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.
I got a couple hours sleep last night, but was awake from about 2:00, waiting in anticipation for the “severe thunderstorms” that were to pass over in the early morning hours. Hardly any rain and not much noise. Pfft! I could have had a good night’s sleep.
I did manage to get a couple naps this morning, but mostly it’s a drag-ass sort of day.
Things aren’t hurting quite so bad today, at least not as bad as recently.
Had a tuna, cheese, and tomato sandwich for lunch, then tried to take my walk. Holy fuck! Got half way to Manor and had to come back, the hip muscles (both sides) and right knee hurt too much. Why? I do my exercises and I am trying to be up-and-about around the house as much as I can, so why is my body not consistently getting better, day by day, little by little? Why do I have good days and then bad days? I hate this shit. 🙁
Oh well, I’ll rest a bit, and later this afternoon will get the other yarns pulled that I will need for the weekend.
It’s already clouding up, but we’re in for spectacularly stormy weather this afternoon, overnight, and into tomorrow morning. I don’t dye in stormy weather, so that takes care of today’s plans, and maybe tomorrow’s.
No matter, though, because I pulled some yarns yesterday that could have been dyed. I had a really rough night of pain, barely 4 hours of sleep. BUT… when I dragged my sorry ass out of bed I had a new insight how to reconfigure the steps for the dye project so I can accomplish more in less time. I was making it all too complex in my head for some reason, but it just flashed into my head this morning. So I do feel better about it, and this portion of the work can be done before next Monday.
Meanwhile, I am seriously hurting in my joints this morning, and I strongly suspect it is because of this weather pattern moving in. Fluctuating air pressure and increased humidity. I hate this shit, and I seriously do NOT look forward to a future of weather prediction based on what my body is doing.
Speaking of which…. when it was discovered I had an issue with the aorta, I was put on 3 different blood pressure medications to deliberately lower my blood pressure and avoid a blow-out. Terrific. Then with my doctor visit a few weeks after the surgery, my blood pressure was terrific, well within where it should be, so he said I don’t really need to be on blood pressure meds. And during the whole 2 months when I was getting weekly home nurse and PT visits, they’d check the b.p. and it remained very good and I got a little lax in taking my own b.p. on the wrist-cuff unit I had purchased after surgery.
Yesterday I took my b.p. and the systolic was up in the 180s. EEK! I messaged my doctor to ask, and I told him about my unusual reading. He is out of the office this week, but one of his nurses (or another doctor covering for him?) and said I should use an arm-cuff monitor, take readings 3-4 times a day, and call back later in the week. So I went and ordered an arm-cuff b.p. monitor (it’ll be here tomorrow).
And someone there called in a new Rx for me to go back on amlodipine, sending the Rx to the local CVS. It’s fine, I suppose, except nobody told me they were renewing that Rx, so I was surprised when CVS texted me to say my Rx was ready for pick up. A couple phone calls and text messages back and forth, and now that Rx is being mailed to me. No big deal since I had a small supply leftover from when my dr told me I don’t need to take any b.p. meds.
What fun. Maybe. Whatever.
Texas is going to be opening up in phases, starting this Friday. I think it’s a crock of shit, because we still don’t have adequate state-wide testing, nor are there an vaccines or really confirmed treatments. Vaccines will be another 18 months, I imagine. Besides the obvious health risk of opening the state too soon, there is the fact that if businesses are “allowed” to re-open, any emergency funding and/or unemployment is cut off and people must either go back to work or deal with no income. That’s bullshit. This crap about opening up is for business OWNERS and their bottom dollar, not anything about protecting the people who are put at risk.
No, not really. But I am not well today. I had a rough night last night, and at one point felt a very strange and sudden and painful ‘something’ in my abdomen, sort of like a twinge or ping but larger. I won’t make up fantasies of what it might have been, because I really don’t know, but it was almost certainly with the intestines and not the abdominal muscles. And today all my innards feel ‘bruised’ when I try to do anything. This is not a good thing.
It is gloriously sunshiny today, and temperatures should get up to the low-80s, so fairly tolerable as long as it isn’t humid.
Washing the bedding this morning to hang outside and freshen up a bit. That’ll be nice when it is bedtime.
Friday my daughter and grandson came by briefly to pick up some veggies I had ordered from a local restaurant supplier, now selling boxes of goods to the general public so they can stay in business at all. I ordered two crates of goodies, since each selection had some things I wanted. There were several layers of stuff in each crate. I kept what I wanted and let Donna have the rest. She lo-o-o-ves cilantro, and there were 3 bunches of it. I can’t stand the stuff.
