Photo du jour

My buddy Matt came to visit me in the hospital last night.  When I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom he got quite a laugh out of watching me hobble around with my IV pump. Here’s my witty response :

Whatevs. I just think it’s funny. 

More Medical Misadventures of the Humble Narrator 

Well, I done did it again.  This chapter of my chronicles of pain will be recalled as being a particularly bothersome and excruciating time for me. 

‘Yes, Mr. Writer Person,  but what are you getting at?’ I hear you saying.  Allow me to elaborate on the happenings of late. 

It all started off(last monday) like any other week. Took me meds, drank some coffee and went to work.  Something was a bit off from the get go about this day. I usually take my methotrexate on a day I work with no problems.  However,  this time the ‘Trex absolutely wiped me out. I ended up having the other busser take over so I could go home and collapse.  Which I did. It was right at this point I noticed some pain in my big toe.  Didn’t seem like a big deal but it was huge by the next day,  red too. I decided to not wait any longer because I was already having trouble walking. In retrospect taking my methotrexate that day absolutely screwed me. I would never take DMARDS if I knew I had an infection.  I think it really gave the bacteria a foothold. Meh.

So yeah,  I  hobbled to an urgent care Center about a half mile from my house. Got it looked at by a doctor and was put on an antibiotic called Bactrim and sent on my way. At that point I was fairly certain that the situation had been handled.  I could not have been more wrong. I’ll illustrate the why part in due time. 

I started the Bactrim and things seemed to be improving as my pain was steadily going down. I was still having problems with walking but I figured that would work itself out. By the time I was nearly done with my course of antibiotics I was sure that the situation was not rectified. I was getting some evil pain and the swelling was still raging. I used a conveniently situated appointment with my Internist to show him my foot. His jaw pretty much dropped and he was like ‘Go to the Hospital, Thom. Now.’

I called my Mom as I had taken the bus to my doctor and the hospital he wanted me to go to is way the hell in Tampa. She didn’t know about any of this and I feel so terrible about it but I didn’t want her to worry. My Mom worries about Me quite enough. She drove me to the ER and the madcap adventure began.

The time in the ER was pretty unremarkable aside from a one hilarious exception.  The Physicians Assistant drained an abcess and put me on a ton of IV antibiotics.  They were also watching my heart rate which was sky high. I wasn’t surprised when they told me I was being admitted due to the issues that I mentioned.  The exception? 

A Doctor came in my exam room. Said ‘I understand that your blood work says you have some pancreitis, does this hurt?’ As he probed my abdomen.  ‘UMMM, No.’ Was my immediate reaction. He excused himself with a puzzled look on his face.  He had my first name confused with the last name of someone else in the ER. He came back red as a tomato and apologized profusely.  Aside from being a bit unnerving it was funny as all hell 🙂

So I got admitted.Nothing too exciting.  Some friends visited and brought me a lovely THC edible so I managed to sleep that night tethered to an IV pump.  Woke up and had a pretty boring day waiting for a doctor to assess my foot further and finish what was started in the ER. Finally got a Foot Surgeon in and she did not disappoint. The procedure wasn’t too bad but the numbing part literally made me scream and thrash.  Anyhow, the Nice Lady left about thirty minutes ago and I’m just chillin on muh blog currently.  The annoying thing is that I have to do without my RA meds until further notice.  Except prednisone and pain meds, those I can still have.

I’m out of work for I don’t know how long. I’m away from my Husband to be and my Animals.  But damnit, I’m keeping my freaking foot. As usual,  I owe it all to my amazing Mom. I say this because I know she’ll read it,  and were this not the case I would still give due credit.  She’s the absolute Best. 

That seems like as good a note to close on as any 🙂

Cheers-

Thom 

Muh Christmas in words and images :)

Well, it really was a good Christmas this year,  at least for me. I had a lot of fun catching up with family and feasting upon some truly excellent food including my Grandmother’s legendary Baked Crab. My Uncle Ray brought us all wood caddies with six bottles of his home brewed beer as presents. Plus more for us to drink that night.I consider myself to have a fairly discriminating pallette and they were all quite well crafted with a great balance of flavors. I made sure to tell him as much. 

