Autumn’s approach

The nights are drawing in, and it feels right to have a Custard Cream to dunk into a cup of tea – a sure sign that Autumn is getting closer. I’ve missed the whole of the Summer pretty much, which is weird, as whilst it’s my least favourite season, it still needs to be there so I can appreciate the others all the more.
As it stands, I’ve got a niggly cold, which isn’t causing me hell as much as a bunch of irritation, as sneezing hurts because I’m not moving around as much so tends to throw my joints out (and occasionally, back in).
Add to that an ear infection, which isn’t bothering me in the slightest, but I know is there thanks to it trying to spread to my jaw (which happens 9/10 times I get an issue). Hopefully I’ve caught it early enough, and am plying it with ibuprofen in order to prevent a golf ball appearing on my jaw, and tomorrow I’ll add honey and lemon to it. And hopefully lots of garlic too.

I’m a little disappointed, as I’ve just weaned myself off all the painkillers – tramadol especially, as that stuff can be evil. I’ve been put on it for a length of time twice. The first time, in 2012 was fine; I’d been warned not to come off it cold turkey – especially as I was on the max dose, so I halved it, then halved it again, and came off over a couple of weeks without any real problems.
This time, I had to be more careful. A couple of weeks ago, I missed ONE dose, as I’d slept in, meaning my last dose was due around 3am, and I’d fallen asleep around 12am and had slept right through, which was long enough for it to come entirely out of my system, and I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck! I thought I’d got the flu, as I’d got jelly shaky legs, as well as that prickly crawling sensation you get when the blankets move. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I’d worked out what had happened, and I knew I needed to start reducing sooner rather than later, as the longer I took them, the worse it would be. So I did it over a few days, given I’d already flushed it from my system in that instance. I’ve had a week without that and the paracetamol, and the pain isn’t completely gone, but it’s tolerable without, and if I need to I can always take some paracetamol.

The only thing I’m still taking after discharge is Asprin, which I’ll need to do for a year minimum, if not for life. As much as I don’t like taking pills of any kind (the pill being the exception, as mine is amazing, and stops those issues entirely) that one I can deal with – it’s not for pain, it’s to keep the blood supply in check, I think as much for the bypass as for the leg that’s now missing it’s Saphenous Vein to provide it.
No blood clots or complications for me thankyou very much!!

At the moment, I’m on wait and see for the torn cruciates, due to the complications making operating to repair a Very Bad Idea(tm), which means another two months of the knee brace (which is a cast below and above the knee with a hinge on both sides of the knee, which essentially controls the amount of bend I can have, and stops me from twisting it) but on the plus side, the consultant is happy to increase the amount of bend (previously limited to 90degrees) and is also happy for me to begin to bear weight on it as well, so it’s at least in the right direction.
So come Tuesday, I’ll be getting a new cast whatever, as they need to amend the hinges. They also need to remove it so I can have an ultrasound scan of my knee and lower leg to check the bypass is all OK, so that’s also a good thing, as apparently I’m losing weight, which has made the cast loose. This one is currently being held together by velcro as they’ve cut two inches out last time, and it’s now loose again… >.>

The advantage of this happening, means that I should hopefully be able to get in and out of a car now, which we’ll hopefully test next week as well. And if I manage to secure a chair somehow, then I might even manage to make it out to the comic event at Doncaster on Sunday. Not that I’ll be able to buy anything, as I don’t have any money coming in other than my statutory sick which (given my Housing Benefit claim may well be denied) won’t cover even the essentials.

I am beginning to feel horribly cooped up and hemmed in now.
I’ve never been one to just sit around, whether inside or outside, and I’m really starting to feel the strain, both mentally and physically. I may joke about it, but my bottom is REALLY starting to hurt now, because I can’t walk, I’m constantly laying or sitting on it. Aside from the respite I get when I lay on my side, which I can only do for a short time because the weight of the cast on my good leg starts to get too much, and also get pain in my hip.

I’m also starting to feel rather bored. It’s hard not to get frustrated at the situation, especially when there’s lots going on around and you’re unable to do anything to help, but there’s also only so much of something you can do. Going to try and get stuck into some crafts, and also got a couple of Online Learning things to do, but they’ll only take up a couple of hours a day, and week, respectively. I’ve also applied for some work from home stuff – writing and proofing mostly, but it could be weeks until I hear from them….

