Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fighting Frozen Shoulder

I’ve been away from blogging for quite some time. I’ve been suffering from a debilitating shoulder problem, tons of pain and fatigue and probably a little bit of depression along with that.  
In May of this year I woke up one morning and had a terrible pain on the inside of my arm at the bicep. It felt like I had probably just slept wrong and pinched a nerve or something. I managed to get on with my day and figured that it would go away in a day or two. As the week went on, I started to feel some pain in my shoulder. Within the next few weeks the pain would radiate down my arm and hurt my wrist. This was especially nerve wracking as it was my right (dominant) arm and my job includes 8 hours of mouse clicking. All of my work is done in Excel and an Excel-like proprietary program that all tasks are done by clicking with a mouse. Typically, by the end of the day, my wrist would hurt so bad that once I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was to even get on the computer. Let alone spend any time writing.  

After about six weeks of pain and a tightening in my shoulder that caused me to not be able to reach above my head or to even fasten my bra (reaching behind my back), I decided to visit my primary care physician. He said it sounded like “frozen shoulder” and sent me for a round of physical therapy. After three weeks of therapy I was not gaining any range of motion and the pain was escalating. My husband encouraged me to see an orthopedic surgeon as he works with a guy that was treated by a doctor for his shoulder problems (not frozen shoulder).  

Both of my children have utilized a local orthopedic group for injuries so I went to see a doctor there that specialized in shoulders (the same doctor recommended by my husband’s workmate).   This doctor sent me for a more intense physical therapy that involved some massage and manipulation. After a few weeks of no improvement in this therapy the doctor recommended surgery. During the same time, our insurance changed on physical therapy and would not pay for the therapist I was seeing. So, I would have the surgery and end up going to my third physical therapist.  

The doctor did an arthroscopic capsular release (scraping inflammation from tissue within the shoulder) and then doing a physical manipulation of the arm and shoulder under anesthesia.   The same day as surgery I started aggressive physical therapy three times a week for 2 hour sessions and home treatment including exercise and utilization of a home continuous passive motion machine. I continued post-surgical physical therapy for 8 weeks and had a couple of visits with my doctor. On my visit with the doctor, ten weeks after surgery, he said that my range of motion was no better than before surgery. My pain from therapy was only controlled by using prescription medication. I had been off work for six weeks, but was now back to work. The pain medication made me very tired and I felt I was not performing at an optimal level. The doctor and I agreed since therapy was not showing any improvement in range of motion that I would discontinue therapy at the therapist’s office. The doctor wanted me to continue with home exercise and to continue with all regular movement. I was hoping that stopping the therapy where the physical therapist stretched and bent my arm would lessen the pain I was feeling.  

Four weeks later, I met with the doctor again. I was feeling my shoulder tighten back up, my reach was less, and the shoulder was becoming more painful. The doctor said the best plan of treatment would be to go back in and do another manipulation under anesthesia and once I was under he would be able to tell if I would need an additional capsular release. This was a no-brainer for me. So I am set up to have surgery next week as long as everything is approved by our insurance.  

Two weeks ago I was sure that I wouldn’t agree to more surgery, but now I am miserable and not doing anything active. I get up, go to work, come home, do some exercises throughout the day, and sit watching television for a couple of hours until I can make my way to bed without feeling guilty about going to bed so early.  

Once in bed, I lay flat on my back, wedge a pillow underneath my right forearm to try and get a comfortable angle and eventually fall asleep. Hopefully I will be able to make it for at least four hours before I need to get up and take more pain meds. Sometimes I succeed, most times I do not. I wake each morning tired and with no energy to start everything over again.  

In trying to cope with the frozen shoulder, I have checked out tons of information on the internet. There were several videos on that showed “doctors” fixing patients in just minutes. I won’t say that this treatment is impossible but I’ll just say that if it was possible to fix the problem it would be more widespread in treatment. I have read stories of women that have been dealing with frozen shoulder for over 10 years, others that say they have had the frozen shoulder in both shoulders over the past five years and many people just looking for ways to relieve the pain. I’ve read that most frozen shoulder problems exist in diabetic women between 40 and 60 years old. And that is me. Also there is mention of it happening in post-menopausal women and smokers. However, I have met a man in therapy that had frozen shoulder and didn’t meet any of those criteria. Doctors cannot explain how or why the problem occurs. Also, there is no definite timeline, but the shoulder will apparently thaw on its own, but it will likely take years.  

