Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday 24th March.

Dreadful day. Tears from waking up this morning. I’ve felt so low regarding my health and I’m sad to say my worry about where this all leaves me and my Andy. Luckily Andy went to work before I ruined his day, but thanks to two of my dear friends my day was saved.
Michelle popped in after school drop offs and could see the state I was in – it was not pretty: pyjamas, no make up, wobbly lip, uncombed hair – you can imagine. She promptly sat with me, we drank tea and booked a lunch date. Our mutual friend, another Michelle, was lovely and kindly didn’t address the fact that I looked like a scarecrow, but got me laughing and we had a good hour or so.
An hour later, Lindsay arrived with pre-dentist nerves and brought me a beautiful cheery scarf to wear on days like these and we drank more tea. We discussed low moods and the importance of medication when needed – then it clicked. I’d taken myself off my fluoxetine gradually but over the last few weeks have become irritable and low. I waved her off to the dentist and booked an appointment to see my doctor – Dr Qureshi.
Lunch with Michelle at The Golden Ball in Whiston was divine – we even had pudding – and I completely removed myself from my life for a couple of hours. She had come to the rescue and put good food in front of me. We discussed our children, our homes, our in-laws, the highs and lows of our husbands – all the topics that unite us – and ate well.
In those few hours today, talking to friends and making plans, I was able to move forward.
Since lunch, I’ve filled in forms I’ve been avoiding, had a medication review with my doctor who has reorganised my meds, restarted my fluoxetine (my chronic pain is worse without it) and may increase my morphine depending on an oramorph trial I’m undertaking this week.
I’ve tidied the house, caught up with my dear Dad and managed to sit down and write for 30 mins before my back just starts to niggle, telling me to call it a day.

Some have worse lives, some have better lives, but this is my life and I need to be at the helm. Onwards and upwards is the only way.

Wednesday 23rd March

When you work towards something, you always hope for the best. Over the last five years, I’ve always envisaged myself back in the classroom one day, perhaps never reaching Deputy Head status as I had been doing in 2006, but at least back doing my thing again after the op.
I knew a month or so ago that this was becoming less likely as time ticked on. Although my pelvis is now stabilised and I’m harnessed together with metal plates and screws, there was still a lot of pain and that was always going to be a possibility.
When I agreed to surgery, Mr Gibson explained that although there were no guarantees, the existence I was having was pretty miserable (pain wise) and so it was a risk worth taking and all I needed to know was that this would not increase my pain.
Falling a few weeks ago taught me that I’m a little more delicate now as falling affects me differently. I bruise easily and restrict my movement because of pain, so moving a little more each day is vital.
In the consultation today, I asked if I will work again. Mr G was very sensitive but clear when he said “Do I think you’ll be able to stand for eight hours in front of a class of kids each day? No I don’t.” He reiterated that I should be focusing on the improvements I make every day and be lifted by those. I need to reframe my focus from “When do I get back to work?” to “Can I do something new each day?”
I’ve come home and been a mess ever since.

Sunday 20th March

Sunday 20th March
Dad had an operation on Thursday to remove cancerous tumours yet he has remained very optimistic and gives only the tiniest details when pressed – he’s had a rough few days after the op yet feels well enough to go walking in Derbyshire next week so I hope he manages to get out and about. What with him and Andy’s family (three cancers have claimed two family members in as many years) I worry about the future for my generation when those in their 60s seem to have illnesses and sorrows to wake up to each morning. I take strength from the way my Dad handles each day and each challenge, and seems to be all the stronger and healthier as a result. Often, someone with illness one is able to focus down and appreciate what those without illness take for granted. Not quite sure if that is a gift, but ti would be a neat and tidy way to count my blessings.
On a lighter note, Harry fell in a duck pond today! He spent a tear and pond stained hour trying to dry off under a hand dryer in the Butterfly House’s toilets. Poor thing. One minute I was sat next to him holding his hand, the next I stood up and walked back, he let go of my hand and - splash! He was more upset that he was wearing his new tshirt but quite happily draped himself in my long sleeved top I’d thankfully worn under a short sleeve tunic, squelching around in the very wet very NEW Clarks trainers my Mum bought him last week. Unbelievable but true. Unfortunately, we weren’t filming at the time. That would have been an easy £250 in any You’ve Been Framed episode.

