urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
OK, ugly as they are--especially with one, brown, color available--I think I'm going to go ahead and look for a pair of Karrimor Shuttle shoes. Hopefully, they'll work.

A little while ago, thanks to the lousy depth perception, I dropped a glass full of iced tonic water (for leg cramps) straight into the floor, trying to set it on the edge of the desk here. Most of it went directly into one of my fuzzy slippers, so I opted for thick socks and walking sandals. (The floor is cold.)

My back had been acting up, and it improved almost immediately. The difference was amazing. By now, my calves are happier too.

Now, I know I've got the "Morton's Toe" variation, and that the instability from walking around balanced on your second metatarsal and your heel like a skate blade can lead to some problems, including lots of hip and back pain and sciatica. (Actually, I've run into pretty much the whole pattern described here--lots of ankle sprains, "plantar fasciitis" which was really from knotted-up calf muscles, knee pain, and all. I'm guessing it's trickier if you've got hypermobility anyway.) I tried the "little pad of Molefoam" workaround, which didn't want to stay put, tried some alternate materials (didn't stay put any better), then gave it up as a bad job. Even though that's probably helping perpetuate a number of musculoskeletal problems, I've mostly just been ignoring it.

The summer before last, I picked up a pair of Karrimor Grenada sandals, because I wanted a pair of walking sandals, and they were on sale at Millet's. I've basically been wearing them ever since, any time it's even vaguely warm enough outside (possibly with socks for insulation, dorky look be damned!). They are probably the most comfortable shoes I have ever bought, and I can stay on my feet much longer without getting knee and back pain. I was wearing them around the house most of the time, too, even though we usually operate a "no outdoor shoes" policy. (Maybe I just need to get a house pair.) I noticed again today that they act like a Morton's orthotic, shifting the weight onto the first metatarsal; it felt kind of weird at first, not having worn them in months.

When fall set in, I switched over to fuzzy slippers, because these floors get cold. Now, I think I'll pick up some insulated hiking socks if necessary, to wear the sandals without getting toecicles!

Sandals are a really bad idea for outdoor wear with the wet winters here, but looking at Karrimor's site before, I ran across the Shuttles, which are actually put on the same page as the sandals, and appear to be based on the same sole (and hopefully footbed) type. The ugly color put me off, but they definitely look worth a try. If those don't work, maybe some other Karrimor model will.

Another reason the sandals are so comfy, though, is most likely because they're adjustable in so many ways--unlike the closed version. (Though it does have a similarly flexible lots of eyelets reaching way down the shoe arrangement to Chucks, which fit me pretty well but are not much better in cold rain than sandals.)

My feet are consistently hard to fit. Most of my family's are "wrong-shaped" in the same ways, but I had no idea it might be a wider pattern until Nike launched their Air Native shoes a few years ago. (Hell, my mom looked for Central and South American-made shoes, so the trait lumping is maybe not as ridiculous as it sounds--sort of like the "Asian fit" glasses, I guess.) The ball is a lot wider than the heel, and the foot is thicker from top to bottom than most shoes want. My Nana used to wear almost exclusively Aigner loafers because she could (somewhat expensively) special-order different widths in the heel and ball, to the tune of AAA and C; looking at the ones available now, they also don't come up high enough on the foot to dig in and rub where the foot is higher than expected joining the ankle (another persistent problem).

So yeah, adjustable shoes are good.

It's Nike, FFS--I agree with most of Klee Benally's points in Nike Opportunism: Turning Native plight into profit?--and the "help these unhealthy fat slobs get some exercise" approach made me really angry. As did the still-limited availability; a lot of people who could benefit just can't buy them, not just me. (I did like the "fitting for special order" approach, though!) I was merely irritated by the fact that they're also ugly as sin. Still, I would be tempted to try some if I could.

As one commenter summed it up:
As soon as I heard this news I knew I want to try these shoes. I have spent a lifetime wearing ill fitting shoes. Speciality and orthotic shoe makers tell me there's nothing 'wrong' with my foot, it just doesn't conform to the standard shoe designs. My foot is exactly as they described the fit they are aiming for: short, very high, very narrow heel; a foot shaped like a v.

