Friday, July 31, 2009

Shatner interprets Palin.... 

This was on The Tonight Show, and I thought it was hysterical! Thanks to Robert for the link....

Shatner reads Palin's Twitter

Could these be construed as tweets from a bird brain? Just saying, heh heh.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book review appearing here for now.... 

I wrote this for But You Don't Look Sick back on July 7, but the webmistress has been very sick, and I don't know if she'll be able to post it or not. So in the meantime, I'll post it in full here....

Book Review: There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say
Author: Paula Poundstone

For your summer reading list, whether spent baking at the beach or keeping cool on your trusty sofa, how about something amusing? And just a tad controversial? With an unusual format? This book, written by comedian Paula Poundstone, is all of the above.

In one of her stand-up routines, Poundstone states that she agreed to write a book about herself, but when she sat down to do it, she couldn't think of anything to say. But she noticed that whenever someone else was talking about their life, it would remind her of herself. So she decided to dedicate each chapter of her book to a famous person, and, in the midst of telling their biography, offer her own story as a series of tangents. The result is mostly hilarious, often enlightening and sometimes surprising.

Hence, we get gems like this: "Lincoln died on April 15, 1865. I died once, for a minute. There is no bright light and nobody waving you anywhere unless there's a one-minute waiting period that I'm not aware of, or unless my friends and loved ones are avoiding me even in death: 'Psst - Cover the light. Cover the light.'" The chapters have off-the-wall titles such as: "Sitting Bull: A Great Warrior and a Heck of a Ping Pong Player".

Paula Poundstone has a strong sense of the ironic and can be blunt in her honesty. She doesn't shy away from topics such as atheism, sexuality and her well-publicized arrest for drunken driving. But she can find something humorous in just about every subject.

Interwoven with chronicles of the deeds of Joan of Arc, Helen Keller, The Wright Brothers, Beethoven and Charles Dickens are rambling tales of adventures in child rearing, attempts at operating household appliances and computers, and unsuccessful career moves. I found myself nodding my head in agreement and giggling, even on subjects for which I had no personal frame of reference. I rather enjoyed the stream-of-consciousness motif because that's how most real life conversations go, and this seemed more like chit-chatting with a friend than a fussy history lesson.

The book contains a brief forward by Mary Tyler Moore. At just seven chapters and 274 pages in hardback, it won't weigh you down. And I guarantee you won't confuse it with anyone else's tell-all tome.

Title: There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say
Author: Paula Poundstone
Publisher: Harmony Books
IBSN: Q-609-60316-7

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update on my back.... 

The official verdict is: compressed disc but no major herniation, as in the type that would require surgery. But even though this thing is "minor", it does need to be taken seriously to keep it from being a long-standing constant problem. One thing that some healthy people don't understand is that in a person like me with fibromyalgia, a single physical trauma like back injury causes the rest of the pain centers in the body to go into overdrive, which can lead to a body wide exacerbation, perhaps severe enough to leave me completely bedridden.

So in addition to the medication, I am doing additional treatment to not only help the low back but also keep the rest of my body healthy. This is a tricky balance. For instance, I will keep doing the aquacise classes as long as the warm water continues to keep my muscles relaxed, but I have to stop the Gazelle glider machine because that will aggravate the spine right now (I just hope I don't erase the progress it took me a year and a half to make).

The hope is that I can get back to what passes for normal in two weeks. But in order to do so, I will have to agree to some restrictions: in addition to no Gazelle, no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk, no standing in one place for more than five minutes at a time, no sitting in one position for extended periods, no repetitive activity, and sadly, no extended time at the computer. I must alternate ice and heat treatments five times a day, use a TENS unit and very gentle adjustments at the chiropractor, short but frequent massage therapy, and stay on low doses of muscle relaxants after the steroid treatment ends (which is tomorrow).

I may vanish from the blog for awhile because I'll need to save my computer time for balancing the checkbook, getting paperwork ready for the ENT appointment on Monday (in case I forgot to mention it here, I've had an ear infection for SIX WEEKS), and finishing up some articles I had already started. So I'm out but not over.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Holy guacamole! I'm in agony! 

Ok, for about three years or so, I've been complaining to rheumatologists that I thought the arthritis in my low back was getting worse and that it ought to be checked out. Each time, they would tell me it was just my fibromyalgia and would look no further. They know I have an autoimmune disease that causes problems in addition to the fibromyalgia, but for some reason when they see the fibro diagnosis they stop taking you seriously no matter what else is going on.

So Friday morning, I'm getting ready to go to my aquacise class for people with arthritis. All I'm doing is reaching forward for my shoe, nothing strenuous whatsoever, when I get the sensation of someone stabbing me in the spine with a DAGGER. It's a couple of inches higher than my tailbone, and the stabbing sensation doesn't improve when I stand up straight again, but I decided to go to aquacise anyway to see if it helps.

I'm literally screaming when I try to get in the car, and once there, someone had to help me take off my shoes in the locker room, but I did make it to the pool. I did very gentle, careful stretches to keep my muscles loose and felt somewhat ok in the warm water. But as soon as I stepped out again, I could barely hobble back to the locker room and then the car.

Called a couple of different doctors' offices, but they were already full or closed for the weekend. But I begged and pleaded and got squeezed in to my primary care doc's office right before closing time. She knows I don't go in for routine aches and pains (or I'd be there every day, lol), so after an exam, she sent me for x-rays, the first ones I'd had in five years.

