Friday, September 28, 2012
Some good news for a change (I think!) Yes, I'm headed for the big needle with the hopes of getting relief for my back. That will happen next Thursday. I met with a new spine doctor (Pain Management doctor actually) this morning and she confirmed that my back is a mess.
She is the first doctor to tell me that in the past 18 years. (Yes, I've been complaining about my back at least that long.)
Most doctors usually tell me "well it's not that bad to be causing you that much grief". Well, maybe it's not that bad compared to some, but I'm very sensitive to pain. We'll try an epidural and see if that helps. I've been getting shots in the sacroiliac joints for at least 4 years now (or longer), which really helps my butt cheek and leg,, but it never did much for the back. The doctor in Appleton kept saying all my problems were related to the sacroiliac joint when I felt all along that it was back related. Sure enough, the MRI shows that L1 in the spine is bad - no wonder I've been complaining for so many years. (It's all arthritis related.) I will be one very happy person if this works. ha ha - If it doesn't work, I'll eat humble pie and you'll hear me complaining again!!
The doctor also approved a back brace for me to try, and she's authorized PT starting next week. My friends have had the back brace, so I know it will be uncomfortable sometimes, but maybe give me some relief overall. We'll see. I'm willing to try it and she recommended trying it as a possibility. At least she's willing to try whatever is necessary to give me relief.
She did mention the possibility of stronger medication, but then said she felt it might be too much for me since I'm taking Parkinson's meds that already make me tied. I might turn into a zombie if I take anymore drugs. We don't need that as there are already days that I feel really out of it.
Our days presently are wonderful weatherwise. Bright sunshine, temps hovering in the high 60's - just perfect for fall. Don took Mario outside this afternoon, and he was one happy cat. These types of days are numbered - in another week it's going to turn very cold. It's my kind of weather for sure.
Will close for today. Just wanted to share some good news for a change instead of always griping. By the way, Harrison and his dad are still doing the yard for us. His grandmother/mother just had serious back surgery - they put 2 steel rods down each side of her spine - from the tail bone up to the shoulder. Her husband called Wednesday night after surgery and said all went well. I'm hoping that is still the case, but he hasn't corresponded since Wednesday night. She needs some prayers, if you can, because she has really suffered with her back longer and more than I have. This is her 3rd surgery on her back. It makes me shudder to think about what she has gone through and will go through before she's healed.
Thanks for reading my blog and taking this walk with me. I'll get back on track with PD related things soon but presently I'm status quo on that subject,
Sunday, September 9, 2012
|Mary & Don in Cannes, France|
2008 on Italy Cruise Trip
Before I give you the latest update, I wanted to apologize to my faithful readers as I know some of you and some of Mario's faithful followers on Twitter have been worried about us not being around much. I have been giving most of my energy the past 2-3 weeks on advertising the #nipclub Monthly's latest DinoPawty on Twitter. Because of a bad back, I can only sit at the computer for short periods of time or i really pay for it. I especially feel bad that we haven't been around reading your wonderful blogs because we really do enjoy reading them. I hope to rectify this in the coming weeks.
If you read my last post a couple of weeks ago, you'll remember I had to play detective again with my meds. I definitely know it was the Amantadine that was/is upsetting me stomach,. I have been limping along with taking 1/2 the dose every day instead of the full 2 pills twice a day. It's much better, but I'm still a little woozy. I'm especially tired and woozy tonight because last night was a very "short night" at our house. The sad part of this change in meds means that I do shake a little more than I should be when the Amantadine dose wears off. I'll see the Neuro in October, so we'll see what he has to say about the situation. Meanwhile I put myself back on the first blood pressure change of medication that my family doctor originally prescribed as that med is not the one making me dizzy and sick to my stomach. I told my family doctor what I had done when I saw him Friday. He said he was proud of me for taking matters into my own hands and solving the problem. Well, in my way of thinking, it was the logically thing to do. Even the Neuro doctor said to stop the med if it was giving me trouble!