I don't care what they call it, No Name or Nike or N7. I'm just glad someone is making it. I have already called and asked to be put on a contact list for when this shoe is marketed here.


Shoes that don't cause and exascerbate pain? Priceless.

L*zy day

Oct. 1st, 2010 04:13 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Last night, I tried my hand at making makki ki roti (a lot like a corn tortilla, with plain, non-nixtamalized flour). The results were thoroughly edible, if a bit strange. :) Even after I started getting the hang of handling the dough--even being used to handling hot-water corn dough (yummy!)--I never really got the hang of getting the breads into the pan intact without making them about twice as thick as I wanted. That was better than I'd managed trying to make tortillas before, at least.

I'd originally planned to wrap stuff up in them, but they were thick and stiff enough that I wound up piling it on top. I threw together some spinach with onions and mushrooms fried with a little bacon, dill, mixed pepper, and lemon, and some vagely-fajita-seasoned chicken. (The big jar of "fajita seasoning" we've got is tasty, but more like fajitas via South India; this is the UK.) With some assorted cheese, it was pretty good anyway. :) In a little while, I'm going to chuck some of the mixed leftovers in with a little GF pasta, with maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt.

I was hoping that my infernal back would straighten out some overnight, but instead I woke up with a really obviously subluxated sacroiliac. (That's one dubious benefit of having basically no padding there; I can feel with my hands that the sides of the joint are uneven!) It has been that way for probably a week to a lesser extent. Waking up in a weird and uncomfortable position from Max crowding me didn't help at all. (But he's so cute...) Some stretching exercises have helped the unhappy muscles some, but the joint hasn't wanted to pop back where it's supposed to be so far--and I really don't want to overdo the stretching. This is getting really, really old.

And I'm irritated at hesitating to ask Ingvar to pick up more Nurofen Plus on his way home, since I've gone through the last batch pretty quickly with that joint staying subluxated. (It's pretty weak compared to, erm, most of the pain I get, but I'm so glad there is something available without a prescription when I'm having doctor avoidance! No, total lack of pain relief is not enough to force me past the PTSD, as I found when I was back in the US.) Funny--if that's the word--how the "raving dope fiends making shit up to get that great 8mg of codeine" thing gets internalized so it can pop back up occasionally. (Who am I kidding? More than occasionally.) Grrr.

So, today I'm taking things a little easy. I need to clean the goldfish tank anyway, since I've been putting it off for days with my back acting up. :/ But, I'll be extra careful about the way I'm moving doing it. That and some reading comprise my plans. :)

Between the rainy weather and everything else, it looks like a good night for some quick and easy potato soup! Maybe cheesy potato soup. I can find some kind of easy protein to gnaw on to balance things out, maybe some tuna. I was wanting to experiment with ground almonds in the oaty topping for an apple-and-pear crumble--sounded great!--but I think that will wait for another day.

ETA: Oh my. Poking around a bit in the nixtamalization search results, I ran across one, erm, interesting recipe: Soft Polenta: Soaked, Nixtamalized and Delicious. This blogger (who seems to be in the US) went through multiple steps involving cornmeal and lime water--not rinsed out!--to make grits. Without, AFAICT, knowing that's what she did. (But it's not déclassé if you call it polenta!) I guess if you wanted it Nourishing Traditions-styley, you could buy a bag of grits and soak them overnight. And have odd-textured, mushy grits. OK...

What with the trouble getting non-instant (urgh) grits here, I have considered picking up a bag of African samp (kept an Algonquian name, lost the lye treatment) and messing with lye or lime water, and then grinding it up. (Then I saw some Mexican hominy.) But that's kinda different.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Yesterday was pretty rough, but I'm doing better today.

Sunday night, I got what would have to qualify as the opposite of a useful chiropractic adjustment, quite unintentionally. [personal profile] vatine was having a look at something on my shoulder blade, and leaned on his forearm in just the wrong way on my behind: CRUNK! goes my left sacroiliac joint.

