Thursday, June 23, 2011

upbeat to crestfallen and rising again

I am genuinely puzzled about where the daytime hours go, or at least how swiftly they pass; a sure sign that I’m not currently experiencing any of the more excruciating aches and pains that the flesh has so frequently become heir to. A little pottering about in the garden, the odd half-hour of book reading, listening to sundry genres of music brought to me via radio, vinyl, CD and MP3 – the time just seems to vanish.

Have to admit though that, having had the company of my beloved for the best part of 24 hours every day during the past fortnight, Monday did seem to drag somewhat at times. Even though I strolled down to, and enjoyed an hour at, ‘Open Church’ (in the morning), and performed some minor gardening chores later on, I became increasingly conscious of the absence of ma belle as the day went on and was just eager for her return home from her first day back at work.  I never cease to be amazed by the love and bond, between Helen and myself, which just seems to grow stronger with each passing day.

Reflecting on the rapidity with which each day passes by serves, quite simply, to amplify the rapid growth of that bond. It was twelve years ago last March that I first met Helen, we married eleven months after that; I just feel so fortunate in having such a wonderful partnership.


“not currently experiencing etc…..”  less than twenty-four hours after writing the preceding paragraphs, the sundry aches and pains returned with a vengeance. My colon seemed determined to painfully demonstrate its full range of spasticity whilst, simultaneously, my chest played host to a spasmodically pounding ache; at times it felt like a heavy-handed skiffler had chosen my ribs to replace his washboard.  Add to this the aching calves and thighs, sore throat and raw feeling sinuses and, you may get the feeling, it wasn’t too bright a start to the day. Having spent a goodly part of the morning in intermittent sleep, I was somewhat surprised to be overwhelmed by a heavy drowsiness in the early afternoon at which point I had to wrap myself in a slanket and seek at least a moderately comfortable posture to snatch a few more zzzzzs...zzsssss…

This morning time had moved into a long slow crawl, each moment hanging drearily on the edge of despair. At times I feared that I was heading back towards depression; reactive or clinical remains a moot point!

After a post-lunch catnap, I decided to sample a little of that which “hath charms”; in retrospect my choice of listening [The Randy Newman Songbook Vols. 1 & 2] may be considered odd in the circumstances but, somehow, even (or perhaps especially) the more cynical lyrics of Randy Newman, presented by the master himself, managed to lift my spirits.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

from twinge to twang

Payback of an unexpected kind, for last weeks gardening exertions, slammed in to me this morning as I took a shower. The shower seat, which has previously proved an invaluable aid, turned out to be this morning’s site of reckoning. Having creakily lowered myself onto the said seat, the task of standing up again proved quite excruciating; the twinge experienced during the descent became a searing twang as my spine convulsed in the vicinity of the herniated disc.

Exiting from the shower proved an intensely painful nerve-wracking experience, and I subsequently needed the assistance of my beloved to towel myself down and get dressed. It’s just as well that ma belle’s recovery is, slowly but surely, getting underway.

A first attempt to move downstairs, walking stick aided, proved abortive. As I tried to lower one foot, onto the first step, a more sustained convulsive spasm toward the base of the spine erupted; a sudden leap up the pain scale from six to nine point five. Thus thwarted I returned to the bedroom and sat down for a little while until I summoned up the courage to attempt the staircase descent once again. With my right hand firmly grasping the handrail, and supportive walking stick in the left hand, I tentatively lowered the right foot onto the first step, and utilized the right foot lead mode on each subsequent step.

A sense of achievement and relief at thus shuffling down the stairs was its own reward. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Nursing ma belle - update

Just been hitting the tramadol again, hoping that they’ll alleviate the excruciating painful ache in both upper and lower limbs. During the night it was my legs that succumbed to lightning bolt spasms whereas, by lunchtime, it’s now the biceps that are undergoing erratic spasming. 

It’s really good to find my beloved able to manage a little food today; after I’d posted yesterday’s blog my beloved’s condition deteriorated further, necessitating further contact with her GP practice who decided to change her antibiotic to erythromycin as well as prescribing some anti-sickness tablets.

