Sunday, July 24, 2011

Watching My Back

I'm still waiting, albeit impatiently, to find a more regular pattern of sleep; needless to say, such a pattern has not yet emerged. After Monday night's peculiarly refreshing sleep, Tuesday night reverted to the more familiar restlessness; emerging before 10.00am to take a shower on Wednesday, both morning and afternoon necessitated intermittent little naps. By the evening I started to feel a little more awake; not a good sign. Come Thursday morning I was still in the throes of sleep when ma belle ventured off to work (around 7.30am), finally emerging into the new day a few minutes before noon.

And then the cycle repeats, Thursday's late emergence led on to a further night of intermittent sleep, although I did manage to remove myself from the duvet lair around 11.15am on Friday morning and, I then seemed to spend most of the day in an half alert state of being.

Retired to bed at about 10.20pm on Friday evening and then gradually stumbled into a waking state some time after 10.00am Saturday morning. Early in the afternoon I went out into the garden to take a few macro shots, of bees on globe thistles etc., but started feeling a sense of giddyness which persuaded me to go back in the house. Some twenty minutes later I started to have throbbing shooting pains, down my left arm, exceeding the all too familiar aching discomfort of the wrist which is my regular companion!

So, it's panic stations (for me and ma belle) as we head off to the District Hospital when the throbbing pain shows little sign of abating. The good sign is that I'm becoming rather flushed rather than going pale but, we're totally puzzled / worried about this temporarily excruciating addition to my catalogue of ailments. The first nurse who sees me, after about 40 minutes, makes a few notes and checks my temperature and blood pressure, the latter unusually high by my standards, before I return to the waiting area.

After a further 90minutes, or so, I'm called into an examination room where an ECG is administered; at least my heart seems to be OK and, by this time the pain had subsided considerably. A further 40 - 50 minutes later a Romanian doctor comes in and, having sounded my chest and back, and a little chat about Romanian wines, she carries out a few tests on the reactions of my arms and hands to touch. She duly notes an abnormal contraction response in my left bicep before examining the top part a of my spine. Once again as she touches a certain point relatively high on the spine, a quite painful shooting throb goes through my left arm. She notes a degree of misalignment of the spine and thinks that, together with the herniated disc in the lumbar region, could account for much of the pain and discomfort I've been experiencing. As she puts it, I'm sorry to tell you it's a back problem.

An evening in which I took anti-inflammatories alongside a couple of tramadol, and a preparatory mirtazapine, still managed to lead to a night of restless intermittent discomfort rather than a good nights sleep. Today has seen me swaddled in both shoulder and wrist supports as I tackled both dinner preparation and subsequent light gardening chores. Both wrists are currently screaming abuse at me, so once more I resort to ibuprofen, tramadol and, hoping against hope that the mirtazapine will have the necessary sedative effect.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a small blessing

Today, I managed to remove myself from the duvet lair before 11.00am and, to my great relief, experienced a most unfamiliar sensation, that of refreshment. I honestly can't remember the last time that I felt refreshed after a night's sleep. Fortunately the nigglingly painful spasms in my lower limbs, as well as a dull numb ache in my forearm and hand, were there to assure me that this wasn't just a dream!


I've also posted this on Mal's Murmurings with the title "light refreshment"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

and suddenly ... SLEEP

Had an appointment with a GP yesterday afternoon. The doctor was quite firmly of the opinion that I was experiencing a reactive depression, an understandable response / reaction to the debilitating neurologically rooted myalgia, and the accompanying lack of refreshing sleep, which has been my companion for such a prolonged period; she prescribed 15mg Mirtazapine to be taken at bed time.

If the first night's anything to go by they have a wonderful sedative effect and should, hopefully, help bring about a resolution of my sleep deprivation problems. Last night was one of those very rare experiences where I remember very little between putting my head down on the pillow (lateish Friday evening) and slowly, but somewhat groggily, emerging into mid to late morning (Saturday). 

I must admit that, at first, I felt somewhat as if I'd been sledgehammered; it took until mid-afternoon before I started to feel properly awake.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Delicate Balance

This has been a week of teetering on the edge, a time when both persistently nagging, and spasmodically intermittent, physical aches and pains have been accompanied by a lack of refreshing sleep. This unsettling routine has really started to play havoc with my already fragile state of emotional stability. One would think that as months and years pass by it would become increasingly easy (and certainly necessary) to come to terms with / accept the health-imposed limitations upon ones ability to socialize. For much of the time, this has seemed to be the case (for me) but recent days have found me frequently erupting into unprompted floods of tears, probably in response to an excruciating sense of exhaustion alongside a more vaguely defined sense of futility.

It only requires a small trigger to set these eruptions in motion, especially when one spends far too many hours enjoying / enduring one's own company. Yesterday afternoon should have seen a visit from my physio, to administer the acupuncture treatment but, late morning found me awoken from my somnolent state by a 'phone call from this practitioner to re-arrange the appointment as her fresh supply of needles had not arrived. Had I not already been feeling discomfortedly vulnerable I wouldn't have given the matter a second thought but, on this occasion, it simply served to exacerbate my physical and emotional frailty. My beloved returned home from work to be greeted by a blubbering, sleep-deprived, emotional wreck, and persuaded me to try to arrange an appointment with my GP.

This morning, just as ma belle was preparing to drop me off at Open Church, the doorbell rang and it was a pleasant surprise to find my friend Katie there. Katie and I went down to Open Church, for a cuppa and a chat, whilst my beloved set off for the Acorn Centre (where she's a volunteer helper on the computer course). Just the fact of being with company has a certain healing power and, Katie herself had just been feeling a similar need for company and a change of environment. This morning's event served as a beautiful counterbalance to yesterday's upset over the cancellation of my acupuncture appointment.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

sometimes the sunny side goes face down

When one's horizon becomes restricted (by reasons of health) it can be quite remarkable how much more interest / detail can be found within the narrower constraints.

When the world is one's oyster it's far too easy to overlook / ignore the pearl (one so easily overlooks that which in other circumstances would be considered of greatest import); when one's scope / potential is more restricted even the most common routine or occurrence can become a pearl of great price!

Since 2003, my year of collapses, and succumbing to myalgic encephalomyelitis, I have gradually learned to appreciate much more of the minutiae of daily experience. A walk into the garden can be as refreshing as a holiday away, the garden itself provides such a wealth of (primarily pleasurable) sensory experience which, fortunately, is not of the overloading variety such as that proffered by a visit to a supermarket, cinema, or town centre store.

The pleasure, that it’s possible to receive in abundance from the commonplace, isn’t always sufficient to stave off an emotionally draining intensity of frustration with the inescapable limits to one’s socializing horizon. It not infrequently feels as if a degree of re-active depression is lurking in the shallows, rather than the depths, of one’s psyche!