I was walking forward on a moving bus yesterday, stumbled, and landed on/across a bench seat. I don't think I'm seriously hurt, but this left me with several bruises. I iced the ones on my calves as soon as I got home, but that was ten or fifteen minutes later. I tried soaking in a hot bath, which did help, but first I discovered that the stopper in our bathtub no longer works, and had to improvise something with a plastic bag and a ceramic rice bowl. medical details )

A night's sleep helped some, enough that I walked down to Davis Square with [personal profile] cattitude this afternoon, because walking and daylight are good for me, it was sunny and mild (for Massachusetts in February, 5°C/42°F), and the forecast for the next few days isn't promising.

I had been vaguely considering going to the Women's March on Boston Common tomorrow, despite the cold, but decided against that almost immediately after getting hurt. I probably will go to the Winter Farmers Market tomorrow morning and see about more vegetables, smoked fish, and maybe some interesting bread and/or cheese. (That market is one of the best things about living in this bit of Somerville.)
!markup

The cortisone shot I wrote about Monday (https://redbird.dreamwidth.org/2784278.html) has done my hand a lot of good. By last night, I think it was back to how it had been six months ago, which is far from perfect—I still have arthritis and need to not overuse my hands, and still have difficulty not doing so—but it is a vast improvement, and as much as I was hoping for.

I will probably continue to ice my right hand now and then, because it might help, and go back to only taking naproxen (or other NSAIDs) when I feel a specific need (including for my knee or hips), rather than 200 mg twice a day, whether I have a specific reason to or not.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 7th, 2019 02:42 pm)
I think/hope this will work. cut for discussion of hand problems )

If this works, I may start feeling better in a couple of days, or it might take a couple of weeks. If I don't notice any effect in a couple of weeks, I can call the hand doctor again and/or call the occupational therapist and get an orthotic made. I asked for, and got, a prescription for the orthotic, so I won't have to go back to Dr. Green if the cortisone doesn't do the job. In the meantime, I should keep icing, and avoid "heavy" gripping with that hand.

The doctor said that if this works, it may solve this problem for good, or I might need another cortisone injection some months or years from now. That's a time-scale I can accept.
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redbird: The Unisphere in New York's Flushing Meadow Park, with sunset colors (unisphere)
( Dec. 24th, 2018 08:45 pm)
We had one full day in New York on this trip, and [personal profile] cattitude spent part of it visiting a friend on the Island. [personal profile] adrian_turtle and I met my mother at the Cloisters at around noon. On our way uptown, we'd gotten into line for a Metrocard vending machine when a stranger came over to the line and asked if we had just gotten into the city. When we and the woman in front of us said yes, she handed us each an unlimited-ride Metrocard with four days left on it, saying that she was leaving town and didn't want them to go to waste. The woman in front of us asked "how much?" and the donor shook her head and said "Merry Christmas."

The trip uptown was unremarkable, and I found that I have a good memory for the details of that trip, including the irrelevant ones: I knew we were approaching 110th when the track sloped downward, and then (having lost count of stations) recognized 145th by the color of the pillars supporting the roof.

Adrian was delighted by the Cloisters, including the famous Unicorn Tapestries. This visit what caught my eye most was sculpture and artifacts (including a unicorn-shaped hand-washing pitcher in the room with those tapestries); when we went downstairs to the Treasury, I pointed out the wooden carvings on the staircase we had just descended. We had time to look at almost everything before we decided it was past time for lunch, which we got at the diner Cattitude used to go to regularly when we lived in Inwood. The staff has changed and the menu is shorter than it was, but it was basic good diner food, and they still know how to make tea.

Then we took the train down to the Village so we could go to Varsano's, my old favorite chocolate shop, which [personal profile] roadnotes had first introduced me to. I was pleasantly surprised not to have to wait (the Saturday right before Christmas), and we bought lots of interesting chocolate. My mother asked the difference between a lemon cream and a lemon truffle. I wasn't sure and asked the shop assistant; she passed the question to Mark Varsano, who explained and then put one of each on the counter for Mom to taste.

After I'd paid for my chocolate, Mark said something like "I still miss our friend," meaning Roadnotes, and we talked about her a little; one thing he mentioned was her dry sense of humor. I'd been afraid I would have to be the one to tell him she had died, and warned Adrian on our way downtown that I might need my hand held—but it's unsurprising that the same "small town that just happens to have eight million people feeling" that had Mark asking me how she was after she moved to Seattle means he'd gotten the sad news from some other mutual friend.

here there be politics, but relatively low-stress, I think )

The day involved a lot of walking, including at least ten flights of stairs; by the time we headed back to our hotel my ankles were complaining about the stairs in front of my aunt's building, but my knee and hips were (and are) doing okay.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 29th, 2018 07:35 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude suggested that listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or music might be easier on my hands than the various things I've been doing (reading online or on the kindle, some typing), and has added me to his paid spotify account. (Most of our recorded music is in a box somewhere.)

