Got a Date

Not that sort of date, no no no. I’m very happily married thank you very much.

No, a date for the surgery! on 21 July they’re replacing both wonky knuckles. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure. Altering things so it’ll be easier afterwards – brought haircut forward, ordered LimbO arm protector, preparing hubby for all the extra things I’ll need help with . . .

I did have an arm protector, but can’t find it anywhere. I may have given it to Mother when she had arm surgery. If not, it will turn up immediately after the first use of the new one.

It’s my right hand, and that is my dominant hand, so quite a lot of things will be difficult for a while. But I have suitable clothes from when they did a trapiezectomy on my left hand in 2013 – elastic waisted clothes because I don’t expect to be able to manage zips or buttons . . .

And most of all I’m very impressed with how quickly it’s happening! possibly because it’s hand surgery, and I’m not sure how many people are waiting for that. Hip replacements and bigger operations I guess have a much bigger waiting list. It is through the NHS, so it’s remarkably fast.

It will be a general anaesthetic, which always knock me about. Always. For several months. But still . . .

I’m burbling now. I’ll stop.

Next Exciting Instalment

I can’t believe England beat Germany. (football). Excellent match, both sides played really well, and it was so exciting to watch. It’s been 55 years since we managed to beat Germany. But I was horrified, embarrassed and angry at the boo-ing during the national anthems though. Rude, ignorant, boorish and even racist. Nobody else does it. Nobody. Harrumph. We shall see what happens at tonight’s match against Ukraine. Mm.

Saw the consultant about my hand. The short version is that he is going to replace both wonky knuckles. Hooray. I don’t know when, though. The recovery time is about 3 months (he said six weeks . . . but I checked online). And the joints are made from silicone plastic, and should last at least 10 years. That’ll do me.

Meanwhile we managed to find a wonderful handyman. I’ve been agitating for the carpet in the porch to be removed for several years. It was dark pink (ugh), then replaced with pale grey (not a great idea). But underneath are lovely quarry tiles. Unfortunately they were covered in sticky plastic tape. We knew what we needed to do, but neither of us have the physical resources to do that stuff any more. A wonderful guy came on Thursday morning with special solvent spray and removed all the tape, then removed the solvent, and it looks So Much Better. I love it. It’s much easier to clean (even for me!) and looks like a porch should.

Oops. Just noticed some earth/dead leaf/whatever on the floor. Ah well.

So today I have wrapped my friend’s son’s birthday present and organised its collection. I have written three birthday cards (daughter, 40 on Monday, her uncle who will be 70 the same day, and of course friend’s son’s). I have ordered holiday type toiletries – sun tan lotion and after sun.

And on Monday I need to phone the vet to arrange to pick up some flea and worm treatment.

Very pleased with a summer dress I’d ordered which arrived today. Reduced to almost half price, tiered so it’s nice and swingy and cool, and it’s cheesecloth type fabric. Love that. Also some earrings – called “irregular” but I think of them as “wonky”.

Also am halfway through week 2 of the new antidepressant regime. The side effects are starting to fade a little (nausea, excessive sweating, fatigue) and I do feel a little brighter. Which is great!

Medication, footie and labels

Not necessarily medication labels, just labels.

Well, today I spoke to the doctor, and now I have new anti-depressants. Same “family” (SSRI) but just different. The process of changing over from one to the other is so complicated it takes four weeks. I always have a pill organiser for the forthcoming week, but have needed to set up four different pill organisers, labelled clearly Week 1, Week 2, etc. It’s complicated by the fact that my pill-taking week starts on a Wednesday. Don’t ask. Fingers crossed it will all go well.

Tomorrow I have a guided steroid injection into my thumb joint booked – they’re going to check the rest of the hand too while they’re at it and then decide whether to replace or fuse the knuckle joints. They’re talking about ultrasound and x-ray, so I’m not sure whether it’s one or the other, or both. Anyway. We shall see. Hubby is taking me and fetching me – they advise you not to drive after the procedure.

