Friday, April 9, 2010

The News From Here

Happy Friday! I’m back from my one-day unannounced off day. As regular readers know, I’ve been somewhat the worse for the wear over the past several days. What the condition actually was turned out to be a bit of a poser for me & even for some medical folks. Glad to say it was nothing truly dire, & also glad that I ran into a doctor who had the smarts & persistance to figure out the actual condition: costochondritis. For those who don’t know (which would have included me until Wednesday afternoon), this is an inflammation of the cartilege around the sternum, which then often spreads throughout the left side of the body, inflicting various spasms & tinglings & other delights. The good news? It goes away & responds to relatively simple treatments. The bad news? To quote Samuel Beckett: It hurts like hell.

Other interesting facts: as in my case, most cases of costochondritis arise from no clear cause, tho repetitive motion is often a factor; I read that it can arise from a spate of “hearty laughter,” a condition I’m happy to say I do try to indulge in regularly & shall not allow this particular setback to curtail. The treatment regimen involve a lot of anti-flammatory over-the-counter drugs (the “non-steroidal anti-flammatories” or NSAID for those in the know), physical therapy &, in my case because of some chronic neck/shoulder/back issues, accupuncture, tho the latter won’t start till the end of the month. I’ve had one treatment, & it did help—tho what really got me back on my feet was a shot of some souped up “NSAID” on Wednesday—I forget the name of the drug, but wasn’t at my best at the time; anyway, since then the really acute pain is gone.

So here we are in spring, which is springing rather fitfully here in Indian Valley—because I was in just about every state besides Idaho last month, I don’t know much about firsthand March 2010 in these parts, but I must say April so far has been doing a pretty good imitation of March, if not February—cold, some snow (not “sticking”) & generally a bit on the gloomy & blustery side. Ah well. We do get to enjoy the intriguing towhees, which only come around in the "in between times," especially in the late winter & early spring. & high spring in Indian Valley, when it finally comes for real, is truly glorious—we have that to look forward to. I’m also looking forward to playing some music at the local farmer’s markets & elsewhere—performing “season” will be beginning later this month.

& meantime, I’m pondering Robert Frost’s Banjo as it moves into the latter half of its second year. I feel the need for some new direction(s), but I haven’t figured out the specifics yet. Still, now that I seem to be on the road to becoming human again, I’m sure things will be a bit less hazy. I’ll also be moving back into a more regular blog visiting schedule!

Hope you all have a great day!

Pic: Redwinged Blackbird, Rufous-Sided Towhee & House Sparrow at one of our feeders


  1. Hope you feel better soon and glad to hear it's nothing serious.

  2. Sorry to hear you've been under the weather, John. Interesting it could be caused by something as simple as hearty laughter. Keep laughing, my friend, that is unless it hurts too much.

    Hope the condition clears up soon! xx

  3. The Powers That Be (if powers there be) must have a strange view of humanity to come up with a disease that can be caused by laughter. Mind you, I suppose they also came up with STD's! Good to hear you are on the mend.

  4. shall not allow this particular setback to curtail

    I'm glad to hear that; it also would've been odd for a doctor to prescribe a regimen of strict seriousness. Laughter is still the best medicine even if it hurts too much.

    I hope the condition quickly improves. It's amazing sometimes what the body comes up with to confound us.

  5. The problem with NSAIDs is that they can be murder on your stomach, so make sure you don't take them on an empty stomach and try to avoid acidy foods that will make it worse.
    Is it Naproxen that you're taking, by any chance? It certainly does work (although, I expect any of them would be helpful).

    Glad to hear you're still going to take your chances on the hearty laughter. If I were vulnerable to costochondroitis? I'd be in trouble since I indulge in the aforementioned at least once a day!

    I won't send you any jokes for the foreseeable future and I'll try not to be the least bit funny.

    Take care!


    P.S. Would a chondroitin/glucosamine gel help you at all, do you think? It works on my knees.

  6. I enjoy your blog, laughter or not.

  7. Hi everybody, & many thanks for your kind wishes!

    Raquel: I've been quite a bit better the last couple of days, thanks!

    Willow: No problem! Also, there's really no indication that laughter was the cause in my case--but I did find it kind of droll.

    Alan: You've got that right on both counts!

    HKatz: Yes, this was a bit of a curveball indeed. As I mentioned to Willow, there's no reason to believe that laughter was the cause, but I thought it was funny that it could be the cause!

    Kat: Yes, Naxopren. I do take it with food, so haven't had problems that way. It does make me drowsy, which I understand is unusual but not unheard of. Don't know about the glucosomine gels--will look into that.

    Dianne: Thanks!

  8. Hope you're on the mend soon, John. I'm glad you haven't given up on laughter. You have such a great laugh! Feel better and laugh well!

  9. Costochronditis? Sounds like the condition that arises when one does not have health insurance. But it only hurts when you laugh.

  10. Hi Audrey & K

    Audrey: Thanks! The most likely cause actually would be the repetitive motions involved in driving over 3,000 miles!

    K: Fortunately, I have insurance--Medicare & a supplement. The downside is the accupuncture will be out-of-pocket.

  11. Hope you are on the mend. Perhaps your cross country trip had some influence on your condition... like hours behind the wheel. Anyway I'm glad you're feeling better...hope the meds keep on working for you.
    The birds are great!

  12. Good to know the condition is treatable, John. And with NSAIDS - you don't want to go the way of the corticosteroids! As to the cause - yes, what a grim existential joke a la Beckett it would be if laughter was at the root!

  13. Hi Lizzy & Dick

    Lizzy: I think I'm on the mend, tho there does need to be some continued work. & yes, I expect the condition is probably related to, or was at least exacerbated by all the driving.

    Dick: Yes, very Beckett like!

  14. healing energy your way.... things hurting like hell definitely SUCK!

    may you soon feel human and more!!


  15. Hi Mouse: Many thanks! Now it just hurts--not even all the time--no longer "like hell." Progress!


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