Monday, March 30, 2009

My view of Bath...

This is a photo post really, with a few words now and then. Our last full day - this included an escape to the local Pizza Express for supper, but more of that later.

And below we have a view of the ward. Yes, it is oldfashioned, but the treatment was state of the art, so I was more than happy. My bed was the one in the middle of the photo, with the curtains slightly drawn. We never bothered with curtains though. And we lay in bed when we all switched off the lights saying...Night, John-boy, Goodnight Mary Ellen, etc etc. The Waltons. That's who we were. The nurses thought it was hilarious.

I love these chimney pots. This was in the lane next to the hospital.

I hopped on this tour bus a few times, over the weekend. One ticket was valid for 2 days and it was a great way to see the city. Our guides were superb too. There were 2 routes and I did them both.
Nothing like spring, is there - this aubretia was tumbling through the fence.......

The Royal Crescent. Magnificent.

And this is the Circus, a circular ring of houses, around a park. One of these you see here was bought recently by Nicholas Cage for £4.5 million. There seems to be no recession in Bath, by the way. Houses cost the earth.

And guess where I ended up after a morning of following my nose around strange corners, and wafting over cobbled streets???

Jane Austen's house. I saw it from the bottom of a hill and decided that I would get there one way or another. So I staggered in the door with my stick and found myself in the shop. I asked if there was a tearoom, and was delighted to hear there was. On the 2nd floor. I told them I would get there if I had to go up on my rear. And up I hobbled........

It was so pretty and I thought of all of you Jane Austen fans and decided to celebrate for all of us. So........
I sat down.......

I ordered coffee ( I don't drink tea)....and.......

Crumpets with honey and double cream. Warm crumpets.........
Let's get a little closer, shall we.........

The only other people there were an American couple, who, I think, thought I was as mad as a hatter when I started taking photos of my crumpets.

So completley English, don't you think??

One of the many interesting things the guide told us was about the bricked up windows which were to be found all over the place. One king imposed a window tax on the nation, to raise money, so shrewd and frugal homeowners bricked up their windows to avoid paying. Did you know that the saying "Daylight robbery" comes from this tax?? I had no idea. It makes sense though.

And then on the middle Saturday, I wandered abound the centre of the city and saw the edge of the Rec, where there was a rugby match in progress.

And I looked at the spring blossom and dreamt of hot sunny days to c0me.......

Pink is such a soft and beautiful colour. I think I need to go pink for a while. Soft and pretty, and feminine. Fluffy. Oh Linds, get a grip.

And this is Sally Lunn's house. In 1680 she started working for a baker, and introduced the Sally Lunn bun. In 1984, some excavation was done in the cellar, and the remains of a Roman villa from about AD200 were discovered. The little cellar museum is fascinating. And yes, I sat on the first floor in the tea room and had a Sally Lunn bun. I thought I had a photo, but must have been dreaming.

This is the Royal Theatre, taken from our ward window. We were in the heart of theatre land but our 9.30pm curfew (about which we wrote copious comments) precluded any forays.

There are only 3 bridges in the world, apparently, where there are shops on both sides of a bridge. The other 2 are in Italy - in Venice (the Rialto) and in Florence (the Ponte Vecchio) and then here in Bath. The Pulteney Bridge. Just look at the reflection in the water.

So there you are. The 2 visits to tearooms were on different days, may I add, and they have directly influenced the slightly elevated reading on the scales. I am beyond worrying right now. The weather was so stunning, that I had to get out in any free time I had, which was not a great deal. However, there was the weekend in the middle and I was out those doors like a bullet. Well, I like to think I was speedy but we will gloss over that part.
I loved the city of Bath. So much history and so beautiful. And small and compact and yes, I know the traffic is a nightmare, but I was on foot so it didn't bother me at all. I would love to go back. Apparently it now has the dubious honour of being the most expensive place to stay (on average) in England. The average hotel charge is £119 per night or something like that, and London is now slightly cheaper. But go and see for yourselves when you come to England. You will not regret it. At all.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The clocks have sprung forward....

I have just taken a look at the number of posts waiting to be read. Arghhhhh!!!!! I will get round to all of you, I promise. Your lives have all gallopped ahead without me here to check on you every day and I am finding it a trifle difficult to get back into the rhythm of things. It will take a little time. But I will be popping up in your comments, never fear.

