Another Fall, Another Hospital …

Yes, I had another fall, and there was another hospital involved … This time I will be able to remember the date, because it was 10 April 2-21, the day after my 58 birthday. The last time I had to go to a hospital because of a fall was 25 September 2019, AFL Grand Final day.

This time I made my own way to the hospital, because it was my forearm that was hurt, not a leg, so I could easily walk to our car, and be driven to the hospital by my husband. And it was much easier to manage, and was nowhere near as painful as breaking my leg was, back in 2019.

But it was definitely painful enough that it could have been a broken bone, and that means going to hospital to have an x-ray to see the truth. And after a very long wait, and eventually four x-rays, the truth was it was very probably not a broken bone, so no difficult to deal with plaster cast for me, thank goodness.

But after coming home and knowing my right forearm is only sore, and damaged, but with no bones broken doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt! It happened yesterday, and today my husband found some crepe bandage we had stashed away, and I wrapped up mt hand forearm up, and while I’m sure a trained medical person would do a superior job, I think it looks quite well done.

And it is definitely working to relieve some of the pain, which I hope is going to become further relieved as time passes. I’m going to go and see my GP though tomorrow probably, so he can inspect the damage, and not it on my medical files.

So apart from this sore right arm, I also have a bruise on my left cheek, a big spectacular looking bruise/mark on my left hip, and bruises on my of my knees. Quite a haul of ‘treasures’ I’d much not have received, that’s for sure.

Being able to come home again after a hospital visit is much better than having to go from hospital to hospital, and then stay in one for a week, as happened with that previous fall, which was incidentally my ankle that got broken. The stay in hospital that earlier time resulted in the publication of a little poetry collection, titled ‘Angles on Ankles’, which I have for sale, and can be purchased for a low price, plus postage, by contacting me in a comment on this blog post.

I wrote the initial poems for that poetry book in hospital, and finished it off in my recovery period, which was around three months all together. This new ‘trip and fall’ adventure will not need anywhere near as long to get over, but if it does end up as another little poetry book, I already have a possible title, ‘the Grist On My Wrist’.

To be honest though, I’d be happier with no more falls, even if they are common for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis! I have plenty of other things to write poetry about. By the way though, I did write a poem while I was waiting to be seen at the hospital yesterday, because just sitting there, without even really being seen for ages was boring!

And the really funny thing was that when I fell over yesterday, I was busily doing what I name as ‘extra steps’ – walking at home to get fitter, and stronger, in an effort to ward off these falls! From now on, I will be walking up and down and around inside my house, where if I fall over, I will be able to get up again, and I’ll fall onto carpet and not rocks or concrete!

If you have some thoughts about my latest misadventure, feel free to leave a comment here, I love connecting with other people!

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I’m Using It, So I Won’t Lose It!

The ‘it’ I’m talking about here is my mobility. I know I’m mentioned it here before, sometime, that when my Neurologist told me I had MS, he told me to keep on walking, while I could. ‘Use it, or lose it’, were his very words.

It’s been over ten years since then, and at the moment, I’m certainly being mobile. I’m walking extra steps almost every day, and have worked up to 2000 extra steps, which amounts to 1 kilometre. Not a bad effort, when I remember back to the time when MS came along, and walking 50 metres without a walking stick would have been almost impossible.

Things sure have change now, the walking is a great help, and the more of it I do, the more of it I can do. I am certainly aware of how much more difficult life would become if I was unable to walk, for me, and for my family and friends. Having the ability to walk is something we learn as toddlers, and if we are lucky, that ability stays with us for the rest of our lives.

I’ve seen a loss of that ability, and while it wasn’t a long term disaster , it did change things for the family and friends I mentioned. Sitting on the sofa, or in a wheelchair had to happen, or using a nifty gadget called a Knee Walker. That was when I broke my ankle over a year ago. What a tedious time that could have been.