Usually at this time of year, I’d have been out and gathered fruits that were ripening and be baking crumbles, cobblers, and strudels, as well as breads and all kinds of autumnal goodness. But this year, it looks like I’ll be settling for a Custard Cream to dunk in my tea…

An Update.

Summer is ending.

I haven’t really seen that much of it this year. 5 Weeks in a hospital bed, 2 weeks in a hospital bed, but not in a hospital.

I tried posting a couple of weeks ago, about a day, but WordPress lost the post, and didn’t even save a draft copy, which was annoying.

So instead I come to post again.

I don’t know if I’ve changed much in the while since the accident. People tell me I’ve lost weight, and maybe I have, but that’s just a bonus really. I’ve done what I always do, which is to take things as they come, after all, once they’ve happened, I can’t change that. All I can do is get on with it. So since this injury, which according to the consultant and medical journals is classed as “life-altering” I’ve just gotten on with it.  From waking up with an external fixator on my leg, and being told it would be there for six weeks, and would need a second operation the day after to fix the artery which was damaged beyond repair, to being told the frame would be taken off a little early due to the recurrence of an infection in the pin site, to the realisation that Iwouldn’t be able to go home after getting out, or for some time after that.

I’ve had moments of being angry, definitely. At myself, at the hospital for not diagnosing me correctly to begin with, at the hospital for being stuck in an environment which does nothing but destroy your spirit and will. At objects being in the way, or out of reach even, but those moments have passed quickly, and I’ve instead made the best of it.

There’s frustration too, a hell of a lot of that. Mostly for the simple things I can no longer do without help. I can’t just get up and go get a drink if I’m thirsty, or go to the toilet unaided. If it’s not within my immediate reach I have to ask for help. THAT is frustrating, especially for someone as independent as I am. But I know that it will pass. I may never be able to run again, maybe I won’t be able to walk any kind of distance anymore – which in itself, for me, would be soul-destroying, but at the end of the day I’ve survived, and I’ve made it through this event.

I see people around me getting frustrated – I don’t necessarily have a lot else I can do – and when people come to see me, I can often see what else is going on, and I  know full well, there are lots of people who are having their own battles with their own frustrations at the moment. I can’t say anything though a lot of the time, because unless you can accept that you are struggling, angry, frustrated, annoyed, or anything, then you are stuck there. Whether you’re convinced that you can’t handle much more because you’re trying so hard to keep everything going, or if it’s because you’re trying to be strong for someone else who is fighting their own demons. Whether it’s that you’re not moving forwards with work as quickly as you’d like, or that a business is going through a dry patch. Until you actually accept that, you’re not going to be able to move yourself out of it at all.

And that can be the hardest thing in the world.

It’s only when you do this you can plan – when you can accept that you’re terrified of flying because you’re scared of heights, or enclosed spaces, you can begin to work to overcome that, starting small, and working up to something challenging – of if you accept that it’s a dry patch in your business – you can begin to look at alternative strategies for marketing – adding something new, or networking, just to discover it’s not just you. The thing is you’re never as alone as you think, but unless you communicate that, you’ll be stuck in the dark shady world of can’t, and noone else can get you out of there.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, far from it. I get frustrated over not being able to do stuff every day, multiple times a day, but I do see what other people go through and feel and think, and wish they could be as pragmatic as I am sometimes. But we’re all different, and that’s a good thing. We all have different strengths, skills and weaknesses, and the right combination of friends will cover all bases – and you never know, if you actually acknowledge your struggle, there’ll be others struggling too, and probably someone who is able to help. But you have to take that step. And sometimes the hardest thing of all is waiting for someone to realise that for themselves, and knowing until then, there’s nothing that you can do.

 

I’ve got a long hard road ahead of me and it will be full of frustrations, and at times, it will feel impossible, like I can’t possibly do it all, but it will just be temporary, and I’m lucky to have people around who are able to remind me of that when I stumble and fall. And I will be that person for those I care about as much as I am able, but the one thing I cannot counter from experience is pride.

