Today I am going to use my time wisely, and am going to blog about it at the same time. That way I will end the day with a list of jobs I have done and will also be able to get three or four blog posts out of it.
At 3 am I woke to the sound of swearing and argument. I’d fallen asleep in my chair with the TV on and Gordon Ramsay was offering foul-mouthed advice to an American restaurant that needed turning round in 24 hours. I don’t watch the programme when I’m awake. If I need cursing, conflict and criticism I can get all that at home without having to watch a celebrity chef behaving badly.
You can’t deny that he works hard, contributes to charity and is very successful. But he doesn’t present himself well and he did, let’s be honest, run off to Cornwall when we had to go into lockdown, despite the government guidelines telling us not to leave home.
At 4.59 and 7.46 I woke again. My prostate is playing up again. I’m hoping that it corrects itself as the thought of an examination is actually worse than getting up during the night.
I decided not to go for my regular blood test today. I will go tomorrow before work as I like to be there before 8.30 when it opens – you can’t always get a parking space if you get down later.
The Methotrexate seems to be working for the arthritis and I actually got my trousers on this morning and didn’t even think about it until I typed this sentence. The side effects seem to have gone away. Apart from the bent fingers the only noticeable sign of arthritis is that the little finger of my left hand is stuck out and one of the joints in it is rather stiff. Considering that in March my hands were unusable and I could barely dress myself, this is a good result. I f it means I have a finger like an elitist tea drinker.
I have now checked my messages, read a few links and written 400words. It is 9.16 so I will add photos and post this before making breakfast. (Later – it is now 9.26 after loading a photograph and doing a touch of editing.)
I really ought to take pictures specifically to go with this, but will re-use one of the garden poppies. For one thing, it is a dull day, and for another, I am lazy. I am also adding a layer of complexity to the task by typing without glasses, so will get them while I am up.
Sunday tea was a simple affair – roasted vegetables, Cornish pasties, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. The gravy was made from granules.The puddings and pasties were bought in. All I needed to do was cut up some vegetables.
The vegetables were leeks, brussels, sweet potato, carrot and parsnip. With a banana at breakfast, beans on toast for lunch and a pear in the evening that gives me eight portions of fruit and veg today. It might not have been exciting, but it was healthy.
It sounds simple, but as I mentioned before, it’s not quite so simple with arthritis. Even cutting vegetables becomes tricky when you have no grip. I will have to examine ways of coping with this new problem. I’ve already been buying pre-cut vegetables for various things, but that won’t work for roasted vegetables as they don’t come cut into the right size.
It was, to be honest, a bit of a shock, but worse things happen. It doesn’t seem as bad now as it did a few hours ago.
I’m just watching The Real Marigold Hotel – Henry Blofeld (yes, his father went to Eton with Ian Fleming so it is possible that he shares his name with the famous Bond villain) and Paul Chuckle are exploring the facilities of an Indian retirement community. It includes flats with rounded edges where walls meet (so that falling geriatrics don’t injure themselves so badly) and a chauffeur driven golf buggy service. It is a worry that I’m seriously starting to think about things like this. It is time to start making adjustments.
This is a worrying thought, as it’s an admission that I’m getting old. I’m also thinking that it’s time to begin looking for a bungalow.
I just looked up career development, as I still have five years before I can officially retire and, despite everything, I live in hope of something good happening. I might even have another ten or fifteen years to work if I find a job that involves sitting.
I was surprised to find this question when Googling – Is it too late to start a career at 25? Too late at 25? Someone answered by saying you could still start a new career at 75. That was good to hear, though I’m not sure I really believe it. However, the link also contained this quote, which I knew, but had forgotten. I seem to forget more things these days.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, I have just loaded 12,000 words from my photos to this post. The theme of my 12,000 words is, initially, that although WordPress can, it seems, develop a new improved editor, they cannot work out a system to allow me to access photos from old posts. They charge me for unlimited photo storage every year but I note, on an old post, that some photos have disappeared. I also note that if I want to access photos from old posts it gets progressively more difficult as I get back beyond a couple of weeks. Once past that the system starts to grind and lock up and flick back to newer photos. At that point it is easier to give up or to search out old posts and either link to them or recopy the photos. That is what I did with the last post.
It would have been a much more exciting post if I had been able to simply access the photos by scrolling down the media file.
Iris at Mencap Gardens
Yellow flowers in need of identification
If I could access old photos easily, this post would be more interesting too. However, due to the clunky and ineffective scrolling system I can only really access photos from the last couple of weeks. They are nice enough photos but they lack a bit of variety, you have seen them all recently, and they are not necessarily my better flower photos.
