Carpel tunnel flair up

Hello all,

I am having a carpel tunnel/ tendinitis flair up in my dominant hand. So today I am going to talk about what I do for self care during a chronic illness flair up.

You are not at your best self when you are in pain. You may think you tolerate pain well but I’m willing to bet that if you asked those you live or work with they would say you are not your normal self. You may be grumpy, sad, non communicative, or withdrawn.

For me I get pretty grouchy with this illness since everything from my right shoulder to my finger tips is in pain. I use Tylenol, a carpel tunnel brace, and a tens machine which takes the edge off. However, the pain is always there like an annoying pop up that won’t leave.

For me I know I can’t ignore the pain, I can’t help others if I can’t help myself. So I do what I can to manage the pain. I take time to ground between each client. I make sure I meet my bodies other needs food, water, bathroom, medications, affection from my partner, snuggles with my cats. Anything I can to boost my other life areas.

This can also mean taking a break from some responsibilities. Typing is painful so my blog posts or patient notes may be more concise than normal. I may ask my partner to open cans to feed the cats, chop things up for dinner, I ask for help.

When I first started having these flairs I would still do everything myself and put on a brave face but I know it doesn’t help.

What do you do to care for your chronic ailments?

This or That

Hat tip to Leila P. Morgan for this fall themed this or that!

  1. Vampires v. Werewolves
    I would love to pick both, one of the short stories I wrote in high school was on vampire and werewolf lore but at the end of the day I will always pick werewolves. I mean have you seen the full moon in a clear night sky?
  2. Witches v. Elves
    A tough one for me, but witches.
  3. Pumpkin v. Apple
    Apple, they have been my favorite fruit as long as I can remember! Some of my best memories are picking apples in a local orchard on a crisp day with juices running down my cheeks.
  4. Black v. Orange [the classic Halloween colors]
    Black
  5. Hot chocolate v. Apple Cider
    Apple Cider- hot or cold, spiced or not I love it!
  6. Pumpkin Carving v. Bobbing for Apples
    Pumpkin carving- I have only gone bobbing for apples once
  7. Horror v. Thriller
    Horror for books or movies- the thrillers tend to set my anxiety to max
  8. Haunted House v. Spooky Graveyard
    Haunted house- I have never been fond of graveyards
  9. Sweet Candy v. Sour Candy
    Sweet- chocolate is a favorite for me
  10. Ghosts v. Skeletons
    Ghosts – they have something to finish rather than a random bit of bones
  11. Potions v. Spells
    While I make lotions and “potions” I would rather cast spells.
  12. Halloweentown v. Twitches
    Difficult choices, but Halloweentown
  13. Candles v. Twinkly Lights
    I love the smell of a good candle, and twinkle lights mean I have to keep my cats from eating them
  14. Cozy Day Reading v. Group Movie Watch-along
    Reading- I will never turn down a day reading.
  15. Favorite Fall MonthEnd of September v. October v. November v. Beginning of December
    October is my favorite, Halloween is the closest I have to a favorite holiday. It also marks the end of summer and the beginning of soft comfy clothes

I enjoyed playing this or that! Thanks again Leila!

Salem

I am not sure when it started, but for as long as I remember I have been drawn to Salem. I am not sure if it is the injustice of the witch trials, the fiction surrounding the town, or the fact that I can trace my paternal ancestry to the area. There are several historically linked fiction that I love( I do not call them actual historical fiction because they are based in modern day).

  1. How to Hang A Witch- Adriana Mather- I was guilty of impulse buying this book while in graduate school. I saw an add on facebook, then again as a pop up. I was drawn to the youtube trailer, and I liked the summary. I did not have a lot of hope for the book to be a huge hit but I was intrigued. I loved the mystery and supernatural romance of the book enough to pick up the sequel and recommend it to a few friends.
  2. Gallows Hill- Louis Duncan- From the author of Stranger with my face comes a magical thriller. I do not want to spoil anything so go to your library and pick up a copy!

