As y'all know, frequently autoimmune diseases travel in packs. So many of us have Lupus in addition to Sjogren's Syndrome. Here's a good introductory video with Lupus basics:
Friday, October 24, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
My friend Bev, that is.
True to form, we sipped mochas and yakked as we maneuvered our way around town. And true to form, probably covered two or three times as many miles as necessary since we tend to wander a bit. Actually, we wander a LOT which usually is a good thing. We find the darndest things that way.
We did some shopping then decided to have lunch, so Bev pulled her van into a parking spot. One of those long low concrete barriers was at the head of the spot. We were hooting with laughter over something she had said, also true to form, so didn't hear that low, grinding, scraaaaaaaaaping sound...
So two hours later, after we had lingered over our meal and coffee and conversation, Bev strapped herself in and put the van into reverse. This time the low, grinding, scraping sound was much much louder.
Bev threw the thing into park and hopped out. She cautiously peeked around to the front of the car, stuck her hand under the bumper and retrieved a long black plastic chunk of something.
"Thank goodness. It's only this. Whatever this is." She tossed the thing into the back seat and we set off again.
SCRAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPEEEEEEEEEE crunch crunch crunch.
Um. Bev? I think there must be something else.....I stepped out of the car and buckled over with laughter as I saw fully half of her front bumper on. the. ground.
"Oh, man. Rick is SO buying me a new car!", was her response. Which made me laugh even harder.
Long story short: Bev had no one available to come and pick us up, so decided that we had to get the van home by hook or by crook. Which we accomplished by kicking the dragging bumper until it became lodged onto something on the frame of the van -- who knows what -- which kept it dangling just above street level. We creeped home avoiding bumps and potholes, which is quite a challenge if you've ever driven I-5...
Girl. Don't bother driving into my driveway, I told her as we approached my house.
"You're just worried this piece of junk will die right in front of your living room window!" she snorted and wiggled her fingers good-bye as she scraaaaaaaaaaaapped her way home.
The thing is, this is not a particularly funny story. But it's amazing how ordinary happenings can turn into extraordinary when shared with a friend, right?
Bev is an extraordinary friend. I'm lucky to have her.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Did YOU know that Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can exacerbate restless leg symptoms?
I didn't. But now I do.
I have been taking Requip (ropinirole) for my RLS with good results, but over the few weeks my symptoms have been getting progressively worse. It seemed a vicious cycle: my legs would keep me awake, I would take something like TylenolPM which contains dipenhydramine, I'd conk out due to it's sedating effects, but the next night my RLS would feel even worse. And I wouldn't get any sleep. So I'd take the TylenolPM to knock me out, which would....well. You get the idea.
I just couldn't figure out why my Requip suddenly stopped working, so I did a bit of reading and came across this gem found on a Medscape article discussing treatment for restless leg syndrome:
Discontinuation, when possible, of medications that cause or exacerbate RLS, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinepherine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), diphenhydramine, and dopamine antagonists.Well, now. Made complete and total sense, and fortunately as soon as I quit taking products containing diphenhydramine, my symptoms receded and good old Requip was back on track once again.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
When I was given a date for my laminectomy surgery, I immediately began making lists: stuff to buy, stuff to organize, and stuff to do. The stuff to buy item was the most fun on the list. And stuff to organize? Hm. Maybe I'll get around to that in the next few days....
The stuff to do was rather entertaining, especially since what this actually meant was stuff for John to do while Julia supervised.
Yesterday, I crossed one more item off my stuff to do list. I figured that there was a chance that I wouldn't be completely recovered by our annual Thanksgiving hoo-rah, so there were a few projects that I wanted completed before my surgery AND before the kids and guests began appearing during the holidays.
We built this house in 1996. And even though the rest of the house has been painted and repainted inside and out, only two lonely little rooms remained wearing their eighteen year old initial coat of paint. One is the laundry room, and pfft. That thing can continue waiting for awhile. But the guest bathroom upstairs was really overdue.
Lucky for John, I had everything ready: the paint, paintbrushes, the painter's tape, the drop cloths made from decades old holiday plastic tablecloths, and lots and lots of Julia brand advice. Lucky for ME, John was willing to dive into a Saturday painting project using most of the above items except my advice. Go fig.