I think he's been concerned about unintentionally hurting me anyway, and that didn't help. *wry smile* It wouldn't have been a problem, if not for the unlucky combination of hypermobility, previous injury, and a bunch of tight muscles already putting strain on the joint.

Good thing we had a new bag of frozen peas. I woke up in the morning with room temperature peas still there, which was a little disconcerting, but it brought a lot of the swelling down. :) I will probably lie down with an ice pack again later, since there's still active inflammation, and it really helped yesterday. Things are less stabby today, but that's probably a good idea anyway. For some reason, I tend to forget about icing things. Probably because it involves slowing down long enough to do it. :-| Resting things? Not so good at that.

One disconcerting thing about this, which I also noticed with the severely sprained ankle a while back? A sacroiliac injury like this is considered to cause severe pain, and after the first night, it's striking me as annoying but manageable. Even on top of the other chronic pain. A good demonstration that I'm scarily accustomed to dealing with pain by now. "Scarily" because that's exactly how my mom missed that she had bone cancer until it was way too late.

Probably not endometriosis, after all. Yay! )

I mentioned a previous sacroiliac injury. That got me thinking again about the ballistics gel dummy model of anatomy: "It bears an eerie and unfortunate resemblance to the usual medical model, where pain is concerned: there's the skeleton and internal organs--where the Real Problems lie--and then there's this ill-defined fleshy mass encasing them." An excellent example? When I probably tore at least one ligament there (not just CRUNK!, but SNAP!), and the continuing pain was honest-to-goodness 'splained away as a special invisible bone abscess in my coccyx, which broke in the same fall. Never was soft tissue mentioned, at all.

Bizarre medical logic )

Frustration

Jul. 6th, 2010 05:19 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm having a serious disability frustration day today.

The neighbor who called the council on us over our previously-messy patio has, indeed, been gone. Yay! But, over the weekend we got new upstairs neighbors. I'm relieved that they do seem to be pleasant enough, but now I get to readjust to the noise overhead. I'm very aware that it's not them, it's me. It's mostly just normal walking-around sounds--with a running toddler--but they keep startling me. It doesn't help that even having people walking around over my head is only something that's been happening the past five years or so; guess I'm additionally spoiled by detached houses.

I didn't sleep well this morning, even with the usual earplugs, so am groggy and more prone to overload and pain amplification today. It's hard to concentrate on doing much. And I keep jerking and tensing muscles (the SSRI-triggered bruxism has gone wild), so the myofascial situation is not at all happy. Sometimes I get really, really tired of the combo of sensory issues and hypervigilance. With any luck, I'll adjust to the sounds within a few days.

Also, with any luck, I'll get past the "if I can hear them, they can hear me" hangup, and stop trying so hard to keep my verbal tics under wraps or at least quieter. That is very stressful, in itself, especially when you're at home where this is usually not a concern. I still seem to have a lot of internalized shame going over the Tourette-type stuff, and at some level still don't want people to think I'm weirder than they might already. It doesn't help that we did have a horrible neighbor up there before who honestly started trying to bully me with her stereo whenever [personal profile] vatine wasn't home, for whatever reason, so I really don't want to do anything to "set off" the new folks. (Ridiculous/victim-blaming/futile as it is.)

The really frustrating bit, though? After they talked to me off their balcony/deck a few times, I have been avoiding going into that part of the house. And I have been enjoying spending time on the patio in the sun, enjoying the plants and the pond, to decompress lately.

The thing is, I want to be a good neighbor and not come across as rude, and I really didn't mind, say, lending them the socket set to take the packing bolts off their new washing machine. But that kind of interaction with people I don't know is hard for me on a good day. Which this has not been, so far, for those purposes. The auditory processing goes haywire when I'm tired and overloaded, which makes for extra joy. And avoidance. My brain still has to work overtime to make sense out of Estuary English, too.

It also just hit me a few minutes ago that my nerves are probably even more shot because I have been avoiding going back there to smoke. (Yes, I am well aware that it's lousy for my health in a lot of ways.) Nicotine withdrawal is probably not improving my general sense of wellbeing.