Marigold at Mencap
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
If I were developing a proper 12,000 word piece, I would then move on to muse on the mutability of life and how we change and improvement are not the same things. Life is simply a jerk progression, like the WP photo storage, where we jerk from one imperfection to the next. The final display is, like our lives, a poor reflection of the quality of material available, which has been severely limited by circumstances beyond our control. I think that makes sense, though it may just be self-absorbed twaddle. If that’s the case let’s agree to call it “deep”. That’s a useful neutral word to cover many eventualities.
Alpine Strawberries – Sherwood
A Bear in a Tree
A poppy, still crumpled from the bud
There are several things I could move on to discuss as an ending. Cooking with arthritis is a current topic of interest. As a condition, not as an ingredient. Despite the new medication my fingers are actually getting worse. More fingers are being affected and more joints within those fingers are being affected. The index finger on my right hand now has painful swellings in all three joints and I could probably find hand modelling work as something out of Lord of the Rings or for those appalling Versus Arthritisadverts we now have on TV.
It seems to me that the name Versus Arthritis was developed by an idiot and approved, probably at great cost, by a board of idiots. Same goes for the TV adverts they run. In fact, despite the advertising I have spent the last two years not seeking help from them because the adverts are so bad. Today is the first time I’ve actually been on their site, and though some of the stuff appears useful, I may not rush back.
I was amused to see that one of the organisations that merged to form Versus Arthritis was formed in 1947 as the British Rheumatic Association (BRA). Even in 1947 I’m sure bra was a well known term for women’s underwear. Assuming that the organisation wasn’t formed by 14-year-old boys, it looks like the pitiful naming tradition has continued over the years.
Cooking with arthritis used to mean that my fingers ached after kneading bread. Now it means I can’t grip a vegetable peeler properly, can’t (on bad days) cut through veg single-handed and can’t fetch and carry without using both hands, as my grip has gone.
Tonight’s tea is roasted veg with pasties, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. I may be arthritic, and dreading the new improved editor but I’m not malnourished.
Note on the Dominic Cummings cut-out I mentioned a few days back (though I can’t actually find the reference, so I may just have thought I mentioned it). It was taken down but my sister sent me a links after seeing something on Twitter. Here is a link if you want it. I find it amusing, even if the story is now dead and brushed under the carpet.
And at just over 700 words, I think there is just time to sign off, and take my tea, carefully, from the oven.
I’m feeling lazy today, so I am sitting watching TV as I blog. This is why I started to limit myself to 30 minutes of writing, as writing like this can easily spread to three or four hours.
I’m trying out a new typing finger as the first two on my right hand are now aching from arthritis and one of the joints is red and swollen. I’m now using my ring finger, with a little help from the little finger. It seems to be working out alright.
Bee on Chives – Wilford
When I sit at the table and use the both hands it isn’t so bad, but when I’m sitting in front of the TV I have to use my left hand to hold the netbook.
The accuracy isn’t all it could be, but I’m sure that will come with practice. It is a whole new chapter in my story of old age and hypochondria.
Damsel Fly – Wilford
The hospital rang this morning for a telephone consultation. My blood test results were all good, which is nice to know and, as the new drug isn’t doing much, I have been told to increase the dose from next Tuesday.
I also have to keep notes of the swelling of my fingers. The good news on this subject is that my feet are not as painful as usual, so the drugs could be working. If I could learn to type with my feet this would be the answer to my typing problems.
Iris at Mencap Gardens
The photographs are a selection from yesterday. The damsel fly and bumblebee took some getting. The waterlily was easier, as they tend not to flit about.
I’m wondering if I could start a whole new genre of misery memoirs, featuring old men grumbling about illness, technology and how things used to be better. For “misery memoir” substitute “curmudgeon chronicles”.
My diary for yesterday – 29 April 2020. I’m writing it in the early hours of the next day after a full day of loafing. I thought I’d have a go at writing a diary so I can look back in years to come. I also means that I can moan in this one and write a soup recipe in the other post.
Despite my commitment to earlier rising I managed to roll over and go back to sleep after Julia got up. This is becoming a habit and something I need to avoid. It started as a matter of practicality – I would let everyone else in the house use the bathroom and dress before rushing round, eating breakfast prepared by Julia and then giving her a lift to work.
It has, over the years, become less a matter of practicality and more a matter of laziness. I am also finding, with having arthritis, that it isn’t so easy to rush in a morning. I used to resemble a meercat, bright and busy, but I now move like a tectonic plate. The grating in my knees and back adds to the impression of geological motion.