 

but that’s another story for another day. I just wish people were able to lay it aside and admit when they’re struggling before things blow up and come to a head. Then the rest of us can help.

What we have here….is failure…. to communicate….

I’ve found it hard to write recently.

Mostly down to lack of time, as when I do feel able to write, I’m inevitably in no position to be able to do so. Then if I do sit down, there are no words. Something that happens a lot lately.

I’ve learnt and realised an awful lot of late. Too much to list. Some of the things I don’t know I know yet… but I know them… if that makes sense?

And I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been between students and other commitments, work, and those I care for. I knew that it would be a struggle, but all of a sudden, mid June, and the end is in sight. I’d joked a while ago that I’d scheduled the weekend everything finishes as being the weekend I fall apart and break down. I’m not sure that isn’t too far from the truth to be honest. More and more I feel weighed down physically as well as in other ways by the weights I tend to bear. The world would probably be an exaggeration, but sometimes isn’t too far off.  The thing is that balances out the forces pushing outwards from the inside. Well, that’s usually the case. There’s an imbalance of late. Which is why I’m feeling it more. Maybe I will need to look at both sides to try and sort them out.  I’m still finding myself unable to express myself, and to speak about things, or write, or anything really when it comes to some things. I’m beginning to understand that a little more on that front I think… and it was always going to be an issue at some point – I found my sneaky little birth chart going through some papers yesterday and re-read it and for the first time realised just how… different I am in some ways to others. Most of the charts I see are generally spread over a few things. Mine isn’t. At some point I might post it up… but I think come mid-June, there will be changes made.

Recently started helping a very very good friend, who has helped me a lot of late. It’s nice to be able to reciprocate in some small way as I like being able to show I care by being able to help, not just so I retain a modicum of usefulness and therefore a reason to be kept around…so this is good.  Reminded me I have stuff I need to sort too. And of course we have some plans made,  short, medium and longer term..and it’s kinda nice to have a partner in crime and things to look forwards to.

First thing I need to do though, ultimately is get through the door that’s appeared and has been making itself more and more known of late. Just let me get to mid June first… or at least a point where I get enough time to actually spend looking at it….and then deal with the inability to talk…. and then… well… there’s a whole list. But one thing at a time eh?

 

time to fade away… it’s better than burning out.

On a good day I sometimes see myself as a fixer. I turn up, facilitate what is needed, whether it’s networking, encouragement, revealing a truth, or something practical…storm in a teacup if you like, and once the ripples settle, and things are moving the way they should, it’s time for me to move on. Little bit like Nanny MacPhee I guess… (!)

Today is not a good day.

Today I see myself as the hindrance to progress. I notice that I remove myself from the picture and things go better. Days like today it’s very hard to fight the idea that maybe I would be better off removed. That maybe I’m holding people back from their progress by being around.

Mostly though I’m angry. At myself more than anything. For listening, and for not listening. For pushing myself that bit too far, when I should have listened to the voice telling me to turn tail and flee. I’m angry at everything the last day or so though, and I DON’T like that. Last night I was hesitant about venturing into town because of St Patrick’s day, and the potential crowds and rowdiness.
I’d spoken to a friend about it, who’d said I should try to see my friends and not worry too much about what might not even happen. So I sucked it up and decided to go. I didn’t even have to get into town before encountering what I didn’t want to meet. They got on the bus. But, I decided I would push through and be able to calm down and would be OK. What I should have done, was got off the bus and turned around and gone home. Instead, I managed to calm down a bit, got the admin I needed to do out of the way, and realised that I wasn’t feeling brave enough to really talk to anyone. I ignored another point where I could have chosen to go home. Instead, telling myself it’ll be OK… and then some rather loud people got to playing some game, which set me right on edge again…and it was all downhill from that point. I came across as awkward, and I don’t know what… because I ended up feeling a bit interrogated when I asked a question, which made me want to RUN. I sat on it, but I was glad to be able to escape, and that isn’t right. I went home and went to bed. Not even an episode of QI helped, so I went to bed.