Sometimes I get really frustrated, especially when things I was always made to feel ashamed of get in the way of doing what I want/need to do. It is a relief, in a way, knowing now that I really can't help it and this is not a matter of Not Trying Hard Enough to be socialize on other people's terms. OTOH, it's not entirely comfortable being reminded that these are real problems, and trying harder won't help me look more "functional". Talk about shame: Damn, that is really just the way I'm made! ;) And that even if I don't kick myself so much over just not having the gift of gab, other people are still prone to putting some funky interpretations on it.

I am also frustrated because sometimes I just don't have enough spoons available to try to come up with workarounds for things that I can usually work around. So, I'm trying just to distract myself with music, and roll with things instead of catastrophizing.

I was going to write something along somewhat similar lines, inspired by a couple of posts I ran across: The Class Dynamics of DIY Clothing at Red Vinyl Shoes, and craft pr0n and how it’s killing America at Underbellie. But, the spoons won't stretch right now. Maybe I'll get to it later. At any rate, the problem is not just classism, but also ableism. And internalized ableism, in my case. I keep feeling like crap and getting frustrated because I can't do nearly as much art/craft/DIY stuff as I would like to and keep feeling like I ought to do. (Though coming more from a DIY-from-necessity background.)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I got a little more excitement than I was bargaining for, right after I woke up. (Thanks again, sleep drunkenness! Which can actually last for hours.) Disruptions to my morning--well, noonish, nocturnal as I tend to be--routine are not easy to deal with.

Bare description:

Wake up. Lurch into the kitchen to make coffee. Open patio door to let Max out. Go back into the other part of the house for my temporarily misplaced glasses. Hall door to the kitchen and TV room will not open. Jiggle at jammed latch, curse. Scan for shoes, settle on fuzzy bedroom slippers. Snag spare front door keys, shuffle around the outside of the house--through tall grass and a couple of overgrown elders (with bugs-crawling-on-me phobia)--muttering all the way. Stretch up in clumsy arabesque, reach arm through rose bush to unlatch back gate from the outside. Luckily, patio door is open.

Max gets excited, seeing me going in and out of the gate without him. Repeatedly. At least the gate opens inward, so he can jump up on the unlatched gate to his heart's delight without opening it.

Turn the kettle back on for coffee. Realize I need to go to the bathroom. Find sandals, go back around house. Get tripped by the Mirrors kitty on the way. Snag screwdriver to remove the door handles while I'm there.

Finally get water into the coffee press. Blink repeatedly while slurping the sweet, sweet nectar. Tackle door handle; some genius has painted over stripped screw heads. Naturally, most of the tools are in the other part of the house. Go around house again in search of the Dremel, which turns out to have been lurking in the TV room all along. Remove a couple of unstripped screws on the other side of the plate while I'm there. Back on the other side, try to cut stubborn screw heads off. Poor dog dashes outside in alarm. Fail miserably, because they're fairly flush to the plate. Get fleck of paint in eye. Break the one suitable cutting disk on that side of the house, give the Dremel attempt up as a bad job.

Go back around the house to fetch a small crowbar. Start on that side of the door. Indeed, a steel crowbar trumps a brittle wrought iron aluminum painted to look like wrought iron door plate. Hadn't intended to break it into pieces, but that freed it from the stuck screws! Go back around the house, and pry at the other plate, while Max watches dubiously through the patio door.

At some point in this whole process, strain my already tight iliopsoas, for that extra-fun "groin pull plus thrown-out back" effect.

Finally get the handles off, latch is still stuck. End up jimmying the door open with the crowbar, wishing I'd just tried that first. :/ Luckily, manage not to damage either the door or the doorframe beyond a few minor scratches. Finally finish my coffee.

