Nothing Much Archive

Doctors

Posted August 21, 2016 By Ruth

Speaking of my hands, as I was last post, reminded me that I hadn’t updated.

So, first off, the symptoms in my hands: General joint soreness and stiffness in basically every joint of the hand and wrist.  Stabbing burning pains in the thumb knuckle closest to the palm of the hand (technically the middle joint of the thumb).  This is the same for BOTH hands, though my left is worse, possibly because the pain is worse when I’m attempting to do things requiring either fine motor control and/or extended hand-strength grip and I tend to be right handed and so hold things with my left.  I’ve recently noticed some issues with extension of the pointer finger (right hand), notably when I’m typing.  Its really obvious when I’m typing and I’m constantly struggling to hit certain keys anyway.

So, I have now seen a total of four doctors (besides my primary care doc) in an attempt to figure out whats going on with my hands.

The first was a hand & nerve reconstruction specialist, back in 2009, who told me it wasn’t ligament or tendon damage, and since my bloodwork was normal it wasn’t rheumatoid.  He said it was probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints the way I have.  Basically mild arthritis.

The second doctor was the first rheumatologist (2015).  Who decided that even though my bloodwork was normal, once they compared xrays to the 2009 ones he decided that there was signs of bone erosion (which means rheumatoid) in most of the joints of both hands.  But then declined to discuss it.

The second rheumatologist did more bloodwork, said there’s no way its rheumatoid, your blood work is to normal.  It’s probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints.  I’ll send you to an ortho hand specialist, maybe he can find something that’ll help you.

The ortho specialist looked at everything, poked at my hands in various spots, asked me more questions.  He said there’s some mild arthritis buildup in the joint at the base of the thumb (this joint is basically at the wrist, in case you were curious), but nothing that would explain my symptoms.  But gosh, it sure sounds like rheumatoid, are they SURE you’re not rheumatoid?  After some additional discussion he prescribed some braces that support the thumb joints on the theory that it wouldn’t hurt and might help.

So thats where things currently stand.  Two votes for “the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints” and two votes for “are they sure you’re not rheumatoid?”.  Sigh.  I’ve got an appointment to see the rheumatologist in another 6 months, just to make sure nothing changes.  The braces do seem to help, at least a little, with the pain in my thumb joint, so I guess thats not a waste.  It’d probably help if I wore them more, but I’m still getting used to them.

As for my ankles.  The orthotics, once I got used to them, made a significant difference in the amount of pain I was in.  I’m not going to say I was pain free (cause I wasn’t) but the difference was night and day.  For the first two months.  Three months after getting the orthotics I realized the pain in my ankles was increasing again.  Three months is an awfully short period of time to have worn out the orthotics, especially since I’m rotating between two pairs.  In addition I started having issues with my left knee (which is the weak one anyway due to prior issues).  When I started wearing a support brace on that knee, stabilizing it, I found myself rolling my left foot/ankle outwards.  All of which makes me suspect that I need higher arch supports.  I have an appointment this week with the ankle specialist, so we’ll see what he says.

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We’ve had a painfully hot and dry summer this year.  The region (a lot of it technically a flood zone and/or with high water table) has been pushing drought.  Water restrictions have been popping up, and at least one area announced that if we didn’t get rain soon they were going to run out of water in their reservoir.

Normally we have a soaking wet spring, that only marginally dries out for the early summer.  I might have to start watering in July, and almost definitely will by mid-August, but rarely earlier than that.  Last summer was a bit screwy that way too, but not this bad.

This year?  If it wasn’t for the rain barrels and the soaker hoses my garden would either be D-E-D dead or we’d have one hell of a water bill from all the running of the sprinkler.

So now it’s mid-August.  EVERYONE I talked to said they figured our chances of serious rain in August is pretty darn small.  Maybe in September.

But apparently mother nature isn’t done screwing with us.

