things that don’t feel quite right.
But onward into the day I go. I have a few things that need doing and I expect to get them all done by supper time.
So, I ended up falling back asleep for another couple hours. and then got started into the day of dyeing. I finished the first batch around mid-day, and the second batch late afternoon.
But I have feel crappy and ‘run-over’ most of the day. I still feel dragged out even now, but now it is more from working off and on through the day. Sore muscles and the tiredness that comes from working, so I don’t mind this so much. What annoys me is the horrid feeling inside my middle abdomen and the gawd-awful hiccups. I’ve not dealt with that for several weeks, so it’s a little bothersome it would all come back.
But on the good (?) side, just before a supper of smoked sausage medallions, a bunch of shredded cabbage, some black beans and shoestring beets (all tossed into the steamer for 20 minutes), my numbers were really good — glucose at 97, and b.p. at 126/68. I hope I don’t have to go through life feeling like shit just to have good numbers.
Most of yesterday I was struggling to get through the day, going through the motions of getting my errand done, getting yarns ready for dyeing, and so forth.
By mid-day it was clear my cycles were ‘off’ somehow, but I continued getting up to do each task and then sitting to rest some.
I finally gave up trying in the early evening and went to bed around 7:45. I had discovered one of the Harry Potter movies playing so I had turned that on. Even that wasn’t enough to keep me awake. So I went to bed, and slept almost five hours. Quite a long ‘nap’. But now I’m awake in the wee hours, I’ve already checked the email and scanned Facebook, and the first cup of coffee is starting to kick in, so now I am ‘up-and-about’.
Given the obnoxious heat we’re having now, I am going to go finish the dyeing while it is still cool enough to do so. Perhaps I can finish before 7:00, when I’ll need to feed the boys and carry the trash to the street for collection.
So, today marks 18 weeks since surgery. This was 6 weeks after…
and this is today:
The scar is fading a bit, and my belly hair is growing back. You can still see it, but even a little progress is better than none. I’d hate to live forever with a nasty-looking gash down my middle.
Overall, I think I’m doing mostly better than I was. I had a bit of a scare on the weekend, my glucose and blood pressure numbers were up, but yesterday things were better, and I am pleased with this morning’s numbers. Trying a different breakfast today to see if that helps — instead of raisin bran I cooked up some oatmeal, tossed in a couple teaspoons of Grape Nuts and a couple teaspoons of shelled hemp seed, then topped it with a shy tablespoon of butter and a small splurt of honey. Not what I would call tasty, but edible. 🙂
Today in Houston we’re supposed to hit record-breaking heat, but not much rain forecast until later in the week.
It’s a phrase I’ve seen a LOT in recent days/weeks — “these uncertain times.” We are living through a pandemic that has triggered massive economic problems, as well as changes being made to help us survive it.
Yes, we are uncertain about the COVID-19 pandemic — how many will get it, who will survive, what are the long-term effects of having experienced it, etc.
And many of us are feeling uncertain about our finances — will I be laid off, will there be assistance from the government, will I lose everything, and so on. (Fortunately, I am not personally feeling this particular uncertainty, but I know many are.)
I’m not a psychologist or sociologist or any sort of expert in any related field. But I suspect that when we are constantly bombarded with messages of uncertainty and doubt, it is probably easy to let that doom-and-gloom mentality spread to other areas — why bother washing the dishes, what’s the point in getting dressed, what good does it do to plan for the future, and similar messages of self-doubt.
For me, the thing that seems to help is for me to separate things I cannot change from the things I can actually control in my own life. I do what I can to avoid catching COVID-19, along with all the other things I do for my health (regular glucose readings, daily blood-pressure readings, morning and evening meds, doing what exercises I can do, taking a shower and shave every couple days, etc.) I monitor my finances (what precious little I have at the moment) to ensure I’m not blowing it on frivolous things — I don’t know how much money will be coming in in the future, but I can ensure I’m not wasting what I have. I am able to get up and do the laundry, wash the dishes, vacuum the floors. These are things I DO have control over, to remind myself that not everything is uncertain.
I think everyone has areas of there life where they can manifest a measure of certainty, even in uncertain times. They might seem small and trivial, but they are important little touchstones to avoid the utter despair of uncertainty we hear on the news reports.
