Got a Date

Not that sort of date, no no no. I’m very happily married thank you very much.

No, a date for the surgery! on 21 July they’re replacing both wonky knuckles. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure. Altering things so it’ll be easier afterwards – brought haircut forward, ordered LimbO arm protector, preparing hubby for all the extra things I’ll need help with . . .

I did have an arm protector, but can’t find it anywhere. I may have given it to Mother when she had arm surgery. If not, it will turn up immediately after the first use of the new one.

It’s my right hand, and that is my dominant hand, so quite a lot of things will be difficult for a while. But I have suitable clothes from when they did a trapiezectomy on my left hand in 2013 – elastic waisted clothes because I don’t expect to be able to manage zips or buttons . . .

And most of all I’m very impressed with how quickly it’s happening! possibly because it’s hand surgery, and I’m not sure how many people are waiting for that. Hip replacements and bigger operations I guess have a much bigger waiting list. It is through the NHS, so it’s remarkably fast.

It will be a general anaesthetic, which always knock me about. Always. For several months. But still . . .

I’m burbling now. I’ll stop.

Next Exciting Instalment

I can’t believe England beat Germany. (football). Excellent match, both sides played really well, and it was so exciting to watch. It’s been 55 years since we managed to beat Germany. But I was horrified, embarrassed and angry at the boo-ing during the national anthems though. Rude, ignorant, boorish and even racist. Nobody else does it. Nobody. Harrumph. We shall see what happens at tonight’s match against Ukraine. Mm.

Saw the consultant about my hand. The short version is that he is going to replace both wonky knuckles. Hooray. I don’t know when, though. The recovery time is about 3 months (he said six weeks . . . but I checked online). And the joints are made from silicone plastic, and should last at least 10 years. That’ll do me.

Meanwhile we managed to find a wonderful handyman. I’ve been agitating for the carpet in the porch to be removed for several years. It was dark pink (ugh), then replaced with pale grey (not a great idea). But underneath are lovely quarry tiles. Unfortunately they were covered in sticky plastic tape. We knew what we needed to do, but neither of us have the physical resources to do that stuff any more. A wonderful guy came on Thursday morning with special solvent spray and removed all the tape, then removed the solvent, and it looks So Much Better. I love it. It’s much easier to clean (even for me!) and looks like a porch should.

Oops. Just noticed some earth/dead leaf/whatever on the floor. Ah well.

So today I have wrapped my friend’s son’s birthday present and organised its collection. I have written three birthday cards (daughter, 40 on Monday, her uncle who will be 70 the same day, and of course friend’s son’s). I have ordered holiday type toiletries – sun tan lotion and after sun.

And on Monday I need to phone the vet to arrange to pick up some flea and worm treatment.

Very pleased with a summer dress I’d ordered which arrived today. Reduced to almost half price, tiered so it’s nice and swingy and cool, and it’s cheesecloth type fabric. Love that. Also some earrings – called “irregular” but I think of them as “wonky”.

Also am halfway through week 2 of the new antidepressant regime. The side effects are starting to fade a little (nausea, excessive sweating, fatigue) and I do feel a little brighter. Which is great!

Medication, footie and labels

Not necessarily medication labels, just labels.

Well, today I spoke to the doctor, and now I have new anti-depressants. Same “family” (SSRI) but just different. The process of changing over from one to the other is so complicated it takes four weeks. I always have a pill organiser for the forthcoming week, but have needed to set up four different pill organisers, labelled clearly Week 1, Week 2, etc. It’s complicated by the fact that my pill-taking week starts on a Wednesday. Don’t ask. Fingers crossed it will all go well.

Tomorrow I have a guided steroid injection into my thumb joint booked – they’re going to check the rest of the hand too while they’re at it and then decide whether to replace or fuse the knuckle joints. They’re talking about ultrasound and x-ray, so I’m not sure whether it’s one or the other, or both. Anyway. We shall see. Hubby is taking me and fetching me – they advise you not to drive after the procedure.

Saturday I have booked my first pedicure since February 2020. I’m really hoping I’ll be ok to drive there, bearing in mind the change of meds and the thumb injection. Mm. That is something I could re-arrange but will wait and see if I need to first.

The sorting out of the spaghetti tangle behind the hi-fi is going well. Just awaiting some 0.5 metre power cables, and it should look much better. It’s already looking tidier. You can see a jumble of wires on the right, and holes in the wall where the electrician took out the old plug sockets. You can even see one of my plug labels ! as well as various Father’s Day cards. It will all be sorted out very soon . . . .