We may have to keep that door shut with a doorstop temporarily, since we still need to keep Max and the cats separated so he doesn't chase them, but at least it is now open. That should work over the weekend, since [personal profile] vatine is heading off for a long weekend in Sweden tomorrow and I don't want to try to install a new door handle and latch. Since he's on call this week and needs to get home fairly directly, a stop for pain relief is looking more pressing ATM than obtaining a new door latch. :(

And this unexpected morning dance could have been a lot worse: we could be living upstairs. And we did have suitable tools around, where I could find them.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I made the mistake of baggying and leaving Heenara hair oil in overnight. I like the stuff, but its initially pleasant smell got so overwhelming that it kept waking me up! It probably didn't help that, thick as my (not-quite-shoulder-length) hair is, I had to use about 1/4 of a bottle--even clipping sections up and trying to get it mostly on the scalp. Lotta hair in the way, still. I ended up getting out of bed about 3 hours earlier than intended, and had to go wash it out even before coffee got made.

My hair did seem to like it, though.

So, now I'm feeling like a particularly overload-prone zombie (thanks, "sleep drunkenness"!), and need to get out shopping before long. I am still not fond of UK Sunday opening hours, oh my no. After I get back, it's nap time. Then, maybe I won't be so grouchy. ;)

Oh yes, I am also trying to ignore another little surprise this morning: some garbage on the patio. This time, it's not a gift from the upstairs neighbor--actually, I think he's gone! *crossing fingers*--but from a bag-ripping fox. Max was inside when it happened, overnight, and I've stood there and watched foxes do that before. :-| I like the urban foxes, and they need to eat too, but I really am fonder of them when they aren't strewing garbage around my patio. At least none of it is actively smelly.


Not mine, but the BBC's. Couldn't resist a foxy photo. ;)

With the sciatica finally calming down a bit, I am so not bending over to pick that up today. (Part of the point of the trip out is to get some more pain relief!) Ingvar is in Reading helping some friends move their shop today. So, I guess he will also have a lovely surprise when he gets home tonight. :/
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
No wonder I was feeling grouchy, depressed, and a bit out of it last night and (especially) today: a migraine kicked in while I was out getting some Nurofen Plus for my back and antihistamines. The timing could have been worse, at least. ;)

The prodrome and aura were harder to spot because it was really easy to put feeling crappy off on a combination of allergies and my back acting up, which can be pretty overloading on its own--and it kept me from sleeping well, which also makes me feel generally crappy and prone to overload. (And then I didn't remember to eat lunch. Bleh.) Since the visual snow effect got a lot worse about an hour before the pain hit, and it's done that before, I'm wondering if that's an aura thing too. My visual processing goes screwy that way when I'm overloaded--and prone to straightforward tension headaches--so it's kind of hard to sort things out!

But, I was more than a little relieved when the headache started, and provided a pretty straightforward explanation for the way I'd been feeling. I may not like them, but migraines I can deal with. Disappointed as I was not to get to see people I haven't seen in a long while, it was probably a really excellent thing that I hadn't bulled through and headed for a night out at a pub in Central London after all!

We only live about a mile outside the town centre, but I was so not going to lurch down there today. So traffic heading that way was clogged almost to our bus stop. Stubbornly, I climbed on the bus anyway, and still ended up lurching farther than intended so that I had a hope of getting to Boots before it closed. It did get me at least three quarters of the way closer.

While I was out, I stopped by Sainsbury's in the same shopping centre, and got some easy food, including some frozen chicken and mushroom pies out of the Free From section--junky, but oddly satisfying when you're not feeling great. :) Also some GF bread and sandwich fixings.

By that point, my blood sugar was getting pretty low (stress didn't help!), so I also wolfed down a pretty tasty pseudo-Asian salad with black rice, veggies, edamame, shrimp, and ginger-lime dressing. Convenient, decently balanced, and GF except for the soy sauce in the dressing, which is usually OK--and I was past worrying about it. Sometimes I do get tired of having to think about what and when I eat. I used to be a bit self-conscious about perching on benches in busy areas to light into food like a ravening beast, but needs must. Finally getting some food in helped some.

