December 13, 2017

cropped-24237604_225x225Finally, I am able to share some great news with you, my readers.  I have found a new family doctor; Dr. Miraculum (Latin for a miracle).  I saw Dr. Miraculum for the first time on December 8th.   He showed me that he has the ability to listen carefully and the ability to care.  What a wonderful combination!  What a huge weight off of my shoulders.

Since I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Cirrhosis of the Liver I have had blood work and an ultrasound done every six months.  I had an ultrasound done yesterday and now am waiting for the results.   It is a worry until the result is in.  I always wonder if this will be the six months check up that has a nasty result.

My Christmas shopping is almost done.  Spent Tuesday afternoon at the mall and was able to find all but three items on my list.  Our Christmas will be very low key again this year.  Grandson will be spending Christmas Eve with us and then the three of us will drive into Winnipeg to spend Christmas Day with our daughter and her partner.  Our daughter does the most amazing Christmas dinner.  The only problem is knowing when tobathroomscale quit eating.

My project for today is to finish decorating my Christmas tree.   Decorating the rest of the house will depend on my energy levels.  I remembered to order 10 dozen meat Piroshki from this wonderful older lady.  They are absolutely delicious and my grandson loves to find several dozen in the freezer with his name on the bags.

This will be the end of my epistle for today.  Much too do and not enough time.

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November 27, 2017

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A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends.  Now is the time when many folks begin to decorate for Christmas.  Even though the weather has played havoc with my pain and mobility, I have, in the last two weeks, managed to accomplish a number of items on my to-do list.  Completing tasks on this list fills me with joy.  The outside lights have been put up; the urns filled with the appropriate decorations; the lights and garland have been added to the two antique sleds, and the Christmas wreath is hanging on the front door.  The tree with lights permanently attached is up.  There is enough time between now and Christmas for me to decorate the tree at a pace that works for me.  The snowman and deer will have to wait until there is more snow on the ground.  Each Christmas I like to add a few new items to my decoration collection.  This year I bought two of the twig trees with lights for my front porch.

Another task completed yesterday was the ironing.  It has probably been six months since the last time I picked up an iron.  Ironing is not one of my favourite pastimes and as always I later suffer.  Later that evening, I had a horrendous bout of cramps in my hands and arms.

This blog is filled with much complaining.  It is the only place that I can express how I feel without being made to feel a fool.  It is hard for people to “get it”.  We are sick, we may have to use a cane, we may have to use designated parking and we may occasionally moan and groan when we are having a bad day.  Even in the worst days, if I look hard enough, I can find something to be thankful for.

The Monday evening chats will begin again next week, December 4th.  The chat room is located at The Chat Room    Chats will begin at 7:00 P.M.  If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease and would like to chat with others suffering from the same symptoms join us Monday evening.

 

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November 22, 2017

It is getting closer to the end of November however the weather cannot make up its mind what to do.  This coming Friday the temperature is supposed to be plus 5 C.  When the temperature dips below freezing on Friday night the roads will be a nightmare.  Today’s weather forecast calls for a few flurries ending this afternoon then clearing.  Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this afternoon. High minus 7.  With these type of weather changes no wonder my body feels like it has been to hell in a handbasket.

My parents would be celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary today. They were married on November 22nd, 1942. They met on a blind date in July 1942 and were married six months later. My dad was a Conscientious Objector and ten days after their wedding they were sent to Miniki, Ontario to a lumber camp. Upon arrival at the camp, they had to make their living quarters livable. Mom said when they woke up in the mornings that winter their pillows were usually frozen to the wall. My mom passed away December 2nd, 2006. Ten days before, after drifting in and out of consciousness for days she woke early on November 22nd and called her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to her bedside. She spent quality time with each of us. That morning she informed my dad that he had to change out of the shirt he was wearing and put on good clothes because it was their 64th wedding anniversary and they would have a party all day long. And we did. It was a day that left us with the most wonderful and precious memories. Sadly the next morning, November 23rd mom drifted back into unconsciousness and remained that way until she passed. But November 22nd, 2006 will always be remembered as an incredibly special day when God gave us one more day with our precious mom.