Saturday evening a line of thunderstorms roared through.  No actual tornadoes that I’m aware of, but plenty of damage without them.  Plus at least an inch of rain.

Here’s today’s radar weather map as of 8:30am:

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We’ve had a nice little sprinkle of rain this morning.  But they’re talking violent thunderstorms and even possibly tornadoes for later today.

We lost power here Saturday evening for a couple hours, but were lucky and got power back before bedtime.  An awful lot of folks didn’t.

Looking at this and I’m seriously considering telling Husband we’re buying a generator today, my work has a bunch……..

(yes, we need a generator regardless, but for various reasons we’ve let it sink down the “really ought to buy now” list……)

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Pools and hot tubs and choices

Posted August 9, 2016 By Ruth

When we bought our house Husband was delighted that it came with an (above ground) pool.  He used to love swimming as a kid and was delighted at the prospect of being able to do so at home.  Personally I’ve never been much of a swimmer.  I can keep my head above water and work my way from point A to B, but thats about all I can claim.  And I’ve never been much for floating around on a pool floaty either.

Reality of course quickly turned into him swimming a few times in the summer and that was it.  Its not a heated pool so its not useable once winter sets in.

Lack of maintenance on our part has resulted in the pool not being useable these last couple years.  The pool needs a new liner (the old one is so far beyond repairable its not funny), Husband says he’s not sure the filter’s 100%, and with us not getting the liner repaired right, the more I look at the whole thing the more I think its going to take more work just to get the new liner in than he thinks.

Course, getting everything fixed is likely to be several hundred $.  And money, while not tight, hasn’t been plentiful either.  What we have had to spare has been going to far more important projects (like the whole deck problem last fall).

This past year (as I’ve griped on more than a few occasions) has seen an increase in my joint problems.  Heat application helps with quite a bit of the pain and stiffness.

Enter my Inlaws.  Several years ago they got lucky in a lottery draw done by a local pool & spa place and won a 6 person hot tub.  It was installed in their front porch, used several times by the entire family during that first year.  And is now just gathering dust and piles of stuff without having been used since.

I’ve been trying to convince Husband that what we really need to do is pull down the remains of the pool, pour a slab, and convince his parents to give us the hot tub (not likely to be an issue, when taken into consideration with some other things).

Course, getting it from there to here, and then properly installed here, might be a bit interesting.  But I don’t see how it could be THAT much more costly than fixing the pool.  We could toss a tent of some kind over it for the first winter, and next  year I could build my ideal greenhouse on the slab, surrounding the hot tub, to make it better for winter use AND a place to grow my seedlings in the spring.  Perfect!

Husband, of course, isn’t quite convinced……..

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Neighbors

Posted July 20, 2016 By Ruth

We’ve not gotten to know most of our neighbors well.  We have non-standard schedules, especially in comparison to most of our neighbors who work more traditional 9-5 type schedules.  Plus we’re both introverts.  Add in the large lot size that means that actually interacting with someone means going out of your way, and we mostly know our neighbors well enough to wave at, and thats about it.

The one exception is the couple in the property on our north side.  Older than my parents (I never asked ages, but they both retired a couple years after we bought the house, and I’m pretty sure they were past retirement age at that point and had been working part time to keep busy), but when we moved in, back in 2010, I’d have not called them elderly.  That has changed unfortunately.  One has had both knees replaced, the other both hips.  He’s had heart problems, and back problems, and kidney problems.  This summer their daughter has been doing most of the yard work for them, and roundly telling off her dad when she catches him doing something to strenuous.  Neither moves very well any more.

Sunday their house was quiet.  Not unusual, they have a trailer at a camp a few hours away and frequently go there for weekends, and the occasional weeks.

Monday it was still quiet, I wasn’t overly worried, though she usually lets me know when they’re going to be gone for a longer period so we can keep an eye on the house for them.

But Tuesday the driveway was full of cars, all day.

The kids’ cars.  All three of them.