My back has been particularly bad for the last three days and I’m having trouble getting around. I am using my stick even to get round the house. Last week I had trouble with my knees and ended up wearing a knee brace. I seem to be falling apart by installments.
When I finally creaked downstairs the post had already been and I had a letter about a telephone consultation with rheumatology. I’m beginning to wonder why we can’t always do it by phone, apart from blood tests and X-Rays. Later in the day I had a phone call to tell me the blood tests results were OK and I could start taking the Methotrexate. This was an exact copy of the call I had yesterday, They are trying to patch a service together using part-time staff and staff out of retirement, and there are a few rough edges. On the other hand, it’s not a great problem to get an extra phone call – it’s a lot better than not getting the results at all, which, unfortunately, has happened in the past.
The Methotrexate has several side effects, and I think I may have one of them as my stomach is giving trouble. After taking the pills last night (you take six on one day and then take a vitamin pill on the other six days) I did not feel very well. On the other hand it may be coincidence. The vitamin pills are to help counter some of the drug’s side effects. You know you have problems when you have to take pills to protect you from the other pills you are taking.
If I had my life over again I would look after my health and my money more sensibly. And my wife.
I made soup for lunch, which I have already written about.
Later I went online and finalised my grocery order. We have a Click & Collect order to pick up tomorrow and, as it’s difficult to order groceries two weeks in advance, it needed quite a lot of alteration. You have to secure a slot as soon as it becomes available and worry about the details later.
I did put in an order two weeks ago and haven’t been able to alter it until now. The original order had 19 items and they were unable to supply five of them. I cancelled some things and added others. When I went to checkout I found four of the items were out of stock, including the flour. Twenty minutes and they were already cancelling things…
I went back to the flour to look for alternatives and there were none, However, they were still showing my original selection to be in stock. I thought I’d order it again just to check. It was out of stock when I got back to checkout. I am thinking bad thoughts about ASDA.
Six weeks after the panic buying and I still can’t buy flour. I also had trouble with eggs, baked beans and tinned chickpeas. Makes you wonder about the “robust supply chains” they claim they have.
The ASDA site even asks if you can go round the shop instead of using the delivery or collection services. To be honest, no. If I do click and collect or delivery I meet one or two people, who keep well away from me. Mathematically that’s a lot better than walking round a shop full of people who walk too close.
I’m not a great worrier, but I’ve decided on a strategy and I’m going to keep to it.
And here, as promised in the last post, is the less happy post.
I had a telephone conversation with a rheumatology consultant this morning, as they don’t want people going to hospital. I’m happy with that as I didn’t want to go either, even before the rise of Covid 19.
The outcome was that as I now have three more fingers swelling up I qualify for treatment. If I had only two affected joints, despite the difficulty and pain, I would not qualify for more than a quick-fix injection. I now have to wait for a nurse to ring me and arrange the prescription.
The fingers are now going down again, so with any luck I will get the prescription before another flare up.
After a week or more of conflicting government advice about risk and isolation the consultant said I am considered medium risk and should go out for exercise but avoid going into shops. That should be interesting when we return to work…
Then Julia got as telephone call from the doctor. Her blood test appointment was cancelled again. Then, when she objected, the doctor read her notes and reinstated it. I suspect they were just trying to cancel as much as possible.
The new arrangement is that we have to go down to the surgery at 1.45 pm, where they will take blood. This has to be done before 2.00pm to get it to the lab.
Woman on a Mission
They will not be taking her blood pressure – she has been told to go and buy her own machine and telephone the surgery with the results.
No, I’m not making it up.
Her risk category is high, but she is, according to the doctor, still allowed to go shopping. This is handy, as we need to buy a blood pressure machine. We tried online but there was a virtual queue at Boots of over 20,000 just to get online. There was no queue at Amazon but they wanted £4.49 for postage and packing and another £4.49 for express delivery which was 3 days. Three days is not “express”, and £8.98 is taking the mickey.
So there we are – a week into lockdown and Julia is high risk. However, unlike medium-risk me, she is allowed to go into shops, and most likely, to go back to work next week.
Again, I am not making this up.
Here are some pictures from our trip out for medical advice and a blood pressure machine.
Most of the people queuing outside the surgery were waiting for the pharmacy to open, as it has restricted hours. The pharmacy we went to in Sherwood was only letting in two customers at a time. Julia managed to get both the blood pressure machine and a packet of paracetamol. This is ironic. The pain-killing gel has not been working on my fingers and I’ve been leaving out last packet of paracetamol in case we become ill. Now that my fingers are no longer painful we have managed to get more pills.
