Tag Archives: arthritis

Day 125

It might have been having a good moan about it, or it may have been the application of hot water bottles over the last couple of weeks, but my fingers were a lot better this morning. Whatever the reason, it is a welcome development.

As a result, everything seems better. Even the birds are singing more tunefully, and I deadheaded 24 poppy stalks this afternoon, bringing the running total to 36, with a few more to go, as I didn’t do the second clump.

This is a very different pattern top last year, when we were getting about a dozen a day and they were lasting until mid afternoon. As far as I can tell they are lasting two, sometimes three, days, at the moment. The effect is the same, with lots of poppies out, but they aren’t producing the number of blooms daily that they were last year.

Whether it’s the time of year, the weather or the age of the plants I don’t know. I must observe and see what happens later in the year.

I’ve just finished watching the final of Masterchef and, though lost in admiration for the winner, am left wondering why they bother. Who needs a plate  spotted with oil and smeared with foam? Who, seriously, wants a dish with a name that includes so many words that you need to breathe in the middle of it?

“Stuffed chicken wing, chestnut cream, chervil root and Périgord truffle.”

I’ve written shorter poems than that, and I’m sure it’s not the longest recipe title I could find if I set my mind to it.  It should be possible to find one that includes the words “with pickled vegetables, citrus foam and a Parmesan tuille”. Some of them go on for an awful long time.

Foam, by the way, is not food.

Poppy

 

 

 

 

Day 120

On a scale of 1-10, where 10 makes me think of amputation as a realistic cure, I started last week with a left hand experiencing a flare up to level 8, which has now reduced to a level 4. It’s still sore but is mainly limited to one finger – the hand is just about useless but doesn’t hurt when at rest. The right hand started at around a 6 and has reduced to 2. It’s still not great but, as I proved at work today, if I have the right size of box and am able to get it at the point of balance, I can still lift a decent weight of medallions. The left hand is less good – I came close to letting an empty plate slip from my grasp when moving it tonight without proper planning.

What I consider level 1 has changed over the years. For many years I didn’t even think about my fingers and it was a bit of a shock to suddenly find myself with the hands of an old man, which happened virtually overnight. A bit like my white hair. One day it became shot with grey and after six months of pepper and salt I woke up one morning to find it had gone white. Of course, that was better than the events of a few years later, when I woke up and it had just gone . . .

Fortunately my self-image doesn’t revolve around my looks.

It’s methotrexate night  on Saturday (a far  cry from the Saturdays of my younger self). I take it on Saturday night as it allows me Sunday to get over any possible digestive consequences. Methotrexate can be a strange medication and the effects are still a little random.

It is ironic, as I may have observed before, that pills to treat arthritis, which in my case causes stiff fingers and much diminished grip, should come in the form of tiny pills and, often, in a bottle with a fiendish child-proof top. I intend to have a small laugh about that as I wrestle with them.

Day 109

When I got home tonight the first of the orange poppies was out. They have been developing buds for the last few days, so this was good to see, I am going to try to keep a count this year and see how many flowers they produce. They do well for a self-sown flower growing from cracks in the concrete.

We had the customary crop of vexatious calls and emails from people who shouldn’t allowed out without a carer.

One buyer, who gave us a thorough grilling before purchase, has already sent his purchase back. We found this out from eBay as he didn’t have the courtesy to get in touch. We are waiting to find out what was wrong with it, as we are certain it matches the description we used to sell it.

Someone rang, as is usual, with an enquiry about whether we bought rare coins. And as usual it turned out to be a 50p piece that was worth . . . 50p.

And so it went on.

When I had a few minutes during the day I had a go at pushing the levers on my new chair. It is, when properly adjusted, much more comfortable than the old one. That’s a measure of how far we have advanced – everybody seems to have swivelling office chairs now. I only tried one when I started at the shop, until then I’d just had chairs with four legs.

Traffic was strange on the way home. I got halfway home with no traffic on the road, a rare, but welcome event.The second half was absolutely blocked solid – and I have no clue what caused it, as there was nothing there once it started moving again.

The only other point of note today was that my fingers are giving trouble five fingers from eight are stiff and several are painful. I’m hoping it is on of those temporary glitches and not a sign that the drugs have stopped working.

 

 

 

 

A Better Day

I’m glad to say that things have improved a lot from yesterday and my hands continued to improve during the day.

I think I may have identified the cause of the problem. I have been adjusting the day I take the pills on and have probably stretched things to breaking point. The pharmacist was late with my prescription last time, which moved things on a few days, then I had to move them on a bit to return the pill day to Saturday night. It has to be then in case the stomach trouble, which can be a feature of taking Methotrexate, cuts in. It’s much better taking the pills on Saturday night and being uncomfortable on Sunday.  Taking them during the week and being poorly on a working day is not convenient, and being ill on our joint day off on Wednesday is a definite no-no.

