On bright lights and hospital beds – part 2

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes – please keep them up 🙂

Here are the most important updates:

– My eye is responding well to all the eye drops (4 different sorts last count)

– I am going to be released in the morning, assuming the head doctor says things are ok.

– I have to promise to come back for a check-up on Friday, and can go on holiday as long as I go to see an eye-doctor while I’m there. (:))

– I am allowed to sleep through the night (WHOO!!!)

Sleep well people!

*****

(And now for the rambling back-story I promised yesterday but didn’t finish earlier…)

Monday.
The first day of the busy week. DB and I slept in until half past 10 in the morning, which is a little bit later than I’d planned, but next to unheard of for him… I lazed about on the sofa until I finished my jigsaw and only half-heartedly started sorting out the first couple of boxes in my corner before a friend of DB’s came over. We all chatted for an hour or two and before I knew it, it was dinner-time, followed by walk-round-the-housing-estate-time, followed by crash-out-on-the-sofa-time.

My eye itched for most of the day, and I mostly ignored it. It was a bit dry and a bit red, so I dropped eye drops in every so often, but I get itchy, dry eyes fairly regularly anyway, so I didn’t really think too much about it until we were out walking and the street lights made my eyes hurt. I thought I must have got dust in them while cleaning.

When I peeled myself off the sofa, I took my contact lenses out, washed them carefully and went to bed reasonably early.

1 day down, 4 to go.

***

Monday night.
On an average night, I wake up at least once to go for a pee. On Monday, I was up several times, to put more eye drops in. My eyes (especially the right one) felt gritty. They wavered between feeling too dry, and feeling like I was crying.

Between loo-trips and eye-drop-trips and tossing-and-turning and fighting with the duvet, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

***

Tuesday.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I discovered that I couldn’t open my eyes. Or rather, I could, but it hurt. A lot. A very lot as we used to say in my family :).

The light hurt, the movement involved in opening them hurt, the movement involved in looking anywhere but straight ahead hurt. Everything hurt.

We live on a road with streetlights, so even when the curtains are closed, a little bit of light comes in. That was enough to make me hide back under the duvet and scrunch my eyes closed.

At some point DB’s dad phoned and DB got up to help him. I stayed in bed. There was no way I could go anywhere or do anything useful. Looking at things is pretty impossible through closed eyes.

I slept for a while instead.

When I woke up, opening my right eye was still excruciating. Opening my left eye was ok, as long as I didn’t move it or look at anything remotely light. (Not because my left eye hurt, but because they’re synchronised and when left moves, right moves too. When left pupil dilates or closes, right does too). Even with my eyes shut I wasn’t totally pain-free. Just moving my eyes was like prodding a bruise or putting pressure on a sprained ankle.

I went back to sleep. Or at least tried to.

In the time it took DB and his dad to remove and replace the exhaust pipe on the van, I managed to sleep a bit more. I also managed to fumble my way to the cake tin in the kitchen. 😉 Opening my eyes without wincing (too much), came later. Something like 20 mostly-blind eye-drop trips later.

I was able to fully open the curtains at about half past 3, as the sun was starting to go down and I’d had a bath in the near-dark.

***

I’d originally asked DB to take me to see an eye-doctor when he got back.

When he got home, my eye was still bloodshot, but it didn’t hurt neatly as much and I was able to read (and write) one-eyed (hence the quote posts), and felt things were much improved. I wavered against going anywhere. We settled for going to a chemists and asking for more eye drops and a second opinion.

The chemist-lady said she had eye drops, but the good ones were all prescription-only. She said it looked pretty bad (totally bloodshot and a little bit puffy), and recommended going to the specialist eye-clinic.

***

4 and a half hours and a lot of bright lights later, we left the clinic and drove home with enough time to eat quickly, and to pack an overnight bag for an indefinite hospital stay.

It’s amazing how rationally I think when I should be panicking, and how much I panic when there’s no reason for it.

This was rational packing. My bag was packed with far less hassle than when I go on holiday. I thought about my wash kit, dug out a string of fairy lights from a box in the furthest corner of the bedroom (if I’m going to be stuck in hospital, then I want it to be pretty), counted socks and underwear and chose a variety of different books to read. I packed a phone charger, and earphones, and an MP3 player. DB cooked, then packed the tablet and some chocolate for me :).