About 2:30 in the morning last night I awoke to someone yelling "Please let me in!" This scared the daylights out of me as we did have two of the bedroom windows open due to having such beautiful, cool weather the past few days. I quickly looked out the bedroom window I was in to see if anyone was around. No one in sight. Then I thought of calling the police to have them check our house outside and inside with me! But that meant getting dressed. UGH! Okay - put on your "brave hat" and check the house yourself.
After walking thru the upstairs (main floor) and finding the doors locked, I decided the basement should be checked just to be on the safe side even tho there is no access to the outside from the basement other than little skinny basement windows that would have to be broken to enter. Now I was too chicken to go down there myself, so I woke Don up. I convinced him to go to the basement for me. he he - neither one of us would be capable of fighting off an intruder of any size if we were to ever find one!
Obviously Don did not find anyone in the basement either. We are now thinking that Don must have been dreaming and shouted out loud what he was dreaming. He has been known to talk in his sleep. I'm comfortable with that theory - especially after turning on all lights in the house and finding the doors still locked. Meanwhile Mario was sitting under the kitchen table watching his two insane humans running around the house checking it out in the middle of the night. That was one time I wished we would have had a dog to alert us with some woofing had the situation been real! Mario was just sitting under the table calmly taking his Friday night bath! What a guard cat we have!
I have also been having a few computer issues, which our wonderful son-in-law fixed tonight. He spent about 2 hours with me on the phone while he worked remotely on my computer from his home. What a life saver that special tool is that allows him to do things remotely on my computer. It saves him at least an hour because of not having to drive to and from his home.
I think I have mentioned several times that it takes me so much longer now to accomplish anything - either mentally or physically. There were some days in the past two weeks (while programming tweets in Tweet Deck to go off automatically for me) where my mind just went blank and I couldn't think of how to change the sentence around to make it different from others so TD and Twitter would accept it. Is that a sign of just getting older or is it part of the PD. Who knows!
Well, it's off to bed for me tonight. I'm hoping for a good night of sleep with NO interruptions! I'll try to get around to reading blogs this next week. Thanks for being so understanding.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I have to apologize for not being around for awhile, but it's been a couple of busy weeks on Twitter, and Mario keeps me pretty busy over there.
What happens to you when you look at the picture of the spiral? It makes me dizzy (ya, I know, I'm dizzy most of the time - or is that ditzy! he he). Anyway, I'm curious to know how it makes you feel when you look at it. so please let me know. Why, well, I've been feeling quite dizzy (light headed) for close to 3+ weeks now and to the point where i now walk around with a cane at home most of the time as I'm never sure if I'll topple over or not..
I started it and within three days I was feeling dizzy. Well, it has to be from the new meds - right? My primary doctor then changed the med to a different brand and told me to wait 3 days before taking it so the other medicine was out of my system. It was after 3 days - no more dizzy!
I followed his instructions for a second time and the same thing happened. This time when I called he said he'd try a new brand again, but if the same thing happened, I should come in to see him.
I visited that doctor last week and after checking my blood pressure himself, he looked at me and said "I don't think this is blood pressure pill related - I think it's PD related and maybe we'd better get your neurologist involved.
In the meantime I was to stop all of the new BP medications, stick with my old one that wasn't very effective any longer, and check with my neurologist. And my primary doctor said to make an appointment in a month with him again. I now have a call in to my Neurologist. I happened to think that I started a new medication from him about the time I started the new blood pressure meds. Upon checking the fact sheet that comes with my drugs - BINGO!! The second side-effect listed is "May cause dizziness."
I do believe the medication gods are mad at me!! It seems like any medication the neurologist suggests, I end up with side effects! One of these days I suspect he'll drop me as a patient! (Not sure if that would be good or bad!) - just muttering here or as Mario would say - MOL)
I haven't heard back from him after leaving a message yesterday. I checked my PD handbook and dizziness is a symptom that falls within the PD disease, so maybe it's just natural progression too. Unfortunately, the doc doesn't have any openings until the middle of October, unless after reading my message from yesterday he decides to find an opening to see me.
It's going to be an interesting and challenging several weeks until I can get in to see the Neurologist again. As a Twitter friend told me one day - "Getting old ain't for the faint of heart." She is so right! Stay tuned.
