It saw me and didn’t care

Last week I noticed that the bag of bird food by the back door had been nibbled at. I bought some mouse poison, the same as I had used back in the early spring. A few days ago I saw something out of the corner of my eye falling out of the fireplace. I put the mouse poison box on the fire place. Each morning I have crept about looking for any dead mice. Nothing! I have moved it to the same place as last time we had mice.

I have purchased a metal Bird food container. It actually looks quite cute. That will stop them stealing the food I buy for the birds.

This morning to my surprise I saw a mouse run from the fire place towards my mum (who is totally oblivious). A moment later I saw a mouse peering at me from behind a stack of books on the fireplace. I don’t know if this is the same one or a second one. He/she looked at me looking at it and calmly ran across the room and under the sofa.

I’m not going to look for it, I’m not that brave. I am stunned that I didn’t scream and climb onto the furniture. I have put down more poison, granuals this time. Time will tell but I won’t be able to relax until I know they have gone.

mouse

Unlike many of my friends I am not bothered by spiders but I am terrified of rodents of any kind. My instinct is to seal up the room and never go back in there again until I am sure we are free of mice. I know I can’t do that. My Mum who is disabled spends most of her time in her special riser armchair. She is aware that I thought I saw a mouse last week.

Before I left my husband we had mice in our house for a while. He used the little nipper mouse traps. I can’t use those as a) I am terrified of getting my finger caught in them. b) I wouldn’t be able to remove the dead creature (if it was successful in catching any).

This time it is up to me to deal with. I’m not happy about it but so it goes.

The cost of surviving Cancer

In September 2001 I got the great news that my cancer was gone. I spent the next 5 years worrying that it could come back. I tried to live each day with a new sense of awareness of my surroundings. I felt that I had been given a second chance at life. I would no longer let life pass me by.

I should be celebrating that for 18 years I have been free of cancer. I am incredibly lucky that I survived stage 3 cancer. I am very grateful to have had the chance to watch my 4 sons grow up to be the amazing people that they are. I have a fabulous grandson who has just turned 18 months. The weekend before last I watched and was happy to be involved in the marriage of my grandson’s parents. 5 weeks ago I was lucky to become the Granny of my first grandaughter. I have so much to be grateful for.

Yet life is not all rosy. I get quite angry when I hear of women who decline to be screened for cervical cancer. They have no idea what is in store for any woman who develops cervical cancer because they did not get screened.

It isn’t a case of being diagnosed and having the tumour removed. Most women have to go through Chemotherapy which brings it’s own terrors. I don’t know if I am lucky or not that it was decided I wouldn’t have chemo. This treatment can cause a degree of hearing loss. I was already wearing 2 hearing aids. To compensate my radiotherapy treatment was increased. I had a daily dose of radiotherapy for 6 weeks plus 3 days of internal radiotherapy. I would recommend that all women take up the chance to be screened and avoid having this treatment if they can.

When I was given the all clear I was told that a very few people suffer long term bowl problems because the radiotherapy treatment was so close to my bowels and bladder.

I can now say with absolute certainty that I suffer from long term problems. I am not able to eat a normal diet as any fibre in my diet leaves me running for the toilet. Over the last 18 years I have had many accidents. On top of this I have had to make frequent visits to the toilet as my bladder was not what it should be. Over the years my visits to the toilet became more and more frequent. Unlike other people I would run to the toilet where I would remain for rather longer that is normal for others. There was no gushing for me but a trickle. It could take me a good ten minutes or more to make sure that it was safe to move.

I have under gone many scans and other tests in the past few years to find out why my bladder was not behaving as it should. I have had bleeding from my bladder for about three years now. Cameras have shown that the walls of my bladder have radiation damage. For the last 6 months, since having a severe kidney infection (I am prone to these), I have experienced a constant dripping. I don’t often get the urge to go to the toilet but I have to wear the largest incontinence pads I can get. (Believe me they are big). I have to spread a folded towel on my bed in an attempt to prevent my bed becoming soaked in the night. Even with these huge pads I experience leakage. It is not a pleasant thing to feel urine running down my legs even when wearing these things.

I cannot wear the clothes I would wish to wear. I have lived in black trousers for many months so that it isn’t obvious to anyone else that I have these leaks. Anyone who knows me know that I like to wear skirts/dresses more than trousers. I am only 5’0″ but overweight which makes it difficult to find trousers that fit.