It has been the most beautiful of days here and a couple of friends have been round to see how I am, and it is a challenge to come up with the words to explain just what is going on. I know people really want me to say I am fixed, but it was never going to be that simple. And I am reminded of the words they tried to drum into us - we are not CRPS people. I am Linds, who happens to have a wonky leg, and who is trying to fix it. I am much more than the wonky leg, so let's move on, shall we. Today I do not want to talk about hospitals and legs and sympathetic nevous systems. Maybe tomorrow. I will think about it.


The sun is shining. How many of you took part in the Earth Hour? Here in this little village, we all switched off all lights from 8.30 - 9.30pm, and used candles instead. It was rather special. I know that major monuments around the world switched off their illuminations, and I think my children did too wherever they were. Did any of you?? It is just interesting to know!

With the trees chopped down behind my house, it has become something of a wind tunnel, and my garden seat with an arch over it has been blown over a number of times while I have been away, and yesterday it finally bit the dust. It blew over again, and this time, the wood smashed into a zillion pieces. It also nearly took out 3 rose bushes. I have done some repairs, and hope they survive. Roll on the time when my neighbours put up the fence and my garden becomes private and enclosed again.

The sun is showing up an alarming amount of dust, but I am trying to ignore it. Pacing, you know. I am pacing myself. Hmmm. And I have watched the end of the Grand Prix and also the Boat Race today so I do believe I am following instructions. Our clocks went leapt forward this morning, so we are now on British Summer Time at last, and not a moment too soon. However, the snow continues to fall in Switzerland as I speak, and winter retains its icy grip. My sister is sick to death of all the white stuff.

Diane are you there???? Guess what??? I cooked a Sunday dinner!! A real one. You may pick yourself up from the floor at this point. I am happy to announce that I cooked a roast chicken, and loads of vegetables today. It was divine. My great friends, Glynis and Peter left all the bits in my fridge for me, so I just popped it in the oven and Voila! A Sunday dinner. I have been sadly lacking in this department for weeks - I tend to just do something simple like scrambled eggs or grab a yoghurt or some toast, so this is a noteworthy moment.

This year is whizzing by, and David will be home in a couple of weeks for the Easter Break and then his exams will be here and the first year will be over. He turns 20 this week, and I have no idea where the years have gone. And it is only 5 weeks or so till my daughter arrives, and then it will be the middle of the year. The Princess is 6 weeks old too this week. Groan. I want to slow everything down just a little so I can catch my breath.

And now I need to go and do my exercises. Again. Do you know that writing on the computer is a "High Energy Activity"????? Hmmm. I didn't know that. But apparently the mental focus and energy out put is classed in the high energy range, but hey, I said no hospital talk. Pace. I am pacing myself. Exercise ball here I come.........

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bath....the outline...

This is where I have been.........

Well, I am alive, and it has been an incredibly intense 2 weeks, let me tell you. Just imagine yourself as the focus of a whole battery of specialists, and you will understand how every one of my senses has been on full alert. They were there, however, to help me get better. I am so unbelievably lucky.

I will get better. It is just going to take time. And it all depends on how hard I work. I can do this.

I had the rather silly idea that they may just say "Oops - we have made a mistake!" Well, they didn't. And that is fine. My new watch words are "Pace yourself" and "Breath." Whatever I set out to do, whether it is the ironing or working here on the computer, I have to halve it all. That doesn't mean I don't get things done, but, as am a bit of a control freak, it means do half, walk away and do something else, and then come back later.

I have to pamper myself. Hahahahha. I will tell you more about that one later.

So this time away has been very hard work. We have worked one-to-one with our specialist physios in the gym and in the pool (divine) ((not me in the costiume - the pool - get real here!)) and we have seen 2 occupational therapists each day for sessions in de-sensitising, and relaxation techniques, and coping with the challenges at home etc.

Then there was the psychologist who we saw each week and we had long sessions with her. And then there were the experts who have gathered this team together, of course, and the research they are doing. That means thermal imaging, and also bone density scans of the whole body, which is a very weird feeling, let me tell you. And questions and monitoring and tests.....

