Thursday, November 29, 2007
My diet consists of about 75 % fruits and vegetables now. I get bored with the same old things...bananas, red delicious apples, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots and all the usual produce. I have found a market, however, that sells all kinds of exotic fruits and veggies from all over the world.
I had my first persimmon the other day. It indeed lives up to its ancient nickname "food for the gods". Here is a persimmon:
A persimmon almost looks like the fruit version of the sand dollar. It's very sweet and very delectable, however it leaves a furry, orange coating on my tongue for some reason. And it's a weird mind game eating one for the first time because the brain is thinking "tomato" and then the tongue says "sweet like candy" and it takes a minute to process the incoming taste information.
I also love mangos, and kiwi fruits. I want to try a pomegranate (even though they look like more trouble than they are worth with all those seeds), and I would like to try a cactus pear, lychee, papaya, pomelo, and a kumquat. (I have always wanted to try a kumkuat since I was a kid and heard the Three Stooges saying it in one of their episodes.)
I also want to try some vegetables I never bothered to try because I was stuck in a veggie rut and not too adventurous. I have fallen in love with black-eyed peas of all things (those are legumes, though and not a vegetable). I am going to try rutabaga even though friends have warned me about it, I have never had rhubarb either. (Are those two vegetables or fruits?) I've probably eaten a lot of exotic vegetables in Chinese food and not even known what they are.
I am finding out that being on a diet doesn't have to be boring. It's actually kind of fun once you start exploring and trying new things.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Our sofa and love seat still look like new, however sit on the couch and it feels as if your butt is going to touch the floor. And try getting up from there even with a good back! The love seat isn't as worn, but still "soft" and not much support anymore. So where do I go to watch television or a DVD? I go lay in my waterbed. We have the kind of waterbed mattress where you can adjust the firmness by adding or taking out water. I have it filled to semi-firm and that is comfy. BUT at the moment it's hard to get in and out of it...so when I plan to go lay down I make sure I go potty, get whatever I need and put it nearby so I don't have to get up and down, up and down.
I want one of those couches that are corner units with the recliners on each end. It would be nice if I can get my back better so I can go get a job to at least buy a new recliner for starters.
When people are married for 32 years, we need another shower...all of our stuff is getting so old!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
My great-nephew is 2, my youngest brother's kids are 2 and 4. The kids crack me up all the time. I think little kids are hilarious. My sister's grandson (my great-nephew) wanted cake so badly. She had told him that he was going to Papa's to have cake. Well, when they got there he had to wait...then had to eat a hot dog first before cake...then had to wait. Poor kid probably thought we were all lying to him about the cake because it got later and later and no cake appeared!
Finally, it was cake time and we all sang along with the little ones who sang
"Happy Birthday to Pa
Happy Birthday to Pa
Happy Birthday dear Pa...aaa
Happy Birthday to Pa!"
It was so cute.
Then little J got his cake. :)
Dad doesn't seem at all 79-years-old. He still scoots around like a young man of 60! He's had his share of medical problems, but like the energizer bunny and keeps going and going and going! He is always busy with something, which is why he probably is still able to get around so well. As the saying goes, "move it or lose it."
Dad got a lot of cool presents. I was "coveting" a collection of stand-up comic DVDs my mom got him. He also got a shirt, some sexy-smelling men's cologne, some candy, a gift card, a dvd of A River Runs Through It (great flick) and other goodies.
It was nice to see everyone again. I hadn't been over to see anyone since my brother's birthday back at the beginning of October.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
Yes, the hot tub is leaking again, and it seems to be coming from underneath the damn thing again. It's a slow leak at the moment, so he just keeps adding water to it every day to keep it going while I am trying to get through this back problem, or until I have surgery, if need be. If I have to have surgery then there are several reasons for not going in a hot tub, one being that I won't be able to get in and out of the darn thing. I can only get in and out of it now with hubby's help, but it feels so good when I am in there.
Anyways, it will need to be drained, stood on end again so he can get underneath and burrow through the blown-in insulation (never get a hot tub with blown-in insulation...it really makes a horrible mess no matter who would have to get at the pipes and parts. There is no other way but to burrow into it.
I hope it holds out for awhile till my back gets better. Then I can go without it for awhile.
Friday, November 23, 2007
I can't think of a single thing that I would want to buy so badly that I would stay up all night, and camp out in the freezing cold for. Not one thing do I desire that much. There isn't anything that I would want so badly to stand in line for more than ten minutes for. If I can't get what is on my shopping list, I will just get something else. What is it that makes people think they MUST give exactly what their kids want?
Even when our kids were little, and they wanted the popular toy that was advertised, if we couldn't find it shopping in a normal way, they got something else and were just as happy with it. We always told them that Santa would try but his elves could only make so many so he might bring something else that is cool. They were okay with that, and it taught them that you just don't get every stinkin thing you wish for. Life isn't like that.
