Thursday, April 21, 2011

pond life

just had to video this - loved the way the tadpoles were swimming around
the basking common frog in our garden pond this morning

Oh What A Night

It was another one of those, fortunately not too regular, nights of erratic and painful discomfort. As I needed to be up and about this morning, at a much earlier hour than usual, I decided to take a shower before retiring au lit. One (at least this one) would expect a late evening shower to prove an aid to relaxation and rest but, that wasn’t to be the case.

Firstly, my shoulders didn’t seem able to find a comfortable position whichever way I sought to settle down for some much needed slumber. Next the calf muscles kept tortuously spasming and, in next to no time a painfully aching lead laden hollow sensation in my left wrist and forearm colluded in the protest movement. Having applied my wrist support, to alleviate the agonizing discomfort, I felt ready once more to enter the land of nod but a rebellious body refused to comply with its own needs.  That’s the point when the expletives came into play as I got myself out of bed and paced around the bedroom and landing.

 On returning to bed my ribs and flesh felt  as if they were disconcertingly trapped in a non-elastic skin whilst, simultaneously, an adequately loose fitting pyjama jacket suddenly felt unduly constrictive.  PJ’s duly removed, I felt that settling down for the night would now follow just as naturally as day follows night; wrong again! Wilfully directed arms and legs flailed, this way and that, as comfort became a completely elusive goal. By 3.45am, still uncomfortably restless, I decided to take a couple of tramadol 50mg capsules and, within half an hour I began to feel much more relaxed and eventually managed to snatch an hour or two of slumber. 

 I suppose that, at the back of my mind, the prospect of having to emerge at 7.00am to insert a couple of suppositories, in preparation for a 9.10am appointment for a sigmoidoscopy at the District Hospital, wasn’t totally conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. On normal days, the period between 7.00 and 10.00am frequently proves conducive to some most refreshing rest; it’s almost as if an awareness of missing out (on this familiar luxury) had militated, somewhat perversely, against my taking advantage of more usual hours of nocturnal rest.

This morning, I was actually admitted to the consulting room a few minutes early and, much to my relief the sigmoidoscopy revealed no abnormalities but, an appointment has been made for me to undergo a full colonoscopy in one month’s time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

... and RELAX (again)

Another afternoon in the garden, primarily with sun hat donned, relaxing in the shade of a parasol. Once again ma belle donned her gardening gear, on her return from morning worship, and has been tackling further border areas in an attempt to slow down the ground elder's rate of advance. Mid- afternoon I decided to load a wheelbarrow with the rich humus from the bottom of our compost bin and duly scattered it across the border that was yesterdays scene of Helen's battle against the pernicious weed (ground elder).

My body informed me that it was time to quit the exertion routine by the time I'd dealt with that one barrowload; I don't really intend to risk any dispiritingly excruciating post-exertional malaise. Relaxation is also the theme for the evening; having watched 'Songs Of Praise' with my beloved she then headed off to Hampsthwaite where she's taking the service this evening and, on her return, we'll probably switch on ITV for a bit of escapism compliments of "Lewis".

I rejoice and am glad in this day the Lord has made!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

and a little relief

As the week went on, my body cried out for an increasing amount of attention. Alongside the all too familiar muscular aches and spasms in upper and lower limbs, the spasms in the calves now accompanied by random painful twinges in the thigh muscles, my GORD (reflux) symptoms seemed to flare up once again, in spite of having resumed the double dose of ppi's.

A totally aching shattered tiredness has frequently caught me unawares mid-evening, my minimum twelve hours bed-rest per day (apparently) not serving to alleviate this excruciating fatigue in any way. At times, whilst (relatively) comfortably seated, a floating giddy headedness accompanied by peristaltic waves of nausea overwhelms me. It feels at times as if the whole ribcage is convulsively contracting and an examination by my GP, yesterday afternoon, confirmed much volatility in the abdominal region for which he has prescribed some anti-spasmodics as well as arranging for me to have a colonoscopy. I've got to admit that the combination of GORD and a spastic colon is not one that I would recommend.

Today has been a day of glorious sunshine and, I've spent several enjoyable hours sat beside the garden pond whilst ma belle pursued her task of clearing away some of the ground elder from one of the garden borders. Prior to that leisurely open air pursuit, we had both enjoyed watching "The Taming of the Shrew", shown as a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor - the chemistry between her and Burton is so wonderful to witness. And now, as I scribble these hasty words, we're watching "Elizabeth Taylor - A Tribute" on BBC2.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

as boldness dissipates

Last night, once again, sleep had no intention of meeting a need; for hours on end it refused to intervene in response to my bodies requirements, restlessness reigned supreme. As we moved into the mid-morning hours a familiar quandary returned; do I just rest here in the hope that much needed sleep will catch me out or, do I get up and put on a bold face as I struggle to stay awake.

The boldness swiftly dissipates as excruciating discomfort becomes the latest manifestation of tiredness; Malcolm the bold crumbles into Malcolm the wimp. By the time in the early afternoon that my physio arrives, for a chat and application of the magic needles, tears are ready to well up. The tears are sourced from a deep rooted frustration at the sundry disabling ailments that have plagued me over recent years and, the fact that they're such a cause of worry and concern for my beloved. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

normal service will be resu ... [repost from 'Mal's Murmurings']

this is … this … this is what … what it … what it feels … feels like … when the … the … the glands … lymph … something or … owww … in the armpit and … and the painful discomfort … … …. means that one … … has … has t … has to lock … aaargh … their arms … tightly … oh stuff this …

Saturday, April 09, 2011

a little p e m goes an awfully long way - and I just wish it would stay there!

