On manflu and my inability to concentrate (although they’re probably not at all connected)

Hello people,

I’m still alive, but I might not write for a while. Not that I’ve written in ages anyway.

I can’t concentrate on anything long enough to write a post that makes sense. My mind jumps continuously from project to project to project: the garden, my work, school, the house, the committee I’m on, the committee I’m almost on, revsion, the company I almost no longer work for, the dog, the aquariums, the plans for the new pond, the plans for a porch, catching trains, eating, cleaning up, tidying up, going out, (not) going swimming, getting home in the dark, spring, bulbs which need planting yesterday, garden, …

On top of, or maybe next to, all those thoughts, I have manflu*, for the second time this year. The first time, I was off work for almost a month. This time I’m working through it, at least so far, which I suppose makes it less manflu-y, and more normal cold. Much as I would love to hide under the duvet, I can hardly phone in sick again! I’ve only been back at work for, what, 5 weeks? 6 weeks? Especially when a colleague is already off work with his own manflu. Maybe someone will send me home if I cough at them long enough.

I’ll leave you with a picture of spring:

* legitimately, if my latest hormone test is anything to go by. I figure if I have to have crazily high levels of testosterone, I might as well be entitled to manflu instead of normal colds…

On “re: vision”

I have an exam on Saturday.

Actually. That’s not true.

I have 2 exams* on Saturday.

The date’s been set for several months, but somehow I managed to ignore how fast time slips away when you’re not looking properly.

A month ago I made a list of topics we’d covered, and topics we still needed to cover in class.

A couple of weeks ago I started going over my notes and flicking through the text books.

At some point last week I realised I hadn’t really got a clue about any of the things that were going to come up in the exam. A mild panic later, and I made up my mind to get down to revising “properly”.

I revise best when people ask me to tell them about whatever I’m learning. People ask better questions (and can check if I’m talking rubbish) when they can read them off revision cards. As a bonus, writing things down helps me remember them too.

It seems revision in general, and writing cards in particular, is something that needs practising. πŸ˜›

I’ve written masses of notes in class without any problems, but writing revision cards seems to be a different kind of stress. My hands ache. My wrists are sore. My fingers are tired. My thumb’s so tired it’s almost gone to sleep completely (I hope it wakes up soon – I need them both!).

Today is the umpteenth day of staring at the heap of ex-forest on my desk (and ignoring the heaps invading the surrounding vicinity, and the dining room table, and the sofa ….). I am thoroughly bored of writing revision cards. I can’t stop though, because I have no time. I don’t remember ever starting to revise this late before, and I can’t remember it taking so much time up, but I think that’s just selective memory loss ;).

***

I was originally planning to write a post about how it must be a sign you’ve done too much revison when getting-up-to-clean-the-toilet-because-the-cleaner’s-been-on-for-10-minutes becomes a highlight of the afternoon. Then I thought about writing about how tragic it is to run out of whichever coloured cards you were using for Topic A and have to use Topic B’s colour, just when you were starting to think you were actually the slightest little bit organised. Then I thought about how dangerous coffee is, and how fizzy you get when you drink the first full cups ever, and how I am going to have to stop as soon as the exams are over before I can’t imagine a life without it.

I say “planning”, but I really mean the ideas were swirling around the back of my head because I wasn’t going to give myself time away from the revision cards to write any of them down.

This is what you’re getting instead.

***

This morning I got up with DB, prepared to sit at my desk and inflict more pain on my writing-thumb.

And then I had to go to the doctor’s.

Nothing like a good adrenalin kick first thing in the morning.

***

I am a glassblower. I am trained to look at reflections in shiny objects. Especially round shiny objects. You can tell a lot about how round things are when you look at the patterns the reflections make.

This morning, once DB had roared off on his motorbike (leaving me in a bleary sleepy haze, to have a bath and get dressed and write lots) I innocently looked in the mirror.

I shall have to make a mental note not to do that anymore. It’s dangerous.

You know why?

I don’t either.

***

My eye had a dent in it.

<insert silent swearing here>

After blinking and looking again didn’t make it go away, I put eyedrops in and phoned my optician. She said I was welcome to come in and see her, but that she’d rather I went to see a doctor.

So I did.

I sat in the overcroweded waiting rooom and wrote revision cards in front of shuffly old people and loud, wriggly, small children. It’s got to be good for me though – Kate says one should learn in as many places as possible….

