Flying Around the “Boat”

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I flew Navy helicopters from 1990 to 2001, with the Seahawk (the Navy’s Blackhawk) as one of the helicopters that I flew.  It doesn’t look so bad in the daytime with calm seas like this….

Weekly Pill Sorting

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Was doing my weekly sorting of prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements that have become part of my life these past five years and thought to myself, “How crazy is this?”. Oh, to be able to go back to the days of just taking a multivitamin each day.

One of my heating pads is sick

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Our cat Alex is sick at the vet’s office tonight.  I was looking for pictures of him and found this one from a few years ago.  Throughout these past five years, heat has been one of the few things that has helped my symptoms.  Before I stopped working, my squadron mates had a couch installed behind my desk so that I could take frequent breaks from flight planning to  lie down to rest and recover.  Several of my friends still mention how I would have 3-4 heating pads going at once (like in the attached picture from home) in an effort to take the edge off the pain from the RSD/CRPS.  Although our two cats have never been quite as good for heat therapy, they’ve often provided companionship and support during these last several years of chronic illness.

Rainy Days and Mondays

​If you’re old enough, or nostalgic enough, you may remember the song from The Carpenters about how rainy days and Mondays always get you down. Today was one of those days that it was the dreadful combination of the two. In Maine we’ve not yet reached consistent, warm decent weather and starting last night we’ve had a great deal of rain. Normally this would not be that big a deal. In fact, many in the state are so ready for cold weather to be over that rain is just fine, because it isn’t more snow.
​     For this chronic illness “Spoonie”, however, the rainy night compounded the pain that I was already having while attempting to sleep in my recliner. For the last several months, my CRPS, Fibromyalgia, and POTS have been accompanied by Adhesive Capsulitis, otherwise known as Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. This has made it very painful to move my left shoulder, and very difficult to try to sleep in bed. This round of Frozen Shoulder has lasted nearly six months. With a history of CRPS/RSD, my fears of the stories of having to be put under to have my arm “manipulated” to break up the frozen tissue are only slightly eased by the fact that I’ve already fought this battle once a few years back. Frozen Shoulder seems to be one of the conditions that seems to frequently accompany RSD/CRPS from what I’ve learned over the last five years. The first time around it was my right shoulder and it worked itself out after a great deal of physical therapy and approximately nine months of pain. So my hopes are high that my left shoulder will follow a similar pattern and resolve itself without the need for surgery.
​Along with the pain from the Frozen Shoulder, the pain that I always deal with from my RSD/CRPS and Fibromyalgia, I also had the pleasure of dealing with two separate “Charlie Horse” occurrences in the calf of my right leg during the night.

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling that chipper when I got up this morning. With the rain continuing throughout the day, an ideal day for me would have been to spend the day on the couch binge watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, being a chronic illness Spoonie, I had three separate medical appointments to attend at the VA hospital.
​All three appointments were in some way associated with my five year battle with chronic illness. The first was with my new mental health counselor, as my last one is in the process of moving to a different state. With the loss of my flying career in the military and dealing with pain every day for the last five years, it was no surprise that Depression/Anxiety became part of my life. My second appointment was with a nutritionist, as five years of chronic illness, pain, and depression have caused me to add a few more pounds than I’d hoped and I’m looking to get some help to control the part of weight loss that I can control, which is what I’m eating. The last of the three appointments was with my pain doctor for my monthly follow-up on my various symptoms, medications, and overall plans for making the most of my situation.
​     The VA hospital where I attended these three appointments is approximately an hour and twenty minutes away, when the weather is good. Today, especially on the trip to the hospital, the rain was coming down so heavily that it was hard to see and the standing water on the highway made for some tense driving. By the time I made it back to the house late this afternoon, I was pretty spent.
​     What makes today different with me being a chronic illness survivor is that what would normally have been more of a nuisance day for most people, has completely worn me out. Not only do I feel depleted today, but I’m pretty sure I will still be recovering from today for most of tomorrow. Having chronic illness makes the simplest of tasks so much more difficult and tiresome. When you add a long, painful, tiring day to the fact that it is a rainy day or a Monday, you have a recipe for a very bad day for a Spoonie.