Thursday, August 30, 2012

A little bit of good in an otherwise typical flareup day

I had to go to the VA hospital for my yearly asthma/allergy clinic torture. It isn't really torture, but I have to wear a clamp on my nose and blow my lung tissue out as hard as possible into a something-ometer to check whatever it is we check for when someone has asthma. You can tell how I pay attention to these appointments. My asthma is apparently a "very mild form" of asthma. I've known that from the start.

For those who haven't been taking notes for my life history test that will be at the end of class today- I ended up with asthma in my early 30s after having a lung infection for over five months. I have three kids and I thought I was just re-catching the same cold that was being passed around. Turned out that what I had was a bronchial infection that damaged my bronchial tubes (or, you know, whatever doctors call them). My asthma isn't aggravated by smoke or perfume, but heat and humidity just kick the shit out of me. I take Symbicort right now. Before that it was whatever the VA gave me and before that, it was Advair (which I fucking loved and they just TOOK it from me!). Also- I was skinny back then. Way skinny. Like normal skinny, actually. I wore a size 12 in jeans back then. I also got diagnosed with the genetic high blood pressure back then too. So you can just stop typing right now if you were about to tell me my asthma would go away if I lost weight. No, it wouldn't. I'd just be skinnier and wheezing.

But I digress.

At the VA hospital (I lost another eight pounds, so whoo-hoo!), they asked me what my pain level was. Without hesitation, I said, "Right now, sitting here- about a three."

The nurse asked, "What about walking around?"

I replied, "About a six. But I'm okay. I took the stairs today." (three floors, why wait for an elevator when I have this cyborg knee?).

She said, somewhat skeptical, "Your pain is at a six and you took the stairs?"

I told her I had fibro. And if I let it win, I never would have been able to get out of bed, much less do everything else I'd done up to that point. It isn't "playing through the pain". This isn't a pain you can play through. You wince, you groan, you cry if you have to, but you still go forward. Because if I let this goddamn pain drag me down to its level, I'd never leave the house. I'd barely be able to leave the bed.

She sighed and said, "My sister has that. But she's not nearly as cheerful as you are."

My asthma is just fine, by the way. Totally routine appointment. And I took the stairs down (which is a lot easier than going up the stairs, because I can reach both railings and I go down the stairs at the VA).

Today's flareup has taken the form of the itchy skin and pain (duh, of course). I feel like the best thing to do for my itchy skin is to fall into a patch of cactus plants and roll around. Seriously, every goddamn thing itches. My arms, legs, torso. Its like I have the measles or chickenpox or the "thousands of hairy-legged spiders" trying to get out. There's nothing on my skin, there's nothing under my skin. But this is driving me nuts. It happens no matter what I'm doing, so it isn't like the pain. When I stop moving, the pain eases. But the itching... the itching is fucking killing me. Along with the uniform all-over itch, I get random painful bursts of itching. So not only am I itchy, I'm twitchy too. I'm like a drug addict without their fix. And sweaty- but that's because I told the fibro to fuck off and went outside to take photos. (and, yes, I have taken all my pain meds for the evening. Thanks for asking, that was polite of you).

The pain... well, that shit has got to stop. When I'm sitting still and not twitching for my next fix or whatever the hell this is, the pain isn't so bad. Two, maybe three on that ridiculous pain scale. But, if I sit still (or stand still, whatever) for any length of time- even just a few minutes- my muscles tighten up so hard and fast that I can barely move. I wince. I groan. I contort my face into some very Jim Carrey-esque faces. It fucking hurts. I feel like a giant, itchy bruise. Oh, and that's another thing, my skin itches and it aches. I'm a twitchy, itchy, achy, sweaty mess today.

I've also, in the last month or so, discovered another fibro hot spot. My other hip. My right hip is my "usual" fibro warning system. But now my left hip has gotten in on the action.

So, here we have an entire page of bitching and moaning... what's this "little bit of good"?

My cyborg knee. I love this damn thing. And while taking the stairs today, while standing with all my weight on that leg as I leaned and contorted my body around an awkward situation, I laughed about it. No pain in my knees. And I wanna go hug my orthopedic surgeon.

Except to do that, I'd have to go back to his office and when I saw him in February, after I slipped on the ice on my deck, I told him that I never wanted to see him again. Let's hope I can keep it that way.

Now pardon me, I'm going to go roll around on some gravel or something. This goddamn itching is driving me mad.

Oh, and then there's this... I told the fibro to fuck off and took some photos today. I got about seventeen shots total (the sun was setting fast and I was running out of light behind my house, where 90% of my flowers are planted).

 Here are a few of them.


Red rose

Water beaded on a rose leaf

Pink and white rose petals at sunset

More pine needles and sunset

Pine needles

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