Phew, that wasn’t as bad as expected!! But has anyone seen my knuckle??

Today was D-Day, my first appointment with my new doctor.  I can’t say that I was looking forward to it.  My brain was in total overdrive and the two nightmares I had last night definitely didn’t help.  I had written my list, an essential piece of my doctors appointment equipment for without it I am a blithering idiot, a list that unfortunately had become rather long in the time since I last saw anyone because half of what needed doing hadn’t been.  I had my other piece of essential equipment my fidget toy, today’s preferred one was my fidget cube.  So with that in hand I went, I was shaking I have to admit and although my mum was with me (she calms me down) I really was dreading it.  I think part of it was just my usual doctor nerves, my sensory overload was in overdrive, but there I was in the waiting room.  I have to admit seeing the new doctor (a female when I’ve had a male for ever!!) in my previous GP’s room was rather surreal but it did make it slightly easier, and joy of joys she was nice.  I wasn’t expecting her to be horrible, I just didn’t know what to expect and for me that is always a no-no.  The unexpected and change for me are two of the things I find hardest and along with my sensory processing problems are why I suspect that I may have an un-diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder, but at 38 and with all my other problems I have to admit that it isn’t something that I’m particularly in need of exploring.  So anyway I shan’t bore you with the details of the appointment, but I shall simply say that 30 minutes later (as I had a triple appointment) 3 referrals to new specialists, 4 prescriptions, multiple blood tests requested and half a dozen problems we are putting a proverbial pin in I’d say it was a success.  I even have an appointment for next month.  I have slightly settled since, my heart rate has gone from a resting 135 to a more normal rate (my POTS always goes mad at the doctors as it’s too hot, I’m uncomfortably sat in my wheelchair and there’s too many people the list goes on) and I’ve had two much needed a drinks!! After that a rather nice curry, and an evening of dropping off while trying to catch up on emails I have now, I think, just about recovered!!!

I said that I wouldn’t bore you with all my symptoms but a new and rather strange one is that one of my knuckles has gone A.W.O.L.  My fingers have been bad for ages, I wear both wrist splints and finger splints on both hands (see pictures) but my knuckles are both dislocating and the disappearing one is a strange one.  It’s making everything, from operating my mobility scooter to writing and typing, really really difficult. Not really sure what’s going on apart from dislocating and swelling, but as the hand therapist I’ve been seeing has now finished we’ve got to find a new one!! That is one of my appointments, when and if we can find a new specialist!! 

So all in all it wasn’t as bad as expected. Even my visit to Currys PC World wasn’t too bad, quick and all sorted out for me. Thank you #curryspcworld. So until next time, thank you for reading!!!

My A.W.O.L. knuckle (you can just about see the bump of my ring splint where my knuckle should be!!)

My ring splints. I may post a review of these soon, please let me know what you think in the comments

Migraines and Mishaps

I’ve suffered with migraines since I was approximately 4 years old,  but you try telling the schools nurse (we had school nurses when I was at school) that you have a migraine and that you can’t do anything about them when you’re that age.  I heard that I was making them up, or it was just a headache as 4 year old’s cannot suffer with a migraine but it was a mistake that teachers and nurses alike only made once.  When I was young my migraines hit with no warning and the after effects lasted for days.  The only telltale sign that I had a migraine was uncontrollable yawning, a symptom that I carry to this day.  So I would promptly, if I started with the headache, tell the teacher “go and lie in the snuggly corner” was their usual response but falling asleep with a migraine I would really fall asleep.  Comatose was probably more like it, my earliest school memories are being woken up by my mum picking me up after such incidents with a worried teacher looking on and explaining that they’d never seen anyone fall asleep so heavily!!  The other mistake they often made was if they told me that I should take a tablet, it has only been in the last 20 years that I’ve been able to take any at all and even now I still struggle with them.  Projectile gagging and, or various incidents of them trying to get me to take paracetamol tablets really didn’t work.  I think however the worst of my migraine stories happened when I was first at secondary school.  Still having to fight to get people to believe that my migraines were real I went to the nurse to say I needed to go home as I had one.  The usual first response was suggested, that I lie down for a bit before I could go back to class, however my other rather unfortunate symptom of migraines was my rather impressive vomiting skills.  I have never been the neatest of pukers, one rather impressive feat when I was young was managing to throw up right down the stairs from the top to the bottom and unfortunately there are many many other stories of other rather unfortunate incidents.  However on this occasion the school nurse, having not believed that I needed to go home, had left me on my own in the medical room.  I managed to make it to the toilet, which was one good thing, however my aim wasn’t that good.  The nurse returned to me having managed to vomit over the entire wall, toilet and floor in the room.  Funnily enough after that if I said I needed to go home, I was sent home!!

