davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 Physio appointment today, which means accessing their building via the automatic door in the basement, the outward opening one at the top of a ramp. This is great when the automatic opening is working, when the automatic opening isn't working, not so great. I did manage it though.

(Physio continues to be 'well, frozen shoulders are difficult', we spent most of it with my arm parked up against it's current hard limits trying to figure out a) where they are right now, b) what we can do about them, this isn't comfortable (literal tears in eyes stufff) and he brought up cortisone injections, which I guess is physio code for 'I'm not sure this is working', so keep up with the exercises, see him again on the 17th, and we''ll decide then what to say to my consultant when I see him on the 23rd.)

So, anyway, it was reasonably sunny when I got home and I thought I'd try some wheelies on the kerb at the edge of the drive. I can't reliably do it every time, or even most of the time, but I can eventually wheelie the front castors onto the full height kerb. The problem is I'm not physically strong enough to do anything about it once I'm there - though I have successfully pushed up less than full height kerbs - it must be the angle.

So having got the castors onto the kerb I then have to back off again, and I'm not certain what happened the last time, but it involved my legs flailing overhead and  me being ejected ass-over-teakettle out the back of the chair. I'm okay, the only thing bruised is my dignity (it turns out my dignity is just to the left of my sacro-iliac joint), and the chair is okay but for a few scratches. Having got that far over the simplest way out was to complete the backward roll to end up sitting legs-crossed on the drive, muttering to myself.

And the irony is that two of my neighbours were having a conversation 20m away and neither of them noticed. Next door neighbour actually said 'Hi, David' after I stood up, but I'm not sure he noticed the wheelchair even though he was looking directly at it!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
... with lizard brain insisting that I have an appointment with shoulder specialist on the 23rd, which wouldn't be a problem but for the fact I haven't seen the appointment letter since it arrived weeks ago.

Finally found it (after finding every other damned appointment I've had this year, I really need to re-institute an active NHS folder), and lizard brain is right, the one thing it forgot is that that's the 23rd of April, not March. (Which would explain why other half of brain was insistent appointment was on a Thursday).

Sigh, and so to bed. 
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
After all that muttering and whingeing about the weight of my chair, I drove into town yesterday and stopped at a traffic light next to someone using a lay-by to load a manual chair into the back of their car. It was a lightweight manual chair, and to completely take the piss at what I'm putting up with, he was holding it in one hand at arms length while he took the wheels off..... I tried later, and even with my stronger arm I can't quite lift the chair off the ground one-handed, never mind hold it at arms length!

And I was so busy muttering to myself about the state of the pavements - yes, the cobbles look very picturesque, but did you have to cobble <i>every</i> damned entrance that crosses the pavement? - that I rolled straight past where I was going and only realised a hundred yards further on! *headdesk*

I also started the prescribed physio exercises for my shoulder yesterday, and it's all very well saying 'don't push it so far that it hurts', but if the first indication that it hurts is when you shriek in pain then the boundaries are going to take some working out. Given the way my shoulders felt this morning, I opted for crutches for my trip into town.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Today's event, first medical appointment in the chair. Which went okay-ish, though I can't help thinking that if you have to put a sign on the front of your building saying 'Physio patients, not this one, you want the one at the other side of the business park' then you probably want better directions in your letters.

Anyway, I found the right building in the end. complete with wheelchair access through the bowels of the underground car park. Fortunately relatively well thought out - 'Oh shit, outward opening door at the top of a ramp' turned out to have automatic opening (though of course you lose all your momentum waiting for it to open).  OTOH the lift was only just big enough for my chair, I can see larger powerchairs having issues.

The physio wasn't thrown that I was using a chair, which was just the reaction I wanted. I did try trolling the situation wrt wheelchair assessments and the weight etc of the chair during the explanation of what was going on in the hope that he would take the bait and say 'that chair's clearly inappropriate'; but unfortunately what he actually said was 'I don't know a lot about wheelchairs' and 'we leave that to Wheelchair Services' :(

Treatment-wise he agrees that I have impingement syndrome. Unfortunately he says I've also got a frozen shoulder as a result, and he can't treat the impingement syndrome until he's treated the frozen shoulder. *headdesk* So I've got a bunch of exercises for working on range of motion to be getting on with and another appointment next Friday.

There did seem to be a disturbing undertone of 'I'm only here to treat one thing, so if I treat the frozen shoulder I won't have to treat the impingement syndrome'. That might be a somewhat harsh interpretation, but I'm really not sure it's wrong. If it turns out to be the case, then I think it's fair to say someone is going to be complained at!