Well, she showed me my x-rays, and even my amateur eye could see the problem right away. Most of the vertebrae had nice even spaces between them, but the area where I was getting the sharp pain was compressed to about half the space as the others. Nothing serious, but not "just" fibromyalgia either.

Due to my gastroparesis, I can't take any narcotic type medication for severe pain without causing my entire digestive system to seize up, so we had to get creative. I'm doing a Medrol dose pack to get the inflammation under control, and doing muscle relaxants to ward off a full body flare that always occurs when I get a new source of pain. I won't lie, though, I still HURT like nobody's business, and I'd forgotten how short-tempered and impatient acute pain makes me.

My next appointment with the rheumatologist is in about a month, and I'm definitely gonna give her a piece of my mind. She's been my doc for less than a year, but maybe now she'll be less likely to blow me off? I know better than to count on that though.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A chance at bad movie nirvana..... 

My friends sent me a heads up about this. The best of both worlds: Ed Wood AND Mystery Science Theatre 3000!

RiffTrax LIVE: Plan 9 from Outer Space

I actually own a four DVD set of Ed Wood's movies, or, more accurately, I rescued it from Dan's uncle's collection after he died. I don't generally watch lousy movies on purpose, but these definitely fall into the "so bad it's good" category.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Celiac disease is no longer rare..... 

According to a fascinating study by the Mayo Clinic, the number of people who have celiac disease is growing at an alarming rate. Got the link from the Celiac.com newsletter....

Celiac Disease Rates Skyrocket: Up 400% in Last 50 Years

If you have chronic unexplained digestive symptoms, even if you have been tested for celiac disease and it was negative, it is worth going on a gluten free trial for a few weeks to see if you feel better. It is doubtful you would feel worse without wheat, and you may just be doing yourself a big favor.

When "friends" try to "cure" you.... 

I'm trying not to be rude about this or name names because I suspect these people mean well. But all the same, it seems as though people with chronic illness are the unfair targets of pyramid schemes and other sales pitches at a much higher rate than the general population. And even though I've never caved in to one of these pitches, I'm beginning to feel like shark bait.

When I was considering joining a particular church last year, I decided to be social and talk with some of the members after the service. A nice elderly gentleman struck up a conversation. But when I mentioned I probably wouldn't attend a potluck because of my celiac disease, he said, "I used to have that, but I was cured of it when I took ___", and proceeded to try to sell the product to me.

This has happened four other times. These were people I had thought of as friends. Two I suspect added me to their Facebook lists for the sole purpose of selling their wares, which I find offensive.

What is it about chronic illness that causes the healthy to get dollar signs in their eyes? In the past few days, I've gotten multiple message from a guy who has "awesome news" for me regarding treatment for my fibromyalgia. I plan on telling him that I dare not take anything which my doctors have not prescribed or approved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This conspiracy was more than a theory.... 

Bill Moyers on the campaign to discredit Michael Moore's "Sicko"....

Thursday, July 09, 2009

They'll let anyone check in, apparently.... 

Was reading about the FDA ruling on Darvon/Darvocet, saw this link and just had to share. My theory is that the bear was just going to inquire about the hot springs, heh heh....

Bear Tries To Check Into Glenwood Springs Hotel

In other news, I have FINALLY written another book review for But You Don't Look Sick. The book only sat on the command center desk for a year after I finished it, heh heh....

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Rave of the Day for July 4, 2009: 

My annual fireworks display. Go to the link and click on the black box several times in various spots to see the fireworks....


I will be going to my sister-in-law's to have a burger patty and corn on the cob and hang out with family. I hope that if they do fireworks that I won't have a reaction to the smoke. We shall see.

It's America's birthday! 


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lyme disease.... 

Ever wondered what Lyme disease is? Here's a good description by someone who has it....

The realities of Lyme disease

I knew what it was because I've been tested for it several times, but I did learn some things in this article. It has got to be one of the most elusive things to diagnose.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

18 and chronically ill.... 

What's it like to have CFIDS as a teenager? Read this article from the CFIDS newsletter....

Meet Alexandra Volper, NJ Scholarship Winner

Frustrating that people over 35 with chronic illness are told they are just getting old while people under 35 are told they are just lazy and depressed. I guess sometimes it's just easier to make excuses than to admit someone could really be sick.

Staying entertained but not exhausted.... 

Got this from the CFIDS newsletter. Several people on Facebook came up with ideas for how to enjoy oneself without a great deal of exertion....

37 Ways to Have Fun Without Expending Much Energy (or money)!

I particularly like to watch the wildlife in my yard. Baby bunnies are VERY cute, and squirrel chases are hilarious!

Coping with orthostatic intolerance..... 

Orthostatic intolerance, which is a chronic low blood pressure problem, often accompanies fibromyalgia and/or M.E. Here is an article featuring easy ways to lessen the symptoms....

Top 10 Tips to Manage Orthostatic Intolerance On Your Own

I have to be particularly careful about being outdoors in Sioux Falls on hot, humid days as I can feel myself getting wobbly and flaky after just a few minutes. I did have a tilt table test done at the Mayo Clinic, but it was only borderline, so I just self-manage by elevating my feet, staying hydrated and avoiding unnecessary errands during the summer.

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