But it turned out great, and was done in a snap. Thanks Hon. Let's see, now what's next on the list.....
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
I cannot wait until my laminectomy.
I made that comment in a conversation a few days ago, and my friend laughed and said, "Oh, suuuuure you are.." rather skeptically.
No. Honestly. I really am!
She looked surprised. "Doesn't sound like much fun to me."
Well, yeah, surgery isn't going to be fun but neither is the pain and numbness and stumbling around which is why I'm having it.
Here's an example. I attempted to make a quick purchase in a craft store the other day. I knew approximately how much time and distance I could put in before the pain began and estimated that I could grab the stuff I needed and be back in the car without falling on my face. And it appeared that I planned correctly until I got to the check outs and saw the lengthy line of customers.
Drat. I didn't count on standing in line for an additional five minutes.
So as I stood there with my purse slung over my shoulder and my hands full of my purchases, I felt the pain begin in my hips and quickly progressed to burning numbness that stretched from my tailbone to my foot. Ow. After what seemed like forever, I was finally back in the car waiting for my leg and foot to wake up and the pain to subside, when a new and different thought occurred to me: that I should remember this incident and the pain. And how cranky I was. And how impatient I was just to have this all go away. That I should burn this memory indelibly into my brain.
Because when I am dealing with postoperative discomfort, I will need to remind myself why this surgery was necessary. The likelihood is high that I will complain frequently and at the top of my lungs (there's a warning for you, John honey..) that surgery was a really BAD IDEA. And that it's everyone else's fault that I literally have my butt in a sling.
Guys. I'm giving y'all an assignment. When I start writing about all the annoyances and aches and pains and wah-wah-wah-ing during my recovery, PLEASE remind me of this post. Tell me that there was a point in which I actually WANTED this. Be stern and firm: point out that I had proclaimed that surgery was my last option and that I would do anything -- anything at all -- in order to be able to walk more than one block before giving in to my stenosis symptoms. And that it was MY signature on those surgical consent forms.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Several of y'all have asked how my plastic-biteguard-eating puppy is faring.
She's fine, thankfully.
I was concerned about her yesterday after she refused to eat, appeared lethargic, and I could hear her tummy rumbling quite loudly. So I called her veterinarian. After a lengthy discussion in which we discussed options for her care which included x-rays (which he didn't recommend because the type of guard I use is not radiopaque; meaning it wouldn't show up on the film), ultrasound, potentially scope and or surgery.
What IS it about my dogs that they seem to want to eat weirdo things? Remember when our previous schnauzer ate all those rocks?! We feed our pets really good pet food. Seriously.
Dr. F. and I decided on this plan: I would get some prescription soft dog food; I would monitor her for vomiting, diarrhea, or if she seemed to be in pain. Since we talked in the AM, we decided to follow up with a phone call or office visit in late afternoon.
I was consumed with guilt. Usually I put the dumb stupid night guard thing in it's case immediately upon taking it out of my mouth. Until Monday when I threw it on my bedside table. And of course, Lulu took the opportunity to gobble it up.
After hanging up the phone with the vet, I hopped into the car and headed over to pick up Lulu's new food. And, because I felt responsible for the poor little thing's distress, also motored over to the pet store and bought new toys. And treats. And....well, you get the idea.
Upon arriving back home, I took Lulu out for a very short walk and right on cue, she pooped halfway through our route. It's amazing what we pet owners will do, isn't it? I took a stick and poked around in the stinky stuff looking for plastic before tying it up in a doggy doo doo bag. Ewww.
Didn't find a thing.
Meanwhile, Lulu had perked up considerably and when presented with new toys and different food, began to eat and drink and play as though not a thing had happened. And today, she's just fine.
She's frisking around the back yard barking at the kindergarteners coming home from school right now, being her naughty little doggie self, thank goodness.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Just look at this little furry face.
She looks all cute and innocent, doesn't she?
I'm 99% certain that this critter ingested my plastic dental night guard. I'm wondering what will happen to the puppy's innards as it makes it's way through her.
Hopefully it makes it's way through her...
I'll keep y'all posted.