June 2, 2017

Eating the Rainbow

Posted in June, Weight Watchers tagged , , , , at 12:32 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve often written about my food demons, it’s not a new thing I’m springing onto the world this morning. I really struggle with my weight, it’s never under control, I’m never happy with the numbers on the scales or the way I look or feel.  Even when I finished the ww vouchers and had lost all that weight, I didn’t see the change, I didn’t feel any different and without that routine and structure and pressure to succeed, it’s all gone south.  I’m not as heavy as I was on my wedding day, that’s always been a big number to avoid for me and I’m managing that at least, but it’s still not enough.

I hate the fact that weight can go on in one meal but it then takes two weeks for it to come off.  I have zero patience in life let alone something as huge as body image and weight numbers.

So the other day I was watching something called ‘Doctor in the House’ on BBC.  I stumbled upon this the other week when there was a show about cluster headaches and the most recent one mentioned something called rainbow eating.  It’s all linked to better, healthier eating and getting a better balance of vitamins and stuff into your body.

Chatting to hubby about it, we are very much easy beige eaters.  We need to be better about what is on a plate.  It’s difficult because he only likes peas and doesn’t contemplate salad or fruit.  When I’m cooking – a task I hate – I don’t want to prolong the trauma by cooking stuff for him and other stuff for me, it’s just too much.  So we fall into a trap of not enough veg or fruit in a week, let alone a day.

Rainbow eating is as it sounds, you have to try and within one day eat all the colours – red (and pink), orange, yellow, green, blue (and purple), white and tan.

So this weekend I’m trying rainbow eating in a massive way.  Three days of really making an effort FOR ME.  I have to try something crazy and new to reboot my relationship and attitude to food.  I wish I could afford either a food delivery or a chef thing but it’s not an option.  I’d like to know how to cook new stuff but I don’t have the confidence to try and I find it pointless and unfulfilling when it’s just for me. So, my attitude is – how hard can just three days be?

So this morning I headed off to the supermarket and ended up with a trolley full of fruit and veg which was a new concept to me.  Aside from a tub of natural yogurt and a tin of salmon, this trolley could have been for a vegan I’m sure.

Day One, Meal One.

Red/Pink – strawberries, raspberries and cranberries.
Orange – mandarin oranges.
Yellow -grapefruit.
Green – grapes.
Blue/Purple – blueberries.
White – natural yoghurt. (added after picture)
Tan – raw cashew nuts.

It was tasty but yes, I ate it with a cake fork. I wanted to take my time and consider what I was pushing into my face.  I felt if I used a spoon, I’d just mindlessly shovel.

So between this meal and my next, I have an aim to drink two pints of water and keep busy.  When I’m not occupied I eat and that’s not good.  I need to be distracted but also mindful for three days so that maybe habits are changed.  And then after the two pints I guess I need to start washing and chopping stuff for meal two.

March 28, 2017

Laidlaws Rule

Posted in March tagged , , , , , , at 10:42 am by viewfromthisdesk

So I was mooching around the social aching face the other day and came upon a posting by a website called 22 Words.  I’m not sure if this is where it all started but it’s where I found it and I’m not bothered to search any further.

This posting stated there is a new thing called ‘Laidlaws Rule’ and this was invented by someone called Marc Laidlaw.  I’m sure it’s not at all technical or full of science but it is incredibly fun.  This rule states:-

‘The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is ‘And then the murders began.’ ‘

Now, if I’m making the effort to battle through the finger joint pain and screaming bones everywhere else to type this post and share this with you, then you have to try this rule.  It is quite simply brilliant.  And means I got to pick up proper books for a few minutes too.

Now, as the rule states, this works for *almost* any story.  It doesn’t work for crime authors necessarily, especially not Simon Kernick who generally kills at least nine people in the first half dozen words.  It also isn’t quite so great on Haynes manuals for early Ford cars which form a large chunk of our bookcase.

However.

Take ‘Thomas and a Dragon’ based on the Thomas the Tank Engine Series by The Rev W Awdry.  Applying #LaidlawsRule to this, is as follows:

One morning the Fat Controller came to see Thomas.  And then the murders began.

