Needles

For months now during this pandemic the news has been full of vaccines. Whether it is about which vaccines have been approved, how many have been administered or the different priority groups. Lately it has also been about Britain versus EU vaccine availability. I’m sick of it!

It isn’t so much the news that I’m sick of but the images shown on tv.

You see for me watching the news has become a thing of torture. I know I am not alone in this. I have a needle phobia. I don’t mind the talk about immunisations. It is the many many images of needles going into arms. Why do politicians and journalists even have to say ‘jabs into arms’? Why can’t they talk about vaccinations without saying it that way. Why do they insist on showing film of needle going into arms. It just isn’t necessary.

I’ve had enough, we all know what a vaccine looks like. We all know that it involves a needle. Over the years I have had many many needles in my arms and hands. That’s ok, so long as I don’t have to do it or even look.

Please please can they stop showing it. just talk about it don’t show and and don’t call it jabs in arms.

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Car trouble

My car has been sat on the drive since Monday. During this current lockdown I am only going out twice a week at the moment. Usually Mondays and Fridays. On these days I do my Avon deliveries put out books and pick up those that I put out the time before. I am not doing a huge amount just a dozen or so books at a time. ( I am still building up my strength after my surgery). Any other errands like shopping or picking up prescriptions that sort of thing.

This morning I loaded up my car ready to carry out my missions for the day. I went through the usual routine of starting up the engine and putting the car into reverse. I park facing inwards on the drive. However my car didn’t want to go into reverse at all. It’s an automatic so that was something of a problem. It was going from Park to Drive. Going back through the gears it went from Drive to Neutral to Park. Still no reverse.

After several attempts it was telling me to Check ESP or Check Gear Box. Each time I tried it either missed Reverse or went from Park to blank and a big judder. I was beginning to panic by this time. I shut off the engine and went back inside the house. After studying my handbook I found out that ESP is Electronic Stability Program. I was sat on the drive so I obviously wasn’t skidding or driving erratically. About an hour had gone by and I decided to give it another go. Yipee I got it into reverse, I backed out of the drive and headed off. The warning light “check ESP” didn’t go out so rather than risk getting stuck, I headed back home.

Eventually I spoke to a local garage and arranged for my car to be booked in there for Monday morning so it can be looked at. They were not promising they could fix it. It might need to go to a specialist in automatic cars. Having had a rest and a bite to eat I decided that I really did need to go out if only to pick up my books. If I say I will pick them up on a certain day then I make damn sure that I do.

I got back out to my car, started the engine, no problem this time. I set off, did what I wanted to do, even stopping to pick up my mother’s prescription. The warning did flash up but only for a second. Almost home I stopped at the top of the road to drop off a couple of books ready to pick up on Monday. ( I had already done the ones nearer to home on foot this morning). I pulled into a space for two cars, not quite close enough to the side that anyone else could park next to me. I was only stopping for less than a minute after all.

It doesn’t always pay to be confident. Even though I hadn’t even turned the engine off trouble struck. Guess what! I couldn’t reverse. I shut off the engine and tried again. Just like this morning it was skipping Reverse. This time as well as telling me to check ESP or check gear box it was also telling me to check pollution output.

Several rounds of trying it and turning off, leaving it then trying again after several minutes I gave in and called RAC. (There are other recovery services but this is the one I use). They are very busy at this time and I could be waiting for up to 3 hours. In normal times I would walk home from there, I’m not sure that I would manage it at the moment. I could possibly just about manage to walk home but not carrying everything I had with me. I’m not certain I would be able to walk back very easily. Instead I was prepared to sit and wait it out. More than anything I was worried about the fact I was taking up two parking spaces in a place where each space is taken up most of the time. I could just imagine how upset the residents would be that I was taking up so much room.

I guess I had been waiting for a little over half an hour when I gave it one more go. It went from Park to Neutral to Drive. Going back from Drive to Neutral and oh my gosh! reverse! quick move! I slowly edged back then got myself and my car back home. The warning light still on. I phoned up to let the RAC know that I had got it home but still having problems. A short time later I had a call back. As it’s not now urgent and they are busy, I am now booked in for tomorrow morning. I shall have to be up earlier than usual but at least I know that even if it isn’t fixed I will have a better idea what the problem is.

Anyway, it was worth picking up my books, I only got three back today but that was £75 worth. This was from a road I hadn’t been to since I got ill last February. Its good to see that my customers are still there after such a long time.

Four generations

This week we had a visit from my son and his fiance with my baby granddaughter. It was the first time I had been able to have a cuddle with the little one since February at which time she was only 4 months old. So you can imagine how much she has changed during this period of lockdown.

Where there are usually just the two of us in the house for a few hours there were 6 plus a dog. There was my mum aka Great Grannie, myself, my eldest son Prodigal and Model his fiance with little Miss Sunshine. Plus Miss Sunshine’s Grandad and his dog.

