59to60

My journey from 59 to ………

Archive for the tag “arthritis”

I love the NHS!

On Friday I had a steroid injection in my knee (for arthritis / Bakers cyst) at Brentwood Community Hospital. 

Needles don’t bother me and I was quite relaxed about the whole thing. Linda, the physio, and I share the same sense of humour and attitude to life! 

I caught a glimpse of the needle which was quite big, but she was so efficient that I hardly felt a thing. 

  
After sitting in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure there were no reactions I left, with her warning to take things easy ringing in my ears. 

Now I was full of good intentions and decided I definitely wouldn’t go to the gym on Saturday, so I went to Bluewater. 

Driving back I was hit by a pain that I could only describe as excruciating. It was horrendous. I was trying to breathe through it, relax into it, talk through it, anything to get me home. 

I rang Ray, he finally answered, & warned him to have the front door open. I got home, raced in and picked up the phone to dial 111. 

Picture the scene, I’m doubled up in pain trying to answer the questions from the person on the phone whilst Ray is telling me to get Spin CDs up on the computer for him!!!!!! 

My answers were such that led to me being put through to a clinician who said I should go to the out of hours GP (an appointment was made for 20:20 and to take a urine sample with me) and that I could take paracetamol and ibuprofen. 

Got Ray fed, tucked him in, prepared his injections and tablets for the next day and, as I could not settle, set off early. 

Stopped en route to but him some biscuits and me some ibuprofen then got to the out of hours GP based at Basildon Hospital. I knew where that was as I’d taken Ray there a couple of years ago. 

Doctor was very pleasant, asked lots of questions then tested my sample. Now I drink loads of water and I’d been surprised at how dark it was, thought I must have been dehydrated for some reason for the previous few days but no, turned out it was blood :-/

The GP spoke to the surgeons and sent me over to A&E. Staff there were helpful but I had to wait quite a long time until I was seen. I was walking round in circles because it hurt less if I was moving. I was reaching the point where I was going to have to call for pain relief when my name was called and I went through. 

(I have no complaints about the wait, I should have probably told reception how bad it was but there were lots of other very ill people there, staff were doing their best and it is just not my way!)

Memories after that become a bit hazy. I remember seeing a doctor and saying the pain level was 8/9 (again not like me) and being given paracetamol and a diclofenic suppository! I was dubious about thus but happy to try anything at that point. It was magic! I took it just before going to X-ray for a scan and, by the time I arrived there, the pain had eased. 

I didn’t find out until later that I could only have one of these a day, I would never have thought I could look forward to having anything shoved up my bottom!

The scan confirmed all the doctors diagnoses, a kidney stone! 2.7mm in the uretha. 

Back to A&E and the really kind nurse to wait to be admitted. 

I was so relieved to be safe in the hospital and getting help with the pain that I didn’t care how long that took. 

At some point in the night the nurse took me to the Surgical Referral Unit where I was put in a room on my own. 

Time then started to rake on a surreal quality, in fact I think I ‘lost’ a day! 

Doctors explained what was wrong and that they were hoping it would pass naturally, nurses kept checking me, asking if I was in pain, taking my temperature, blood pressure etc and giving me the much needed pain relief! 

Now I’m usually very fit and healthy these days and my blood pressure is good so you can imagine my reaction when, at 6am on Sunday morning, when all I’d been doing was lying down for hours, it was recorded at 189/76!

The pain continued and I was being given liquid morphine and paracetamol which dulled it but did not stop it altogether 😦

  
This was the  best painkiller but, as I’ve said, I could only have it once a day!

  

I think this, incredibly unflattering, selfie shows the state I was in!

 
But, as a carer, I couldn’t just think of me! 

I’d left Ray his injections for Sunday and pills for Sunday & Monday but I needed to sort out future meds and meals. 

The meals side was, relatively, easy. My wonderful next door neighbour Pat made him dinner on Sunday. 

