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Thanks for Communicating

Put this one in the casual ableism file, I guess.

I took the bus to work with my stupid bad leg, and maybe ten minutes after I got here I got an email that they are doing some plumbing and we won’t have running water, functional toilets, etc. for an extended period of time.

I have IBS. People could have bladder control issues, colitis, UTIs, prostate conditions, or other illnesses that cause them to need the bathroom. They could have disabilities that require frequent use of the bathroom. They could be pregnant. They could be on medication that increases their need for the bathroom.

But the email didn’t come out until most people coming into the office would either be arriving or already in transit.

The email also recommended an alternative bathroom location, which I availed myself of, and which required a fair amount of walking to access (my Apple Watch gave me 12 exercise minutes for the trek). That wasn’t great for my bad leg and would have been quite difficult for anyone with a mobility aid or any mobility problems.

But I guess our company’s leadership doesn’t care about people with any of these issues, because they sure didn’t take us into consideration when making this announcement (and it wasn’t an emergency so there’s no excuse).

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30 January 2023

Well, we got some snow and ice overnight, which provided me with the perfect excuse to work from home today. I settled in on my gel chair cushion and lumbar support pillow and had a very productive day without coworker interruptions.

My left leg feels almost back to normal, but my right leg is still a bit moody. The whole front of my thigh is achy, but the majority of the discomfort seems to have settled itself directly in front of my hip. Depending on how bad it is and what position I’m in, there’s some radiation either up and into the back or down by the groin and into the back of the thigh just above the knee. So I may have strained my iliopsoas or sartorius or something. Maybe both. Who knows?

I opted to skip yoga since it seemed likely to aggravate things at this point, but out of curiosity, I did slap a Thermacare patch right on my hip bone. It took some time, but it did seem to ease some of the tenderness and discomfort, which makes me hopeful that it really is just muscle strain or something simple. Since it is on the bad side, I do wonder if there’s something about my gait that is, for lack of a better word, regressing and straining my hip and lower back as a result.

I didn’t hear back from the doctor today, but hopefully tomorrow he’ll write back and let me know I can stop being anxious.

I have another Thermacare on tonight, and my apartment is already so warm. I may not survive the radiators. But hopefully I will die without hip pain.

Becky had to get database help from Karen today since I wasn’t in, and Brandine printed and signed and scanned the signature page from a Docusign form today, so I’m quite delighted to have been at home. I definitely need to go in tomorrow, though, so I may have to subject myself to bus rides that are usually too short for me to bother with if I’m still in pain. I walked about ten minutes to the pharmacy tonight, but I don’t know if a thirty-minute walk with full backpack will do me much good. It’s about ten minutes to the transit center where I can catch a bus to the office, though, so hopefully that will be okay.

Hopefully Becky and Brandine won’t be in. I know Susan won’t (and speaking of Susan, it turns out we are low on inventory for something and she didn’t even realize it so we are going to be up a creek on that project [and of course she didn’t take responsibility]), and Karen said she probably wouldn’t, so it’s just Becky and Brandine to worry about.

For now I’m going to read more of The Moving Finger and try not to think about my hip. Everything always hurts at bedtime when you’ve got nothing to do but hyperfocus on random sensations and freak out about them.

29 January 2023

I did not get most of my cleaning done, but oh, well. I will do a little each day this week until the place is ship-shape.

My left leg was pretty good today, aside from some general aches that might be from starting up my regular yoga again. My right leg was less good — I have the aches, plus tingles, plus a really tender, almost burning feeling with soreness directly in front of my right hip bone and going into the inner thigh/groin. I had to message my doctor about the prescription for my RLS anyway, so I told him about new leg stuff and asked him when I should be concerned. We’ll see what he says. Hopefully it really is just sciatica or something, plus DOMS from starting the yoga back up.

I took some more Aleve with my bedtime pills, so with luck I’ll have no nighttime issues and feel somewhat improved in the morning.

Now I’m going to read some more of The Moving Finger and hopefully distract myself from my leg issues until the Aleve fully kicks in and I fall asleep.

The Sunday Currently, Vol. I

This is a thing I used to do regularly about a million years ago on an old blog, and I had an impulse to resume it here. I’ve missed a few Sundays in 2023, but hopefully I’ll get all the rest of them. Here is my Sunday Currently (inspired by Sidda Thornton).