Bonus- The witches from the Charmed Series have an ancestor from Salem and I have always found the show empowering and comforting. I have watched it since middle school when I would rush off the bus, finish my homework and watch an episode before dinner time.

Witchy Movies for October

It is the time of year where I pull out all my spooky, or heartfelt, witchy movies to watch!

  1. Practical Magic- The bonds of sisterhood are some of the most important in a person’s life. In this movie the Owen’s sisters battle domestic violence, love, loss, parenthood, and stigma. Practical magic is a movie I have watched every October with the women in my family, by myself, or with my cats!
  2. Halloweentown- A disney channel classic for my household. I love The Cromwell/Piper clan. The themes of family, coming of age, and lost family. It feels wholesome with a dash of adventure.
  3. Twitches- The DuBaer twins are separated into two very different upbringings. The twins are a classic tale of finding their lost heritage and plots in a kingdom gone sideways.
  4. Kiki’s Delivery Service- This list would not be complete without a shout out to this Hayao Miyazaki movie. Kiki learns to accept the support of others, find her own strength, and finds friendship. Plus her cat, Jiji is adorable! Keep an eye out for Ursula and her crows!

Self- Care- Medications Edition

Hello All,

A really important topic to me is using your prescribed medications, including mental health medications. I have heard many times you are too young to be on medications, or “In my day young people did not get medications.” At work I often hear that people on more than two medications are “risky” for the hospital.

There is a lot of stigma there to unpack at a later date, but I wanted to say that self advocacy for your health is one of the most caring things you can do for your mind and body. I personally have a bag full of medications that looks as large as some of my 70-80 year old patients. However, being born premature, with bad genetics, and a hormonal disorder will challenge your body.

I stopped taking my stomach and other health medications in middle and high school because my parents bullied me into thinking I was too young to need the medications I was on, including allergy medications, acid reflux medications, PCOS medications, and migraine medications.

Since college I have learned to ignore the negativity and advocate for my own health. If I do not, no one will. The medications help me function better on a daily basis and become sick less often with other major illnesses.

If your body does not do what it should naturally, from producing serotonin to controlling your glucose, then medical professional prescribed alternatives are okay. If you do not take care of yourself how can you take care of others?

Self- Care on a Budget

I like to involve my five senses in my self-care items, so I am going to give some ideas based on things you may have at home. Self-care should be regular, but it should not break the bank. 

Sight- I keep posters, art work, and other items in my home to bring me joy and comfort. Something as simple as a Minions poster from 5 and below will at least give me a smile. Other items you may have include a mini fountain, frigerated magnets, prints of your favorite video game or TV show character. Heck I don’t care if it a Scooby poster on your wall. Just something pleasant to look at. 

Sound- For those who do not have internet a cheap clock radio to your favorite station, CD, or cassette player could be a go to for sound. Goodwill and other second hand stores often have cheap CD’s, cassettes, and CD/cassette players if you do not have one. 

For those who have internet, you tube, pandora, spotify are all great resources for your favorite music or a free meditation. 

Taste- For this I recommend having some of your favorite treats around the house. My go to are Flipz Milk Chocolate Pretzels but anything from an orange to a pack of come will do. 

Scent- Scent can be as simple as breaking open an orange, an oil diffuser, some glade spray, essential oils, perfume, anything that smells nice to you. If you enjoy vanilla you can put some in boiling water and breath in the scent. 

Touch- A soft blanket, stuffed animal, or a warm shower can fulfill touch. If you have someone you trust, or a pet. Some cuddling, hugs, or lap pet time could be in order. 

Bonus- Bath bombs can be used for scents, the water for touch, and if they are colorful for sight. Cuddling a cat could be touch, sight, and sound if they are purring. There are also tons of free apps that have soothing sounds. 

