Monday, June 25, 2007

Chronic pain

I've come across this list on several support groups, and have no idea who the original author is. But.... it's resonating. Especially today. People at my workplace could do with reading this.

Tips For Dealing With People In Pain

  1. People with chronic pain seem unreliable (we can’t count on ourselves). When feeling better we promise things (and mean it) when in serious pain; we may not even show up.
  2. An action or situation may result in pain several hours later, or even the next day. Delayed pain is confusing to people who have never experienced it.
  3. Pain can inhibit listening and other communication skills. It’s like having someone shouting at you, or trying to talk with a fire alarm going off in the room. The effect of pain on the mind can seem like attention deficit disorder. So you may have to repeat a request, or write things down for a person with chronic pain. Don’t take it personally, or think that they are stupid.
  4. The senses can overload while in pain. For example, noises that wouldn’t normally bother you, seem to much.
  5. Patience may seem short. We can’t wait in a long line; can’t wait for a long drawn out conversation.
  6. Don’t always ask, "How are you" unless you are genuinely prepared to listen it just points attention inward.
  7. Pain can sometimes trigger psychological disabilities (usually very temporary). When in pain, a small task, like hanging out the laundry, can seem like a huge wall, to high to climb over. An hour later the same job may be quite OK. It is sane to depressed occasionally when you hurt.
  8. Pain can come on very quickly and unexpectedly. Chronic pain people appear to arrive and fade unpredictably to others.
  9. Knowing where a refuge is, such as a couch, a bed, or comfortable chair, is as important as knowing where a bathroom is. A visit is much more enjoyable if the chronic pain person knows there is a refuge if needed. A chronic pain person may not want to go anywhere that has no refuge (e.g. no place to sit or to lie down).
  10. Small acts of kindness can seem like huge acts of mercy to a person in pain. Your offer a pillow or a cup of tea can be a really big thing to a person who is feeling temporarily helpless in the face of encroaching pain.
  11. Not all pain is to locate or describe. Sometimes there is a body wide feeling of discomfort, with hard to describe pains in the entire back, or in both legs, but not in one particular spot you can point to. Our vocabulary for pain is very limited, compared to the body's ability to feel varieties of discomfort.
  12. We may not have a good "reason" for the pain. Medical science is still limited in its understanding of pain. Many people have pain that is not yet classified by doctors as an officially recognized "disease". That does not reduce the pain, - it only reduces the ability to give it a label, and have you believe us.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Of mochi and ramune

The Asian grocer in Knox city gave me free sesame mochi last weekend! Maybe it was cos I bought many other yummy things.

I found out that the reason that no-one seems to import strawberry ramune is that it never sold. Apparently they once had a case that went past expiry cos no-one knew what it was! I'd buy a lot of it, if I could find it! All you can find these days is plain, melon and peach ramune. Oh... and don't bother with ramune in the plastic bottles - it is completely flat and contains artificial stuff... the best ramune is very lightly flavoured and fully glass. They are annoyingly heavy for carrying home on public transport. If I could find strawberry ramune, it would definitely be worth the sacrifice!

I still haven't found the tiny creme brulee which seem to be popular in the bento groups. I shall keep looking though.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

LJ oddness

nifwlseirff on flickr

I'm apologising if you are currently experiencing LJ oddness in your friends list because of me - I'm adding past blog entries into LJ. The database on my website went kaput, and I only have the raw text. LJ doesn't want to play with backdating properly, so it's a lovely manual process. I still have half of 2002 entries to add.... Should be done by the end of the coming weekend though. This sunset was from May, when I was house-sitting.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Photos around Tecoma

nifwlseirff on flickr
I've uploaded some photos, including some of around the new house in Tecoma.

The garden really needs work, and I'm too sick to do anything about it. Very annoying that!

We have bird feeders on the back verandah, and I am quite enamoured with our feathery visitors.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Still awfully sick...

Ear infections have cleared up, but the nasty bronchitis maintains its stranglehold.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I've scored the most lovely head cold, double ear infection and bad chest infection... all at once! Am not impressed. However, I've discovered that the docs just up the road from me weren't actually being demolished - they are renovating. Apparently one of them there specialises in complex cases. And, there is a pathology almost at the top of my very long driveway. Good area for me to be in! Now I just need a chemist to move in.

The chemist that I went to gave me generic medication without even asking - I've since been told that is now required by law?! The main difference that I can see between Augmentin Duo Forte and Curam 875/125, is that Curam uses sodium laureth sulphate as a filler - it's a detergent!!

