The last two days have been a blur. Monday I made the mistake of wondering if I could have 3 good days in a row. Foolish me. I should have known better. Tuesday started off pretty well. I slept a little late and then worked on my grocery list and coupons. Late afternoon, I set out for the store to pick up a few things we needed and to try my hand at Extreme Couponing. We really cannot afford the $104 a month to have the grass cut. Unfortunately, it's the only way for the grass to be cut on a regular basis. I hoping to be able to cut our grocery bill enough to cover the cost using coupons.
Yard work was one of my favorite things to do before fibro. I'd still love to do it but I've gotten smarter about pushing myself to do things like that. Last summer I decided that I could sit on a stool and weed the flower bed across the front of the house. That was a horrible idea. I forget how long it actually took but it seemed like hours to pull the weeds and grass from a 3 foot by 2 foot section. When I finally got smart and decided I needed to stop, I barely got in the house and had to sleep for a good while before I was able to take a shower. The next four days were spent in bed in with a combination of horrendous pain (Level 9: Very serious pain here. You can not concentrate on anything but pain. You should not do business transactions or make any important decisions because of your limited mental state. You can not go to work and you shouldn't drive a car. At this point you begin withdrawing from the world around you.) and serious fatigue that was what I imagine going without sleep for a month would be like. Since then, I've been good about not doing any yard work. The only thing resembling yard work I've done has been cutting a weed that comes up between the house and the driveway in a little crack in the pavement when I just can't stand to see it there anymore.
So back to the couponing. I'm hoping to cut our grocery expenses by $100 a month with coupons so that we can afford to keep the grass cut. It's one of the easier things I can do because I can sit in my chair with my feet propped up and look for on-line coupons. Then I check out some of the couponing websites for hints on how to "stack" coupons for the most savings possible. After working on my list for a couple of days and matching up coupons to the ads, Tuesday was shopping day. I needed to go Tuesday because it was the last day of the ads that I had matched my coupons to. Since I had had several good days in a row, I was optimistic I'd get it done quickly. When I left home, my pain was at a manageable Level 3: Your minor pain is strong enough to get your attention. You resort to Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications.
Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way. I went to Walmart and got some caffeine free diet cola that's hard to find anywhere else. The pain had already started to working it's way up. My next stop went as planned and I walked out having saved 70% of my total bill. The pain was not cooperating with my plans. It was up to a Level 4: The pain is getting stronger, you are taking more OTC medications but they don't last long. You begin to cut back on your activities in favor of just sitting down. I should have come home then but there were several things on the list at my next (and final) stop that we really needed. Thank goodness for motorized carts. I went around the store as quickly as I could and got most of the things on my list and headed for the check out. By this time, my pain was at a Level 5: You can't ignore this pain for more than an hour, even with OTC Medications. You cut back of all activities except the most important ones. Work is possible, but just barely. I checked out, saving 40% on the total bill but really not caring. All I wanted to do was go home.
I got in everything in the car and headed home. Several times on the short drive home, I thought I was going to have to call Bill to come pick me up. I truly didn't think I was going to make it., Finally I pulled in the driveway and called Bill from my cell phone to come help me in the house. With his help, I made it to the bedroom, changed my clothes and immediately crawled into bed. Bill brought me my medicine and a glass of water and I turned the light off and fell asleep almost immediately. At this point, my pain was a Level 7: This level of pain is the kind that keeps you awake at night, makes it hard to think and act. Your prescription medication only dulls the pain for a short time. You limit your activities in order of importance. You really can't work well.
I spent all day Wednesday in bed recovering from a three hour shopping trip that had been meticulously planned so as to make it as quick as possible with as little walking as possible. Thursday was an improvement but just barely. I woke up Thursday morning with pain that was more bearable and with a little less fatigue. It was at Level 6: You simply can not ignore your pain for even a few minutes. Prescription pain medications provide you with limited functioning abilities. As the day progressed, the pain came on down to a Level 5: You can't ignore this pain for more than an hour, even with OTC Medications. You cut back of all activities except the most important ones. Work is possible, but just barely.
Three hours of shopping cost me two days in bed. I'm not quiet sure how I'm going to change my grocery shopping.strategies but this isn't going to work. I guess this is going to be one more thing that I have to have Bill do with me. If things continue to go like they are now, will I even be able to leave the house alone sooner rather than later?
When I got out of bed today, I noticed that my swollen legs were still looking sunburned from halfway between my knee and foot down to my toes. I called the doctor and they had me go in to get it checked. My edema has crossed the line and is now lymphedema. Thank goodness Bill was off today to take me to my appointment. We stopped at the medical supply store to get my compression hose that I have to wear from now on. Tomorrow I have to call around and find a physical therapist who is trained in lymphedema therapy to see if the excess fluid I have can be forced to come back up my legs. If that doesn't work, I have a strong risk of developing cellulitis. The possibility of looking at surgery to try to stop the swelling is out there too.
July 27 I go before a Social Security Administrative Judge who will decide if I am able to return to work in some capacity. I can not imagine what there is in the job market that I can do. I can't even grocery shop without spending days in bed. How could I get up, dress and go to work somewhere? My prayer is that this person will listen to what I have to say about how my life has change and give a fair ruling.