I was having to sit on our sofa almost non stop during the day, with my husband getting my food and drinks, as needed. It wasn’t tedious for me though, but probably was for my husband. He was a star, and I definitely made sure I told him I appreciated all he’d done for me.

My writing group had had to meet up online instead of in person, at our usual spot, while I was getting over my broken ankle, which ended up going OK, and we realised an online/in person hybrid group could work, and so that’s what we do now – from accidents can come different and sometimes better ways of doing things.

And the really awesome thing was that I ended up putting together a little chapbook of poems about my broken ankle, called Angles on Ankles! I could have been bored, but wasn’t, I was having a great time being creative with words! And I had ample opportunity to keep an eye on the birds in our front yard, looking out of the window that is right there near me, when seated, or reclining on the sofa, as I had to back then.

This sofa is where I do most of my writing at home still, sitting with my laptop on my lap is where I am writing right now. I’ll get up and do some of my extra steps soon though. Sitting is fine, getting up and walking is also fine, a combo of both? Perfect! I haven’t done any ‘extra steps’ at all today. I have done a different exercise though, step ups using the steps into and out of our pool, holding onto the safety rail we had installed to make it possible for me to easily to use the pool.

That exercise sure gets my heart pumping in a way merely walking never does, so I’m glad my support worker who was here today came outside with me and counted the steps I did. 25 holding on with rail on my left side, and then moved around the rail and 25 more holding on with rail on right side. Bang, bang, bang went me heart, and then stop and rest, then go back inside. An excellent exercise done, safely.

The more I do, the more I can do, Multiple Sclerosis, having a disability might slow me down sometimes, but it also gives me new ideas and possibilities! Life can be like that, can’t it?

Mobility – Use It Or Lose It

Yes, ‘Use it or lose it,’ I will never forget my neurologist telling me that at probably my second or possibly first appointment with him. He didn’t actually diagnose my MS until after I’d had my first MRI, but he had a pretty good idea that was what I was affected by, based on what I’d told him, and how I presented – weak on one side of body, not able to walk at all well.

So all those yeas ago, 11 years in fact, he told me to do my best to use my mobility, to walk, as much as I could, or I might well stop being able to walk much, or at all. So that’s what I do, I walk, sometimes only a little bit, sometimes more, but I walk. It isn’t always walking as exercise, just sometimes parking a bit further away, and walking the rest of the way, sometimes it’s going for a walk (not as often as I should!), sometimes its walking deliberately, as exercise.

And today I’m proud to say was one of those deliberate walking days. I’ve been doing this a bit more recently, using the pedometer on my phone, and keeping track on how far I’ve walked when I deliberately go for a walk. Brisk steps, they are the kind of walking I keep track on, whether inside steps, or outside ones, on goes the devise and away I go, step, step, step!

I walked past this rose bush this morning, when I was doing my extra steps outside – the bush is planted next to our pool, which I walked around twice today, as well as lots of other places outside and inside.

And today I did 2,000 steps, extra ones, just over a kilometre of them, around our yard, inside, out the front, out the back, step, step, step! I care a lot about my mobility, and I’m going to keep it until the day I die, if I can, no wheelchair for me, unless I break a bone again and need it!

If you have Multiple Sclerosis too, have you been encouraged by your neurologist to keep moving, and if not, why not? I realise we aren’t all at the same stage in our MS journey, and I’m interested in hoe other people get on, feel free to leave a comment! Any tips and hints are most welcome.

Impress Yourself First!

Positive Thinking!

If I lose the ability to impress myself sometimes, feel free to slap me! But I’m safe from that right now, I have just done 1,880 extra steps this morning, briskly striding all around the inside of our house, and for many of those steps I had hand weights, making it an even better workout.

So I am mightily impressed, so impressed with myself that it doesn’t even matter if nobody else is impressed! Our dog Missy has done her walk this morning too, with my husband Graham, and I’m certainly impressed with them and their commitment to keeping fit and well!

This is Missy on her favourite resting spot!