So to my migraines now.  I have two distinct forms of migraines now, one being the same full blown migraine and the other being a manageable migraine which I call a migrainey headache.  It’s the same symptoms but I can usually take tablets in time to stave off having to go to bed for the day.  I can just about cope with migrainy headaches usually having them on and off for a day, but staying just bad enough to be felt.  I still yawn way more than you would normally expect and you can see in my eyes that I have a migraine but I can just about function as normal.  However I have a rather unfortunate side effect of a migrainy headache (because a normal migraine I have to stay in bed for I don’t actually know if I have this symptom with a full blown migraine too) of being even more comically clumsy than normal and very dopey too.  Now today I’ve had one of my migrainy headaches, it’s been there most of today.  This morning while getting ready for town, mum was trying to help me into my cardigan and at the time I also had my crutches instead of my walking sticks.  Mum offered me one arm, I managed to sort out which arm however trying to get it in was rather fun, tangles and turning the wrong way, bag straps over sticks and you have to have a bit of a giggle.  Driving my scooter into town was rather comical, although I think that the sudden urge I had whilst waiting for the crossing to change of pressing my power and surge forward into the traffic was rather more worrying however I did manage to quell that one!!  

I couldn’t work out today if my trigger was the air pressure and humidity or if it was simply my POTS playing up, it might have been both. I rarely know what has triggered one, cigarette smoke is definitely a trigger but that and stress are the only triggers we’ve identified. I have fairly regular migraines and migrainy headaches I have thankfully just got my migraine medication back after a few years without it being manufactured. I’m so glad it’s come back though as it’s the only thing I’m allowed to take and the only thing that works too! I don’t know why I’m so clumsy and ditsy when I have a migraine though but I do think perhaps that might be yet another reason why I don’t actually go out on my own, it’s probably a good thing I don’t really; can you imagine the stories if I did???

Appointments, pacing and “The Unmentionable problem!!!”

This week I have had two hospital appointments, both at our local hospital which has meant that I have been able to get to them in my mobility scooter.  It’s meant though that for the rest of the week I’ve not really done anything, I’ve not been able to go out in between because for me that is the extent of my energy supplies.  The rest of the week has seen me on the sofa hoping to conserve enough energy to make it through the appointments.  Pacing for me doesn’t always work, I am not very good at working out what I can and can’t do and I get frustrated at my lack of energy after doing something which just shouldn’t take as much energy as it does.  Now I will admit that appointments though do take an awful lot of my energy, I have learned through trial and error that 2 is my absolute limit unless in exceptional circumstances.  It’s partly because just getting anywhere, even on my mobility scooter, uses energy but it’s also partly because appointments especially hospital appointments set off almost every one of my sensory issues. They are noisy, they smell horrible, the lights flicker and are bright, there are too many people, there are just too many things to cope with all at once.  My sensory side just wants to go and rock in a quiet corner outside and leave my rational side to go in and deal with the appointment anxiety.  You see for me hospitals and doctors have also become a place for me to fear, a place where I have heard “it’s all in your head” more times than I care to remember and so an appointment especially with a new person or department are panic inducing, will the person listen, will they have heard of EDS, will they know what POTS is, will they know enough about these things to not call me a liar?  It’s also often a place where instead of the answers I seek, I get more questions.  So two appointments this week has been my limit, and despite not doing much else to cope with these this afternoon has still seen me yawning so much that I think my mum has thought that I’ve been trying to swallow her!!! As I have been worried about my appointments I haven’t been thinking of my blog so much.  I will also be having a rest day tomorrow as my POTS during my appointments was going mental, I had a pulse rate of over 140 at one point, some of it was with the panic that the appointments set off but a lot of it was definitely my POTS.

My appointments were fairly well spread out, I had the podiatrist on Monday and then today was the unmentionable appointment!!  It’s not an easy topic to cover, for me it’s mightily embarrassing but for the first time I will bring it up, today’s appointment was at the incontinence nurse.  I have had numerous interventions to try and help with this, but nothing has worked (I might come back to those at another time if you will indulge me here) so today was solely about sorting me out with pads.  The array of the most embarrassing, sole destroying pads was brought out to show me after I was given another label to add to my ever expanding list I am now considered to be “functionally incontinent”.  To be honest at this point I was taking very little in so apart from the fact that there is now nothing that can really be done to improve this situation, it is down to my disability, I didn’t really understand that term.  I was more concerned that having to currently change my pads up to 11 times a day, the 4 pads that can be provided by the service isn’t going to be enough and the fact that at 38 I don’t want this to be my life from now on.  I also was not very happy with the pads and the fact that they were huge.  But there we are, for now at least I will have 4 pads a day provided for me on a 3 monthly basis.  The rest I will have to pay for.  We shall see what the future will bring but for me the unmentionable problem is, if you will allow an extremely cringe worthy pun, a complete pain in the backside!!