I rang the District Nurses to explain the situation, confident that they would take over his medications until I, an unqualified, unpaid mug, oops carer, who had been doing it for 24 years was well enough to be discharged. 

I was SO wrong! The person who answered my call said they would not be able to help. 

I was gobsmacked, and I am again as I’m writing this! 

You’ve seen the state I was in, I truly cannot remember all the details about what happened. I argued and, eventually, they got a district nurse to ring me. 

She was not at all helpful or supportive. She said they were not covered to do it and hadn’t I got a neighbour or family member who could do it? I remember commenting on how they as qualified nurses couldn’t do it but that I should tell a random unqualified person to do it. She then said “Well where are your family?” In a very disapproving tone at which point I lost it. I asked her what the hell she meant and then said tell you what, let’s forget it and just let him fucking die!!!

That got a reaction, she asked me not to swear at her!

I was beside myself and shed the first (& only) tears of the whole episode!

Another, much nicer, nurse rang me later and said they were going to contact our Health Centre to ask the doctors to ask them to do it. 

Exhausted I went back to my pain / morphine / paracetamol haze …….. The phone rang again later … Ray ….. but when I answered it was a doctor ringing from my house to talk to me about what dosages he should have so that she can tell the nurses. 

Now, as his blood sugars can vary between 1.3 and off the scale I vary the dose, but they can’t do that? 

Still, at least I could stop worrying about it. 

Bacon the good stuff ………

I cannot praise Basidon Hospital enough. 

There was a good choice of food

  
I was going on and off nil by mouth as they debated whether to operate but meals were ordered up for me and prepared the minute I was allowed to eat. 

I was checked regularly and pain relief was given quickly when I asked for it. 

I remember at one point being asked if I was in pain and saying that I honestly didn’t know any more!!!

By midnight on Sunday, after continuous pain, and no sleep since Friday   I asked for, and was given, a sleeping tablet, but by 4 a.m. the pain was bad enough to wake me up again, that was the end of sleep! 

I was getting very good at sucking the very last drop out of the morphine syringe! Anything I was offered I grabbed! 

Another examination by the doctors ….. back on nil by mouth, preparations made for an operation to fit a stent. 

The pain, despite 2 lots of morphine and paracetamol was unbearable and I was walking round the room more to distract myself than anything else. Then I went for a wee, looked back and thought ‘what’s that?’ 

I could see a bit of grit in the toilet bowl, it was still there after I’d flushed but the pain had eased so I grabbed it, took it to the nurses and asked if it could be significant!

  
I cannot believe how something so tiny could destroy me!

I’ve now got to do some praising!

Everybody I came across at the hospital were brilliant! The nurses, the support staff, the doctors, the radiologist, the cleaners ….. everybody! I could not have been treated better!

But not only me, I saw the care that was given to other patients especially a group of Alzheimer’s patients including Annie (not her real name) an articulate, intelligent, argumentative woman with kleptomaniac tendencies. Although in my hazy state she gave me some amusement she must gave been driving all of you mad but you were amazing with her!

All the Facebook comments. The text messages and offers of help (you know who you are) were much appreciated. Thanks guys!

I must also thank brother Nigel and, even more, my sister in law Renei who brought me stuff in, shopped for me, sorted out Ray’s tablets, are a meal with him and took me home with her and thoroughly spoiled me before I returned home on Tuesday. 

Recovery is taking some time and I’m still taking paracetamol but that’s enough!

 I have had to accept that I can’t go to the riot training / control and restraint day that I’ve been looking forward to for years 😦 

I’ve also said I can’t do the search dog assessment on Saturday 😦

My knee has benefited from the rest tbough and feels great 😃

From tomorrow we are going to practice Ray doing his own meds. We obviously need to be self sufficient!
Best comment I have received – had to be added 😃😃😃

  

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2015 has started well.

Well here’s my first post of 2015, halfway through January.

