Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter ... ugh

It has been an unusual year to say the least.  We had almost no winter followed by the mildest spring I can remember in a long while, we did not have a single tornado get close to us ... until December 19th.  It touched down a few miles east of us but we lost numerous shingles from the front (west) side of our roof.  We got it repaired on the 21st, just three days before rain, ice and snow hit us.  The cold and damp conditions have impacted my body with above normal to intense pain over the past two weeks.  I hate winters now, with the exception of going to work, I stay inside - often in bed or under my electric throw in the recliner.  The cold weather turns me into a prisoner inside my own home.  It's no secret that I would rather be outside but I have learned to accept it and take the down time to recharge myself for better days to come. 

I feel confused about how the Humira is doing.  It does well for a while then I have periods where I don't do so well with it.  I have decided to eat better starting January 1st and document my year and see if there is any correlation between eating the right/wrong foods and exercise with my treatment.  If it is me, I can correct that.  If it proves it does not make a difference, I will talk to my rheumatologist about pursuing a different treatment.  I hate changing meds but I also hate hurting, especially if there is something that may work better for me.

I wish everyone a safe and happy new year ... and one filled with many pain free days!

btw, we all need to laugh.  Couldn't resist throwing this on this post.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Hole In My Heart

I can't imagine the pain the parents, siblings and friends are going through in Newton, Connecticut.  I do know this, anyone who is a parent has a hole in their heart, me included.  If I were a policeman or paramedic and had been called to the school that day, that would be the day I quit a good job ... I'm thankful for stronger men and women than I am.  What hero's the teachers and principal are that stood up to pure evil that day giving their life to protect the students. 
I don't claim to have the answers, it seems like (as in most tragedies) there were signs and safeguards ignored or bypassed.  I think it would be a mistake to open the school back up and expect everyone, students, staff and parents, to walk back into the same building as if nothing had happened. 
I have owned guns since I was 13, I currently own 2 rifles and 3 hand guns and have never, ever one time even entertained the thought of shooting someone.  Just 6 weeks ago, one night while I was at work, my wife was home alone.  At 3am someone was trying to break into our house.  She scared them off by turning the hallway light on, not realizing what was going on at first.  The storm door closed and she heard foot steps running away.  She called 911 and  ... 17 minutes later a police car showed up.  A lot can happen in 17 minutes.
I didn't mean to turn this post into a rant.  I'm hurting over it and just rambling now so I will close this with thoughts and prayers going out to the whole community.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rough Times

It has been a crazy 3 weeks since my last post.  I had not forgotten about my blog, just had too much going on.  First, my wife was sick with the stomach flu so I did my best to take care of her while still trying to avoid contact (impossible to do) due to my depleted immune system.  Then her grandfather passed away and between the arrangements, visitation and the funeral that was a full week.  Then 3 days after his funeral, I finally succumbed to the stomach flu.  After 2 full days of it, I was feeling better but terribly weak.  I went back to work last Wednesday night and managed to survive my normal 4 day rotation. 

Through all of this, my RA was doing quite well ... then late Sunday night a cold front blew in and well, you know what that does to RA.  The cold has made my RA a bit cranky but not too bad.  I now have a new item to add to my bucket list.  I received a confirmation from my rheumatologist Monday morning that I had better prepare myself for a hip replacement.  As soon as he said that, before I could even say anything, he quickly added that I would not have to give up riding ... only temporarily (4-6 months) while healing.  I guess you see why I like my doc so much.  It's nice having a doc that rides instead of one telling you to get rid of those contraptions.  Anyway, he said it's nothing pressing, but will most likely come to that in the next few years.  He has me scheduled for a TB blood test and right hip x-rays next visit.  I also took the Our Hands Can book to show him on this visit.  I told him that I was honored to have been included in the project and that I was on page 24.  He was impressed and sat there reading through several pages of it in the middle of my exam.  

I have done a few shorter rides, logging nearly 1500 miles since the third week in October.  I recently rode out to a bridge that was built in 1904.  It was a solid bridge but the real story was the trip out there this time.  I took off with the approximate GPS coordinates loaded up. Once I hit the dirt, I turn on my GPS.  As I am going farther I realize it looks like I am riding on private land, but my GPS still indicates it is the road the bridge is on. I keep riding and soon I'm crossing cattle guards in open, empty fields.  Out in the middle of these fields, I find an old concrete bridge that has not been logged on any bridge report that I can find so far.  I continue on and start climbing a steep, rocky uphill.  Soon I'm pulling up into the back end of a rock quarry the length of a football field long and dug down about 20 feet. At first I hesitate but decide to ride further into the quarry, then I finally see someone ... 2 drunk Mexicans (you can't make stuff like this up!). Nice guys, they understood me and told me where I needed to be, the road 50 feet west of where I was. I am assuming this was an old county road bed at one time ... I don't know.
Almost surreal how green the field is (have no idea what it is) in December.
San Bois bridge, built in 1904.
Unnamed concrete bridge that I found riding in the middle of nowhere.
Yes, that is a good sized whole in the bridge deck.