So after surgery next week, I am hoping that I will have increased range of motion and less pain in my shoulder and start to get on the mend. Perhaps then I will have more energy and have a little more desire to write about things I find interesting.

If you are suffering from frozen shoulder or have in the past, I’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What’s Your Favorite Theme in a Park?

An artist’s rendering of Springfield, a new theme park-within-a-theme park based on The Simpsons’ fictional hometown, which is set to open at Universal Orlando this summer.
 So you have yet to make your plans for your vacation this summer – how about traveling to Springfield?  Illinois? Missouri? Massachusetts?  No, it’s the Springfield set in an undetermined state in the United States where the folks are spectacularly orange with a wild variety of hairstyles and colors.  I, myself, have never been a Simpsons fan, so I cannot imagine every visiting, but perhaps you might give it a try. 
 Apparently you will be able to get a Krusty Burger here.  But if I would go to Universal Studios Orlando, I think I’d rather try the Butter Beer over at Harry Potter’s place.  But if you can’t wait to see Homer and Bart in person (and Dom, I’m talking to you and your British friends that love The Simpsons) then keep an eye out this summer for an opening announcement.  See more details at the New York Daily News here:
But if you prefer to visit a theme park with more intelligent individuals than Homer then you will have to wait a few years to visit the newest theme park in Alabama – Blue Collar Country.  This theme park was announced earlier in May as being built by Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. Read more -  So in just two to three years you can put on your trucker hat and your jorts and make your way to Alabama for some southern hospitality.  Can’t wait, right?  I thought so.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This was not in the job description…

So this weekend officially started summer. Summer brings longer days, warmer temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Longer, warmer, sunny days make me happy.

Going to work in the morning is more dreadful because we would all rather be relaxing on a beach, sitting by a pool, or traveling through the countryside. That was me as I drove to work today. But I knew that my vacation days are already taken up, so I drove on.

My thoughts went to what I would do after spending my day at work and returning home. Summer holds such great options. I was thinking about tonight and even thinking about next weekend when I walked into the office and was confronted by something like this:  

Please leave those gnarly feet under cover. Summer is not a free for all to show off your gross feet. Please save showing off those “beauties” for your husband or for your trip to the beach where you can bury them in the sand.

And no, a $50 pedicure does not make it all better. Absolutely no one in your office wants to look at those ugly toes. There is a reason most companies have a no-open toed shoe policy. I think we even have one at my office, but no one enforces it. It is not for safety of the shoe wearer, but for the convenience of the co-worker forced to sit across the room in a meeting trying to avoid looking at your pale, crusty dry, fat feet screaming for help.

Maybe I need to call HR and make a harassment complaint because those feet are causing me discomfort and nausea. So please, for the love of all that is right and good with the world, cover those hideous things up.

The image above is a representation of my encounter.  I did not grab my phone to immortalize the feet in question.  And as for this photo image, I’d like to say that no feet were hurt in filming, but I’d be lying.  Call PETa – People for the Ethical Treatment of appendages.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day!

I remember when I was young it was a tradition on May Day to put together a basket like the one below and leave on the door of your neighbors.  Nowadays many traditions like this have died.  Many of us don’t really know our neighbors and wouldn’t dream of sneaking on their porch to drop off a kind thought of Spring celebration.
So I won’t be caught on your porch today with my basket of Spring booty, but I will send you this digital greeting to enjoy May Day and all the wonderful days of Spring ahead!

