Monday, February 27, 2006

Journal: Lyrica update and stuff

As I was doing dishes over the weekend, I was thinking to myself, Self, it's been a while since we thought about pain. Awright. This is a very good thing.

So, subject to the usual disclaimers (MS symptoms come and go, pain is subjective, N=1, etc.), I'm happy with Lyrica. I do still experience some discomfort after long afternoons sitting at my desk, car rides, etc., but it has been a while since I had the overwhelming sensation that I was sitting on a hot cast iron pan. A week ago, I made the 6+ hour trip up to the cabin without getting overly squirmy.

It seems like the dopeyness I felt while on heavy doses of Neurontin (3000 mg/day in divided doses) has eased a bit, and it's great not to have to remember to take a pill every 3 hours. For a long time, I've had a keychain with a little pill jar on it so I'd always have a few Neurontin 600 mg tabs with me, but now the container has some of my wife's pills in it. I'm thinking about switching to carrying around a Leatherman Micro on my keychain instead.

I've also started swimming more frequently. My wife's been coming with me, sometimes bringing along a friend. It's a lot easier to drag myself over to the pool when I've got a buddy. Also, I finally bought myself some goggles and a pair of training fins.

I'd always been frustrated that I seemed unable to keep up a crawl stroke for more than a pool length or two-- it felt like I was swimming at about 95% of my capacity just to maintain enough forward progress to stay above water. By the time I got to the other end of the pool, I'd be tuckered out, and would have to downshift to a backstroke or sidestroke.

The fins allow me increase the efficiency of my kicks, so I can swim faster with less effort. I used to spend about 10-15 minutes swimming before I'd poop out, and now I'm staying in the pool for up to a half hour. Eureka. I was super pleased with myself, until my wife pointed out that there was a bin full of fins available for free at the pool, though they looked more like regular old diving fins (bigger blades, so instead of a 'flutter kick', you end up with a motion like riding a bicycle). The goggles help a lot, too, especially now that I'm doing more crawlstroke.

I've also experimented with a swim buoy a couple of little foam doodads tethered together with a short strap. You stick it between your legs, and it keeps your lower body buoyant, allowing you to swim with just your arms. I need some practice with that one. What tend to happen is I end up twisting my trunk during my stroke creating a fishtail effect. Maybe I need to get myself some swimming lessons. I wonder if the community pool offers one-on-one swimming lessons...

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