Blood pooling, and pregnancy looking swellings .

On the whole I avoid contact with mirrors and cameras, they are evil things that show up the slightest of floors. I even only look at the bit I’m doing in a mirror on those rare occasions I wear make-up, I’ve perfected the just looking at an eye or my lips and not seeing my whole face. But mum and dad have been decorating their bedroom and had problems with the mirror panel so it got put in the room that my carer helps me do my hair in. I actually didn’t realise this until this morning, as I said I’ve perfected not looking at or for mirrors, when I happen to glance to the side while my carer was drying my hair. Now I could say I was horrified to glance my chunky legs because they’re so big, but for once it wasn’t this that struck me. To my horror my legs were a mass of mottled patchy blue, purple, red and white. This was even worse on standing. I know that I have POTS and I know that this causes blood pooling, but not being someone who likes my legs I’m loathed to get them out even on the hottest of days. Usually I am to be found with cut off trousers which show barely an inch of skin before my splints, so when wearing my towel and dressing gown this morning meant that for once most of my lower leg was on show. I could, for the first time, see in all their technicoloured glory my badly bloodpooled legs!! I don’t really know quite what I expected, whether it was blissful ignorance that I didn’t think my legs did this or whether I was just stupidly forgetting this symptom but whatever it was it did shock me!!! I couldn’t take a photo of this (my phone being doenstairs) but there they were, they even did it again when mum was helping me get ready for bed so she saw this phenomenon too.  It is yet another sign that my POTS will not be igmored any more!! 

On of my other strange symptoms at the moment is my gloriously swollen stomach. Now I know I’m no size 2, far far from it, but this is quite obvious swelling. My stomach can go from usual to looking heavily pregnant within minutes. I have very bad IBS symptoms and know that I should really do a low histamine diet but I can’t face it!! Now some of the benefits of this are obvious, before I was pretty much full time in the wheelchair I used to get offered seats and people used to be nicer to me as I was “pregnant” it’s not so much of a benefit now because I’m more obviously disabled though. I’ll put a piccie so you can hopefully see what I mean about the swelling!!! But unfortunately it seems that this is just one of my bodies tricks because however much I’ve tried I always seem to swell. You never know I might end up getting a solution but until then I will randomly end up looking like this……..

Why making fun of me, for falling asleep, hurts so much….

You might think it’s funny when I fall asleep at 5pm or throughout the day, you think it’s hilarious that I can’t stay awake through a t.v. programme or a film but let me explain why that happens. Let me explain why it hurts when you think it’s so funny that I am always tired.

No1. It’s not just being a little tired, my whole body aches with the effort of trying to stay awake. I’ve had days where exhaustion just overwhelms. It is fatigue and fatigue is very different to tiredness. It’s very hard to explain but tiredness can be rectified by a nap or a couple of good night’s sleep. Fatigue is relentless, your mind and body are tired; lifting your arm hurts with effort. You can barely string a coherent sentence together and thoughts stay fleetingly in your head before flying away never to be seen again. You cannot stay awake however hard you try because the effort of staying awake is in itself a huge effort, think about trying to swim in a pool of treacle with a full near costume on, could you do that?? Not easily!!!

No2. I have insomnia and painsomnia and that’s not fun. Insomnia speaks for itself, I tend to go to sleep ok but cannot stay asleep. 2am is my normal wake up time where, if I don’t get up I end up feeling worse. I therefore have made binge watching box sets of dvds in the early hours a new art.  Painsomnia is something that people without a long term condition often haven’t heard of. Instead of just being unable to sleep painsomnia instead is where you cannot sleep because of pain. Usually I wake up because I’ve dislocated or sublaxed a joint. Waking up with a hip or knee on a glorious midnight walkabout is not really my idea of fun, if it’s not those it’s my shoulder making my arm do a great impression of no longer belonging to me!! It’s not exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep. The midnight dislocations are inevitably followed by the lenghthly relocation process, wriggling about until the glorious pop moment when you know it’s back where it should be.  I know then that I need some painkillers and a recovery period so again am to be found on the couch binge watching box sets. Now much as getting to watch my great dvds is good, the timing could definitely be better. I’d much rather be watching tv at a normal time and sleeping 7 or more hours a night, but my body has other ideas and so at an average if a 2am wake up time is it really any wonder I drop off at 5pm?? To me I’ve often been awake 15 hours!!!

