The Whirlwinds of May

Once again, it’s been forever (OK, it just seems like forever) since I’ve checked in here at RheumaBlog. My excuse? The month of May has been a little … busy.

Mom put her condo on the market last July (hard to believe it was that long ago! We’ve been living in “show” mode ever since) and, after many mini-flurries, then major flurries, then no flurries at all of interest, it finally sold. Just last week. There have been new and overwhelming flurries of real estate phone calls, questions, and paperwork ever since.

And then there was the usual monthly line-up: doctor appointments and lab tests and follow-up appointments with Mom’s primary care doc, her cardiologist, her gastroenterologist, and her urologist. The results so far? Mom’s age is taking its normal toll on her body and her heart, which is slowly, naturally wearing down. Smoking for 40 years and breathing for 82 have also weakened her lungs, but not nearly like you’d expect. She has a twitchy, unhappy tummy (nothing new). She’s prone to infections in her waterworks, like most elders.  But overall, “you’re doing great compared with most people your age I see.” This was the verdict given  Mom  recently by her nurse practitioner, a smart, super-competent, smiling, middle-aged woman Mom likes far more than her tiny, blonde, teen-aged primary care doctor, who still has (I swear!) baby fat and braces on her teeth.

Also, this month we took Kitty-Kitty to the vet for her rabies vaccine and some matted fur issues and discovered some amazing things about her innards (more on that another time). I spent a week away, caring for my

"Mrs. Beasley," the doll that 6-year-old Buffy carried everywhere on the 70s sitcom "Family Affair."

“Mrs. Beasley,” the doll that 6-year-old Buffy carried everywhere on the 70s sitcom “Family Affair.”

disabled uncle while my aunt visited a friend in Washington state. I had the straight hair on the front and sides of my head permed to match the rheuma-med-side-effect curly hair on the back of my head. Now all my hair is curly. I look a bit like Mrs. Beasley (even the glasses) but I like it.

As all this was happening, I continued to enjoy a steady trickle of free-lance work. It filled up the time I had left over from daily house re-cleaning and neatening for possible showing, Mom-caring-for, and the contemplation of and preparation for putting colored pencils to paper in an effort to scratch my inner “you must make art!” itch. More on that another time, too.

Then, last week, my uncle from Washington, D.C. arrived for a five-day whirlwind visit (he’s a whirlwind of the first order, just like my mom was before advancing age finally forced her to be satisfied with intermittent but furious gusts). Three days later, my sister from New Mexico (another, little-er whirlwind) arrived for a seven-day visit. Thus began casino jaunts, trips out for restaurant meals, a dinner party, and shopping trips. After uncle left, we had a much-needed, full day of rest.

And then we started looking at apartments to move into down in Sacramento. My sister flew back to Santa Fe yesterday.

Today, for the first time this week I have some time to work on a couple of new free-lance articles. The deadline is EOB tomorrow. Mom wants to go see some more apartments and start the exhausting process of getting-rid-of in earnest, as moving her into an apartment will mean some seriously major downsizing. But I can’t help her until my own work is done—I need to have some income. We’ll have to arrange some sort of schedule so that both of us are able to meet our responsibilities.

Finally, there’s my old rheuma-dragon. Since I posted last time with my good news, he’s become even more active. He gnaws, hard, almost ceaselessly on my hands, and he’s starting in on my feet. Yesterday he chewed on my right shoulder for most of the day. None of this is serious pain. I’d classify it as a 5-6 on the ubiquitous pain scale, but it’s bothersome. I fear it doesn’t bode well.

Along with the nagging pain, I’ve had many more of those RA fatigue and brain-fog days. They’re new symptoms for me. Please excuse me, but I really frigging hate both. Unlike my relatives, I’m not and have never been a high-energy whirlwind. My usual pace is relaxed and sauntering. But it’s always worked just fine for me (and driven my mom and sister nuts. Tough s—t, as they say). This fatigue, though, is killer. It slows me way past my usual no-hurry pace, though so far I think I’ve been able to cover it. And I know: the secret to coping with it is pacing myself. But I’m a newbie. I’ve never had to consciously pace myself because I already did, naturally. I’ll learn, I expect.

I just wonder how I pace myself when I must help mom prepare to move within the next six weeks, keep up my freelance work, and do all the other, daily chores, etc. that make up each and every day. My sister will return around the actual moving date to help, thank the gods, but in the meantime gang, I’m on my own.

And I’m worried. It was encouraging, last time I saw my rheumy, to see an improvement in my RA blood tests as a result of his fiddling with my meds, but as usual, the lab test results don’t seem to actually reflect my reality. Too bad.

Well, enough carping. Like Mom, overall I’m doing pretty well. I’ll just keep that uppermost in my mind as we move into the chaos that June promises to bring.

4 thoughts on “The Whirlwinds of May

  1. Wow, reading about your month has tired me out :). I have been battling the fatigue for several weeks and usually, I’m not that bothered by it, but for some reason it’s hanging around like an ocean mist (although not as pleasant). I am sorry to hear your dragon is not backing down – here’s hoping you can banish him soon and get back to feeling better.Hugs.


  2. Quite a hectic life you lead there. Maybe this has got the dragon to act up? I usually find a flare up comes during or after an over-busy time/event. Also, many autoimmune diseases do not reflect flare ups automatically in regular blood tests. I have had picture book symptoms, high fever and whatever and the lab results of a young athlete. Listen to your body and when you need a rest, take it. Look after yourself, I am sure your mum will appreciate this in the long run. Good luck with all the moving and changes, and keeping fingers crossed that you will feel less pain soon.


  3. OMG. I worry when I don’t see posts from online friends and am always delighted (as I am now) that it’s been because they’ve been busy. Although it does sound like that nasty dragon has been nibbling around. That’s very discouraging and, like you, was pleased per your earlier post that you had dodged the needle. Although I’m one of those people who has had no noticeable side effects from the biologics (except for the occasional injection-site irritation). Just try to pace yourself as much as you can. (I was going to mention that my leflunomide prescription also turned my hair curly — but only in the back. I went the other way, I straightened mine. Couldn’t figure out how to deal with curly hair after a lifetime of straight.) Be good to yourself.


  4. My goodness, Wren, just reading this made me tired! I can imagine how you feel. And I know about the constant pain and brain fog. I lived like that for several years. Well, existed is more like it. Glad your sale went through, but now comes the hard work of moving into a smaller place and deciding what goes and what stays. I hope what does go is the dragon!


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