Monday, June 9, 2014

Still a 20-something

One thing every disabled person I know struggles with on some level is socialization. Let's face it: simply getting around and performing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) is more exhaustion when you're struggling with a portion of your body not working. The more exhaustion and pain a person faces, the harder it gets to get out there and have a normal social life. 

From the get go, I've refused to let my health issues stop me from getting out there and having fun on occasion. I know this isn't possible for every person who struggles with disability, but so far, it's been possible for me. I make sure I make it to library Knitting Group days and I occasionally hit up the local spinning group for some fun spinning wheel and drop spindle chatter. But some of my favorite memories? Having a night on the town with my girl friends. 

Our usual bar of choice is a local dueling piano bar. I can't drink, but watching drunk people try to sing is flat out hysterical, especially when you add in the antics of the piano players. Last night, however, we tried something different- we went to a drag show. Now, despite the fact it was a lesbian bar, I assumed (and I know my girlfriends assumed the same) that it would men dressed as women performing. Turns out, it was women dressed as men, mostly, with only a single guy dressed as a woman. It was still fun, just very different music than I expected. All of the performers did a great job, especially the woman who danced last, despite it being her very first night on stage. My girlfriends and I sang along, slipped the performers singles (it's apparently tradition when watching a drag show to give the performers a single dollar bill when they dance by), chugged pop to wash the smoke out of our throats, and gabbed.

Jessie and I at the show. (Jessie is on the right, I'm on the left.)

I did learn something new about my body, though. I'm not normally around cigarette smoke. In fact, I'm allergic, but thanks to spring time allergy meds, I didn't react beyond the burning throat and lungs. The big surprise of it, though? Apparently, the exposure to 7 chain smokers in one tiny bar for 2+ hours will set off my CRPS and trigger a flare in pain levels. I'm hoping this is temporary and I've spent the day resting to see if it will help. Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Sleep Saga

A big part of chronic health issues for many people is issues getting enough sleep of good quality. For me, I've never been a great sleeper. I was that kid in high school who only slept 3-6 hours per night. Thankfully, I was a book addict, so I did a lot of middle of the night reading during those years. Once the CRPS kicked in, what little sleep I was getting became of extremely poor quality. (That's standard for CRPS patients- we can't enter the deeper cycles of sleep, including REM, so we do not dream and the sleep is non-restorative.) 

So during my checkup with my Primary Care Provider (PCP) last week, I brought up some sort of sleep meds. She didn't like the first option I presented, which honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of either. I'm honestly a bit afraid of the odd side effects of some of the newer sleep aides on the market, so I wanted to avoid them for the moment. My PCP brought up an older medication, which was initially developed as an antidepressant but was found to be better at bringing on sleep than aiding with depression: Trazodone. A portion of patients on trazodone also see an improvement in neuropathic pain, so I figured I'd give it a shot. 

Tonight is night number 3 in this experiment. Nights 1 and 2 went fabulously. I went to sleep by 2 am (compared to my prior bedtime of 6 am, I'm thrilled with that) and I woke easily, to my alarm clock, feeling refreshed. After not getting good sleep for a decade, it's a bit surreal to wake up feeling refreshed. 

And now I'm off to bed to enjoy my third night of proper sleep. I can't wait.