AND you should be happy for what you already have. Most people aren't. They throw stuff away when they are bored with it. Or they stockpile things they never use and don't give it away to someone else who might want it.
We are a society of greed. I miss the simpler times when kids were happy with a couple of neat toys and books. When I was little we would ask Santa for a doll, or car, or books, etc. Nowdays kids want full computer systems, stereo systems, and iPods, ALL IN ONE CHRISTMAS. AND THEY GET IT.
And we wonder what is wrong with the world.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
We had originally planned to go to my parents' place, but plans got changed and we are staying home. It's probably for the best. For one, it's hard for me to ride in a car for any distance right now, and secondly, I can't eat all that traditional Thanksgiving food.
I am going to try to make a good Thanksgiving dinner that I can eat. We are having broiled chicken breasts, plain baked sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs (my husband and son hate these so I am making only two of them for me), Pepperidge Farm stuffing (which I will only be able to eat a small amount of since it's so full of salt), seasoned green beans, corn medley, and dinner rolls. I will also make a pumpkin pie (of which I can only have a sliver, with fat free Cool Whip), and hubby bought his Oreo Chocolate Cream Pie which he and my son can eat. I might have a bite.
I was watching a bit of the Macy's parade and it's sure not like when I was a kid. It's all Broadway advertisement now, and watching bits of acts from the Broadway musicals. I like watching the bands, and seeing the floats and balloons, but now it's so boring with the musical productions. Yawn. I put on the parade from Chicago and that moves so slowly and has so many boring entries that it's hard to even pay attention to it.
It's snowing right now. Coming down very softly. It's the first snow of the year and we are supposed to get three inches by tonight. It's very weird to see that my snapdragons are still in full bloom into late November with snow falling on them. I have never seen that happen before. The flowers are confused this year since it had been so unusually warm this season, so far.
Jon is watching The Man Who Knew Too Much starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. They don't make movies like they used to. The old movies are best.
Going to go make my two deviled eggs now and watch some more parade stuff. Even if they are lame now, it doesn't seem like Thanksgiving unless I watch at least some of the parade.
Hope you all have a real nice holiday with friends and family.
And we wonder why time seems to be flying by.
Personally, we have never decorated the outside of our house. If I am going to put up lights and stuff, I want it inside where I can enjoy it. I am not into house decorating contests, or anything like that. I keep it simple. A tree, a few red bows and some silver garland. We always get a nice centerpiece from Jon's company, and we get cards from family and friends to hang on a wall. None of my decorations are inflatable and never will be.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
My new medicine is making me googy. Sometimes the room feels like it is spinning when I stand up and I am only on two pills a day now, and have to go up to three pills a day on Wednesday. My doctor and pharmacist assured me that these feelings will go away as I adjust to the medicine, but I need to drive myself to therapy and back. I will have to drink a lot of coffee and sake the side roads there. No major streets and only go there and back. It would be nice if I had a chauffer!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
So, I started taking one pill at bedtime for three days, then this morning I started taking one in the morning and then will take one at bedtime for three days, then will add one in the middle of the day for a total of three pills a day every day after that. This is one of those medications that cannot be discontinued suddenly, so if I want to come off of it, it has to be tapered backwards, three a day, to two a day for three days and one a day for three days...then off.
This drug makes me drowsy. Taking it at bedtime is no problem since I am going to sleep anyway, but hopefully I will get used to it because after taking the one this morning I have been incredibly sleepy all day. So far, it hasn't helped with pain, but the doctor says, and the website information says that it may take a few weeks to start working. If it does work, I may not need to take pain medication at all anymore.
I don't know how it will work for the bulging disc pain. It might help take the edge off but don't know how the heck it will get rid of the pain that is in my ass and running down my leg. That, hopefully therapy will take care of in time since my regular doctor says to avoid surgery at all costs right now.
The doctor says I should wear medical tags, so ordered a set yesterday. Yes, a set. I needed multiple tags to fit all my medical warnings and drugs. Difficult intubation, all the meds I am allergic to, that I have Lupus, RA & asthma, all the medications I am on now, etc. If I put all this info on one tag it would be the size of a license plate!
Another thing I am doing that would be good for all people to do who have medical problems and a long and complicated history is to buy a USB card that can be directly plugged into any computer. On this card I am putting all my medical information, surgeries, procedures, conditions, and all medical and emergency information. That way we don't have to remember everything each and every time we go to an emergency room or doctor's office. They can just plug it in, and download it...print it out, whatever.