Missy watches me sometimes with I’m doing my extra steps all around the house, here and there, back and forth, and she looks like she thinks I’m crazy, but that’s fine, when I see some of the things Missy eats in the yard, I think she’s crazy!

But back to me – My weight in this morning was slightly unimpressive, with an extra 100 grams over my weight yesterday morning, but that small amount isn’t a worry, as long as the weight doesn’t steadily go up … exercise and avoid healthy diet with vegetables, fruit and seeds, a little meat, and dairy, with some grains, yummy – good stuff!

Healthy Diet!

For the past couple of months, Graham and I have been weighing ourselves regularly, in the effort to be healthier, and lose our excess fat, which is definitely not healthy to have. Being as fit as possible, and eating a varied diet with lots of different nutrients is a good plan for everyone, but especially those of us with Chronic Illness, as I have. Multiple Sclerosis has an unknown cause and no known cure at the moment, but keeping as healthy as possible has to help, I’d say!

I have the goal of going on being as fit and healthy as I can, despite current health things … (MS and skin cancers). Nature is smiling, and I’m smiling too!

Having Purpose

At the moment, I have a novel I’m about a third of the way through, and I have a new poetry collection I’m working on as well. I’m also the President of a writing group with several things happening, or being planned at the moment. I have also recently begun being the Writer-In-Residence as a local cafe in a lovely small town, not too far from where I live. I’m there (Gallery 14 Light Street Hamley Bridge South Australia) every Monday except public holidays. I’ve done only two days so far, but I’m enjoying it, and can see it going on for quite a long time, if it goes on feeling this good.

My life is a good one, doing good things and being a good person. The 1,880 steps I walked this morning was almost one kilometre, and I remember a time when I could barely walk fifty metres. With a good life, and a medication that is working well for me, my Chronic Illness has slowed me down a bit, but not taken me down!

My Health, My Responsibility!

Yes, I have a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and it is an illness that doesn’t have a cure still, because the experts in such things aren’t sure what causes this illness. But they do know ways that may assist those of us suffereing from and with the various things having MS brings – muscle weakness, and fatigue are my main two symptoms. There are others for other people.

So I have MS, I’ve known that since I was diagnosed by a neurologist in 2010, and when he suggested I try a medication to assist, I was keen to stop myself suffering even more than I was at the time. So I began using one of the medications then available, Avonex, which was in the form of self-injection once a week. I don’t know really, what Avonex did, but it seemed to help, but those weekly injections were horrid.

When a new nedicaion came along, a capsule to swallow once a day, I happily changed my MS medication. I’ve been on this new med, Gilenya, since 2012, and I’m loving it! Sure there are a few after effects, and things my GP and I are keeping an eye on, but overall, this medication has been great for me.

But there are other things I can do, to keep well, too, and because I’m keen to keep mobile, and not needing a wheelchair, I do these other things, at least sometimes. One of the things my Neurologist told me right from the start, was that I should keep on walking, I can’t remember for sure if he actually gave me a distance to walk, but it may have been at least 500 metres, every day. So I do that, if not every day, then lots of days.

I’ve recently begun counting my steps and recording the number of steps taken, using the pedometer on my phone, and that’s working well. I measured the lengeh of my step, and every step is half a metre, so if I walk 1000 steps, I’ve walked 500 metres. I’ve written a bit about this, this morning, this is what I wrote:
– 1200 steps done, now having a bit of a rest … Missy was looking at me as if I was crazy, briskly walking all around inside, one end of the house, to the other, and back again, but she doesn’t face the truth of the bathroom scales every morning. I do, and even though I know why I got today’s result, I want a lower number tomorrow morning.
And walking more means I can go on walking, and I  definitely want to retain my mobility. I don’t need to go to any expensive gym, walking briskly inside and outside my home is enough, and I may add in some hand weight lifting later on today too, coupled with paying attention to what I eat, and reaching my ideal weight will be my birthday present to myself!
Two months to go, I can do this!