It was fun to see Miss Sunshine playing with new toys and crawling around investigating everything. I was privileged to read her favourite book with her. Obviously back in February she was still too young for solids but now she enjoys a variety of food. It’s a good thing she was able to eat her raspberries in the garden. She loved them (far more than her tomato omelettes). She did make rather a mess with them though. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with messy meal times anymore.

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The Refuge is not just a refuge

A friend of mine is raising money for a very good cause. The Womens Refuge. Of course I have donated to this. I don’t know where our local Refuge is and that is how it should be. However I have had help and support from one of their Out Reach staff. Back in 2006/7 I was going through a very difficult divorce. We were both living in the same house. I had 4 teenage sons (3 & a pre-teen). I had nowhere to go and couldn’t leave my boys behind.

I had reason to go to the police on a number of occasions. We were registered as a family at risk. Social Services were meant to help my youngest son especially but that didn’t happen. Instead I was given an out reach worker from the Womens Refuge Service. The lady assigned to me was both lovely and supportive. She gave me emotional and practical support even going with me to court.

At the best of times The Refuge doesn’t have enough resources or accommodation to help every woman who need it. During the current pandemic it has been in the news countless times that women at risk at in even greater risk during this time.

I am proud that Avon (for whom I am a Sales Leader) are supporting the Refuge organisation and have donated to the cause.

Refuge

I bet most people are not aware that Avon support this great cause along with other womens causes like Breast Cancer.

I was talking to my friend about the Refuge and how they helped me. She has also gone through a rough time and I sent her a copy of an article I wrote back in about 2008 or 2009. I sent her a copy of it as I thought it might resonate with her. She said she read it twice and thought I should publish it. My intention when writing it was to be honest about my situation but at the same time keeping it light hearted. Do you think I managed that?

MY DECISION

It has been a couple of years now and I don’t have any regrets. Some time ago, I think it was the middle of last summer my mother asked the question.

‘If you had known how hard it was going to be would you still have done it?’

I consider this carefully before replying. I am not sure why as I knew the answer, there was never any doubt in my mind.

‘Yes most definitely, it was the best thing I could have done.’

Indeed it was the only thing I could have done. I had given it my best shot. 19 years of my life I had given to that man. But the day had come when I realised that enough was enough. He couldn’t understand it when I told him I didn’t want to continue living with him. He couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. We had a good marriage didn’t we, we never argued did we?

He was right in a way, as until the last few months we had very rarely had a row. Firstly he was never around to have a row with as he was always either at work, pub or asleep. (the perfect marriage in some ways).

Secondly we never rowed because, when he was around he made me feel so useless and weak that I never dared to argue with him and on the occasions when I tried to vent my anger on him he would turn it around to be my fault. Like the many Saturday mornings when he came home from shopping. (I wasn’t allowed to shop I spent too much, whereas he always bought bargains – you know the deals where if you buy this you get that free or the end of date things). We had a freezer full of things we would never use and a fridge full of things that had to be eaten in one day but nothing for the rest of the week.

He often came in with a mood on, this would make me grumpy, (no one likes to be moaned at for no reason). Because I was now grumpy he would complain about my mood and stomp off to the pub.

During all these years he would tell me that I was

‘fat, ugly, useless with a brain like a sieve’

Now after so many years of being told this it becomes hard to believe otherwise. I believe that if you get married you should try to make the marriage work. I was not going to give up easily. I had to try to make it work. Besides I had nowhere to go and 4 children to consider. Because I had done such a good job of trying to make our marriage work he had no idea that it wasn’t working. The end of our marriage came as a big shock to him. For me it never really was a marriage. I had never been in love with him. We had never courted as such, just fell into a relationship as when we met we were both getting over broken hearts and needed someone to turn to. If I hadn’t got pregnant the marriage would never have happened.

Now, though we are divorced and I have never been happier. Financially we were never really solvent as a couple. Does anyone know a solvent alcoholic? But we did have two wages coming in, his full time wage and my part time wage (part time!! I worked longer hours than he did for half the money).

Now it is just me and the boys, I am the only one bringing any money into the home. It has been a struggle and there are days when we have to keep our coats on because it’s too darn cold and I don’t have any spare cash to buy gas. (Yes I have had to get a key meter for both the gas and electricity). There are days when we have just 2 slices of bread and no milk. But we manage, I have not killed any of them off yet.

Are we better off now? Financially no we are worse off but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn’t going to be like this forever and now that I have a full time job that I enjoy things can only get better.

However we as a family unit are much happier. Gone are the days of dreading the door opening, wondering if he is in one of his soppy drunk moods or in a nasty bad tempered mood that has everyone either cowering behind a cushion or hiding away in the bedrooms. Gone are the days where everyone had to be silent or risk his bellow of

‘Stop that noise’ or ‘be quiet’

In the past two years there has very rarely been a cross word spoke between any of the five of us. It took me a few months to realise that he was never going to be here again chastising me for staying up late or reading when I should be doing something else. I can have friends here if I choose. (visitors were forbidden when he was here).

