Tag Archives: medication

Day 220

I’ve just been watching a couple of programmes on Philip Larkin. There are four on tonight but I can’t take so much concentrated culture. I hadn’t realised that he died when he was 63. I may have left it a bit late to become a famous poet, as I am now a year older than he was when he died and nobody has heard of me.

I was finally able to talk to a doctor about my adverse reaction to the medication. They hadn’t been able to fit me in for a telephone consultation yesterday and the receptionist was in the middle of fobbing me off again when I stopped her and told her I was confused as I’d been told I could ring about adverse reactions to medication at any time. The words “adverse reaction to medication” worked like a charm and a doctor eventually rang me to discuss it. It seems it’s a well known side effect. I already knew that. They are going to change my medication to slow-release capsules, which should, with luck, solve the problem.

Backlit Sumac Tree in the MENCAP garden

At work, there were a few parcels to sort and the normal phone calls to answer.. Julia rang in the early afternoon to ask me for a word she couldn’t call to mind. It’s normally “sumac” because she has a blind-spot concerning that particular tree. They have one in the Mencap garden so it does crop up in conversation.

This time, however, it was “name a motorway services in Cumbria”. She meant Tebay. Fortunately I am a husband of many talents.

They are known for their pies. Most of my pictures which include Tebay in the title feature pies.

Lamb and Mint – Tebay


Day 219

Two acceptances today – one where the editor told me they thought a touch of punctuation might be in order. I agreed with them – I had looked at putting a dash in that very place but then decided, in the interests of simplicity, to leave it out. Nice to find I’m synchronised in my thinking with and editor. I bet if I’d put it in they would have suggested leaving it out. That has happened before.

The second was for a members’ anthology. They asked for 3-5 submissions. If you send five you are guaranteed that one will be accepted. I didn’t see the point of that, as I send them in to be tested, so I sent three. One was accepted, so I passed the test.

So far, so good. I still have a couple waiting for decisions, and really should get on with writing more. My literary legacy won’t write itself.

I had what I though was probably an adverse reaction to medication last night. If I say it was a digestive upheaval you can fill in the details for yourself. I didn’t get a lot of sleep  and still felt actively ill in the morning so, regretfully, I took the day off. It was lunchtime before I got downstairs and after 2.00 before I felt like doing anything. That activity took the form of writing a rather dull explanation of what a haibun is (I was asked a couple of days ago) so I left it when Julia returned home in favour5 of drinking tea and watching TV.

Mint Moth

I’m feeling better now, though slightly resentful that I told the doctor I didn’t want to alter the medication. I don’t think their medical education, despite being long, is very flexible. When a patient tells you he doesn’t want more pills as a known side effect is digestive disruption, and he already has trouble like that from another set of pills, I think it might be a good idea to listen and work out a different solution. But what do I know?

Mint Moth

Pictures are Mint Moths – I was discussing them with Helen earlier.

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.

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…


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”.


Lockdown Diaries

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.

plastic container with fruits and vegetables on green grass

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

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.

person holding silver blister pack

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com


Down at the Doctor

First – blood test at 11.40. I managed it just in time after doing a few errands round town.

Despite the experience of the last blood test, which made the nurse more nervous than I was, everything went well. I hardly felt the needle go in and next thing I knew we had a tube of blood. I’ve had no phone call this afternoon so I assume I’m within the correct range and will have at least another three weeks before the next test.

That is good.

Then, after a few more errands, some washing up and cooking a pan of carrot and ginger soup, it was time for my 4.30 doctor’s appointment.

It was the follow up to a letter from hospital about my heart scan. No problem, just a tweaking of tablets. Clearly it wasn’t cause for concern as the hospital had waited two months to send the letter.

I assume the delay is calculated to allow the Grim Reaper to balance supply and demand.

I took my list with me.

We did an Epworth Test to examine my propsensity for falling asleep in front of the TV. I was within the normal band and thus it’s another thing to put down to the aging process.

We will be moving on from there and looking at ways of stopping my nightly trips to the toilet. This will be after I have a month of increasing the dosage of heart pills so we’re only changing one thing at a time.

After five years of disturbed sleep another month shouldn’t harm me. The question is whether I am waking up and wanting the toilet, or wanting the toilet and waking up. There is a subtle difference.

The doctor thinks it may be prostate-related.

I’m hoping that something happens in the next few weeks that diverts her attention to a different conclusion.

If Julia, for instance, notes that I am waking myself by snoring we might still be able to blame sleep apnoea for me waking up. That would be a nuisance, but I would be able to keep my trousers on.

I also dispensed with the asthma test advice that was printed on my last prescription – seems it’s not meant for me.

Weight is holding steady. That’s sort of good news. But not good enough. More exercise, less food.

So, two visits and I’m pretty much in the clear, with no new problems for the moment. I am feeling quite relieved.


Saturday’s list

Mainly, I’m going to see my Dad today, but the morning will be taken up with yawning, displacement activity, moving books into piles mentally marked “Keep”, “Possibly” and “Not Yet” (you can see why the charity donation programme is grinding along slowly), and watching cookery programmes.

Cookery programmes fall under the categories of “Health”, “Nutrition” and “Education”. I have no conscience about watching them while Julia works. I do have a conscience about watching comedies and crime fiction, so I don’t watch them on Saturday and Sunday while she is at work. Quizzes are “Education”. Soaps, Australian soaps, most American comedy and programmes about the emergency services are, if I find myself watching at any time, are a sign that I need to go for a walk.

Since my trip to the doctor in December I have been given another blood pressure tablet, aspirin, and a pill to stop the aspirin eating my stomach away. The Taking of the Tablets is now quite an undertaking. That is now something I need to schedule in my day.

When you are taking pills to nullify the side effects of other pills it is time to start thnking about some serious weight loss. We are still, little by little, getting through the sweets and biscuits we were given for Christmas. Another week should do it. Next year I think we may allow ourselves a week of relaxed diet and then donate the remaining calories to charity. It’s a bit Scrooge-like but I need to get a grip.

I’m off to see my father now. I will spend the journey down looking for Buzzards and Red Kites. The journey back will be occupied by me musing on mortality, and (mainly) by wondering how a man with Alzhemer’s has beaten me at dominoes. Again.

The bird pictures are ones from the day we were attacked by the swan.


Gadwall drake – Rufford Abbey lake


Gadwall duck on Rufford Abbey lake