***

It seems there’s a hole in my <insert germanised latin name for front-of-eye here>.

Apparently it’s not visible unless you dye the surface yellow and shine very bright lights at it.

Maybe eyedoctors should do glassblowing training before going to doctor-school? πŸ˜‰

Anyway. I don’t know how it got there, and neither does the doctor, but at least when you know it’s there you can do something about it. I have a new sort of eyedrops and a gel. WHOO!

***

And now, after a very pleasant interlude I’m going to get back to those revision cards – I have an exam to learn for afterall!

 

*on the content of 4 Textbooks

On playing Chinese whispers

Some families play scrabble.

Some families are less interested in written words and so choose to play Chinese whispers instead.

***

DB came home from work really upset the other day. Apparently his father had told him that his (DB’s) mother had said his uncle (C) was in hospital and that his aunt (H) didn’t want to talk about it to anyone, and not to phone for a week or so.

[Background history: DB’s uncle had cancer a couple of years ago, which is now cured, or at least in remission]

We’d spoken to H and C a couple of days earlier and they’d both been fine. C had been tested and was doing well, no sign of anything wrong. They’d sounded happy and life was good.

Except if DB said that his dad said that his mum said that his aunt said that his uncle was in hospital then life can’t be good anymore.

lt must mean something serious like a car crash – or more likely in his case, a bike crash. Or a stroke/heart attack/other terrible unexpected thing. Or the doctors had reread the test results and changed their minds..

Panic was inevitable.

After DB’d asked me if I thought C’d be ok for the 57th time, and I’d had to prevent him booking the first flights out to see them a couple of times, I wroteΒ  H an email.

Turns out H and C had just got back from a routine checkup (for H) but not yet eaten when DB’s mother phoned. Also, they’d agreed to meet C’s cousin at a certain time which meant they were in a rush to eat and get to the meeting point on time – and non-urgent phone calls weren’t at the top of the priority list. The cousin was due to stay for a week, so they would have time to phone once she’d gone home.

Panic over.

***

According to wikihow:
“The game goes on until the last person says whatever they heard aloud and the first person reveals the real message. Compare them and have a great laugh!”

In this case, the great laugh was more like a great sigh of relief.

***

On balance, and although I’m generally not a good player of any family games, I think I prefer scrabble…

On running out of medicine

(From 13th January)

This morning I used the last of one of the three remaining eye drops.

Oops.

(A second bottle wasn’t actually empty, but didn’t gloop much when shaken. It’s difficult to tell how many days worth of drops are left in an opaque 5ml bottle.

Double oops.)

I’m in a very small seaside town in the Canaries. I have another 3 days here, followed by a Sunday in Berlin where pretty much everything is shut, except emergency chemists, and I need a prescription for the eye drops I’m supposed to use.

I think I have a problem.

***

Except I didn’t really.

First stop – phoning the secretary of the eye surgery. The doctor wouldn’t be in again until the next week and as secretary she couldn’t write me a prescription herself. She suggested I just go to a chemist. I couldn’t believe that would work, but I didn’t have much choice but to try. I thanked her and hung up.

Second stop – searching for a chemist. DB and I and wandered down to the beach and along the promenade (where all the shops are) clutching the empty bottles and the hospital letter and looking for chemists. From our evening walks, we knew a couple existed because we’d seen the brightly flashing signs outside their shops, alternately showing the time, date and temperature. We just hadn’t made notes about where there were in relation to our apartment. I asked at the first one we came to. The well (/over*) made up ladies behind the counter said they hadn’t got anything like that and sent me to ‘the English chemist’ at the other end of the town – back the way we’d come and then a bit further. It was apparently opposite Burger King, so obvious we couldn’t miss it.

Off we went.

Third stop – accidental dragon-viewing. After walking several minutes longer than they’d recommended, I spotted a doctors surgery with an English flag in the garden. It was on a side street and there was no Burger King in sight, but I decided it was worth asking anyway. The nurse-in-charge stared at me like I’d just asked her for a passenger flight to Jupiter. There was no way she was going to look at my eyes, write me a prescription or dole out medication. She told me to try my luck with ‘the English chemist’ up the road opposite Burger King….

Ho-hum.

Fourth stop – finally striking gold…The English chemist’ was almost certainly not English, but he spoke it (and some German) very well, certainly well enough to wish me a speedy recovery and to laugh with me at the idiocy of companies not writing the ingredients on the bottles. Turns out the trade names are different in different countries, even for medicine, which was logical when he pointed it out, but hadn’t occurred to me before.