Just over an hour later, at exactly 10pm, we were met by the porter (/whatever the men who escort you to the right ward are called).

The night nurse was amazing, the morning nurse not so much.

Considering they were both responsible for squirting drops in my eyes every hour or so through the night, they couldn’t have done it more differently. It seems some people are more suited to the job than others. In the middle of the night I want to sleep. I don’t want to be woken up more than necessary. Given the choice, I will always favour someone who appears by the bed silently, gently lays a hand on my shoulder until I roll over and open my eye and gets the drops in and mopped up and is out of the room before I have time to become properly conscious, over someone who feels the need to open the door loudly, trample across the room and boom in a ultra-chirpy manner that it’s ‘time for more eye drops!’. Also, if the fairy lights I’m sleeping under provide enough light to see by, why turn all the ward lights on?!

Rant over.

***

Without lenses I turn into a mole. I can see things but they don’t have defined edges. The world looks more like a Monet painting than a Litchenstein cartoon. I can read ok, but I can’t see your features if you stand across the room from me.

I haven’t worn glasses in years. I don’t even own a current pair of glasses – contact lenses are so much more practical, and since my eyes kept changing strength (or weakness in my case), I decided to wait until they’d settled down before ordering glasses.
They’ve been stable for a year now, so buying a pair of glasses was on the list of Things-to-do-in-2016.

Ho-hum.

I’m not allowed to wear contact lenses for the best part of a month. That’s a lot of time to be blind.

It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow. Everything shuts at midday. Nothing opens at all on New Years Day, and we fly to Lanzarote early on the 2nd (Saturday). Then it’s Sunday and nothing will be open there either. There’s a slight chance something might open on the Monday, but there’s a lot of chance it won’t, because the Spanish celebrate Christmas up to the 6th of January. I hope I can get someone to make me a pair of glasses after that at the very latest. That’s more than a week of mole-dom.

ARGH.

On finally phoning

Why is it so hard to phone people?

Yesterday I phoned someone I’d been meaning to phone for more than a week. I got the number from a friend, and left it sitting in a message, instead of pasting it in to the phone part of my phone, the part which I probably use least, and pressing ‘call’.

When I finally got round to it, it took all of 5 minutes to say all that needed saying. I now have an appointment with a specialist who might hopefully be able to work out what’s going on in my stomach.

That was a medical call, but even personal calls are a bit problematic. I can reel off a list of more people than I care to admit, who I have been meaning to phone for much longer than the specialist…

…and the longer I leave it, the more awkward it’s going to be when I finally do…

…Maybe. Except if it isn’t. Maybe they’re waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ to phone me, and would be relieved if I phoned them instead.

Maybe they don’t care about the length of time I’ve wanted to call but didn’t. Maybe they’d just like to talk.

Maybe I should just make time for one person every couple of days – I could probably be done by Christmas!!

On surviving organisational failure

This is one of those posts that started life as an email in my rough draft folder and has been added to at irregular intervals since then. I’m going to tart it up a bit and post it so that it gets to see some of the world. The rough draft folder is a bit stuffy.

I thought about ignoring it, but it was too close to finished to throw away, certainly a lot closer than others, and it would be a shame to waste a good story about me winning against the “anti-organisation-field”… The original title was “On coins and organisation” but I have no idea what the coins bit was going to be about so I changed it… 🙂

[written on a train in July 2013]

“If life was an exam and there were points awarded for organisation, I would have failed. Not the ‘just short of an A’ line of fail that isn’t really one at all, nor the ‘oh well, I can make up the points on creativity’ sort, not even ‘at least I scraped through with an E’.

Nada. I would have so few points that I’d get a Z. Someone might even have to invent a new alphabet.

Whatever. I seem to have been blessed with an angel whose only purpose in my life is to rush about getting the world to work around/despite the anti-organisation field I generate.

You want an example? How long have you got? 😉

Take today.

I have the day off work. I have the day off work because I polished my finger last week and it still hasn’t healed yet. I have to visit the doctor (because of said finger), and I have to catch a train at 12:40 to get me to a-village-nearly-6-hours-away at the same time as my boyfriend. The doctors close at 12 and the bus leaves on the hour and then every 20 minutes.