Feeling pretty good today. It’s only 70ºF and 45% humidity, so tolerable. I had a somewhat better night last night than the night before, but still didn’t sleep through, and barely got about 5 hours. I did take an hour-and-a-half nap later in the morning, and then realized I’d done my insulin and eaten breakfast earlier but failed to take my morning meds, so the meds were slow to kick in.
I took my walk over to Manor and then up to Longview. It’s getting better. I didn’t have to stop and rest at all, but I could feel the burn in my leg muscles. I was focusing on lengthening my stride a bit, to increase range of motion in my hip, as well as trying to maintain a steady, rhythmic stride rather than starting/stopping on each leg. Having the rollator helps, as I can gently glide it forward instead of hopping along with the old walker. Nice. I just want to be able to walk like I once did, smooth and even, neither rushed nor halting along the way. I don’t need to race, but I do need to keep moving and would prefer to do so as gracefully as I used to.
So I made it back to the house, and now that I am sat down, both my hip and knee are scolding me. Dammit. But even so, it is getting better, however slowly it happens. It is only a 20-30 minute walk to the corner of Manor and Longview and back. I need to be able to stand and move about for at least an hour or longer in order to complete a regular dye session, or at least get through enough I can reach a reasonable pause point to rest as needed.
The clinic called this morning to schedule my eye exam, so that will happen on June 3. It’s been about two and a half years since my last eye exam and new glasses. Apparently the clinic is confident enough in their health-safety protocols they are scheduling appointments. Maybe by next fall things will be good enough to schedule my colonoscopy. We’ll see.
It’s a beautiful day outside, but I’ve already done my “fresh air, sunshine, and exercise” routine. If it stays nice I might go outside to knit a bit, I don’t know.
So, I have continued to take my walks, though not religiously, and some days I spend on my feet doing other things around the house and I don’t walk over to Manor and up to Longview. Even so, I am moving about.
Yesterday I had a telehealth visit with my PCP, prompted by my concerns last week about my blood pressure. We also talked a lot about pain management, since he said chronic pain can increase blood pressure. He made some suggestions, put in a refill on a couple meds, and I told him at some point I want to get a nerve conduction test because it feels like the neuropathy is spreading and the tremors are getting more noticeable.
I had another bad night, mostly due to the pain in my right leg, from the hip on down. There is the joint pain in the hip and the knee, plus the pain in the hip-supporting muscles, and some nerve pain causing shooting/burning pains all up and down my leg. Oddly, the different pains occur sometimes simultaneously, sometimes separately. But no matter — it seems worse at night when I am trying to sleep. When I’m awake and puttering around the house, I can usually power through and do the things that MUST be done, while leaving other tasks for another time.
I don’t know if anyone else tracks their health shit the way I do, but I need to start including more and more data in my log book. I started out (back in November) just tracking my finger-stick numbers and whatever I was eating. Now it’s a bunch more stuff that I need to track, like my b.p., my weight, pain levels, weather conditions, and so forth. Not every item on every day, but as things happen I want/need to log it. Someday, somehow, I want to see if there are patterns, so that I can anticipate problems or modify future behaviors/choices for better outcomes.
There are a couple things I need to do today, and some things that I’d like to do. We’ll see how much actually gets done. Fingers crossed.
Phooey! I was hoping that merely sleeping on the new bed was relieving much of the pain in my hip. Yeah…. no such luck.
The first thing I noticed as I went to bed last night was that the ceiling above me was much, much lower than it used to be. 🙂
Yesterday afternoon I did take a walk with the walker and made it over to Manor and up to Longview and back. Not a lot of muscle pain, it was as I would expect from continuing an exercise regiment — I could feel discomfort but I was able to walk through it, only stopping a few times on the way back so I could rest.
But during the night I was tossing and turning, feeling the motions in my hip and knee joints again. Dammit. I can walk somewhat but the day will be a challenge. I’ll take my morning meds in a few minutes (I’m only just now starting my first cup of coffee, it’s still early for me since I slept late), and then I’ll see what I can put on today’s To-Do list.
In my life there have been times I had to sleep on floors, couches, overstuffed armchairs, back seats of cars, and even in a bathtub one time (long story, don’t ask). Basically, I’ve learned to fall asleep in whatever situation I find myself in. Sure, a luscious bed is glorious, but I’ve never had the privilege of becoming a bed snob. And yes, there are people who actually require certain types of beds for legitimate health seasons, and I don’t begrudge them their necessities. There are also those princess wannabes who will bitch and moan over the slightest inconvenience. Fuck them. Or not.
