Saturday, December 29, 2018

and so it goes ...

For the past few weeks my health, and emotions, have been on something of a roller-coaster ride; it’s difficult enough living with chronic-illness / chronic pain but, when more mundane bugs (doing the rounds) place an additional burden on one’s already low stamina reserves, an unwelcome veneer of despair enters the frame. Fortunately, these more mundane viral attacks tend to dissipate after a couple of weeks, but never before time.
Exhaustion still seems to hold control of the reigns, even when one is experiencing an apparently more alert and energized spell. As agonizing pain & exhaustion takes control so one’s temper frays and, against one’s better judgement, expletives tend to fill the air.
This evening the pain in upper limbs, joints and lymph nodes, has defied the efficacy of 100mg of tramadol. Malcolm is not a happy bunny but, still manages to put on a brave smiling face in an attempt to deceive himself. More happily, I am still fortunate enough to be capable of deriving tremendous enjoyment from a catholicity of music, DVDs, poetry and paintings.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

random onset - chronic & acute

This happens far too regularly and yet, it still catches me unawares, a total surprise. This afternoon, just relaxing with my faithful pooch laying beside me on the sofa,, when a sudden griping, annoyingly discomforting, ache in the armpits, brings back the feelings of nausea. Shortly after this griping ache a throbbing pain takes over my elbows, whilst wrists ache in a manner similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sometimes the application of elbow and/or wrist supports serve to alleviate the nausea sensation and, the throbbing aches gradually subside; on other occasions even opioid painkillers fail to dispel the more severe discomforting pain. Quite frequently the armpit pain occurs when I’ve been holding a tabloid size newspaper or a tablet PC for more than a few minutes; when this occurs I have to discard my cardigan as the armpit seems overly constricted but application of a shoulder support, which settles more tightly in the armpits, can sometimes alleviate the discomforting pain.
The first two paragraphs were written on two separate days, the usual problems, as described above, prevented me from spending sufficient time on the laptop to rediscover the document so far. I’m managing to keep posting to my twitter feed and almost keeping up with facebook posts, primarily via tablet, but concentration tends to dissipate as soon as the aches and pains begin.
Today the armpit pain came on more acutely, even though I wasn’t holding either newspaper or tablet. Donning of a shoulder support which fitted quite tightly in the armpit did distract me from the initial acute pain but, within a minute it was necessary to don wrist and palm supports to alleviate an intense, tear inducing, discomforting pain in my wrists. It was necessary, today, to resort to a couple of 50mg Tramadol.
I realize this may be much ado about nothing but, it may help to explain the paucity of posts from yours truly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Lifes little trials - always at the ready

And today the giddiness /vertigo returned (see post ‘The Eye of the Storm’ ), the top half of my head apparently heading for the ceiling as my legs quiveringly collapsed me back onto the sofa. Torso, arms, hands, and feet shivered whilst legs trembled, in some kind of fearfully panicked response. Of course, my spastic colon ensured the lavatory was flushing overtime; strange how life’s little ailments never seem to attack alone!

These events occurred just when I’d been quietly celebrating the overcoming of a wretched cold, which I’d had to endure for three weeks. There seems to be a lot of bugs about this year, perhaps there always are but, we only become aware of them when we join the legions of fellow sufferers.

Today I was fortunate to get an urgent appointment with a nurse practitioner and, she was able to arrange an appointment for tomorrow with Dr Desha who will apply the Epley manoeuvre to treat BPPV(to try and shift the crystals in the inner ear, which are apparently a cause).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Long Night's Journey Into Daze

By last evening, the efficacious application of sundry supports, and a small opioid dose, had brought me back into a more at ease body to contain my soul and mind. So far all was going well and an hour before my proposed bedtime I took 30mg amitriptyline along with 50mg tramadol to, hopefully, pre-empt a bout of restless legs, throbbing knees, and ultra-sensitivity in my toes.

Well, shall I let you in to a little secret; the pre-emptive strike was a dismal failure on this occasion. Within half-an-hour, of laying under the duvet, my knees were attacked by a sharp throbbing ache which, apparently, demanded of my unconscious that they should be flung out from the side of the bed in a way that switched between an unsupported taut outward stretch and, a limp folding at the knees, as calves crashed against the divan base drawers with toes trailing on the floor.

I frequently attempted to change my sleep preparation posture, laying first on one side then the other, laying on my back, on my front, and sundry intermediate stages. Suddenly, the ultra-sensitivity of my toes added to the problem; regardless of whether top, bottom or side of my toes made contact with the bedding a chinese-burn sensation caused an unpremeditated jolt of my lower limbs. After two-and-a-half hours of variable intensities of discomfort there was little chance of an imminent visit to the land-of-nod, so I picked up my tablet pc, plugged in headphones, and caught up with a couple of TV programmes. Six hours after succumbing to the lure of the duvet realm a couple of hours of light sleep took over.

