Saturday, 12 May 2012

Putting the old car on the bridge, #1 to 3

I live to grow things. 

Few things make me happier than a vegetable garden brimming with glowing produce, a riot of colour in the flower beds, and a table full of splendid plants at the farmers market.

Living on 10 mostly wild acres is both a blessing and a curse. If I decide to extend a flower bed nothing stops me. Or rather that was the case so far.

I truly hate to admit it, but the time may be coming to retrench. Almost-seventy is not at all the same as just-turned-sixty. 
In the house I am fine and don't notice a thing. I have spent a shamefully sluggish winter, redeemed by some volunteering, but with many hours happily playing online or reading.

But outside it is different. Last year was the first year I experienced my age as a limitation. This year it is worse. Why should that be surprising?

On the uneven ground half the time I am hobbling around in slow motion, occasionally grabbing a stick for the moment the hip gives out. Walking uphill makes me out of breath in the most ridiculous way. Pushing a loaded wheelbarrow uphill is simply not happening.

The number of days on which I fancy an afternoon nap is also increasing.
The hip problem makes it hard to go for a walk, but then inactivity doesn't help with any heart or lung issues. Am I just out of shape, or is it something worse?

Time to investigate: put the old car on the bridge to peer at the undercarriage.
I prefer non-invasive natural forms of healing, but have the highest regard for the knowledge base and ability to diagnose of modern medicine.
To make a long story short: I have actually gone to visit an M.D. for the first time in 14 years. We're doing the works: x rays, and ECG and blood tests.

The cost to me: ZERO.  Terrible thing, that socialized medicine.

Well, that explains the naps and lack of ambition. I am severely anaemic again. 

Yesterday I got this call to come see this fill-in doctor right away, "some test results" came in. Quite frankly I was mildly freaked. I had just had blood taken that morning as part of the old-car-on-the-bridge project, so I didn't think that could have anything to do with it. The other option was the lung X rays and ECG.

I grudgingly agreed to come in, but resolved firmly to stand my ground and not get suckered into going on statins or chemo, in case I was told of an incipient heart attack or the start of lung cancer. 

But it turns out the lab alerted the clinic because my hemoglobin was 7.4, and below 7 they start thinking of transfusions. Aha. My old nemesis is back. Even on a good diet I have been prone to iron deficiency anemia all my life, until I got onto the blessed AFA.

That might explain the shortness of breath too. So now they want to check if I am losing blood in some mysterious way, which requires awkward samples. Meanwhile, I am quite fine with taking Floradix. Moreover, there should be stinging nettles out there somewhere and I have a garden full of yellow dock.

Also saw the chiropractor yesterday. According to him the hip problem is "facet syndrome" and largely muscular in nature. It responds beautifully to special stretches, one of which is a lot like yoga's pigeon pose. I am supposed to do 10 minutes twice daily. It beats going on the waiting list for a fake hip. Not being able to walk is a powerful incentive. 

Watch out world, I am not done yet! There are pipelines to stop......

On Monday I felt absolutely fantastic, worked like a demon and enjoyed every moment of it. Tuesday was a nap-free day too, got pretty tired pushing my wheelchair-bound friend around through the bark mulch at the nursery, but felt it was a good kind of tired. Wednesday and Thursday were afternoon nap days again. At least the hip is fine as long as I do the stretches.

Today was the visit to the M.D. Nothing dramatic in the heart and lung department, hemoglobin up a bit, good. But one of the occult blood samples was positive. Damn. Intermittent internal bleeding could account for the intermittent energy. Next step: colonoscopy. I am not looking forward to this.