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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Symptoms: How things are going today

As I sit at my desk, I just figured out, by retracing my steps, that the receipt I had just scanned had not yet been saved, so I saved the receipt image and filed it. It's a procedure that takes less than 30 seconds per receipt, yet I have been working on three of them over an hour, and I'm not done yet.

I keep all of my receipts currently, not only as a means to document that I was shopping to cover for lack of memory, but also as a means of helping me understand where I spend money. I link my bank statement line items to these receipts so if I have questions about my spending later, I have these records. I may not follow this pattern indefinitely, but while I'm establishing new ways to accommodate memory deficiencies, I'm keeping lots of records that are probably unnecessary.

In this same hour, I have answered the door, watched part of a television program, then restarted it because it was over and I didn't remember watching it. My desk looks noticeably neater than it did when I sat down, and the trash container is full, but I don't remember cleaning my desk. Obviously I have been doing more than I realize. Just now, I was thinking about how much time gets lost by retracing my steps because I forget what I'm doing. On the bright side, I am very efficient when it comes to retracing my steps, but not so efficient that it makes up for the lost time.

I decided to write this note because it occurred to me I had never documented some strange symptoms that I should mention to my neurologist at my appointment tomorrow.

The other day, the day before new year's eve, I experienced what I believe was a muscle cramp in my right thigh. Ordinarily I would not be questioning whether I had a muscle cramp, but I have had off-and-on numbness in my right leg since the head injury 19 months ago. I had been watching an episode of "Castle" with Jonathan and Audra. When the show was over, both kids headed upstairs. I don't move quite so easily, and I have to be careful not to lean on furniture to get up, because I have broken one of our chairs by pushing the arm away from the rest of the chair while using it to brace me as I got our of the chair. So... I rocked the chair twice until my momentum carried me past my center of gravity so I could get up without a crutch. At that moment, I noticed my right leg was stiff, and was not moving where I "told it" to move. I could feel a tight strain against my knee as if it was under pressure. I placed my hand under my knee to lift the leg into position when I felt the tight knot of muscle cramp. As I squeezed my thigh with my hand, I realized that muscle area was completely numb, although I could feel tightness in my knee and everywhere around the muscle.

Potassium from bananas
and adequate hydration
help prevent muscle cramps.
Realizing I had a cramp, I gently straightened the leg to a more natural position, and I massaged the muscle, feeling it relax and soften as I marveled about how wonderful it was to not FEEL the cramp. Leg cramps usually hurt.

Since that day, my leg has had the usual muscle soreness of a leg recovering from a cramp. Today is the first day the pain has been better. I don't know whether my numbness is strictly a neurological problem, or if it is related to circulation. Having gained 40 lbs in the last two months hasn't helped.

Since I can trace my weight gain to when I started taking Abilify, I have decided to stop taking Abilify so I can get my weight back under control. I have been eating very limited amounts of food, and I still can't loose weight. I am certain I will loose a lot of weight quickly without the Abilify, because I lost a lot of weight quickly the last time I stopped taking it.

I have now skipped two doses. Aside from a generally grumpy negative attitude that has replaced a happier demeanor, I don't see much difference in how I feel. I'm probably having more difficulty focusing than usual, but my focusing wasn't especially great before I stopped taking the Abilify.

Based on my past experience stopping Abilify, I won't be too surprised if I experience some hallucinations before the medicine is completely out of my system. Time will tell. I do have a song stuck in my head though... (Now the song, "what a day for a daydream" is running through my head...)

The other thing I must do is exercise. It's time to stop using the bicycle ban as an excuse, and find something I can (and will) do to use my muscles. Either that, or I need to pursue getting knee replacements so I can walk for exercise. (but then, shouldn't I loose some weight before I decide I need surgery?...and around the loop goes again....)

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