So that was this morning, and I will indeed lift those hand weights a little bit later today, and I will eat a healthy and light lunch, with vegetables and a little bit of fruit, as well as nuts, seeds and wholegrains, as is my usual lunch at home. I’ve been weighing in almost every day for the past couple of months, and I have a target weight in mind. I’m already within the healthy weight range, but at the top of the range, and I want to be in the middle of the range instead.

I’ll never be tall and slim, like my son’s greyhound, Sharon, but short and slimmer than I currently am, that’s my aim!

So if I am going to give myself the birthday present of reaching my goal weight, I have to get off my bum, and get moving around more, and keep on eating the best and most nutritious foods I can, and probably giving up the daily, small amount of chocolate would be a good idea. Perhaps once a week for the chocolate, as a reward if I’ve lost a bit of weight, would be a good way to go. Or as a reward for a certain number of extra steps walked might be an idea, as long as my weight was at least not much above, but preferably below, the previous weekly weigh in result.

If I eat well, exercise more, and maintain a positive attitude to life, who knows the ongoing benefits I’ll achieve! So far, apart from some skin cancer issues, which my GP and I are dealing with, my health is remarkably good. My heart rate is good – steady and slow, cholesterol fine, and my attitude to life is strongly Positive Polly, not Moaning Myrtle! I have family and friends who love me, I’m financially well enough off, and have little to worry about, apart from these skin cancers, but as I said, that’s more or less under control

I’ll be getting these stitches out next week, and finding out whether or not the offecnding lump was cancer … It’s gone anyway though, so if cancer, it isn’t a problem anymore.

So that’s my MS life at the moment – Do my best to be my best, and loving the life I’m currently having, apart from those yucky spider leg stitches on my hand! I’m keeping out of the sun a lot more these days, but there was so much damage done out in the sunshine as a kid, all those fun and free, sunshiney days …

A Response to a Challenge

I left a comment on a friend’s blog post and he wondered whether anyone had ever written an ode to a their Cleaner. I thought about it briefly, because I love to rise to writing challenges. But writing an ode didn’t appeal, and I immediately decided I was going to write an ‘Acrostic Poem’ to my Cleaner.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

And so once I had some time, earlier today, that is what I’ve done, written about it, including an Acrostic poem today to Debra, who is my cleaner. I haven’t known her for very long, but it feels like we’ve known each other for ages, in good ways!

This is the poem I wrote, and some more details:

An Acrostic Poem to Debra, my wonderful Cleaner. I have written this poem in response to a comment from John Malone on his blog, suggesting I, or someone, write an ode to their cleaner. And as I wrote first up, I can’t resist a writing challenge! But I’m more interested in more Short and Sharp poems, rather than odes, which can be quite long, I think, and so have gone with An Acrostic Poem. Acrositic Poems can be quite short.

Here is my Acrostic Poem, Debra:

DEBRA

Dust disappears, and dirt dissolves

Everywhere she’s been, order reigns –

Beautiful person, I’m loving her here,

Relaxed that she fits in so easily & well,

And thrilled my cleaner is now a friend!

In the piece that John wrote, he talks of how he spends ages making things clean before his cleaner comes, and I have to admit, I do the same thing. Other people on his blog post confessed to doing the same thing too. Even though I know Debra is going to clean things up better than I ever will, I still do a little bit of tidying up …

Some Private Things

When you have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), you are likely to have tingly and or numb hands, feet or other places. You may have ‘food drop’, or fall over far more other than other people without MS do. Or you might have muscle weakness, and drop things a lot, or even be unable to walk. You have have problems with your eyesight, showing at its worst as blindness. These are all troubling symptoms and if you have them I am sorry for you, it sure isn’t a good thing. I’ve had or still have some of these things.