I'm currently listening to the new VNV Nation album, Noire, which [personal profile] drwex mentioned yesterday. Podcasts and such will probably work better for keeping enough of my attention/focus that I don't do much with my hands, but I'm not comfortable using headphones for long at a time, and don't want to distract Cattitude too much. So, music now, maybe talk when he's at the library tomorrow.

I don't have a diagnosis for the pain in my right hand beyond having been told that it's inflamed, and to take NSAIDs, use heat, rest my hand but do use it a little, and come back if it's not better in a couple of weeks. It has been almost two weeks, but I'm not doing well at the resting part. I do have arthritis in my hands, but this is significantly worse than I'd gotten, unhappily, used to. Since I've been assured that this isn't neurological, I may not follow up for a bit; I already have an MRI next week and then am seeing my neurologist the week after, as ongoing care, and when I talk to the eye doctor's surgical coordinator I think that's going to involve making at least one pre-surgical appointment with him.

backstory" )
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 27th, 2018 09:54 pm)
I saw my eye doctor two weeks ago, expecting to get a new eyeglass prescription (I've had the current ones since early 2016, before I left Seattle). Instead, he told me I should schedule cataract surgery for some time in the next year.

I have had a couple of conversations with his surgical coordinator, and am probably going to schedule the surgery for late February and early March. They do one eye at a time, but prefer to do them fairly close together, so the patient doesn't spend too long in an in-between state when the glasses that are appropriate for the not-yet-treated eye are no longer right for the one where the cataract has been removed.

In those conversations, I found out that the "don't look down while you're healing" part of the aftercare instructions applies to things like looking under the sink; I should be fine brushing my teeth or looking at a book or my keyboard. (I may stay close to home, though, because while looking at the ground while walking should be okay, retying a loose shoelace sounds problematic, and I'm not going out in sandals in winter.

I'll have to go out to Lexington or Concord to have measurements done before the surgery, and then Waltham and Chelmsford for the surgery. For reasons that they didn't explain, he does cataract surgery in Waltham on the second Tuesday of each month, and in Chelmsford on the third Wednesdays, so having both eyes done in the same place means a longer wait between operations.

I do not want to discuss the surgery itself, because I would rather not think about it. I am going to think about logistics (like whether [personal profile] cattitude, [personal profile] adrian_turtle, or both will be there at the surgery to be the competent adult of my choosing (as Cattitude's oral surgeon put it) to get me safely home after the operation. I will also need to make an (extra) appointment with my GP, for her to check/confirm that it's okay for me to have the surgery, which has to be done no more than 30 days before the surgery.

I know this is very routine outpatient surgery, and I go home the same day. I'm still nervous, which is an argument for having the surgery relatively soon. "Relatively" because he's booked up through January, and I want to go to Boskone, and don't think scheduling surgery for the Tuesday before the con would be sensible. I think the nervousness is because surgery, because eyes, and because it will be a change, though hopefully a very good one. I don't expect not to need glasses, but am hoping that I will have a simpler prescription—and even if I still have near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism, I won't have the cataracts blocking areas of my vision. (It doesn't matter how carefully I clean my glasses, that's not where the spots are.)

(Back in Seattle, my eye doctor said I had "incipient" cataracts. When I first saw Dr. Lazarra, he said they weren't "incipient" (I think partly he thought it was an unhelpful term in general), but that the appropriate thing to do at the time was to wait. So I knew this was in my future, but wasn't expecting it this soon.)
They've been on auto-refill for ages, and I thought they still were. Which means I almost ran out of the gabapentin, because I thought I had an unopened bottle of pills. Instead, I had one pill in the bottle on my dresser, and one day's supply in my daypack.

What I think happened is that CVS offered to reschedule my pill refills so both prescriptions would be ready on the same day, and instead just stopped refilling these automatically. So, OK, I have put in a refill over the phone, which I should be able to get tomorrow morning. I am then going to tell them to put it back on auto-refill while I try to decide whether to take all my prescriptions down the street to Rite Aid.

I can think of one good reason not to, namely that CVS is closer to my doctor's office, which is useful when they're doing things like calling in an antibiotic prescription for pneumonia. Right now I'm filling one prescription at Rite Aid because I prefer the generic they carry to the one CVS does. There's another that my insurance company insists on sending to the CVS mail order pharmacy. And two, including the one I'm grumbling about here, that could equally well go to either. The only thing I'm sure of is that if I do transfer these prescriptions to Rite Aid, I'm going to tell CVS why.