A mid-morning entry into the clothed arena didn’t seem to offer much improvement. After ten minutes browsing a magazine my wrists began to ache, swiftly followed by the hollow ache emanating from the armpits. Wrist, elbow and shoulder supports were gradually donned with little sign of the discomfort easing. A dose of tramadol seemed to take for ever to kick in; a generalised discomfort hadn’t settled until some time after my beloved had returned from her preaching appointment but, unlike the previous Sunday I was able to finish dinner preparations and really enjoyed the fruits of my labours.

mutual aid society - Malcolm & Piper

Throughout the morning’s persistent discomfort, and distress, our devoted hound, Piper, never strayed far from my side, snuggling up alongside me in a truly therapeutic manner; without him my screams of frustration would have been considerably louder.

a piece of heartfelt light verse - audio

Saturday, August 18, 2018

All Strapped Up and Still it Won’t Go

Some days, when everything’s apparently going smoothly, a familiar recurring symptom comes almost as a surprise. Quite what causes the symptom is a bit of a puzzle but, that doesn’t make it any less real or disconcerting. What I’m really talking about is a cluster of inter-related aches, pains and intense discomfort.

After using a tablet PC, laptop, or even holding a newspaper whilst I surf / read for just a few minutes, a nagging hollow-ache or tenderness in the armpits develops. That discomfort in itself induces a sensation of nausea. Sometimes applying elasticated supports to my elbows alleviates the immediate nausea but, far too frequently, the armpit ache is followed by pains in the wrist which may respond to the application of wrist supports. Normal, over the counter, analgesics don’t touch the pain or acute discomfort and, I often rely on a discomforted time of rest with upper-arms clamped tightly to the torso whilst forearms are stretched behind my back. Other times a 100mg dose of tramadol has proved efficacious.

                          shoulders, wrists & elbows all strapped up but still it won't go 

I only wish I could find a way to pre-empt this acute discomfort but, the only way to play it safe would be to never attempt to hold a book, paper, tablet, use a laptop, or write anything down on paper. That I will not yield to!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Eye of the Storm – of health & non-well-being

The general state of my joints, muscles and general viscera this morning (Tuesday) could best be described as disconcertingly enervated. At least last night granted me a little more sleep, albeit rather unrefreshing, than was the case on Sunday night. On the latter hangs a story.


The story continues from my previous post.

Thursday morning I duly attended my appointment with a locum doctor at my usual GPs practice. The symptoms of either-or/ both-and gall bladder and diverticular infection weighed heavily on body, mind and spirit; either cause being an additional concern on top of my familiar chronic illness symptoms.

The doctor had me lay down as he proddd and poked my abdominal region, frustrated by my inability to either be or feel relaxed. When I started to sit up, post-examination, I was overwhelmed by an extremely acute vertigo type attack. Either the room, or the top of my head, spun violently around and a sensation of either falling to the bottom of a vortex, or that base/floor rushing up towards me, made me feel quite faint and nauseous. The GP advised me to lie back down for a few minutes before attempting to sit-up again. Next attempt at sitting upright produced the same sense of disequilibrium as I felt forced to throw my torso back down. A few more minutes rest were required as my heart rate was greatly elevated.

Once a degree of stability was restored the physician seemed to then ignore these vertiginous episodes as he prescribed a course of antibiotics for suspected diverticulitis. He added that I had no immediate need to obtain the prescribed medication unless the smptoms intensified. By Saturday lunchtime the diverticular symptoms receurred with a vengeance, so my beloved headed across town to an open pharmacy to obtain the medication and I duly started the prescribed course.

On Sunday lunchtime, my beloved having returned from taking the service at Trinity, I had dinner peparations well underway; as I stood up again to check on the cooking progress, a violent vertigo sensation once again overwhelmed me and, my natural panic response brought on a sense of tightness across the chest.

As the episode gradually subsided, Helen drove me across to A&E at the District Hospital, thinking that it was perhaps a recurrence of the labyrinthitis, to which I had previously succumbed some 15 years ago, and on that occasion succesfully treated/controlled with medication. We arrived at A&E, where probable waiting time was estimated at 4 hours, shortly after 14.00hrs. Not long after arrival my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature were checked by a triage nurse before returning to the waiting area.

