In the last few weeks, I've been having really bad cramps in my calves that last for days. I initially figured they were mostly a symptom of the stress I've been dealing with. I've noticed that when I'm around people I tense up, and have only been able to relax completely after a good night's sleep in a room where I'm alone.
But last Thursday I noticed some other symptoms. My right leg and my toes on both feet were a little numb. My right calf was cramping pretty fiercely. My lower right back was hurting. And my lower legs and feet were swollen. I started getting a little freaked out and looked up the symptoms on three different websites. They all agreed that it looked like something kidney related was the most likely cause, and that blood clots could be an issue. I took an aspirin and slept on it, but when it was still pretty bad the next day I called the VA and set up an appointment with a Dr. Grich (not my regular doctor, but the one immediately available). Since then I've been drinking less than normal in case that helps reduce the swelling, and that seems to have at least reduced that symptom.
Luckily I was able to get in today. I got there in plenty of time and it was only a couple minutes after my allotted time that I got called. A nurse took my blood pressure, O2, and weight/height. Blood and oxygen looked good, but I've gained 14 pounds since the last visit a couple months ago. Then I got to wait again, but thankfully only for a couple minutes.
Dr. Grich called me back to her office, and started talking. And talking. And asking questions, then talking over me when I hadn't completely answered her question. She didn't seem to be listening to me, and no other tests were administered. She said that since my tests two months ago didn't show anything, I should be fine and she said I should see physical therapy.
Again I was lucky with physical therapy. I got down there and apparently I needed to set up an appointment, which meant coming back in a couple weeks or more, but amazingly someone had dropped their 2 o'clock appointment and I could do that if I waited around a half hour. The therapist I got was pretty good, professional and efficient while being friendly. Quite the opposite of Dr. Grich. Of course it didn't hurt that she was similar in appearance to two of my friends, Jenn and Celestina. She checked me out and did lots of movement and reflex tests, and showed me some stretches and exercises that should help with the calf issues. I guess my shoes are also a problem: the heels are too high and I should get flatter shoes when I can.
But if the VA visit was a mix of good and bad, I got to spend the rest of the afternoon with Malcolm!
He's looking about the same as I last saw him, although he has a little bit of a sniffle - nothing big, and he appears healthy and happy. I got lots of hugs and some kisses. He's making more vocalizations, but there weren't many words. He tried to play with the swords, but momma said no because he needs to learn to not hit other people with them - at least not unexpectedly. We also learned that dragging him around on the exercise mat is a lot of fun, causing much laughter and big smiles. When it was time to take him home he was getting pretty tired.
I got to change his diaper once, and see him smile and laugh, so it was a good day.
Just as we were leaving, Max and I retrieved the smaller weights that I'd left in Manchester. My left wrist and shoulder feel well enough to start lifting again, but taking it slow is probably good advice. I really want to drop that 14 pounds and at least another 20 more, as well as improve my stamina and overall physical health. As for my mental health, that's a subject for another time.