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» Wednesday, March 02, 2016...When You're Making Other Plans
When last we met, I was limping around like a horse with laminitis with sore feet and had sore elbows. Well, as that turned out, it got interesting (in the sense of "May you live in interesting times").
When I got up Monday morning (the 22nd), I was in a pretty pickle: I could barely walk. I took four ibuprofin and went back to bed, but it never helped. Instead of taking Tucker for a walk, I put him on the long lead out front. Surprisingly, after he realized I wasn't going to walk him, he remembered the sporadic clicker training: one click meant "go potty," and he did. (And for the next two days he did, including in the rain.) Then I logged onto work from home, fruitlessly trying to reach Kaiser since it was now after ten, and ended up leaving them a message. Their message says they will call back, which they didn't, but then Mondays are chaos at Kaiser. I didn't wait on Tuesday morning; I called them again. Nurse said: Elevate your feet as much as possible. Keep off your feet as much as possible. Use ice if it helps. A footbath (except we have no container for one). All this and I worked, too. One day James teleworked because of the chance of rain and I used his power chair to walk Tucker. He'd been putting up with the front yard with good grace and I figured he deserved it.
In the meantime, something weird was going on with my arms—and my hands. When these little bumps started popping up here and there on my hands, I thought a mosquito or a no-see-'um of some type had gotten in the house (when I spotted a mosquito in the house one night that seemed to confirm it). The first that popped up was on my right palm, on the ball under my index finger; I usually get temporary painful pressure spots there (from opening doors, lifting milk jugs, etc.) and this didn't worry me too much. But when more came up I even vacuumed out the sofa and cleaned out the laptop in case some rat of a bug had made a nest inside. I was so preoccupied with my feet and work that I didn't twig until late Thursday that none of these welts itched. Bug bites always itch and there's usually a tiny spot where you can see where you've been bitten. Plus, when you don't scratch them, they go away, but these weren't going anywhere—and I was only breaking out on my hands (and later, as I discovered over the weekend, in little hard nodules under the skin of my forearms, in a line down to my elbows). But what were they? I kept stuffing ibuprofin and Tylenol and naproxen in me (not all at the same time, natch), and not a whit of good did it do.
The foot pain eased by Friday, which was good because it was Anachrocon weekend. This would be easy on my feet because you just go back and forth on the small corridor between the meeting rooms to sit in panels every hour. As for my hands, I was starting to suspect it might had something to do with carpal tunnel combined with the old elbow pain that started when we had to pack up all those contract files for the move from Buckhead to University Park. I'd done a bunch of searching online and I couldn't find anything else that made sense; mostly the searches kept coming back pointing to arthritis and bursitis. Well, I wouldn't be typing all weekend except for Anachrocon blog reports; that would probably help.
Nope. Every day each hand became more swollen and new welts broke out. My wrist bones were starting to resemble pearl onions and my knuckles started disappearing one by one. The nadir came Sunday morning at the buffet, when I noticed two more welts breaking out on my right-hand fingers and that I could barely slice the French toast. All the knuckles on my right hand vanished.
Monday morning I was on the phone to Kaiser before they opened and I still had to wait until 8:10 for the nurse. My hands were a big hot, swollen mess. I got a 11:20 appointment and then went back to bed until the last minute. I fumbled the dog's leash, had to use a piece of cloth to start the car because turning the key made me want to scream, and drove with about three fingers. There was an hour wait to see the doctor once I got in the appointment room and I kept running my hands under the cold water in the office sink because they burned so much.
The first thing Dr. Mobley asked when he saw my fists was if I had done work in the yard that weekend. I didn't blame him. They did look like I was Cousin Charley in Little House in the Big Woods, the one who had tangled with the occupants of a "bee tree." The doctor wasn't sure what it was, but he agreed with me that there was no way I could have been bitten by an insect so thoroughly and never seen it, and it would have to itch. So he sent me downstairs for a blood test (where the occupants of the waiting room were surprised when at least a dozen people rushed downstairs to tend a woman who was having chest and stomach pains) and then I went back upstairs to wait.
Well, the blood test was inconclusive, but the doctor had done some more research: he was pretty sure I was one of those rare souls who had a thousand-in-one reaction to...wait for it...the shingles vaccine I'd asked for. So, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it was off on steroids I go, just a week's worth, but three to start! He also changed my thyroid dosage and I bought some hydrocortisone cream for the burn (which didn't work). So I got home, ate enough to cushion the three steroids, and then lay down until James got home, about three hours. Before I lay down, I took my temperature: despite the doctor saying my white count wasn't high, I clocked in at 99.6. By the time James arrived home, it was 101.2, so I took three ibuprofin, drank some juice over ice, and iced my hands. It worked. By the time bedtime arrived I was in the high 98s again.
Yesterday I ate stuff I don't remember to scarf more steroids. Knuckles started popping out again, and the palms turned bruised for about an afternoon. Today I worked seven hours, although I tried to keep the typing at a minimum. There are still awful purply bumps on my hands, my wrist bones still look funny, and my hands look more like I'm 70 than 60s, the veins all ropy. Sharp little jabs and prickles go along the tendons and around my wrists when I type, especially my left thumb. Wondering if the vaccine has awakened dormant rheumatoid arthritis, which my mother had, and her mother had.
Ironically my feet have pretty much stop hurting at the bottom. They still itch around the edges, though, prickling just like my hands.