Monday, January 31, 2011

stumbling around

For the past week I have been limping and hobbling around.  Last monday I went to see my knee dr and got a shot in my left knee.  I was originally supposed to get the first of 3 synvisc shots but when I got there, they told me "its your lucky day." Now considering my luck I should have been suspicious right then.  But they told me that someone had scheduled getting a synvisc-one shot and cancelled and since they couldn't return the shot, they could give it to me for free.  No charge for the shot or visit.  So, I discuss the differences between the 1 shot vs the 3, I had major reservations regarding doing the 1 shot, because it was basically taking the exact same formula, and doing the shot all at once vs breaking into three separate shots.  I was concerned because sometimes getting the amount in the 1/3 shot was a lot of pressure, but he said he would inject it in a little different place and that would give it more room, so I decided to try it out.

So I got the shot, and it wasn't too bad.  A little sore that day - this is typical, usually the day of the shot is a achy and it takes a day or so before it kicks in.  I went on to work, same with Tuesday.  But then by Wednesday, my knee was killing me.  I was hobbling around and could barely walk.  M said she thought my knee was swollen, at that point I couldn't see it myself.  We got snow, so I took a "snow day" and worked from home.  Luckily I can do my job as easily from home as I can from the office.  It is just preferred that we go in.  Thursday, it was worse, so I took a sick day and even called back into the dr.  said my knee was swelling, and achy and I couldn't walk, etc.  Spoke to the assistant, and was told that maybe it was just because I did the one shot instead of doing the 3, that it was a lot more fluid and to keep it elevated and ice on it.  I slept most of thursday, hoping to "sleep it off and feel better." That didn't really work.  I asked about taking another sick day on Friday but was told that no... my boss and the entire rest of my team was already out on vacation, trying to get their last days in before end of year.  So worked from home again.  Was miserable most of the weekend.

M told me to start using one of my canes... which helped, not sure why I didn't do it myself.  I think she is over me being home and hobbling.  I'm not sure if it is that she feels a little helpless when I'm sick or "under the weather" or if she just finds it irritating.  In any case she has become very irritable, and being irritable myself from being in pain, I'm having a little trouble being sympathetic.

I went back to the Dr this morning, they drained off over 10 cc's of fluid off my knee.  Two huge syringes.  The amount looked about 4 times the amount of that shot from last week.  But it did make a big difference.  The achy pain that was my constant friend, throbbing from my knee down into my ankle,  keeping a beat all its own with sharp heart beats of pain radiating.  actually I think most of the pain was down in my ankle.  Think that is a good example of "referred pain".  I tried most everything.  Ice, heat, elevate, massage, hot tub, advil, vicodin, even alcohol.  No not all at the same time.  Though, if I had thought it might help, well.... I got the best relief from some pain relief cream that I would rub on my knee and down the back of my calf and around my ankle.  Flexerall plus.  It has a stronger smell than ben-gay, but unlike ben-gay it helps when I've had bad knee aches in the past.  So Why not? I tried it.  I think all it did was distract the nerves along my leg.  But it helped.

Now after having the fluid removed, my leg no longer looks deformed.  and the constant pain is gone. Did I mention that? That is huge! Big difference.  my knee still aches, but instead of being a 9-11 on that 1-10 scale, it is now more like a 3. I can ignore a 3.  sometimes it aches and the pain climbs but again, it is bearable.  I'm hoping I will be able to sleep tonight.  I haven't slept much the past week.  My knee kept waking me up, I couldn't find a comfortable position. You know, you keep moving hoping to get situated so the pain goes away or calms down, but it wasn't happening.  Sometimes it felt better moving than stopping. But it is hard to keep moving and sleep.  So my sleep was disturbed.  Which meant I disturbed everyone else.  Perhaps that was why M was irritable? lol

I even disturbed the cats. Ziggy hates the smell of the "old lady cream" as M calls the flexerall.  Must be the strong menthol.  He gets a whiff and runs.  I should be more considerate of the rest of the family.

I think I will sleep good tonight.

winter blahs!