I also picked up some ground cloves and allspice while I was there, for the Great Henna Experiment. I've been pretty much addicted to blatantly unnatural permanent hair dye for 20+ years, but went off it when I decided to try to let my hair grow out--trying to avoid the eventual "matting frizzy straw" effect--but lately I've been eyeballing the couple of boxes of (ruby) red and purple still in the house. ;) I was even becoming tempted to try really saturated shades of SFX or similar on unbleached hair; maybe Candy Apple Red or Deep Purple, which should still give a decent undertone. This has been on my mind even more lately, since I wasn't entirely pleased in spite of myself to find some silver starting to come in at the temples.

So, I was pleased to find out that henna does not necessarily give you Lucille Ball orangey-red, but it's very possible to get the kinds of colors I want anyway out of it with the right mix and base color. I've probably actually seen people with similar shades from henna, but assumed it was something else. Something that's actually good for your hair and can give you the colors you want? Sounds close to perfect.

I ordered some ostensibly body art quality henna and some indigo from an Indian grocery (could have made a trip into Ilford, but didn't feel like it), but neglected the spice additions--to help with more burgundy tones--while I was at it. So, instead of busing it into Ilford after all, I sucked it up and paid supermarket prices. Which still just about brings the ingredients per batch close to the price of the dye I'd been using, so it's not too bad. :) That will probably wait until tomorrow night.

The bus ride home was a bit surreal. There was the visual snow and sense that things were moving strangely. There was also another (Black) passenger about 20 who, judging from his mannerisms and pretty severe tardive dyskinesia, I'd guess was autistic and on neuroleptics. That made me more than a little sad and frustrated for him. Even the way I was feeling, I made sure to smile in his direction and basically try to acknowledge his humanity; the bus was pretty full, and other passengers were acting like they'd get ebola from sitting anywhere near him. That's gotta hurt. Grrr. Then there was a priest who looked like he felt sorry for me, with my cane and whatever expression was on my face right then. *shakes head* I was glad to get off before someone started into a bizarre monologue nobody else seemed to hear, and it really started to remind me of the kind of Italian film I avoid. It was that kind of bus trip.

Now I'm slurping a big cup of coffee and waiting for the pain relief to kick in. I'll probably stick my pies in the oven and lie down for a while.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Awesome discovery of the week: some iliopsoas stretching has already improved my quality of life remarkably.

I had no idea how much they'd been contributing to keeping other muscles unhappy, until I gave them a good stretch a couple of days ago, trying to get some cramp relief. The difference was absolutely amazing. (Heck, I didn't realize how much the range of motion in my right hip was restricted until that loosened up.) The nagging groin and thigh pain, temporarily horrible with the cramps, totally stopped. The nagging burning pain and weakness--mostly covered by the iliopsoas referral pattern--in my right thigh also went away; that's the main reason I've been needing the cane lately, since that thigh has been prone to suddenly giving out/seizing up and dumping me on the ground if I'm not careful. That knee will give out too, and I know that's from the spasmy inner thigh muscles.

The iliopsoas are exactly what has been throwing my back completely out one week a month; apparently, it's often responsible for "back labor" too. I think the iliacus and psoas have been keeping the piriformis (psoas can directly cause sciatica, too), sartorius, and other inner thigh muscles going.

I felt kind of silly not having figured this out until now, but getting the piriformis and quadriceps happier helped unmask this pattern. Also, apparently I'm hardly the only one who's neglected the psoas: "Out of sight because it is deep in the body, and does not show up on a chart of the surface muscles. Out of mind because every function the psoas performs can be duplicated by one or more of these surface muscles. It is also difficult to feel inside yourself unless your attention is specifically called to it, and even then it can take some sustained effort." Yep. I probably also missed it because, with my hypermobility, a lot of the recommended stretches just don't extend the hip enough to feel a stretch in there! That doesn't mean it's not really tight.

One thing still has me a little irritated, though: I've had trouble out of these muscles since I was a kid, and it got explained away by a variety of things. (Including my being a whiny PITA.) What made me repeatedly afraid I had appendicitis when I was 8 or 9? Iliopsoas pain (see psoas sign used in diagnosis!). And yes, it was excruciating when prodded right over the appendix; "the right iliopsoas muscle lies under the appendix when the patient is supine, so a positive psoas sign on the right may suggest appendicitis." In fact, it looks suspiciously like an inflamed appendix irritating the psoas may be responsible for a lot of the characteristic pain from appendicitis. Which only makes sense, if you look at how the body's systems fit and work together.