So that this post is not just another health whinge, I just noticed on that they are using the Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary. Funky! It doesn't seem to contain all that many entries, but then again, it is a beta. I found it interesting that they seem to be using simple English for their definitions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A very bad cold is ripping through my workplace, and my family - possibly a bronchitis variant.

It seems to linger for a while, and doesn't respond quickly to sleep or the usual cold/bronchitis medicines.

I can't remember clearly a winter where everyone succumbed to the cold/flu/bronchitis bug in such a short timespan. Especially when they have already taken flu shots, even though I know those are ineffectual against non-flu bugs.

Looks like it will be a long and sniffly winter....

Kitty cam

My webcam is regularly on when my computer is on, usually pointed at the desk that has been appropriated by the cats for the purpose of sleeping. It means I can watch them while I'm at work and it doubles as a security camera.

Wake up image

I don't think the size of crop fields in Australia ever registered with me. Having been through Germany, and seeing small fields with tree wind breaks, the Australian fields on the news tonight shocked me. Dead flat, the soil a lifeless grey with no green, a couple of trees on the distant horizon, being plowed because there has been a recent storm which put water back into a nearby creek. Now I understand why they need to spray pesticides from planes - the fields are simply too big, and why they need to add manufactured fertilizer - the soil is too lifeless. I don't understand how the farming industry/government/the majority of the public think this is sustainable and the best way of producing food. I need to put more work into my own garden, even though it is a rented garden.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A common phenomemon?

My workplace decided to run 'heart health' checks this week. I was interested only to see how my cholesterol changed after a month on the ketosystem diet. It seems I'm one of the lucky ones where food doesn't seem to affect my cholesterol levels. Prior to the diet I was on the low side of low, now I'm on the low side of normal. Some people's cholesterol skyrocket, after being on the ketosystem diet.

Having established that I have a good picture of my complex health problems, the doctor noted that so many people with complex and chronic pain/illnesses have some kind of lengthy trauma in their history, and asked if I had been abused. She's the first health professional that has offered this theory, even though it's becoming much more accepted. Many patients with a history of abuse and/or post traumatic stress present with very difficult, intertwined problems. However, she is not alone in reiterating that when people say "It's in your head", it really is - the neurological signals are screwed up, and the pain receptors never turn off. The brain burns through some chemicals, leaving little for the rest of the body to use (ie. magnesium), yet can't use other chemicals, letting them build up. This causes secondary reactions throughout the body, which in turn snowball.

Medical professionals flounder with each case, treating the end-symptoms, and hardly ever finding the root cause. A treatment that might actually retrain one person's neurological system, won't work on another.....

The brain is such a foggy, misunderstood medical area....

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Home is where the garden is...

I read something recently in my random travels around self-sufficiency blogs:

... "wherever you decide to call home… make it YOUR HOME… whether you are going to be living there for 1 month or 30 years."

I was sick yesterday, and found that the writing section was playing with the Myers-Briggs personality test. I'm still very firmly entrenched as an INFP (however, I was INFJ when teaching!) One description of INFP personalities mentioned that "their home is their refuge".

When moving photos from my website to Flickr yesterday, I noticed that the gardens received less attention in houses where I was not happy. I'm definitely happy with this house - I've already started on the garden! But, the garden needs so much work, and I have so little energy :-\ I promise I'll get photos up as soon as the packing boxes are put into the garage, and as soon as I've fixed my poor computer, which is very ill, possibly requiring a reinstall...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Mmmmm, bubbly!

I feel like I'm breathing through a sticky membrane. Looks like I'll be fighting chest colds all winter, starting with the always fun, fluid-on-the-lungs. A doctor once went "Oooo. Bubbly!" when listening to my lungs.... I actually find this reasonable easy to deal with, apart from the coughing. I learnt how to 'not cough' because when I had bronchitis and costochondritis regularly as a kid - it hurt too much, so I just stopped coughing. This means that now, colds sometimes skip the bronchitis stage to go directly to fluid on my lungs.

The treatment for fluid on the lungs is having a physiotherapist thumping (and bruising) your back, making you cough up the fluid. Sometimes docs will give anti-biotics to stop secondary infections. If you can force yourself to cough, you can skip the expensive physio. With fibromyalgia, coughing is even more painful and tiring, and chest thumping is really not possible.

Gingy was hilarious this morning - we have a bunch of plush/funky magnets on the side of the fridge (courtesy of an unpacked box last night). Smokey, from the top of the fridge, smacked the teddy magnet to the floor. Gingy, with a much longer reach then decided to try to remove the rest. We moved the magnets down, so he decided to attack them from below. Everything in our house is a cat toy you see.....

Anyhow... I go to put on the vaporiser and crawl back to sleep... and to cough.. yes... must cough...