Sunday 13th March

Took myself to church this morning. Woke up feeling almost human and in a lot less pain for the first time in a week so I thought ‘carpe diem’ and reassured my husband I was well enough to tootle off to the church around the corner and start healing my battered spirit. Strangely enough, fixing the bones has proved to be the easy bit. Now, stripped of self confidence, I am unsure of who I am anymore – everything has changed and I recognise very little of myself. I’m sure I’m in here somewhere, but I have learned to follow, to listen, to dedicate my time to others so completely, I don’t remember how to lead, to speak out, to entertain myself playing my instruments, writing, exploring, playing . . . I’ve been a patient for so long I’ve become institutionalised to the ways of chronic illness. That may sound dramatic, but it is far easier to stay in the house alone while my family work/school each day than it is to engage in real life. I don’t have to face my limitations if I’m alone. At home, being tired and napping isn’t public and so I do as I please. How stressful it is to take myself out and feel fatigue and/or pain creeping up on me after 20-40 minutes of an outing, knowing it’ll take me an hour to get home, yet I daren’t take a painkiller that may knock me out so struggle home feeling the attempt to go out was wasted.
Church was lovely. Peaceful time to myself, the sermon was thought provoking and interesting and the hymns were all significant and stirring (although I seem to have lost my singing voice which saddened me. Baby steps, baby steps.) Rev Karen is young and firey – the congregation are a good mix of young and old with little uns for my boys to feel they may want to come. Fingers crossed .

Friday, 11 March 2011

Thursday 10th March

Mr Gibson is my hero. My mum is my rock.
Woke up feeling a little less tearful and managed to get up relatively easily for the first time in a week.
Still sore, but managed just to take two dihydracodeine until I saw MrG. Firstly, he sent me for xrays – three diffent angles – to ascertain what was going on. The radiologist was freaked out by my images until I realised I’d left my Thermapad heatpad on, presenting as ghostly ovals across the whole pelvic area. Oops.
Luckily, Mr G was very sweet about it and although myself and the radiologist fretted somewhat, we didn’t get our hands slapped, as he was able to see that I’d not destroyed his handiwork and my screws and plates are exactly where they should be.
The big news is – I don’t fall like a normal person. My hockey teacher once said exactly the same thing. Apparently, falling when you are full of metal causes irritation around the areas where metal is present. I’d jarred the bones and soft tissue. Yowch. There was good reason why I’ve been a complete mess these last seven days.
So I get to see my lovely Mr G in three weeks so he can assess me again. I have to rest a little but not too much, do a little but not too much . . . . the usual. He really does have my back. (Quite literally in fact) I feel so supported by the gang up at Northern General.
Today I feel more relieved than I can express – and back on track.
Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday 9th March

Meltdown. Going to see Mr G tomorrow to see what is going on. Can’t go on like this – I’m 38 and the last 4 years have disappeared in a haze of morphine. Spent the day attached to hot water bottle watching reruns of Super Nanny – not a good place.
Pain is impossible to cope with – rather, endure - when it is constant. This is how I used to be and I’d started tasting life without the searing hot poker pains across my back, down my right hip, across my previous fractures. Life feels shockingly unfair today, although I have improved in the way I handled myself today - my OT at the Pain Clinic has been having an effect after all!
Today, I stopped myself ordering more Oramorph (liquid morphine) and stopped myself taking a hit from a hidden pack of Tramadol. The anti-depressants aren’t even in my system anymore and this gives me a little more fight I think. Whereas, previously, I would have got on top of the pain by battening down the hatches, dosing myself up to within an inch of my life and sleeping the day away, I rang my physio and asked her what to do. Yes, I was a wee bit wobbly and tearful, but I was able to explain about the fall and ask her advice. God love ‘er.
I followed her instructions, rang my consultant’s secretary and wobbled a little more. Of course, then I was taken straight under her wing, given an appointment for tomorrow and told to ring straight away next time, should I be stupid enough to fall over again(my words, not hers – I think she said ‘should another incident occur’ )  :) Mum got here for the boys coming home and helped me with their tea and bedtime. She is my rock. 
Good job. Done.
I will not sleep. I will be a nervous wreck. But tomorrow, I will be a non-sleeping nervous wreck who knows her next step.