5 Items Every Social Work Desk Needs

1.            A calendar- I am partial to the large desk calendars for brief overviews of appointment reminders, using initials or some code to denote who the appointment is with without their name. I also track meetings, supervision, CEU’s and a general overview of my month. This typically corresponds with my Outlook or Google calendar but it’s a quick peak before I turn on my PC and acts as a back up if the power goes out, the internet is down, or if there is a cyber attack

2.            Phone Charger- This may seem odd but I never go to work without a phone charger. In these times you always want to have a fully charged phone for safety. Anything from being in the field and getting a flat tire to an active shooter scenario where you need to get alerts makes a fully charged phone invaluable.

3.            Water bottle- I keep a water tumbler with a lid and straw but any kind of cup, bottle, tumbler, ect with a lid will do. You want to stay hydrated and protect your electronics by keeping a lid on your liquid!

4.            Bandaids- I recommend a full first aid kit but if you need to stick to the minimum, band aids is the number one priority. Anything from a broken nail, ripped cuticle, papercut, blister from those new work shoes, can be covered up and made more comfortable by a band aid. If you really want to provide some self-care with it get some cool colors, Star Wars, or other fun kinds! Personally, I keep a box of Lion Guard Band Aids.

5.            A self care item for destressing- I keep a stress ball or teo at my desk but any object that helps you destress will do. Fidgets, stress balls, magnetic objects, or a suduko puzzle will do.

Plus Size interview clothes

I have some recommendations for plus sized interview clothes.

  1. Shirts- Rider by Lee- this shirt has no gap buttons, and is a modest v-neck. It covers everything society expects to be covered during an interview. It also comes in several colors. The blue and purple are nice power colors.
    https://www.amazon.com/Riders-Lee-Indigo-Womens-Plus-Size/dp/B012P2JUQA/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=lee+button+down&qid=1633292593&rnid=2941120011&s=apparel&sr=1-6
  2. Pants- Torrid, Lane Bryant, and Chicwe all have nice pants that compliment curvy women.
  3. Jacket- Torrid and Lane Bryant both have several Jacket or Blazer options to choose from
  4. Shoes- Torrid, payless, and amazon have some lovely options as far as flats go. I recommend flats as you are less likely to take a spill in front of someone important when you are in comfy, low heeled shoes.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence awareness month, this is another topic that is important to me and I would like to define the cycle of abuse here.

The cycle could be under the cycle of power and control, the cycle of violence, the cycle of domestic violence, or the cycle of intimate partner violence.

  1. Building tension- Everything starts with criticism, yelling, swearing, coercion, and anger
  2. Explosion- This peaks with an explosion physical, emotional, mental, or sexual violence
  3. Honey moon period- This is also called love bombing. This is where gifts are given, apologies, promises, and blame shifting. The partner becomes the picture of perfection

If you are looking for real life examples, including why it is so hard to leave, there are several tiktok channels out there where survivors tell their stories.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse look for local resources, a good place to start can be doctors offices, police stations, employee assistance programs, college campus wellness centers, all tend to have resources.

Resources:

Breast Cancer Testing

I myself had a breast cancer scare right after finishing graduate school. I did not find a lump during my self exams, but when I went for my yearly check two lumps were found. I was scared but I was determined to get to the bottom of what was happening.

I engaged my small support network and started making appointments. My first stop was an ultrasound which was inconclusive, but they recommended me for further testing. My next stop was going for an MRI, I highly recommend asking what the highest should width that is accommodated in the MRI. The first tech I worked with tried to jam me into too small of a machine. Luckily, I was able to get a same day walk in with a larger machine on the same hospital campus. This test came up clear as far as the lump went but I was recommended for a follow-up MRI.

I never did get that follow up. The male doctor, wanted me to get the MRI during a certain part of my cycle, normally this wouldn’t be an issue and I would have done as I was told. However, with my IUD I do not get a regular cycle. I spot randomly and do not have a full period. The doctor and secretary both asked why I could not figure out my own cycle and did not understand why my IUD was an issue. They told me I could not get the follow up until I figured out when day 14 of my cycle was. My IUD is still in and the lumps have not grown so, I will be waiting until my IUD is removed before I obtained an MRI.

Moral of the story, advocate for yourself, use your supports, and cry if you need to cry.