READING | I’m currently working my way through several books: The Picture of Dorian Gray, with my girlfriend; The Moving Finger, by Agatha Christie, which I started last night; Deep Nutrition, by Cate Shanahan, on a recommendation (it’s making me vaguely uncomfortable, to be honest — the aggressive conflation of physical attractiveness with health and “good” genetic expression feels just a couple of steps removed from eugenics — though some of it is interesting); and a re-read of the Bible. I also read a Penny Parker mystery yesterday, The Ghost Beyond the Gate, for fun.

WRITING | The last thing I’ve written aside from posts here and assorted text messages and whatnot was an email to my coworkers asking them to please double-check their entries in our system. I’m pulling reports next week, and I know that, at the very least, Brandine and Becky have not entered things to standard (and I have trained them and given them illustrations, so there’s no excuse), so the reports aren’t going to be accurate, and they’ll be really mad if their sales figures don’t pull correctly. I included helpful screenshots for them and then sent everyone in the department’s individual entries separately so that they can fix them by Wednesday. I’m not holding my breath, but we’ll see.

LISTENING | To Brian Tyler Cohen and Glenn Kirschner discussing the news that Bill Barr and John Durham received a tip about potential financial crimes committed by Donald Trump and never revealed it and may not have adequately investigated it… also the assorted creaking, tapping, and gurgling of the radiators

THINKING | About going to the grocery store and how very much I don’t want to clean my apartment even though I know I need to… I think my grocery list is ready (and I really need to stick to it, because I spent waaaaay too much at Whole Foods last night), at least. I won’t be leaving until early afternoon, when the temperature gets above freezing, so I have some time.

SMELLING | One of the flavors from the coffee sampler my sister got me from Bones Coffee Co. – From Dusk Till Donut… It is jelly-donut-flavored, and the beans smell incredible. The brewed coffee smells more coffee-y, but still amazing, and there’s a very good but not overpowering note of jelly when you drink it. Highly recommended!

WISHING | That my girlfriend was here already

HOPING | That my radiculopathy or whatever it is goes away sooner than four weeks from now… I haven’t taken any Aleve today, but I did do yoga last night and this morning, and I can definitely feel an improvement overall, but I still have a lot of odd and unpleasant sensations throughout my hips and thighs (and less so in my calves and feet). I think it’s serendipitous that my next Miss Marple book is The Moving Finger, because in the beginning of the book to set up Jerry and Joanna in Lymstock, Jerry’s doctor tells him to take it easy in the village and not try to rush his recovery, or he’ll end up doing himself more harm, and that is just the advice I need right now.

WEARING | A light blue men’s pocketed undershirt, a mauve-colored wireless bra, charcoal grey sweatpants that I got at Sam’s Club that are way too big thanks to my weight loss (they were already a little oversized when I bought them), specs, my Apple Watch, and my St. Perpetua medallion

LOVING | My girlfriend’s support and comfort as I’ve been dealing with all my assorted health problems lately, and the way Cat always comes to lay on me when I get into corpse pose at the end of my yoga every morning and night… it’s very soothing

WANTING | To get caught up at work and be able to get these reports pulled

NEEDING | To clean my apartment, and also to buy a travel case for my toothbrush because I can’t find my old one and I will need it for my work trip in two weeks

FEELING | The heavy weight of my own mortality… Dealing with all these nerve issues and pains and inflammation, plus the varicose veins, right now, as I’m actually losing weight, getting my diabetes well under control, and actually behaving in a healthful manner after a really hard pandemic… well, it’s super discouraging. I’m in my late thirties — not at all old — and it feels like my body is falling apart on me way too early. I know I was overweight for too long — and I’m still overweight — and I know I didn’t have the best habits for a while there, but it feels like too rapid and soon a decline. My doctor expects the radiculopathy to clear up on its own in a month, or with physical therapy in a few months, but I guess on top of the appearance of the varicose veins, the diabetes and Restless Legs diagnoses, and my fears about things like thinning hair and crepey skin and all that, it just feels like a lot. I feel stunningly mortal in a way that I haven’t since I was still working on getting my epilepsy under control, and then I dealt with a near-death episode and the concern that I might have a brain tumor because my seizures suddenly accelerated and weren’t responding to medication anymore. Diabetes is terrifying in a way that I haven’t dealt with before, because unlike my epilepsy, I have to think about it all the time still. It may become less pressing, but it will probably never get to the point that, like my epilepsy, I just take my pills and don’t worry about it further.