The plan was to wake up, have breakfast, pack, tidy the place up and get on the bus at 11:20. That would have given me enough time for there to be a queue at the doctor’s, several red lights and a bunch of slow people in front of me…….”

[Written later July 2013 and slightly edited in early 2014 in an unsuccessful effort to get the post out]

“… and that’s as far as I got before I couldn’t take typing on my phone any more.

This is how I might have continued (and even if it isn’t, it’s how I’m going to continue today):

…The reality looked a little different.

I missed the bus at 11:20, and also the one at 11:40.

I only just caught the one at 12:00 by running up the hill and hurling myself at the bus driver.

Naja, running is a euphemism.

I was wearing a backpack and a handbag, carrying a wicker basket and dragging a suitcase behind me – thankfully one with decent wheels.. That doesn’t leave much scope for running up a hill.

I left my house in a state of general dereliction.

I’d been off work for a week and had chosen to split my time between reading, dancing, visiting people and doing the hyper-focus stuff I don’t usually do. Things like getting the black gunk out of the washing powder drawer in the washing machine with a toothbrush. Things like finally getting my receipts in order and updating my spreadsheet (not so much filling it in as changing some functions and adding a new totals page). While I’m sure it’s good to take life slowly sometimes, it probably wasn’t the best use of my time. Whatever. I hadn’t done the things I ought to have done. Things like packing, washing up or sweeping the floor. (Also things like writing the new school stuff onto cards, working on my Glass Thing Theory Project, drawing my masterpiece…)

When it occurred to me that I was leaving in a couple of hours I panicked. When I panic I am less able to function than usual. I had a shower. I faffed about looking for clothes to wear on the train. I looked for my shoes. An hour before I was supposed to leave, I decided it would be a good idea to get my suitcase out. I threw things at it for 10 minutes and then went to check my email and start reading a blogpost someone’d sent me. Once I’d started I was stuck for a good 20 minutes. Ignoring the problem makes it go away, right?

Wrong.

When I finally remembered I’d actually been doing something else, I had less than half an hour to be on the bus. I threw some more stuff at my suitcase and gave up. My house was a wreck, I was a wreck, I hadn’t packed, I was going to miss the bus and get to the doctors after they closed and then have to wait until after their lunch break and miss the train andmaybenotevengetANYtrainthatdayandmessupR’splansandmakehimhatemeandmaybehe’salreadyannoyedandmyhouseisamessandIcan’tpackorwashuporleaveontimeand…

At this point I think I managed to pull myself together and tell myself that sitting there wasn’t even going to give me the chance to make it to the bus stop. I continued on throwing stuff at my suitcase. Obviously it didn’t all fit, what with me going to a wedding an’ all. My makeup bag was bigger than my wash-kit usually is. I also hadn’t made the final decision about which shoes to wear so I had to pack them all. I went to get my backpack.

About then, the bus left. I figured I could get the next one and carried on.

As I was hoisting my backpack onto my shoulder I remembered that I was supposed to be working for a week (after the wedding) and that having snuck into work in the middle of the night to get my tools and goggles, it would be remarkably dumb to leave them behind.

I put my backpack down and tried to imagine where there might be enough space for delicate pointy graphite things. Graphite is wonderful stuff, but stupidly brittle.”

[added later – Sept 2015 – Two years on, my memory isn’t sure of the details, but the main events are still amazingly clear :)]

“There most definitely wasn’t room for them. I left my backpack and suitcase on the landing and looked for a suitable bag for my tools. My stash of bags lived in a wicker shopping basket. While I rummaged through them, looking for one without holes and with both handles intact, I decided the basket would be better than any of the bags, and it was stabile enough to withstand being bashed and still protect my tools. I emptied it onto the floor and took it to my room where I took a T-shirt out of my cupboard, ignoring the clothes which fell out in the process, bundled the tools in (carefully, but hurriedly) and rushed out of the house, picking up my backpack and suitcase on the way past.

I got to the door and remembered I’d been holding my buspass when I’d had to go back in, and that I wasn’t holding it anymore. I left the suitcase and basket in the hall, went back up stairs (still wearing the backpack), unlocked my flat (knocking a couple of shoes off the shelf with my backpack), picked up the buspass, relocked the flat and came back down the stairs.