You cannot tell me you did not spit your tea out a little bit at that?!

‘The Inside Track’ by Jake Humphrey

In the autumn of 2008, I was scooped up from the friendly, colourful, smiley world of children’s television and pitched head-first into one of the most high-profile, ruthless and exciting sports on the planet: Formula One.  And then the murders began.

‘Rockers and Rollers’ by Brian Johnson

When we were kids in Dunston, there were places we were told not to go, and there’s where we went – basically, anywhere dangerous.  And then the murders began.

‘The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart’ by Anna Bell

I glance up at the oversized clock on the office wall and it seems to be saying it’s four o’clock.  And then the murders began.

‘My Autobiography’ by Guy Martin

I’d just left the pits after the fuel stop.  And then the murders began.

 

I appreciate that three of these books are autobiographies, but that seems to be all that we have on our bookcase in proper book format since I’ve had to move to my kindle.  Two of the above aren’t autobiographies and it’s still very funny.  So, distract me from this awful joint pain and grab the book(s) nearest to you and comment how #LaidlawsRule changes your story.

 

March 2, 2017

Snoring: suffocation or separation?

Posted in March tagged , , , , , , at 2:43 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I am very aware that I only write nice things about my husband on this blog.  He freely admits he’s never read any posts but I feel I should be polite and respectful about him.  After all, he’s put up with a whole tonne of medical rubbish and supported me through the drama that is my life since 24.

Alas, I can pretend no more.  My husband is a nightmare.  I cannot rose-tinted glasses it any more.  There is no half-full, positive spin to the situation.  I am beginning to hate him and that’s not healthy.

We’ve just returned from our summer holiday.  We have to take it in February because of work so it’s a nice experience to get away from grey, dreary, miserable home and go somewhere sunny.  Yeah, the temperature change on our return is a shock and it’s horrible in the summer when everyone else is going away and we’re not but hey ho.  As usual, I caught some germ ridden lurgy on the plane back and coupled with jet lag and everything, I’ve been feeling utterly wiped out and quite down in the dumps.

Hubby is immune to all lurgy and is just bouncing around the place, relaxed, refreshed and showing off his tan at every opportunity.  I’m shattered.  I just want to sleep.

And herein lies the problem.  For some unknown reason, he’s snoring really, really badly.  Since we came back it’s like sleeping with what I imagine a bunged-up hippo would sound like.  He’s utterly unaware of it though.  It doesn’t make an ounce of difference which position he’s sleeping in, whether he’s coated in a thick layer of vics and has olbas oil all over his pillow, whether he’s had a shower immediately before bed or not.  And in my lurgy-miserable-exhausted state, I just want to suffocate him.

For a couple of evenings I’ve moved to the spare room.  My leaving the bed wakes him up and he always tells me he doesn’t want me to go.  But he doesn’t understand in his slumbering state that I WANT and NEED to sleep.  He says he’ll try not to snore but I’m not sure he really has any control over it.  If I stay in bed, I’m staring at the ceiling, bunching up the duvet in my hands in an effort to control my urge to punch him really hard in the ribs.  I’m tense and angry and not at all relaxed or calm or anywhere near sleep.

But the spare bed is not my bed.  I do not have a me-shaped dent in the mattress where I curl and fit perfectly.  The pillows are not covered in sleep-spray in my foolish effort to drug myself into slumber.  The room is not perfectly dark, the shadows are different and it’s not mine.  He refuses to sleep in the spare room, there is no discussion about it once I ask and he says no.

So, at 1.30am I moved to the spare room.  At 3am this morning, when I’m still wide awake and I know the alarm is going off for him in a couple of hours time and he’ll wake me with his gallumping around, I’m in the spare room, crying with frustration and exhaustion.  I don’t know what to do.

I’m working every day this week because we’ve returned to a busy and full diary.  Yey.  But I’m a zombie.  And it’s hard not to be grumpy ALL THE TIME.  I’m fighting the urge to have an afternoon/evening nap because my OT says that’s the wrong thing to do.  And I want to sleep AT NIGHT like a NORMAL person.  ARGH.