I am so sick of the snow and cold weather.  Spring will not come too soon.  We have not gotten one big snow storm like we have in years past, instead this year it has been a day of 1-2 inches, followed by a cold spell (temps in the low 20's) then another 2-3 inches, then warms up to the upper 30's but not enough to melt the snow off the grass.  Then another day of snow.  It has been several days without snow, so it is time.  Weather reports that it is supposed to start overnight and continue into tomorrow.  Total accumulation of about 4-5 inches.  Fun fun.  Better rush to the grocery (market) and fight the crowds so you can load your cart with at least 5-10 loaves of bread and a dozen or more gallons of milk.  Nevermind that we can rarely finish 1 loaf or a 1/2 gallon of milk before either go bad.  It is a local LAW to buy mass quantities whenever they predict a big snow.  Just watch the supermarkets and grocery stores - check out the people with carts full of both bread and milk.  What do they do with all that? Ok, you can freeze bread, but I think it doesn't taste as good after thawed. But milk? what? make ice cream? what?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Resolutions

I have noticed a growing trend among friends and fellow bloggers of people that don't "do resolutions."  Which made me think about what that really means.

From Webster's online dictionary:
Definition of RESOLUTION

1 : the act or process of resolving: as
a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
b : the act of answering : solving
c : the act of determining
d : the passing of a voice part from a dissonant to a consonant tone or the progression of a chord from dissonance to consonance
e : the separating of a chemical compound or mixture into its constituents
f (1) : the division of a prosodic element into its component parts (2) : the substitution in Greek or Latin prosody of two short syllables for a long syllable
g : the analysis of a vector into two or more vectors of which it is the sum
2 : the subsidence of a pathological state (as inflammation)
3 a : something that is resolved
b : firmness of resolve
4 : a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group
5 : the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out
6 a : the process or capability of making distinguishable the individual parts of an object, closely adjacent optical images, or sources of light
b : a measure of the sharpness of an image or of the fineness with which a device (as a video display, printer, or scanner) can produce or record such an image usually expressed as the total number or density of pixels in the image

Hmmm.... ok so how does that fit with making a New Year resolution? I guess choice 3 a) is closest to being an example of a New Year type resolution.  

So anyway, what's the big problem with making a New Year resolution? I make resolutions all the time, all year long.  I resolve to get more exercise, to pay more attention to what I am eating, and to try to get healthier.  I resolve to get more sleep at night.  Sometimes I am successful at whatever I resolve to do or change, other times not so much.  Sort of like sticking with a diet, I have lots of good intentions at first, but then before I know it, I've fallen off the wagon, and start becoming hap-hazard and next thing I know, all those good intentions have sailed out the window. 

But so what is so different about those day to day resolutions and a "New Year Resolution"? Only thing I can figure out is that by saying it is a New Year Resolution, we are somehow promising to stick to it, and promise to follow through not just "try" and are, at least in our own minds, somehow held accountable to not break them for the entire year? And just as those other day to day resolutions that I've made through out the year and failed to keep, I will fail at the New Year Resolution, and somehow it will be a bigger failure because it has the words "New Year" tacked to it.  Sorry, I don't see the significance.  Or is it because it becomes a more "public" declaration, especially if others ask what your New Year resolutions are, and you share?  By publicly declaring you will stick to your diet, or get more sleep (to use my examples from above), and when you fail, then you become more of a failure because it becomes more public.  Sorry, I don't buy that either.  Oh I understand and accept others declarations that they "don't do New Year resolutions".  That's fine.  Maybe they don't do resolutions at all.  But I will admit to myself that I do do resolutions.  And I normally repeat the same ones over and over, and I break them over and over, but then I dust myself off and get back on track and start all over again with good intentions.  
Call them New Year resolutions or not.  It matters not to me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