Pharmacy Queue – with hindsight we should have joined this one
All the shops seem to have queuing systems now. We are going out to join one shortly, because, when we got home, we found that the blood pressure machine only has two batteries packed with it and needs four. They are AAA. If they were AA we would have plenty because I use them in my camera.
No wonder Julia’s blood pressure is high.
Don’t believe the packet – batteries were definitely not included!
I had a letter from the hospital last week. In all the excitement I forgot to tell you. I now have two sorts of arthritis and two joints I’d never heard of before.
I have osteoarthritis, which I already knew without the help of a highly trained medical professional. I also have psoriatic arthritis. This adds a few symptoms (it is apparently the one that makes my fingers swell up) and is a pain to spell. This, as I think I’ve already mentioned, is particularly annoying as, due to a previous poor diagnosis, I’ve only just mastered the spelling of eczema.
There are a number of things I can do to help myself – according to the internet if I lose weight, cut down on fatty foods and sugar and eat more fish and fresh veg this will do me good.
At the moment I’m trying to think of anything that isn’t improved by following this advice. Unless you are allergic to fish and fresh veg this is general purpose dietary advice. It’s as useful as saying that if you want to live a long time you should breathe in, breathe out and remember to wake up every morning.
Incidentally, there’s a link on the internet telling you about the five foods to avoid if you have arthritis. Unfortunately it’s a film and they tell you what the foods are without showing you. This is no use to a a man with no sound on his computer.
To add to my misery my computer has just started in that mode where it overwrites good stuff if you go back to edit. I forget what it’s called, and even worse, I don’t know how to switch it off.
We went for breakfast this morning. Julia paid. As I’m giving up my day off to act as her taxi driver while she supervises the fitting of a new sheet on the polytunnel, I think this is fair. It hasn’t improved my temper or my views on organisations that can’t organise relief staff, but at least I’m not hungry. After leaving the all I could eat breakfast before I filled myself to the earlobes I am in a good place – comfortably full with a warm glow that comes from having had value for money.
However, this doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven her.
It does mean that I had a good laugh with my food. A family arrived just as I was putting my crumpets through the toaster a second time. They immediately started getting in the way, though I was intrigued to find that the father, who had a lisp, called his son “son” at every opportunity. It’s good to see a man who faces up to a challenge and doesn’t let a speech impediment restrict his behaviour. On the other hand, I did wonder if they could have chosen a better name – it seems the kid is called Zachary.
And that’s not all. They made a big thing about being vegetarian, even down to asking if the vegan sausages were OK for vegetarians. I know vegans have to check if vegetarian food is OK for them but I’ve never heard an enquiry the other way. I started to harbour suspicions about the vegetarian credentials, and intelligence, of this family.
Then we got onto nuts. Was the breakfast suitable to sufferers of nut allergies. The answer was that the breakfast cereals may have had contact with nuts in the factory.
“Oh, that’s alright, a trace doesn’t matter.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t an allergy, an actual allergy rather than a fashion accessory allergy, life threatening and triggered by even a trace of the substance in question? I knew a bloke who was allergic to fish. He kissed his girlfriend after she had eaten fish several hours previously and ended up in hospital. That’s an allergy.
When you interrogate the serving staff about allergens and then say a trace doesn’t matter you are actually proving you don’t have an allergy, just a love of hearing your own voice. (As an aside here, I always try never to irritate anyone who will be alone with my food. I think this is a good policy.)
I’ll finish this subject here, as the next 200 words don’t really add much, apart from a heap of abuse about a woman seeking attention.
I’ll finish the post with my new joints. They were listed as SI joints, I’ve heard of SI Units and CV joints, but never SI joints. Turns out they are sacroiliac joints. I don’t really see the point of them, apart from holding my hips and back in place, which I’m sure could be done without extra joints, but, having read about them, I am now quite concerned. Fortunately, mine seem in good shape at the moment.
That’s the trouble with doctors, the more you see them , the more things get looked at until, eventually, you end up with a new problem. Since finding out I had sacroiliac joints I have had them in my thoughts every day.
Gold Medallion – Richard the Lionheart
The gold medallions are part of a series from the Cook Islands. They are 11mm in diameter and weigh half a gram.
When these Kings lived they didn’t know that the Cook Islands existed, but that doesn’t stop the Cook Islands and their relentless drive to make money from the international trade in over-priced numismatic items.