And the chats and measurements of blood flow. All very interesting, and the best part was the fact that we were with people who had the same thing wrong with us. For the first time. Amazing. No need to explain. 3 women who met in the hospital for the first time.

Jane is 22 in a few days, and Jo is 36. Jane is the power house behind the Patients' Forum which is about to get off the ground. She is a wonderful young lady and she has energised us all. And Jo, who is from the same area as me (Hurray!!) is 36 and brilliant too. We were "Trouble" and the laughter and fun as we hobbled about was wonderful. Age did not matter in the slightest. Being called "chicken"...... "Are you all right, chicken??" as an endearment by the young ones was strangely reassuring and very comforting. And the encouragement we both gave and received from each other was utterly amazing.

I will tell you more about the course and what we did in the coming days. The Swiss doctor and my Pain Specialist were right - I have never worked harder in my life, and I learned SO much, including the fact that ..... oh heck, that can wait for now.

The shattered -ness comes from total mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. But it is a good feeling right now, and we were told it would come. We have focussed everything on trying to remember it all and do what we have been taught and every one of our senses has been involved virtually 24 hours a day. No wonder we are tired!

But my report said I have made excellent progress. There is a long way to go, but this is great.

So...... I hope you have enjoyed some of the many photos I took of this beautiful place. And the hospital is right in the centre of the little city. I have more. You will be seeing loads.

And that is it for today. I will be back tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend!
PS It is now raining.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I am home...

I am here. I am also shattered. I need sleep. I will be back tomorrow to chat people. Thank you all for your lovely messages and I missed you. Each and every one of you. I am now heading for bed. Over and out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Going soon....

Ok. The sun is shining, and the birds are chirping and I am almost ready. We are going soon. Be good, have fun, and I will be back to catch up soon. Thank you all for all your messages - I will be thinking of you all!

Saturday, March 14, 2009



I am a master packer. Believe me, I can go away for 2 weeks with hand luggage. However, I am looking at a mountain of stuff I am required to take to hospital, and you know, they even say "Do bring your duvet if you want to.". Hah. That would mean I would have to rent a truck. A step too far. I do hope they actually provide sheets and a blanket. Hmm. Oh well, I have always got the pink marshmallow type dressing gown. Which may well need a bag of its own. It seems to have grown after the wash and tumble.

I have been out trying to tie up the loose ends this morning, doing things like paying bills, and returning library books. And visiting Julia, bless her, who is prostrate on her bed with a neck in spasm. Not nice at all. And now I have some croissants in the oven, as I seem to have forgotten to eat all day and this is not good when one is on industrial strength meds. And once I have squished everything into the suitcase (a real suitcase, for crying in a bucket) and amassed the books I want to take, and the chargers, and quilt and paraphenalia, I will relax and do nothing.

I have a suspicion that doing nothing is not on the cards for Bath. I am going to have to work very hard, and I am more than ready for that. So there we are.

No, there is no internet access, and as I don't own a laptop, it would be pointless anyway. However, you never know, I may escape and find an internet cafe somewhere. Or a library. That is, if escape is an option.

The hospital I am going to is over 200 years old. It is an ancient building in the centre of Bath and is apparently affectionately referred to as the "Min". I am going to the Royal National Hospital for RheumaticDiseases, and part of it seems to be the Royal Mineral Water Hospital. It was opened in 1742, can you believe it. And, what is more, it is just around the corner from the actual Baths in Bath. You know - the Roman Baths. Well, if you google it you can see a bit about it.

And I am not there for an operation, to recap for new readers. This is the centre of excellence in the UK for CRPS and they have a special unit for this and do a lot of research and utilise all the disciplines. So there will be hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, mirror therapy, and heaven knows what else. I think they admit 3-4 patients at a time for 1-2 weeks therapy, and one of this lot is me.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrone (it used to be called RSD) is not pleasant. It means a huge amount of pain, and discomfort, and the only chance of getting better is in the early stages, if treated properly, so that is why I am going. It is progressive, and in the worst case scenario, which I refuse to believe will happen, you can lose the use of your leg.

