Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brain Fog On Vacation

I find that during my flares, I sometimes have trouble with memory and speaking.  A 2010 study by NCBI, in The Clinical Journal of Pain found that people with RA who were in a lot of pain scored poorly on tests of planning, decision-making, and working memory. In a 2012 study by Arthritis Care & Research,  nearly one third of people with RA scored low on a series of mental tasks. Thinking issues may also affect physical function, making it harder for people with RA to go about their daily activities. Brain fog feeds off of fatigue so I try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night. During flares, it is not uncommon for me to sleep 12-14 hours. It used to frustrate me sleeping that long but I learned it's what my body needs. 

The reason I brought this up is this week while riding my motorcycle, I was having a flare hit me about 230 miles into my ride. While my RA was not liking me being on the bike I was still 70 miles from the motel. I was running 70 mph entering a turn before I realized it. I grabbed both brakes hard and saw there was no oncoming traffic so I let myself drift up into the other lane through the turn. Needless to say I slowed down to the speed limit for the rest of the ride back to the motel. This was my fault, I know my reaction time isn't as good during a flare up ... it just slipped up on me and I got away with it. I just didn't realize that my flare was serious enough to impact my thinking already.

Cut our 3 day ride a day short due to t-storms moving into where we staying at. Had a great time and the fall colors were everywhere from just starting to full on to a little past peak color. We camped out at the Marion Countryside Inn and rode 305 miles the first day which is double what I try to hold my mileage to. All was good until ... I tried to get out of bed the next morning. No need in trying to identify the culprit ... it was my entire right side from the hip down. My hurting places had hurting places on them. It was ugly but after working for about 5 minutes, I was just about to get myself out of bed when ... I get a cramp in my right calf. Are you kidding me? I quickly slid what refused to bend out of bed and did the frankenstein stand up and walk until the cramp eased up. Whew, that was fun, now I just have to shower, gas the bike up, eat breakfast and ride 200 miles back home. Haha, I made it, and it was worth it, but I'm paying for it today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

RA Tip#37

After being on RA meds for close to 11 years now, I have the routine down pretty well ... or do I? This past Wednesday was shot day, I give myself an injection of humira every other Wednesday. I have always iced my leg down to numb it before the injection at the suggestion of my rheumatologist. I take the shot out of the fridge and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before injecting it. I was preparing my lunches for my work week, baking chicken and cooking vegetables and forgot about it. The shot had been on the counter for close to 25 minutes now when I remembered it. I didn't want to let it sit out for another 5 minutes while numbing my injection site and besides with it warmed up this much the humira would be warmer and probably offset not numbing my leg. I wash my hands and clean the injection site with an alcohol pad. Now remember, I have never not numbed my leg for the injection but ... I'm not scared. At the exact moment the liquid entered my leg, my leg felt the same temperature as it is 30 feet off of the surface of the sun! I considered yanking the needle out of my leg but knew I needed to just man up and ride it out. I pulled the needle out of my leg as soon as it was all in and let out a string of cuss words that would make a sailor jam his fingers in his ears and say "lah lah lah lah lah". In closing I would like to say that I will ALWAYS numb my injection site from that day forward. Just remember, I do stupid stuff and write about it so you don't have to.

About 100 miles into my ride Sunday afternoon, I was riding a patch of asphalt and passed a guy on the shoulder of the road. I slowed and turned around to check on him. I pulled up behind him and asked if he needed gas or help. He smiled real big and said thanks, he just stopped to stretch his legs. We started talking and turns out he was from Tulsa and knew some people I use to race with from over there. Super nice guy, we must have talked 25 minutes or more on the shoulder of the road. Oh. almost forgot the best part, he was riding a black Moto Guzzi V7. Ultra cool retro bike. Face it ... people that ride are just way cooler!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Is Wrong With People

Having an invisible illness, as in my case RA, has it's advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that no one sees you as really being sick. It happened to me at work again last week, a co-worker told me they wish they had what I had, they would get on disability and quit work. They went on to say that it looks like what I have isn't too bad! I push myself hard to continue enjoying life. They don't know that I hurt every damn day, that my feet feel like they've been hit with a sledgehammer most days, they don't know what it's like to have pain wake you in the middle of the night and not be able go back to sleep, many nights just the weight of the sheet on my feet hurts them, they have never felt your joints feel like they're on fire during an intense flare. A perfectly healthy person willing to trade their good health in so they could sit on their no good, lazy ass and get a check for doing nothing! I'm really not an angry person, I have developed a adverse reaction to stupidity.

I had three days off this week and was fully flared up in both shoulders. Monday morning I couldn't lift my left arm over waist high. After doing nothing Monday and Tuesday, I have good range of motion in both shoulders this morning. I want to ride today so bad but the responsible part of me says no, you have to go back to work tomorrow. I hate it when responsible me makes sense! 

I have had the forest maps out and between them and google maps I located another iron truss bridge to go shoot and an abandoned schoolhouse from 1905 to go visit. Taking down time isn't always a bad thing.

I have also been reading about the restyled Suzuki V-Strom 650 and have to admit I'm interested. I wish it had a 21" front tire but I still want to look at and throw a leg over one.