I thought vics and olbas oil might help him breathe easier if he’s got any small trace of my germs but it’s not working.  Waking him up and asking him to change position isn’t working.  He refuses to move to the spare room and I don’t sleep much if I do.  I just can’t win.

So.  People of the blog-reading-pastime world.  What on earth do I do?  Make the spare room mine and separate?  Or just suffocate him so it’s silent?

 

January 18, 2017

Paying it forward

Posted in November at 11:24 am by viewfromthisdesk

Or attempting to at least.

On New  Year’s Eve, I agreed to participate in a pay it forward thing for 2017. I was super cautious after the mess I made of random acts of kindness but I decided that this year it would be one act a month and would cost no more than five quid. That way, I can’t get carried away and it’s fairly subtle.

This morning I saw some flowers in a shop. In a colour I’d never seen before. I knew these flowers were someone’s favourites. It made sense in the shop to get them for this person.

Then it got super awkward. I’m stood on their doorstep realizing I hadn’t thought it through. How to explain why I’m suddenly buying them flowers? I did make a hash of it to be honest. I repeated myself about ‘I know you like these’ I thrust the flowers out like a jousting pole, I fidgeted on the doorstep like I was stood on hot coals. I was not in control.

But this person has flowers and I’m now aware that I need to try harder next time to not be a wittering idiot. The first time is always the hardest, right?

 

In other news, I still miss Pirate Cat like crazy. Her memorial beads are in progress  and I have super amazing mates who have contributed. I also have the lurgy, my throat is lined with razor blades and broken glass, my head is going to explode.

January 12, 2017

January again

Posted in January tagged , , at 11:52 am by viewfromthisdesk

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about death.  At the time, there had been many high profile celebrity passings and society was in shock at the loss of talent.  For me, the date that I wrote was the anniversary of my Dad’s death and as this looms on the horizon again I find myself in a pretty dark place.

Celebrity deaths last year were frequent and many people were upset at these.  Music and the arts affects us all, we each have a song that takes us to a magical memory, a favourite film or album for all occasions.  I must confess, I wasn’t upset at any of these.  Shocked and surprised for a moment, but never upset.  Growing up, death has just been one of those things and for a long while I’ve wondered if I’m immune to feeling any emotion when it comes to death, I’m all out of feeling, I used it all up.

But at the end of January 2016, Patch Cat died.  It was a Sunday afternoon, we were not with her.  She was 16 and had been everyone’s favourite cat.  She loved boys, tolerated girls and would run off in an open van in a heartbeat.  She did honestly once elope with the RAC man who had come to fix next door’s car once.  If you were allergic to cats, she loved you more.  She was old but was the Peter Pan of cat-ness.  She always wanted to play and had this look on her face that was always kitten like.  She wanted nothing more than to chase after a scrunched up ball of paper or to lie as close to the brick hearth of our open fire as possible, even if it meant singeing her whiskers on occasion.

Pirate Cat didn’t seem bothered that her sister had died.  They were never close to the point of ever curling up together.  They had their own favourite places and these never overlapped.  Pirate had a permanently worried look about her, she was much more quiet and took her time getting to know people.  It wasn’t that she liked girls more than boys, she didn’t like anyone much because she just didn’t trust anyone.

But Pirate Cat chose me.  She would let me fuss her, she would on occasion sit near me.  A few years back, this progressed to sitting next to me on the arm of the sofa on the condition that I didn’t move, attempt to stroke her or acknowledge that she was there.  And then one day, she sat on me.  We must have had the cats for at least ten years, if not more by this point.  It was for less than a minute but I remember the shock and excitement like it was yesterday.  Neither hubby nor I could believe it had happened.  She was not a lap cat.

And then I got ill.  And whilst I had been ill for a bit, it was around the time that I was not managing my crashes particularly well.  I was not listening to anyone and I was just in a cycle of making myself progressively worse.  Hubby got me to sit on the sofa one day and all of a sudden Pirate Cat was sat on me.  I was so shocked that I didn’t move.  And so it began.