I don't care what it looks like, or if I have to take meds for the rest of my life. I just want a strong leg which works. I would prefer to be totally healed of course, but I will settle for strength and movement. So if you would please pray while I am there, it would be a huge blessing to me. I will not come home healed, but I could be on my way there. Nothing is instant. However, miracles do happen!

And now I am off to squish and squash my stuff.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bunnies, babies and brightness.....

Margaret is now the Granny of a beautiful grandson, born this morning! I can't wait to hear the details, but she is teaching as I speak. Sigh. How inconvenient. The present is wrapped, of course, and waiting for her to toss in her car as she and her husband zap off across country to gather up the little scrap in the arms and celebrate becoming grandparents for the very first time. She is about to fall head over heels in love, isn't she, my friends!

Sigh. Grandbabies. Bless them all.

I have been putting together another quilt for the Princess here, and it is ready to be hand quilted now, so I can do that in the evenings at Bath. My friends, Peter and Glynis are taking me down to the hospital on Sunday. It is about 2 hours away. Or 2.5. I can't remember. And we will be going in the morning, so we can do some exploring and have lunch out somewhere before I go in. I can arrive any time between 12 and 6pm, so that works well.

Today has been a quiet, do nothing day for me, like most Fridays from recent weeks. My fingers are itching to start on the quilting, but then I will run out of things to do when I am there, so I am refraining.

I have spent some time trying to fill in forms here, but then I thought that a) they are endless, and b) they seem pointless, and c) I can't find the other things I need for them until I get back so there is no point worrying for now. It can all wait. My head hurts when I start thinking about it all, I have to say.

When I get back, I will decorate the house for spring, get the Easter tree up and (Margaret has just popped in with the CUTEST photo of the brand new little boy!) where was I.... the Easter bunnies and eggs and green thows for the couches, and change the cushion covers.... It will be spring at last! And my seedlings will need sorting and the garden... so much brightness to look forward to. In fact, I may even start decorating now. Why not. I could do with some brighness.

And yes, my friends, I will be posting till I leave.

Bunnies, babies, brightness.

It is all good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thanks on Thursday....

Wow. I have amazing friends here, and to each and everyone of you who emailed me, or left a comment, please know that I am so touched and genuinely love you all. Yesterday was possibly the bottom. It was a terrible day and I ran out of everything. Nothing left except tears.

But today, I deliberately left myself space and time. I did a few bits this morning and then relaxed, and waited for the IVG. My friend Glynis came with me, and she saw why I have such confidence in the doctor there and the whole set-up. And hallelujah, he hit the vein on the first attempt, so it all went smoothly. I am still spaced out, and this is after a sleep. I came home, and toppled onto the couch and slept for 4 hours.

By chance, during the IVG, I touched my leg with the edge of the book Glynis had brought to show me on metalwork (for scrapbooking etc - divine....I want all the tools!) and I noticed that parts of my leg were numb and parts had feeling, and then we realised that the damged parts were all numb and a totally different colour. The rest of the leg had feeling. It was the invisible becoming visible, and we both looked at my leg, and said - there we can see the damage. I can't tell you what a difference it made to actually see where the damage was. It is real. The nurses confirmed it.

In other news -

Margaret, the garden fairy's grandchild is on the way as I speak, so please pray for a safe delivery. He/she is 2 weeks late and I don't think Margaret has any fingernails left.

A little girl called Bella, who is a friend of mine, had a major op to straighten her legs today. She is such a character and she is very brave. She has started a blog and her Dad is updating us on her progress, so if you wouldn't mind, please pop over and leave her a message to cheer her up and encourage her. Popping her on your prayer list would also be great. She has pseudoachondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and you can find her here . It would be so great if there were loads of messages for her to read. Her blog is just 2 pages long, and if you read it you will have an idea of just how special she is, especially the post about "A bit more about me". Wow. (I have asked her Mum if she is happy for me to tell you about her, and she had no problem at all with that, by the way.) So off you go!

And that is that. Sometimes I need to be reminded that in the larger scale of things, I am very blessed, and my problems are insignificant. The very blessed part includes every one of you, whether you leave a comment or not. Yesterday, 112 of you viewed this page, and whether or not you left a comment, I am grateful for the prayers and support. It would be nice to know who you are, of course, and to the new commenters, you are very welcome here, and I am always delighted to make new friends! Make yourselves comfortable and go and visit my friends who comment regularly. This is a great little community.