What else? I got a really killer present from my Mom. Here’s what I got:

It’s a really thorough sewing set in a sturdy wood box. And wait until you see the front :

Cool, ja? DAMN STRAIGHT. 

Shannon and I went to my Grandmother’s house and then my Aunt Lisa’s house for Christmas Eve festivities.  Without boring you about everything I got I’ll stick to highlights.  Let’s just say I’m very happy with how this Christmas went. My Grandmother gave me a really cool Irish cookbook,  which I’m excited about exploring. Also got some amazon cards and got ten albums I’ve been burning for.

   After that we came home and exchanged most of our gifts except two and our stockings  (and our dog and two Cat’s stockings). Illustrated here:


Shannon sheepishly handed me my first present and I soon figured out why.  He also got me a (the gayest possible )sewing kit. Check it out :

Pretty much the gayest thing on earth,  methinks.  But whatever Man, I’ve made peace with my feminine side or whatever you wish to call it.  Either way, double the sewing supplies.  Also, I helped a bartender I work with move and she gave me her sewing machine.  I have a mannequin too. I am all hooked up to do mad crazy battle jacket works. 

Speaking of,  I finished patching up the body of the jacket  (still need to put a few more patches on the arms ) and started spiking the dead space.  Here’s where that’s at:

I’m going to tighten up the spiking,  this is just the beginning.  But yeah,  that’s what I did at home on Christmas day,  that and lots of non Christmas music.  

On an unrelated tangent,  here’s one of Shannon’s stocking stuffers: an ornament with his little girl Marci on it:


I also did a Rib roast that my Mom was nice enough to gift us with.  It is absolutely superb. 

Plus, I got to use my kitchen sawzall illustrated here:

All in all,  it’s been a wonderful Christmas and I’m grateful that I got to share it with those I love.  I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of shopping this year but I tried to be as thoughtful as I could achieve. Both my Mom and Grandmother’s cards had long notes in cursive (took a second to work the bugs out as it had been nearly a decade) expressing gratitude and love.  My first attempt at doing one of those awesome cards that touch the soul. 

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this wee portal into my Christmas adventure.  Now to enjoy a little shopping and tomorrow it’s work work work!

Happy Holidays –

Thom 

My Christmas Present to myself 

I finally printed and framed my two best Concert Photos,


 On the left: With Harald Oimoen from DRI last December. 

On the right : With George Fisher at a Paths of Possession Show in December of 2005.

It’s not a big present for me, but I like it 🙂

Have yourselves a Happy Holidays!

-Thom

Well Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’m in a pretty pleasant mood right now.  Not long ago I got off the phone with CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy.  Seems that my Prior Authorization paperwork  for Humira has been officially approved.  I’ve gotten everything set up with shipping and should have my first shipment Tuesday afternoon. So yeah,  happy dance and whatnot. 

I’m feeling a bit more relaxed about Christmas and my lack of much shopping ability this year. I’m going to do something for the ones I love, it just may be a bit basic. Anyhow,  getting the business with Humira sorted out is a major load off my mind.  I’m trying to STFU, chill and enjoy the season and one of my major stressors is now all good. 

Not much else is happening,  having a bit of inflammation still as I’m only on a starting dose of methotrexate and haven’t gotten to the therapeutic range yet. Doing much better still than I was a few weeks ago.  I’m staying off the prednisone and haven’t had any in two weeks. 

Not much else to report,  except that I may have something up my sleeve writing-wise. 

We shall see. 

Be well –

Thom 

Trexin’ along

I’m feeling a bit rough but not terrible considering the fact that I’m T+16 hours from my first weekly dose of methotrexate. I’m trying to stay conscious of how low my dose is, because it could be more harsh as one gets higher in the range.  But yeah,  I’ve been riding it out on the couch and taking it easy. I’ve had some heavy fatigue and mild queasiness but nothing like all the hype I’ve heard surrounding this treatment. Aside from an icky sweaty night I feel mostly alright.