I woke up again covered in bruises. Second day in a row, although not the same place this time. Yesterday I’d blatantly been held down by the chest, as I can make out the handprints (there’s no way I could have done it to myself without removing my arms and switching them round… ) this morning, it’s my arms and shoulders that are suffering. Thank goodness for long-sleeved tops is all I’ll say about coming to work today. I don’t know what has happened while I’ve been sleeping – I remember struggling against being pinned and the bed being a mess upon waking up, so obviously been tossing/turning/writhing, but who or what I’ve been rallying against, I don’t have a clue. I’m not sure I want to either to be honest, although I also don’t want it to continue either. Ironic really, that normally I’m wanting to not remember what I dream about, that the one time it might be a good idea to have a clue is the one time I don’t. I’ll admit to being a bit uneasy about it, maybe even a little scared.

It’s certainly not the first time that what has happened in my dreams has spread into the real world, and it’s not even the worst occurances. The worst was being sliced in the ribs by a sword in my dream, and waking up to find my side opened up – 6″ long and a good half inch deep. No blood or anything, and nothing I could have done it on. And witnessed. I’ve woken up covered in scratches across my face and arms from being raked by claws, when I have no nails able to do that. And I’ve had bruises before I have a photo of the giant one in the middle of my back which a friend had found after I’d complained of back pain. A couple of weeks ago, I had a scar appear on my right arm overnight, including the ridge. The ridge has gone, but the scar is still there, and if I’d had the corresponding injury to it, I would have known. Why it happens, and why it comes through to waking life, I don’t know. Wish I did! I’d like to understand it… but this feels different. I can’t explain why or how, maybe it’s because there is a definite handprint, or maybe it was the feeling of being pinned down and the panic associated with that, I don’t know…. but there is a point where it starts to sound a little crazy, even to me. And I think this is getting to that point. I don’t have a clue where to begin as to understanding it, let alone being able to do something about it… any any suggestions would be welcomed, cause I’ll consider anything as an option, even that I’m just losing my sanity. I’m sure plenty think that… and maybe they are right. I don’t know… but this is a bit odd, even for me…. are alarm bells ringing for anyone else??

lazing on a Sunday afternoon.

This is the first weekend that I’ve had completely off in a while. I always try to not pack my weekend out because I’m so busy through the week, and a typical weekend now usually consists of Saturday mornings being filled with admin/chores/housework, and soon, thanks to exam season fast approaching, extra tutoring, before heading out for roleplay/catch up with friends, and more often than not, staying over on Saturday, and heading back on Sunday. This works quite well, for a lot of reasons, one being that it motivates me to get the boring stuff out of the way by Saturday lunchtime, otherwise I have to tackle it on the Sunday evening, which just leaves it hanging over the weekend. It also means that I don’t just become a hermit, and hide, which would be a bit too easy for me- especially of late, and it means I actually have some downtime factored in, as well as a ready excuse for the inevitable contacts of “oh its the weekend, you can help with….” Which if I only have my own stuff to get done gets the response of “oh well, you can move that around, squish this in…” And because I’m a pushover, I usually say yes, and then end up without the time to do the admin/housework/my stuff afterwards, whereas plans with others are a lot more difficult to dismiss out of hand.

This weekend though, I went away to visit friends I haven’t seen in a while, which has been a really nice change, although it has been really really weird to have a weekend with such a slow pace, as I feel like I haven’t “done” anything. I arrived on Friday evening, before I would have gotten home had I been tutoring, and got a sandwich, watched a gameplay video and had an early night. Yesterday, we went out for a walk around the centre of the town, had lunch out, and then got ingredients for me to make cake (as I always make something by request of my hosts) and watched a fair bit of River cottage, whilst trying to work out how I would make said cake. I succeeded with the cake, which was a berry topped chilli chocolate cake, and watched some random quiz stuff before bed. Today I’ve gotten up, read a bit, and will probably go for a little walk, to take advantage of the sun before heading home later.  Seems like nothing really, but actually, I’ve had time to think about stuff that’s been going round my head, as well as plan out a little more of my book, which I’ll probably get on with on my way home, and generally have a little bit of time to REST, and therefore, heal.

I’ve still had a fair amount of pain this weekend, but its not been all over, and its been manageable, and has lessened over the time in proportion to my inactivity. Now, my shoulders and upper back are what’s causing trouble, along with my arms, and that to be honest probably has more to do with being hunched up in pain the last few days than anything else, and I daresay a good massage would go a long way to sort that out too (I should be that lucky though), although that’s something I can put up with.