Last week after yet more scans and x-rays involving dye being pumped into me. I now have a diagnosis. My bladder is so damaged that it cannot store urine. I also have a fistula which has connected my bladder to my vagina. The reason I have a constant flow is because it is leaving my body through my vagina. I now have major surgery ahead of me leading to the rest of my life with a stoma and bags to collect my urine.

I have to say that I am pleased to be alive after my cancer. I am now able to enjoy my family. However my survival has come at a high price. My quality of life is unfortunately much less that I would like.

So please make sure that if you are a woman you take up all opportunities to have screening. No just for cervical cancer but also breast cancer etc. If you are a man then make sure the women in your life go for tests. It only takes a few minutes. It isn’t pleasant but it is so much better than going through the treatment and the problems that follow.

It’s a wrap

Feeling rather weak after my delivery round whilst suffering from a rotten cold, I am beginning to get my appetite back. I fancied making a cheese and beetroot sandwich providing that the bread I bought last week hasn’t gone off.

Surprisingly when I got home my husband was sat in the kitchen watching tv and drinking beer. He made me a cup of tea for which I  am grateful, and said he had bought me some lunch. I was then presented with a plate containing a wrap. I so appreciate the effort but when he told me it was my favourite I was excited to eat a mexican chicken wrap. What I found in front of me was southern fried chicken. We have been together for over 6 years, surely by now he must know that I never ever eat southern fried chicken of any description from any source.

I have lost count of the number of times we have discussed which wraps I like and which I don’t. I would rather he didn’t bother, than get it wrong every time.

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Living on the edge

 

I am writing this for myself more than anyone else. I need to work out how I am feeling, why and how to do something about it. I don’t know about anyone else but for me putting it down in words helps me to work things out so this is what I am going to do now.

I am aware that when I am unhappy my family and friends will automatically think that the trouble stems from my marriage. There have been times when this has been the case but not at the moment.

The last few months I have been feeling very lonely, not when I am alone but when I am surrounded by others. This could in part be put down to my poor hearing. I don’t always know what people are talking about, partly because I can’t hear but also because I have noticed an increase in private conversations going on around me. I don’t ask what people are talking about because I figure that if they want me to know then they will tell me. This I think sometimes back fires because they then think I am neither interested nor care about what is going on with other people.

 Now that there are just the two of us at home, there is very rarely any tension where there was a lot in the past. I don’t feel any need to gripe to my friends about my home life. Maybe this is part of my problem, I don’t have much of interest to say, so it’s possible that my friends think I am being aloof. The more I am excluded from conversations the more I draw into myself. I guess this has become a vicious circle. I have been trying to make more effort to be more sociable but still I feel that I am being left out in the cold.

Recently I attended a function where I had an opportunity to catch up with a number of people I hadn’t seen for ages which was really nice. This function involved a sit down meal (which was tasty). I found myself sat between two people I have very little to talk about with. The two people to my right were constantly looking at their phones, I know this was no reflection on me. I was actually pleased that the person on my immediate right did actually talk to me a bit. He is well known for not talking to anyone he doesn’t know well. Where I could hear laughter coming from all the other tables there was none from ours. That isn’t just because I was on that table, there were three people that I could normally have a laugh with, it just didn’t happen. Maybe if I had been drinking more (I had a glass of bubbly on arrival and a glass of red wine with my meal) I might have been jollier. I don’t drink much so when I do it goes straight to my head. Perhaps it was because I had been feeling in very low spirits all week that I wasn’t able to just let go and drink more or enjoy myself better. By 10pm I could easily have just gone home but the taxi I was sharing was booked for midnight. Speeches over I joined everyone in the bar with the dance floor. I found myself sitting on my own, (my choice) just watching everyone else having fun. Several people did try to get me dancing and some of the time I did. Other times I didn’t (something in my head was telling me “if you don’t feel comfortable doing something then don’t do it”).

By the time I got home and my husband asked if I had a good time, I was feeling very unhappy. I tried to identify why I was feeling this way. I don’t blame anyone else it is all down to me. Being on the edge looking in is probably where I normally find myself at functions. It has never bothered me in the past, I am usually quite content to sit watching everyone else having fun. This time though it has got me taking a long hard look at myself, and I don’t like it. It has left me feeling very miserable, and self-conscious. I can’t function properly. My husband has been very understanding and caring for which I am extremely grateful.