Though all three kids, and families, are by frequently, having more than one on a weekday is unusual.  Combined with the oddly quiet house the day before I started to worry.  I hadn’t seen an ambulance, but that could just mean they hadn’t used sirens……

Tuesday evening she called me.

Saturday evening he’d been admitted to the hospital, for fluid in his lungs and kidney shut down, plus some additional symptoms.

Monday he’d had a massive stroke that basically destroyed his brain.

The funeral is Friday.

 

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We have a new neighborhood cat

Posted July 16, 2016 By Ruth

Got home from work yesterday, after stopping at the grocery store, and as I unpacked the car I left the back hatch open for easy access to the groceries.  This is pretty normal for me.  About the only thing I usually have to worry about is mosquitos.

After all the groceries were in the house I took a minute to unpack the cold stuff and get it into the fridge so that I could then take my little collapsable cooler back out to the car where I leave it.

Tossed the cooler into the trunk area, and slammed the hatch.

And immediately something started ping-ponging against the insides of the doors.  It was moving so fast I couldn’t even get a solid look at it and my first thought was that a squirrel had climbed into the car.

It finally stopped moving long enough for me to get a good look and I realized I was looking at a dark blue and white patterned cat.  Husband saw it wandering through the back yard a few days ago, but neither of us had seen it up close.

It was so freaked out that there was no way I was catching it.  I opened the back driver side door and it completely ignored the door to continue to ping-pong off every other surface.

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I eventually had to open BOTH back doors and the hatch before the completely freaked out cat could find an exit.

Looks reasonably well cared for.

I really wish the local folks would stop it with the “outdoor kitty” thing.  I’ve had to listen to more than one cat scream as its killed by the local wildlife.  Its really not my idea of fun.  We rarely see these outdoor cats for more than a couple months.  Then they disappear and we stop seeing them.  Not only do we have a fairly large amount of traffic in the area, we also have outdoor dogs in various yards, not to mention giant coyotes, foxes, fisher cats, mink, all of whom are capable of taking down your average cat.  These aren’t barn cats, who generally stay pretty close to their home turf.  These are someone’s pet who’s allowed to roam, and I really wish my neighbors would stop, essentially, feeding them to the coyotes.

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This heat is killing me

Posted July 6, 2016 By Ruth

Ok, not quite literally, but it’s definitely taking its toll.

Back over Memorial Day weekend I came way too close to heat stroke while working.  I’d been put on watering detail, and the sun beating on my head all day during the 90+ degree heat, for not quite 8hrs turned out to be too much for my system.  Despite me drinking water constantly.  I also picked up a nasty heat rash that took forever to go away.

I picked up a wide brimmed hat to stuff in my locker for when I’m put on watering duty, but I can’t find a hat that will actually stay on my head properly while I’m doing my normal job stuff, that also fits dress code, that offers enough protection from the sun.  A large portion of the problem is, admittedly, my hair, which I put up for work (not optional either, it IS getting worn up for work).  Any hat I can find that accommodates my hair doesn’t give me enough shade from the sun (and/or doesn’t fit dress code, which requires no logos other than the company’s).

I’ve mostly coped by trying to stay out of the sun for extended periods as much as possible, but sometimes that doesn’t help enough.

Monday, July 4th, I spent the afternoon outside (thankfully mostly in the shade) helping straighten and clean up and restock the gravel aisle.  And I just couldn’t manage to drink enough to stay properly hydrated.  By about 4:30 I had a serious headache, and by the time I left at 6pm I came home and essentially collapsed.

Yesterday, Tuesday the 5th, by the time I’d been at work for a couple hours (a large portion of which was outside and in the sun) my head was pounding and I was dragging.  I KNOW I wasn’t functioning on all cylinders, in retrospect I was making several (potentially major) mistakes.  By 1:30 or so I realized how bad it was and informed management that I was going home.

Today my head is still not happy, and just taking the dogs out for a quick potty run is enough to make me feel like I’ve been beaten and dragging.