Saturday I have booked my first pedicure since February 2020. I’m really hoping I’ll be ok to drive there, bearing in mind the change of meds and the thumb injection. Mm. That is something I could re-arrange but will wait and see if I need to first.

The sorting out of the spaghetti tangle behind the hi-fi is going well. Just awaiting some 0.5 metre power cables, and it should look much better. It’s already looking tidier. You can see a jumble of wires on the right, and holes in the wall where the electrician took out the old plug sockets. You can even see one of my plug labels ! as well as various Father’s Day cards. It will all be sorted out very soon . . . .

Football again tonight – we watched Scotland vs England on Saturday. England’s game was a bit lacklustre, but I thought the Scots played really well. (Goalless draw). Last night we watched Belgium play Finland. Cor blimey, exciting. Tonight it’s England vs Czech Republic. It’s always a bit fraught watching England play, partly because it’s our team, and partly because they’re not that reliably good! We both shout at the screen, I tend to shout a bit at the inanity of the commentators – they do have a tendency to state the bloody obvious – and why can’t they just shut up once in a while? I don’t need to hear their constant speculation about who will go through! I do understand that they can’t hear me . . . .

I’m a bit worried that the motherboard on my computer is failing. It’s not quite 3 years old yet, so a bit soon. But from time to time things don’t work. For example the monitor (even the new one), the keyboard, and some of the USB ports. So I’m backing up every other day and keeping a watch on it. I did have an old computer where Windows lost all its USB drivers, so installing Linux worked, but I’m already using Linux on this one!

Temperatures are currently lower, so better for me. 17C today, 21C tomorrow allegedly. Anything over 23C leaves me limp. So this is just fine.

Reading some excellent stuff at the moment. Currently halfway through “Barbarossa/how Hitler lost the war” (Jonathan Dimbleby). It’s very interesting, detailed, and intense. At the moment I’m having to leave it for a day or so in between reading sessions because there’s quite a lot about the massacres of Jewish people. Horrific anyway, but as I have Jewish heritage (my Dad and all his relatives) it’s particularly upsetting. It’s hard to understand such hatred, based on nothing except propaganda.

Things are happening!

The oven has continued to work ok, so that’s a mystery.

The decorator has been and we should get the quote shortly. All starting to fall into place now.

I have an appointment for a nerve conduction test, and another appointment for ultrasound and x-ray scans of my hand, when they will also do a steroid injection into my thumb. Then I get to see the consultant the following week to decide what to do (joint fusion or joint replacement).

Today my back is dreadful. I’ve had back problems for over 40 years, surgery 28 years ago which helped, but am all bent over to one side. It’s improved from this morning, when I was bent over sideways and frontways as well! still, painkillers, hot/cold packs, not doing anything for more than 20 minutes, and tomorrow it should be better. If not, I’ll try and get to the osteopath this week.

Part of the “not doing anything for more than 20 minutes” included a potter round the garden, in the rain. Took a few pictures because the colours cheer me up so much! and made me feel better even though I couldn’t manage a shower this morning. (I’ll deffo have one tomorrow, though!)

24th August 2013

Time  for another blog. I can’t believe it’s so long since the last one.

The pain in my right hand is much less now. I’ve weaned myself off Tramadol without any withdrawal symptoms, and today is the first day since I can’t remember when without needing any painkillers at all. I’ve been taking the glucosamine and cod liver oil tablets for a couple of weeks now, and the difference is remarkable. No grinding, even, when I flex the knuckle. It still cracks, though, sometimes, and that hurts, but I can cope with that.

Saw the neurosurgeon on Thursday morning. He’s Italian, tall, handsome, very efficient and thorough. The good news is I don’t have Parkinson’s Disease, just “essential tremor” which is age-related. There are tablets which can help, but in my case it’s mild and intermittent, so we’re not going to bother. He asked me to book myself in for an MRI scan of my head and ears – and the hospital phoned today – two days after my appointment with him – because they had a cancellation! Amazing service. So I’ve had the scan, and the results will go to my GP, whom I need to see in three weeks or so anyway. Win.