Football again tonight – we watched Scotland vs England on Saturday. England’s game was a bit lacklustre, but I thought the Scots played really well. (Goalless draw). Last night we watched Belgium play Finland. Cor blimey, exciting. Tonight it’s England vs Czech Republic. It’s always a bit fraught watching England play, partly because it’s our team, and partly because they’re not that reliably good! We both shout at the screen, I tend to shout a bit at the inanity of the commentators – they do have a tendency to state the bloody obvious – and why can’t they just shut up once in a while? I don’t need to hear their constant speculation about who will go through! I do understand that they can’t hear me . . . .

I’m a bit worried that the motherboard on my computer is failing. It’s not quite 3 years old yet, so a bit soon. But from time to time things don’t work. For example the monitor (even the new one), the keyboard, and some of the USB ports. So I’m backing up every other day and keeping a watch on it. I did have an old computer where Windows lost all its USB drivers, so installing Linux worked, but I’m already using Linux on this one!

Temperatures are currently lower, so better for me. 17C today, 21C tomorrow allegedly. Anything over 23C leaves me limp. So this is just fine.

Reading some excellent stuff at the moment. Currently halfway through “Barbarossa/how Hitler lost the war” (Jonathan Dimbleby). It’s very interesting, detailed, and intense. At the moment I’m having to leave it for a day or so in between reading sessions because there’s quite a lot about the massacres of Jewish people. Horrific anyway, but as I have Jewish heritage (my Dad and all his relatives) it’s particularly upsetting. It’s hard to understand such hatred, based on nothing except propaganda.

Things are happening!

The oven has continued to work ok, so that’s a mystery.

The decorator has been and we should get the quote shortly. All starting to fall into place now.

I have an appointment for a nerve conduction test, and another appointment for ultrasound and x-ray scans of my hand, when they will also do a steroid injection into my thumb. Then I get to see the consultant the following week to decide what to do (joint fusion or joint replacement).

Today my back is dreadful. I’ve had back problems for over 40 years, surgery 28 years ago which helped, but am all bent over to one side. It’s improved from this morning, when I was bent over sideways and frontways as well! still, painkillers, hot/cold packs, not doing anything for more than 20 minutes, and tomorrow it should be better. If not, I’ll try and get to the osteopath this week.

Part of the “not doing anything for more than 20 minutes” included a potter round the garden, in the rain. Took a few pictures because the colours cheer me up so much! and made me feel better even though I couldn’t manage a shower this morning. (I’ll deffo have one tomorrow, though!)

What a week.

On Sunday, at 5 pm, we had a power outage. Everything went off. The house alarm was beeping irritatingly. We checked the fuse box, and managed to get the lights working, but no power sockets, except in the study (but only temporarily).

So we arranged by phone (which is strongly discouraged, they kept saying Look at our website, which we couldn’t because we had no access to the internet) for an engineer to call the next day. We were so relieved when he turned up at lunchtime because we had no hot water or heating, and we were cold.

He whizzed about through the house, and the short version is that he got everything working again, apart from hubby’s hifi (oh NO!), the fan oven and one fridge. We are very fortunate to have two fridges – when we moved in together we’d lived separately for a number of years since our respective divorces – and an ordinary oven as well as a fan oven. He said that the fan oven and the fridge would need repair/replacement. He/we think there was a power spike.

I ordered a new fridge, and had to think about the oven repair for a day or two because I just can’t cope with too much going on.

The fridge was due to be delivered today, and was actually on the van, when I thought it might be prudent to check the fuse in the fridge plug. It was blown, and a new fuse did the trick. So I phoned the people delivering the new fridge, slightly (very) panicky, to cancel it, and they were fine. So that saved us a bunch of money.

Meanwhile, the hifi man was due this morning (Wednesday) and hubby dealt with him (hifi is actually broken), the lawn man was due this morning and just got on with it, and the cleaner we have just organised arrived unexpectedly, wanting to do the 6 hour deep clean we were expecting next week. I wasn’t even dressed. So I rushed upstairs and threw on my “working” clothes, no shower, nothing. When I say “rushed”, that means I struggled up the stairs, cursing silently to myself. When I say “working” I mean clothes I wear when I expect to get dirty and/or sweaty, eg making a cake. Just for clarity 😉

Oh. My. God. I didn’t actually explode, but my brain felt like it was.

So we compromised and the cleaner just did upstairs – it looks absolutely fantastic. We are so damn pleased.