Right. The eyelids are drooping a little, so it is off to bed I go. Fridays are my "lost" days as I wait for the anaesthesia to wear off. I will be back to mumble in the morning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A little fragile.....

I am here. This is proving to be a strange week and my head is all jumbled up and sometimes I feel as though I am clinging on with the fingernails. Wave after wave of challenging things seem to be sweeping over me, and I am just a little stressed. Strung out.

Today's little blessing was a visit from my line manager at work and the lady from the LEA who employs me. Hmmm. Glynis and I were ready for a stiff drink (in theory) by the time they left. The head was exploding.

And then I had insurance company medical people from South Africa wanting to discuss my medical condition for my British insurance company. I provided great detail. Graphic. And the very nice woman (who was a chiropractor) in the end suggested that I may have been a lot better off if I had got on a plane the day I injured myself and tried the SA doctors. I know many SA doctors. She was right. But that was then and this is now.

And then I had to go and sit in the chemist and wait for my shopping bag full of medicine to be dispensed. I felt old and feeble, if you know what I mean.

It has been a battering sort of day.

I spent a long while trawling through my archives over the weekend. April 2006 - August 2007. I was looking for something. Me. I seem to have lost a part of me. My life, at the moment, is very narrow and restricted, and I read through those posts and wondered at that woman who was so at ease with words, both inane and deep. Whose energy spilled from the pages, and I felt as though I was reading about a total stranger. Where did "me" go? I can't remember how to be that version. I seem to have lost something, and I know I won't ever get that exact something back. Different parts will emerge, but I miss the old me. So I was searching for myself.

My sister, with words of great wisdom, has just told me that I am still me. I am just having to let a part of me out which is usually well hidden. The weaker side. The helpless side. The side not in control of everything. She says it is all a part of me, and at the moment, this is the part which has precedence. I am not comfortable with this part at all. It is completely unfamiliar territory. And I will be very happy for it to disappear as soon as possible.

This time in Bath is going to be a time away from the telephone, all post, the computer. Everything. I can just focus on getting better. It is just as well it is coming so soon. I wrecked my knee on 20 June 2008.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Internet fun and getting ready.....

Last night, we managed to get all the 4 generations of girls in this family together on one screen to chat. London, here, Switzerland and New Zealand! All 6 females in the family on screen and chatting to each other! Such fun. Women like to chat. On Skype you just have 2 people in a video chat, but on ooVoo, you can have 6. The small print actually says you can have 6 for 30 days and then you have to pay, but you can have 3 without paying, so we are having fun while it is free. And, as you can see, you can take snapshots of the screen, which made for hilarious photos as Diana kept pixilating!

Today, I went out in search of dressing gowns and pjs and such like. Bathing costume. And I got them all. Yes, I now own 2 sets of pjs, give me strength. I found the most divine pale pink dressing gown of that ultra soft stuff like fleece only thicker, and as it was dirty round the hem, I asked if there was any discount, and got it for half price! Bargain. It is now in the washing machine and will be as good as new in an hour. £8. Unbeatable.

You have no idea how much stuff I will have to take with me. Including that long bolster-like pillow. They say to bring any pillows which make us more comfortable. So I am taking the giant one. I can just see me arriving clutching all. I am there for 1-2 weeks, so I have to take enough stuff to last as I don't think there are any washing facilities, and I won't have any visitors because it is a long way from home.

I get to wear ordinary clothes during the day and then have to have stuff for physio and the other therapies which include being able to see my leg. And the towelling gown thingy is for the pool and getting from the ward and back. I look like a giant pink marshmallow in it, but am beyond caring. It will cover me and that is good.

The bathing costume is ok too. Navy with racing stripes down the sides. It is a vain attempt to look marginally less like that giant marshmallow I was speaking of, but I have to admit that in a bathing costume, there is nowhere to hide. Groan. Oh well. They have seen it all before. And if they can make my leg better, who cares.

So, in addition to the ordinary clothes, sleeping stuff, swimming stuff and pillow, I am also taking my notebook/diary, books to read, a puzzle book and a quilt to hand stitch. With the bits that go with that as well, like a mini sewing basket.

