Archive for April, 2016

The Search For Compression

April 17, 2016

The last few weeks have been very interesting and informative – ever since my dermatologist told me I have long-term edema in my legs with scar tissue, I have learned a lot.  The reason I knew about it was last November I had a car door hit me in my leg, near the ankle.  The sore didn’t get worse, but didn’t heal and I asked my dermatologist about.  she called it an ulcer and sent me to Wound Care to have it taken care of – it took a few weeks.  It resulted in having my left lower leg wrapped up in bandages changed every week.  Consequently, I couldn’t take a shower because I couldn’t let it get wet.  And since I was also doing the nose surgery, a shower was definitely out of the question.

The sore healed but I didn’t have any compression socks to use to keep the swelling down.  So once again, I am all wrapped up again, still looking at compression socks that will work.  The first ones I bought turned out to be too short and were too tight at the top – too bad because they were quite colorful.

Paisley Tie Dye

That was a blow because my right leg is also swollen, so I really needed to find something soon because they think I may be able to take the wrapping off my leg this coming week.  I have been looking on Google for several days and I know Sockwell is a good brand.  I found some on Amazon with medium compression in black and also a stripe.  They are not cheap, but instead of $25.00, I bought them for $17.99 and they arrived on Friday afternoon.

Saturday I tried to put one on and by George, I was able to do it by myself!  During my rehab stay for the hip, the CNA had to put them on and take them off for me – I suspect they were firm or very firm compression.  I wore them all day Saturday and was able to walk around 3 shops without feeling really tired or sore.  My right knee has been the one that really gets me, but everything has worked rather well.  There must be something to the support as well as just compression to prevent edema.  It has been most interesting to find myself noticing a difference.    The other pair I bought was a grey chevron stripe – similar to this:

Not quite so fashionable, but if the black ones work, I figure these will also because they are the same size.  I decided on the Medium/Large just to be sure they come up far enough.  The trouble is they go by shoe size and calf circumference but don’t show how tall they are.  So it is a by guess, by golly to figure it out.  I am thinking of returning the too small ones and try a plus size to see if it will work.  If it doesn’t, I am not out a whole lot.

The other bit of news is our new big screen tv.  The one we had was Mom and Dad’s for quite a long time and it was dying.  It was still working but had intermittent troubles and the nice young man who hooked up the tv said he would recycle it without charge.  We also had another old one down stairs and he took that yesterday to where we bought the new one.  We decided to keep the little one in our bedroom for a while.

Eddie has ben talking about buying a new big screen for a year or more – he finally had enough money put away so we could pay for it – we put it on the credit card and will have the cash when the bill comes.  It is 42″ and almost fills up the table we use for the tv – one of these days we will find an entertainment center so we can have our DVDs stored in it.  We also bought a DVD player, a Blu-ray even though we have regular DVDs.  It’s also a Smart TV – whatever that means –  it remains to be seen who is smarter.

Eddie bought a Blu-ray DVD yesterday so we could see how it looks – the new Star Wars movie.  Interesting.  We are still getting used to it and how it works – still seems strange to watch.  The tv is ultra high-definition – though we don’t have high def on our satellite company – no doubt costs extra. So we will struggle a long for a while, but now we can watch DVDs in the living room instead of retreating to the bedroom on a small tv.

Ain’t technology wonderful!!!

First Week Going Solo

April 10, 2016

WOW!!!!!  It feels so good to be independent again.  I had a great week, felt good and we had some very lovely weather to make it even better.  Sunshine and almost to 80 degrees one day.  Now we are back into clouds and possibly rain on Tuesday.  The scales are blooming all over, the  pink dogwood is slowly unfolding, the fruit trees are beginning to bloom and I don’t feel the world has passed me by any more.  I feel much more regular – I find driving is as if I had been doing it all along because I am not impeded.  When I started driving after my arm healed, I didn’t have much range of motion, so I was a bit nervous and hesitant.  I am so grateful to have my freedom back.

I have to pick up my life again, seems to have been on hold for the last few months.  I am going to get a second opinion about the shoulder surgery, then make a decision about it.  It is time to resolve it one way or the other.  I also have to regroup about my promotional marketing business and decide what niche I want to focus on – trying to do everything doesn’t really work.  Also, I want to find sponsors for my radio show so I can start that up again.  The hardest part of the last few months a years has been feeling drag my a** tired all the time.  I have been feeling more energy lately, something I had forgotten and I want to continue to build energy up as much as I can.

I have been going out without any bandages for a week and a half – yes, I have a crease in my forehead, a curved scar below and the top of my nose isn’t quite blemish free – and as long as I concentrate on what I’m doing instead of how I look, I forget about it.  I am also used to it, though I will say that my head is still numb but still seems to have feelings in it.  Sometimes if feels as if I can feel the blood flowing through and tingles.  As I said, it is not unpleasant and can be rather an interesting experience to just feel what is happening.

Enough of me, there has to be something more interesting to write about.  I have spent a lot of the last week alone because Eddie has been busy.  Tuesday nights are late nights and this week Friday was too.  Then Saturday he was at the Future of Flight to help Sandy with tours for the Geek Fest.  At the moment he is at the Museum of Flight for the second day of it, though he plans to leave around noon.  People were very glad to see him yesterday up north, he  is highly regarded there.  He does admit to missing aviation, though he is definitely learning a lot about investments.   Wherever he goes, he meets very interesting people and through one of them he hopes to help Vartan.  We met him and his wife Lyla at the Armenian Church in November, he’s Armenian from Syria.  As Eddie says, there aren’t many left and it is important to help each other.