On top of all that, today is the anniversary of the day my Dad died, 42 years ago, very suddenly, with no warning, at the age of 58. I was 24 and my sister was 21. Normally I’m in absolute bits, but today I was just sad. I have worked out why I used to get so upset – he managed Mother’s worst behaviours, and once he died, that protection was gone. Now Mother has gone too, I don’t have to worry about that. Although some of her nastier sayings keep going round my head.

Also, on Monday I saw a consultant about my hands. He is going to arrange some imaging to see what is going on, inject my right thumb, possibly fuse the right index knuckle and maybe replace the middle finger knuckle. He’ll decide after the scans. This is all fine, because I have had plenty of time to think about priorities and have decided that reducing the pain is the main thing. Not sure how I would manage to write or knit/crochet with a fused knuckle or two, but that is secondary. I expect I’ll manage something clumsy but effective!

Had a repeat blood test on Tuesday so it’ll be interesting to see what that dredges up.

So, tomorrow I am just getting showered and dressed. And that, guys, is all I intend to do. Maybe drink some tea.

Modest Goal Achieved

Yes. I actually got up, showered, washed my hair And Got Dressed today. First time since Sunday. Hubby and I both seem to have some sort of virus. Not Covid, but we’re both tired and very floppy. We had been to the recycling centre on Friday. You have to book a slot, and we were both masked and gloved, but it’s the only place I can imagine we caught anything.

Dairy: I have a “Milk Ladder” pictogram, but am seriously thinking of not doing it. For one thing, I feel loads less bloated and have no tummy ache now I’m off all dairy, and have lost 6lbs in weight.

Handicrafts: tried, and failed spectacularly, to convert some skinny jeans to straight jeans. I’d got the inserts ready and everything, but after spending hours and hours and hours struggling, getting fraught, sweaty, and my hands protesting loudly, I gave up. The net result was one pair of jeans with the leg seams undone. Bought a new pair instead. Yeah. Just tried them on and they are FAB so I have ordered two more pairs. My current jeans are old and starting to fall apart, even though (or maybe because) I love them, so need new ones. The pair which has arrived is going in the wash tomorrow.

Not been able to knit or crochet for weeks now. I have a telephone appointment with the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will end up being referred to the specialist. I also have pins and needles in the fourth and pinky fingers of my right hand, as well as the arthritis, and pain from the bottom knuckle of my thumb down to my wrist. At least three different things going on there. Hmm. Left hand is starting to hurt too. Oh joy.

The weather is cold and it is snowing intermittently, in a desultory way. It’s not sticking, though.

We have seen some seriously good films. The Irishman – an Irish guy who gets involved with The Mafia. Long (three and a half hours) but very involving. The Two Popes – Benedict XVI and Francis – loved it. Particularly loved all the different languages you get to hear (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin) – although my Latin is rusty to say the least! The Popes are played by two British actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce) so it was a joy to hear them say how exhausting it is to speak English – so many rules and so many exceptions! Also Mary Queen of Scots. Very good. Very well done. Not exactly historically accurate, but hey, it’s a film. It’s not meant to be.

Had to go back to bed this morning for another little sleep. Got up, dressed etc, and had some lunch. Now I’m sitting doing this with a cup of tea. May need yet another sleep this pm but decided I would just do what my body suggests and not beat myself up about it.

Time to go and read a bit. I have a magazine which appeared this morning and two different books, one a library book (Henning Mankell – not a Wallander story) and one a book I’ve bought (Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier). Also just finished Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Blimey. That was hard to read. It’s a mea culpa but also brutally honest. He’s a hard man to like but I do appreciate his bravery in writing it. Could only manage to read one chapter at a time, though, because it’s so intense. I’ve also read Rage by Bob Woodward, and two books on Trump by Michael Wolff. Fire and Fury and Siege, I think. Again, intense and difficult.

Feelings

Really not sure where to start here.

Horrified, angry and sad about the poisonous racist culture which has finally, with the murder of George Floyd, burst, across the world, into huge protests. The protests are vital.

Reading Akala’s book Natives. He’s so articulate and incisive, I really rate this guy. Even Piers Morgan is careful when talking to him. Good.

Recently read Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams), which describes the casual racism nobody white seems to notice or acknowledge and The Night Women (Marlon James) which is written in the voice of a slave.

All excellent, if difficult. But it needs to be difficult. We need things to change. Radically.

Very up and down mood-wise, not so good pain-wise, no knitting possible.

Baking’s possible though, thanks to the Thermomix. (Dairy free berry muffins – yummy)

However, did manage to do some gardening yesterday. I guess because I don’t use my hands in the same way as I do when knitting. It leaves my hand painful and swollen for a few days, but it’s such a good feeling to be outside and doing stuff.

