Updates

The insurance came back early and not with good news.  They aren’t going to pay for anything with my scooter.  I could fight it but don’t really feel I have the time.  I’m waiting for my doctor to get back from vacation to see if he will write a letter for the folding scooter in order to not have to do anything to my car.  He’s back tomorrow but I don’t know if he will call me as it’s his first day back.

Meanwhile, the rheumatologist prescribed drugs to help with the pain but it’s a steroid.  I’ll see how well this goes.  I don’t normally do well with steroids.  She did come back to say she thinks my arthritis is inflammatory.  Part of me is like – see I told you.  Part of me is relieved it isn’t something worse.

My pain levels been through the roof.  I’m still trying to manage and get to work.  I hate missing because I’m in pain but this last week I’ve spent a lot of time laying in the recliner in the dark.  It’s unproductive and a waste of time but when I can’t close my hands, put weight on my legs, move my shoulders without pain searing through me, there’s little else to do.

I have to keep reminding myself to do what I can, to keep looking forward.  There will be an end to this high level of pain and I’ll get back on track with writing and working.  Plus I’m making progress just not at the rate I would like.  I remind myself to give myself a break.

This weekend has been all about errands and a little fun.  Yesterday Ken and I ran errands – pharmacy, post office – and then we went to see Star Trek Beyond.  It was good.  I enjoyed it and there were some great lines – Dammit Spock from McCoy as well as others.

Five Vials of Blood

Five vials of blood – my rheumatology appointment got moved up to this week.  Of course she ordered blood tests and x-rays.  After seeing her, I went to have all this extra work done.  They took five vials of blood from me.  I asked the woman if she was leaving any which made her laugh.

I also got an Explanation of Benefits for the last set of blood tests (cholesterol, uric acid, sed rate) my regular doctor ordered.  Now my insurance premium went down this year – I knew it was going to be bad.  The insurance paid for $88 of labs.  I have to pay $130.  I can just imagine what the rheumatology screening is going to cost me.

I also had x-rays of my hands.  I’m sure these are going to be costly too.  The “savings” in premiums is not going to be a savings.  I had to pay a co-pay at the regular doctor and was supposed to pay one at the rheumatology doctor but their machine wasn’t working.  I’ll end up being billed for it.  Ken’s annual stuff is coming up and I’m sure we will have more expenses with his stuff.

I have good insurance through my work.  We pay through the nose for it.  Up until it was messed with last year by the Governor, it was worth the premium I was paying.  Now I’m not so sure.  All these added costs are going to be difficult.

I know I have it good with my insurance.  It could be so much worse.  However, I’ve not had a raise in at least three years and I keep losing benefits.  It’s frustrating when I’m doing everything possible to reduce costs.

Instead I’m racking up the costs because the doctors want to check for all sorts of things.  The fact is – I have arthritis which is painful.  They don’t know how or can’t treat it to make it less painful.  More money spent to tell me what I’ve known all my life.  I have arthritis and it is painful.

No Shortage of Tasks

The last two weeks have been rough for me with pain.  The weather is causing my arthritis to grumble (or scream).  Yet I don’t have time to wallow (well maybe a little).

May 2 I started a new novel.  I couldn’t get the words on the page fast enough.  By May 11, I’d finished the novel.  I love it when the inspiration hits hard and fast like this.  At the same time, I went back to add in a few more scenes for Wayfarer 11.  It’s on my need to be edited list.

I have a wedding shower to go to next Saturday and am working on the gift for that.  I have it about a third of the way done.  I’ll be spending some time this weekend watching movies and crocheting.  In addition to the shower gift, I finished off a gift for a friend.  I made her a bunch of dish towels, hand towels, and dish cloths.  Those went in the mail to her this week.

The day is gray and grumpy looking this morning but I have been at my computer since before 8 am working on different tasks.  I’ve paid bills, updated my spreadsheets, did a tiny bit of marketing, submitted three articles to paying publications.  I posted an preview for one of my books on Goodreads.  I need to figure out which scenes from each of my books and post them.

As is normal, my list is never ending for tasks I need to get done.  Shortly, I’ll be going to run errands.  Fortunately I only have a couple today.  I also need to clip coupons, check the apps for rebates, and write up the grocery list.  All so Ken will be able to do the grocery shopping tomorrow.

Last night I watched Age of Adeline which was quite good.  I also watched The Gambler which was depressing and annoying.  I got several inches done on the shower gift.  I’m hoping to finish this project this weekend.  I have several others I want to get done in a short period of time.  This means I’m letting my writing rest for a few days.