I don't have a laptop, but they say there is no internet access anyway, and I will just have my phone. And charger, and hairdryer, and straighteners, and camera, and the kitchen sink. Coffee. Wet wipes. Toiletries. Towels. Mirror.

I will need a truck.

So there you have it. My day. Shops, coffee with Glynis, and here I am. I am off to stitch the top of the quilt together now so I can have it pinned and ready for the end of the week. I will be back.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday rambles.....

Well, I hope you enjoyed that video while it was up! At least you know what the treatment is like now, and yes, I do get coffee and biscuits (cookies) every time.

The sun is shining today and the doors are open, even though it is a trifle chilly, and the chainsaw is buzzing next door as more trees fall, but I can also hear the birds. There is a nest outside my side door in the gutter. I must try to photograph that as well.

I have had some wonderful chats in the past couple of days with my blogging friends. I was wafting about the kitchen with a frying pan in hand last night when the phone rang, and it was Chris to say hello. Such fun! And I also finally managed to find Crystal at home a few days ago and had a great time chatting to her too. Sigh. I am so glad I started blogging back in the dark ages! Well, in 2005, although I didn't get going till 2006. In fact, it must be my 3 year anniversary of proper blogging soon. Let me go and check... hang on.... April 2nd. That is when I really started blogging. So that can be my anniversary date.

Where was I...

Chatting to friends. I love it. What other news do I have...the Bump is doing really well and slept from 9pm till 4am last night apparently, and her mother discoverd the joys of what happens to one's anatomy when you start skipping feeds. Ah, I remember those days well. So she is growing fast and learning new things every day, and her Daddy goes back to work on Wednesday. He will miss being home with his little family.

David had to dissect a mouse at uni on Friday and spent yesterday in pursuit of something to get rid of the smell of "Death" as he put it so eloquently. I think lemon juice was supposed to work. I do hope he found something anyway! And Diana is happy in NZ. We have discovered the multicall function on Skype and hopefully will have a nine way conference call tonight. I hope! My microphone is a little iffy at the moment, so may not work, but I will be able to see them all together, which will be great.

This time next week I will be on my way to Bath. It can't come soon enough for me. I must go and do my exercises now, and tomorrow I have a lot of paperwork to try and plough through. It all has to be sorted by Wednesday. On Wednesday, I am having a meeting here with the people from work. It will be a final meeting I suspect, and that is fine. But it is something that has to be done, and then the last IVG on Thursday for now. So Friday is a lost day and then the weekend will be here again. I also have to go and get some of the things I do not own, like towelling dressing gown (yuk) and bathing costume. Triple yuk. They are required. And I refuse to get pyjamas. I will get a couple of new nighties instead. I have what resembles a tracksuit, and I will be wearing normal clothes most of the time, so I am almost sorted. I even own slippers. This is new for me.

Right. That is enough of the ramblings for now. Have a good day of rest, and enjoy any sunshine you may have!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Doing what Sandra told me to do.....

I can't drive till later today and the sun was shining, so I took my woozy self for a walk to the village. A trifle too far I admit. I had my leki pole with me, and I stopped in the village for a coffee, but even so, I was stupid. I know. I am supposed to rest. I know that too. And I am. Now. So you can all stop yelling. Thanks.

I took my camera with me this time, because Sandra told us to try playing with the colour modes on our cameras, and I actually sat and worked out that HEY, I have colour mode options!! Seven of them! Standard, warm, cool, vivid, b/w, sepia and natural. So I wanted to play. I took these using the sepia mode, and I have not played with the images yet. Just as they are from the camera.

It makes the village look all old and quaint, doesn't it!

See... I told you I stopped for a coffee. I also had a home-made fruit scone, but I ate that before I got the camera out. Trust me. It was good.

This is my fovourite little coffee shop in the village. Dawn the owner, is from SA too, and we have had many a long and hilarious chat.

So there you are. I have a photo of my kitchen in all the diferent modes, and one I just love is the "warm" mode. I am going to play some more with them. Who knew there were so many options..... and yes, I know I printed off 52 pages of instructions, I just haven't read them yet.
But for now, the couch is calling. I may of course take a series of wonderfully interesting photos of the footstool in different modes while I am there. Hooray for digital cameras!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday again.....

and we all know what that means! I am back from the IVG and today my veins were not co-operating, so it took 4 attempts before the canula went in, but hey, I am tough. They told me to expect a really bruised foot. Ok then.