But all of these things will bring you sympathy from most people except horrid people who don’t care about anyone else. I hope I don’t have such people here, reading my blog posts. Anyway, back to the theme for this blog post … The things listed may well bring sympathetic responses, and that is a good thing. But the trouble with MS is that there are other symptoms too, that certainly won’t bring such sympathetic responses from the average person, not unless they are particularly understanding people or have experience with the some symptom. They may instead bring disgust.

And if you haven’t guessed it yet, that particular symptom is ‘continence issues’. Really though, continence isn’t a problem, it’s actually INcontinence that is the problem. Continence is: ‘the ability to control movements of the bowels and bladder.’ So yay to everyone with that ability, no problem there. The actual problems come with Incontinence, when that wonderful control to corral those movements to do their thing if and when you want them to get a move on, is absent.

When those naughty contents just up and move away from the bladder and or bowels, and head on out of the body when and if they darn well want to, that’s incontinence. So yay to you, if you have that incontinence thing happening, you have my utmost sympathy, even in your most unlovely of moments. I am on your side, I know how it feels. 

Bladder and bowels are great when they work properly, processing the heck out of food and drinks, taking out the good stuff for your body to do all of the good things it does, to keep you going. And then after, hanging onto the waste for removal at the proper time, and in the proper place, Yay body, thanks, great work. But sometimes, oh sometimes, the call of your bladder and or bowels may not be heard by your brain, and things may get a move on with no control at all, that waste just decides to rampage outa there and whoosh, off it heads, and the waste goes where waste is certainly not supposed to go!

If you’ve been there, you know what? I’m there with you, and I know how it feels. Dignity is the thing us disabled people want to hold onto, and respect too. But it’s hard to hold onto your dignity, and to get respect, when you’ve just pooped and/or pissed your pants. But you know what else? If it’s happened to you, and you’re still there, going out, risking further ‘incidents’, good on you, you have the dignity of a person who will take a chance, and do something, instead of hide away, coward-like. And you have my respect, because I know how hard it is to get clean and tidy after such an event. The world is not set up to help you with that one, unless you make the first moves to get things happening in that regard. 

Continence aids, pads, pants, catheters, are available, if you know what you need, and where to get them. I know the MS Society in South Australia and the NT have a special nurse who is there to help people with their problems with incontinence. The nurse is called a continence nurse rather than an incontinence nurse, I suppose because her tole is to help clients to be continent rather that INcontinent. It makes sense, looking at it like that. And in Australia, there are various government things, to assist with the costs.

Anyway, to finish things off, and lighten the mood a little, I am a poet, as well as a blogger and writer, so here is a little poem of mine I wrote a while back. I hope you like it! And if you are in a group that would love to have me come and talk to people about this kind of thing, contact me, I’d love to be there with you. Just tell me where the toilets are when I arrive!




On ‘Going’ …

You’d better go, before you go,

‘Cos if you don’t, well you know

You might be left with penny unspent

& it’s too late, if you already went!

NDIS Plan Changes …

So today my Support worker and I looked at my current plan, and the things I actually need right now. Some of the things from my previous plan were short term plan things, and/or are no longer needed. So there will be a new plan created for me to approve or change, and then have submitted.

My new plan, if approved will lead to more relevant things happening, more things that will help me be the vibrant/ connected person I want to be! Dealing with this awful current Covid situation has slowed, or stopped some things, but many other things can still happen.

Having my support worker there, working through these things is awesome, and I am more than happy to have her there helping me. She understands how to wade through the forms required, because she’s been dealing with the NDIS for a lot longer than I have, in a variety of ways.

I very much endorse the idea of having such a person on your team of supporters, if you have the NDIS, or wish to look at the possibility of going onto the NDIS. There is necessary monetary assistance to people with disabilities, but you have to know how to get it … The website – https://www.ndis.gov.au/ has lots of information, but if you are looking to, or are involved in it, having a helper who understands it is great!

For non-Australians information, the NDIS is the National Government program to assist people with disabilities live as ‘normal’ or good a life as possible. It is a fine thing, if you know how to work your way through the website, or have people with you who do.