The neighbour’s daughter was standing outside when I finally made it out of the house. She was 4 or 5 and for some reason she really really loved me. Enough to want to tell me all about everything every time she saw me anyway. I only got out of a long winded conversation about something complicated like rabbits, because she was supposed to be going somewhere too.

I half ran, half walked up the hill and caught the 12:00 bus. Just. I think it might have been a couple of minutes late but I don’t remember.

I got to the doctor’s somewhere between 12:10 and 12:15, totally out of breath, and on the verge of crying. They closed at 12:00 and have until 13:30 lunchbreak. I had to be on a pre-booked train at 12:40. The next train (which I would have to pay for again) would leave at 13:40 which was impossible to catch, if I was allowed into the practice at 13:30. The one after that left at 14:40 but wouldn’t be in time for the last connecting train to the place I wanted to get to. I was a bit stuffed. However. Whatever else happened, I had to be seen by the doctor at some point during the day. If you’re on sickleave because of work-related accidents, you’re not allowed to travel out of the town you live in. To make sure you don’t go gallevanting while you’re supposed to be recouperating, they make you go and see them every couple of days, even if it isn’t really necessary. If you don’t go, there’s big trouble with all kinds of autorities. I was on the way to a wedding, and would have taken the afternoon off work anyway, even if I hadn’t been off sick, but I wasn’t officially allowed to go anywhere until I was given the all-clear by the doctor.

Luckily, someone came out and I got in before the door shut behind them 🙂 I left my suitcase and the basket in the foyer and went into the waiting area. The nurses behind the desk knew me, and knew I only needed the bandage changing, so they smiled and pointed me towards the nearest free room instead of kicking me out or making me wait until after lunch. They unwrapped my finger and made small talk until the doctor came in, glanced at my finger, pronounced it “healing well” and went out again. My finger was bandaged back up quickly and I was out of the practice by 12:25.

On a usual day – walking, with no luggage – it takes me 11-13 minutes to get between the doctors and the train station, depending on traffic lights and how many people get kicks out of standing in my way. On this day, the lights were on my side, and there weren’t enough people out, for them to really be in the way. I probably bashed some old people with my basket on my way past, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t knock anyone over :).

I was at the station at 12:38, and collapsed onto the train 30 seconds before it closed the doors to leave.

And then I remembered how to breathe.

(I also thought of the state of my house, and the craziness of my morning, and how unfit I was and how stupid the whole situation was and … yeah, I cried too.. and wrote the first part of the post :))”

On Eliminating [almost] Everything

Allergies watch out! Prepare for elimination!

image

I am declaring war on my allergies.

The problem is, I don’t even know what I’m allergic to any more. It used to be easy. I used to have hayfever and my throat swelled up when I ate cucumber or melon. Admittedly that’s a bit annoying when you live in a place where hay’s made or even anywhere where trees and grass live (practically everywhere), but hayfever tablets are pretty good these days and not eating melon or cucumber isn’t really all that restrictive.

That was the beginning.

Since then I’ve collected a whole lot of other raw fruit and veg I can’t eat. That made salads a bit tricky, but a salad-free life is bearable.

Over the last year it seems I can’t eat anything without stomach cramps and/or bloating. I’m permanently knackered, any illness doing the rounds does a stint at my place and even the non-contagious illnesses make themselves at home. Various parts of me do things they’re not supposed to, others complain about doing things they are supposed to do. Most of me hurts.

If I was 60 I’d say I was getting old, but I’m not even 30 yet.

I’ve seen a handful of doctors and none of them can tell me what’s causing it all (though they’re willing to prescribe all kinds of tablets and vile-tasting medicines). I’ve been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, but I have the same symptoms despite cutting out milk products or eating the lactase tablets.

None of its life threatening, but it is incredibly irritating (especially when the tablets and vile-tasting medicine each come with their own list of side effects and problems).

And I want it to stop.
It has to stop.

And sooner rather than later.

A rather large chunk of my weekend was spent reading everything Google had to offer me about allergies and intolerances and how to go about getting rid of them.

Apparently, if you don’t eat [MILD*]allergy-inducing foods for 3 (better 4) weeks, your body forgets how bad they are and stops fighting them/itself.

