6 February, 2024


Category: Aging,Annoyances,Exercise,Health,Stuff,Work — Moose @ 8:33 am

Still haven’t figured out what to do with some of the stuff I cleared out of the trunks. Do I really need my merit badge sash? No. My Eagle Scout medal? Yes. But what to do with the stuff I’m keeping? Display it? Stick it in storage for another thirty years? I may set the husband loose on display options, that’s more up his alley than mine.

I did decide to apply for my boss’ job as Deputy GC. That application went in last Friday, and the announcement closed yesterday. It’s funny, since talking with her about it she’s definitely pulled back the curtain more on the workings of the office and the agency, especially our current hiring needs & process.

In health news, I’ve had a couple appointments, a couple events, and a new diagnosis of sorts. Saw neurology at another facility for an intake for an EEG later this month. Was not best pleased about how they handled the process (they literally just snail mailed me an appointment card with a time & date and no further information about what the appointment was for. Dorks), but the doctors were fine. Took the 30-day monitor off early (by about 6 days) because it had irritated my skin too much where the contacts were. But the neuro indicated that she had not gotten any alerts from it, so it’s fairly safe to assume there was no sign of atrial fibrillation; we’ll see for sure once they get the equipment back and send her the final report. The second neurology office apparently made noises to her about an implantable three year monitor and we nixed that. No thank you.

Had two eye incidents on the 25th and the 2nd, where I got what appeared to be an after-image in my right field of vision that gradually expanded in a crescent out and to the right until it faded completely, all in about twenty minutes. Annoyed me the first time, freaked me out the second time. Saw an ophthalmologist yesterday to check that out, and he pretty quickly diagnosed it as an ocular migraine, but examined my eyes and found no other issues with the retinas, etc. And he said that while he was no neurologist, in his experience if I’m getting ocular migraines the other TIA-like symptoms (numbness, dizziness) might just be signs of migraines rather than strokes. I’m still going through the rest of the testing to rule stuff out, but I’d certainly prefer that these were migraines over strokes. I’d actually prefer to have none of it, but if I’m stuck with one I know which I’d choose.

The knee has done better the past two weeks. I pushed the orthopedist to be more aggressive at our last appointment and he gave me a cortisone shot to ramp down the inflammation. I’ve been able to walk more easily, did a mile on the treadmill on Sunday (slowly), and have been able to bike again. Which is good because the knee brace was starting to irritate the skin on my leg.

11 January, 2024

Into the New Year

Category: Health — Moose @ 10:59 pm

Had a third TIA back on the 5th. Again mild, same symptoms, again no damage evident. Ironically it was a day after my appointment with the neurology department. After this third one the ER told me that if the symptoms didn’t change (ie., no drooping face, no slurred speech) to note the date, time, etc. of the attack and let neurology know, but don’t bother schlepping down to the ER because it was highly unlikely any damage was happening while the symptoms were staying consistently mild.

Thankfully nothing has happened (TIA-wise) since then. *knock wood*

After seeing neurology I have a sleep study scheduled for next month. I don’t think I have apnea, but my dad does, and I do snore occasionally, so they’re going to test (I will *not* go on a cpap; not gonna happen). Also have an intake at a different facility next month for an EEG to rule out some sort of seizure disorder. And as of yesterday I’m wearing a 30-day heart monitor to rule out atrial fibrillation (I don’t mind the monitor, but carrying the little phone that goes with it is a P.I.T.A.). So everyone is on tap and I’m getting tested out the wazoo, but otherwise life is getting back to normal. I went into the office twice this week (and would have gone tomorrow as well, but I’m doing an orthopedist visit to check on the knee instead).

13 December, 2023

The annoying stage

Category: Aging,Annoyances,Body,Health,Mood — Moose @ 11:00 pm

Toward the end of the stay in the hospital I was getting my full grump on, because all the tests were coming back normal, but no one was telling me when I was getting discharged, and when they came to ask for food orders for lunch and dinner that day I. Was. Over. It. Lack of sleep, semi-planned dehydration (so I didn’t have to call the nurse to get unplugged so I could go pee), and several blood draws didn’t help their case.

And now I have to schedule a follow up with them, but they keep calling when I’m in work meetings.