Pirate Cat became a kind of service cat if that makes sense.  Her sitting on me made me stop.  It became a statement in our house that ‘Pirate Cat says rest’ and it was the only thing I’d listen to.  No human could get me to take any notice of how I was feeling or how bad I was making myself.  On occasion, hubby has come home to find me asleep on the sofa/floor/bed with Pirate Cat on guard.  She wouldn’t leave me until he’d acknowledged her.  It was like she was making sure he knew he was responsible for me now.  She would calm me, look after me and make sure I knew I was to stop.  She was the cat guard of my duvet palace.

Just before Christmas, Pirate Cat was noticeably old.  We had celebrated her living with us for 16 years in November and knew that as she was at least 17, this was a proper stonkingly good age for a mog.  She slept more, she ate less, her joints began to click more than mine.  The tables had turned and it was us that was looking after her.

Last Friday, at 6.20pm, Pirate Cat died.  The details are irrelevant, but we were both with her.  We said thank you and goodbye and she just deflated away.  I haven’t cried the way I did on Friday for decades.  She has left an enormous hole in my life that I’m struggling to cope with.  Last night I apologised for sneezing because sneezes made her jump, then I remembered she wasn’t in the living room to be startled by it.  She used to let herself in the downstairs loo and lick the back of the door, we have no idea why, she did it all her life but she would often get stuck because she’d lick the door shut.  Before we left the house, we’d have to make sure this door was properly shut and I’m still checking it each morning.  I am leaving the bedroom door open just in case she wants to curl up in the duvet even though she hadn’t made it upstairs since late November.  I’m convinced I hear her clicking along the laminate in the hall.  I was certain I saw her the other night walking around the edge of the sofa.  Hubby and I have both heard her chattering in the night and then remembered it’s Jack from down the row, not Pirate.

I’m not ready to think about new cats.  I don’t want new cats, I want Patch and Pirate back.  I don’t want it to feel like I’m replacing them.  I’m sure in time it will happen, it certainly is very odd having a cat-free dwelling and it is true that ‘a house without a cat isn’t a home’ for us.

In the meantime, I’ve found a company that does memorial jewellery and I’m in the process of sorting that.  It isn’t cheap and I’m going to ask to friends and family to consider getting me a bead instead of birthday and/or Christmas gifts this year.  Certain colours mean different things in the honouring of Pirate Cat and it’ll mean she’s always with me.

November 1, 2016

Grieving for the past

Posted in November tagged , , at 10:45 am by viewfromthisdesk

I just stumbled upon an excellent blog post entitled ‘Grieving for me because of M.E.’ and it was blinking brilliant.  Totally resonated with some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been fighting with these past few years.  Hubby and I often talk in terms of ‘before’ which is kinda like modern societies BC / AD time splits.  ‘Before the diagnosis’ would be a good title but I was struggling for a few years before that actually occurred. ‘Before’ is all and more of these.

Before I was ill.
Before I got tired.
Before things hurt.
Before I couldn’t walk unaided.
Before I had to give up alcohol.
Before everything had to be considered in minute details as to how/when/where.
Before people thought I was unreliable.
Before working full time wasn’t possible.
Before being a burden on those around me.

I know I try and laugh and joke and use humour as a distraction tool.  If I’m making you laugh with me, then you won’t notice the pills I’m swallowing or the furniture I’m clinging onto to walk around.  You won’t notice the pain dulling my eyes or the strappings and supports that are holding me together.  If I make my crutches colourful and exciting they’re an accessory not a burden.

And some of you gorgeous, lovely people have constantly told me to be honest.  To trust that you won’t run away and you’ll stick with me no matter how bad.  But I don’t want that.  I want before still.  I want to be the person I used to be.  I am grieving for before.

October 18, 2016

Think before you blog

Posted in Health stuff tagged , , , at 9:36 am by viewfromthisdesk

Last week I wrote on Tuesday about how fabulous I was feeling, how things were fairly even-keel even though I’d done way to much on multiple levels.