Moved one rosemary plant, dumped the old woody one, planted a new one in a better place. Split the thyme, dumped the woody bits, replanted. Cut back the hellebores, replanted all the daffodil bulbs I’d accidentally dug up, ripped out the dead forget-me-nots and dead-headed the poppies. Very satisfying. (None of the above pictures are from what I did yesterday!)

Disappointed that the wildlife camera missed two woodpeckers (TWO!) because the disc was full, and one jay because the angle was wrong. Grr. But there are plenty of clips of the robin, who was extremely interested in what I was doing yesterday, and came so close!

Even when I wake up feeling dreadful, I improve after breakfast and chatting to hubby. And a square of chocolate. Hubby is currently making me a cup of tea. Excellent.

 

Up and Down

Yeah. My hands are particularly painful. Will be hoping to speak to a doctor tomorrow.

Also have had to give up on the daily walks. Even though they were very very short, I was having to spend two days a week asleep in bed for 6 hours at a time as a result. That is not how I want to spend my life. It wasn’t the best idea, really, although it sounded excellent. What with the M.E. and stuff, I wasn’t walking every day before lockdown, so doing more during lockdown wasn’t sensible. I am continuing with the morning stretches though, and trying to be more active in the house.

Little things, like going upstairs when I need to and not leaving it until there are several things I need to do upstairs. So I’m up and down the stairs more. Also, if I need to do something (small, in the shed maybe)  in the garden, I don’t leave it but do it straight away. That way I’m moving about a bit more.

This morning hubby helped me get a fuchsia out of its pot, where it really wasn’t doing terribly well, and into the soil. Fingers crossed it will perk up a bit and grow a bit more enthusiastically.

Gardening is lovely, but it’s very ad hoc. And I only do it when I need to, when the weather is nice, and when I have the energy. Those three things don’t always coincide.

Also am wondering about a power supply/adaptor for the wildlife cam, which eats batteries. Had a look on tinterweb, but didn’t really understand. Maybe tomorrow, with hubby’s help, we can sort something out.

Finished the slide project. Far fewer than I thought, probably 1,000, out of which I dumped about 500 (cats, dogs, views, people we don’t know, railway journeys  – 🙄 – you get the picture). I’ve uploaded them all to my Google Drive and shared them with the immediate family, who are very enthusiastic. So now I need to sell on the gizmo that converted them. Ebay.

Next up are the cine films. They really need to be done professionally. Doing them yourself involves a working projector, running each of the 55 films through it against a screen of some sort, and filming the result with a smartphone. Not ideal. But expensive to have done. We’ve sent off a couple of films, which weren’t labelled, to a company and will see how they come back. When there are lots they come and collect them and post the resultant DVDs or USB sticks back. We shall see.

I’m still putting a soft toy on display in our front window for any childreIMG_20190415_180432939n who potter past. There are a few, some of which I have knitted, some of which I haven’t. Currently it’s Eric the Bumblebee (congratulations if you got the Monty Python reference). Tomorrow it might be Bagpuss (Alan Dart). There’s also a Victorian style doll (Jean Greenhowe), and a couple of small penguins, also Jean Greenhowe. I did knit all of those. It just depends on whether I remember, and the mood I’m in.

Very concerned about the chaotic UK easing of lockdown. BoJo doesn’t really seem to know what he’s doing. Dominic Raab (the guy who didn’t realise that the English Channel was such a busy trading route!) is totally clueless and mostly inarticulate. And Trump! don’t get me started.

Hubby and I are carrying on the same, as we both have “underlying health conditions”. Zoom works ok, so does Skype and WhatsApp, but the broadband isn’t terribly reliable. Talking to YD in NZ is difficult, although ESW (now 4) is very engaged and chatty, so that’s a damn shame.

I’ve just finished reading @SusanCalman’s book Cheer Up Love, about depression. I do like her. She’s honest, funny, self-deprecating, and a lot of what she says about being sad resonates with me. I have certain go-to books when I’m down, and one of the other authors I regularly read is Bill Bryson. I have Adventures of The Thunderbolt Kid ready.

And today, for a special treat, I exfoliated my baggy old face and had a face pack. Doesn’t look any different, but feels lovely. Yeah.

 

Things I’m doing slightly differently

For a start, I’m setting the alarm clock so I actually get up every morning. It’s for 9.30 a.m., so not exactly early, but fine for me. If I don’t set the alarm, I just sleep till mid-afternoon. Not great.