I went shopping at Asda* post-physio (and really overdid amount of food you can squeeze into one basket sitting on your knee). Treatment at the checkouts was, ahem, interesting.

I got to the tills to find the wide aisle was closed (which makes two-for-two for trips to Asda in the chair), even though about a dozen other aisles were open. Picked another aisle and the lady running the till calls up from the customer she's serving that 'she's open'.
I'm sorry, what? Finally figured out that she meant someone had just opened up the next aisle (not the wide one), which I couldn't see from that height.

So I swap aisles, only to find the chair physically won't fit through that aisle (it did fit through one last time, but this one was clearly subtly narrower). At which point the till-ladies decide among themselves that they're summoning a supervisor to sort it out and I should go down to the wide aisle. Why the aisle-opening one couldn't simply open the wide aisle herself I don't know. Eventually the supervisor appears, who looks about 20. But he's male, so he's a supervisor.

Up until that point I'd been reasonably happy that people were trying to help even if they weren't being particularly competent at it. And that's when he really put his foot in his mouth. "Sorry for the delay," he says, "we haven't got the personnel to man this one.'

'But you've got the staff to man a dozen other aisles?'

'Er'.

Let's just say I firmly impressed on him the need for manning the access aisle first, last and always! Maybe he'll think before making stupid comments again!

* my nearest superstore, Wallmart owned, for American readers
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
So into Rochester for my usual Saturday lunch date, though solo, sadly, as one of my friends is in India and the other two just got back from a six week cruise from Portsmouth to Manaus and back (yes, the Manaus in the middle of the Amazon, yes I am somewhat envious). I took the chair again, and cobbles are still the bane of my existence.

Having done it once I did manage to find a route onto that pavement with the foot-high kerb so I wasn't reduced to wheeling along the road again, however the only way to avoid the kerb involves, you guessed it, going over a set of cobbles. I'd barely gotten ten yards from the car when I had the first call of 'Do you need help?' Admittedly I had stalled, but that was purely while I got myself arranged to bump up my first kerb with a semi-wheelie (yay me!). All told I think I had 5 offers of help in the 700 metres or so to the restaurant and back, including one from the proverbial little old man who must have been in his 70s at least, headed in entirely the opposite direction, who enquired if I needed 'a push up the hill'. Wheelie friends tell me this doesn't mean I was looking particularly incapable, it's just part of life in a wheelchair - even friends with powerchairs get asked if they need a push!

I made it to the restaurant without incident, but of course the doorway is a step up, opening onto two more (and the rear entrance is worse), so it was a case of get out of the chair, semi-collapse it to fit through the door, and drag it in behind me. And of course there was someone insistant on helping, and then on letting me past him, even though I wasn't going past him, I was heading off to the side - I can see now how the proverbial VI person being dragged involuntarily across the street happens.

Back to the car was mostly a repeat, though actually wheeling along  the road of the High Street (pedestrianised Saturdays only) turns out to be a hell of a lot easier than wheeling along the footpath. And if I missed my cruising friends I did bump into their son and his family, so that's the first time meeting someone I know in the chair taken care of. I got right back to that set of cobbles near the car without running into anything I couldn't manage, including several more instances of bouncing the chair up kerbs (though the slope outside the front of the cathedral nearly killed me). And then I grounded out in a gutter (a deep, old-fashioned one with sloped sides), with the left wheel only touching in a couple of spots and insufficient traction to get out. Another shouted offer of help, but I'd gotten it myself by them, by sticking my foot down and giving myself a good heave, and that was that.

Realistically I need to change where I'm parking, but I need to renew my Blue Badge to park any closer to the high streeet (8 week delay on that, and I need to get passport style pics first), and even then parking is still a nightmare, particularly on Saturday, I think I can count the number of times I've successfully found a disabled bay on a Saturday on the fingers of two hands. Pushing is still really hard work, but showing some improvement. I think we're at the intersection of inappropriate chair, insufficient upper body strength, and inept shoulder joints. I'll figure out a plan of attack when I talk to the physio on Thursday.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Just back from my outpatients appointment and apparently I have Impingement Syndrome to add to my list, or in other words the rotator cuff in my right shoulder is being irritated when I move my arm. So all the bendies who said 'it's your rotator cuff' were right, but I haven't actually torn it so much as rubbed it the wrong way. Apparently it's very common in hypermobile types.

The good news is I finally found an orthopod at Medway who accepts I'm hypermobile (and I didn't even have to do the foot on forehead party trick to convince him). And because he accepted that, he treated me as knowing what I was talking about when I said the shoulder had subluxed several times. He offered to do a cortisone injection on the spot, but given that it's not as severe as it was several months ago we decided to try physio first and revisit it in 3 months.