(*I don’t suggest anyone try anything I write about without thinking about it, and maybe asking someone more knowledgeable first)

The plan involves not eating anything vaguely allergenic for 3-4 weeks, then adding ONE thing for a day before going back to the original plan for 2 days and watching what happens. Rinse and repeat for each of the remaining banished allergenic ingredients.

According to Google, you notice the difference and can decide what not to eat.

After 6 months or so you try the problem foods again.

I’m not sure how effective it is, but I’ve done vegetarian, sugarfree, paleo and vegan lents (and survived) and life really isn’t comfy the way it is now, so for the sake of 6 weeks of messed up eating, I’m prepared to find out.

Today is the first day.

Armed with an apple and a box of coconut milk rice pudding (with long grain rice because I ran out of pudding rice) I set out on the way to work and the way to a [hopefully] allergy free life.

image

One can hope.

On receptionists and telephones

Why is it, that some days the phone doesn’t stop ringing?? I think it rang every 5 minutes on average all day.

Also, why don’t doctors make it a priority to employ friendly receptionists?

On hoping for the best

I hope the paramedics got there in time.
He was crouching on the ground holding his hands over his heart and his eyes were wet with tears.

I was on the way to the platform, on the way to work.

I pointed him towards the doctor’s door (10m further) and then remembered she doesn’t get in until late on a Monday. I reached for my phone, but before I’d taken it out of my pocket, two ladies bustled out of a café and towards the man. One of them was holding a phone.  I asked if they’d call for help and they nodded and rushed past me, one to the man and one to the side of the road.

I left them to it and carried on towards the platform.

I really really hope they can do something for him…

On getting revenge without actually doing anything.

My DB told me I’m too fat the other day. I’m not sure what I’m too fat for, exactly, but it sucked. I am losing weight, slowly, and am at least 3kg down on May, which I have to admit is a long time ago. But at least there’s not much risk of the dreaded yo yo effect! Anyway, I don’t believe in being mean to people just because they were mean first, so I didn’t say much.

He went to the doctor’s today and was weighed and measured.

He is shorter than me which obviously isn’t news.

What IS news, is the fact that he weighs more than I do. BMI places me at the upper end of normal, and him at the lower end of overweight….

HA!

🙂

On sleep and buttermilk

I went back to the doctor (a week after being prescribed iron tablets) because I had no energy – less than before – severe constipation and was falling asleep at work.

A quick urine test later and I was written off work for a week, prescribed antibiotics and told to see a kidney specialist for an ultrasound.

My work-free week went hand-in-hand with instructions to rest, sleep as much as my body wanted, drink lots of water and eat ‘light food’. No drafts. No swimming. Nothing physically strenuous allowed.

She also recommended I drink half a litre of buttermilk every evening before bed and take ‘stomach-soothing-medicine’ before meals.

Oh yeah, and to give the iron tablets a break.

On taking the doctor’s advice with a pinch of salt

I don’t eat a lot of salt.

Approximately 15 years ago, my dad was diagnosed with high blood pressure and told he should cut down his salt intake.

My family had always made a point of cooking one meal and eating it together, so it was something like a group sentence: we no longer used salt in cooking, and after a stretch of getting used to not using it, we stopped bothering to put it on the table. In other words, we practically cut additional salt out of our diet altogether. ‘Additional’ because you would have to make everything yourself in order to ensure that you were eating none, and as amazing as homemade bread/pasta/marinated meat/etcetcetc is, there are time restraints placed on good intentions.

15 years later, the low-salt habit has well and truly stuck.

I went to see a doctor for a blood test and it turns out I don’t eat enough of the stuff. This causes various problems, especially when it’s the main source of dietary iodine in Germany.

It seems I have iodine deficiency (among other deficiencies*).

Yay! Bring on the salt!!

She prescribed me iron tablets and told me to rest more drink less milk and eat more salt.

* iron, transferrin, vitamin b12, organisation, punctuality. …. The list goes on.

On being stood up by a doctor

(or on doctors and DBs – part 1)

No. Chew chew chew.  You chew definitely don’t chew chew have an appointment. Chew chew chew chew chew.

We stared at the chewing-gum-man in disbelief. Turning slightly, we looked at each other, looked back at the man and shrugged before making our way to the car and driving home.

That was the first (and, I hope, only) time I’ve ever been stood up by a doctor.

Continue reading “On being stood up by a doctor”