After a lot of research and rummaging through cupboards and drawers, he pulled out two tiny boxes. I pulled out my purse, awaiting an extortionate bill – a combination of not having a prescription and expecting to pay extra as a non-native. Both eye drops together came to 5,70€. I’m not complaining, I’m just left wondering if Spain is subsidised somehow, or if someone’s making a lot of money out of Germans and Brits. You can’t buy anything useful in a German chemist without a prescription, and you still pay upwards of 5€ per item. I don’t know what it’s like in England anymore, but my Dad says it’s expensive being ill.

On the way out DB noticed what we’d both missed on the way in; directly across the road was the tiniest Burger King I have ever seen. Most ice cream vans are bigger πŸ˜‰

***

What could have been a disaster, actually wasn’t – three cheers for good directions (and friendly chemists!)!

* I wouldn’t usually comment on how someone else chooses her make up, but if I can see it while partially blind, I figure it counts as theatre-worthy…

On sunshine and my own bed! :)

Jesska’s going home, she’s going home, she’s going!!! πŸ™‚ *

I’m armed with a plan and 4 bottles of eye drops.

I have an appointment with a doctor on holiday, and I don’t have to come in again tomorrow – WHOO!! πŸ™‚

That’s all good news :). The not quite as good news is that I can’t get any glasses made until I’ve ‘finished healing’, so at least not for the next week, probably two. Got to love [semi] blind holidays πŸ™‚

And I have to avoid too much sunshine………

ARGH.

But hey. Whatever. At least I can keep my eyes πŸ™‚

* to the tune of Football’s coming home in case anyone missed that πŸ˜‰

On bright lights and hospital beds – part 2

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes – please keep them up πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰ 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 readΒ (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 coughing too much to smoke

I don’t smoke (and never have) but DB does. Or at least used to.

He hasn’t smoked AT ALL since Friday.

DB is so ill atm that he can hardly breathe, never mind talk; smoking is unthinkable.

Much as I want him to get well as soon as possible, it would be soooo good if he stayed ill long enough to get through the cold-turkey of giving up the cigarettes, before getting better, on the grounds that he’s not feeling good anyway, and probably/maybe couldn’t be much worse…..

What are the chances?

On being stood up by a doctor

(or on doctors and DBs – part 1)

No. Chew chew chew.Β  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”

On the morning after the last 4 days

IΒ  CAN STILL WALK!!! πŸ™‚

That’s the main thing, right?

I ache pretty much all over, and going downstairs isn’t a whole lot of fun, but it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it might be, not even as bad as last year, despite my lack of training beforehand and not feeling all that good most of the weekend. Although, thinking about it, maybe that’s the reason. Maybe I didn’t push myself as hard as I usually do, because I was more aware of my not-feeling-goodness. Who knows.

I’m happy I can still walk, and that I’m not properly ill.

On swimming in the sun

Once or twice a week I go swimming with a friend.

We’ve just started going to the pool near her house instead of the one near mine.

Today, for the first time, I discovered it has an outdoor pool attached.

It was sunny, and scarily warm, so I went out for the first outdoor swim in aaaaaages!! The water was obviously colder than in the indoor pool, but the air was soooo much nicer to breathe – makes swimming that much easier πŸ™‚

I only swam 2 rounds, because my swimming buddy was inside waiting for me (she’s recovering from being ill and doesn’t want to risk getting ill again).

Hopefully it will be sunny again next week πŸ™‚

On slippery slopes

Today I phoned in sick.

I think I was justified. I spent the weekend at home with a blocked/runny nose instead of going skiing as planned, my head felt like it was the very heaviest type of time-bomb (likely to explode any moment), I had null energy and I could challenge dogs to barking matches.

The thing is.. I don’t ever phone in sick. I had about 5 days off school due to general illness in my entire life (I’m not counting the time I was in hospital as a little kid). I didn’t have any time off due to illness during my Glassblowing training except the time I fainted in class and was sent home for the afternoon.

I just don’t do being ill. Also, my mother is (or at least was) of the opinion, that anyone who isn’t technically dead is well enough to do whatever they’re supposed to be doing.