It was all really quite glittery rainbows and dancing unicorns wasn’t it?

I ended up horizontal on Thursday and Friday.  Only managed to get out of bed and dressed on Saturday.  By dressed I mean more than my duvet.

This week I’m incredibly sore in most of my usual important joints.  Some of my finger joints have swollen up and I thought it was a genius idea to grab a sheet tray off the worktop the other evening without realizing that it had just come out of the oven.  I’m unable to manage fixings or fiddly stuff so all my clothes have to be pull on sorts, writing is really painful which isn’t ideal when there are dates in October than need cards and notes.

Physically, I’m struggling.

But I shall emerge from my cat guarded duvet palace and shove on something so I don’t get arrested and paste a smile on my face.  Just don’t look too closely for the cracks in this veneer will shine through.

 

October 11, 2016

Long time coming

Posted in November tagged , , , , , at 12:01 pm by viewfromthisdesk

It’s bizarre how fast this year is progressing.  Yesterday was apparently eleven weeks until yuletide which is scary enough to remind me I haven’t even given it a thought yet.  I was also reminded that two years ago I was in a pretty bad place and my meds had been increased significantly and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

With a condition like ME, nothing is ever constant.  There never seems to be a pattern or a routine that gives you the heads up on anything.  I am aware of situations that don’t help my physical or mental well being but these are not set in stone.  For example, last week I was temping and this usually makes me really, really ill.  The long days, stressful working conditions, bright lights, driving at busy times, it all combines to usually leave me in bed for the weekend at least.  Last week was particularly mental.  It was so busy and there was no one else to take the pressure off (usually I can shout that I’m locking myself in the loo to get away from the phones for five minutes and someone else will cover them) and I ended up working ten hours on the one day.  It wasn’t fun.  And then sensibly, I decided to throw my flu jab in the mix of a crazy week.

I have a jumble of feelings about the flu jab.  I have it because it’s offered to me and I don’t usually get anything free so I’m inclined to take it whilst it’s there.  I have it because my immune system is shot to pieces and so if I got any sort of bug it would flatten me for a couple of weeks.  I don’t like it though because it usually ruins me for a good couple of days.  Last year I had to miss a gig we had planned to go to because I was so nauseous and wobbly.  This year I was expecting to feel rubbish but figured that it would be combined with post-temping rubbish-ness and I’d just get it all over with in one hit.  This year I’ve (so far) felt okay.  Aside from the usual lumpy sore arm, it’s been okay.  I like this current mix of poison that they’ve given me.

I seem to be managing in the short term at the moment, I do feel that I’m taking a micro-management approach right now.  Rather than trying to plan in scales of weeks or months I am literally going from day to day, half day to half day.  It seems to be working for the time being.  It does mean that there are extra clothes/strappings/hot water bottles/tens machines scattered around the house but it’s how I’m coping for the moment.  I have a huge amount going on in my life for the time of year, usually I’m enjoying the leaves changing and the time to sit with Pirate Cat but that’s not possible right now.  And maybe, because I’m so busy trying to do so much is why the micro management is working because I’m trying to be well, or at least vertical, for so many things that I need to just get through one thing after another.  I’m sure it will all come crashing down in a pile of tears and ibuprofen gel and whatnot but for the time being, I’m surviving.

July 12, 2016

What *have* you done?!

Posted in July tagged , , , at 11:25 am by viewfromthisdesk

As mentioned before, I’ve been using my crutches more frequently this year.  It is what it is.  And yet, even people who have known I’m not in the best of states have that horrified gasp of ‘what *have* you done’ as their greeting, as opposed to ‘morning, lovely to see you’ which I’d much prefer if I’ve managed to get dressed and leave the house.