When I eventually got into a cubicle, to be seen by a doctor, a nurse took some blood samples, rechecked blood pressure and wired me up for an ECG. The A&E doctor had me lay down whilst examining my abdomen listening to my chest as I took deep breaths in and out the, after a few minuteswhen he asked me to sit up slowly the vertigo recurred. Even after resting a little longer the same thing happened again. He also noted that my heart rate was considerably elevated and, was reluctant to let me go home. The doctor then went to consult with more senior staff.

By 18.20, I was transferred to CAT ward and, within a couple of  a hours moved to a bay in Acute Medical where the environment was somewhat more settled. I’ve often felt that Hospitals are those paradoxical places which are both the worst and the best place to be confined when you’re feeling unwell!

At 01.50 on Monday morning, a duty doctor came to examine me and, by this stage things had settled down a bit as I’d rested. A senior doctor came to check me over at about 11.30 and felt tht I had stabilized sufficiently to be discharged, and duly prepared notes for my GP practice for follow up, confirming that vertigo/labyrinthitis (middle ear infections) were the primary suspect and suggested that they may consider repositioning manoeuvres for BPPV. No new medicines were prescribed.

Ma Belle chauffeuse, aka Helen, my beloved and my OH, came to collect me and, it was wonderful to be enthusiastically greeted by our gorgeous hound Piper as we went to the car. We were back on home territory shortly after 13.00 and much rest was needed. It was really good to both listen and relax to the music on Radio 3 (classical) an option not available on the over bed radio in the hospital.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

and suddenly they flow

and suddenly they flow

pains come and go
and tears flow
a creeping fermentation
of an odious decay … “ - Malcolm Evison 060818

Today has not been the best of days, nor yet the worst; it has been one helluva roller-coaster ride of both sudden and slow onset aches and pains, a turbulent discharge from both physical and emotional reserves of stamina. Tears have flowed abundantly on a few occasions as I’ve attempted to explain the frustration of living with a chronic illness, along with several subsidiary ailments, each randomly producing varying degrees of aches and discomfort, ranging from reluctantly accepted background throbbing, rumbling aches, to sudden sharply acute attacks of pain.

As I’m also in my mid-70s (age wise) thoughts of mortality are all too rarely far away, but come to the fore with each new acute onset of pain and discomfort.
Over the past weekend I’ve experienced symptoms quite akin to a flare-up of both gall-bladder (cholecystitis) and diverticular disease in relatively acute form, neither of which do much for one’s morale! At times I had to wonder if my alto and tenor burps could present a non-dissonant counterpoint to the bass line of flatulent release.

An underlying throbbing ache and discomfort in the abdominal region is interspersed with a sharper more stabbing intermittent pain. I’m still struggling to come to terms with a sharp stabbing pain which intermittently occurs at a point apparently just behind the bottom left hand side of the ribcage. Erratic bowel behaviour has long been a problem, swiftly putting paid to any notion of getting away for a break, but in any case the sensory overload of a short car trip into town can frequently prove overwhelming.

An attempt on Monday to hold and read a rather slim paperback book led to a need to don wrist & palm supports, elbow supports, as well as having to stretch my arms across my back, in an attempt to overcome a nausea inducing hollow ache emanating from my armpits. These are not at all uncommon symptoms as they tend to occur when holding a newspaper, using a laptop or tablet PC, just one of the little joys of being.

Attempting to explain the frustration I felt, bordering on despair at times, to my beloved OH just led to an overwhelming flood of tears from yours truly and, quite understandably caused upset to her.


This morning, Tuesday 070818, ma belle called the GP practice to see if I could get an appointment, as whenever I check up online they never seem to have any appointments available during the next couple of weeks, and thought they would maybe prescribe some antibiotics. (Regular readers may remember my report of a previous gall-bladder flare-up being recognized and successfully treated with antibiotics by my own GP, and the following arrangements for  a cholestectomy –  an operation which had to be cancelled as, in the meantime I succumbed to a minor stroke - and
are the posts that refer).

I duly received a call back from a nurse practitioner who decided that as I wasn’t at that moment in discomfort, I was still abed and not yet having breakfasted, an appointment with a locum for Thursday morning was made. As I explained that I hadn’t attempted to eat anything this morning still being in the duvet realm, she commented that still being in bed at shortly after 9.00am was a wonderful luxury for the retired. Fortunately I refrained from cussing as I explained to her that no, it isn’t a luxury as for the past 14 years I’ve required a bed rest of  around12 hours per day, sometimes more, (non-refreshing sleep being a component of, and exacerbating the distressing symptoms of ME).

Well, I’ve managed to get thus far without any tears but am now desperately in need of a rest; well it is 11.30am … time for wrist and elbow supports once again, the armpits … etcetera, etcetera …

And on it goes but, at least for now, I’ve staunched the flow.