ETA: I filled the prescription today. Apparently gabapentin is sufficiently a controlled substance that it can't be on auto-refill, though not at the level where I have to get separate paper prescriptions for each month's supply. Which in turn means that taking it to a different drugstore wouldn't avoid this problem.
Even if I don't do anything else political in the next few days, I have done quite a bit in the past week, and every bit counts. It's easier to tell other people "take care of yourself, you're not expendable" than to apply that to myself.

My plans for today involved either the Solidarity Shabbat, canvassing for Yes on 3, or both; the timing would have worked, but I didn't think I had the spoons.

But my hands have been hurting the last couple of days, so I decided not to go to services this morning but save energy for the afternoon canvassing. Then I started having (low-level, but still) hip and balance problems, so reluctantly threw away the plan to take the bus to Davis, and see if I was up to taking the subway to Cambridge and canvassing, because not only am I not expendable, but I am not sure my presence would be a net benefit to a canvassing team right now. I may try some more get-out-the-vote calling later, hands allowing; [personal profile] cattitude has offered to lend me headphones that would save me having to hold the phone. (The Yes on 3 website link for calling from home dead-ends at an outside page that lists no actual times or sign-up information; I may make more calls for Yes on 4 (voting rights restoration) in Florida because I'm already signed up for that.)

ETA: After posting the above, I contacted someone at Yes on 3. By the time she got back to me, I was on the phone with Alan; that was a very good conversation, but after 45 minutes of that I noticed my throat is a little sore, so no, I'm not going to be phone banking right now despite having watched the training for this. Feh. Texting would be bad for my hands.
I decided to take advantage of the combination of my improved hips and knee, and a warm (for October) day, and wander around outside, and asked [personal profile] cattitude to join me. He happily agreed, so we got lunch in Davis Square, took the train to Alewife, and walked around Alewife Brook Reservation.

We spent a lot of time looking at plants; I photographed things and uploaded the pictures to iNaturalist in the hopes of identifying them later, or of someone else identifying them for me. I also took a few photos of things I did recognize: a monarch butterfly, a sumac tree whose leaves have turned bright red.

Cattitude spotted one frog (which just looked like a dark lump when he pointed it out to me), a wood duck (too distant for me to tell from a mallard), and a muskrat or two (we might have been looking at the same animal twice); the muskrat was a pleasant surprise. Plus some less surprising animals, including mallards and robins.

I may have overdone things slightly, but got home okay by walking slowly and carefully for the last bit of the trip, and found enough energy a couple of hours later for some PT exercises.
In an admittedly small study of the effects of probiotics after a course of antibiotics, the gut microbiome took longer to return to normal than in people who didn't take them.

What did help was autologous fecal microbiome transplantation (aFMT), but I'm fairly sure that would cost more, because of the work involved, and require some advance planning: it's not likely to be available to the person whose doctor says "you have pneumonia, I'm calling in an antibiotic prescription."

The lead researcher told the BBC that future probiotics would have to be tailored to individual patients.
So, I had a cortisone shot in my left knee on April 12th, before going to Montreal on the 13th. The knee felt a lot better by the 14th, just occasional twinges, and I was feeling very optimistic. That lasted for about a week. On the 20th and 21st, the knee was stiff when I woke up; when I woke up this morning, it was both stiff and somewhat painful when I woke up.

I've been taking naproxen about once a day (mostly for hip stuff), and icing the knee some. I guess it's time to call the physical therapy place and see about knee PT. I'm still not sure if I need/want more hip PT; that's going to depend partly on whether/how much cortisone the shots I'm scheduled to get in both hips on Tuesday do.

ETA: The injection was 2ccs of depomedol (according to the visit notes I got in the mail 4/27); noting this here because the entry in their electronic medical records not only is less detailed, but says no medication was given. A copy of that should have been faxed to Dr. Bershel's office; they're in a different system so can't see each other's electronic records.

ETA again, 5/19: according to the bill I just got, it was 80 mg depomedrol.
I decided I wanted one more PT session for the hip, partly so we could discuss what my long-term maintenance/homework is in terms of stretching and exercise at home.

Quick summary: I can reduce the exercise and stretch frequency to three times a week (instead of almost every day), but should do the stretches more often if I'm having trouble. Also, I should start walking more quickly, at least for short stretches. I've been walking much more slowly than had been normal for me, because moving quickly has been the most likely trigger for significant hip pain.

Details cut for discussion of exercise )
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2018 07:17 pm)
I am a bit stiff but don't think there's anything seriously wrong. As I tweeted when I got home, "Good gloves and solid pants warm pants are an important part of winter safety, especially when the sidewalks aren't cleared properly. I'm fine, the clothes are intact. #ice thank you @LLBean for still making jeans out of good denim."

description of the circumstances of a minor injury, how I'm doing, and its effect on my exercises )
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 18th, 2018 02:21 pm)
I had my first appointment with the physical therapist this morning. She did some evaluation, then taught me some stretches and exercises: for the next few weeks I should do the exercises daily, and the stretches twice a day. I am also supposed to start using the foam roller to roll out my IT bands again. Ouch! (I managed five on each side after lunch, done quickly so it reduces the total time I'm pressing hard on that part of my body.) The goal of this program is to relax various things, strengthen my glutes and I think one other pair of muscles, and for balance. There's one exercise that's supposed to be specifically for the glutes, but the first time I tried it my quadriceps did the work, and when I carefully didn't use those, my abdominals took the job.