Things Are On Track

So, it’s a new year, things are starting up again, and my NDIS things are about to get a bit of a shake up. I’ve been toddling along, happy to have a cleaner and a support worker who both come here every fortnight, it they can. I’m happy with their work, and the system for paying them, and getting the money from the NDIS is working well.

But this year, the year 2021 I’m looking for bigger and better things from the NDIS. I have ideas and am looking to making plans for those things. What I want most in my life, that is impacted by my chronic illness, is finally going to come to the forefront of things for me, if the plans that are beginning to come into fruition.

I feel good about this plan, and I hope, with my support workers assistance, it can happen for me. The horror year of 2020 is over, 2021 is here, and good things are on their way. If this all happens, all the good things that can come from the NDIS, will happen.

So I’m on track with the NDIS, things are going well, and about to get even better, by the looks of it. My situation shows how much better things can go, if your have good support workers, working with you, and understanding more about who you are, and what you want and need, for your best possible life!

And isn’t that what the NDIS is about, giving people with disabilities their best possible life?

MS and Exercise? Yes!

This is a piece from my calendar I wrote today:

… Graham helped prune back that peppercorn tree at the pond a bit, but then moved the panel to a sunnier spot. Sunnier in the morning, anyway, I’ll check out how it goes during the day.
When it was moved, the fountain went better than I’d seen it going … That’s a welcome thing, for sure.
While I was out there, as Graham was putting down some aged manure for the mandarin tree, I did some steps on one of the railway sleepers. Twenty up and down steps. Something to consider doing a lot more often, when I go down to my pond-side thinking spot. I was looking at the big tree stump over by the eastern fence too, and wondering if that would work as a step up spot, a bit later, if I feel I’m getting stronger in my legs …
Plans are good to have.

Our pond has new solar powered fountain, but where it had been placed was quite shaded for much of the morning and well into the afternoon. Now though the solar panel is in sunshine for most of the day, later on, especially from lunchtime on, until the sun goes down.

And those railway sleepers I mentioned, I love them, we’ve had them for years and years. Initially we used them to mark out a vegetable patch, but that plan didn’t last much more than one season, and the sleepers have been just been lying around in all weathers, becoming ever more interesting looking, and aged. But when we had the pond made more pond-like again, those sleepers were brought to the pond, marking out a space around the pond.

It all looks good, and safe, with far fewer trip hazards, which is an excellent thing, because I am quite an expert at finding things to trip over! And I’ve been thinking a lot recently, about building up my ability at going up and down stairs/steps. The main reason this became important is that my son has recently bought himself his first home, and there are three steps to get into his front door.

The first time I saw those steps, I was horrified, how would I ever climb up them! But I had to climb the steps, so I did it, not easily, but they were climbed, and I was able to go inside, to see inside his house. I’ve been there a couple of times since the first time, and the time before last, I decided I needed to improve my abilities with going up and down steps.

And so to my point – I am going to use those railway sleepers, and yes, that big stump too, if it’s safe enough, to become a proficient step/stair climber! I’ve also found an exercise program written for me by my Support Worker, and I am going to work on following that, too, as much as I can. Becoming fitter, and stronger, what a fine thing that will be to work on in the new year.

And if I get started with it while we are still creeping through to the end of 2020, even better! I might be in the habit of working out, by the end of January! After all, ‘they’ say it takes 21 days to form a habit, whoever ‘they’ are!

So these are my wellness plans for my future, getting better able to make my way in the life I want to live! Fitter, stronger, able to leap up stairs, two at a time! I’m keen on plans at the moment, and this is a great one, for sure. By the way, after I began writing this post, I was out by the pond a couple of more times, and yes, I did more step us, and probably did at least fifty of them today, all together, Happy with that, fur sure, with many more to come!

Let me know if you have anything to say about any of this – safety tips, exercise ideas, tips about maintaining a healthy pond, anything!