Never boring around here…

Today was interesting. I saw my rheumatologist at 8 a.m.

The good stuff: He feels my RA is under good control and called it “mild” as compared to the past. (Considering how really bad it could be, I have to agree, even as I cuss my sore hands). After I’d called a few weeks ago asking for advice (and a possible sooner appointment) regarding my sore, “loose” hips after taking those longish walks with Finny, I was given an appointment to have my hips x-rayed. I did. Today, my doc told me my hips look great (yay!) and they’re just fine, rheuma-wise. This is good to know.

Not-so-good stuff: So where did that pain and weird feeling of looseness come from? Did I just walk too far?

Nope. I have trochanteric bursitis in both hips.

The answer for that is to build up my walking distance and speed with care, taking it slowly. Stop if I hurt. And if that doesn’t do it, and I still experience discomfort, or if it increases, my doc will refer me to a physiatrist for (gulp) steroid injections and whatever else physiatrists do. I’m good with that, but I’d much prefer to avoid those needles if I can.

Another good thing: I told him I research my RA and the drugs and treatments pretty thoroughly, and asked if he minds that I do, his reply came with a big grin: “That’s just what I like my patients to do. Never feel that you can’t ask me questions or show me things you’ve learned.”

Cool, huh?

More not-so-good stuff: First, I forgot to ask him about starting plaquenil. He’d wanted to wait until this appointment to prescribe it so that I could have my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist first. I did – and got a new prescription for my glasses, which I love, because I can see now, and I got an all-clear for starting the drug. But my doc didn’t bring the plaquenil up today ( I guess because I’m doing well with Arava and sulfasalazine) and dang, I completely forgot.

Why did I forget? Well …

For some reason, my blood pressure was way up this morning at his clinic. The nurse took it twice with the machine, and then again, later, manually. It was still very high. Alarmingly high. I don’t have high blood pressure, and I’m not one of those people who has “white coat syndrome.” (Well, at least not as long as the white-coat in question isn’t about to stick needles into tender spots.). My doc was concerned enough about it that he told me to go to the ER as soon as I left his office and get checked out.

And that’s how I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon: on a cot in the ER with a blood pressure cuff on my arm. The first reading they did showed it slightly high (not even near the earlier readings), but not anything to get excited about. The 45 subsequent readings were all dead normal. I read a lot more of Anansi Boys on my Kindle and (I tried not to, really!) listened to the fascinating conversation between the nurses, the doctor and the drunk alcoholic the next cot over. It was just like reading a medical blog!

Finally, they declared me healthy and sent me and my normal BP home with instructions to follow up with my PCP on Monday.

Sigh. I just saw her for my 6-month checkup on Wednesday this week. My BP wasn’t high. It hasn’t been during any of the appointments I’ve had this week, and not only did I spend practically every day in one VA clinic or another because of the dog bite on my hand, they stuck needles in it.

But I will be good and will try to see her, or at least make an appointment, on Monday, when I have to go to the hand surgeon again for a check, anyway.

Final good thing: My dog-bitten hand seems to be healing just fine. It’s sore this evening as I write this, but that could be because I haven’t had a moment to soak it and change the dressing even once today. So that’s my next trick. Soak the hand. Try to pick out any green stuff I find in the wounds with the nifty forceps (tweezers) they gave me. (Ew. Ow.) Re-bandage the hand.  Repeat three times tomorrow.

Happy stuff: Mr Wren and I stopped at the feed store on the way home (he needed crickets for the baby ducks he’s raising). This store has dog stuff, too, so I got Finny a great big nasty ol’ bone to chew on and a new harness for our walks. I don’t like pulling on his neck.When we got home, I promised the wee guy we’ll take a good, long walk tomorrow. He seemed quite pleased.

Finally, I liked this bit from Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and wanted to share it:

“Each person who ever was or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their own song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their songs instead.”

Isn’t that just the loveliest passage?

11 thoughts on “Never boring around here…

  1. Wren! I have that with my hips, too! We’re to “slow down and take it easy,” so sayeth my doctor. *shakes head* I’m already slow enough!

    Glad your hand is healing up!