The mood of thankfulness and rejoicing soured a little, come early evening. On a note of bubbly confidence I suggested, much to ma belle's surprise, that I might join her on the grocery shopping expedition; that was a mistake. No sooner had we stepped inside the store than a rather generalized sense of queasiness overwhelmed me; first thought was that it may be a panic attack but, my efforts to take slow deep breaths made little difference, the discomfort was of a distinctively physical nature and that's when my awareness that there is not a public loo in Waitrose was re-awakened. So home it was, a rather weepy - almost self-pitying - Malcolm headed back to the car to be chauffered home. I suspect that post-exertional malaise, in response to the previous days activity had finally kicked in. Shattered exhaustion, a feeling that my ribs had undergone a kicking - a deeply bruised sensation apparently emanating from inside the rib cage, and haphazardly spasmodic contractions of the calf muscles served to refocus my attention away from the earlier contentment to an obsessive awareness of my own discomfort.

By 9.30pm, a sense of excruciating tiredness left me with no other option than to ascend the wooden stairs. Things then took a turn for the worse, as a nauseating discomfort in both upper and lower limbs militated against the possibility of finding any posture that proved conducive to sleep. First I applied wrist splints to counter the intensely painful aching void which seemed to have taken over the position normally occupied by radius and ulnar. The attempted relief led to a further numbingly tingling sensation that on previous occasions it had served to relieve. A couple of hours passed applying and releasing wrist supports, all to little or no avail. By this time an aching tenderness emanating from (the glands in) the armpits necessitated the removal of my pyjama jacket. Sometime post-midnight I was able to grasp a few hours of intermittent sleep but my emergence into the new day was somewhat marred by a gut-wrenchingly painful sustained bout of diaorrhea.

As the day went on I began to feel somewhat more comfortable and, this afternoon, managed a little trip down to Brookside Nurseries before delighting in a little light pottering around in the garden.

Friday, April 08, 2011

to bed perchance to sleep ...

This is the time for sleep. Try frustration instead of sleep; no thanks, I've just tried that and found it wanting! That was last night's pattern, finding myself totally mentally alert when I should have been resting. Perhaps it was the expectation of a sound nights sleep, following on from a day of plentiful fresh air and a more than modest (but not dangerously so) degree of exertion.

Yesterday was one of those spoiling days, once the bright sunshine had broken through; a cool breeze played wonderful counterpoint to the sun's warmth drawing me out from my domestic habitation. Having returned from a mid-morning visit to 'Open Church', where I consumed a cup or two of coffee as accompaniment to a bit of social chatter, I ventured up to the pond to feed the fish (goldfish and golden orfes) and felt suddenly inspired to apply a fresh dose of teak oil to sundry items of garden furniture.

After grabbing a bit of lunch, I returned to the garden and gave the lawn its first mow of the season and also took a few macro snapshots of some of the spring flowers. After that rather full days activity, I had anticipated a better nights rest than that which I was about to receive. Having settled down in the duvet realm by 11.00pm, at 1.30am I switched on the bedside radio to listen to Radio 3 as I'd not yet managed even a brief snatch of slumber. A further 4 or 5 hours later and I'd still not managed even forty winks. It somehow felt like an overactive mind had determined to thwart my bodies rest requirement.

Sometime between 7.00am and 11.00am I did capture a few spasmodic moments of shuteye whilst purportedly listening to Radio 7 and Radio 2. I then allowed myself to slowly emerge in to a new brightly sunshiny day as I attempted to release a modicum of vibrancy from my shatteredly sleep deprived  body. I headed up to the arbour seat and was swiftly transfixed by the scuttling and chattering activity of the sparrows in the adjacent shrubbery, and the flittering of peacock and white butterflies over the rockery. As I rejoiced in the new seasons growth, I was almost able to forget my general state of shatteredness.

I rejoice and am glad in this day the Lord has made.

Friday, April 01, 2011


Sometimes life just feels good, no matter how ropey ones underlying condition may be. It's the simple things that count for so much; the delights of taking a shower comfortably seated, remembering how much one struggled before that simple installation of a seat was made. To relish a rare good nights sleep, waking in the morning feeling almost refreshed and, the odd muscular spasm responding to an appropriate medication.

Having registered with a different doctors practice on Monday, one fortunately within my restricted walking range,I had an initial consultation yesterday where I was able to initiate an essential modification to my precribed medications. To be honest though, even the most efficacious medications seem to carry with them some undesirable side effects and one has to carefully consider their relative demerits.

The GP I saw also appeared to be quite understanding about M.E. which was a very pleasant surprise, when one has become quite used to a rather dismissive attitude, seeing the importance of pacing and resting. She even seemed supportive when I suggested the importance of campaigning on ME related issues and how important an online presence had been for me. An acceptance (albeit reluctantly) of the quite dramatic limitations that chronic illness imposed on any socializing activity, was for me a significant turning point, I was no longer held hostage by a recklessly seething self-pitying anger. The more I resented the condition, the more difficult it had become to develop any kind of strategy to cope with it; acceptance enabled me to regain myself.

Sometimes, life just feels good - just venture into the garden, take a few snaps - Spring is so much in evidence ...

                                               Click on image to enlarge