Part of this was a strategy on my Doctor’s part. He resubmitted my Humira prescription after I  added Arava and Plaquenil to my list of failed drugs. The main reason it was initially denied was the lack of having tried other things. I’m hoping the nice people at Prime Therapeutics see it his way this time. Everything I’ve read says that the most effective combination for fighting RA is a synthetic DMARD plus a biologic. 

Anyhow,  I’m happy to say that at least for now the big bad methotrexate isn’t such a big deal.  This may change,  but it’s totally workable for the time being. As long as I stay diligent with the folic acid the side effects should be relatively mild. Really,  it’s nothing a bit of medicinal THC can’t handle. Hopefully now I can stay the hell off the damned steroids for a while. They take care of the swelling very well but cause trouble of their own. 

I’m done with Facebook permanently,  of this I am certain.  However I still use one social media network,  albeit a much smaller one than FB or Twitter and what have you. It’s called MyRATeam. The social network for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I’m not as active as some but I find it an excellent resource for information about treatment options as well as a fun place to interact with others. All I was really doing on Facebook was messing around in groups pertaining to my health issues anyway. I just decided to cut the excess bullshit away and keep what I wanted. Between here (WordPress ) and myrateam.com my itch to socialize online it pretty well covered.

So in all, I’m feeling quite optimistic about the current course of action and looking fondly to the future. In an hour or so I’ll be doing breakfast with my darling Lover and there’s no telling what the day holds in store. 

That’s all for now. 

-Thom 

Maintenance Day Part Deux

Things changed not ten minutes after I finalized my last blog post.  I had been in a state of frustration trying to get the Doctor’s office on the phone about a sooner appointment.  Noone would answer,  or I would get lost in the phone system ad nauseum.  Long story short,  my luck improved and the phone got answered. 

I was hoping to wrangle something in the next week or two, at the very least we can do better than February,  ja? Indeed.  I was able to get seen TODAY. This absolutely blew my mind,  given how things usually play out. An hour later and I was on the 76 headed to North Clearwater.  

I had to wait a while as it looked like the place was pretty slammed today and understaffed as well.  Wasn’t that long, though.  The doctor came in and actually proceeded to talk to me about Depeche Mode for the first couple minutes as that was the shirt I happened to be wearing.  That said,  he got to the point quickly.  We talked a bit about what the last week or so was like for me.  We agreed that the Arava wasn’t doing jack and could go. He seems pretty confident that Humira will cover most of my needs in time, but went ahead and put me on methotrexate.  The human body has a habit of developing antibodies to biologics.  I mentioned this and he said this is true and should help with this. 

Aside from that,  he had his nurse give me a pair of injections.  A steroid and an Anti-inflammatory.  Already feeling a bit better for it.  In the space of fifteen minutes I accomplished my rheumatological goals for the next few months.  I can actually relax for a while and let the meds do their work. 

Not much else is happening.  Going to work in the morning and hoping all this medical bull gives me some peace. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch. Medical science has done me alright and I have no gripes. 

I mean, I have some. I just don’t feel like they’re worth chasing. 

I’m already feeling a lot better than the last few days leading up to this.  Time to keep the momentum going 🙂

My Darling Man sleeps and I’m letting him sleep. He’s so wonderful it kills me. We’re a couple of chronically ill homos that are hopelessly in love and showing no sign of letting up. It’s so unusual being with someone who actually brings out the best parts of me. 

That’s what love is.  A couple of wounded souls helping one another.  No chains or obligations. Just you and I. Ad infinitum.  

I don’t know where I’m going with this and I don’t give a toss.  I’m content and that’s enough for now. 
Adieu. 

-T

An unexpected maintenence day

Normally I’d be riding the beach trolley to work right now.  However,  my boss called me at eight AM and told me that I  could take the day off. This is equal parts blessing and curse. I’ve been hurting pretty good lately and haven’t been able to stay off the prednisone or ibuprofen so while I love having a break I still need to support my damn self. 