My husband, believing that he was helping me find a new family doctor, made the mistake of calling Doctor Find Manitoba.  My last two family doctors have quit their medical practices.  When No Name quit I felt lucky because I found a new family doctor in a relatively short time.  To my chagrin, this doctor after a few years also quit practicing.  So just to clear things up I am not doctor shopping with all its negative connotations.  I am desperate to find a new family doctor who can take care of my medical issues without putting me through hell.

I received a call from Numskull at Doctor Find this morning around 11:15 AM.  She identified herself as a registered nurse from Doctor Find who had trained residents during her career as an RN.  In her case, I wonder if the RN title really refers to Registered Nurse or if it refers to Registered Numskull?  She led me to believe she was “da boss”.  Here in point form are many of the statements she made to me regarding my foolish desire to find an appropriate family doctor.  Of course, I was immediately looked at as a problem old lady since I did not volunteer to bow to and worship the one doctor I had seen since I became doctorless.

Living in rural community and being almost 70 years old Numskull informed me that she would not find me a doctor in Winnipeg.  When I mentioned that we would eventually probably move to Winnipeg she told me to call her back when that had been accomplished and she would find me a doctor in Winnipeg.  At the end of our telephone conversation, she again made it very clear that she would not find me a family doctor in Winnipeg at this time.  She again reiterated that at my age of almost 70 it was not in my best interest to have to drive all the way to Winnipeg when I needed medical attention.  She went on to say that I could expect all kinds of illness to crop up and of course I was a scared old lady so I needed to stay within my rural community.

Not agreeing with a new family doctor about his choice of treatments regarding thyroid medication and pain medication was no reason to find a new family doctor.  I would have to adjust to the new way of doing things and eventually learn to get along with Dr. Sadist.  No family doctor in Manitoba would give me a prescription for pain medication and if I wanted to remain on my thyroid medication and not do what Dr. Sadist recommended I would have to see an endocrinologist.

What concerned me at the start of our conversation or I should say mostly one-sided conversion since it was her side that did all the talking, was that she seemed to know way too much about my medical history.  I never gave anyone at Doctor Find the permission to delve into my medical records.

When I mentioned to her that the first time I made an appointment with Dr. Sadist in fall it was because at that time I had been suffering from restless leg syndrome for over two weeks.   Dr. Sadist informed me that we would not discuss the restless leg issue because this was my first appointment with him so this would be a meet and greet appointment   Numskull informed me that this was the way the new family doctors did things.  The first appointment always had to be a meet and greet.  Dr. Sadist still has not addressed my restless leg problem.

I mentioned that Dr. Sadist had railed against the doctors in the town where he had worked before coming to my town.  He claimed they were horrible because they prescribed so many opioids and benzodiazepines that the town had a real problem.  I told her that Dr. Sadist had told me that he had been told that he would not have that problem in the town I am living in.  To his dismay, he now knew that all the affluent people in my town were addicted to pain medications.  He told me this was the fault of the old doctors at the clinic who would have to change or get into trouble.  Numskull’s response to this was that the young family doctors were much better trained than the old ones.

Numskull informed me that the pain clinic would not recommend or prescribe opioids anymore.  I told her I had been at the pain clinic and they were okay with the medications I was taking.

I told her that Dr. Sadist insisted on messing with my thyroid meds.  He had insisted that I stop taking one of the medications immediately.  I told her that I was not prepared to do that since it had taken my former family doctors years to get my TSH number stable.   She told me that I would have to ask Dr. Sadist if I could see an endocrinologist about my TSH.  In a very condescending way, Numskull then asked me if I was aware of my thyroid numbers (She meant TSH).  I said, of course, I was, that I was very informed when it came to thyroid issues.  I told her I had written many articles about thyroid issues.  (As a side, I had a website and a message board for many years.  My message board had a membership of over 900 people.   Most of my 900 plus members had medical issues after ingesting Radio Active Iodine, cheap way of treating Graves Disease.)