No3. What takes you 10 minutes has taken me 40 and used every last bit of strength that I had left. Now a lot of people use the spoon theory to describe our energy stores. The theory goes that you start the day with x amount of spoons, during the day everything takes some of those spoons until you have no more left. Most people have the chance to replenish their stores during the day with either food or less taxing tasks. To me however there are no less taxing tasks, each one is hard. Some, yes, do take different amounts of my energy but they all take energy and so before the 3nd of the day I’ve already run out of “spoons”.

No4. You think I’ve been sat doing nothing all day, when in fact that “nothing” has taken so much effort I’m exhausted. Just sitting takes a lot of energy especially on a bad day. EDS makes any movement difficult, the threat of dislocation looms at all times. It is an effort even using brain power especially with brain fog when you cannot really even think what your own name is. You have to think about how to get up off the sofa, you have to think how to do everything to minimise either having symptoms or to make sure you don’t have an accident e.g. a fall or trip over etc. Having POTS and my other conditions means that maintaining an upright position even seated takes effort. My pulse races and so I constantly feel ill from that, it’s exhausting. Added to that you have a mountain of appointments, every few weeks you have to military plan how to get to said appointments, who can take and assist you and then you have to plan what you are going to say. We find that so many people in the medical profession haven’t heard of EDS or if they have a many more have lots of wrong ideas about how it can affect you, this means that you have to go prepared and read up on things too!! It can be a full time job. I also complete surveys, it keeps me busy and gets me vouchers to spend on things I couldn’t necessarily afford. These take a lot of brain power and again effort just to sit up doing them.

No5. It means that you don’t understand what I go through and why I’m so tired. Your teasing, whilst not meant to be mean, shows me that you don’t understand all these problems. You don’t understand how much just living day to day is. How hard I find it to do anything, how even sitting takes a lot of effort for me. You don’t see that I don’t like that I can’t stay awake, that I’d much rather be watching programmes I like and doing crafts. You don’t understand that however much or little sleep I get I’m still fatigued all the time and that you just don’t see that I don’t choose to fall asleep. It is simply that my body has given up, has no more energy left and has no choice but to shut itself down. 

So yes I do fall asleep a lot in the evenings, yes I can’t stay awake and am constantly tied. But I believe I actually have good reason why that is. I’m not after pity from anyone, but some more understanding would be appreciated.

“I’m a human of very little brain and technology just scares me!!”

So I wasn’t going to post today thinking that my day of sitting on the sofa, doing nothing apart from watching one of my motorsport loves of Formula 1 was rather uninteresting.  I can’t really say much more than that, I have indeed just been sat today but I thought that I’d still share something with you.

That is that as my title (quite poorly ripped off from Winnie the Pooh) infers, technology scares me.  I used to be able to do a lot, well I used to be able to blag a lot.  I used to fix problems in the department I worked in when I was still able to work, and I have helped my dad out when he used to work within an IT section.  Never though did the phrase “use it or lose it” apply more.  I simply didn’t have the need or desire to keep going with this computer lark.  When I was still working I helped to design an intranet site for the company but this was more about my creativity and less about my skills, letting other more technical people help me whenever I needed it.  So when I wanted to start a blog my brain went to overdrive, how on earth was I supposed to do this when I still have to ask my dad what error messages mean on my computer and I am still getting to grips with Facebook and what it does!!!  I can’t say that it’s been easy.  I still have very few followers, and am struggling to gain more as a lot of the groups that I’m members of have a no blog sharing policy on them (which I only found out after being told that I shouldn’t be posting, even though I read rules I often don’t understand the nuances of what “external sites” means and other little loopholes).  I had been sharing away hoping that people were reading my musings and hoped that people would follow me and I’d be able to hopefully start sharing reviews of places and equipment to help others.  The group bans on sharing has meant that my visibility has dropped and to be honest I’ve become very disheartened again thinking that no one is reading.  I have however decided to keep going, I want to try as at the moment having very little going in my life I want to at least say that I gave it a really good go.  So I have done a little bit of research, not as much as I’d like yet, but my brain can only take small chunks at a time so without going into full melt down mode so I will be drip feeding my learned skills (which knowing me will be unlearned as quickly as water running through a colander) into my blog as and when I find useful things.  The first things I have done are:
1) Added sharing buttons to my page so hopefully, if you so wish, you can share any of my posts straight to your own Facebook or Twitter or various other social media pages.  Ooo get me hey!!!!
2) I have added a link so my posts will be shared directly to my own Facebook and Twitter accounts so that I don’t have to remember each time to manually go in and share each one.
3)  I have set up a new Facebook group where I want to share my posts, however this is where my technology problems have again meant that it’s not quite worked out right.  I’ve not worked out how (or if it’s even possible) to share directly to this page.  The idea is that, more so than my own Facebook account, a group will be viewable to everyone and so hopefully I can attract followers that way.  If anyone knows if this is possible to do I would very much appreciate them commenting below and helping me as I cannot find out what to do.  It may be that I am overestimating what Facebook allows or that I’m just being blind but I cannot find this.  Also if anyone knows how to share to Instagram I’d be grateful for the help because I’ve had an Instagram blog for a while and I would like to also be able to share these posts with my followers on there.  At the moment I’ve been going in and manually sharing with Instagram, if there is a way to share automatically any help would be gratefully received.  I am going to continue with my Instagram blog too because I find that good for the very short posts that I sometimes want to share!!