Monday 8th March

Really slow day today – I’ve taken lots of codeine which makes the world fuzzy to say the least. Watched Being Human (oh the irony) reruns while ironing and have decided to become a vampire so I can support Mitchell in his daily struggle to stay dry/sober/calm. I could be good for him!

Sunday 7th March

Lovely weekend trying so hard NOT to think about my back – I just want to get on with normality now – still v dosed up on morphine and codeine. Boys had a party yesterday – we went up to the Butterfly House in Dinnington for a friend’s fifth birthday party. Beautiful baby there: I so was broody for five mins or so then moved on. We had always wanted four children, but two has proved to be quite enough!! Couldn’t now anyway.
We had looked in to adoption at one point – can you imagine? The adoption support worker very kindly snapped me out of that daft phase double quick time. That was before my op when I was thinking I’d never leave the house again – so maybe we’ll have another baby so I’ll have something to do – oh no I can’t my pelvis wouldn’t cope – I know let’s adopt! Apparently, I wasn’t healthy enough. I know that now, but at the time I was devastated.
My dear friends had the boys for us while Andy took me for a coffee– I don’t know what I’d do without my Andy and my friends sometimes!. Felt pretty rough today and I’ve had to use my chair  – I think it’s a mix of meds and feeling a little low after my fall, but I just can’t seem to get over this.
I had started considering teaching or at least working again, but the last few days have been more like survival just getting through the day.
It was lovely to have a bit of time with Andy, although we seem so opposite in our views about the house at the moment –I would stay and slowly patch the house back together while Andy wants to spend less on the mortgage and have spare cash now – I pay towards the mortgage, the car and the phone, while Andy has the rest to do every month. I don’t know how to help anymore. We  sit down and work out the budget we’ve set ourselves and  see how we can make any savings every so often but we are careful - Andy is super-organised and I'm not bad :). But I’m not sure how we can make any other savings apart from selling the house. Everyone seems to be making changes – our house sale would lower our monthly outgoings, so that is one leap closer to feeling less financial pressure. I’m in a funny position as I contribute less financially so feel less powerful now when trying to have my say.
God, my job and my income so defined me. Batman was right after all!

Friday 4th March

New morphine patch and codeine today – have sat on my hotwater bottle and dosed myself up – feeling sore but not so sick. A bit spaced out. Hope nothing’s damaged :(  I seemed to be making such good progress – no sticks in the house, two sticks out and about and wheelchair when out for 20 mins or more. I am struggling a lot after yesterday and the fall – pay back I suppose – the next day is always worse. Must pace myself a little better.
Lost today really. Housework is becoming a real problem but don’t want Andy to think I’m lazy. I wonder what he thinks. Oh, I don’t know. I’m so full of drugs - which aint the best time to be comtemplating the mess that is my life x If we could afford a cleaner I could manage better.
OMG WINGE WINGE WINGE - I need to shut up and count my blessings. They may be few but I have so much and moping doesn't help anyone!

 - Worry worry worry, like sitting in a rocking chair,
    Worry, worry, worry, but you get nowhere.

 Shaking myself out of that ugly little mood - all gone.

Thursday 3rd March

Went out with my dear friend Michelle this afternoon – walked around Next and DottyPs at Parkgate for two hours – sat down quite a lot but was determined not to take my chair – we even decided against Meadowhell so that I wouldn’t need to cover as much ground.
Tried on clothes and had coffee – I felt human today. It was huge just being able to do something out of the house with a friend! On a real high :)

Then stupidly fell getting ready for bed and banged right hip/back – nothing has moved as such but I went down sharply and felt quite sick. Andy wanted me to go for an xray so I may go tomorrow. Hoping it’ll feel better in the morning. Very sore - hot water bottle on my back and codeine top up - should be okay tomorrow x

Wednesday 16th February

Becky, my physio, reckons I should be using my chair less and sticks more. Even when walking any distance. I have to push through this stage apparently, live with the tiredness and aches, as in time they will go. I need more energy – I’m falling asleep as I type! Thank God for spell check on this computer :) I have spent the last two years using my chair to get things done - I can manage to get through jobs and journeys quicker. However, Becky assured me today that I need to slow down and do everything on foot as much as possible and not worry about the speed at which I get things done. Does she want to explain this to my frazzled husband who gets in from work at 7pm and proceeds to tidy up and hoover if I've not got that far through my 'list' (mental list - I'm not that tragic just yet) - making me feel bad and him feel a little less sweet on me, I'm sure!