Spring Flowers From the Garden

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Boogie Days

Last week a co-worker came by my desk and said, “The boss wants to see us now.” So I grabbed my pen and notebook and headed for the boss’ office. My co-worker and I both sat down. I always look people in the eye when they are talking to me, so I did, but my eyes were drawn about an inch and a half below my boss’ right eye. Sitting there on the clip_image001cheek was a “boogie.” I’m sure the boss didn’t know it was there and if it had just been me in the office, I might have said something like, “oh, you have something on your cheek.” But, I resisted. It seemed like one of those things where I shouldn’t embarrass the boss in front of my co-worker.   I sat there and as our boss looked at me, I brushed my cheek in the area of the space invader, but toclip_image003 no avail. Typically you can get someone to mimic you if you make a move like that a couple of times. Unfortunately, I was unable to incite any aping. The cling-on remained.   So for the next 30 minutes, I listened to the project the boss was assigning and I tried to take notes and look at the boss as little as I could. But dang it, my eyes kept getting drawn to that grotesque thing. I typically have a terrible gag reflex to something like that, so I just kept telling myself to be professional and hope that this meeting wouldn’t last long. I would like to tell you that as soon as we were dismissed from the meeting, that I held back and said something to the boss about the cheek resident, but I just dashed out of the office to get away before that thing decided to go anywhere. It was every woman for herself and I wasn’t being left behind to deal with any boogie dancing, I just had to get out of there. What would you have done? Guess I know what I’m giving out for Boss’ Day!clip_image005

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chicago – Doubletree Hotel by Hilton (Magnificent Mile)

File:20090524 Buildings along Chicago River line the south border of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center.jpg
On a recent business trip I found myself in downtown Chicago at the Doubletree by Hilton-Magnificent Mile. The hotel was conveniently located just a block from Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile). This hotel offered a pleasant environment with an open lobby area including a bar with seating for meeting with work colleagues, an attached restaurant, and an Einstein Bros. Bagels with an inside entrance off the lobby as well as access to the street outside.
Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, IL - Lobby My company had a corporate rate for $105 for a room with two double beds. The bedding was Hilton’s normal clean and comfortable linens and comforter they like to call Sweet Dreams. The only bad thing about this hotel was the on-site parking which went for $45 per day. That combined with the room rate made the hotel $150 per day – but for downtown Chicago that is not bad, in my opinion. I’d even looked it up on Travelocity before I left home and the room was going for $99 per night. There was parking across the street for around $33 per day, but the convenience was worth the cost for me.Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, Il - Double Bedded Guestroom My first night there I ventured about three blocks away to Gino’s East for some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Unfortunately I was unable to eat more than one piece. I had been suffering with the flu the week before and was finding that my appetite was not returning, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from indulging in at least one piece of pizza. The walk to the restaurant was easy and would have been more enjoyable if the temperature was above single digits. This hotel offers the option of not having your room serviced with new linens each day for an $8 breakfast voucher. I opted for that and was able to go to Einstein’s the next morning and eat a breakfast sandwich bagel and a bottle of apple juice for free. After a day in meetings, I returned to the hotel exhausted. My body was just not rebounding from this Doubletree Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile, IL - Lobby Barflu. My first stop was to get to Walgreens. I had to walk a block up to Michigan Avenue and then three to four blocks to the Walgreens right near the Water Tower. My flu was gone, but I had a nagging cough that was driving me crazy. I knew having been to Chicago before that the Walgreens would satisfy whatever medicinal needs I had. I picked up my sugar-free cough syrup and headed back out the door into the freezing temperatures. Every so often, I get that urge to move to a bigger city and with Chicago being the third largest in the nation, I also sometimes dream of moving here. But then, all it takes is being there in the middle of February when the temp falls below the teens and the wind whips in off of Lake Michigan to make me change my mind. On my way back to my hotel room, I was able to stop in at a couple of shops on Michigan Avenue. And while most stores here do not carry my size of clothing many were having clearance sales and I was able to pick up a very soft scarf to keep my neck warm for under $7. I removed the tag from that puppy immediately and placed it around my neck to block out the chill of the wind. At this point, I was ready for dinner and spied the Grand Lux Café. This is owned by The Cheesecake Factory and the husband and I had eaten at this chain when we were in Las Vegas so I’ve spoken about it before. I was placed at a window table overlooking Michigan Avenue where I was able to people watch and be entertained by human nature until my meal arrived.  I enjoyed an Asian salad and barely able to keep my eyes open, I ordered a dessert to go. I went back to my room where I was able to curl up in the comfortable bed for an early night. The flu still had its hold on my energy and I fell asleep around 8:30 p.m. But I was able to sleep very soundly because even though the room was close to the busyness of downtown – the noise did not enter my room. And the blackout curtains kept the lights from the high rise apartments and hotels out of my room.  So if you are planning a trip to downtown Chicago anytime soon, compare prices on Trip Advisor, and know that I approve of this destination for its convenience and comfort and only disliked the cost of parking at $45 per day – but this did include unlimited in and out privileges.   The opinions expressed herein are my own and directly related to my own experience at this hotel and in Chicago.  I have not been compensated by the hotel for my comments.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Basketball Blues