So my post again has become a mini essay when I started out to write a short post.  My technology problems struck again half way through writing and I lost a load so I think perhaps I’ve been going too long!!  I shall sign off now as I want to have another go at the box I started a long time ago and only got the top done (with the hot weather and high pressure affecting me I’ve not been able to do any this week).

When you realise your scooter isn’t even as fast as walking!!!

So yesterday was a bad day. Seems the pressure and thunder affects me more than I thought and whilst in Waitrose I almost blacked out and also was feeling terribly seasick with my POTS. However it’s the funny ish moment that happened after that I’d like to share with you today!!!

Mum and I were walking down the high street when thunder was heard and was so loud it was also felt. My mum jumped out of her skin. I HATE thunder. I’m petrified of it. If I could I would still go into my parents bed and shake as I used to do but at 38 and disabled this isn’t really feasible anymore. However we were outside so I wasn’t particularly happy. However as it wasn’t raining we carried on planning to continue shopping. Lulled into this false sense of security we didn’t go into the shopping centre at the nearest entrance. Big mistake!! BIG spots of rain started falling so we started to speed up, but within seconds the heavens had opened and saw shoppers diving for cover in the nearest shop doorways. Being on my scooter I can’t really do this without making shopkeepers angry for blocking their door and knocking others out of the way!!! Split second decision we decided that the shopping centre was out best bet. Mum started running and I floored (or whatever you do to a mobility scooter) my scooter, mmm I thought this really isn’t going too fast. Mum told me not to wait for her, but unfortunately my scooter didn’t go any faster!!! I was desperately willing it to go faster while OAP’s children and other shoppers are fleeing past giving me very strange looks trying to work out if I actually liked getting wet or I was just  stupid getting wet while driving a scooter!!! Nope I was neither 4mph is simply not as fast as fleeing shoppers!!!

Now I’m not saying that I want to be going fast enough to be a speed demon leaving a trail of destruction begin me while speeding down the high street, but I did expect that I should be at least as fast as my mum jogging. What I didn’t expect was that whilst driving full pelt I’d be overtaken by OAP’s, children and anyone and everyone else!!! I have to have a collapsible scooter because it has to go in my dad’s car and I can’t afford to get my own car even on motability because I can’t afford my rent or anything then. I do really need an electric wheelchair because my hands struggle to use the controls on my scooter, I need more back support and I cannot self propel now. But even electric wheelchairs don’t have a particularly fast top speed either. But I think that most mobility vehicles are designed with older people in mind, and because you cannot go too fast on pavements. However I think they forgot that when it’s raining you want to be able to dash for cover, not pootle along getting soaked, lol!!! I also think the part of me that likes f1 and motorsport etc is very disappointed that I can’t eek that little extra speed out of it by coaxing the controls, nope 4mph is the top top speed and that’s it!!! Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have nothing to worry about, even the faulty McLaren engine could lap me many many times over probably I could do one lap in the time they’d have finished!!! Ok maybe not quite, but they could even beat me walking round a track!!! 

Typically after getting soaked I decided a pac-a-mac would be a good idea, bought one and emerged from the shopping centre to the sun trying to break through the clouds and no rain in sight!!! Oh well next time it might come in handy!!!