A Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
may the rains fall soft upon your fields.
Until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Getting heated to keep cool

Oh, the joys of owning appliances.

6 weeks ago, I took delivery of a nice shiny new fridge/freezer. It did everything I wanted it to (kept the milk cold and froze the apples I put in it). This morning, I came downstairs, opened the door and the little light did not come on. FIrst thought was that the sockets had tripped out, so I checked the box and everything was fine. Next thought was that the fuse or the socket were faulty - but I tested them and they passed.

Soooooooooooooo - off to work and call the company I got the fridge from. To save them from embarrassment, I will call them by the acronym MEA. I finally managed to get appliance repairs on the phone, and they said they would go and look at it in the afternoon. Then I had to find someone who would house-sit until they had gone. Thank goodness for my friend Dot - she rushed her morning and house-sat from 1 until 4 - she is a good friend!

So eventually he turned up and looked at the appliance. I then got a call, the gist of which was that it needed a new part, and would be fixed in the middle of next week.

As you can imagine, I was not prepared to accept that! I rang the appliance repair centre, and got no reply. Eventually, I got the appliance repairs manager - someone who understood that I could not live without a fridge for nearly a week. He promised to arrange a replacement.

So then it was contact with the showroom, who did not have another of the one I had. They instead offered me a bigger one. And not only was it bigger but cheaper too, so I asked if they would reverse the doors for me (which they agreed to). Itr was only after they agreed that they checked the original purchase and found it was a manager's special! However, they had agreed so that was that.

Now I just have to replace the lost food. Let me think how many lots of smoked salmon do I have in there, I wonder...?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Incoming clouds

I am sure you have all seen it. You stand somewhere, the sky is blue, the sun is out and all seems peaceful and safe. Then, from almost nowhere, the clouds come in, and before long, you are surrounded by heavy clouds.

I get that happening now. I was in one of my favourite places and times tonight - evening service at St Luke's, Baldwin. From going to the service in a positive mood, the clouds came and I was crying in my pew. I didn't go up for Communion, I didn't sing the last hymn, I didn't take part in any of the last third of the service - I just sat and cried.

Afterwards, the vicar and aa gentleman from the pew behind came and talked to me - which meant I could at least drive home. Trying to explain what it I am going through to someone who has not been through something similar feels like trying to describe green to someone born blind. The only way I could put it is that when the clouds come in, it is immobilizing. The fears, doubts and above all, the dragging feeling that adds weights to your limbs and your thoughts - to understand them needs a common frame of reference, which may people just don't have. It is not a lack of desire to understand; rather it is an inability to comprehend. The upshot of this incomprehension is an isolation - unable to break out and unable to explain to others how to break in.

I consider myself now disabled. Not to a great extent - but this is a disability that is affecting my life. And the effects are deeper than I thought.

I close with this thought from a user of mental health services.

“Mental illness is when the pain, distress and suffering inside your head and body is too much to bear and even the simple things in life prove too much.”

“People with Mental illness are viewed as weak by society. However, if society knew the pain, emotions, feelings and hurt these people are living with constantly, then they would in fact be viewed as the strongest people in society.”

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Digging myself out

I just read the last post - you can change the first line about the meds!

I reread the side-effects - one of them is depression, and boy have I had it. It got to the point that yesterday, I could not face going into work. Thank goodness for an understanding and supportive management!

I spoke to them at length. The upshot was not to come in, but to see my doctor. I managed to get an emergency appointment (a minor miracle in itself!), and discussed it with the doctor. I was in such a state that I needed someone else to tell me what to do - I seemed to have lost my ability to make decisions. Anyway, as a result oif the visit to the doctor, I am on different medication. I also managed to get a short course of sleeping tablets to help me get some sleep (4 hours a night is just not enough!) - I took the dose last night and slept for 9 hours. I didn't even hear my phone going off even though it was right next to my ear. I feel a bit more positive this morning, so I will see how I can build on this. I still feel shaky and agitated, but I hope that is just the old meds working themselves out of my system.

I will keep you posted.

PS - M from London - thank you for the wool The colours are wonderful!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Picking up the pieces

I am still here.

The meds are working (mostly). I am still getting some pain, especially at night, but it is not as bad as it was before. I am going back to work this afternoon - starting the 4 to midnight shift. I have been in close touch with the manager, and she was saying that unless I feel up to it, I should not go back to work (her words were I would get a slap if I did!) However. my feeling is that I am not going to get any better at home - I would be better at work and with people rather than sitting at home brooding.

