Still Walking

Still Walking

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cat Falls, Fatigue and Progressions

Looks innocent as can be, doesn't Sara? She is a sweet little Tuxedo Cat. She is also an assassin.

When I go to clinic I get asked about falling. I use a walking stick and I have a toe-lift brace, which I haven't used, to aid in keeping me upright. All kinds of warnings to be careful, but they forgot about cats. And thus, I fell over Sara.

It was early morning and I was feeding cats as usual.  I had just set the plates down and Mark was chomping away, so I turned to leave. Sara quickly, and cats are very quick, ran beneath my feet.
I started, trying to avoid stepping upon her. I was in my stocking feet, which was a bad choice that morning, and my feet had no grasp, just good sliding ability and I went down to the left. I landed hard on the side, feeling the drop strongly in my ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow and shoulder. It made such an explosive noice my wife awoke and came hurrying in to see what was the matter.

"Are you dead?" she might have asked me.

I wondered myself, but thought more about how many broken bones might be sticking through my skin.
There were none. Using nearby chair as a prop, I got to my feet. I had pain in my right elbow and wrist. They must have slammed into my body when I landed. My right elbow is still a bit sore. Most of me remains somewhat stiff, especially the upper inner thighs. I had a small bruise on my upper leg and one on my left rump, but otherwise am unmarked, and apparently, amazingly unhurt. I mean, I don't think I have ever fallen so hard. Naturally it had to be in the office, the only upstairs room, other than the bath and the kitchen, without carpet and padding. It is hardwood; very hard wood as I learned.

This fall had nothing to do with my ALS. I think not, unless it was my failure to pull my shoes on that morning. Dressing is a bit of an effort, especially socks and then shoes. Pants are a bit of a dance about as well. I did have my pants on, though.

Part of my struggles are inflexibility, like reaching my toes, and part is fatigue. Fatigue is growing, which must be some further progression of this disease within me. I am getting worn out much more rapidly and often these last few weeks.  Before I could go awhile at chores before I had to sit and rest, but these days I seem to have fatigue upon my back with any effort. And speaking of backs, mine begins to hurt not long into my morning cleanings. It feels like the muscle pain I use to get only after several hours of yard work or lifting.  Now it attacks after a couple of litter box changes.

Cooking really cooks my goose. If I prepare a meal I finish it physically wasted and half sick. Even prepping a roast for slow roasting in a crockpot is an epic effort. I am beginning to feel rather useless.

I am also suffering from lethargy, something that ALS can also bring, probably as an offshoot of the fatigue. It is difficult to go and do. It is hard to describe the feeling. It goes against my nature, but it is there and I think it's winning. Even keying out this post is sapping my energy and my enthusiasm.

I read ALS Association tips to fight the fatigue, but dabnabbit, what I should give up are what I have always enjoyed. I should limit my walking to only what is necessary, but I have always been a hiker. It said avoid extremes of hot and cold. That was part of the hiking fun. I miss being out in the local state parks on the guerrilla trails as it is. I have limited myself to a traipse about safe Rockwood, and then I can only make a mile or so before I must return to my car. I even avoid using the parking placard if it isn't raining and there are regular spaces not too far. I only use the walking stick when on a hike, not about the house. Yes, I know I am a stubborn man, or fool as may be.

The article said to avoid long soaks in warm water. Are you kidding me. One of my life long pleasures is to slip into a hot tub and read for an hour or so until the water cools. This practice has proven risky enough since I do fear I might not be able to pull myself out of the bathtub, and now I should just give it up?

Eat more protein was another. I have been a partaker of protein. I belong to PETA, People Eating Tasty Animals. The problem is I have an overall lack of appetite. I actually get fatigued chewing and I also fill up quickly. My eating habits have become a bit quirky, and yes, both the fatigue and the lethargy cause me to avoid any lengthy preparations. It is easier to pour some milk on a cereal or pop some popcorn then cook a meal or even build a sandwich.

I haven't been losing weight. The doctors have been on me to gain pounds, and I have. I weighted 182 last time on the scales. This upset me. I do not want to be this heavy and am not sure how to reduce. I find myself eating more sweets these days, which doesn't help. A year ago I was avoiding a lot of sugar, no snacking, no sugar in my coffee or on my cereal. Now I plead for them to keep the sugar refineries refining.

I also can't exercise as I was. I had a regular regime, my 5-mile morning walks, my three days at the
Gym and my rowing machine each night. All gone, except my morning walk, but as I said, I am down to a mile or so now.

So other progressions. I am on the verge of drooling and sometimes lightly do. My mouth corners are always moist. I am having some problem swallowing, nothing major, but I can't guzzle a drink for instance.

My hands and feet feel odd, like they are foreign to me. I have grown ever more clumsy. The inner part of my hands look like I have socked them in water for hours, pruney as we use to call the look. I also notice my fingers, especially on the left hand, are always curling inward. I see that some people have to resort to hand braces to keep away permeant fists. Hmm, that is a concern. How do you type with fists? I am having lack of pressure on the keys as I type, so letters are often missing on the page.

My legs are beginning to display the same sink holes under the flesh as my hands, pits where bulging
Muscle should be and once was.

Bit of a mess, ain't I?

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