28 January 2023

Today was kind of a weird one. I slept in much later than usual — probably from not sleeping well lately — but I initially didn’t mind, because I was thrilled my legs let me sleep. Cat was not thrilled and finally all but dragged me out of bed. My hips and thighs and lower back were a bit less unhappy than they have been, which I took as a good sign. I brushed my teeth, took my pills, fed Cat, and set about doing my morning yoga, which felt much more intense than usual due to the tightness and inflammation and general achy soreness in my lower back and hips. I felt better afterwards, though.

I started cooking breakfast and realized I hadn’t tested my blood sugar yet. While my Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin was toasting (I love these so much), I rinsed my hands and did a quick finger stick.

And got back a 255.

That seems super high, even allowing for it being much later than usual, plus potential dawn phenomenon, plus potential rise due to burning the crap out of my legs and back and hips doing yoga, so I’m not sure it’s accurate. But I didn’t re-test, because do you know how expensive diabetic testing strips are? And I get the generic True Metric ones from Walgreens, even.

I ate my breakfast and then tested two hours later, just to see what was going on, and my blood sugar was back down to 119 — a pretty normal number for me two hours after eating. That would be a pretty fast drop, even with my taking metformin and drinking water, since I ate an English muffin, so it makes me think even more that there was either something on my finger that messed up the result or it was just a bad strip.

Either way, I didn’t stay at 255 for very long if I ever was there.

While I was waiting to test and then do my errands, I read another Penny Parker mystery, The Ghost Beyond the Gate. I am loving these little books so much. I will have to break back into the classic Nancy Drew books once I wrap up with Penny, or maybe try the Motor Boat Boys or the Radio Boys or some other similar series. If you can get past the sometimes horrible period racism (the way the Black man was written as speaking in The Ghost Beyond the Gate was full Br’er Rabbit, and Asian immigrants got no favors in the one with the silken ladder), the stories can be charming and diverting for an afternoon. Plus I get little reminders of history — Penny and her father broke up a ring of tire thieves who were selling the tires on the black market due to World War II-era rationing.

I actually joined a Facebook group last year that focused on World War II rationing (albeit the British experience), but my diabetes diagnosis waylaid me from engaging in the challenge. I don’t think I’m quite ready for living on a diet that consists of a lot of potatoes and whole wheat bread, with limited fats and proteins to counter the starch. But it’s in the back of my mind to go back and try the challenge some day, and I do enjoy the group’s posts.

After I reassured myself that I wasn’t anywhere near going into a diabetic coma, I walked about ten minutes to the bus stop and went to Petsmart to get Cat his food. I normally get two twenty-four pack cases and put them in my backpack for the trip home, but in the interest of hopefully healing my back and hips and not feeling like there’s something wrong with my legs for the rest of my life, I bought two twelve-packs instead. The good news is, the twelve-packs have more flavors for Cat to enjoy, if he cares about those things (I know he does, because he went through nearly seven of the eight years of his life refusing to eat anything with turkey).

I came home, ate lunch, and let my legs rest from walking to and from the bus stop, and then I went to Whole Foods to get about half of my groceries. I also found some interesting new treats to try that might be diabetes-friendly, so hopefully they’ll be good and not trigger my intestines to do anything foolish.

Tomorrow I have to go to Schnucks for the other half of my groceries (mostly just some produce and yogurt), and I really need to do some cleaning. I also wanted to finish something up for work, but honestly, it might have to wait until Monday. None of my coworkers are working weekends, and save my employee and a couple others, I’m definitely more productive despite all my meetings. But the cleaning has to happen, especially with a possible girlfriend visit upcoming and then my sister coming over to feed Cat in a couple weeks.

Oh, and Tsuki managed to catch the boat to Hareshima this week, so he’s enjoying a little vacation and talking to Walter every chance he gets. He’s also doing a lot of yoga, presumably to support me in all my aging glory.

This is legit the face I was making in both of my three-legged dogs this morning, but I definitely felt a difference when I was finished.

27 January 2023

Today was a bad day for my physical comfort. I had a terrible time trying to get into a comfortable sleeping position last night because of my right hip and thigh, so I was exhausted, and I woke up with achy thighs and lower back and very tight, achy hips. Unfortunately I woke up too late to do much about it but take some Aleve, so that’s what I did and tried to power through the day.