No sooner had she swallowed her first erythromycin than it was vomited back; in the circumstances it was difficult to see how she could manage to take an effective dose. Throughout the day (yesterday) even bland fluids could not be retained, occasional sips replaced her normal enthusiastic swallowing.

Having managed a boiled egg and toast for breakfast, I prepared a couple of smoked haddock fishcakes for her lunch and she seemed to really enjoy them. It seems rather strange that when she was running a high temperature she was shivering and shuddering yet, today, with her temperature closer to normal she feels quite overheated. 

For myself I had a lunch of my own unique recipe spicy beef meatball pasta – I’d actually prepared it at the weekend and, in normal circumstances both casserole dishes would have already been devoured – which I didn’t feel would have been quite suitable for ma belle’s temporarily sensitive stomach. 

Monday, June 06, 2011

The moderately infirm nursing the infectiously incapacitated

Talk about the blind leading the blind; it's pretty much a case of the moderately infirm tending to the needs of the infectiously incapacitated chez nous. Fortunately the payback from Friday's exertions has not proved as severe as its promise (see previous post) so, I'm able to support my beloved who has succumbed to an infectious ailment. Her throat started to be irritatingly bothersome last Wednesday night and then, became a cause of major sleep disruption (for her) on Friday and Saturday nights. [As one frequently plagued with an erratically disruptive sleep pattern, I can normally be found jealously observing ma belle's usual mode of deep sound sleep].

On Sunday morning, feeling much worse, she visited the out-of-hours doctor who diagnosed acute tonsilitis and prescribed phenoxymethylpenicillin 250mg - two to be taken four times a day for seven days. At that time, although feeling totally wretched and wrung out, Helen wasn't running a temperature; this morning, after a further night of minimal restfulness, she was feeling extremely nauseous, running a high temperature and, simultaneously, teeth-chatteringly shivering. Having spoken to her GP, via telephone, the dosage of antibiotics has been reduced to 1 tablet four times a day.

I'm just hoping that I don't fall victim to the same infection as, ma belle already feels guilty at having me running around after her! I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the sense of helplessness I experience when my beloved is unwell; although I’m happy to prepare whatever she’d like to eat or drink, it’s hard to cope with the fact that she  can’t manage, nor has any desire, to eat anything at the moment. It’s altogether a quite unusual situation as Helen is normally the one who can be relied on to “eat what is set before you, nothing doubting”. As she has already been sick a couple of times, sans food, I don’t think it would be fair to coerce her into eating just to help put my mind at ease!

I suppose that, in a way, this reversal of roles helps me to further appreciate just how difficult it must be for my OH to cope with my ME related sundry ailments and pattern of remissions and relapses. A carer’s lot is not a happy one.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

swings and roundabouts - a modicum of payback

Yesterday, the weather proved too enticing to resist so, having acquired a few more plants for the garden in the morning, I overcame my natural caution regarding over-exertion and created an additional (mini-)border as well as some plantings in pre-cleared areas of the extant ones. This task was left until later in the afternoon when the earlier heat had subsided a little. Once the plantings were completed we retreated to the house to relax.

Mid-evening the doorbell rang as some children had spotted a hedgehog under Helen's car, and they didn't want it to be accidentally run over. The hedgehog in question had meantime moved across to some decaying leaves in a corner of our pebbled forecourt,seeking shelter; to ensure that it didn't dash out onto the road, I picked up the hedgehog and took it to shelter in the undergrowth at the wilder end of the garden. The creature remained on the spot where I placed it for a few minutes before scurrying off, much to my relief, into deeper cover.

Although extremely / achingly exhausted before retiring to the bedchamber, sleep proved very difficult to come by - discomfortingly patchy at best, with erratically random bouts of acute nightsweats as a keynote. By mid-day (today) my whole being was a patchwork of nausea inducing aches and pains, abdominal, glandular and muscular. Abdominally, in terms of discomfort and activity, it seemed as if mild diverticulitis and IBS had conspired to optimize my sense of dis-ease.

Today has, of necessity, been a time of great idleness chez nous as I have little desire to exacerbate the situation.