Sunday, December 30, 2007


Jon is really sick. You know he is sick when he actually asks to make a doctor appointment for him. So, I did that on the way to the Rheumatologist on Thursday and fortunately, Dr. had openings at 5:20 and 5:50. I needed to go too to find out what was up with my right ear. It's blocked up and can't hear very well out of it.

Well, Jon went first though he wanted the doctor to look at me first, but I said that he was sicker and he had waited long enough. Sure enough, he has a bad upper respiratory infection and so the doctor gave him a decongestant and an antibiotic called Keflex. Poor guy hasn't been this sick in a long time. He keeps going, unlike a lot of men who sit around and whine. He just goes to work and toughs it out. He went to work Friday though he should have stayed home and rested.

He has to go back to the doctor if his symptoms don't improve. His cough is terrible, but his fever is gone. He just has to be careful of getting pneumonia. He did have the chills for awhile, but they are gone now. He has been taking it easy all weekend, which is good, but unlike him. He must feel pretty bad.

As for my ear...fluid in the Eustachian tubes. The left only a tiny bit but the right is full of fluid. So, he advised me to use Ocean Saline Spray five times a day, along with Nascort once a day. So far it's still blocked and if it doesn't clear up have to go to an ENT and maybe have it drained somehow. However they do it. I didn't ask. Hopefully it will clear up without resorting to that.

I went to the Rheumatologist earlier that day, and she checked out my painful shoulder and says it is bursitis...great. She gave me an injection of cortisone in the joint which was combined with an anesthetic. It felt better for a few hours because it was numb...but finally wore off around dinner time and holy felt worse because I was also sore from the injection. There is still a lump where the needle went in.

It also appears that I am having another flare. It seems that the RA is attacking my spine, ankles and feet. My neck is really painful to turn my head and when I lay down in bed it's hard to get comfortable. My neck needs support so I use one of those roll pillows. That helps quite a bit...BUT while sleeping I roll off of it and end up sleeping in a stupid position. This morning I woke up sleeping on my bad shoulder with my neck bent and took me several minutes just to figure out how to get out of bed! Grrrr! But once I got up, things loosened up. They usually loosen up as I move around.

The RA doctor put me on a medication called Plaquenil. It is an anti-malarial drug that is often used to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. I read the common side effects as well as all the bad ones and one of the bad ones is vision impairment! Gasp! I didn't want to take it. I talked to my regular doctor later when I went for my ear problem and always check with him before taking anything new anyway, and he said to go ahead and give it a try. He said that those warnings usually are because one person, or a few people have a problem after being on the drug for awhile and they have to put these warnings for their own protection. I can hardly move some days, and he says that if I don't do something for the inflammation that my joints will keep degenerating because I can't move, can't exercise, and have to keep flexible so I don't just shrivel up and end up not being able to move at all. As they say, "Move it or lose it." So, started taking the Plaquenil, reluctantly...cautiously. I have an eye appointment set up with my opthalmologist and will go in for the baseline exam vision field test and all that is needed for drugs that may cause eye problems. I will have to go for an eye exam every 3 to 6 months while on this medicine, just to make sure nothing is happening. If this medicine doesn't help the RA/Lupus in six months, must stop it, take a rest and then she would want to try Methotrexate.
I hope this works because the side effects of Methotrexate sound even scarier! It's what they give cancer patients.

She also increased my Gabapentin which my family doctor had suggested at my last visit but wanted her opinion. So, got that increased, and the new drug and will see how it goes. So far I already notice a difference and need far less of the pain medicine. I went 16 hours without taking a pain pill yesterday which is a record since this Lupus reared it's ugly head in September. I go back to her again the first week of March. I see my family doctor again the second week of February.

I am looking forward to spring because I always feel better in the springtime. Winter is not a good month for any kind of aches and pains whether you have a chronic illness or not. Makes me want to move to Arizona or somewhere else to live, as long as there is an air conditioner for summer. I hate excessive heat as much as I hate the cold.

My mom gave me a paper that contains an article about Lupus and offered to go with me if they every have a seminar in her area...I think I will take her up on it and go. One of the things about Lupus is to try to keep an upbeat attitude and learn how to deal with stressful situations since stress triggers flares, illnesses trigger flares, and a good mental attitude is important. Maybe one of those seminars will have some helpful information and advice.

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