I have realised that although I have a sense of humour and love to laugh, one of my favourite sayings is “a day without laughter is a day wasted”. I do find it difficult to let go of my inhibitions and have fun the same way that others do. Is this genetic? Is this because I am so incredibly shy? Most people don’t realise how shy I am. In small groups of two or three I am fine but put me in a larger group I can’t be my usual self(even if that larger group consists of people I get on with in smaller groups). Even when my kids were little I loved being silly and doing daft things with them but couldn’t do it with other kids around. I love being daft and goofing around like the child that my mind still thinks I am so why can’t I be like that with other people around. Why do I always have to behave like a sensible grown up. Why can’t I let go? I am hurting myself with all these thoughts, I am making myself miserable and tearful thinking about what is wrong with me. My self-esteem is rock bottom. Where do I go from here?

I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me when I am not much fun to be around. I know that the general consensus will be that I should talk to my doctor, I don’t want to take any tablets, the last time I went to see my Dr feeling depressed I was offered self-referral telephone counselling. This I would be more likely to take on if they worked outside normal working hours, I don’t believe that they do. I have just decided to contact them anyway. I don’t know what else I can do to get myself out of this misery. I feel like avoiding all contact with people, I know that is not an option and I will do my best to face it. Before this I have found comfort being with people who care about me but I’m not sure that I can face anyone right now.

I hate these feelings of self-pity, I want to get back to being the cheerful positive person that I like to be. The person who no matter what life throws in my direct I can face it head on and deal with it. I am so proud of the fact that whenever I get low, I allow myself 2 or 3 days to wallow then I pick myself up. This time it just isn’t working. Is it because this time the problem is not anyone or anything else it is me myself and I. This time I don’t know how to fix it.

Confidence

During the week we had our Christmas get together for the writer’s group that I belong to. Whilst there, one of the other members was telling a new member that I am very self-effacing, unnecessarily so. I was quite surprised by this, but I shouldn’t have been. I do tend to keep quiet during our meetings, not offering many comments on the work of others. Timid about reading out my own work. Partly this is due to being eternally shy.

Today I was having a chat online with someone about life in an abusive relationship. She commented that these relationships knock your confidence and it can take years to get that back.

My first marriage was not violent in any way, shape or form. Yet the emotional abuse that I lived with for so many years took away all my confidence. Years of public put downs and insults take their toll. Being told frequently if not daily that I am.

“Fat, stupid, ugly with a brain like a sieve, nobody else would ever have you.”

Did nothing for my confidence other than to batter it down time and time again.

When I began divorce proceedings he began repeating the popular children’s nursery rhyme.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Well actually, when said often enough words may not just hurt but they can cause lasting damage.

After my marriage ended I went off the rails a bit, a friend of mine told me I was running around like a headless chicken. I began blogging and dating. I can see now that both were confidence tools. I needed to know that I was desirable, and worthy of friendship. I gained enormous validation through my blog and the friends I made there. Through my dating experiences I learnt that not only am I good enough for the men I was dating, but some of them were not good enough for me.

Gradually I learnt to like myself as a person. My confidence began to build. I started a new job, I have been there for seven and a half years now. They tell me that I have grown so much since I first started there. (I know they don’t mean in weight, although that increased over the years I have been there).

One thing I have tried to keep through out everything has been my sense of humour. For a long time after my divorce I would make jokes about myself. I would get told off for putting myself down, but that wasn’t what I was doing. I was showing that I don’t take myself seriously, that I can laugh at myself not just others. Maybe though there was a touch of laughing at myself before others get the chance.

All my life I have been shy, introverted. I do have my moments of bravery. On occasions when I feel confident that I know what I am talking about, then I can come out of my shell.

As for being self-effacing, I believe that is just a matter of confidence. I say very little at our writing group because I am so in awe of the talent I am surrounded by. Maybe in time some of the knowledge and skill will rub off on me too.

The key

It should be so simple. Why do I always fall into the trap of thinking that things will be simple? I am 52 years of age for heavens sake, I should have learnt by now. Nothing is ever simple.

A few weeks ago whilst shopping I stopped at the key cutter’s kiosk. I wanted to get a spare key for our car, we have only ever had just the one key. I was told that because we drive a Chevrolet they were unable to cut a new key, they do not hold blanks for this make of car. They might be able to order one in but it could take a while. Owl searched online and placed an order for two spare key blanks. He had a little trouble placing his order, so we now have four blanks.

Today I took two of these blanks back to the kiosk and asked them to cut the two keys for us. I placed the two blanks on the counter, only to be told.

“We can only cut keys from our own blanks.”

“But you don’t keep blanks for my car.”

“Ah yes Chevrolet, I remember you came in before. Sorry even if you got these blanks from Chevrolet we cannot cut them. We can only cut blanks that we stock.”