Numskull kept telling me that she could understand that I was scared and upset.  At my age, it would be frightening to have to change my medications.  What does all this have to do with my age?  She has no right to made such judgments about me.  Of course when I asked her what I as an almost 70-year-old woman was to do; just suffer until I finally died 10 to 15 years from now she refused to acknowledge my question.   She, of course, refused to acknowledge any of my questions she did not feel like answering.  Her pat comment was, “Oh I know you are a very scared old lady”.

She asked me if I knew why doctors could no longer prescribe opioids? I said it was because young people were killing themselves with opioid abuse.  However, I was nearly 70 years old with a record of non-abuse and it was not fair that I was being punished for the abuse perpetrated by others.

Numskull then went on to give me examples of medical procedures that had changed in the last few years, things like pap smears were no longer done as frequently and that mammograms were not the best way of checking for breast cancer.  She started to give me some long-winded explanation.  I interrupted her and told her that I knew why.  Some of the technicians I had dealt with had told me why.  The government was trying to save money.  Numskull took offense at this and informed me that a woman did not need a pap smear if she had never had more than one sexual partner.  She told me that cervical cancer was caused only by HPV or the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease.  She also stated that mammograms were virtually useless.  She told me that young women’s breasts were too dense to see anything worthwhile and the older women were no longer at a great risk.

This old almost 70-year-old woman is going to lie down and stop thinking for the rest of the day.  Sometimes it is best we just clear our minds and forget about the nasty business of life.

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November 5, 2017

LuellatwoOn November 2nd I had a second appointment with my new family doctor.  For the last three years, I had been fortunate to be under the care of Dr. Newbie, a caring, thoughtful, and thorough woman.  She was compassionate and understood the needs of a nearly 70-year-old woman.  Sadly she decided to give up her practice and move on.  She assured me that before she left she would find me a new family doctor; one who would be willing to continue her treatment plan.

I made my first appointment with Dr. Sanctimonious the Sadist in October.  I was having terrible problems at night with Restless Leg Syndrome.  Instead of allowing me to talk about medical issues, Dr. Sanctimonious the Sadist informed me that this was a “getting to know each other” appointment.   Even though I left without discussing my Restless Leg Syndrome I felt that the appointment had gone quite well.

You can imagine my shock and surprise when the November 2nd appointment “went to hell in a handbasket” in record time.  I told Dr.  Snctimonioaus the Sadist that I needed my usual 6 months of repeats on my pain medication.  His answer while sporting his sanctimonious smile was that he did not believe in pain medications; that there were other much better ways of controlling pain.  When I asked for an example he quickly changed the subject.   He proceeded to tell me that the old doctors at the clinic were making a terrible mistake in prescribing pain medications and that they would be held responsible and accountable one day soon.  He went on to tell me with his hand placed over his heart for added drama that if he continued to prescribe my regular regime of pain medications I would surely die.  My pain medication prescription has remained the same for many years and I can tell you that I am “not knockin on Heaven’s door” anytime soon.  I refused to argue with the idiot.  I did ask Dr. Sadist how I, a woman only 4 months shy of her 70th birthday was supposed to deal with chronic, debilitating pain?  He had no answer.

After Dr.  Sanctimonious the Sadist finally stopped his tirade about opioids he started in on my thyroid medications.  I take Synthroid 200 mcg. and Cytomel 25 mcg.  It has taken years to get the right balance.  My TSH is finally stable at .06.  For me, that is the right number.  According to Dr. Sadist, if he let me continue with the Cytomel he would have my death on his conscience.  He told me to quit the Cytomel immediately and go for another blood test in two weeks.  If I listen to this Dr. Sanctimonious the Sadist I will probably die.  It is dangerous to just quit taking Cytomel.  It has to be done carefully under a doctor’s supervision.  When Dr. Sadist refuses to give me repeats for my pain medication I wonder how long I will be able to tolerate the at times horrendous pain without resorting to a nasty solution?