So far the new medications (a statin, a baby aspirin, and now a BP reducer) have been okay. I had a light headache in the evenings the first few days, but that could have been lack of sleep or staring at screens for too long as easily as the new prescriptions. Just picked up the BP medication today around lunch time, so it wasn’t that (that just caused a little lightheadedness, like poppers but less fast, and definitely less sexy). I’m guessing it’s just the body adjusting to the new equilibrium on these things. No headache so far this evening, so hopefully that’s done with.

Definitely annoyed that I have to take more drugs. I hate taking medication, and I really hate having to add to the pile. Whatever; I’ll deal. But I’ll still be annoyed at some level by it all.

8 December, 2023


Category: Aging,Annoyances,Body,Exercise,Health,Mood,Sleep,Stress — Moose @ 1:10 pm

First off, I’m fine. Don’t you love when an entry starts out that way?

Tuesday morning (December 5th, 2023) around 10:30 I was standing in my living room when I had a sudden bout of dizziness, followed by numbness in my right hand and some tingling on the fingertips. Almost felt like my blood sugar had dropped out (the dizziness) and like I’d pinched something so my hand fell asleep. Both passed very quickly, then the hand numbness came back less severely and stopped again. And then the inside of my mouth and tongue on the right side got numb, at which point I started googling stroke and heart attack symptoms, and drove myself over to the local urgent care center. The symptoms were all resolved at that point, in less than ten minutes, but I still wanted to get checked out. They took me back immediately and examined me, then advised me to go to an emergency room.

Drove home, grabbed some things in anticipation of a long wait, summoned an Uber ride, texted the husband to let him know what was up, and went to the ER at the hospital attached to the university he works at, even though it’s twice as far as the two closest. It also happens to be in the same network as the urgent care center, so they had all of my info from the earlier check in. The husband met me there, the team again jumped in on me pretty quickly – you say/describe “stroke symptoms” and medical professionals’ eyes get big and they immediately start doing things. CT scan that afternoon, then they checked me in that afternoon for an overnight stay for more tests and observation. The poor husband had to return home for the tools to get my piercings out so I could have an MRI, which happened around 12:30am (hospital corridors are much less busy at that hour). Echocardiogram with bubble contrast was late morning on Wednesday, plus constant EKG monitoring and more blood draws than I care to think about over the course of the day.

Tested, prodded, and evaluated, the verdict was that I probably had a “low-impact transient ischemic attack (TIA)”, a kind of stroke-like event that quickly resolved itself. No damage, tests all came back normal, not a stroke, but now I get some new medications (baby aspirin and a statin) and a longer discussion about all of this with my primary care physician at a pre-existing appointment on Monday, at which I was already going to be discussing slightly elevated blood pressure (which has not been helped by the lack of ability to do a lot of cardio because of my knee dislocation in September).

All-in-all I’m doing okay now. I feel fine, and other than needing some more sleep everything seems to have returned to status quo ante. I’m annoyed at the elevated blood pressure and adding yet another drug to the morning mix (I hate that I have to take pills to function), but the results came out well for what happened, and I’m glad I got it all checked out and will get an appropriate treatment plan. And maybe a new doctor to add to the deck? Because as you age doctors seem to be like Pokemon – gotta catch ’em all! Heh.

21 November, 2023

Expecting worse

Category: Body,Cooking,Food,Health — Moose @ 9:09 am

In my head I was preparing for the worst scenario yesterday, and feeling like absolute dreck yesterday, today, and possibly tomorrow. I went to go get my seasonal flu and covid booster yesterday morning, and in my head I was conflating that with last year, when the husband and I got those and the monkeypox vaccine all at the same time. That three-shot combo laid me out for a day or two, so that’s what I was mentally preparing for this year. The two-shot combo wasn’t nearly as bad. I did end up taking a nap (which the female cat appreciated), but I stayed up to my normal time, no nausea, just a little tired. So yay for that.

While waiting to see if side effects would kick in I grocery shopped, set up soup in the slow cooker (sweet potato & apple soup), and finally seasoned (or in one case re-seasoned) all of my new carbon steel cookware. So it wasn’t like I was sitting around just waiting to feel tired. Should’ve knitted some, too, but you can’t do it all.

9 October, 2023

Rolling along

Saw my sister-in-law and niece off this morning, after they popped down for the holiday weekend.