I do wish there were more medical emphasis on and knowledge about muscular pain; that would save a lot of people a lot of grief and, erm, pain. :-| Chronic back pain immediately comes to mind; something is yanking the spine around, when vertebrae or disks are noticeably out of alignment. Besides all the cases in which nothing unusual is visible on the x-rays, so it couldn't possibly be serious, right? *grumble*

Mostly out of trainwreck fascination, [personal profile] vatine and I have tried to watch a couple of the Deadliest Warrior episodes. How could anyone resist a title like "Shaolin Monk vs. Maori"? *g* (Indeed, it's annoyingly trainwrecky, and I don't plan to see it again.) One thing that struck me was their ballistics gel torso with skull, ribcage, and organs inside, used to demonstrate damage from weapons. It bears an eerie and unfortunate resemblance to the usual medical model, where pain is concerned: there's the skeleton and internal organs--where the Real Problems lie--and then there's this ill-defined fleshy mass encasing them. And Ingvar didn't understand why I was laughing like a loon at their hideous gel torso, even after I tried to explain.

At any rate, I'm hopeful that continued stretching will help get things back on track, so I can get back to doing more. Yay. (No wonder getting back into cycling just about killed me, especially on a bike designed for somebody with longer arms!) Massaging the iliacus isn't so difficult, but the psoas are hard (and painful!) to get to. If the stretching doesn't do the trick--and it might not, with the long-term trigger points--I may try it anyway. This has been hard to live with, but I'd just about resigned myself to it. Some indication that it can improve is welcome, though I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, the asthma/allergy coughing is definitely helping keep this problem going--as I noticed when I had a coughing fit right after stretching. :-| They have always acted up in response to strong coughing, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if the coughing were what got those muscles so touchy in the first place. (Never mind all the situps and crunches I used to do--ouch!) But, with any luck, I can get the asthma and post-nasal flood ("drip" does not describe it), which also makes me cough a lot, under better control.

This was supposed to be a short note at the beginning of something else (about quilting and new art projects, actually), but it grew. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I can't quite figure out how the tags are broken. This looks OK on full page view, displaying the cuts, but things are weirdly italicized otherwise. Trying to fix. Fixed. Apparently, DW objects to sticking a cut tag in the middle of a block of formatted text.

[personal profile] vatine is off gaming today, so I'm taking it easy and have mostly been camping in front of the keyboard. The poor dog claims he is being sorely neglected, but he does whenever at least one of us isn't petting him.

Update: It turns out that he's also afraid of heavy rain--not just thunder--so I'm going in there to sit with him after posting this!

Out of slightly morbid curiosity, I went and did the PsychCentral Sanity Score quiz [personal profile] phoneutria_fera mentioned yesterday. It requires a login, which irked me, but I went ahead and set up a throwaway account.

The results, pasted?


Your Sanity Score
54

Score Breakdown )

Interesting, in a fairly typical psych assessment kind of way. For anyone who doesn't know, I spent a lot of time in the psych system over things which were neither psychiatric nor psychological. I am autistic with a lot of interesting neurological stuff going on, and ended up deemed bipolar with a clunky mess of other things tacked on to cover all the stuff the mood disorder didn't.

Bear in mind that, whether they should be or no now that they're accepted as neurological, ASDs (and Tourette's) are lumped into the DSM. You wouldn't know it from this assessment. Things may have changed in practice these days, though an awful lot of kids with ASDs are apparently getting pediatric bipolar labels.

The questions weren't quite as bizarre as a lot of the ones on the MMPI--which surely gives a lot of false positives for "Hypochondriasis"--but some of them came close. Just a small sample of ambiguous ones which caught my eye:

Question quibbles )

I couldn't help but get the yes-or-no "Have you stopped beating your wife?" feeling a lot, with a lot of the phrasing.

