Sunday, April 28, 2013


I had an appointment this week with a specialist in Rheumatology in nearby BigCity. The "first available" appointment was about 5 weeks from date of referral.  That is 5 weeks of "what-iffing" and other anxieties.
Because Arthritis killed my Mother and, my favorite Great Aunt, I have a solid understanding of what was, or was not, the typical path of this illness. The truth is the fate of my Mother and the fate of my Aunt were very similar. Even with 30 years of medical advances and research between them , these largely proved ineffective in all areas except pain management. Progression of this illness is "managed" better by therapies and medications but every step of progress has a counter step. Doctors can prescribe COX2 inhibitors but they might cause heart damage. Then too, you can take these with yet another prescription to protect your stomach and then must take 3 more supplements to protect from skeletal damage caused by the stomach med!  Great.  They might prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation but this repeated protocol will cause Diabetes. Ultimately my ancestors  march from orthopedic shoes-to- cane-to-walker-to-wheelchair-to-hospital bed was not arrested. 

I am not interested in following in their wheels.

The early news is preliminary blood work has ruled out rheumatoid factors and Lupus. This is very good news as I have tested positively for Lupus off and on since my 20's. It was a relief for this specialist to say assuredly "you do not have" an entire spectrum of illnesses. Since I began the first 6 weeks of 2013 as a patient with the Spinal Rehabilitation Center I knew the degeneration and arthritis in my spine was permanent The good news is we have a "musculo-skeletal" system and my "musculos" have long been well developed and maintained. One of the referral reasons was to determine if there is also a "musculo" illness lurking. Still unknown but I am hopeful  these results will also be negative. At least the primary suspect for this "musculo" issue does not destroy muscle, tendons, ligaments, it just makes them all  hurt. 

I return next month for evaluation two. 
I suspect I will again be told  that I do have several different types of arthritis , one type in my spine and another one  in major joints and yet a third in my hands which is typically caused by endocrine disorders. The recommendations will likely be about awareness, body mechanics and pain/inflammation management. I  fully understand the enemy is within and this is the battle for Fishy. I am actually an optimist so  am praying for the best results possible and invite you all to join me.

Yesterday was a gray, rainy, cold, icky day so Blowfish and I cancelled our plans to clean out the Garage and went instead to a movie. We saw Olympus Has Fallen. As usual, we do not agree on the message.
I actually think there is one where Blowfish does not. Or to be clear he finds the message is: box office profits soar with each explosion , each fist to plexus and every gun discharge. I think the message is: a call to awareness of our extreme peril.  Maybe it's because we do not go to the movies very often, or maybe because I truly am Pollyanna, but this movie is tremendously upsetting on many levels. 

Note: If you plan to see this movie stop reading this post now.

First there is the violence. Lots and lots of it  shown in a most disturbing way.  There is plenty  of hand to hand combat and up close shooting. The camera positions portray the carnage in a way that is intimate. Like you are experiencing the effect of having just placed a gun to a head and spattered gray matter all over the wall. In many of the shots, in the last possible fraction of a second, the lead character is no longer  the visual buffer between you and the terrorist in the White House. There is that last look in the eyes before the bang and the splatter. 

I had quite the gut flip watching a huge, weapons modified, cargo plane wreak havoc on Washington's finest architecture. I was horrified by the portrayal of the ease of the capture of the White House. Here was  employed a mixed use of our history and psychic traumas by flying planes through our symbols of  freedom and democracy and, by having the  Asian enemy in the White House, as a diplomatic entourage, at the time of the  attack.

I thought the music was not too good,  far too loud, actually distracting.
I thought the one man as hero  metaphoric. 
I thought the military brass and political decision makers portrayed as spineless idiots metaphoric too.

What terrified me the most?

The threat of being able to destroy world balance with a few computer keystrokes.
All the mayhem was about physical access to computers in the White House bunker.

I watched an interview with Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google.
He has a new book out addressing his visions of how the digital age will shape the future of individuals, nations and business.  Some of the things Schmidt said:
* the speed of computing has, and will continue to, override man. 
* personal privacy is already a myth
 There are  dossiers on all of us compiled by the combination of our  computer and credit card use and the gps data from our smart phones. By the way, this  data  is already being used to influence us by which pop up ads appear on our computers and by the hierarchy of data we receive on our "devices".
* Children will need to be taught defensive "digital privacy"  at an early age.
  (just think how easy it will be to brainwash an entire culture, not just a generation,  by controlling all the data they receive)
* Not surprising was the casual admission "cyber security" cannot be achieved.

We have all  lived through " The Great American Swindle" where by the good have been villified, stolen from and punished while the greedy and unscrupulous have been rewarded and applauded. All of that, and so much more, can revisit us as a nation,  or personally, in our homes, our bank accounts, even if our cars will start. We have lost. Being a keystroke from destruction is not virtual, it is real. 

It has occurred to me that this week has been united in it's message.
The enemy is within.
God help us all.


Aunty Belle said...


Where to begin?? I'll be back,Icthy.

Doom said...

Prayers indeed. For you and for all of us.

We live in very unsettled times. Prayers and not just going along. I share... many of your sentiments about things. There is always hope, if hope is often as grim or more than not? Never the mind, do what you can and take care.

darkfoam said...

Goodness! Wishing you all the best in your prognosis and treatments.

Aunty Belle said...

I'se hopin' yore medical news as is good as can be given the givens of age. Keep us posted, please.

Mayhap youse gotta edit yore movie choices fer a spell--when fiction is too close fer comfort, I reckon,

Doan let stuff git ya down Fishy. Elevate the good, bop the bad on the haid an' move on.

Buzz Kill said...

The Mrs. has early stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis in her knees (mostly). She's on some kind of medication that seems to be working but she and her doctor are still tweaking the dosage. That takes months (years?) to get right - apparently.

I'll wait until Olympus Has Fallen comes out on cable. The previews I saw looked - mehhh. But I like action flicks.

Hope things work out for you.

Pam said...

Fishy, have you ever looked into "Low Dose Naltroxene" therapy for autoimmune/arthritis issues? Have a look/read/ and see what you think.