Thursday, February 5, 2015

Some good news and maybe some weird shi- news...

First of all, the new medicine still seems to be working out. My bad days are becoming random and not predictable (as in- "not every day"). Any recent flareups have been related to the completely random weather we've been having (warm, then cold, then warm and snowy, then cold and clear, then and then and then...) So, we can call generic Cymbalta some kind of success.

Now for the weird shit...

For a long time now- and I'm not even sure how long because I haven't been keeping track- the palm of my right hand has been itching. Like severely itching. Not the skin- it isn't on the surface. It feels like something furry and angry and maybe a little bored is trying to wriggle out from under the skin. It's almost dead center in my palm. And nothing helps. Scratching just creates an irritation on my skin. Ice makes it settle a little, but mostly it just makes my hand cold (and then causes the Raynaud's to pop up). I've tried Old Wive's tails (rubbing it against wood- not that kind of wood, though I suspect if I did that, it'd distract me enough from the itching) and I've tried rubbing it against money (the Disabled Guy's family is overflowing with ridiculous superstitions).

So, I finally did a Google search to see if it was maybe related to the medicine. It is not. But the funniest thing to me was on the list of possibilities that apply to me- the two choices: Cirrhosis or a nerve issue related to carpal tunnel and/or fibro. I laughed for far too long about that Grand Canyon-esque leap of extremes.

Now, I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but I'm going to say right now that I'm not dying of liver failure and the itching is related to the nerve issue. (which makes sense, because it is almost always in my right palm and very rarely in my left- or even both at the same time. And my right hand has more carpal tunnel issues than my left because I'm right-handed). And, it's also one of those casual "mention it to your doctor at your next visit" things, unless it accompanies other shit that I don't have.

AND this... the generic Cymbalta for fibro... it turns out, that it may cause a drop in the body's sodium levels. I noticed that I wasn't swelling up as much as I have been (remember the flipper foot?). My cheekbones returned a bit and my clothes were fitting better. I didn't think anything of all that, other than I was feeling better, so my edema wasn't as bothersome. A couple weeks ago, I started to get dizzy and just sort of gross-feeling. Not sick, just not right. I decided to look up the side effects of the new medicine, to make sure I was just having normal shit going on, because I've been on it a few months. And, it turns out that it can cause Hyponatremia. If you don't feel like clicking the link, basically, that's abnormally low sodium in the body. Because we need some sodium to live.

I've been on a sodium-watchful diet since I was in my mid-20s. (technically, since I was 16, because my dad had his first heart attack then and my mom switched the entire household to a heart-healthy diet). When I was 26, my doctor told me I had high blood pressure and to go on a low sodium diet to help it. I tried and it did help- but in my late 20s, I couldn't fake them out anymore. So, along came the BP medication and the sodium-watchful diet. I call it "sodium watchful" because we eat pizza and such occasionally and people who are on an actual low sodium diet wouldn't do that. But, I do watch my sodium intake. Plus, I take water pills for the edema (Hydrochlorothyazadide). That would explain why I feel better for four or five hours after lunch during my day. My cereal for breakfast has almost no sodium in it. But, my lunch does.

I went on a bit of a sodium binge late last week into the weekend. I giddily ate potato chips and beef jerky because SODIUM! I simultaneously felt better and crappy at the same time. Anyway, now I know what a shark feels like when it swims too far into a river and loses the salt balances in its body. At least in my case, I can have a snack bag of barbecue potato chips and feel better. A shark has to eat a few people and then get hunted down by humans.

AND FINALLY... On Saturday last (as in, last Saturday, January 31st), I went to my first-ever Military History Fest. This guy has been nagging me to go (okay, so he asked me twice over the course of two years). I was going to go last year, but it snowed through the night and I didn't think it was safe to drive that far into unfamiliar territory. Well, this year, it started snowing at the end of the day, as I turned onto my street on my way home. As for "unfamiliar territory", the drive was literally an hour of I-90 and maybe a half hour of a couple small towns to the west of I-90. What I'm saying is, I've gone a lot farther down I-90 into Chicago and back again in worse weather... so I probably could have gone last year.

The big deal about that is that the VA has started regulating my Hydrocodone refills and now I get just enough to get me through a month. I didn't have any extra to take during the day over the weekend. I did all day at Military History Fest without pain meds. And the only problem I had the entire time was the pain in my foot. (my left foot, which will not win me an Oscar). And, I had a blast seeing the folks from GSM-Bristol and the Guilde of St George because everyone was so relaxed and not totally in character like they have to be at Bristol. I was in boring, normal clothes, but next year, I'll wear my (historically-inaccurate) garb so I fit in a slight bit more. I mean, I rocked my blue jeans, Wonder Woman T-shirt, and my metallic Docs, but I'd have felt less obvious in my garb.
(here's my 365 from that day). I sat through two panels, one about brewing beer and beerlike products and another about sewing. I learned a few things, but most notably, modern beer is for wusses because old-time-y beer (or, "olde-time-y") had way, way more alcohol content.

So, things are looking good. And I'm very optimistic about this year's faire season. We have approximately 99 days till the Janesville Faire. We've got about 155 days till Bristol. Bring it on. BRING IT ON!!

Instead of flooding this post with photos- like I'd normally do- I will just share the link to the album because you sort of have to see ALL the photos.  (this is just the photos of GSM, I haven't uploaded all the photos to Flickr yet).

~~GSM-Bristol in Shenanigans Through Time~~

And, I did a short video... I think you'll enjoy it. (I even tried to close-caption it). This video shows just how awesome the folks from GSM-Bristol really are. And the other group in the video is called 20th Century Marines (that's the link to their Facebook page).

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