At the moment, my eyes keep closing, so I will be off to sleep this session off in a sec. I did do a video of the worm thingy and this time kept the camera upright, so that worked just fine. They are all very amused by me and my camera. Such lovely people there. I am really lucky.

Today, before I went to the hospital, I went to a birthday lunch for my friend, Jackie - the one who has been with me at nearly all my medical appointments. There were about 8 of us, although I had to leave 40 mins into the lunch, and sitting around a table eating delicious home-made soup and fresh bread and cheese was absolutely lovely. A great way to celebrate a birthday.

And that, my friends, is that for now. One more of these to go and then I will be at Bath. They may start up afterwards but that is a long way away. There was mention of acupuncture too. Hmmm. It may be interesting.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Signs of Spring.....

This is longer than I thought it would be....

Today has been an "un-" sort of day. Nice.

A friend popped in to see me and brought carrot cake for tea - unplanned. It was lovely to sit and chat un-interrupted, and to have the time to listen to each other's thoughts.

Then I received an unexpected parcel from a faraway place, which was a total delight. Surprises are always the best, and I have some very special friends around the globe! I am thrilled to bits. I feel a phone call coming on.

Another friend arrived unexpectedly and took me out to lunch. Unplanned and all the more fun. Time to chat and laugh together.

I didn't sleep very well last night. At all. And dark o'clock is not a great hour when one's brain is working overtime, especially when it should be shutting down to sleep. And I have always had an over-active imagination. So the unexpected pleasures of my day have been very welcome distractions, and have made this a good day. The sun is also shining, which helps.

You know, several people have remarked that it must be wonderful to have the time to read, to make things and to do many of the things they wish they had time to do. However, being at home does not mean that you get to do all these things, although under normal circumstances, I would be relishing the time to be creative. It is not from want of trying. It is difficult to explain, but let me use books as an example. I am a voracious reader. I always have books around me. I am always reading. And I have been home for months, yes, and I have piles of books to read. The same piles, bar for one or 2, that have been here from the beginning.

You see, I open a book, and either fall asleep, or forget what I am reading after a line or two. I battle on, over a couple of days, have NO idea what I am reading, and then leave the book lying open and start another one. And another one. And another one. So reading doesn't work for me at the moment. I want the reading days back. And the same applies to virtually every other creative thing I do. Focussing is very difficult. Deadlines got the Bump's quilt made, and the one for my older son, but that had been in progress for months and months. Christmas presents were also deadline inspired.

This time at home has not been a time of fun. It could be the medication. It probably is. My mind cannot settle to anything. Mind you, if the meds are supposed to bamboozle nerves and help build new neural pathways, then I am not in the least surprised the brain has gone awol. Sigh. It is trying to learn not to believe what nerve endings are screaming at it.

You see, there is not just the whole damage to my leg thing here. That would be too simple, even though that in itself is more than enough at the moment. It has been pointed out to me that the past decade or more has been particularly complex time for me, and sure, I am poddling along just fine, but the toll....... well, that is something I have yet to gauge. It is not something I brood about. I do not brood. I get on with life, and yet, there are times, when I drive myself to hard, and don't take time to let things work through properly that they come back to life with a vengeance. And bite. So many things....... But I am a survivor.

I see the greatest challenge as being able to sit and be still, and rest, and prevent my mind from wandering into the realms of worry or speculation. As far as my leg is concerned, I have done as much as I can do to be proactive about the treatment available to me, and now I have to surrender a while, and see if it works. If it doesn't, so be it. I will have tried, and will have to adapt. I remain optimistic. And I hope I will have learned lessons along the way. I honestly believe that good will come from this, one way or another. But it is not my place to speculate about what that good may be. And the surrender bit applies to all the other pending aspects of my life too. Being still. Patience. Waiting. Calm.