So anyway, when I moved to Houston I brought with me a queen size folding futon frame, and purchased a new futon to fit the frame fairly quickly. It was usually folded into a couch position. I had also brought a full-size bed with frame, but soon after moving here I gave it to my son because his kids needed more bedding. So my futon became my bed for sleeping.
Fast forward to 2020. Over 13 years, that futon had become lumpy and bumpy, and had developed a significant valley down the middle. I had purchased the best I could afford at the time, and I certainly got my money’s worth out of it. Last fall I decided I would take my time and shop around to find a suitable basic queen size mattress that would fit squarely on the futon platform. I had no interest in gimmicky beds — adjustable air-chambers, memory foam, water beds, etc. I just wanted a basic innerspring mattress.
But then I got sick from uncontrolled diabetes. Then I was restricted due to the aortic aneurysm, followed by surgery and recovery. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and there was no way to get to a bedding store even if I had wanted to go to one or another of the many bedding stores.
Recently I’ve been seeing ads during the evening news for a place called Texas Mattress Makers, saying they were still open for business and they were having a 35% off sale. They are a local small business and all they do is mattresses and bedding. I went online, found a queen size medium-firm mattress and box spring set at a ridiculously low price (with their 35% off deal) compared to what I’d seen at the national mattress stores. I got on the phone and made the deal on Thursday. The mattress I wanted is normally over $800, but I got the mattress with box spring and delivery for just over $500, and they agreed to haul away my futon.
An aside, in praise of the company. They called Friday and told me the delivery window would be 9:00 to 11:00 on Saturday morning. On Saturday morning, a driver called at 7:43 (I had it marked on my phone log) and said he would arrive in 20-25 minutes. They showed up at 8:10 and were gone by 8:20. WOW!!! Excellent service, and I’m helping a local company stay in business during these hard times.
Anyway, so this is the before and after:
The box spring alone is taller than my old futon! I happen to have a tiny stool that is perfect for climbing onto the bed; thank goodness for that.
So, anyway, on to the ‘blues’ part. I went to bed around 10:30 and got about four hours of sleep. The entire time, though, I was aware of the arthritis in my hip. I mean, I could not find a single position that didn’t hurt. And shifting about was worse since moving actively involved the joint. Damn it! Did I choose the wrong sort of bed? Was I a fool to purchase a bed without trying it out first? I slid down off the bed and went to the kitchen. Yeah, this bed is so high I have to slide down until my feet touch the floor!
Wait! What’s that?? I walked to the kitchen without a stitch of pain, without a limp, without anything hindering me. How can that be? Painful to lie on and try to sleep, but nearly free motion when I’m upright and awake? Hmmmmm….
Obviously, the first night on a new bed isn’t enough to know for sure. I will give it a while and see how my body responds over time. I may end up having to change out some other furniture as well to see if such other changes can also improve my physical experience. I already know I need new bed pillows; it’s been a few years since I bought new ones.
It was very difficult to make up the bed — stretching a new mattress pad over it, and then stretching the fitted sheet took a LOT of exertion to get things all tucked underneath the mattress. That sucker is heavy and I definitely did more than I should have — I spent much of the rest of the day with abdominal pain. When I went back later to put on the top sheet and blanket, I knelt on the floor to shove the sheet and blanket under the mattress using my upper arms instead of the usual lift-and-tuck method I’ve always used for making a bed. I got it done, but golly gee it wasn’t comfortable. At all.
At one point yesterday, the weather was terrific and I decided to take an exercise walk. I figured I would use my regular cane instead of the walker. Mistake! I got only halfway between Nancy Rose and Manor and simply had to turn around and come home. I suspect it will be a while yet before I can leave the house without my walker. I will keep trying — I can’t stop trying — but I will absolutely pay more attention to exertion levels and other factors.
P.S. – went back to bed and got a few more hours of sleep. And the pain is back in my hip. Not so bad, and I think I can slog through the day, but I did too much yesterday so I have to go slow and easy today. Most of what I need to do can be done sitting down, which is good. Tomorrow is a work day, so today I need to just focus on what my body needs – food, meds, blood sugar, blood pressure, low-exertion exercise.