Knitting – all going well. Have knitted the daughter a pair of socks, which she says are like “heaven” on her feet, am wearing the merino wool socks I knitted for myself in the yarn I’m testing to see if I can wear wool without itching, and have even persuaded the husband to let me knit him a pair of socks which bridge the gap between boring (his choice) and interesting (my preference). We shall see. I’ll start on his socks when I get the right size Hiya Hiya circular needles.  Meantime I’m knitting him a cream coloured v-neck slipover in chunky yarn, which is growing very quickly.

ImageYD’s DK socks

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my Milla Mia socks

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yarn for hubby’s socks

I’ve re-painted one wall in our bedroom, which had scuff marks from the  old portable fat screen tv set, and it looks wonderful. I used to have a large plant in front of the scuffs, but now have a little plant, and the whole room looks much bigger and cleaner. It sparked off hubby’s fixing of wall shelves in our bedroom, and in the children’s spare room, which look much better than the floor standing bookcases we had, and allows for cleaning round and underneath much more easily. The rooms look more open and much nicer.

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August 10th 2013

Mugginess gradually decreasing, although still plenty warm enough for summer clothes. The cat is very keen on catching and eating butterflies. Not such good news for the butterflies, but it keeps her very fit.

Went to the hospital this week and saw the orthopaedic surgeon about my arthritic knuckles. Apparently the X-ray was “fine” so they’re not going to do anything. I was very disappointed at the time, but have recovered since then and have decided I’ll ask the GP if physiotherapy would help. Meantime I’ve ordered some cod liver oil and glucosamine tablets to see if that helps. The pain is pretty bad, and each time I straighten or bend the finger I can feel the bones grinding. Mm.

The new computer arrived, and is set up, and working fine. Couldn’t wipe the old hard drives though because the old pc kept shutting down. So hubby sorted them out with a chisel and a hammer, and now they’re unusable. Freecycled the old pc case full of motherboard, memory, power supply, etc, to somebody who might well get it working, and the monitor stand. Love Freecycle.

Have had a large sort out of my yarn stash, and am feeling pretty virtuous. There is a Women’s Refuge which needs yarn so it’s going there. Excellent.

The socks are going well. Hoping to try one on younger daughter tomorrow, then I can finish them off.

Had a back episode about a week after the M.E. crash. It lasted five days, but the osteopath sorted me out. Still not quite back to normal, but much, much better.

Have just read a book called “Stoner” by J Williams. It’s absolutely unputdownable. I read it in a day – I was at the hospital for three hours, so had plenty of time to sit and read it. It’s wonderful. I don’t know anybody who’s read it who doesn’t think so. Highly recommended.

Went to Sip & Stitch today (the knitting group at the local yarn shop) and had a wonderful time, sitting, knitting, drinking tea and chatting. And eating biscuits of course. Am just about to go and make tea. Smoked salmon, beef tomato and salad. And baked potato for hubby.

That’s about it for now.

24th July 2013

First of all, the dratted weather. Hate it with a passion, or would if I had the energy. For the last two days it’s been cooler and much more manageable, after some terrific thunderstorms and plenty of much needed rain.

But before that it was dreadful. The humidity is the worst thing for me. I can’t imagine going out and sitting in the sun. The most I could do comfortably is shower, put on proper underwear, and summer pyjamas – a loose t-shirt top and loose long shorts. Then I couldn’t do anything all day except sit around inside with all the fans in the house going. We do have a ceiling fan which we have been using at night. The first night or two we couldn’t sleep properly because it hums, but soon got used to it.

So I’m really, really pleased that it’s cooler. I don’t care if it rains, the whole country is going brown. Our water butts were empty.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve now learned to knit socks. The first sock would fit either a baby hobbit, or a duck with very fat legs, but I turned the heel and grafted the toe. No seams, did it in the round with two circular needles. Very pleased. I’m going to practise with more sock patterns and different ways of turning the heel. Socks are a small, portable project, and apparently once you’ve worn hand-knitted socks you’re hooked. We shall see.Image

More crocheting too, along the same lines but trying different patterns.