    Have you read any other Neil Gaiman? I love his descriptions. We got to meet him once at a convention and he is a truly lovely man. I’m addicted to his blog.


  2. Bizarre about the blood pressure, Wren, but glad to hear your hand is healing so well. Thanks for the Neil Gaiman passage – I took you up on a suggestion from a while back and read one of his books, Neverwhere, and absolutely loved it, so thanks again! Have a wonderful day and keep well! 🙂 L


  3. I love the quote from that book. Thank for sharing it.

    Glad all check out for you and hopefully your hips will be better soon. I know walking does wonders for me.


  4. My husband has gone through the blood pressure scare too. What an ordeal. It sounds like you are fine though which I am happy about. Also, I am happy that you had good results on the x-rays! That is so encouraging. I need to remember to work up to long walks also, because when I have good days I want to walk and walk and walk. Then at the end of the day, my hips really hurt.
    I hope the bite wound is feeling better today and that you enjoy this wonderful Sunday!


  5. Wow – What a day you had! I’ve been having some b/p problems too on Arava and Humira, but have no idea which drug is doing it. I’m inclined to think it’s the Hurmira. I never start 2 new drugs at the same time anymore, can’t pick apart the side effects. But started the Arava first and didn’t seem to have any problems.

    I had a good 6 month run on Plaquenil about 3 years ago, but then it just pooped out. If you’re down to mild (which is always subjective) you might like it. I didn’t have any weird side effects from it.

    Glad you got an answer on your hips, even though it’s another concern. I’ve had the needle so many times. If that’s what happens, I’ll be there to virtually hold your hand and remind you to breathe regularly while getting the injection. I found out that many times I held my breath in anticipation and it just made it worse.

    Wishing you a delightful day.


  6. Wren, thanks for sharing! Suggestion… have hand doc check your b/p – if it’s still normal, you can probably just leave a message re: what happened with your primary and not actually go see her… save yourself some time and frustration.

    Question… I have PA, not RA, but I thought it took Plaquenil a good long time to become fully effective (like 3 years!) — if you have time would you share what your research has told you.

    Last… I’ve had those steroid shots in my hips and back — I won’t tell you they don’t hurt, but I will tell you that every single time I’ve had them, I’ve walked out feeling like a completely different person! If you do have to have them, I hope they work as well for you as they did for me!

    Have a beautiful day!


  7. Wren: Not bored is right! Delighted the hand is doing well, sorry to hear about your hip situation. I hate hip cortisone shots, but when they work, they’re marvelous. Hopefully you can avoid them and things will calm down on their own. And thank you, thank you for sending us the link to Seated View. I check in there occasionally, but hadn’t read this post. All the best, Carla


  8. As I read this post it seems you had more good news to share than bad. Isn’t that great!! Your BP must have been extremely high, so glad your followed their advice and went to ER. I wish I could go to your rheumatologist, seems the caring type.

    So what fun and excitement do you have planned for the week?


  9. Glad to hear that you hand is doing better!

    On a rather random question, why do you have to avoid as much sugar as possible?


  10. Appolgies for the comment spam, but I just a research moment and have come across several very interesting (at least to me) scientific articles on RA that surprisingly relate to my work in bone marrow transplant. Since I can get a hold of them from work, I was wondering if you would like a copy?


    • EMT GP: Comment spam? Nooooo. Not from you!

      My PCP at the VA med center is an oldish hippie. Seriously. That said, she’s also a good doc who combines both conventional medicine with vitamins and some herbal remedies. A natural type who lives what she preaches (as you can imagine, a lot of the older vets think she’s a bit loopy). But I don’t. I like her. Anyway, she said that infection in the body feeds and grows on sugar; I have an infection, so it’s best not to consume sugar while fighting it. (Naturally-occurring sugar in fruit, in moderation, I presume is OK.) Since I’m being mindful about my blood sugar levels (was pre-diabetic a year ago, but have excellent glucose levels now) and am working hard to lose more weight, slowly, striking sweets off my list of foods is pretty easy. 😉 I’m easy with it, though perversely, I’ve had M&M fantasies lately. Figures.

      I’d love to read those research articles. Always looking to learn. You can send them to me via email, if you’d like. And thank you!


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