Thursday, January 31, 2013

and I'm feeling fine ... ailments excepted

Oh, the sheer delight of a nice warm shower; there are so many things we tend to take for granted, thus depriving oneself of that real appreciative thrill. I admit to having gone through quite a long period of avoiding too frequent a shower, having found the effort involved far too enervating; by the time I’d towelled myself dry I needed a further bout of bed rest.

The acquisition and installation of a secure shower seat alleviated some of the more dauntingly exhausting aspects but, even then, when I stand up my sense of balance (within those steamy environs) is insufficient for me to feel at all secure. Fortunately, my beloved OH is there to proffer assistance at my now more usual, although spasmodic, evening shower time.


Anyway, last evening’s shower proved especially beneficial; a most recently acquired acute pain extending from the neck and upper spine across the shoulder blade had made it difficult to even put on my shirt as I rose from my bed. My beloved applied generous amounts of ibuprofen gel all around the affected area. An attempt to lay back down proved even more painful so I persevered with getting dressed as, in any case, ma belle chauffeuse (aka Helen, ma belle, my OH, my wife, my lover, my bestest friend) was preparing to take me to the hospital for an X-ray and blood tests. The shower certainly alleviated the shoulder pain, even though it rarely seems to help sundry other painful ailments.

It seemed strange hobbling into the X-ray room posture made awkward with the shoulder pain, as the area to be photographed was my hip! What’s the connection, you may well wonder; so I proffer an hypothesis. On Tuesday evening, the night before last, ma belle et moi ventured out to the branch labour party meeting at the Catholic club. The meeting was due to start at 7.30 and, we duly arrived in good time on a blustery rainy evening. Unfortunately the doors of the venue were not due to be opened until 7.30 so we had a little time spent exposed to the elements. By the time we’d got in and sat down, my hip and lower limbs felt extremely uncomfortable, so I had to keep shuffling around to try to get comfortable; I suspect the changing postures involved, in  these hip-pain alleviating manoeuvres, were responsible for unusual stresses on the shoulder.


This afternoon the physio arrived chez nous to apply the magic needles. As I relaxed a beautiful warm glow seemed to permeate my limbs, after which I experienced a wonderful carefree rest in my favourite supportive high back armchair. Over recent years acupuncture has proved a great source of pain reduction and stamina boosting for me, a convinced sceptic until I tried it!  

And, I’m feeling fine!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ailing and rejoicing

It seems really strange how quickly the days, weeks, months and even years, scurry by! I often think of how little I manage to do each day, and yet, time still manages to pass almost too quickly for comfort. Even on days where my sundry ailments are crying havoc, and I wish the pain and discomfort would quickly pass, I can never wish the day to end as I look forward to my OH’s return from work. I wish the ailments would disappear but not the day.

 I appreciate every moment of my existence, the piscine activity in aquarium and pond, the birds visiting our garden but, most importantly,  the more time I can spend with my beloved the better; each moment of life is to be savoured and I give thanks that I still have the ability to appreciate it.

As I write I’m sitting in comfort at the fireside, listening to Berlioz’s Overture to King Lear (courtesy of Radio 3) and, casting an eye over the garden; I never thought multi-tasking was something I could manage! My furthest ventures out in recent weeks have been to the local shops and, on one occasion, the extra few minutes trudge to see my doctor.

Even after 8½ years, since succumbing to this illness, I still find it difficult to accept that I can no longer take a “proper” walk! I can at least manage many things better than was the case in the not too distant past. As long as I remember to PACE myself, take appropriate medication, and feel and express gratitude for all life’s blessings (including the ministrations of my physiotherapist – herself a PwME – as she applies the acupuncture needles ), I do experience reasonably long periods when many of the symptoms appear to have gone into remission.

I am currently battling (unsuccessfully for the past six to eight weeks) with acute, although spasmodic, pains in the hip and left lower limb joints and muscles. Externally applied Ibuprofen gel had barely any effect. A thorough examination by my GP, who I saw once these symptoms started interfering further with an already erratic pattern of unrefreshing sleep, left me feeling rather more bruised and battered. He prescribed 2 x Co-codamol 15/500 to be taken (in alternate doses) with my usual 2 x 50ml tramadol and the usual pre-bedtime amitriptyline.

 So far the results are not at all promising but, tomorrow I’ll be going to the District Hospital for a hip X-Ray and blood tests, and the possibility of a further scan.

Although I initially thought it may just be a bout of sciatica, rather than a recurrence of my herniated disc problem, I’m no longer prepared to self-diagnose.

As I continue writing the Red Kite has entered my field of vision, circling just beyond our garden boundary. I’m quite surprised to see it today as conditions are wet and blustery. At lower level, blue tits, coal tits, and a robin have been visiting our feeders.

This evening, emotional and physical stamina permitting, I’m hoping to attend the AGM of our local Labour Party.

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

Friday, January 04, 2013

simple pleasures and a heartless regime

Sometimes, far too frequently in fact, I forget to count my blessings.

Quite recently I was able to enjoy Christmas to a far greater extent than has been the case for several years past; I actually managed to pace myself reasonably well, with a minimum of twelve hours bed rest per twenty-four. Medications and grace combined to keep the worst excesses of pains, aches and sensory overload at bay; even my limited reserves of emotional stamina held out well for this time of grateful celebration.

In the past few days I’ve crashed a little; sudden bouts of fatiguing exhaustion during daytime hours are (almost invariably) followed by restlessly discomforting nights. At least I’m able to do a bit of reading, even though my concentration wavers considerably more than in days of yore! Most importantly, I’m able to enjoy the activity without it seeming a chore.

I always feel privileged to love and be loved by ma belle Helen, just to hold and be held by each other brings with it a tremendous sense of wholeness, going a long way towards alleviating that sense of isolation arising from a greatly restricted ability to socialise in the wider world since the onset of this debilitating illness.

Sat in a comfortable supporting armchair, I can watch all the avian activity in our garden; in recent days we’ve had plentiful visits from coal, blue, and long-tailed tits, alongside the sparrows and starlings. Their antics are always a delight, as are the regular sightings of red kite, gracefully riding the thermals overhead.

As a recipient of a state pension, alongside a couple of small company pensions, I am fortunate that I no longer have to be dragged through the arduous demeaning benefits medical assessments, that so many sufferers of chronic illnesses – mental or physical – are so unfairly forced to endure, adding further stress to their already vulnerable state of being.

I am truly blessed, having food in my belly, a roof over my head and, we are still able to afford to keep ourselves warm (despite the profiteering greed of the privatized utilities). These things, that should be a right, are increasingly becoming a privilege under a heartless ConDem regime.