Yeah, a good mental health professional will be able to sort out what might be contributing to a lot of these things. Some are excellent. Unfortunately, a lot are not so good, and many of those are inclined to view things through certain filters which presume a narrow range of mental illnesses above other explanations for the problems their clients are experiencing. That can work OK for some people's situations, but not so much for others. Some of the filters which pathologize people's behavior and communication--eliminating other possible explanations--are unlikely to help anyone.

Going back to the results, the breakdown was interesting--especially in light of the (inappropriate) diagnoses I picked up before. I can't say much about the anxiety and especially the PTSD, other than that a lot of what has been interpreted and treated as anxiety and phobia is actually coming from purely neurological sensory weirdness. The same with rarely going out of the house; management is very different, depending on whether this is due to real sensory overload (plus some built-up anxiety from that, and other people's distress over it), or whether it's based on some horrible trauma in your past (as was assumed). Apples and oranges.

I do have Complex PTSD, and 15+ years of largely getting treated like crap in the psych system did not help with that. On the depression front, the score seems to be so low not because I am not experiencing symptoms these days, but because I am used to dealing with it by now and it doesn't freak me out; the way I look at this has also changed, as reflected in some of the question quibbles. I've learned to do more emotional regulation, not having even known it was possible growing up. Also, some of the relevant questions do not seem to take into account that a person might have experienced chronic depression for long enough that there is not a sharp contrast between "now" and "before".

Some products of neurological things (executive function, inertia, etc.) were taken as symptoms of depression, and figuring out what's what to some extent has also helped; these things also require different strategies, depending on what's behind the difficulty. Are you having trouble getting in the shower because you're depressed, or does it have more in common with How to make a phone call, in 70 easy steps? Maybe it's a combination of the two (my, do I know that one), or something else entirely.


Video: Original Song about Executive Dysfunction "I Grinded the Coffee" by P. Lungstuffing. No spoons for a transcript right now, unfortunately.

The "Physical Issues" score does not reflect anywhere near the actual quantity (or quality) of physical problems I am having now. This is probably down to both question bias and similarly increased mindfulness helping me deal with it. On a related note, I had to get a chuckle out of the "Drugs: 0", the way a lot of people want to act about chronic pain treatment.

"Dissociation", "Borderline Traits" (ah, that old dumping ground!), and "Obsessions/Compulsions"? A combination of neurological stuff and PTSD. I was diagnosed with mild OCD because of tics which fit Tourette's criteria. One therapist suggested that I just didn't want to "improve" when I started ticcing even more under the scrutiny. Seriously.

The test was interesting to mess with, and I think it nicely illustrates a number of systemic problems. I didn't need this to tell me how sane I am now, and not surprisingly, think this assessment deeply underestimated my coping abilities in some ways while just not taking other areas into account at all. Can I clean my house? Rarely, for multiple reasons. And so on.

(Maybe I should throw in a link to my Psychiatry, freedom, and noninterference post here, for clarification. I am all for truly informed choice, and the last thing I'd want to do is tell people to buck up. Urgh.)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The best graphic pain chart EVER.

I'm glad nobody has ever shown me the one photographed in the ER. If I am in enough pain to actually go and try to get someone to do something about it, and they try to get me to point at that disaster, I might bite them. Seriously.

The numeric scales have always given me problems, unclear as it is what the numbers are supposed to refer to: 10 as the worst pain you've ever experienced, the kind of pain you'd imagine from getting limbs caught in farm machinery or a bus on top of you, or what? Some clarification would be good. Not to mention all the differences in individual perceptions.

One drawback to even the rather hilarious new scale: unless I'm actively throwing up and/or screaming (directly after orthopedic surgery or the like), outwardly it's not going to look higher than a 3 or 4. Yeah, this has worked to my disadvantage, a lot (**); then there's the lack of pissing and moaning.

I guess the ratings should correspond to how you're feeling on the inside. If there's enough perceived disconnect there, that can still prove interesting!

September 2011

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