The appointment was for 11AM, so I was turning into the hospital car park at 10:50, at which point my phone pinged it had a new text. I left that to check until I had sat down in the very full ortho outpatients area, and when I looked it was a confirmation for my 11:50AM appointment. *Headdesk*.  Fortunately it was the text that was wrong, not my appointment time, and I was seen and on my way home by 10 past.

Glad I concluded it was different to the frozen shoulder I had on the other side three or four years back and not to risk trying the physio I got for that. We'll see what physio have to say when I see them, but I don't know what the physio waiting list is like, or even where I'll get it - the hospital booking system was down so everything was being done by hand and 'you'll get the appointment in the post'.
 



davidgillon: A foot, mine, in a camwalker brace (Boot)
So I was pottering about doing some tidying up and thinking to myself: 'I must stop in a minute and come up with a good example of the problems with my shoulder for the hospital appointment tomorrow'.

Then I tossed a sock onto the bed from about a foot away - cue bolt of pain coursing from shoulder to wrist, doubling me over, and the air turning blue for several minutes,

That'll do, I guess, but do be careful what you wish for!
davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)
Sometimes you start with the best of intentions, and then it all goes to hell.
 
So I saw my GP yesterday and it was the young, with-it one, rather than the elderly, baffled by her computer one. And everything went great, I got the referral for my shoulder issues that I wanted, I got the agreement we needed to try again with the wheelchair assessment, she checked my blood pressure which was okay (which considering stress etc is really good), and then said, 'Oh, and you've not had a blood test in a while, so here's the form, and it's a fasting test, so nothing after 7PM'. Oh, great.

So I got home, by which point it was gone 5PM, and, not actually having had anything to eat yet at that point - bad night, 4 hours sleep from 8AM til Midday, decided that if I wanted to do the blood test on Tuesday I'd better have something to eat right then. So I threw a pizza and some garlic bread in the oven,  and they were yummy, but given time to get organised, heat the oven etc I was pushing that 7PM deadline, and had to rush the meal, which shortly after manifested itself as indigestion.

And then I fell asleep, and slept until midnight. Now I'm not about to turn my nose up at 4 or 5 hours of clearly needed sleep, but sleeping on top of indigestion meant I woke up with not just indigestion, but indigestion and backache. This is a bad combination for me and rarely ends well. So I found my heat pad and a book, a couple of ibuprofen and half a bottle of wine and settled down to try and wait it out.

About 3AM it was clear the backache was gaining on me, so I abandoned the heat pad for a hot bath, and when the bath wasn't enough a pounding shower directed right at the knot of pain growing at the back of my ribs. And then the inevitable happened and I finished the night by vomiting everything up into the toilet.

That broke the back (ha!) of the pain, but it was pretty much 8AM before I got to sleep again, and I slept through until 2PM. So now it's 4PM Tuesday, I've had bugger all to eat since whenever I last ate on Sunday and I've got an 'I need to be fed, but gently' stomach ache (fortunately no back-ache) and I'd guess it's going to take a couple of meals before I'm back to normal. So I guess chances of the fasting blood test happening Wednesday are pretty slight.

Why is it never simple?

And I've still got the blood test and the competitive sport of 'find the vein' (I've literally had nurses queueing up for a try in the past) to look forward to.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
The situation with my father seems to have calmed down somewhat, with the rehab unit admitting he's gone far beyond where they were predicting - the latest I heard was he's progressed to walking up and down the corridor, with one physio helping his leg along and another following with wheelchair. But there's still the problem that they may push him out of the unit at some point in the near future, which is putting my sister under a lot of stress in trying to identify a suitable nursing home that we could access quickly, and not helped by individual members of the unit staff being complete arseholes to her. (Difficult to think of another term for someone who says 'there are people waiting for his bed you know', or 'my staff are scared to talk to you' when she's never said anything to the junior staff). Plus there's the finance side of things, complicated by it not being clear whether he's sufficiently well enough we can get away with a power of attorney, or whether we need to go through the Court of Protection. I had a very useful chat with a fellow bendy friend whose family has been through similar and, even though we could probably do the Lasting Power of Attorney stuff ourselves, that confirmed for me that we really should go through a solicitor because of the potential Court of Protection angle - doing CofP ourselves would cost a minimum of £500 just to submit the paperwork, and possibly well over £1000 if they decide a hearing is required, so it's worth getting the professional input/advice to get it right first time

I had to talk myself out of jumping on a train north on Tuesday, and went and booked myself a doctor's appointment instead. I'm going to be no help if I'm out of play from my own health issues. I've pretty much concluded the ongoing shoulder issues are a torn rotator cuff, which my bendy friend tells me is a bendy rite of passage - yeah, right, one I could do without, thank you very much! But she's right in saying I need to see about getting it treated, and to arrange things so that it isn't under the stress of me using crutches all the time - which is why I booked a double appointment with the GP so I can say 'shoulder's buggered, 1) I need it fixed, 2) I need a wheelchair so I have options, so 3) we need another try at a wheelchair assessment'.