After dinner I did some yoga focusing on my lower back and hips, and it did seem to help, but everything is still pretty sore (even after more Aleve), and my thighs in particular feel like I did a hell of a workout when all I have done is walk to and from work. And sit a lot, which is obviously not great for any of my issues. Even laying here now, my lower back and hips feel tight and inflamed. I will do some more yoga in the morning and hope it helps. My doctor said we need to wait about four weeks for potential inflamed nerves to calm down before we take next steps, barring anything gets dramatically worse. But what I’m dealing with right now is just unpleasant enough to be annoying, but it isn’t severe.

My neurologist today told me he would recommend I not take gabapentin for my RLS and ask for something different instead, because gabapentin could make my type of epilepsy worse, so I’m glad I didn’t take it. I need to message my doctor this weekend in MyChart for something different that won’t cause problems.

At work I felt like I barely got anything done thanks to meetings — though Dawn and Caroline both complimented me on my work, which is refreshing compared to most of my colleagues — and I got stuck there a little late. Then as I was walking home I got an email that I’m invited to come on a quick two-day business trip. On February 7-8. Nothing like short notice! So I spent some time on the phone with my sister making arrangements for her to come feed Cat since he’s on an all-wet diet and will need at least two feedings while I’m gone.

There is a good bit of news, though. I got approved for a personal day next Friday, and my girlfriend is going to try to come in for a quick visit. That will be very nice. We haven’t had a visit since November, and it is somehow always astounding to me how much I miss her physical presence when the majority of our communication goes virtual.

Tomorrow I have to go buy food for Cat, which means a bus trip, and then to buy food for myself, which will be walking and hopefully nothing too heavy. I suspect my giant backpack may be exacerbating my back and hip and leg issues.

I drank some electrolyte drink that has very low sugar in the hopes of at least placebo-effecting myself on the legs until they actually improve, but I think all I did was upset my stomach a bit.

So now I’m going to lay here trying to ignore my anxiety, which is diagnosing me with a range of issues, from MS to fibromyalgia to DVTs to psoriatic arthritis, and hope my stomach settles and my back and hips and legs will let me sleep tonight. Oh, and I still have to check my blood sugar.

26 January 2023

Work was work. Let’s not talk about it.

I spent tonight talking to my girlfriend, who had a really awful day, and then my best friend, whose dad has been to the emergency room with kidney failure and liver disease. Not sure of the details on the liver yet because he left the hospital AMA and now she has to try to get him back into a specialist.

What a week, and it’s not over yet.

25 January 2023

Quick one tonight because I’m still feeling the effects of my booster in terms of fatigue…

Work today was mostly meetings and therefore pretty unproductive. I had to listen to Susan feel bad for herself because she hasn’t managed Beetle et al. for so long that now they’re literally replying all to manager emails that it isn’t fair that they can’t use their cell phones while on the clock and she doesn’t know what to do. I talked to Caroline about the fact that Brandine and Becky are not documenting their work at all correctly, because they’re going to be mighty resentful when I email that I can’t pull the data for the dashboard because they haven’t entered it correctly. They already think that this is just paper-pushing and a waste of their time. Hopefully Dawn and Caroline will help me deflect some of the frustration they will undoubtedly send my way when I alert them. Worse, their work is full of typos, too.

I sadly have to see them in person tomorrow, as my work-from-home holiday is ending. I’m really not looking forward to it, though I will be happy to see my employee and some of my other coworkers again. And hopefully it won’t be as bad as I fear.

Our snow turned out to be a dud, at least in my area. I went for a walk this afternoon after work, and I definitely did not see 4-8 inches. Karen and Caroline were both cautioning me about walking to work tomorrow because it’s going to be below freezing, and from what I could tell on my walk, there isn’t much there to freeze overnight. I will wear my nonskid boots, though, to be safe (and stay warm).

Tsuki is back home in Mushroom Village, and because he’s a good little bun-bun, one of the first things he did was go to the cemetery to clean the graves. What a darling little fellow.

Boosted

Actually, a moderate headache, I would say, plus that sort of flu-y body ache situation that I had after my second dose of Moderna.

But I’d still rather feel like this than let my body become one of the incubation sites for a new and more awful variant that will cause harm to other people, especially knowing people who can’t get vaccinated or who are still vulnerable due to health issues.

I’m, you know, caring about other people! Just like Jesus told us too!