I suspect that I won't actually manage twice/day today or tomorrow, because I'll be staying over at [personal profile] adrian_turtle's, but I am going to try to come close to that schedule. The therapist said she wants me to come in once a week for four to six weeks, and that once/week is enough because she thinks I will do the exercises at home. Then maintenance indefinitely at 2-3 times a week. (There's no icing, massage, or electrostimulation this time, unlike the PT I've had for my rotator cuff.)
I've been pleased with my exercise patterns lately, because there have been more weeks when I've done more than what I think of as the minimum.

cut for anyone who would rather not read this. Includes some numbers, and a digression about subways. )
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2017 02:17 pm)
After being quite careful over the weekend, my left hip was feeling a lot better this morning. "Careful" in this case includes not walking or standing very much; using a (chemical) heating pad; and taking NSAIDs, Tylenol, and a low dose of a muscle relaxant (all carefully tracked so as to stay within safe dosages).
DFavis Square a little before noon today, with the heating pad on my hip, to run some errands and get lunch. The bus trip down, stop and the drug store, and lunch were all fine. After lunch, Cattitude went to his bank (in Porter Square) and I decided to get ice cream before buying fruit and coming home. I ate most of my cone and then hurried across Davis Square with the last of it—no particular reason, just a combination of city person habits and being glad I (thought I) could do this rather than crossing slowly and with the light. My hip started to hurt a little soon after I got to the sidewalk; not great, but the cell phone app said this was after about 1500 steps, which it thought was 0.6 miles. (The count will be lower than the actual step total since I got up, since I didn't have the thing in my pocket until right before we left, and the estimated distance is almost certainly higher than actual.)

I got fruit and bread, took the bus home, put things away, and had a cup of tea and another Tylenol. My only definite plan for tomorrow is to vote, and our voting place is in the firehouse right across the street from my building. The forecast is for significant wind and rain, so I'm not likely to be tempted by random wandering.
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 15th, 2017 09:14 pm)
I was in the supermarket yesterday, on my way to [personal profile] adrian_turtle's, when my left hip started hurting badly. I had already selected lettuce, and (perhaps foolishly) went on to the back of the store, picked up a quart of milk, paid, and went to the bus stop (rather than putting the lettuce down and heading for the exit). By the time I'd made it to Adrian's apartment (up about a flight and a half of stairs, carefully, one step at a time, I sat down on the loveseat purely because it was closer to the door than the couch.

It was a slow and painful evening, despite pharmaceutical painkillers (naproxen and acetominophen), applying heat to the hip, and moving as little as possible. Adrian kindly did every bit of making our dinner, brought me tea, and so on, which helped physically and psychologically.

I was feeling somewhat better this morning, after a night's sleep, but took more painkillers after breakfast (rather than on an empty stomach). I spent the morning there, then called a Lyft to get me home after lunch. (Otherwise it's two buses plus a few-blocks walk, or bus to subway to bus, and I'm not sure how much walking would be involved within the Harvard or Alewife T station.)

I added a small dose of a muscle relaxant to the regimen, and am keeping track of how much I've taken when using a text file on the computer. (I'm most concerned about the amount of acetominophen, but also keeping an eye on the NSAIDs.) By dinnertime I was feeling enough better to stand up while carving a chicken, but I am still taking small steps and moving carefully.

It's Friday evening; if I am not feeling a lot better by Monday morning i will call my doctor's office. In the meantime, I am going to rest, skip my regular exercises (most of which I do standing) and even leg stretch, and apply more heat.

[this is mostly for my own later reference.]
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The thumb is definitely doing better. Today I tried taking the brace off when I wanted to do something that would work better with two hands/both thumbs (like opening a pill bottle and eating lunch and supper), but keeping it on most of the time, and it seems to be working. I also did one of my PT-ish exercises with weight in that hand for the first time in a few weeks (I'd been doing it with just the weight of the brace on that arm, and my usual low weight in the left hand), and that also seems to be fine.

My current plan is to do this for at least a few days, and I will be sleeping with the hand in the brace for weeks if not months longer, but I suspect I don't need to go back to the doctor at the end of this month.
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I have a brace on my right thumb, for tendonitis. typing still moves the thumb, and using only the left hand is slow and weird, so don't expect much response for the next fortnight.

this is also making most other things, except walking and sleep, awkward. feh.
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