Christmas and New Year are over, thank goodness. They are never a good time for us and this year was no exception. Once they are out of the way things can settle down (until Ray’s next major stress point, my birthday in March!).

So what about my new targets? I was struggling to come up with some for this year. Well, let’s face it, the last couple of years were pretty spectacular 😀 and how do you follow those?

But, after a lot of thought I came up with these:

1) To be leaner on 01/01/16 than I am on 01/03/15
2) To improve my PBs at upper body strength exercises
3) To do whatever the physios say is necessary to sort my knee out!

The first one may sound a bit odd, but let me explain.
I am NEVER going to be a naturally slim person. Yes, for the first time in my life, I have control of my weight, I still go up and down, albeit over a much smaller range.
Like most people, I start the year full of good intentions and with strong will but, over the course of the year it sneaks back up so I thought the best thing was to do was use that pattern to try and break it.
As you may have noticed, I do not like not meeting my targets so, hopefully, this will work!
I’ve just finished my two week detox and begun the year with a 7lb loss so that’s a good start.

Because of my knee (boo) I have been concentrating on upper body exercise, latterly strength work, for about the last 3-4 months so it makes sense to have a target in this area.

Again the knee …. I’ve now started the arthritis physio classes and, after one session, been promoted (or got rid of) to the functional exercise class!
Giving been given the ok to start doing some leg work I’ve been doing some gentle squats and lunges and I can’t believe how tight my quads are. At the moment it’s like I’ve never done legs before. I’ve been using the foam roller and tiger tail on my quads and IT band – it really hurts, but I know it has to be done! I can’t tell you how nice it us to have these feelings again though!

I am so busy at the moment. As well as training with Darryl, doing the program’s he’s given me at least three times a week, I’ve also signed up for two months of bootcamp at Club One Hundred! This means going out in Tuesday and Thursday evenings, breaking a pattern of sitting at home and eating! I have to say that I am loving it! The sessions are great fun and get me doing cardio!!!!

Today I was out fundraising with Search Dogs Essex. They are a great group of people, and dogs, who are all volunteers and give up their time to assist the police in searching for missing people. Not only do they give up their time to search, they have to do a massive amount of training. I have an easy role, I get left hidden in the woods as a ‘misper’ (missing person) and wait for the dogs to find me!

While we were there today I met Davina McCall! I gave always liked her on the TV and I was completely hooked by her Comic Relief Challenge. One amazing lady!
Well, we got talking (me? I know that’ll surprise you!) and she was interested in what I’d been up to!!!

Well, that got me thinking on the way home.

Darryl has got me listening to an audiobook called The Secret. It’s had a big impact on me. It stresses the importance of being thankful for the things that we have and, in trying to practice this, it has made me think far more openly and honestly about all aspects of my life and, today, I finally began to see why it may be that so many people have told me that I am inspirational!

– I taught, for ever, in a secondary school in one of the toughest areas of London (& loved it!)
– I survived a couple of pretty disastrous relationships!
– I’ve been the sole carer for Ray for the last 26 years!
– I lost masses of weight and have succeeded in keeping most of it off. I’m still more than 6 stone lighter than I was!
– I have been a non smoker, after being on 40+ a day, for over 4 years.
– My Multiple Sclerosis has gone from relapse & remitting to secondary progressive to benign (hooray, hooray!!!) I no longer need walking sticks or a Blue Badge!
– at the age off 55 I took up exercise for the first time and I am now completely addicted.
– Whilst I can no longer work I do interesting voluntary work including in a prison and with the search dogs!
– I’ve amassed a large collection of medals from different races including the London Marathon!
– I’ve built up a wide range of friends all of whom are positive (younger!) people!
– I am definitely the fittest and healthiest I have ever been and I think I am also the most positive and content as well.

For all of the above I give thanks.

Life is good! And there us no reason why it should not continue to improve.

Better stop now, I need to get to bed, I’m off to hide in the forest for the dogs tomorrow. 😃

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