travelling for the holidays

My daughter and I flew to western KY to spend the holiday's with my mom on Xmas eve, and my brother and family drove in from mid-state (5 1/2 hr drive) on Saturday and left again on Sunday.  Another whirlwind family get-together.  My mom loved it. And was left completely exhausted.  She seemed to be doing pretty good this visit. But that can be hard to tell. She is still complaining that it hurts to swallow, talk, basically use her throat.  But she'll be ok. We flew back on Thursday the 30th, and then got stuck in Chicago (apparently high winds - hmm windy city?) due to delays. Airlines no longer give you free rooms if you are stranded. They offer "discounts", I'd hate to see what the normal prices of some of these places are.  On the other hand, if I think about it, why should the airline have to pay for a hotel for me, when the flight was delayed by weather? Basically they chose to limit the number of flights that could take off or land at any given time due to the high winds. Which in turn caused some major delays and caused us (along with lots of other people) to miss their connections.  So is that the airline's fault?  I think it makes a little more sense to blame the airline when they just randomly cancel a flight, or they bump you without reason, etc.  Last year we had an issue in Cincinnati trying to catch a connection, and went to the gate to be told the plane just left.  I said, but I have 10 after, the flight isn't scheduled to leave until 20 after, and had the attendant tell me quite proudly that her monitor said 15 after. When I tried to explain how that still mean the plane left early, she shrugged and said it was already gone, and did I want help getting a replacement flight?
One of my main complaints with flying these days is that checked bags cost at least $25 a bag, unless of course you pay extra to fly first class - then you can get free checked bags (in some cases 3). Ok, if there is a problem with passengers taking too much and they need to limit bags, charging would be a way to do that. But oh, then you hear that they are having to add sand bags as ballast to even out the load since people aren't taking as many bags. Go figure.  Then there are all the people that go through security lugging way more bags than the 1 bag plus one personal item (purse, pillow, etc).  I guess there are a lot of people that don't know how to count.  Also, these same people that can't count are the ones that have the "over-sized" carry-ons and have to gate-check them.  Which is free.  Which is why these people are doing this.  Basically it is like checking a bag, only it is free, and you get your bag back at plane side when you reach your destination.  Other advantage I guess is that if you get stranded like we did in Chicago, you got your bag with you.  Ours somehow didn't miss our connection (even tho we landed when the other plane was supposedly taking off) even though we did.  So we got to spend the night without our luggage.  I carry a laptop bag with me that has my essential stuff in it.  So I was ok.
We stayed in the Hilton at the Chicago airport - in the airport actually. Cost a little more, but to me it was worth not have to try to go out find and catch a shuttle for a 20 min drive to some hotel and be at their mercy to be able to get a shuttle the next morning and not miss our return flight.  It already took us almost 15-20 minutes to walk from the airport itself to the hotel lobby, much less go on outside where the shuttle buses were.  The hotel was nice. Not that I ever plan to go back to it.  The main down point of the stay in Chicago was walking into an elevator just as a homeless man was exiting to discover he had just peed in the corner. Ewww. and why there? never mind I don't want to know.  J wondered how he knew he could be finished in time before the doors opened... I don't know? practice?
M also had her own fun travelling over the holiday. She flew to SC to see W. Was supposed to fly out on Friday and return Monday, making it a 4 day weekend trip.  She got stuck because of a connecting flight through Newark, and had her Monday flight rescheduled for Thursday, and then when it looked like it might be cancelled again, ended up having to get another flight home. She is holding her breath waiting for a refund on the original return flight.  Which they did promise, so maybe.  I think the worst part of her getting stuck was that she was staying with W and his girlfriend D and she got sick of hearing sales pitches for XANGO. The miracle fruit, cure for MS and anything that ails you, that I wrote about before.  You don't sell the product, you just find 5 friends that will join and market it, and they find 5 friends, etc.  The other issue was that D's cooking apparently left something to be desired, she said the meals were things that really sounded good, but every time she put any of it in her mouth she was disappointed.  The other problem was that it was unseasonably cold in SC.  And apparently W & D didn't feel the need to turn up the heat.  M was talking about having to put socks on her hands to read so her hands didn't freeze.  M doesn't normally complain of the cold.
Western KY is really not that far south of where I live in Central PA. But a lot of people from this area seem to believe I am travelling south when I mention going to see my mom.  Now, granted if you listen to the accents of the locals, you will definitely hear a drawl. And like a lot of the south, they don't get in any hurry. But geographically, it is really more west than south.  Temperature-wise it normally is within a few degrees of here.  In fact, we had a white xmas (about 3-4 inches) which was more than here. In any case, I wish it was further south and that the temperatures reflected it.  I am pretty much over winter time.  Today was a "warm spell" - regular heat wave with temps climbing into the 40's.  Feels a lot better than 20's and below.  And this single digit stuff with the wind chill - it really has to go.  I truly think my MS doesn't like cold.  Maybe it is just me that doesn't like cold, but I like to think it is one thing that we agree on.  Something we can both be on the same side regarding.  I just really don't like the bitter cold. Especially damp & cold.  I don't care for extreme heat either, but the cold just seems to do something to me.  And plus arthur doesn't care for it either.  So the 3 of us - arthur, MS & me all would greatly prefer if we were done with winter now please.  My arthritis in my left knee has really been acting up.  I saw the dr yesterday and talked about seeing another specialist to discuss a knee replacement.  Hiking across the airport, riding my bike, stepping out in the cold.  None of those things are much fun these days.  So I think it is time.  It isn't going to get any better.  And the things that were helping (like the walking, exercising and riding bike) don't seem to be doing it now.  So I need to take the next step and see what I need to know to plan.