Made some homemade pumpkin spice coffee additive last night (1.5 cups sugar, 1.5 cups water, bring to boil over medium heat, whisk in 4 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend and 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, lower heat to simmer for 20 more minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve (and cheesecloth, if you have it, to further reduce the solids) and add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stores in the fridge for up to a week). Also made toddy coffee concentrate, so had homemade iced pumpkin spice lattes this morning (1/2 cup concentrate, 3/4 cup milk, 2 Tablespoons PSL mix). Was tasty. I’m normally a black coffee drinker, so anything beyond that is exotic for me, but this was a nice treat. And the SIL was impressed, which is what really counts.

PT this afternoon. I have some pitting edema going on, meaning there’s still a lot of extra fluid in the knee, so if that’s still there at the end of next week I get to ask the orthopedist about that. Flexion was about the same as last week, which may be related to the extra fluid at this point.

Short week last week (and weird because of the almost-government-shut-down), short week this week. My new attorney shadow gets here in two weeks; it’s someone I recruited from my old agency, so I know I’ll work well with him. Looking forward to training him on the new agency, and a new area of law, as well as passing off some of the stuff that I’m not as well versed in but that he has much more experience with.

Oooh, we played Uno Flip last night and really enjoyed it. The husband and I own it, but hadn’t played it, and it was quite a fun variation on the regular uno. Both sides of the cards are playable, a light side and a dark side, and every now and again people can make the deck flip from one to the other, which also flips all the cards in your hand. Kept things lively.

Got some more of the Halloween stuff put up, including the green-purple-orange light strings we bought last year but didn’t get up (maybe we bought them at the end of the season on sale? I don’t remember why they didn’t get put up). Our neighbor does a much better job with it than we do, but we outshine them at Xmas. 😉

5 October, 2023

Here and There

Category: Aging,Body,Food,Health,Stuff — Moose @ 10:11 pm

Physical therapy is proceeding apace. Flexion in the knee is increasing; was 85 degrees last week, 110 yesterday. Still sore as fuck after PT, of course, but improving, which is the point of it all. Trying to concentrate at work afterward is annoying, but since we’re not shut down the panicked mood has subsided there. Heaven only knows what November will bring.

Mostly wandering around the house with just one crutch now, with occasional short stints without any support.

Made out like a bandit for my 51st birthday. I have a lot of Lego art pieces to build and hang now. And cupcakes. So many cupcakes.

15 September, 2023

Recovery plan

Category: Aging,Body,Health — Moose @ 9:11 pm

The TL:DR version: 1. No surgery. 2. I dislocated the patella and it snapped back into place pretty much immediately. 3. Lots of PT. 4. Might take up to 3 months to get back to normal. 4. Follow up with Orthopedist in 3 week. 5. No driving.

So after waiting around in the large brace for a week, commuting from the 3rd floor (bedroom) to the 2nd floor (living room/kitchen) and back again, I got an MRI on Wednesday. I’ve had a couple MRIs over the years and this was the first time I didn’t have to get undressed and into a gown – everything but belt and jewelry stayed on. Wild. Saw the orthopedist this afternoon, and the message was better than expected. I don’t need surgery. I dislocated the patella when I slipped, and it smacked the femur, but it snapped right back. The MRI showed where the bones collided. I can’t quite get the knee into full flexion (fully bent), so for now I need to do a lot of PT to get the joint back to full mobility.

The tendon that runs on the inside of the knee is going to be angry with me as we bent the joint. The kneecap normally pulls to the outside some when the knee bends, and that’s going to irritate it. They gave me some prescription naproxen to help with it. I’ve put in a request with a PT shop that’s close (quick bus or Uber ride) so hopefully they’ll get back to me soon and we can start working on rehabilitation. In the meantime I’ll have to figure out how we work this with work, because I think I’m technically out of full-time work from home options, but I can’t imagine they won’t accommodate this since I can’t drive, thus can’t reasonably get to work via car or Metro.

I will say I’m grateful that I don’t need surgery. I’ll happily do PT until the cows come home to get back to normal.

9 September, 2023

Wrenched it

Category: Aging,Body,Health,Home,Mood,Stress — Moose @ 9:21 am

On Monday I was on a grocery run when I slipped on some oil in the parking lot and very badly wrenched my right knee. I didn’t feel anything pop, but I definitely went down and there was a lot of loud vocalizing about pain. On the upside, it’s a shopping center with an urgent care center, so after a bit of denial I leaned on a shopping cart and wheeled myself over to get checked out. I got a brace, crutches, instructions to go see an orthopedist.