Dr. Sanctimonious the Sadist also told me that when he was hired to come to the town I live in he was told that there was very little drug addiction going on here.  He told me that he had since discovered that the town was rife with affluent people abusing prescription drugs.  He again reiterated how the old doctors in the clinic would be held accountable for all the opioids they prescribed to the affluent people in town.  The way he said it, I got the distinct impression that he had a hate on for affluent people.

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October 31, 2017

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Wishing all the Trick-or-treaters a happy and safe Halloween.  May your pillowcases, buckets, bags or carryalls be filled with all kinds of Halloween goodies.  The picture on the left was taken a number of years ago.  My husband, grandson and I would decorate the yard and dress up for Halloween.  The three of us have great memories of those times.  The grandson is now too old for trick or treating and Nana and Papa no longer have the energy to decorate the front yard.

We made a trip to Winnipeg yesterday morning and experienced one of those first days of winter when sections of the highway are covered in ice and other sections covered in a mixture of sleet and rain.  Not fun driving conditions.  Peter had a meeting to attend in Winnipeg and I took the opportunity to spend the morning with my daughter.  Thankfully by the time we left Winnipeg the highway was no longer a problem.

I received a phone call last week Friday informing me that my family doctor wanted to see me November 2nd to discuss the results of my latest round of blood tests.  Of course, this type of phone call always worries me; hopefully, the results will be close enough to normal so not to cause more health concerns.   Also received a notice last week that my six-month ultrasound is scheduled for December 13th.

A Reminder:  Weekly chats are scheduled on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM CDT.  If you are dealing with an Autoimmune Disease or Diseases please feel free to join our chat.  You will usually find participants in the chat room who are dealing with similar issues. The chat room URL is  Autoimmune Diseases Chat.

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October 28, 2017

LuellatwoOctober has arrived and with it our first snowfall of the season.  Thursday, October 26th began with rain in the early morning which thanks to the Alberta Clipper passing through led to snow and blowing snow by the afternoon.   Sections of the Trans Canada Highway were closed due to icy road conditions.

The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday always falls on the second Monday in October.  We had planned to spend Thanksgiving Monday in Winnipeg with our daughter, her partner, and our grandson.  The saying “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, is adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns.  To say that our Thanksgiving plans went awry is an understatement.  Peter usually walked 3 – 4 miles every day with any problems.  The Monday before Thanksgiving he walked 3 1/2 miles.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week he was only able to walk 2 -3 blocks.  On Friday I suggested that he go to the Walk-in Clinic or Emergency.  He did try the Walk-in Clinic only to be told that they were booked up until closing time at midnight.  He woke up Saturday morning and the shortness of breath, pain in the middle of his chest and pain in his forearms made it difficult for him to walk as far as the bedroom door.  A short time later he began to perspire with sweat running down his face.  Needless to say, we headed out to Emergency at the local hospital which happens to be five blocks from our home.  Peter was seen to as soon as we arrived; had the appropriate tests done and was given medication to help ease the symptoms.   I had to go home to get Peter’s medications.  When I returned to the hospital I was told that the results from blood work showed that my husband had experienced a heart attack.  He would have to remain in hospital to prepare for an angiogram and possible stent placement.

Our Thanksgiving plans changed.  On Monday, Natasha, her partner, and our grandson brought the Thanksgiving meal to our house.  She was able to bring her dad a piece of her amazing pumpkin pie.  We sure missed him at our dinner but were so very very thankful that he was going to be okay.  Life can literally change in an instant.