Going for a small walk every day. Hubby devised a shorter walk than the 10 minute one, which takes me 4 – 5 minutes. It’s for when I just can’t manage the 10 minute one, and it works a treat.

Noticing  what’s going on in people’s gardens. Particularly at this time of year (spring in the UK), there are lots of things bursting into leaf/flower.

Knitting with a slightly different technique, keeping my index and middle fingers together, which doesn’t hurt so much. My middle finger keeps trying to point nor’nor’east instead of due north (assuming my other fingers are pointing north, if you see what I mean). I have to make a real effort, and sometimes actually pull it back with my other hand! What on earth? Arthritis I guess.

Ordering stuff online. To date, a web cam for hubby and one for me, some plants which haven’t arrived yet, some compression gloves, various new tops (yay!) and a new hand- held electric mixer.

Trying to eke out the painkillers because they’re just so damn hard to get. My lovely friend brought me two packets yesterday and left them in our porch. It’s her birthday today. Happy Birthday you legend! you know who you are.

Attempting not to get too panicked about the pandemic. Harrumphing of course about Trump and his determination to make it clear that he really is the stupidest man on this planet. Glad Bojo is on the mend, though he must have been much worse than they let on.

Not beating myself up for the stuff I can’t do. Trying not to moan about, or even mention, the aches and pains of getting older. Not interesting to anybody except potentially the medics. And even then, they have more important things to worry about.

Looking forward to planting the double cosmos seeds I have. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, which will make the earth easier to work, so maybe this weekend. Yeah!

And finally a picture of the lion I knitted for my great-nephew, whose name means “lion”. It was his birthday last week, so now he’s actually seen it. He loves it. It’s called Lucy, so a non-binary lion. Bit hairy for a lioness, but hey, what can you do. Apparently there was trouble when he discovered she’s not allowed in the bath, or to eat his Weetabix. Yeah.

 

Keeping calm and . . .

The gloves for my arthritic hand(s) arrived today. I’m wearing just one on the worse hand and it does seem to be helping. Might even glovetry knitting again – tomorrow night perhaps. I’d rather wear a funny old glove than take painkillers, not least because you can’t always get the painkillers at the moment. 🤷‍♂️

After the doctor’s surgery phoned us, we seem to be on the list for supermarket deliveries (not Sainsbury’s, however, just Waitrose – maybe they use different databases) which has eased my anxiety somewhat. It’s still difficult to find delivery slots, but at least there are some.

Poor old Boris. Not quite so invincible as he thought, after boasting a few weeks ago that he would continue to shake hands with everybody, even those with coronavirus. I don’t wish him ill, and actually hope he gets better, but honestly.

Twice a week we do a video chat with the five year old grandson in Southampton. It’s always entertaining. Clothes – meh, they’re just a nuisance, according to him. Wearing clothes simply creates washing, apparently. I sing him a couple of songs (the Welly Song by Billy Connolly and Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud by Flanders and Swann) and today I did Forgiven (A A Milne) and Jabberwocky(Lewis Carroll) [If English is not your first language, be warned that Jabberwocky is full of nonsensical, invented words.] He liked them both, having checked that Jabberwocky included death. It does. So that was fine.

Went for a walk round the block – about 8 minutes I’d say, depending on my walking speed. I also bumped into a particularly interesting feline, who hates our cat, in our garden, but loves anybody who is walking along the road. I think it’s a female. Long-haired, slightly pushed-in face, grey and brown colouring, and a very assertive miaow. Yeah. Hubby had to rescue her once from next door’s roof. With a ladder. At 5 am. Mm. Luckily nobody saw him and called the police . . . . .

The postal service seems to be almost normal now. I think that our post office workers, our refuse collectors, our street cleaners, all our public service workers, supermarket workers, and particularly our doctors, nurses and pharmacies, are doing an absolutely wonderful, wonderful job. It’s all so fraught, and everybody is potentially in danger, but they’re just carrying on. Strict rules of course about keeping your distance from others, and some items are rationed in the shops, but fair enough, that’s just fine with me.

I do worry though about people with children of any age stuck in a high-rise flat. How on earth would you manage? I’d go bonkers in very short order, I know that.

weestorybook says that lockdown is mildly conducive to online shopping (I paraphrase). Mildly? Mildly?? here on planet loonyfeminist, it’s my new hobby. Just ordered some new tops, some from Laura Ashley, some from Seasalt, and then received an email from Seasalt telling me that one of the tops (my very favourite of course) wasn’t actually available. It took me all day to realise that I could get it elsewhere. So I did.