Our house rings with the sound of music (not always to my taste, teenagers!!) and laughter where before there was only silence broken by shouts of ‘silence’.

There is an air of confidence about us all that was not there before. I have learnt that I am worth so much more than I ever knew. I am happy, I laugh, I joke, I feel sexy, I feel worthy, I have finally come to love the person I am.

 

I might add that all these years later this husband doesn’t drink any more. He has become a different man. Not everything has changed but we have managed to become friends since the arrival of our first grandchild.

I can do this

I know it’s been a long time since I posted here. I did write a number of posts that just never made it to the publish stage.

2020 has been a strange year for everyone so far.

I started the year having a rough time health wise. I was  on one course of antibiotics after another.  In mid February I got the news I had been waiting for. 6th March was the date I would have my much needed major surgery. My energy levels had run down quite a bit so I told most of my Avon customers that I would be out of action from the end of February.  I put myself into self imposed isolation. I didn’t want to run the risk of catching a cold or anything else before my operation.

10 days prior to my surgery date I had my pre op appointment. A blood test revealed that I was severely anaemic. I would need to have an iron infusion before I could undergo any surgery. The date of my operation was pushed back to 3rd April.

I had been struggling to get into the right mindset and now had to do it all again. I wasn’t afraid of going under the knife. It was the thought of the pain and possible problems during the recovery period. It would most likely be a number of months before I could get back to life as it should be. (I won’t say normal because my life has not and will not be normal, it will hopefully be improved).

Then Covid-19 happened. Everyone was told to stay at home and only go out if necessary. It was announced that most surgeries would be cancelled from 10th April to allow for the Covid-19 crisis. Great! I should be starting my recovery by then and looking forward to going home. A week before my new operation date I went to the hospital for my Iron Infusion. It was really weird going to the hospital. There were security guards on the doors making sure that only those who needed to be there were there. The usually bustling corridors were empty. I made my way to the day surgery unit. All the usual obs were done and I was being prepped for the proceedure. The nurse looking after me went off to get the prescription but came back with the specialist nurse who I had corresponded with but not previously met. She explained that my surgeon had had his theatre time taken away because of the coronavirus epidemic. I was sent home. No Iron infusion.

I settled down to lockdown. My life became a round of knitting (for two little girls, my baby granddaughter and her little cousin). Reading, playing games on my computer, growing seeds and looking after my mother who has mobility problems. All the time Keeping my Avon business ticking along slowly. I could have gone all out to grow my business whilst being stuck at home. However I couldn’t get my head into the right space to do so. I have done a little to keep going.

In some ways I have enjoyed the lockdown. I didn’t have to feel guilty for not doing much. I did find it hard not being able to see my grandchildren. Neither of them live locally so visits take a fair bit of arranging. Luckily I had spent a little time with both of them in February. Finally I got to have a socially distance visit with my granddaughter and family a few weeks ago. She is now 9 months and crawling. The last time I had seen her she was just 4 months old so lots of changes since then. My grandson turned 2 in April. We had a family zoom to celebrate but its not the same as being there.

As time went by and the number of Covid-19 deaths started to go down I started to panic. When will they be able to start doing the operations that had been cancelled? Would I be classed as urgent or pushed to the back of the queue. Should I be getting myself mentally prepared for this operation that I am terrified of having? According to reports that I have read and heard it could take a year or two to catch up with the backlog. I was beginning to fear that I might still be waiting until the end of the year and possibly next year.

Most of the time that we have been in lockdown apart from a lack of energy my health has been better than it had been. I put this down to being at home all the time not rushing around. In recent weeks though I can feel my condition worsening. As the days and weeks pass the amount of time that I feel rough is increasing. I don’t say anything just take pain relief when I really really need to. I have been finding recently that it is getting harder and harder to be the cheerful optimist that like to be. It isn’t all the time but my spirits have been flagging which is not like me.

My GP phoned me yesterday following the results of a test. I have yet another infection but the best antibiotic for this particular infection is only given intravenously so not going to happen. I now need a further blood test to see where my iron/blood count is. She wrote to my surgeon last week to remind them that I should be a priority. If I don’t hear from them in the next few weeks she will write to them again. I spoke to her about my fears that it would be months away. She told me that I should be an urgent case, my condition is very complex.

In the light of that conversation I am trying to be positive and think that I won’t have long to wait. I am planning to get my hospital bag repacked . I still don’t want this operation but I know that I need it. The sooner I get it over with the better. I can and will do this. I have been through so much in my life and come out the other side so I can do this.

If I was Boris I would be creating a new mantra

I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS