Sunday, October 26, 2008

I had this comment for my post about keeping warm while at home.

"I can't believe you. You are very lucky to be able to do what you can. Some of us fibromites as you call us do not have the luxury of not working. I get my self out of bed every weekday and go to work no matter what pain level or fibrofog level. If I didn't work, I wouldn't have a home, healthcare, or food. If you are going to hurt lying around the house in your toasty socks under a lapquilt, why don't you experience the same pain at a job. My job is very taxing for anyone with fibro, I teach full day Kindergarten in public school in a very low economic area.
Get over yourself. The rest of us are just a bad, if not worse."
Can someone pls explain to me what "get over yourself" means, in this context?  I can't quite understand what Martha wanted to say. 

Did she say I whine too much? I am sure I do - whine a lot. Where else can I whine if not on this blog? This is where I do my whining and crying.

While I do admire Martha's strength to work through all fogs and pain, I would not expect it from everyone. I am not sure what people mean by "fogs". The worst period for me was when I crossed roads and almost hit by car, just couldn't remember to turn the stove off, and could not copy down a series of 6-8 numbers (ie bank account) from one page to another. Walk to work? There were times I walked to the nearby store to get a carton of milk but forgot halfway why I was there, and where I was supposed to walk to. 

I dont believe that you CAN work because you NEED to work. I had been there. When you really can't it means you really can't. Insisting in doing so only put yourself in danger, and you may endanger others too. But I do believe, given the right treatment

Thanks for leaving comments in this blog, and I always look forward to receive your comments, especially if it is someone with fibromyalgia, or living with other chronic conditions.  However, some comments do puzzle me, and cause me to read it over and over again - what are they trying to say? Or perhaps should I suspect that they did not really read by blog? 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slow cooker meal : Caribean Chicken

Caribbean Chicken

3 tbsp veg oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 sticks celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
500g mushrooms, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
8 chicken joints, skinned
400g can sliced peaches
400g can pineapple chunks
10 tbsp cornflour
3 tsp paprika
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
8 tbsp malt/wine vinegar
1 litre boiling water
salt & pepper

Fry onions, celery, carrot, mushroom and pepper in a pan.

Add chicken joints and fry until browned all over.

Drain peaches and pineapple, reserving juice, and add to pan.

To make sauce blend cornflour and paprika with soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar and reserved juice, add seasoning, boiling water and pour into pan.

Bring sauce to boil, stirring continuously.

Transfer all ingredients to slow-cooker, cover and cook 5-7 hours.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Autumn food - curry

Kicked off the autumn winter food yesterday with curry!!

I was really tired yesterday, and don't even feel like doing my simple (cheat's) curry.  
I decided to make something that is more easy that the simple curry - testing out cooking curry in my slow cooker!

I tried a brand new recipe - with lots of lentils. Food price is going up, honey. At the rate this is going, some adjustments need to be made in terms of food!

These were the  ingredients for a healthy SLOW cooker chicken curry:
  1. 3 teaspoonful of curry paste (I prefer the Thai version)   £ 0.30? from a big packet which cost around £2.5
  2. 3 table spoons of curry power for chicken (negligible cost! - £0.10-0.20)
  3. about 6 drumsticks (or 1 chicken, whichever is cheaper) £1.60 - supermarket's own brand
  4. 6-7 small potatoes (used new potatoes, so that I did not have to peel) - cut them into quarters - 1/3 of a 1 kg pack  which I bought for 50p -£ 0.20?
  5. 3 onions - cut into 8 pieces - £0.20
  6. 300g of dried split yellow peas (this is really really cheap, and a good source of protein. Howver, it might make you more "gassy" - soak in water first if you have the time!) -£0.40
  7. 1 can of chopped tomatoes (because this is cheaper than the fresh ones!) £0.16
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
[Total cost; a maximum of £3.00, I overestimated the cost of the ingredients like split yellow peas etc. I bought a 1 kg packet for probably around 60p when on offer]

  1. Dump everything into slow cooker.
  2. Add enough water to cover ingredients.
  3. Cook on low heat for about 6 hours.

great! Although it is much less oily. 
You could use a preset timer, or cook just before you sleep. 

  1. Using cheap electricity at night!
  2. No sweat at all!
  3. Healthy! This method means no oil for coconut cream, or even milk! Also no oil used to fry the paste.
  4. Kitchen, or wherever you left the pot, would be warm! (Save on heating)
  5. Lentils = cheap protein
  6. Could add more tumeric power - anti - inflammatory!
  7. Could add winter vege like curry and pumpkin.
  1. The curry smell could be pungent! Make sure you leave the pot in kitchen if you do not like it!

Serve with bread or rice!  This pot of curry lasts for at least 3 meals for 2 persons!

Check out other curry recipes on the web!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Keeping warm - while at home

Here are some tried and tested way to keep myself warm while at home. 

Keeping the whole house warm is going to cost most that just keeping one or two rooms warm, we all know that.  So, one of the key things that I do is decide where I want to be most of the time, and keep that room warm and toasty.  

In my first winter as a fibromite, I noticed that it did not take too much effort from my small kitchen warm. I guess it is because of all the cooking - making stews, using the oven and boiling water. However, the kitchen was not the most comfortable place to stay for a whole day!

 Therefore, I made these simple changes which helped me to stay warm and not burst the heating bills: 
  1. Bought a slow Cooker , made soups/stews (and also roasts!) in the living room. It made a difference to my small living room. Days with slow cooker around need less "boost" for my storage heaters. The photo in the link is how my slow cooker looked like. You might get it cheaper from a local store!
  2. Boil water in the living room! I brought my kettle into my living room, and make coffee and tea from a small table! Cozy! The warmth from a hot kettle of water helps!
  3. Keep feet warm. This made a lot of difference. I prefer to wear those fleecy socks. Allow my feet total freedom - important for an arthritic patient
  4. Fleece blanket/throws. I put a throw over my shoulder/on my laps when I am sitting down to read etc. I guess it is an old trick which everyone knows.
  5. Yoga Mat - good insulator for non-carpeted floor, and the perfect place to stretch!
  6. To get those cold feet warm-- dance!!! Put on some nice CDs, DVDs and get moving! It is easy to forget moving. No matter how tired, painful, put on some nice, groovy entertainig stuff and just move! - even if it is only for a minute.
  7. The hot towels always worked. particularly useful when you just come in from outside, or when there are sore muscles. I have describedy this before.
  8. Windows, doors - draught excluders etc. There are plenty of these advice about keeping your house warm, and it is useful to check and see what could be implemented.

 these two are ultimate partners

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keeping warm in winter- handy tips

Keeping warm in winter is essential. Big temperature changes do seem to cause my arthritis and fibro to flare up.

However, keeping the heating bill down is a challenge. Therefore, I am trying to come up with ways to keep warm this winter!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter 2008 for a fibromite and RA patient

Winter is coming! 

I try my best to sound cheerful about this. In reality, I know that this is going to be a tough winter for most of us. Fuel poverty is going to be a problem for many. Keeping warm. Keeping warm in the face of electricity and gas bill increase. 

As for myself, I am faced with a 50% price hike. If it had cost me$100 per month in winter last year, it will be $150 this year. Factor in the increase in food prices and no increase in income, it will be a tough one. I know I am still fortunate. The economic crisis had hit my family, but one of us is still working now - me. I know this is a pretty unreliable source of income. I just need a bad flare, and that is it!

Ahhh, haven't you heard that opportunities come to those who are prepared for it? Let me rephrase it and say that "Full blown crisis will (hopefully) avoid the well prepared"?

I need to:
  1. secure my income! - ie dun get it flare!
  2. cut my expenses, or at least not let it soar.
  3. get extra income
I need to keep warm, rest enough, and yet not fall sick and have the energy to get extra income. 

Tough, but i have been through worst times! Just look at my 2005 postings!  No reason not to keep my chin up.

Obama for health care? This is what a rheumatoid arthritis patient thinks!

There are many analysis of the pro and cons of the Obama vs McCain healthcare plans, and there is no need for me to even bother to analyse them. Lots of analysis that is pro-Obama and pro McCain

But how about from the perspective of someone who had a chronic, recurrent illness?

How is it like for us?

McCain's plan is no good fo us -people with pre-existing illnesses! No good for people who have recurrent and remitting illnesses. For people like us,  holding down a job is not a permanent feature we can choose to have, it is a priviledge whenever our condition improves or in a remission!

Why do we need a healthcare plan in the first place? It is to provide a safety net when we fall ill. It is not for those times when pa and ma, are both bringing in a decent wage, and all the kids are happy and healthy. The situation now is when you really NEED health coverage, you are not qualified for it, or you cannot afford it anymore.
I almost fell in love with him when he said that health care is a right. I knew that he knows what he is talking about when the talked about his mum haggling over insurance bills and rights on her death bed, while fighting for her life. 

Mc Cain? Give a tax credit? USD5000? Shop your own plans? Giving you choice? Well, that is all great for the educated people with a decent earning. How about those people who are not working? How about those people who are not able to have a full time, permanent job? How about those who already have health problems? Where do you want us to go, Senator McCain? 

I know that by choosing Obama, we are offered a safety net. When ill, we know that we will not completely drop out of the system. We can focus on doing our best to lead a normal life. We want to be well and working. We need a system which allow people to get the health care needed in the most difficult times, and could get back on our feet as soon as possible. Working, leading a normal, purposeful life. 

Vote for Obama? You bet. Let no one drop behind. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Back from back packing!

Yes, I survived the trip, and lived to tell the tale!!

RA patient back packing - woahhhh

Fibromite back packing - this is a small personal victory for me!

I managed to survive with only a 20L back packing for a 10 day trip. My bag weighted about 7 kg, on the days I did not wear my jeans and had damp clothing. Otherwise, it was less than that. Not bad right? Take into account that the places I visited ranged from 25C to 5C! I must tell you that I mastered the art of layering. The art of choosing what clothes to bring, and keeping warm and cozy with a minimal weight of luggage is worth a post itself!

Some days were quite challenging, to be honest. I noticed swellings after a few days of wurst. Red meat spells trouble for me, but at some places, the cheapest, most convenient food (not to mention "safe" ie hot and low chances of contamination!) available is simply wurst or hot dogs, sausages and their cousins. On other occasions, the local food is simply very porky or beefy! This proved to be difficult for me and I ended up eating lots of bread. 

My schedule was planned with discipline. You might argue that that it takes some fun out of backpacking, but I would argue that the challenge makes my trip more fun. 

Any problems? Yes! I had my period. Yucks. Lots of cramps. I felt faint at one point, and so tired that I noticed I fibrofog striked! I simply had to tell my sister that my mind had switched off and she had to read the maps!