Back to the pill thing, I am not looking forward to getting off the Prednisone in two weeks because I know that things will probably start to flare up really bad again like they did before, BUT I will not miss the hot flashes and sweating I get from it. I have never sweated so much in all my life! I sweat through my pajamas sometimes twice a night. It is highly unpleasant.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Jon and I are the same in this way. With him it's not just hobbies, but projects that need to be done. He will start a project and never finish it. Like building our house 20 years ago. The fireplace still isn't finished in the family room. it has a base, the insert where the gas logs are, and the glass door enclosures, so it works, but it has no brick on the sides and no mantel. Just the exhaust pipe going out through the wall. He also has the garage half-painted. The basement is half finished. The ceiling tiles down there to finish the drop ceilings are all in boxes. Floor tiles for the basement are in boxes and the floor is half done. The two-level deck still doesn't have stairs down to the yard. Only the livingroom and basement family room shutters are on the house.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
One thing I don't put off though, is everyday stuff that needs to be done. Like cleaning, laundry, picking crap up and putting it away, paying bills, checking on stuff, making phone calls to friends, etc. But with hubby, it's "later". I say, "honey will you change the lightbulbs on the garage lights?" and he says "later" or "tomorrow". It's like that for lots of things. I joke that his theme song should be the "Tomorrow" song from ANNIE.
But I can't be too hard on him. I am just as much as a procrastinator in a lot of ways as he is.
I also beat myself up for it all the time, because time is going by so fast, and someday there will be no more time to do the things I want to do in my mind. It will be too late to write that novel, or paint that picture, etc. Like the Nike slogan says, we should "Just Do It" and do it now and stop waiting for tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
BUT when I lift myself out of the water, and gravity takes over, it all compresses again and the pain comes back. I alternate between heat and ice, heat and ice. I am not supposed to try any exercises for a few days until I can get the pain under control. I am so sick of things hurting. I try not to take pain meds because of all the other crap I am taking, and so am taking only about 1/3 of the amount prescribed. I don't need liver problems on top of everything else. But the thing about that is more pain to try to deal with as naturally as I can...which usually means less movement, which leads to more stiffness. There is a chain reaction to everything. Take more meds, more medical side effects, take less...more pain and physical side effects. It's like a Catch-22.
I think we figured out why I am having back problems again despite my being on a diet, losing more than 50 pounds this year, and taking better care of myself. One thing is the gallbladder/adhesion removal surgery. It weakened abdominal muscles that I need to support my back better. Then also the gout in the feet which is making me walk funny, which affects the ankles, then the hips, and alignment of the spine. That throws everything off.
I will keep on keepin' on...keep trying to get things fixed and maybe someday I can get all this crap straightened out and feel good again.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Man forgets car at gas station
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man forgot his car after filling it up at a petrol station, police said Friday.
"He just forgot about it and walked off home," said a spokesman for police in the western city of .
After the car had sat blocking the pump for about an hour, a woman working at the petrol station became suspicious and alerted authorities.
Officers contacted the 63-year-old from Remscheid, who came straight back to fetch the vehicle. He had paid to fill up the car before walking off.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So, am going to start physical therapy on Monday at a new place, and will be going THREE times a week, instead of the two I was doing at the other place. If no better in two weeks, I have to go have an MRI and then meet with him again to go over the results and other options, which he is pretty sure will be surgery again to repair or remove the herniated disc. So, I hope that therapy can help this time. The pain is only down into my butt cheek and upper thigh this time, whereas last time it shot all the way down my leg into my foot. BUT he says the Prednisone may be masking the seriousness of the problem, and since I will be weaning off of that before I am finished with therapy, we will see how it goes.
I hope that the year 2008 is better than 2007 has been!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I have bought a couple of new pair of jeans, and a couple of tops...new underwear and bras over the past month and a half. I shouldn't complain . . . Jon needs new pants and clothes because his clothes are OLD! I will have to just get things as I can, little by little and eventually build my wardrobe back up again. I have a lot of clothes already, and most are nice, but I will never be able to wear them again, and they will probably end up going to Goodwill. But I am NOT getting fat again just to fit into them.
I mentioned before that I did get a Danskin outfit today to wear to physical therapy. It's a clingy outfit and it's been over a decade since I could wear anything remotely clingy. It feels so good to be thin again. I have been losing a couple pounds a week, still. I do hope that when I reach my goal weight that I will stop and level out. I don't want to look anorexic, and Lupus does make some people lose too much weight.