I think I need to look at my time management again, and plan in small patches of downtime through the day. I manage this quite well at work, but I could make better time of it in transit, for example, which might help things along a bit. I also need to try and get back on top of sleep, and eating properly, which means I just need to give myself a good kick up the arse more than anything! Because I’ve been feeling really crappy in general and tearing myself to pieces I stop caring about it, but I need to just do it, even if it means setting reminders on my phone, or notes on the fridge. I also need to go through food groups and make sure I’m planning enough of things in said foods, and generally make it so I try and look after myself a bit, even when its the last thing I want to do.

This week I’ve had to face up to the fact that I simply can’t get away with doing things I had done in the past, when I’ve ended up feeling that bad, and, again, having to challenge myself over the fact that if it was someone else doing that to themselves I wouldn’t stand by and let them. Whether I outrightly challenged it or tackled it by stealth would depend on the person, but I wouldn’t let it stand, so I should let myself do it either.

So, yes, I have screwed up recently. A lot. I don’t think it would be helpful to explain the various how’s and why’s right now, as I’d just end up more annoyed at myself, and lo and behold we’d be starting it all over again. But I can always hope that next time, I will do better, and spot myself falling before I am forced to acknowledge I fell a while before. Not just talking about not looking after myself here, but the same goes. Its just easier for me to talk about that context, than all the other things.

Possibly time to make a few lists as well, and then discuss how best to tackle them…. As well as try to realise that i may not have to try and do this all by myself, and that i dont have to shut myself away until ive fixed things…But one step at a time I think, at least until I can learn to walk again….

 

cracks appear in the well worn veneer.

I’m very very used to being able to go about daily life and not have anyone notice when something isn’t fine. So when I find that to not be the case, it raises questions for me.  Does this mean that the mask is wearing thin? Is it getting too much for me to be able to disguise? Or is it actually that I mostly get away with it because people don’t look that closely.

At the moment, I think it’s probably a little of everything… but the biggest truth is is that I’m getting tired of fighting. With myself, with others and with the world at large. Everyone has demands of me, up to and including just to be myself. That’s the one I probably find hardest I think. People think I am all these things, and I probably appear that way, and in some cases it might even be true. But there are things I am not. Or maybe just that I’m realising that I don’t *have* to be those things.  But then if I don’t have to be then what does that leave??

I know I’m talking vagueries again but I’m trying to actually express something that isn’t verbal in my head… so maybe it’s better to start at the beginning and see if that helps..

Last week I came to the realisation (with some help I should add) that I have friends who are not really friends. They are happy enough when they want something, or I can do/give/be something for them, but at other times they really don’t want to know.  This was proven and cemented when I had an encounter with them for the first time in a pretty long time and within an hour, I’d been asked for a favour. I wasn’t even asked how I was or why I’d not been about in the previous time.  Me being me, I did it, and it took having to hint majorly to get even a thank you.  In the past, this one sided “friendship” was acceptable for me, and I would quite happily be the doormat, because it was better than the alternative.  And it meant at least I had ‘friends’.

The changes over the last year though have made me wonder if maybe I am actually capable of better, and there have been better people come into my life who are showing me this is possible too.

So after this last week, and very clearly deciding that actually being treated like that isn’t acceptable, if only because I wouldn’t allow my friends to be treated like that, and I would never treat them like that, came last night.  Another person tried to assert their…will…I guess over me, and I fought back. I know that I did the right thing in denying them, especially when the daggers started to fly, and yet I ended up feeling completely guilty over doing it. This person I’ve known for a very long time. around 10 years in fact. They’ve been exceptionally important at times in the past, especially when I fell apart and no-one noticed.  It was actually this person who stopped me from bottoming out irretrievably. Thinking about that now though, it was purely because they happened to turn up and catch me completely defenseless. But, to their credit, they dropped everything and to some extent saved me from the abyss. Which may actually be why I feel so guilty. I feel like I owe them something I can’t actually repay.  I’d never thought of it like that until just now. But I think they may also know how I feel, because they know me well enough to know. And know it’s something they can use to keep me at their whim. Except they tried last night and it didn’t work.

