In this soliloquy, which begins Shakespeare's "Richard III", he talks about the reversal of his family's fortunes. "Now is the winter of our discontent" is the exact line. "Winter" in this case, meaning the end of problems. We all know how the play, and the real life Richard the III's, life ended.
It's been a bad month for me. "Discontent" in all it's glorious meaning, is the perfect word to describe this month. So many days have slipped away. So many photos unblogged. There is, however, a reason. I came down with diverticulitis.
On August 1st, I went shopping with Pam. We had a glorious day of laughter and friendship, as we usually do. The next day, I thought I'd eaten something bad. It continued into Monday, August 3rd. I felt like I had the flu. Lots of sleep and on Tuesday, August 4th, I was tired, but I felt reasonably fine. That "reasonably fine" feeling grew ever more tenuous. It seems as if every other day was a bad day. Pain. Excessive tiredness. I felt like my abdomen was full of gas. "If I could just fart, I'd feel better," I would say as a wave of pain overtook me. Finally, self-treating didn't seem to be working and I went to the doctor on August 12th.
I was put on Cipro and Flagyl, two strong antibiotics. One of the problems with an infection is my compromised immune system thanks to the RA. I had to go off all my RA meds and carefully watch when I took my vitamins because they would counteract the Cipro. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of these two antibiotics and going off the RA drugs has been incredible tiredness. I finally gave up trying to remember when I took the Cipro so I could take the vitamins. Even little notes to myself would leave me perplexed. "Why does this say 8:10 and this one say 8:35?" Confusion is a side effect, too. I took to walking around the house with a note pad and pen, writing down what I was trying to remember. This went beyond the "Why did I come into this room?" This was an "I have no idea what I'm doing" memory issue.
Blogging was impossible. I tried, oh how I tried. There are a large number of photos to talk about. A month of photos has come and gone without a comment. I have missed me.
It took 5 days for the pain to subside. I've been off both drugs now since Saturday. I'm still tired, but I know that to be the cost of RA. I'm having twinges of pain in joints that were pain-free just a month ago. Heck, I was reveling in being pain-free. I need to mow the lawn now, after a month of not needing to do it. The idea now scares me. It won't be a 45 minute exercise. I may not be able to do it in one day. I feel I've been sent to jail and I have no "Get out free" card.
Through all of this, I've kept working. The pain wasn't so bad during the day that it interfered with work. It only got bad when I went home at night. I have been lectured about taking time for me. Perhaps I should have. I guess I'm of the mind-set that sick days are for when you're really sick and I wasn't into what I'd call "really sick" state. I did think I'd take this or that day off and then work would get crazy and I'd feel that I'd really inconvenience the office if I called off, so I didn't.
Depression set in. I have stuff all over my house, piles of stuff. I deal with a little bit but I wear out so quickly, that things don't get done and the knowledge that, just last month, none of this wouldn't be put away, mocks me. Even though part of learning to live with RA involves breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces, when I can't clean all the litter boxes because just doing one leaves me tired, that's minute pieces and even though that's what I should be doing, it depresses me when I can't do more without pain (because I'm off my RA meds) or getting overly tired.
There is a silver lining in all of this. My rheumatologist wants to change my RA medication. She feels the Humira was not stopping the progression of the disease. I measure progression by days without pain and I had a handful in July, before the diverticulitis. She measures it in a different way. So, having to go off all RA meds is good for her because we can go back to tweaking them. She wants to start me on Orencia, another injectable biologic drug. Unlike Enbrel and Humira, it's used only for RA. We're going to see if that helps. I'm not noticing any deformities in joints and, prior to getting sick, I could do a lot of things I hadn't considered before. I have another appointment for the diverticulitis on September 2nd and we'll go from there.
All of this has worn me down. I'm not eating properly or drinking adequate amounts of water. Pam had to come to my "rescue" and get me to Target to buy groceries so I would have things in the house I'd actually eat. Soup is my friend, but there are days when even that looks unappealing. I know this is a side effect and part of my brain says, "You need to eat." But the louder part says, "Shut up. She's tired. Go ahead. Sleep in the recliner." And, lately, that sleep in the recliner has involved a cat scan.
It's kind of hard to see her, but she loves to stretch out in my lap. When we sit, we can sit for upwards of 2 hours. If only the purrs of a cat would cure what ails me. Mija will often jump up next to me and demand ear scratches. With the two of them next to me, I can almost forget this set back.
It feels like I'm going up hill through molasses. I keep telling myself that the aches and pains are old familiar territory. I'm not nearly as bad as I was in 2012, when I first saw Dr. Francis and, once we get the infection cured, I'll be back on the drugs that help with the pain. Things will be back to "normal", or what passes for normal. It's just getting there that is the depressing part.