Peter stayed in the local hospital until Friday at which time he was transferred to the Ste. Boniface hospital in Winnipeg for his angiogram.  The angiogram showed that one of his arteries was 90% occluded.  He received two stents.  Apparently, the medical staff calls the artery that was occluded the “widow maker”.  Peter was transferred back to the local hospital on Saturday morning after spending one night at Ste. Boniface.  Saturday evening he was discharged home from the local hospital.

Peter celebrated his 71st birthday on October 24th.  We spent a quiet evening at home sharing a Boston Pizza spaghetti and meatball dinner and watching “Britain has Talent” and “America has Talent”.

This Thanksgiving holiday we as a family had much to be thankful for.  Peter survived his heart attack with minimal damage and is looking forward to a future of continued good health.  My family doctor gave up her practice here in Steinbach and I am thankful that before she left she made sure that I had a new family doctor.  Finding a family doctor in our community is about as common as pulling chickens’ teeth.

DAd picture for blogAMy dad celebrated his birthday on October 10th and he would have been 98 years old this October.  He passed away in June 2010 and I miss him every day.

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September 28, 2017

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Fall has arrived bringing with it colder temperatures and rain.   A sure sign of fall is the gathering of geese at the museum pond.  It has been reported that the geese have begun their journey south at least two weeks earlier than normal.

These past two weeks have been a nightmare.  For some reason I was suddenly plagued by Restless Leg Syndrome; something you would not wish on your worst enemy.  This nasty syndrome had caused me grief a number of years ago but had gone away after taking a medication called Serc.

According to Mayo Clinic, restless leg syndrome is a condition that makes legs feel highly uncomfortable, making affected people want to get up and move around, which only temporarily relieves the feeling of restlessness in the legs. RLS can start at any age.  The specific causes of restless leg syndrome are often unclear, but it is believed to be linked to imbalances of the brain chemicals that are responsible for balanced muscle movement. Restless leg syndrome may also be linked to pregnancy and kidney failure. Mayo Clinic also explains that symptoms of restless leg syndrome typically occur in the lower legs and feet. Symptoms include tingling, throbbing and burning sensations that are often relieved by muscle movement. Restless leg syndrome symptoms also tend to be more prevalent during the evening hours.  Women are affected by RLS more often than men. Doctors do not know what causes RLS in most cases, but genes are thought to be an influence.  Approximately half of the people diagnosed with RLS have a family member with the condition. Some treatments for the condition include having regular sleeping patterns, establishing a consistent exercise regimen, leg massages, and hot baths. Medications may be helpful for RLS, but the same drug does not work for everyone.

Desperate for relief I tried every suggestion given by the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.  Nothing helped.   We had been planning to meet my cousin Morley and his wife Ann for supper this past Tuesday.  By the time 3:00 PM arrived I was a nervous wreck.  How could I possibly go out for supper when my legs had a life of their own.  I could just see myself sitting down in the restaurant only to have my leg begin the bizarre dance that is Restless Leg Syndrome.  (I should mention that RLS attacks my legs one leg at a time.  As soon as one leg calms down the other leg begins its diabolical dance.)

Thankfully just before 4:00 PM with only three hours left before we were going to meet Morley and Ann my legs decided to give me a break and return to normal.   Oh, what a blessed relief.   As always we had a very enjoyable evening with Morley and Ann.

As many of you know I have been busy scanning my slides (just over 6000) into my computer.  Once that project was completed I loaded my videos into my computer.  My other project has been to collect picture frames.  I collect mostly wooden frames; which are so much easier to repair than plastic or metal frames.   My friend Pat, the owner of Presenting Art, has once again done an amazing job of re-framing, re-matting, and putting the finishing touches on 14 pictures.  My family keeps telling me that I am running out of wall space but so far I have always found another spot that is perfect for pictures.  Another advantage of having so many pictures is the fact that they hide any blemishes on the walls.   As I tell my family there is a method to my madness.

Here is a short video that I recorded almost 30 years ago.  It brings back a lot of memories.

 

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