The good news is - we’re getting lots of calls about our house – the boys helped Andy put the board up at the weekend – Max reminded me “Mummy, this is not a showhome” when I whizzed around with the hoover for the second time today. Oh dear – I must stop saying that to Andy whenever he complains about a crumb on the carpet. The boys are starting to copy my sardonic style.

Tuesday 15th Feb

My lovely mood continues. I’m nearly off my anti depressants and the lack of them is making me really grumpy. I’m either all floods of tears and doom, gloom, pop off soon, or grumpy as hell. I need some sugar - I'm off to pop some Haribo sweeties in and enjoy the sugar rush x

Monday 14th February

Hearts and flowers all round. Chocolate and music (Bob Geldolf's new album - Andy knows me so well) for me from my man and the boys were thrilled with their cards and choccy hearts (God bless Marks & Spencers)
Hydrotherapy was great but hadn't realised it was my last session – apprehensive now to say the least. I love to relax in the warm water and worry that without that I will struggle. Last year, Andy treated me to a spa membership - I went 2-3 times a week at a local hotel and soaking in the Jacuzzi along with steam room and sauna did wonders for me. It used to loosen up my back and lessened the pain. Unfortunately, I did very little else with my week as I was having it rough back then, but in terms of pain I was doing well.We can’t run to that this year and I had to decide between funding the spa or my mobile phone. The phone is my lifeline when I’m out anywhere, so me thinks I may have to look into the free facilitites down at the local leisure centre. Squeezing in to a steamy sauna with three old men and four elderly ladies doesn’t really do it for me, but I may have to swallow my pride – or find out when the women only sessions are!

I made dinner – well, rather, I assembled dinner from a selection of ready goodies  from the M&S deal this year and proudly presented salmon mousse, rack of lamb with roasted vegetables and chocolate pots.
In time-honoured tradition, Andy pushed his starter around his plate, enjoyed the meat, wouldn’t eat the pud. So glad I bothered. I should take this to mean he loves me so much he doesn’t feel he has to put on airs and graces – I hope! Next time, we'll curl up on the settee in front of Nurse Jackie, have a home made chilli and icecream from the tub for afters - that's much more our style :)

Friday 11th February

What a day. After a sore day yesterday (after using crutches at the cinema I spent yesterday recovering) I popped out with mum for an hour to see the sky and have a coffee. We had just sat down with our vanilla lattes and fruit bread (any woman will know the inner peace that felt when the latte and sweet treat sit before you) when Andy rang to say he was at A&E. Max had cut his head open playing football at school and after bleeding profusely in the school office, was now waiting for stitches at the hospital. I’ve never hobbled so fast back to our little yellow mini – see I am becoming Speedy – and we spent the next three hours in the children’s room in Rotherham’s answer to Holby City.  Max contentedly played on a computer game there while me and Andy contemplated what the docs were going to do to our little baby.

Unbelieveably, a nurse calmly glued his pink, gashed scalp back together (Max hurt then – ow ow OW!) and he came home walking wounded with a brave present for his troubles. Poor little darling. Very brave though and rather pleased he can't have a bath until next Friday!

Wednesday 9th February

Rather chirpy today as I arranged and managed to stick to my plans – getting out is huge for me though :) Morphine patch 2nd day which is always the best day (not too drugged up, pain on top of) – and my day tends to be just fine if I get out for a little while!
Went to see The Kings Speech this morning – yes all that fuss was warranted – what a spectacular film! Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter were exceptional as were the young princesses (I’m loving the little ringleted Ramona Marquez) Eve Best (Nurse Jackie’s English buddy) was a surprise – she played a fabulous Mrs Simpson, so catty and snippety – I loved her.
Of course, I am now speaking like a 1930s reject and although I am desperate for a tea dress, I will of course stop at the mink .
 I felt rather sorry for Bertie and the trappings of royalty. Maybe they don’t have it so good. Poor old Bertie was put through the mill (linguistically speaking – is my irony button on full today?) but all the more darling because of Colin Firth’s portrayal. I’ve no idea what he was really like, although I did get the impression he was a sorry little thing.