One side-effect of the meds is that I have a disinterest in food. Yesterday, I had a banana for breakfast, a couple of sandwiches for lunch, and then a small helping of onion, beans and bacon at about 9pm. I have not yet eaten anything today, I may have some fruit in a bit. I will take my sandwiches as usual to work, and see how I feel. I will keep you all posted.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The heart of the matter

How did a simple trip to the doctor turn out like it did?

I have been having chest pains off and on for about 3 weeks. While I was away, I had one night that was really bad, so rang the doctor to get an appointment. I had the appoinyment on Wednesday morning, just after finishing the night shift.He examined me, and sent me back to the hospital for a chest Xray and an ECG, as well as blood tests. He also gave me a couple of squirts from a spray he carries to see if it would ease my chest.

So back to the hospital I went. Half way there, the pains in my chest got really bad, so I just put my foot down to get there as soon as possible. When I got there it has eased slightly, so I went for the Xray first. Then I went for the ECG.

I was still having pains in my chest after the spray. I told them that my chest was hurting, so guess what? Thwey gave me a couple more sqirts from the same spray! And guess what happened half was through the ECG? Yes - the pains came back and then all hell broke loose! They were giving me oxygen, taking blood, and goodness knows what, and I was panicking which was making everything worse! Then they started takiung me down to A&E, but half way there, someone came and told the porter that A&E would not take me, and I was wheeled back to the ECG room! Then finally, I was taken to the Coronary Care Unit, where I was left hooked up for 4 hours while they made sure.

Finally, at about 2, I was wheeled down to a ward for overnight observation. The tests all came back negative, and I had 2 different explanations of what might cause the pain. One was that it was an infection of the muscles around my heart, the other was that it was a muscular-skeletal problem. In was put in a medical and elderly ward - and the guy ion the enxt bed seemed tro spend all his time raving about how terrible the goveernment was and how badly the hospital was run. I found out it eventually that it was because they would not do his washing for him!

Finally on Thursday morning, a consultant saw me. He thinks I have a gastric problem, and I am on medication for a month to see if that works. I finally got out at 1 on Thursday. I was still wearing the uniform that I had sone the night shift in - it looked like it had been slept in (because it had been). I worked out that between Monday morning and Thursday afternoon I had had about 12 hours sleep. As a result, I was worn out, and was given a lift home.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Things as a mum you don't want to hear

The following was overheard. The lady was telling a colleague about a telephone call with her son who has been at university for 2 weeks.

"Hi mum, this is x."
"Hi x, how are you doing?"
"I'm ok mum - how are you?"
"I'm fine."
"Mum - what does herpes look like?"

Sunday, 5 October 2008

I am back

I am back from my trip across. It was good to see mum - though she has done something to her other knee and is finding walking really painful. Even with the help of trips to the physio, and doing her exercises (suppsed to be good for sciatica so I may try them) she was still not her usual mobile self. As a result, I spent a lot of my time there running errands for her and doing things she was having trouble doing herself.

One thing I did make sure was that she got some decent meals. Before I went, she mentioned on the phone that she was not eating properly, so I took charge of the cooking.

  • Monday - onion beans and bacon for lunch, cold meat mash and fresh veg for dinner
  • Tuesday - lunch out
  • Wednesday - corned beef cottage pie for dinner

I came home on Thursday, but made sure there was enough cottage pie for her to have at least one more decent meal. I was not going to let her go hungry!

I went to see dad. It was horrible. Apart from his body, there is nothing there that made him my father. He is like a blank slate. He is no longer confused as he was - he is just unresponsive to anything except the basic stimuli, such as being cold or hungry. The afternoon after we went to visit, Social Services assessed him, and they do not know what is the matter either. He is no longer showing signs of Alzheimer's; he is not showing signs of anything. It was as if his mind has just given up trying to get through the fog. So we wait to see what will happen.

The travelling itself as good. My new car was fine - whether fighting through the traffic or coming up the motorway loaded with stuff I had sorted through. The sailing over was a little bouncy - the worst part was ggetting off the boat onto the floating landing stage at Liverpool, as that was moving to a different rhythm from the boat! Coming back, the forecast was bad but there was hardly any movement - I got lucky with the wind.