New Year. Looking back, there were a few times that Kathy and I went out and really celebrated the New Year. Most years we stayed home and had a glass of wine. We did go to an early First Night in Boston. That was probably 1975 or 1976. It was absolutely freezing but the program called for a midnight surprise at the Boston Common. The fireworks made it all worthwhile. We went back to a later First Night. But all I remember was getting sick on too much Scotch at my sister’s apartment the next day.
When we lived in Boulder we went bar hopping one year. We went to three or four bars. Ended up at a strip club called the Bustop (a play on “bus stop”) at midnight. It wasn’t as crazy as it could have been. One new year’s we ran a 5K race called the Resolution Run, in Denver.
When we moved to Hampden Kathy took me dancing in downtown Springfield. That felt grown up. One year I performed at First Night Hartford. I was booked to perform again but had to cancel at the last-minute because Kathy was starting to get sick.
I spent this New Years Eve and Day cleaning and sorting. Doing laundry and picking up Marty’s deposits outside on the deck. At least they were frozen.
Ted. It has taken me a bit to adjust to Kathy’s brother Ted passing away. I was trying to practice guitar and was singing the Huntington’s Waltz and another cleansing flood of tears came out. I didn’t fight it. That’s one of the benefits of living alone 🙂 I didn’t get the borrowed guitar wet, either (just in case my friends at Goat Peak Strings are reading).
The Huntington’s Waltz. Just before Christmas, I entered a new demo of the Huntington’s Waltz in a songwriting contest. I didn’t win but it was a good incentive to re-record the song a little slower and work with my recording stuff again. Fortunately, I recorded the guitar parts before I cracked the Martin. And messed up my shoulder. I’m still mulling over the arrangement or whether there should be harmony vocals or other instruments. It is on my Bandcamp page.
Visiting the Doctor. My regular six-month checkup came on December 28th. He went over my lab results which were all fine. Cholesterol etc.
My doctor is a wall sorter. He hangs up medical articles and clippings he wants his patients to read on the wall. I find interesting stuff while I am waiting. But some of it makes me paranoid.
Colonoscopy. He said, “You went for your colonoscopy but it couldn’t be completed.”
I think I said, “What! Are you sh*ttin’ me?! (pun intended.) I asked the nurse if they found anything. She said I was perfectly clear. This is the first I heard about it.”
“Well, you were still partly under anesthesia. I’m not saying she didn’t say that. Just that you might not have heard it right.” He said he would contact the doctor’s office about following up. I am expecting to take one of those Cologuard tests, where you mail in a sample. Oh, Joy! But it is better than going through the “prep” again.
From Paxil to Lexapro. I got my flu shot. Then I talked to him about switching my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medicine. I have taken a fairly low dose (10 mg) of Paxil (Paroxetine) for several years. It is an older style med that helped me as I dealt with Kathy, her illness, and her anger/irritability. I haven’t noticed any really bad side effects over the ten or more years. I haven’t been sleepy. My mouth hasn’t been dry. No real sleeping problems.
But about a year ago I noticed a tiny occasional shaking in my right hand: my pinky and the ring finger next to it. The only time I noticed it was when I played guitar. Being a diagnosed card-carrying paranoid (and taking a medicine to prove it!) I started thinking the worst possible scenarios, like motion disorders. When I mentioned it to my doctor at my last visit he said that most “SSRI meds” like Paxil, list tremors as a side effect. But, If I wanted to try a different one let him know.
Usual disclaimer here. Don’t try this at home: I figured it would be easy enough to test. We had already cut the dosage in half. That didn’t seem to affect my moods or anything. Then I tried skipping on any one day when I had a gig or an open mic. And sure enough, that worked. No shaking that night. And the added adrenaline made up for any lack of meds. To make a long story short he is having me try Lexapro (Escitalopram). He said that it is a little newer and seems to have fewer side effects.
I have to gradually withdraw the old medicine while building up the new one. The Lexapro started right away. And take the Paxil every other day for ten days. Then every third day for another ten days. I had to make a chart. And a pill-box to keep it straight. At the moment I haven’t noticed the shaking or other problems.
Shoulder. Then he checked out my shoulder pain. That happened when I slipped down the stairs a few posts ago and kneeled on my guitar. I asked if I should go to an orthopedic surgeon. “Not yet.”, he said. He had an X-ray taken and gave me a referral paper for some physical therapy. Nothing obvious was on the X-ray but he said someone else would look at it. And Tylenol was the safest thing to take. I decided I wouldn’t mention I had taken some of Marty’s Meloxicam that his vet prescribed for him. The next day I called the physical therapy office but the earliest appointment wasn’t for a week and a half. So we agreed if my shoulder feels better I will cancel it. It does seem to be better each day.
The best part of the check up was that he didn’t say I needed to lose weight. We didn’t have time.