Update at 11:30 this morning. The neurologist's office returned my call and will check with doctor. So they are working on it. In the meantime, I'm not as dizzy as I was early this morning or yesterday.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
|Beautiful Westeria Flowers|
at Dioditians Palace, Split Croatia
Taken on our cruise to Italy 2009
The most amazing thing happened yesterday and today - we had RAIN!!! We haven't had any rain since May, and the ground is so parched that you wonder if shrubs, trees, and plants will ever bounce back. We didn't get much - possibly 1/2 to 1 inch or so, but it was such a blessing to see. i felt like being a kid again and run outside, do a dance around a tree, and back in the house again. Of course, there is something wrong with this visual picture, because I can't run anymore! But it was fun to think about it. For all of June we would watch rain come close on radar, but then dry up before it ever reached us. The rain gods must have been watching over us today. he he
This was another week with another doctor's appointment - family doctor this time. I do wish all doctor's would be as easy to talk to as this one. He always listens to what you have to say. If you have any suggestions, he'll listen. Might not always agree with you, but he does listen. And, he agreed that I could take more pain pills than what I've been taking. I can take 2 Tramadol 3 times a day along with 2 Tylenol 3 times a day. That is helping as I didn't hurt as much this past week.
I'm not a candidate for back surgery nor do I want to go through back surgery.
Don has an appointment with the neurologist this week. He's doing okay. I think he has remained about the same and has not slipped any in the past year. He's another year older and I can see where he has slowed down some.
I sure do hope the extreme heat and humidity go away for the remainder of this week. Green Bay never did see 100, but 99 is close enough for me! Parts of Wisconsin did see 100 tho and happened only about 45 miles away from us. Too close for comfort! It was miserable, and I'm tired of being cooped up in the house in the summer. I shouldn't complain because we are fortunate enough to have central air and many people don't have any air conditioning period. Even Mario was begging to go outside. We don't let him out when it's this hot either so he had to dream about getting outside.!
Hope you all are having a good week. Stay healthy and keep cool. In 6 months we'll be complaining that there's too much snow and it's too cold. The saying in Wisconsin is "If you don't like the weather, come back in a couple of hours - it will change!"!
Until next time,
Saturday, July 7, 2012
How about my picture form Alaska 2+ years ago! Does that help cool you off? It's going to only be 84 today in Green Bay, WI - we may have to get out the winter parkas! ha ha The high temps of 99 and humidity of last 2 weeks nearly did me in. It was a major effort to go out to feed the birds and change the water in the bird bath. The older I get, the less I can cope with extreme heat and humidity.
I saw the Neurologist last week. And this was one visit with him that went very well. He was just as nice as he could be, and I was feeling extra sharp, so I was able to answer all of his questions quickly.
If you remember my last visit with him didn't go very well - generic drugs were ordered instead of the brand name Mirapex - I felt like I was given the 3rd degree because I couldn't take some of the drugs he prescribed even tho I had called his office, discussed it with his nurse, and she said he said to stop those same drugs -- and he clearly was in a bad mood. I then sat down and wrote a two page letter explaining why I was unhappy and documented as much of the information as I could. I also asked him if he'd prefer to refer me to another doctor. My letter was very nice, but I did remind him that I can't help it that I can't handle the preferred drug for Parkinson's unless he wants me to spend all my time in bed and risk falling every time I got up. I also sent him the link to the Arthritis Foundation's website that had an article on generics are not always the same as the brand named drug - so I'm not crazy when I say I can't take "some" generics!.
At the end of my visit, when he was writing the new prescription for the coming year, I politely and gently reminded him that I had to have the brand name of Mirapex and not the generic version. His comment was "I got that message, and I won't forget it!" So he apparently remembered my letter. I suspect he doesn't have many patients that write him a letter. Most people my age wouldn't do that as we were taught that the doctor was always right and you just don't question them.
So, it pays to write your doctor a letter if you are thoroughly unhappy with your course of treatment or how you are being treated. It has taken me 73 years to figure this out. This particular neurologist has an excellent reputation for being a good one, so I really don't want to switch, but will if things continue the way they were.