However, my KnitPro size 3.00 mm interchangeable needles – one snapped while I was knitting. Very frustrating. It’s never happened to me before. I’ve been knitting for over 50 years, and for the last 20 years with bamboo or wooden needles. But KnitPro will replace that set, and I’ve ordered a fixed and an interchangeable HiyaHiya size 3.00 60 cm needle from The Shop.

It’s frustrating because I need size 3.00 mm to finish the front band of the Cardigan of Doom which I’ve been knitting. But I shall put that to one side and do a few small projects in the meantime. I also need size 3.00 mm needles for my sock knitting – but in the meantime while I’m just learning I’ll use bigger needles and not worry too much.

Socks need to be knitted on small needles so that they don’t wear out too quickly and are comfortable. Big needles means big holes between the stitches/rows.

My hands – I’m in real trouble with them. The Tramadol (one x 3 times a day) plus the Paracetamol just isn’t doing it. But I’m at the doctor tomorrow, so will see what she says, and have an appointment with the orthopaedic consultant on 5th August. Also have an appointment with a different guy on 22nd August, for my tremor. Sometimes it’s not too bad, but sometimes I can’t get my food to my mouth, which is why I mentioned it to the doctor.

The cat has had a small adventure too. An abcess just below her eye. She didn’t seem bothered by it at all, although she was a little surprised when she washed her face, and it hurt. So the vet gave her an antibiotic injection and an anti-inflammatory injection, and she’s fine. If a little less pretty than usual.

Hubby is very busy. Labour party, chairing the Patient Participation Group at the local surgery, going to choir and learning to sing. All at the same time. It’s very good. He suffers a little less than me in the heat because of his medication. And he feels the cold worse.

So life is exciting on a small scale, leisurely, and relatively calm.

Update on surgery

Well. The trapeziectomy has settled. My hand doesn’t look quite normal yet, and differs from the other hand – it’s narrower and a different shape. But the pain has settled down. There is some pain at a background level, and the occasional long, nasty twinge. Mostly, however, it’s ok. It feels normal most of the time. I’m very pleased. It took 3 1/2 months – but that’s normal. In fact, that’s a minimum, really. So in time I expect it will settle even more, the swelling may go down more, and it’ll all be fine.

However. While I was under the anaesthetic they also administered a steroid injection into each of my forefinger knuckles, where they join the hand. Now, that worked for just under three months. Now, I am in considerable pain with them all the time. The right one is worse than the left one, and is visibly swollen. The pain goes right through the joint, from top to bottom.

ImageI am taking Paracetamol anyway for the surgery pain, but need more than that for this. So I take one Tramadol a day, two if I need to, and have an appointment with my GP to see if there is anything else they/I can do to help manage/control this pain better. The physiotherapist strapped the right one up, and that does help, but isn’t practical all the time. She used Micropore, which is cheap enough, and gave me the rest of the roll. I do use it, but once it’s wet it’s no good, so it needs re-doing regularly.

While I was waiting for the physio, I read an article in an Arthritis magazine which said that while rheumatoid arthritis is recognised as an auto-immune disease, osteoarthritis is regarded as part of the natural ageing process. However, research has discovered that there is an auto-immune element to osteoarthritis as well, and that response to drugs used in rheumatoid arthritis in osteoarthritis patients is good. I’m really hoping that my GP knows and agrees with this, and that she’ll try some different pain relievers. I can’t take NSAIDs (Nurofen, Voltarol, etc) because of my asthma – two days and I’m wheezing like an old bellows – so the choices are limited for me.

The choices apart from pain relief are: one more injection in the affected joint(s), and if that doesn’t work, joint replacement. That sounds very invasive to me. Even an injection in those particular joints involves a general anaesthetic, and that in itself knocks me about for weeks and weeks. So pain control would, hopefully, be a better way forward. Appointment with GP a week on Tuesday.

In other news, I’ve been able to knit for short periods. I’ve done a child’s hat, and am currently almost finished on a baby’s jacket for my niece’s little boy, who will be 1 in December.Image