As usual, the cause of the problem is down to me. I am hoping that ordering the pills earlier will cut out most of the problem. However, as yesterday’s post shows, I can still have problems even when I don’t order pills that I don’t need.

Nothing much happened for the rest of the day, I cancelled the online grocery order because we only need a few things to top up, and have plenty of all the staples. That’s what happens with online shopping. I could get them to bring as smaller order but it’s £4.50 to select and deliver and another £4 if I don’t make the £40 minimum order. That’s too much just for the convenience of getting up in the middle of the evening to accept groceries, and substitutions. We will shop for bread and  a few bits and pieces this week but don’t need much.

We had the second part of last night’s Chinese takeaway and i didn’t really enjoy it. I think we may have broken the cycle of ordering takeaways, and our palates may have changed for the better too.  At least some good will have come out of the lockdown.

The picture is the owl sculpture from Harlow Carr gardens – was it really only two years ago? I was able to walk a lot better, and I still had a decent WP editor which allowed plenty of pictures and video clips. If only I’d realised how lucky I was…

 

Bad Hand Day

Sorry about my absence from posting yesterday. I had a bad hand day and by the time I had finished doing the comments and  a few other bits all I could do was sit in front of the TV and hold a hot water bottle while contemplating removing two of my fingers with a bread knife.

Yes, I was brought down by my two little fingers. Thy have swollen up and started hurting, and in doing so prevented the rest of my hands from working and removed my will to live. It’s strange how something that is under one percent of body mass can stop everything working. I must definitely start that diary I keep talking about and see if I can trace what is making this happen, or even spot some early warning signs.

However, for the moment I am living in ignorance. They aren’t too bad this morning but they still aren’t right either – time will tell whether they improv or deteriorate in the next eight hours.

I’m certainly having a better time than one of the patients at the surgery. I had a text message yesterday telling me that the surgery had not issued my prescription for Pregabalin  and that I had to contact the doctor to discuss my symptoms. So I contacted them. I actually got through without being put in a queue, for once. The conversation went like this.

“Hello, you’ve just sent me a text about a prescription.”

(They did the name and address and date of birth check here…)

“Yes, Mr Wilson, we can’t issue that prescription unless you talk to a doctor first.”

“Well it’s not for me, I haven’t ordered anything and I don’t know what Pregabalin is. This is a message for somebody else.”

“It’s for your Sciatica, but you need to talk to a doctor first about your symptoms.”

“I haven’t got Sciatica, this is for somebody else.”

There was a short pause as they digested this. I don’t suppose they get many patients denying they have symptoms.

“Oh, I’m sorry, we must have sent it in error.”

“No need to apologise, it’s not a problem for me, but I’m a bit worried there’s somebody who needs a prescription who won’t be getting one.”

“Oh, yes, we’d better look into that.”

I hope they did, and I hope they eventually issued the Sciatica pills. I’d hate to be sitting at home expecting a cure, only to find they’d given it to someone else, someone

who is a little worried that they will cock up his Methotrexate in a couple of weeks. I’m steadily losing confidence in the NHS…

Me and Technology

I had an email today to tell me that ASDA were going to discontinue the use of plastic bags in their on-line shopping services. To be honest we went back to plastic bags during lockdown because it was simpler with the deliveries and my arthritis. We paid 40p a week extra and most weeks we got a couple of bags and a load of loose shopping so we discontinued it. TESCO was even worse with their tray liners – massive bags with no purpose once they had been used for shopping delivery, and too big for a man with arthritic fingers to lift.

Back at yesterday’s post, yes, it was the nuns. I have dealt with nuns before when I was selling poultry and always found them charming people, despite their portrayal in fiction. I would, however, hate to get on the wrong side of one as they always seem to be ladies of strong character. I have never dealt with them in the shop, though we have dealt with church volunteers, church wardens, temple elders and priests in the shop. The last vicar wanted a Roman coin to illustrate his sermon to a group of kids (render unto Caesar etc) and we also managed to sell him a widow’s mite (all those Sunday school classes as a kid finally paid off!). And yes, visitors to religious locations do take the opportunity to unload their holiday change. The local Sikh temple brings in regular boxes of foreign coins – mainly rupees and Canadian dollars – which I think come from an appeal for foreign change and the local Catholics brings in quite a lot that gets put in collections. There is probably a lesson to be learnt there about the relative values of the two religions…

This afternoon, by coincidence, we had a phone call from the lady at the catholic Aid Foundation who is going to bring us some boxes of donated coins on Friday morning. It seems this is a week for me to indulge in religious practices.

There were no orders this morning so I used my time before opening to write this post and email it to myself. I’m just adding a few bits, then I’m going to watch TV with a cup oftea and feel virtuous at having completed my blog post before I needed to panic.

This is, I think, the first time that technology has been employed to write the blog. Apart from computeres, but they don’t count because they are just big electric typewriters.