Next week I see my regular family doctor, and it's a good thing because the pain pills aren't strong enough. I'm hoping he will say I can take them every 4 hours when needed instead of 6 hours. Summer's are always rough on me. I'm not sure why. It might be the highs and the lows of the pressure or the change in weather. Whatever it is, my body hurts most of the time. It's probably the Fibromyalgia rearing it's ugly head again. It doesn't help that we've had such extremely high humidity either, which is bad for the arthritis.
Now on a lighter note, we had the pleasure of having a visit by a good Twitter friend (MaggieTKat and ParkerTKat's mom and dad). It is the first time we've actually met in person. Such lovely, fun people, and both Don and I felt like we've known them all our lives. Mario loved having them here too as he got lots of hugs, kisses and attention. They are from MO, were visiting in the Twin Cities of MN, and were kind enough to swing over our way on their way back home (going a day out of their way to visit).
Wanda is a quilter, who does beautiful work and makes quilts for various animal shelter fund raisers. She just finished a gorgeous one and has donated it to help raise funds for @BabyPatches and her @nipandbones pet supply store. Please go over and take a look at it - it's gorgeous. If you have a spare dollar or two and wish to contribute to the fund to help save @nipandbones, and help pay @BabyPatches' mom's medical bills, it will be greatly appreciated. @CathyKeisha is holding this auction on her blog site and it will run most of this coming week - I believe. To see the quilt go to: http://www.stunningkeisha.com/. If you need any pet supplies, check out the site for http://www.nipandbones.com/. They are an excellent company to deal with and have wonderful, timely customer service if you need help with anything.
Sorry this post is so long.
Until next time - stay cool!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
|Photo from Wikipedia.com|
It's a purrfect (as Mario would say) day in Wisconsin - light breeze, temperature predicted to be 75 today, and humidity is low. It doesn't get any better than this friends. I know, I know, I know - many of my readers live in warm climates and this would feel like winter to them, but I'm loving it.
There is good news to report today. A week or so ago I had a follow-up appointment with the psychologist to see if I was declining in mental ability or had improved. For a change I remembered to ask him to send me a copy of his report to my neurologist and one for my records too.
I do have to say I was in TOP FORM that day - felt good physically and mentally sharp. Got to the psychologists office, met with his assistant (who is the one to do the testing) and promptly said to her "I don't know what's going on here, but I really feel mentally with it today." And I did too,
She started administering the Weschler Intelligence Scale - Adult version to me (those sections that I had done so very poorly on the very first time she tested me and also had trouble with the second time she tested me).
The end result is that I've improved in some areas of mental functioning ("notable gains in memory, (both for verbal and visual information) Language was clear, Verbal Reasoning was Solid,, but viseospatial functioning looked slightly improved. in certain dimensions. He did tell my neurologist that due to my family history, they should still keep an eye on my overall cognitive functioning especially with the Parkinson's.
Now I still have some long-term memory issues and some short-term issues also. But I guess I'm at what I'd refer to as the normal (for my age) range and I can't ask for more than that. How long it will last, no one knows, but I'll take it when I can get it. I just feel like I've gained back the ground that I've lost over the past 9 months. And, there was decline over those months. Might have been drugs - who knows,
I have to tell you that I feel like a little kid who finally got an A in one of his classes after flunking last semester!! I do feel more mentally alert these days and generally more "with it." I really think it was the Jelly Beans I ate before reaching his office. (shh, don't tell anyone that - he he). I hardly ever eat Jelly beans because they are all sugar. But the day before I picked up a bag of Jelly Belly's when I spied them at the store., I was running late the morning of the testing, so didn't eat a proper lunch - grabbed a hand full of Jelly Beans and ran out the door. I'm sure IT'S THE JELLY BEANS! haha!
I researched on the Internet some picture samples of some of the tests. This is not giving away any secrets nor is there anyway to practice because you don't have the answers. Just thought you might find this interesting. This is just a tiny sampling of SOME of the things on the test and these same samples did not appear on the test I took - just similar things.