Since starting work 3-and-a-bit years ago I have had mild concussion (5 days), had my wisdom teeth pulled (5+3 days (one of the holes got infected)), skimmed my toes on a pavement (4 days), twisted my ankle (3 days), cut my fingers (2 days), been sent home for not breathing (hayfever/cold) (2 days), had some kind of lung problem (5 days), and probably a couple more things which I can’t remember. All of them (except the not breathing ones) are officially statemented and/or ordered by various doctors.

Today, I decided for myself that it would be more beneficial to stay at home than drag myself to work.

The day turned out to be beautiful, not that I saw much of it – I slept through the morning, and read half a book in the bath for most of the afternoon.

I could get used to this…

πŸ˜‰

On polishing plant leaves

– Or ‘what I do with my free time’ –

 

Planning is overrated, pointless and a waste of time.

I think I’ll give it up.

I haven’t yet, but I might. It would save me a lot of bother and probably time and effort as well.

Someone’s bound to ask how I’ll notice the difference since I don’t plan much or often anyway. I expect they have a point. The actual objective difference is probably indeed minimal. However. I imagine the subjective difference from my perspective would be huge. Imagine life without let downs…

Sometimes I see organised people who make detailed plans and then proceed to follow said plans precisely and in the exact manner they expected to. I have to wonder how they do it. Is it a matter of training? Do I need to practise more and it’ll be ok? Do they plan the sorts of things that just work? What do they know that I don’t? In my experience life doesn’t work like that.

On Wednesday we (a group of people I know) decided to go iceskating. Yesterday I spontaneously agreed to have them all over here for a barbecue afterwards. So far so good. Okay, so my house was a bit disorganised but that’s no big deal. They know me and I there was time between work and going out.

The Glass Thing I was working on took longer than expected so I got home at just gone 4 instead of 20 past 3. Hey! Still no big deal. I needed to be out at just before 7 to catch the various busses and trains to get me to the ice-rink so I still had approximately 3 hours to sort things (and myself) out. So far still all good.

Trying to sort an entire house before people come over is what Flylady calls ‘crisis cleaning’. As Crisis Cleaning goes I’m almost a professional πŸ˜‰ Sometime I even invite people over especially as motivation.

I clean houses in a manner which vaguely resembled those lawnmowers that mow by themselves; I don’t start in one corner and work my way around. From an onlooker’s point of view it probably looks crazy – I know I’d love to see a bird’s eye video in highspeed…until I cringe and turn it off that is πŸ˜‰ – I dart about, moving everything to one side, washing the bit of floor that shows, tidying elsewhere until it’s dry so I can move things onto the dry clean bit and wash the next section, all the while going back and forth to the bathroom to wash the mop head. It’s probably not the best system but it works for me and I was in my element doing it with a fairly tight schedule.

I cleared and washed my balcony -breaking and mending my rubber-broom in the process-, wiped down the plastic chairs and table, put things away, moved furniture, washed the floors, ate a bowl of cereal to tide me over until after skating, emptied the table, … Basically, I was on a roll. I was sure I was going to be as finished as I needed to be by the time I had to leave. I had my shoes on, my skates were in a bag by the door, my jacket was hanging on it’s hook (my purse with money and my buspass in the pocket), the key in the door. As soon as my cleaning-time was up I’d be off like, well, if not like a rocket, then at least like a person on a mission. The house wasn’t going to be perfect, but I wasn’t aiming for perfection and who needs perfection to grill a steak anyway?

And then whooosh! I was hit full on by a severe stomach cramp and a 5 second toilet-warning (remember what I said about rockets?).

I shall spare you all other details, cause I’m nice like that πŸ˜‰Β  Suffice to say half an hour later I was on the phone to the others to say I wouldn’t be going skating after all.

 

How is that fair?!

 

I know no-one said life was going to be fair. But still. I didn’t think I was asking too much to want to go out occasionally… It’s bad enough being ill over both Christmas and New Year. Why does my body not want me to do ANYthing more exciting than wash doors at midnight? Why can I not stay well long enough to do anything fun? If anyone asks what I did with my Friday evening, I will have to tell them I spent it dusting and polishing the leaves of my houseplants. Which is true but not really tell-worthy.

 

But hey. I should be more grateful. At least the house looks good and the plants are shiny. (Also, a good friend of mine has been wheel-chair bound for ages and paraplegic (sp??) for almost a year, so, in comparison, I really have nothing to mope about…(ever :S) Prayers for her recovery obviously always hugely welcome)