“So what am I supposed to do then? If you don’t stock the blanks and you can’t use another blank?”

” You could try an independent key cutter, they might do it for you. Unfortunately we can’t because it’s our Company policy. In the past it has been done and then the key has got stuck in the ignition leading to a claim for hundreds of pounds.”

Oh why had I not known it would be down to this litigious society that we are forced to live in these days.

Thinking about things not being as simple as they should be I had already had a feeling of let down having visited one of the main high street banks. I am sure that I have mentioned before that I am now the new treasurer for our writing group. I have been attempting to get the signatures on the Group’s bank account changed. It took a while to get the relevant forms downloaded and printed. Next the three of us who would be the new signatories had to take our forms into a branch of the bank to get our signatures authorised. I took mine in weeks ago. I was then told that I had to collect these forms from the others and bring them in together. This week I finally had all the forms, took them to the bank this morning only to be told that I now need to get another form signed by two of the existing signatories. Only then can the forms be sent off to the correct department, wherever that may be. I can’t even get a statement of our account until everything has been sorted which could still take a few weeks yet. At least I have been able to pay some money in.

Whilst shopping I picked up a screw thread candle bulb for one of our light fittings on the stairway. Obviously I picked the wrong one. Yes it was a screw thread and yes it was a candle bulb, but the screw thread was the wrong size. I guess that tomorrow I shall be out getting another light bulb as well as finding an independent key cutter.

What did you do today that wasn’t as simple as you had expected?

 

 

Just the ticket

Today I needed to collect something from Chichester, Owl was busy so I was going on my own. I am learning but I still don’t know my way around. I can find my way to some places but still need directions to others. We had gone into Chichester on Friday (being Black Friday) the roads were crammed. Parking was a nightmare.In the end Owl dropped me off whilst he drove off to find that elusive parking space.

I thought about where I would park today, and how to get there. I had a look on google maps, that was when it hit me. The rail station was at the end of the road I needed to get to. A plan was forming in my head. I didn’t bother to tell Owl as he was already concentrating on his own plans for the day. My biggest worry as I set off was that the station car park might be full. Luckily there were a fair few spaces, however my problems were only just about to begin. I had always thought that there was only the one pay and display machine at the entrance, now though I could see another machine not far from where I had parked.

Now when did they change these machines? I know I am not a frequent user but really!

I could use my card in the machine or I could download an app or I could call the number on the board. I inserted my bank card but couldn’t make it go to the off peak charge of £2.00 it would only charge me for the day  £6.50. I tried several times but still couldn’t get the machine to do what I wanted. So I changed to another method. I rang the number advertised, the automated voice gave instructions including asking for the number plate, make and colour of my car. Then it wanted to know if I wanted to pay for x amount of days or a month? Noooo I only wanted a few hours. I decided to walk over to the entrance to see if that machine still accepted coins, it didn’t. I paid for a whole day by card via the machine. Having gone back to my car I placed the ticket on the dashboard.

A brief stop on the way into the station to purchase my ticket, this was a little easier as I have done this before. I only had 10 minutes to wait for my train. Luckily I hadn’t pre booked as I had seen three trains going by in the time I was messing around with ticket machines. The journey into Chichester was uneventful and fast as there were no stops ( well there were but we didn’t stop).

Once at my destination, I did a spot of Christmas shopping, not much left to do now! Before making my collection. By then I was feeling thirsty so stopped at a small cafe for a cup of tea and toasted tea cake.IMG_2196

Catching the train home I had 15 minutes to wait but the time went fairly quickly as I indulged in a spot of people watching. It was now the time of day that the local senior schools had finished for the day, so there were several teens in school uniform on both platforms.

The train arrived and I stood with others waiting to board. I noticed among the others a hunched up old man. He followed me onto the train, I sat on the right of the carriage and the old man sat on the left opposite a young girl in uniform. At first I had thought the man was a down and out, but a glance sideways I changed my mind and figured that he was in fact just an old man hunched down into his coat against the cold wind. A few moments into the journey I noticed him fumble with the zip of his backpack. I though he was retrieving his phone as I could hear a muffled ringing. To my surprise he took out a bottle of jagermeister. He proceeded to take a swig from the bottle replacing in back into his bag. The young girl caught my eye but neither of us said anything. I half expected her to say something once he had left the train a couple of stops later. She didn’t, so I kept quiet also.

It wasn’t long before I was walking back to my car, I was ready for home.