Having said that, I’ve gone back and added a prologue (possibly a new first chapter) to one story I’ve been working on.  I thought I had lost about 5000 words in the third Defenders novel.  I was cleaning my flashdrive and looked at a file I hadn’t looked at before.  It had the several scenes I thought I’d lost.  I was quite excited about this.  It saves me a lot of work in redoing.  Having found those scenes, I was able to write about another 1500 words in the story.

I’m hoping to finish both of these projects this summer.  With luck, I’ll have four books to publish over the next six months.  I also have several crochet patterns I’m going to work on publishing as well.  There is definitely no shortage of things for me to do.

Weekend Options

The weekend looms in front of me with a large list of things to do.  It is pay week so that means all the normal errands.  In addition, I want to go to Michaels for their sale.  They are having a sale on crochet cotton which I use a great deal of.  It’s on sale for 97 cents.  I downloaded their app for my smart phone and got a 20% off my entire order coupon.  This means the crochet cotton will be about 78 cents a skein.  Normal price – anywhere from 1.97 to 2.50 or so.  It is a deal I can’t pass up.

I also have to go to the DMV to renew my license.  This promises to be an interesting event.  Ken is going to go with me.  Hopefully we can accomplish both this afternoon.  If we do, it will leave tomorrow for errands.

Sunday I’m going to my niece’s bridal shower.  I’m so happy for her.  I can’t wait for her to see the gift I made her.  I hope she likes it. 

It will be a busy weekend and yet in my head I’m planning out what else I might get done.  I am nearly done with my student worker’s wristers.  I hope to finish them tonight.  After they are done I’ll turn my attention back to my daughter’s afghan.  My hands aren’t as bent with arthritis.  I can actually make a fist and tighten it with only a small amount of pain.  Her project is not portable.  It will not travel well.  The yarn is delicate and fussy, though exceedingly beautiful. 

If I end up going around while Ken does errands, I’ll probably through a crochet project in a small bag and take it with me.  I have four going on right now and only two of them are overly portable.  Ironically I wouldn’t take any of the current ones with me.  I’d probably take the left over crochet cotton so I could work on trivets or dish towels. 

It promises to be a busy weekend and I’m hoping it will also be a productive one. 

Keeping the Boredom at Bay

My arthritis is bothering me, making me cranky and ornery.  Pity Ken – he has to put up with me when this happens.

Yesterday he ran out to get me a variety of things to attempt to make me feel better.  I can cross Aleve off my list, it didn’t touch the pain I felt at all.  The Tiger Balm patches, however, seemed to help.  I have one on both ankles and knees.  I’ll see if they help today.  I’ve also tried Tylenol Arthritis.  I’m hoping these will help more as Tylenol helps a small amount.  I have one more over the counter med to try to see if it helps after this one.

It’s bad when heat and rest don’t help.  It’s bad when I can’t crochet or write because my hands hurt too much.  I’m determined today to get something done – crocheting I hope.

One of my student workers who is graduating came over yesterday and sat while I fitted her gift to her as I made it.  There are some things that are just better when I can make it with the person sitting there.  She wanted wristers that went from elbow to hand.  I have one more to make for her and I’m hoping to get it done today.  Then I will be back at Virginia’s afghan.  Every time I pick up her afghan it amazes me and I’m excited to see the finished project.  It is GORGEOUS.

I have two or three crochet patterns to type up.  I got pictures of the final project so I can add that to the file and then publish it.

This morning I’m working on getting the print copy of Wayfarer Destruction prepped and ready for publication.  The ebook has been available for pre-order and will come out on the 15th.  I’m trying to coordinate the two releases.

As long as I can still be productive, the pain from the arthritis is tolerable, I guess.  I hate sitting and doing nothing.  I want to listen to a book and crochet or I want to write.  I hate sitting and just watching tv.  It is not engaging at all for me.  It’s okay for an hour or two to unwind but after that I’m bored and want something productive to do.  So in answer to the people who ask – do I ever just sit and do nothing?  Yes but it bores the hell out of me.  Ken and everyone prefers me to be occupied and not bored because I’m less cranky that way.

Gout Equals Pain

Monday my new doctor called to tell me my uric acid levels were double what is considered normal.  I could have told him that just from the pain level I’ve been dealing with.  I went to work late on Monday after taking my drugs – gave them a chance to ease some of the pain.