Modern Problems

If today follows yesterday’s pattern I will be able to type this morning but by evening I won’t even be able to sit without being aware of the pain in my hands. Sorry if it seems like I’m moaning a lot, but I find it difficult to write about politics, philosophy or economics when my fingers hurt. I generally find it easier to write about the pressing matters close to home. Fortunately I only have severe pain for a a few days every year and haven’t had it this bad for about a year. However, it is human nature not to bother writing about things that go well.

In fact, it was just before lockdown. My hands were really bad when we went down to Suffolk in what turned out to be the week before lockdown. It was an interesting week. All the Londoners had fled to their country cottages, food was short in supermarkets, restaurants were nearly empty in the evenings and I could barely manage my shirt buttons. Yes, on one of the more historic weeks I have lived through, I had trouble dressing myself. It will be an interesting chapter in my memoirs – the world collapses and I debate the merits of wearing T Shirts. Or Tee shirts. Or T-Shirts. I wasn’t sure how to spell it, so I checked it up. Seems the rest of the world isn’t sure either.

I’m going to make brunch now. Part of it is sourdough bread and I’m not looking forward to cutting it. The bread knife, wielded by stiff fingers, does not cope with the bottom crust, so I have to bring out a carving knife and push it though the last bit. I should have stuck to using sliced bread.

Who would have thought it? When you are twenty you wonder about the mysteries of life, like why you have to work five whole days between weekends, whether we actually will ever get household robots and where you will keep all your money after a glittering career. When you are sixty you wonder if you will be able to make brunch without severing a finger. The gulf between the two things is fertile ground for a game of “What have I done with my Life?”

Ah well, brunch…

Just Another Rant

After a painful day yesterday I am enjoying my day off today and am feeling quite sprightly. There’s a slight bittersweet quality about the pain free nature of the day because I achieved it by taking a double dose of paracetamol (which is a bad thing to do) and a double dose of ibuprofen (ditto). There’s some reason that I’m not supposed to take ibuprofen. The doctor did tell me, but I’ve forgotten. They have given me a gel to use, because I can have ibuprofen as a gel, just not as a tablet, unfortunately that has one major fault – it doesn’t actually work.

The other, minor,  problem is that my knobbly fingers have an unsettling quality at the best of times. but when coated in a shiny gel they look like the sort of low-budget horror make-up associated with British TV of the 1960s.

I wasn’t actually going to talk about my delinquency regarding over the counter pain remedies, I was thinking of a piece on a social issue, or  something philosophical on writing. Somehow I just seem to find my level chatting about health, TV or sleeping. Not even talking about health really, my subject is mainly  unhealth, which probably isn’t a word. However, it stands in relation to unhealthy as health and healthy stand together, so it should be a word.

I haven’t been keeping up with drinking guidelines recently because I stopped drinking  thirty years ago. I just checked them up and see the Government suggests limiting alcohol consumption to six pints a week. Beer, that is. I was going to check it up in terms of vodka but you have to download an app to check that. Download an app? What is the world coming to? It’s bad enough that I had stop smoking and drinking, now they want me to clutter my life with apps. I really would rather be a drunkard with  a hacking cough than the sort of person who browses a mobile phone and uses apps. No wonder the world is in such a state.

Next thing you know we’ll have  a Police App. Been the victim of crime? Download our app and press a load of buttons. It won’t solve your problems with anti-social behaviour and it won’t catch burglars, so in that respect it will be just like the real police.  Oh yes, it’s that time again, voting for our local police commissioner. I will, as usual, be taking a stroll down to the polling booth to spoil my paper with the words “Why are we wasting money on this nonsense?”.

 

 

A Few Bits of News

The arthritis drugs aren’t working as well as they have been and my fingers are starting to play up. I wonder if it’s the time of year as they did this to me last year. As the world slipped into lockdown my major concern was getting dressed with half my fingers out of action. It’s staring again and this morning I had to use a hot water bottle to get my hands working when I got to the shop.

he anticoagulants aren’t working well either, as shown by my recent test results. They are wandering about all over the place and have become rather too high recently – meaning I’m now in the zone where I could have  a problem with bleeding. Not so bad for a shop assistant but when I was gardening this would have been a nightmare. I used to bleed badly after pruning pyracantha at the best of times. It would probably look like a horror film if I did it these days. I’ve had a leter from the hospital about this – ity seems they are seeing more erratic results in lockdown, and that levels generally seem to go up. That’s a relief, as I have been trying to work out why it was happening. Seems I’m just part of a lockdown phenomenon.

Do you remember that I was short-listed by Acumen magazine a few weeks ago? I prophesied that I would fail to make it from shortlist and my prophesy turns out to have been wrong. I have two poems accepted for the next issue and have just checked the proofs. I’ve never been accepted by a magazine that has proofs. I must definitely be going up in the world.

I think I’m going to have to stop writing about my poetry writing because things are going too well at the moment and it’s getting a bit close to showing off. I’ll wait for some bad news before writing about it again. To be fair, it should only be a week or two before I get cut down to size.

Wednesday 8th July Part I

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.

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V