I’m a bit annoyed that I won’t make any  $ today, but I do appreciate having a day off to do my Humira injection which will hopefully cover me this weekend and there on. I remembered to let the pen warm up today, so it didn’t hurt nearly as much as the last injection. I seem to remember that the relief began after shot number two. As this is the second shot since I started back up I’m hoping that it does it’s thing soon. The prednisone has been helping but isn’t a long term solution as it can mess with bone density and important stuff like that.  I’m down to 5mg a day and hoping to put it away for a while after I get through this latest episode.  I wanted to make money today but frankly I’m still pretty sore from last week. The joint swelling is becoming more pronounced and the pain is worse than usual.  The steroid is helping but I think my body is getting used to the dose I’m on. I’m also very reluctant to raise it as that’s where most of the issues start occurring. 

Not sure what to do with this day. Trying to find the balance between productive and chillaxing. I have a mess of pills to organize as well as plenty of house work to knock out. Honestly though I’ve been fighting some creeping inertia this week.  

Anyhow, time to catch up on muh life a bit.  Maybe squeeze a bit of rest in there too. No promises 😉

Everything in time.

I’m trying to exercise some patience and be more receptive to change. Part of my therapy is trying to break out of old patterns and identify bad habits. I’m thinking a little extra proofreading is in order for this post as this is my first time using the voice feature to blog. I’m trying to get myself what break I can in my off time. Prednisone is helping with the swelling joints but now I’ve entered night time and the steroid is starting to wear off. Gentle little prickles of pain are becoming gradually more noticeable. I thought of taking the steroid in the afternoon or something but I have to sleep at some point, right?

This voice blogging is kind of weird but not terrible. Actually I rather like it now that I’m starting to get used to it. However punctuation and things like that are a little more Awkward. I’ll go through this later and see what I missed to be sure.

I’m in the process of wrangling myself a sooner appointment with my rheumatologist. I don’t believe the Arava which I’ve taken for several months is doing me any good. My guess is the next thing to try is methotrexate but my doctor may have something else strange up his sleeve. We shall see I guess. I’ll probably start getting some relief soon as I have another Humira shot on Friday. If it’s anything like what it was before I stopped using it I’ll be in good shape.

Work goes well but I’m worried about how long I’ll be able to stand up to the physical nature of my job. I know my inflammation will only get worse as the cold gets more intense. At least that’s how it happened last year. On the other hand I wasn’t on DMARDS last year. 

Anyhow,  gearing up for Christmas and immediately regretting jumping back to typing this post on my android.  Thinking a bath with some Epsom salt is in order.  I want off the prednisone but right now I’m thinking that I should keep it up until I get seen again. Pls Pray for Thom.  

In spite of pain and stuff it’s been a wonderful day.  My man got me strawberry pancakes this morning and the rest of the day was quite pleasant.  

Be well-

Thom 

Let us give thanks 

I mean it. It’s been a good year despite a couple of rough patches. I  saw Napalm Death for the third time, got engaged and visited Alaska! My darling is in the kitchen working on a Thanksgiving feast. I am thankful for my job, the people I know and possibilities yet to be revealed.  

I was irked about some trouble with my Christmas tree but it was a blessing in disguise.  One of the strings of lights shorted out and I had to basically take everything off the tree and start over. It’s cool though,  because Shannon and I got to decorate the tree together and it was a lovely fuzzy bonding experience. 

Hurting a bit today but not terribly so.  I figured out why my last Humira shot was so freaking painful.  I forgot to let it comes to room temperature before I injected it. Yeowch! Won’t forget to do THAT again.  I’m off the prednisone today for the first day. So far so good.  I’m going to resume relaxing and helping as needed with dinner. Very pleased with how my Sweet Mashed Potatoes turned out.  Anyhow,  Matt and his lady friend should be here about 7:30 and I am excite.

Happy Thanksgiving folks!

-Thom