Saw my old orthopedist’s office the next day (different doctor; the last guy specialized in shoulders, this one in knees). X-rays did not show anything broken, but did reveal that I have a bipartite patella on both knees, which is probably unrelated, but was an interesting conversation piece with the doc. Got a knee wrap and a stiffer, larger brace to hold things in place better (and boy have they improved since I last wore one back in 1986*). Instructions were to get an MRI and make a follow up appointment with the doc. First radiology place was going to take two weeks (!!!!) to get me in. I booked it, but then checked in with insurance to see where else was available and managed to get one a mere week later (this upcoming Wednesday the 13th, as opposed to the following Tuesday the 19th) a little further out. Definitely a sign that there’s too much demand and not enough supply in the DC radiology market.

In the meantime I’ve been sitting around playing lots of PS5, doing some reading, and a little bit of work. The collection of chargers next to the couch has slowly grown as I’ve needed to charge more devices like the kindle. The husband has been fantastic, fussing at me about letting him do more for me (I’m a terrible patient; I value my independence and hate asking for help). Thank heavens for the internet and videos for “best ways to get up and down stairs with crutches”, which we definitely did not have in 1986. Since this townhouse is a staircase with a couple rooms attached I’ve tried to minimize the amount of up and down each day to once each wherever possible. My neighbors have been good, too, with one graciously getting our car back from the parking lot to our garage, and another bringing a package in for me when the husband wasn’t going to be home until late. We have a slight problem with porch pirates, and I wanted to keep the cat food from disappearing, so I asked her to come drag it inside. The smart lock I installed a couple weeks back came in handy there, as I was able to unlock and lock the door from the couch so she could open the door.

And now I wait for appointments to see how badly I’ve messed this thing up. The swelling is down from the peak, but it’s still grapefruit sized and somewhat warm to the touch. Grateful we installed washlets on all the toilets, because when you only have one good leg to stand on wiping is not the easiest.

* Back in 1986 I was playing volleyball in gym class, went to hit the ball at the edge of the court, everyone yelled to let it go out as it was game point and we’d win, so I backed up quickly and in doing so chipped my thigh bone. I vaguely recalling yelling “shit” at the top of my lungs, and the whole gym was looking at me when I looked up. Teacher felt the knee, nothing broken, so ‘walk it off’ (Poor teacher; this was at the school where my mother was the librarian and I know she felt bad when it turned out to be worse than expected). Urgent care, orthopedist, arthroscopic surgery to remove the bone chips, and a massive leg brace to keep it all straight before and after surgery, which I recall being a pain in the ass to get on/off, with giant velcro tabs. This new one has velcro, but also has quick-release tabs that the velcro connects to, so is much, much easier to remove and put back on. Yay progress.

19 August, 2023

Shopping (?)

Not the shopping day I’d planned for, but hey. Started out early, with a 9am appointment at BJs to replace the front tires, because one of them has a giant bulge and a slow air leak. Get there ten minutes early, doors are closed. They finally bother to open at 9:25 (after calling the main desk twice to see where they were), get to the counter, they don’t have the tires I preordered and prepaid for. Then it was into the main club for a refund, because at that point I was done with them. Appointment made for another place Wednesday morning, and I’ll call Tuesday night to doublecheck that they have the tires.

So then it was on to get some food and planned haircuts. While eat we decided the husband needed some more shirts, so we picked the closer of the malls and headed there for wandering and shopping. I picked up grooming supplies, and he got a bunch of shirts. Ah, married life. Heh. Book shopping next, then a late lunch and gas for the car. The tire held up well, thankfully, and I didn’t have to reinflate it while we were out (I keep a pump in the car normally anyway).

Ran twice this week, very basic run/walk workouts on the treadmill, but the first such since covid last month. The fatigue is finally gone, thank heavens. Blood pressure is still higher than anyone would like, but some regular exercise should start to help with that, or at least keep it from getting worse. I’d really prefer not to go on drugs for that; I resent the allergy and reflux medications as is, so the thought of adding more just makes me grumpier. *phhhbbbbtttt*

Off to a brunch showing of Margaritaville at a local(ish) dinner theater tomorrow. Should be a hoot. I have a nice Hawaiian shirt with flamingoes on it for the occasion, and the husband has something similarly loud. We’re meeting friends for it, which will be nice as we’ll have a four-top table for the group, and no strangers to try and make awkward conversation with. Final show of this run, which is always fun to see.