Speaking of Armenians, the flare up in Nagorno Karabakh has been in the news lately.  Usually one doesn’t hear about things like that.  It is an interesting situation because it is a small enclave of Armenians in the middle of Azerbaijan – many of the Armenians at the church are from there.  That is also why they do the sermon in Russian.  In Armenia there is a small island of land in the middle full of Azerbaijanis – probably not as many  as there are Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.  I wonder if they will ever be able to  solve it.  I was also surprised to see there was mention of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacre – something Turkey does not acknowledge happened.

When we were in Canada, we mentioned the Armenian Church and Raouf asked if we would see if we could have some Armenian translated for him.  He has a framed picture or banner in Armenian and he wanted to know what it said.  We took pictures and we asked Vartan if he could translate it for us.  And he did.

IMG_0367

He said when we showed the picture that it was in a very ancient Armenian.

This is the translation of the Armenian sentence which has been written on the curtain.

“This curtain is for memorial of Varter, her son and his family, to  Bursa’s Saint Mother Of God Church.   Date 1244”.

We have a picture downstairs we bought, written Armenian; I need to take a picture of it and see if Vartan will translate it for us.

Time for me to wash my hair and get dressed – that simply means I lean over the shower chair to wash my hair very carefully but not get my leg bandage wet.  So I am still in spit bath mode.  It should end soon so I can have a proper shower.

Hunger vs Appetite

April 3, 2016

I never knew there was a difference between the two – but it has been brought home to me in a very obvious way.

 

Hunger is that rumbling, growling and sometimes small cramps in your stomach, sometimes feels as if there is a creature down there having a tantrum.   That is my tummy saying to me “Hey you, it’s time to send food down because I’m starving and need fuel.  Yes, I know you have fat stored up to use, that isn’t my department; I am only interested in what comes down the throat.  If you don’t feed me, there will be a headache, light headedness, etc. coming along soon.  So hop to it!”.

That is definitely easy to  solve; since I enjoy eating, it doesn’t take much to satisfy the hunger pangs.  I read where it takes 20 minutes for the food to make it to the stomach after I eat it.  These days, I don’t eat as much because I have a smaller capacity.  Now if my body would just reflect that smaller capacity.

Sometimes when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I go back to bed and find I have hunger pangs – not sure why.  I never know if they will just subside so I can go back to sleep or if they will keep on until I get up and have a banana.  After the banana I am able to go back to sleep.

Then there is appetite – that is at the base of my skull and has nothing to do with hunger and feeding the body.  It all has to do with the “I wants”.  the first time I was on 15 mg of prednisone, I  didn’t know about appetite.  I just knew I was feeling better and I wanted to eat everything in sight.  There were not enough hours in the day to eat all I wanted to – it took so long to be hungry again so I could eat.  My Dad introduced me to Chicken McNuggets – oh brother!  I remember  one night about 3 in the morning when I had such a craving for them – it was a good things Eddie was home because if I had been alone, I would have gone out to buy some.  I didn’t know what was going on, only that food tasted so good and I couldn’t believe how creative I was with it.  I also gained 35 pounds very quickly, – they are still with me today because they didn’t leave as fast as they arrived.

I finally learned that 15 mg of prednisone really stimulates my appetite and it was the reason I was eating everything.  Forewarned is forearmed, so 7 weeks ago when I had to go off my Methotrexate and Orencia, I had about 3 weeks before the flare up arrived.  I talked to my rheumatologist about how I could keep myself comfortable.  She recommended 15 mg. of prednisone and that’s what I did.  However, I was waiting and watching during the time and last week the munchies arrived.  Now I didn’t have any way to go out and it was hard  having the munchies while trying to be sensible.  It wasn’t easy and I found myself wanting to eat all the time.  It   At one point I had a blood orange to help – I figured fruit would be a lot better than cookies, chips, etc.  Not that we had much of those in the house then.

I was fidgety and stressed, trying not to eat.  It wasn’t eating a whole table full of food at once, like the picture above.   It was eating something here, something else a bit later, then remembering something else in the kitchen.  Or just wanting to eat for no reason except I want something.  One of the difficulties of the nose surgeries was not being able to wear my glasses very well: hard to read, work on the computer and anything else.  I would have gone for a walk up and down the sidewalk but I was concerned about tripping and falling.   Plus we have been having a lot of rain and cold, not conducive to having a walk.  Television is no help because they show food all the time and cooking shows just intensify everything.

Thursday I started  reducing my prednisone by half a pill – 2 1/2 instead 3.  Next Thursday I will go down another 1/2 to 2 – if I go off all at once, then I would be in big trouble.  Prednisone takes over the function of my adrenal glands and cutting it off abruptly is a major no-no.  I am noticing I have less munchies, but still eat a bit more than I need because I want it and it tastes so good.  I am glad to see it is not as much as it was, I hope to see the munches less and less.

Prednisone has taught me a lot about the difference between appetite and hunger; because of that first experience several years ago, I was able to anticipate and watch for the  side effects of the larger dose.  I’m glad I wasn’t unaware this time – I am learning all the time and putting that knowledge to better use now.


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