I had a situation a couple of weeks back where I had got out of bed, thrown clothes on and made it out into the world.  The person I first met just looked at the sticks and went ‘been doing to much have we?’ with a grin, so that was fine.  Topic done, dusted and left.  Then someone else came and did the horrified end of the world situation and wouldn’t leave it alone.  But what HAVE you done?  It wasn’t nosey, it wasn’t even really concern it was just on repeat.  Which did my head in.  So I smiled and said ‘oh you know how it is these days, these husbands think they can get away with anything they like’ thinking a joke would just let it lie.  ‘Don’t be silly’ came the reply, ‘what have you done’

At this point I wanted to get to my feet (and sticks) in an elegant fashion, much-like some new-born giraffe that had been born on its head and say ‘it’s none of your business, shut up and respect personal boundaries’

Instead, I replied again and said ‘it’s just my life now, I got out of bed and this is what happened’

They just wouldn’t accept my answer.  I wasn’t wanting to get into a conversation about my ME, about how some days I can’t walk or balance or do anything. How it was effort enough to get more than my dressing gown on that morning, how my hands were still burning from having to brush my teeth and hair.

I looked at person number one, begging them to get the other person to just shut up and thankfully, the message was understood.  Person two was told to stop asking questions and just leave it.

But the experience has shaken me up a bit.  I’d finally gotten my head around the fact that it’s okay to be out on crutches, that it’s fine to still make the effort to go out even if that level of extra support is required.  Yet this level of persistent questioning that invaded all aspects of personal space ruined it all.  If I know you and we consider each other to be friends, I’ll tell you the truth – if you genuinely asked.  Equally, if you were a friend, you’d know that today wasn’t a great day but I wanted to see you and therefore it was a sticks or cancel situation.  You’d be thrilled to bits that I still made it out.  You wouldn’t care about the sticks.

I’m finding myself analysing everything now.  Do I really need to go out?  Do I really need to go somewhere because there will be other people there.  Can I ask hubby or a friend to go instead?  I’m getting hermit-like again.  It’s not good and I don’t know how to fix this.

July 5, 2016

Learning the art of balance

Posted in July tagged , , , , , , , at 2:29 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve been utterly awful at the whole ‘pacing and prioritising’ thing that the medical peeps bang on about.  I’ve been brought up with the ‘if something needs doing, get on and do it’ attitude and approach.  It’s hard to change something that has been forced into your brain for so long.

This year has been the most challenging for me so far.  I’ve spent way more time on my crutches than in any year previously.  I’d like to claim it’s because I want to show off my gorgeous coloured sticks but it isn’t.  My joints and balance have been particularly horrendous this year and I cannot attribute it to any particular reason other than this condition is deteriorating.  I’m not doing as much physical stuff as I used to or indeed want to.  Any fun event is wrapped in days of resting and relaxing and neoprene things.  My bat work is set up on the basis of not much walking around on site and me being somewhere I can sit for the survey which is neither professional or ideal.  Concerts are few and far between this year.

On the back of all that misery however, I had a light bulb moment last week which I feel deserves praise.  I was working away for ten days, at what I call my temping job.  It’s a tough gig though.  It’s a proper eight to nine hour day, it’s constantly busy and noisy and bright.  There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape to when it gets too much and certainly no flexible working hours.  It always makes me ill and I’m absolutely aware it makes me ill so nothing *should* be planned for the time I’m temping.  Nothing except sleep and more meds.

In previous years, I’ve taken the approach that of course I can do it all.  Of course I can temp and keep house and do bat surveys and have a social life, of course I’ll be fine.  With bad consequences.

This time, I literally just did temping.  The house is now a mess, I turned down bat work and I had no life outside of the nine hour day.  It was work-home-pyjamas-sleep.  So I managed some time of balance.  Not in the literal sense because I was on my multi coloured sticks for the whole time, but balance in terms of not trying to do it all.

But how do I now not over compensate for this week of being sensible?  This week I have booked three surveys with another as a possible.  I desperately need to turn into some crazy person with the ability to clean the house (even though housework is one of my worst pain triggers) and make it all look normal and respectable.  I just can’t do everything in a sensible and balances fashion, I’m wading through treacle whilst being stuck inside a constricting jumper.  I can’t employ someone to clean because I can’t afford it.  I can’t turn down temping or bat work because I can’t afford to do that too.

I’m clinging to the ‘look how well I did last week’ attitude in the hope that no one will notice what a mess I’m making of this week!

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