I don’t normally struggle so much in the summer, but we also don’t normally get this kind of heat so constantly till later in the summer.  I just can’t seem to get adapted this year……

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Meant to post this yesterday

Posted July 5, 2016 By Ruth

But I worked a full, and busy, shift and came home and crashed.

So, anyway, here’s one of my favorite renditions of our national anthem:

 

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Dealing with Deer Flies

Posted July 3, 2016 By Ruth

For those of you who’ve never had to deal with deer flies, they’re bigger than your average house fly, and are nasty blood sucking insects.  They HAVE TO have a blood meal in order to reproduce.  And their bites seriously hurt.  Closely related to the horse fly, but unlike horse flies, deer flies will buzz your head and shoulders instead of legs and body.  They suck.  Fly predators don’t work on them.  Fly strips don’t work on them.  As far as I can tell their only natural predator is some of the flying insect eating birds.  Most insect repellents don’t do a damn thing to them.

We’ve always had at least a few of them buzzing the property, but this year has been especially bad.  Walk out a door and instantly attract at least a couple.  Wearing a hat, and saturating yourself with a horse & rider horse fly repellent reduces it, but only by some.  It had become very difficult to work in the garden, or even do any yard work due to dealing with them.

So I started digging.  Found THIS, and THIS, and THIS.  And decided I was going to try building a Deer Fly Trap.

We still had the tops that we’d cut off the rain barrels, they’re bright blue.  I can get Tanglefoot easily enough.  So on the 29th I put this up:

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The only thing I had to buy was the Tanglefoot, totally worth trying.

Half an hour later, I stepped out my back door…..and didn’t get buzzed by a deer fly?  Wow, it can’t have started working that quickly, can it?

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Damn, maybe it can……

Picture taken on July 1st:

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They’re definitely only hitting the top of the trap.  Even the few caught on the sides are on the top half.  In addition the trap has only caught a couple non-deer-fly insects, and none of those are bees or other recognizable pollinators, which was my big concern with the concept.  Since putting out the trap the worst we’ve had to deal with is the occasional persistent deer fly.

So yesterday I picked up some bright blue spray paint (maybe a shade darker than the barrel, but it was the closest I could find), and sprayed an orange HD bucket blue.  Today I coated the bottom (now the top of the trap) with Tanglefoot, along with the top several inches of the sides, and put it out.

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A couple hours later and its already collected a good number of deer flies!

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Heat (rash)

Posted June 4, 2016 By Ruth

TMI warning…..

A week ago I almost collapsed from the heat.  Steps have been taken, not only by me but also by my work, as I wasn’t the only one to have issues (for the record, they were taking steps to prevent it prior too, but the insanity that is the Memorial Day weekend sales resulted in alot of distracted folks).

I spent a couple days not feeling right after that, but by this time I’m back to normal.  Well, mostly.

I also picked up a case of heat rash that day.  In the fold of the hip between hip and crotch.  I’ve had it there before (not frequently, but if I’m going to get heat rash thats the spot), so I picked up a bottle of baby powder on the way home and reminded myself to use it regularly.

A week later and the heat rash is still here.  And I’m not a happy camper.  Even if I manage to stay inside for the majority of my workday I still sweat quite a bit at work.  Its the nature of the job.  And the rash has turned outright painfull.

Yesterday I finally gave in and picked up a package of boyshort style undies to wear for a while.  I dislike the style immensely, but any underwear with an elastic band around the hip is irritating the rash further.  I may actually have to see a doctor for this one……

……but I don’t think I’m quite up to capturing my own swarm yet!

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In a baby pine just over the line onto my neighbor’s property.  Who is, of course, out of town this weekend.  If the swarm is still there tomorrow I’ll try her cell phone and get permission to call a bee-keeper to remove it!

Update: swarm has been removed, I took a video, but its a HUGE file…..not sure uploading it is going to happen!