03 March 2009

A visit with the doctor

Yesterday I drove to St. Louis for an appointment with my rheumatologist. It was a routine appointment, which I had to reschedule four times for various reasons.

It was a good visit, all in all, and the doctor provided some good information for me.

I have noticed over the past couple of months that my middle fingers are beginning to turn to one direction or another, in what appears to be something like the crippling effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Naturally, this concerned me. Apparently this is caused when the muscles in the hands grow weak and can be corrected by squeezing a stress ball for five minutes or so each day. That was certainly good news.

As he checked the flexibility of my various joints, he noticed, as have I, that I have lost some range of motion in my right wrist, though not enough to cause any difficulties for me.

My blood pressure remains high (it was 169 over 97, though when I check it at home it is usually about 150 over 80-85; still not good, but not so bad, either). It might be a consequence of the arthritis medicine I am on; if it is, there is another medicine we can try.

Someone recently told me that she had stopped drinking any form of caffeine and her arthritis seems to have gone away. When I asked my doctor about it, he said that if 100 people with arthritis stopped taking caffeine 3 or them might have decreased symptoms, but it would probably help with my blood pressure. I've been down to one or two Dr Peppers each day; I'll try to cut back to one. In the winter, though, when I'm already generally tired from the effects of arthritis, that will be easier said than done.

I mentioned that when I was in Hawaii the exhaustion consequent of the arthritis was absent and asked if there was anything I could here to combat it or if was something I would just have to put up with in the midwest. It seems I'll just have to put up with it.

He asked if I was exercising and was pleased that I am now both running and lifting weights with some of the high school kids. He suggested that I especially work on my hams and quads, which will help take pressure off of my knees. That's good to know and I'm sure the kids will be happy to make sure I do so.

I am to have blood work done every four months and see him again in six. All in all, it was a good visit.

When I returned to Effingham I went to the weight room before going out to dinner with a couple of parishioners. If you go to TFIFriday's, I highly recommend the cedar seared salmon pasta.

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