Nobody is promised an easy life, and we all fight our own battles, usually in the privacy of the dark corners of our minds. And my life is a million times easier than that of countless people around our globe. I know that all too well. I have a comfortable home, warmth, food, clothes, family and friends, and don't forget the sewing room to die for in terms of stock, and enough craft supplies to last a lifetime. And books. Remember them? The pile of hardly read ones??? Oh yes. I have just about all I need. Children, my granddaughter. I am totally aware of the huge blessings I have.

I have had to learn some hard lessons recently. Humility, among others. Do you have any idea how hard it is for someone who always arranges help to be the one who has to ask for help and not only that, but on a regular basis? To accept that I can't do some things? I need help?? And how hard it is to learn how to accept that help with grace? It is not easy. Dear Heaven, it is not easy.

So let me tell you about last Thursday.....

I needed someone to take me to have the dreaded IVG. I am a zombie after it. Anaesthetised, and incapable of driving for 24-48 hours. I can't speak properly and everything is fuzzy. I need help. So last Thursday, everyone was out, busy, too squeamish or whatever. It was getting near the time I needed to go, so I popped out to drop a card at a friend's house and see if anyone was about who could take me. Nothing. No-one. Nada.

I had a little chat with Upstairs. My kind of chat, as in....HELP ME NOW. And I drove home. And a car stopped in front of my house and an old friend I hadn't seen for ages jumped out with a present for the baby and a card for me. I thanked her and she drove off. And I stomped inside still muttering to God about how time was running out and I needed someone NOW. Hello? Had He heard me?

Yes. Well.

As clear as daylight, I heard the words....I SENT someone.


(I was reminded of that story where a woman was in her house which was about to be flooded, and someone came in a car to get her and she said - No, God will save me, and sent him away. Ditto with the rowing boat, speed boat and helicopter. Then she drowned, and got to Heaven and asked God why He hadn't saved her, and He said....but I sent 5 people!)


The problem is that the friend who dropped the gift and I had been estranged for years. Oh, I mean we always chatted in the supermarket, or on the street, and waved as we passed. Perfectly pleasant. But estranged.

So I did what anyone else would have done and tried 2 more people. The phones just rang. I looked at my mobile phone, and thought...hmmmm...the only number I have for her is old. She may not answer.

She did.

And she blessed my socks off.

Her first words were that she would be HONOURED to go with me.

And she came and fetched me, and stayed with me and was a TOTAL STAR .(Yes, Sue, that would be you!) She used to be a nurse, so was unfazed by the whole procedure.

She was superb. I told her about how I came to call her, by the way. She was delighted.

So you see, I am having to learn as I go along.

Humility. Check.

But there is way more than my leg going on in this life of mine, as I said. I wish I could tell you bits, but I can't. For years, the outlook has been "challenging". Nothing has changed - it remains challenging, though for different reasons. They keep changing. And no doubt there will be many more lessons along the way which will need to be learned too.

So, you see, there will be times when I sit here and just gaze at the screen and nothing happens. I have nothing to write about at times. Nothing I can write about at other times. I still find it difficult to write of times when I am not valiant and strong. I have to remember who reads this too. I am doing just fine, and do not need family and friends to race over to stay with me. This is something I need to do alone for now. I am most certainly capable of calling my family if I need them. They know that. And this way, I have only myself to look after, and believe me, right now, I am more than enough for me to handle. Some dragons still need to be slain.

I am, however, only human, so bear with me, for now.

And thanks, my friends, for the lovely comments.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy things....

HT to Kelli and then Mary ............

Happy things and Happy thoughts:
  • Freshly baked croissants for a Sunday brunch
  • Soft sunshine in my garden, and daffodils about to unfold their heads
  • An unexpected invitation to dinner with friends
  • Knowing that my 2 sons are together, and that David is getting to know his baby niece
  • The joy of hearing a young friend is expecting her first baby! (Margaret, the garden fairy, will be a Granny 2x this year!)
  • Bath, and hopefully breakthrough treatment, is just 2 weeks away now
  • My french doors are open for a while to let the fresh air in
  • The pile of wonderful books half read/waiting to be read/already read next to the couch
  • The delight of dreams and the promise of joy ahead
  • That sweet little girl cuddled up with her family
  • A tidy garden, ready to burst into life
  • Lessons well learned (I will talk about that later)
  • My children are all happy, and so I am too

So what are your happy things?