It was good to see Donna and Dagon, but they didn’t stay long and stayed outside. Donna is about my height, Dagon towers over us both. He’s only 15.
In a little while I will try to pull some yarns for dyeing this week. I won’t try to dye today but I can get ready to dye tomorrow. I still seem to only manage a half-day at best before my body peters out and I’m down for the rest of the day.
Okay, so I worked on Tuesday and Wednesday, just pulling hanks to dye so it wasn’t a lot of work. And I worked on Thursday and Friday to get a full batch of Blog Reader Specials done. That took a lot out of me. When I slept last night, I slept well and hard, but there was a 3-hour period when I was awake; got back to sleep around 4:00 or 4:30 and slept until almost 7:30.
I fed the boys and took the trash out, and now, as I sit here sucking my first morning coffee I feel sooooo wiped out. Not sore or particularly hurting in any new ways, just feeling super drained. I’m going to sit on my ass today, I suspect, and just veg out and try to replenish myself.
A Facebook friend made me a few face masks to wear in the even I need to actually go anywhere. They aren’t quite as wide across my face, but they will do for my purposes. There are three different fabric designs, and they are different insides as well.
I’ll come back later and see how I feel.
OOOPS!!! I waddled off to bed and realized I didn’t finish or post this.
Anyway, so there was a 4-hour sleep, then a 3-hour sleep in the night. And during today I had another several hours of assorted naps throughout the day. Yeah, I was pretty wiped out from the work of the previous few days. I’m still feeling exhausted and not walking at all well. Grateful for the walkers and cane, all available and close at hand as I need them.
I keep reminding myself I’m not all done getting better, but it doesn’t help me all the time. My body reminds me I’m not there yet and it pisses me off. Probably more than I should let it, but it does.
And even though I’m taking the celecoxib and the gabapentin as prescribed, I continue to have assorted pains in my right leg. Sometimes I can tell if it is the actual hip and knee joints, but sometimes it feels like muscles or nerve pains. But it just hurts most of the time, although less after the meds for a while. It also doesn’t help that I have a wonky sort of couch and I was hoping to replace my 13-year old mattress this spring. But with everything shut down, it doesn’t look like that will happen. It is nearly impossible to find a position that doesn’t hurt when I lie down. Or sit. Or stand. Or walk. Half the time when I do actually find a pain-free position, within minutes my bladder is screaming as if I’d not peed all week. Go figure.
Yeah, I know — I’m whining and bitching and moaning about shit. I went to bed at 10:00 and it’s now 10:45 and I’m awake and hurting. Oh well…..
Today was a mostly down day (although I did send out notices for the Blog Reader Specials), and tomorrow is Sunday and I’m taking an extra down day to get ready for the week ahead. I have work projects to pursue, and they won’t get done if I don’t do them.
Lemme see if some classical music will help me relax enough to get to bed.
So I just took my walk to Manor and back. I was about halfway there when I realized how much pain I was having. All morning I’ve had twinges of joint pain where the hip joint and knee joint are deteriorating; these are greatly reduced with the celecoxib, thankfully. But walking any sort of distance at all causes the supporting muscles to hurt. It’s a different kind of pain and I’m learning better how to distinguish it. I know that if I take this walk at least twice a day the muscles will strengthen, however much it hurts along the way. It will get better over time.
This is critical for me because when I am dyeing, I am on my feet an hour and a half or more for each dozen skeins per session. If I hope to be able to get back to work like I once did, I have little choice but to do these walks regularly. UGH
Another aspect of the process is pulling hanks from cones. This is also a mostly stand-up task. Clearly I can’t be pulling cones and dyeing in the same day. Not yet anyway. So today and tomorrow I will focus on pulling all the hanks I’ll need for the dyeing I plan to do later in the week.
This morning I was up early (a little less than five hours of sleep) and got my Kroger order in for the week. This time I printed out my order so I can more accurately check the order when it arrives instead of guessing or trying to remember what I’d request. I also put in specific substitutions for specific items (like canned peas if they can’t find frozen). I’m hoping that will mean I get more of what I want.
Tomorrow will be 12 weeks from surgery, and I am FINALLY getting to a place where my lower tract is getting close to normal. That is, I am beginning to once again get the ‘normal’ (for me) signals that it’s time to use the toilet. I’ve been getting unfamiliar signals from other parts of my lower tract, so I didn’t know what they meant. But yesterday and today, however, I got the old familiar signals. Yayyy. I hope this means I will begin to be normal in my toilet routines as I have been for most of my life. I certainly hope so, anyway. The last several months have been, quite literally, a pain in the ass.