I also bought a new knit sweat-suit for physical therapy so I don't have to keep wearing capris in cold weather. I only had capri sweat pants that are 15 years old. This is a nice Danskin outfit and is a regular large instead of the Women's sizes I used to have to buy (nice way of saying "fat" sizes). The pants are black with a sky blue stripe down the side of the legs, and the shirt is sky blue. Pretty spiffy.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
I was in pretty much pain, and after going though this before, I want to prevent another big blow-up. So, I went to see my regular doctor who got me started on pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. That's a story I haven't written about yet...the "adverse effect" of Skelaxin that sent me back to the doctor the day after taking ONE pill in the morning. My heart was pounding and I was trembling as if I had had a shot of epinepherine for asthma that I used to get as a kid! My blood pressure went up and up for a few hours after taking that crap, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I called and they said to go to the ER. I said no...I am not going to get stuck in ER with a bad back on one of those damn gurneys. So the doctor said to get someone to bring me over to the office. Jon rushed home and took me over there, and the doctor did an EKG which showed "squiggly" lines between beats, and so he sent me over to the hospital for a cardiac enzyme test and another EKG and had a cardiologist look at me. The diagnosis..."adverse drug reaction"...no DUH! I asked if they could give me something to flush the crap out of me, and they said no...it would have to "work itself out" and just don't take any more of it. I went home, and the doctor called to check on me later, and by them my blood pressure was down and only slightly elevated...the next morning I was back to 120/80. It was as high as 191/101 when I was at the doctor's office! So...be careful of muscle relaxers, they don't always "relax" you.
Back to PT...I hate going there. I had to go back in 2004 when I had a ruptured disc, and had several weeks of it and finally I quit before completely finishing because they started having me do all sorts of circus tricks like sitting on balls like ones in the photo above, and standing on one foot and then climbing steps, leaning on walls, walking on speedy treadmills, and a variety of potential opportunities for me to injure myself worse, or in other ways!
The recent round of therapy is weird. The therapist said it appears I may have another bulging disc problem, but won't know till I go see the 'REAL back doctor on the 8th and have an MRI. For now, they started me on some exercises that are supposed to gently manipulate the disc back into position. It's a new method called the McKenzie method. The little "tricks" involved are questionable to me. A few actually do help, but some make matters worse. And some of the things they want me to do, I just refuse. Like SQUATTING and coming back up to a standing position again. I told them that I was NOT going to do that one...for one thing, squatting is bad for my feet...and my gouty toes and ankle...and secondly, I had knee surgery also in 2004 and squatting with that knee is not a good idea. I had told them of all these things BEFORE starting therapy, but that just shows how much these people who are in charge of caring for you really read or listen to what you tell them.
The last time I went to PT, I couldn't even walk that well, and she tells me to do ten minutes on a treadmill. I think that was because she was busy with another patient and she wanted to give me something to keep me busy while I waited. I told her I wasn't doing the treadmill. (This was also the day after the severe Skelaxin reaction) and so she put me in a chair with a heat pack for ten minutes. I was right, she just wanted to kill some time and make it look like she was keeping my scheduled therapy time.
She later had me go through my usual wall exercises, which do help a bit, BUT then she told me to get on a table and lay on my stomach. I know that laying on your stomach is NOT a good position for a lower back problem...and THEN she tells me to do half push-ups and I did one and thought I was going to blow a disc in my upper spine. She said that was just my muscles that weren't used to working so hard. I told her no...I know where the pain is coming from...my spine. It happens sometimes if I lift something too heavy, or bend funny, or twist to look over my shoulder when driving. I told her I was not doing any more "on-my-stomach" tricks." I bet they hate me.
I am tempted to just cancel this week's circus trick sessions and wait to see what the back doc says on Thursday. I don't trust these people.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I did a lot, a lot of research on this one before starting it and talked to several pharmacists, and my rheumatologist and my attending physician a couple of times before I cautiously took my first dose.
The chance of side effects are small, about 3 % or less for a severe skin rash and a less than 1 % of life-threatening adverse reactions. I had to make sure that the benefits outweighed the risks. My research and talking with the pharmacists and doctors showed me that yes, the benefits do outweigh the risks in my case since my uric acid levels are so high, and the gout pain will not stay away. The gout would only evolve into "tophi gout" where one gets big lumps on hands, feet, ears and even internal organs and these "tophi" deposits ooze a white, chalky substance that is pretty gross. I don't have that yet, nor do I ever want it. But women more often than men develop tophi in about 3-10 years after the onset of gout attacks.
The most common side effect of the drug is triggering acute gout attacks in the first few weeks after starting the drug. I was hoping to avoid this, but yesterday afternoon I started feeling tingling in my toe joints which worsened as the evening wore on, and when I took off my socks when getting ready for bed I found I had two BRIGHT RED and sore toe joints. :( Today, after my second dose, the pain is worsening. I am told that I have to just get through it, because once the uric acid levels lower, the gout attacks will lessen and eventually go away.
It also makes me sleepy. That is a normal side effect and that should go away in time, also. I hope I can come off of this once my uric acid levels normalize because it makes me nervous being on something that is so potentially toxic. (Poodles, I know you are on strong stuff, too. Doesn't it make you nervous?)
Anyway, I am checking around online for some liver health information about maintaining a healthy liver during drug therapy. Any of my readers have any recommendations or know of foods and natural things that can help?