Tag Archives: arthritis

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

Time to Plant a Tree

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 HotelHenry 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.”

Figs at Wilford Mencap Garden

Figs at Wilford Mencap Garden

 

 

 

 

Musings

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.

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.

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.

 

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 Arthritis adverts 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.

Some Thoughts and a Few Photos

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

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

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

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”.