Thursday, October 22, 2020

Kidney Saga part 124

Movement is medicine.

My cardiologist was very happy to learn that I've got an exercise bike and have been using it almost every day. I also mentioned my goal to start walking daily to the nearest Pokestop - and she admitted she hadn't realized Pokemon Go encourages exercise.

Well, last Friday was the first time I missed a day of exercise since I got the bike, mostly due to pain. The pain - in turn - causes fatigue. And sometimes it's just too much to overcome. Mostly I've been able to carry on despite the hurt and exhaustion, but some days you just have to stop and rest. Last Friday was one of those days for me.

Fortunately, I was able to get back in the saddle and ride again - and have kept up at least five minutes a day since then.

I went to the cardiologist on Monday with my new "2020 Scariest Costume Ever" mask. I was mildly disappointed that no one commented on it, but by now lots of people have seen lots of masks, so I shouldn't be surprised. I suspect the etiquette of mask compliments is still not set.

The results of my echocardiogram were in, and are very good. In January when I first went into the hospital my "ejection fraction" was under 50%. Normal range is 50 to 70%. My echo showed I am now at a solid and healthy 58%. It's not enough to dump my medications, but as far as my heart is concerned I'm out of the woods. Whew!

The result is that I don't need to see the cardiologist until January unless I relapse. In the meantime, I have strict instructions to continue avoiding salt, to continue exercising, and to continue restricting my liquid intake. I also get to taper off the diuretic and see if I develop edema again.

Because the appointment was in Richland, about 40 miles away, hubby-Eric drove me. But as we came back I commented that my vision is fine again and I feel fairly strong, so maybe my next medical visit - to get x-rays - I should try to do alone. Eric was reluctant, but agreed if I thought I could do it I should give it a try.

I didn't have the energy on Tuesday, but on Wednesday I headed out to the Prosser hospital - about 15 miles - alone. It was odd driving again. I've driven exactly once in 2020 - to the dentist less than a mile from home. I made it to the hospital just fine, and went in with my newest mask. I was shepherded into the x-ray room where a duo of goofy techs helped me with my "photoshoot". I got x-rays of both feet, both knees and both hands. I also got asked how to pronounce my last name, to which I first replied "very carefully," which got a good laugh.

The drive home was slightly less fun. I felt a wave of exhaustion hit about halfway back and considered pulling over. In the end, I decided it would take as much effort to get off the freeway and find a safe place to stop as it would to continue all the way home. So I continued, and made it home safely.

I got the results back from the x-rays today - everything is within normal parameters and no immediate action needs to be taken. The only result that showed up in my online chart so far was for my left foot, and noted the heel spur that has been a slight bother for many years now.

My next appointment will be virtual again, yay! I need to visit Prosser hospital before then for a blood draw. All the standard tests need to be done. Hopefully I'll have made even more progress since my last tests and maybe, if I'm extremely lucky, I'll hear that my kidneys are healthy? Hey, a girl can dream!

Sadly, I know the lupus is here to stay. The pain is mostly in my hands and knees. My hands hurt all the time, waking or sleeping. It hasn't woken me up, but I dream about my hands in pain. The worst pain is always just after I've woken up, since they've been still for so long. Typing or playing the video games tends to make them hurt less - movement helps.

My knees hurt maybe three quarters of the day. The worst moments are still getting up from low chairs. My sister, being a wonderful person who loves me very much, decided to help out with that problem. She's ordered me a lift recliner which should arrive in the next few days. It will effectively remove the worst of the "getting up" pain if it works as advertised.

I've been keeping my kidney wish list up-to-date although I'm no longer in any desperate need of anything on the list. It's so nice to be able to say that!

I am continuing to use the lavender shower bombs as aromatherapy, and they continue to apparently work to reduce the intensity of my hot flashes.

The weather has finally turned enough that we switched from AC to heat. Inkwell has been extremely cuddly recently, clearly seeking out the human cat bed for my warmth. I mostly don't mind, although he doesn't really take a hint when I'm trying to play my game or type. I end up with cat butt in my face entirely too often.

I listen to Eric teaching each day. His teacher voice really carries - I only hope it gets through to his students. He's still learning how to be an effective online teacher, but he seems to be doing great.

I'll try to continue to update weekly as I move into a new phase of sickness. Living with lupus is going to be strange, I guess. Hopefully I can stay on track.