I am not sure if I’ll watch the Final Four this weekend as my favorite team didn’t quite get there.  I will wait until Monday to decide if I’ll watch the final once I know who is playing.  But I have to thank my boys in crimson and blue for a great year, better than I anticipated back in November.


I personally hope to see Michigan vs. Wichita State on Monday night.  You know, you always want the team that beat you (Michigan) to make it all the way.  But having been born and raised in Wichita and with 6 credits from WSU to my transcript, I want them to get to the finals as well.  And as far as I’m concerned WU Shock is almost as cool as Big Jay and Baby Jay.  Read more about WU Shock here And see more about the coolest mascots in the NCAA - Big Jay and Baby Jay here

Final Four NCAA Basketball Wallpaper 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Unreliable Co-workers

Sometimes when I’m extra stressed or bogged down at work and haven’t had a day off for quite a while, I resent some of my co-workers that seem to be off sick every couple of weeks.  But then I have to think of Jon Bon Jovi and how you know he must feel about his co-worker… Richie Sambora.  The Los Angeles Times said yesterday that Richie left the current Bon Jovi tour for personal reasons.,0,6358949.story.  Now Jon has to call in someone to replace Sambora.  The good news is, I think Jon probably has a list of replacements as this seems to happen quite a bit.
Richie Sambora

The husband and I went to see Bon Jovi on May 22, 2011 and Sambora had left the tour at that time as well.  He failed to finish the North American tour but returned for the European tour.  Made me wonder if they have an employment contract that only pays Sambora when he actually shows up.  Jon, it might be worth looking into.

Jon, are you thinking about it.  Probably a good idea, huh?

Quit that smirking at me.  I’m serious.  I know the band has your name, but when people come to see Bon Jovi they expect to see everyone.  Except me, of course, I only go to see you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

If Only This Dress Came in Orca Whale Black

So I heard about this uproar about color naming of a dress on the website this week.  Read about it here -  Below are both dresses, but notice the plus-size dress color selection is Manatee Gray and caused the issue.  I personally find the dress butt ugly, but hey, what a bargain.  If you don’t mind buying something called Manatee Gray you can save 2.99 off the “regular size” version.  I’m thinking someone in their art department that set up this website selection might be in a little trouble.  And now the item has been removed from their website.  I am a plus-size individual, so I guess if I want to find something like this in my size I’m now going to go to the tent and awning store to find something so flowing and gray.
For those of you who have no idea what a manatee is I will provide you with information from National Geographic for Kids at where I found these lovely facts:
Manatees are sometimes called sea cows.
West Indian manatees in the wild live about 60 to 70 years.
Manatees push food toward their mouths with whiskers on their upper lips.   And they look like this:    
Oh, please Target, bring it back so we mustachioed sea cows can finally have a dress to wear.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or does Angie Miller from American Idol look like she’s a long lost relative of the Osmond Family?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Forward

I have to say that 2012 was a busy year in our household and I look for 2013 to be a little less exciting.  For those of you wondering, my son was able to make it home safely for Christmas and stayed with us just shy of a week.  He’s back in Washington now to start looking for a place to live.  He was fortunate to have the people he works with offer him shelter, but he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome.

So I look forward to what new and interesting things he will find in a new place to live and continuing with his first year teaching.  Both my husband and I are fortunate to have our jobs.  My sister and others have not been so lucky with the continuing problems with the economy.  And the most incredible thing, but I daresay something that makes me feel old, is that my daughter will be graduating in May from college. 

This past year, I had friends welcome babies into their lives, and I’ve told them the old clichés about enjoying every moment of their children's’ lives because they will be grown before they know it.  And I have to say that it does just seem like yesterday they were speeding along on their Hot Wheels and spinning out just to show they could.

Have a great New Year and enjoy each new day and every opportunity it provides.