Okay – I’m over it. Not quite off with their heads, but with great privilege comes great responsibility I suppose.

Maybe it just highlighted that we all have our crosses to bear. It is important to look beyond your front door and sympathise with others and their afflictions sometimes.

My popcorn and cappuchino went down very nicely as well and I managed to walk to the cinema room as it was directly next to the box office :)  Hope I'm not unbearably giddy when I'm having a good day - it's just great to feel ok! May the good times roll x

Friday 20th January

Went from being a potentially busy day – two friends visiting – to very quiet due to one’s ill daughter and the financial meltdown of  the other. Is there something in the air? Ironically, the news is full of bankers’ pay rises and obscene bonuses alongside the closure of businesses large and small, jobs being lost, houses being repossessed. Madness.

Thursday 19th January

Came home after reading practice with my Year 2 group feeling really awkward. It’s too hard not being able to teach and sitting there being largely ineffective in a classroom brimming over with kids needing twenty things at once. I’m not sure if this is such a good idea anymore. Is me helping with reading practice at school merely like a staff nurse running the tea trolley on a busy ward?
Part of me wonders if I should try to rise above my low low low self esteem and do for others rather than doing for myself. Volunteering is primarily about improving the lives of others, not just your own – anything else should be a sweet bonus. Maybe I’m becoming a rather tricky customer – I certainly know I’m over analysing myself BIG TIME.

I need to get over this stage before I commit to anything else – so I’ve put further school volunteering on hold for now while I concentrate on building myself up physically and emotionally. Messy stuff, believe me.

Monday 17th January

Although today was one of my 'wading through treacle days', it ultimately became one of reflection and allowed me a little pat on the back of sorts. Not one to sing my own praises, I'm sure to delete this in time, embarrassed by my continued banging on about 'small steps' and 'good days', but I'll quickly pop down my thoughts, leave them to shine/fester for a day or two and then, most likely, either delete them for ever, or squirrel them away in one of my Word folders, reserved for times I read back over the writing I do on delusional days, or rather, words that makes me go ewwww!
It occurred to me this morning, on waking, that I have spent the last six months weaning myself off a rather terrifying concoction of Tramadol (opioid analgesic), Codeine (narcotic), Omeprazole (stomach acid inhibitor) , Fluoxetine (anti-depressant), Oramorph (liquid morphine) and Celecoxib (anti-inflammatory) The even more alarming truth is that I’ve been ingesting all or some of these at different times over the last five years after my pelvis refractured in 2006 as an indirect result of pregnancies, births and general wear and tear following a road traffic accident in 1985.
After a rather horrific withdrawal of Tramadol and difficulties managing a variety of other cold turkeys as one would expect, I’m emerging from the fog feeling rather triumphant!
Although my mobility is still impaired and is likely to stay that way, the joy of being able to think for myself, to hold my thoughts in my head, to engage in conversations without losing the thread of it along the way and to be able to make plans with friends without worrying if I’ll be well enough to keep to my arrangements, is just unbelievable.
This week is the first week in a very long time, when I’ve been able to organise separate days or evenings out with A and my girlfriends. The friends I have, of course, have been crucial to my recovery. Some are local while some live in London, where we lived for twelve years before relocating back up North. During my illness they have never once found issue with my calling off arrangements when I’ve been in pain or too tired, they’ve taken the boys for tea when they’ve noticed I’m unwell (without being asked) and have ‘popped round’ just to check I’m okay more often than I can recall. Even in their own times of crisis, they have offered their kindness and support, of which I will always be grateful.  I know these friends are there for me as I am there for them, and while all I can be is a port in the storm and a shoulder to cry on, I will always do what I can to be the friend they have each been to me.