And just to make everything even more perfect, I triggered a major backache while talking to my bendy friend on the phone - sat for too long, so, while the pain is now gone, I've had about 5 hours of sleep since Tuesday, and my body is at the 'why is the world spinning, make it stop!' stage of exhaustion. So I think I'm going to go and send off the short story I've been working on, and then I'm going to try and have a snooze.

And the way life's going at the minute. I'll no sooner get to sleep then the phone will go with {heavy foreign accent}'Hello, this is help department of Microsoft, there is problem with your computer and we need you to....'{/heavy foreign accent}
davidgillon: A foot, mine, in a camwalker brace (Boot)

My right shoulder has been getting steadily worse for the past few months (I've mentioned occasional subluxes, though that seems to have settled down), and I'm now having occasional days when it's becoming uncomfortable to use crutches (also days when left shoulder isn't happy either). Yesterday I lunged for a sliding plate (I missed it but it stopped just short of the edge anyway) and I pretty much screamed and collapsed, the pain in my shoulder was like being stabbed. (Oddly that pain's consistently about an inch below the shoulder proper and centred on the bone, so maybe attachment related, though other bits are manifesting around the joint and as high as the base of my neck). Slow motions are okay and range of movement is normal for me (or 'extreme' as my physio described it in terms of what's normal for others), but anything rapid, especially anything with a sudden stop, that's yell out loud painful.

So anyway I decided I had to make an appointment with my GP (I've been meaning to make one for weeks, but the whole sleep during the day thing hasn't been cooperating, fortunately I fixed that by not sleeping at all between Monday AM and 2AM Wednesday...), because not being able to use my crutches could get a wee bit limiting. Which of course ties back into really needing a wheelchair referral, which means I really need a double appointment because there's no sense talking about one without the other and it may well mean two separate referrals from one appointment, so probably fair to warn them in advance and negotiate the best arrangement with the secretary - which I do better face to face. So I got myself organised to get over to the GP's, putting off something else I was meant to be doing, only to find out when I got there that they were shut. I'd completely forgotten they've got new hours and now aren't open Friday afternoons (I'm not at all clear as to whether they still have a Friday PM surgery). Grrr....

So that was a wasted journey, but I took the opportunity to swing by the supermarket, so at least I'm not eating solely out of tins, and then I popped into PC World to look at laptops. Which of course meant that by the time I got home not only wasn't my shoulder entirely happy, but my ankle was aching.

Which raises an interesting possibility. I've been trying to figure out what started my shoulder having issues. I've been aware of it to some degree since certainly early August (before Worldcon, so it wasn't the chair hire there), possibly July. If I push it that far back, then that's practically back
to when I fell off the bin and sprained my ankle (don't ask why I was on the bin <g> ). I didn't think I'd hurt my shoulder, but it is the arm I landed on, and I made such a spectacular mess of my ankle I wouldn't necessarily have noticed, especially if it was only showing when I was putting a load on it and I was avoiding walking for obvious reasons.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Got myself upstairs by 2AM, which is better. Though on reflection it probably wasn't a good idea to go and check if the job I'd left running on the computer had finished, and then let myself be lured into fixing the issues that had thrown up. So in bed by 4AM-ish, read the first four chapters of Sophia MacDougall's 'Mars Evacuees' and probably asleep 5AM-ish. Slept through until 2:30PM, which clearly my body needed, but which probably isn't going to make getting to sleep any easier tonight.

Not having much time before dark, I go myself organised for the daily waddle much more quickly than yesterday, though it ended up being the same 3:30-4PMish given the late start. Quite a pleasant day really, though given the chilliness yesterday I made the sensible call to wear jeans rather than joggers. I think I'm back into the normal swing of things of doing this daily, though there's still a deterioration in my walking in the second 400m - that's been fairly consistent even when I was doing this daily during the summer so probably isn't going to go away.

Now to see if I can bribe myself into doing the daily exercises, which given a couple of them involve supporting myself with my arms, could be interesting for my shoulders (yes, I'm doing that when I use my crutches, but they seem to be happy enough with a straight up and down vertical load, it's any other position they're objecting too).

And then later we start on the whole getting to sleep thing all over again. Oh, joy!

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davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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