Tester presented pictures of puzzle, and I was told to copy with the actual tiles. This is a timed test, starting easy, and ending hard if, it is something that doesn't come easy for you.
Fill in the blank space. I didn't have to do this one, but had something similar. I could not have done this one and would have left it undone. I just simply don't get it.
Now on this one on the left, I think I know the answer, but I'm not sure. i'm guessing it's #5, but I don't know if I'm right or not.
In addition to visual puzzles, she read a list of about 40 words and I had to repeat as many as I could. That was hard even tho she read them slowly and did it twice.
Then there was a language test where she about read about 20 words in pairs and wanted to know how they were related or alike. This was very hard because in some cases i didn't think they were related - opposites instead.
In another test she read a story with math problems that I had to do in my head -no paper allowed. Now if you happen to like math and are good with it, this test would have been easy peasy. But..... I hated math. I do remember the times table and can certainly add, subtract and divide. I can't solve those problems in my head tho when they are presented in story form and you have to add, subtract, and multiply in your head while retaining the information. it's too much for this old brain.
All in all, I was happy with the results. I still say I did well because of the magical jelly beans. You know - if you were not a genius in school, you aren't going to be a genius as an old lady! he he
Until next time......
All pictures copied from Internet Explorer's "Images" file and labeled to be from the Weschler Intelligence Scale - Adult. I have no idea exactly what year.
Friday, May 11, 2012
|Art work by Ann at Zoolatry|
I'm deviating a little this week by doing a post as a tribute to my own mother, who left this world for a better place in 1995 at the age of 78 after suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease for only about 4 years. In my eyes, she was a great lady - a hero. No, you would not have ever heard her name unless our families knew each other - she wasn't famous. But she was a very strong, courageous lady - ahead of her era. And I truly admire her for her strength and miss her so much even tho she's been gone for so many years.
Martha (Mom) was second oldest of 10 children and had to drop out of school in the 8th grade to help on the farm, which was typical of her generation. Her teacher talked to Grandpa and tried to convince him that Martha was very smart and should stay in school. But in grandpa's eyes, only boys needed to graduate from High School - a woman's place was in the home taking care of the kids. How times have changed - thank God! Her life was a hard one, yet she never complained.
She married my biological father about a year before I came along. I think she married him to escape an alcoholic, abusive father at home. Unknowingly, my father was also an alcoholic. She divorced him when I was about 3 because she wanted something better for me than how she grew up - in an alcoholic, abusive household. The final straw came for her when one night my biological father was sitting in the tavern drinking, as he often did, when I was at home with an extremely high temperature and had pneumonia. Mother told me i nearly died that night, but a neighbor came over and took she and I to the hospital so I could be treated. To get me out of that environment, she packed me up and we moved with one of her married sisters until she could find a job. She spent a few years being a live-in housekeeper so we would have a place to live too.
Keep in mind that she hadn't even graduated from high school. Also keep in mind this was in the 1930's and 40's. Women just didn't get divorced in those days - you were supposed to stand by your man! But she wanted more for me than alcoholism and physical/mental abuse. A divorced person was looked down upon back in those days - yes, truly they were. In fact, many times you were shunned. Some people would not let their children play with your children for fear of what you might do to their children! After all, you were DIVORCED!
She eventually met and married my stepfather when I was in 3rd grade. He was a very nice man and really the one I look to and referred to as my dad. he he - I remember being very sad when my mother got married again because it had just been she and I for all my life (that I could remember). Now this strange man was going to come between us. But that strange man was wonderful to me and treated me like a daughter.
I know her story is not all that unusual of that generation (except for being divorced - which just was not ever done back then) but I wanted to share why I loved and respected my mother so much. She was one strong, gutsy lady to strike out on her own with no job and no education and a small baby to boot!
I think sometimes we forget about all the sacrifices our parents have made or are making in our behalf. I certainly never thought about all this when she was alive, so I never thanked her for it. And I wished I had. So this mother dear, is a tribute to you for all you have sacrificed for me. Mother, you were the best and I love you for all you did for me.
Happy Mother's Day to to all you dear readers too. If you are a mother to either a human or furbaby, you are appreciated even if we don't tell you often enough.