Tuesday was a no go for work.  I woke up hurting and couldn’t hardly stand.  Wednesday I went to work and stayed almost ten hours.  I felt miserable the whole time.  I have work to do but every action felt like it took twice or three times the energy to perform.

Today I’m home.  I slept through my alarm – never a good thing.  When my daughter called and woke me up I knew even when I took my meds, it wasn’t going to ease the level of pain much.  Here I am four hours later and trying to hold off taking three more Tylenol for another hour and I’m finally able to sit up without feeling awful though the pain is still too high.

It’s time for me to go into hibernate mode I guess.  I have to stop letting the pain get me down, making me cranky, and I have to recognize I can only do what I can do.  Today that means I have classical music on, I pull out my crocheting or my editing and I sit in my recliner drinking lots of water and hope the meds do their job.

I’ve got two manuscripts to get edits on the computer.  I’m going to work on those until I’m too tired to work.  If I get tired of the editing, I’ve got a list of crochet projects I need to work on.  It’s the best I can do for now.

Medications and alternatives

Since my pain med was taken off the market by the FDA, I’ve had a difficult time finding pain meds that work and that doctors are willing to prescribe for me.  My ortho says – pain meds should be maintained by the GP.  My GP says – if you are on delauded then the doctor who prescribed it has to continue prescribing it. 

This is just dandy for me as I’m left with no pain meds but over the counter pain relievers.  Anyone who has regular pain knows that this is frustrating and difficult.  I have no control over the doctors.  I can’t make them prescribe drugs for me.  My only option is to find other ways to manage my pain. 

To this end, I’ve found heat works well for me.  When my knees, ankles, and other joints are screaming with pain, I put a heating pad on them.  I’d love to have a hot tub but that is outside my budget.  The heating pad puts heat right on the joint which eases most of the pain.  I know I’m unusual for this – most people prefer ice packs.  The only time an ice pack helps is when I have a migraine and I put a cold cloth or ice pack on the back of my neck.  Ice or cold (like the sub-zero weather we’ve been having) actually increases my pain.  I avoid it as much as possible.

When the pain is at a tolerable level, I make a point of moving the joint.  For my ankles, I will do flexes and points of my foot as well as circles to keep the joint as limber as possible.  For my knees, this is harder because my one knee almost never stops hurting but I try to do gentle motions that keep it moving.  Too much walking or standing make the knee hurt more.

Slippers help keep my feet warm.  I’m a barefoot girl.  I don’t like stuff on my feet but walking across cold floors and letting my feet get cold is a sure way for my pain level to spike.  Using slippers keeps the cold away from my feet and the pain at bay.

I’ve had so many people tell me “You need to get up and move more”.  In all honesty, I’ve tried this and all it does is aggravate my knees further.  Having my legs at a particular angle makes it so they don’t hurt.  When my pain level is high, this is all I really care about. 

On those mornings when I can’t close my hands, I use hot water to wash away the ache.  Then I also crochet on a nightly basis.  This helps to keep my fingers limber.  One of the hardest things I have to cope with is a cold steering wheel.  Thick gloves go on my hands before I touch anything outside.  Unfortunately my hands still get cold so I’m still looking for something to protect them better.  I may crochet a steering wheel cover but I have a concern about the cover slipping while I’m driving.   

Massaging lotion into my hands helps to limber them up and warm them up.  It also helps other joints like my wrists, elbows and so on.  Getting a professional massage definitely helps with my pain level but the budget isn’t all that happy when I spend money on massages.

With our extreme cold weather, I put a scarf between my knee and anything cold.  I use my long scarf to cover up the knee when I’m on my scooter in the cold.  It gives it another layer of protection. 

Ultimately, I’m going to have to figure out the pain med issue, but in the meanwhile, these little tricks help make life less painful.  I just have to find a doctor I trust – this is no easy feat.

Shots …

Today I got shots in my knees.  This is goo that goes in to help cushion the joint in an effort to replace the fluid that the arthritis has gotten rid of.  This is a three week treatment to help reduce the amount of pain I’m in.
It was painful getting the needle shoved into my knee but I am looking forward to the end result.  It will mean that I will be in less pain every day after the shots start.  Now if they would only come up with something for my ankle that has bone on bone.
Every Friday through the rest of April, I’ll be in the doctor’s office getting these shots.  I’m looking forward to May.  It will mean that I’ll be able to sleep better because my knees won’t be locking up and I’ll be able to manage life better.