I don’t know. But I know that I ended up feeling close to breaking point last night.  This is where it sounds odd. I could feel the pain, physically, but knowing that it wasn’t physical pain, but could feel the knots and wounds twisting and pulling and generally trying to tear me apart on the inside.  Something that however I try, I fail to explain. I do wish that the ability to transfer feelings existed (I think it’s star trek that has something like it.) Just so when someone who does notice and asks ‘what’s wrong’ instead of failing utterly to try and explain I could instead just take a hand and press it into that and let them feel. Because I don’t have a way to explain it.

That pain scares me though, because I know it’s trying to get out, and even though I know it would be easier to not fight and let it go and ride it out, I’m not sure I can. I’m pretty sure that I will fight and fight until I *can’t* because I don’t want to feel like I failed. I already feel that way to an extent, because it’s *that* which I try to keep hidden. From myself as much as anyone else. Myself because I’m afraid of it, and from others because I don’t want to be a burden on them, or to make them run or push them away. And I’m finding it harder and harder to keep it hidden. Even I can see it in my eyes from time to time without having to look hard to see it.

I think the hardest thing though is coming to the realisation that maybe it’s OK to let someone else see, and that actually, it might not terrify them, make them run, or just decide they can’t be bothered. That’s been my hope for some time now, but the idea that it might actually be realised is in itself unsettling. I am however grateful beyond words to the people who have been teaching me that friendship – real friendship, is *not* what I have mostly seen so far. Although that brings it’s own challenges, because I don’t want to fail or disappoint people who have been there for no discernable reason, and want nothing in return.

Even trying to explain this and write this, I can feel the ‘thing’ making itself known. It’s more like snakes writhing as opposed to knotted tummy and simple anxiety. Maybe because while I’m shielding it, it retains a hold. I forget too often, that a wall can be built to keep things out, but it also keeps things in. Maybe it’s time to take the wall down…  I just know that I’m tired. And I’m not sure I want to fight anymore. And I’m not sure I want to make the effort to hide.  Whatever that means…. whatever that may bring.

It’s not all gloom and doom!

I realised this morning that I probably sound pretty morose of late… I’m actually not, which has surprised me as much as anyone I think. Sure, I definitely feel like crawling into a corner and avoiding everything and everyone until this is over, but I’m also above all else, a realist. I know that things don’t happen at convenient moments, and don’t fit neatly into boxes. I can’t retire from life just because my past has come back to give me a good kick up the arse again.

So I get on with things. I get up, get a shower, and I go to work. I try to make sure to eat, sleep (where I’m allowed) and exercise, and get things done. Counting my regular job plus tutoring (and travel) I work a 52 hour week on average, so if nothing else I’m busy. And that’s not a bad thing as long as I stick to my rules.  First rule is Monday nights are my night off. Even if I end up doing housework, chores or mundane house stuff, as long as I’m not planning lessons or thinking about work stuff, that’s OK.  Second rule is no work at weekends unless I’m being paid extra. I might not always have mega-exciting stuff planned, but even I know I can’t be all go, all the time. Third rule is plan social stuff. Even if it’s just meeting a friend for coffee and a chat. I have the capability to go weeks without seeing anyone outside of work, but it’s not a good idea to do so.

Very simple rules that will hopefully serve me well. I’ve been sticking to them since I decided them, so no complaints really.

In terms of eating – weekdays I have a little bit of porridge in a morning with a banana and some seeds mixed in, and soup for lunch. Teatime varies. Weekends is a lot more relaxed. This seems to be working well, as I’ve lost an inch and a half off my back (as a bra that was too tight now fits, and tshirts are slightly less pronounced around the chesticle area) and definitely a few kilograms. Now I just need to get into a routine with the exercise again. A friend has some chair exercises I can do at work, and also looking into sorting a specific workout I can boot up and do in a morning for 10 mins after stretches.

So I’m definitely not being idle, and if nothing else, feeling the way I do tends to drive me to being mega organised and efficient. Who said a touch of type A personality is a bad thing!! Overall, I’m just trying to take things as they come, and where I can’t believe things, just accept that those who have said them believe it in the hope that I can then move towards believing it too.