I’m sure these coins are all sold out, but have a look if you want to see the depths to which the coin trade has sunk. We had some, but I’m glad to say we sold them before I started work in the shop.
I am writing this on a computer that has, according to the date of the last file I saved, not run since 2012. It has been switched off so long that we had to reset the clock before Google would allow us access. And, to even get to that point, we had to find the yellow cable that connects it to the router, as it has no wireless capability.
It runs on Vista and Microsoft Word 2010 and is a pleasure to use after so many weeks on the netbook.
The netbook was a mixed blessing, but it kept me going and I have been very grateful for it, despite my more than occasional criticism of its lack of speed.
All I need to do is wipe away six year’s supply of dust and spider webs, and it will be almost as good as new.
I say “almost” because there is the question of the On/Off switch.
There isn’t one. It broke and for the last six months of its active life I had to start the computer by hotwiring it, or, for those of you unaccustomed to the vernacular of the street (well, the 1970s street) touching two bare wires together.
It works, and more important, it cost nothing to do. These are two factors that are close to my heart.
That’s probably the biggest news of the day, though my three-centre medical excursion seemed big until we got the computer running.
It started with a visit to the doctor at 8.00 to discuss the pain in my little finger. At this point I’d like to say, because I have difficulty getting this point over to the medical profession, that although I don’t like to complain it is very difficult having an arthritic little finger. It doesn’t seem like much but it can be remarkably painful and it makes everyday life (like tucking my shirt in, packing parcels or washing up) painful and difficult, though the washing up water is very soothing.
So far it’s taken me a week to get the X-ray appointment, ten days to get the results and ten days to get this appointment (that could have been a week, but it would have meant missing work, and I don’t want that).
So are they going to give me anti-inflammatories, you ask, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?
The X-ray, I’m told is not typical of osteo-artritis so they need to find out exactly what is happening. Two arthritic fingers, two different types of arthritis. What are the chances of that? I can’t win a lottery, but when it comes to medical curiosities I lead the field. Having said that, I just looked up the different sorts of arthritis and am feeling slightly less blase about it now.
They sent me for blood tests. Eight blood tests. That’s nearly an armful. (I put that bit in for you Derrick).
After the blood tests I went for my 9.30 chest X-ray appointment.
In a week or so the results will be in.
At that point, you ask, will they give me anti-inflammatories, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?
At that point they are going to get me an appointment with a specialist.
I really am being spoiled this weekend, with another yet another relaxing day.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing – it never is though, is it?
My arthritis flared up a few days ago. I now have it in three fingers, two on the right hand and one on the left. After a couple of days aching it was so bad yesterday that I could barely use my hands. Typing was OK and I could handle a knife and fork (carefully) but writing, for instance, was nearly impossible and the aches were spreading up my arms. Finally I gave in took paracetemol, and when that did nothing, tried ibruprofen. I’m not supposed to have that but I’m not sure why.
It didn’t seem to cause any problems, but then it didn’t do much to kill the pain either. This morning the pain was still bad and dressing was difficult. Then, as the morning advanced, the pain disappeared. It’s now disappeared entirely, leaving just a couple of stiff knuckles.
I’ve been racking my brains for any clue as to what could have set it off. I’ve done nothing strenuous with my hands, not changed my diet and haven’t a clue what could have set it off.
Anyway, not to grumble.
I’m going to have to do some research on this because if it comes back I’ve decided to go to the doctor. It was that bad…
The only thing I’ve had that I don’t generally have kefir, and that’s supposed to be good for you. It’s even good for arthritis according to this article. I’m mystified.
To be honest, I spend most of my life mystified so that’s no surprise.
We’ve just had the traditional turkey stew with dumplings. Julia made it while I was asleep in front of the TV. A good wife truly does have a price above rubies. After that we had Christmas pudding – we’ve been pacing ourselves.
Today in the shop we had quite a few customers plus a dozen parcels to send out, so it was busy enough to prevent boredom but not busy enough to be frantic.
All three of us ended up serving several times, which is a sign of reasonable customer throughput.
We also bought a collection of coins and medallions and some sovereigns, so it was lively in both directions.
I’m off to take Number Two Son to work in a minute and won’t have a lot of time when I get back (at about 11.15) so, having snoozed and eaten my way through the evening, I’m posting this quickly to keep up with the posting challenge.
I think this is day 82 of the posting challenge as I started it a few days before the haiku challenge.
Finally, for now, I’m suffering from my arthritic finger again. After following Tootlepedal’s advice to pull it and wiggle it I can report that it is considerably improved, despite the counter-intuitive nature of the treatment.