Getting There

Improving but slowly. It’ll be eleven weeks tomorrow since the op. Swelling in my hand is less, pain is less, but still very stiff. Things I can now do include showering, hair washing, dressing myself, eating mostly right-handed, even started a bit of crochet (a few minutes at a time, with an ergonomic hook).

(This is an older photo)

But. I lost all the weight I’d regained. I now weight 8st 7/119 lbs/53.9kg. I was 9st 7lbs. So even my skin is too big. Am weighing myself every week (too depressing to do it more often than that) and the doctor is aware. I am to arrange a phone consultation if I lose any more, or don’t put any on, within 3 weeks of when I last spoke to her. That means another week.

I do feel ok though, perkier generally, but more tired than usual.

Yesterday went to the osteopath. Today took the cat for her annual flu jab. She hates the car and howls the whole journey, but is quite happy at the vet, even purring while she’s being examined. And she takes absolutely no notice at all of the injection!

Tomorrow we’re going to the tip (recycling centre). We have to book now because of Covid but that’s ok. No queues! and once we’ve booked it means we have a quick sort out to make sure we are taking everything.

Almost done with the Christmas shopping. A couple of gifts to get, but mostly done otherwise. Parcels arriving almost every day. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

The state of the UK is dire though. And the government will simply not admit it’s because of Brexit. And why is anybody surprised that hardly any HGV drivers have applied to work here? why would they? Brexit made it clear that the right-wingers don’t want “foreigners” here. It’s our own stupid fault. So we have queues at petrol stations, shortages of workers, and we insult the NHS staff by offering them a paltry 3% pay rise. After all that clapping to make sure they know that they’re valued. Harrumph. Just Harrumph. I try to avoid the news because it’s so damn depressing.

However, our garden looks lovely. Despite everything.

And I’m back!

It’s almost 9 weeks since the surgery. I’ve managed to regain half of the 14 lbs/6 kilos I lost, so I’m a bit thin but not too bad. Appetite still not great though. The hand is still painful and very stiff, but I’m doing my exercises. Physio on Wednesday so we shall see. I can drive – although it’s uncomfortable it’s so much more convenient.

Managed to do a little bit of gardening – planting mostly. Some alliums – I love those, they look like fireworks when they bloom – and some pretty tulips (Carnaval de Nice). Will have to wait for next year for those to grow though. So today I planted some winter pansies and a white heather in a pot each. Lovely.

One of the things I did each day while I was feeling so poorly was sit outside in the garden for at least half an hour, just sitting. It was lovely. So good for the soul.

The plumber is currently here. I’ve been able to hear a dripping noise for a couple of weeks now. Hubby’s standard reaction to anything like that is 1) it’s not happening. 2) well, it is happening, but it doesn’t matter.

It’s not until we get to stage 3 (damp carpets) that he finally agrees we need to do something. So now the plumber has found at least two leaks, and may have to knock a hole in a wall. We have water dripping through a ceiling, a very wet carpet in the study, and a big old mess behind the washing machine. The water is turned off, so no hand washing or going to the loo. We shall see what develops.

Ooh. Another plumber has arrived. So we have two here, making plumber-type noises. I expect we’ll need some repairs and redecorating done. Hmm.

The pest control people have managed to get rid of the rat who was living under the shed. Ewww. We have some special wire mesh which we are going to fix to the shed supports so that nothing else can move in there. The squirrel has been exercising us too, damn thing wants to eat all the bird food. But he can’t get at it now. Hubby has devised a rather Heath-Robinson but very effective system which stops the squirrel, but allows the birds to get in to the bird feeder. In fact, the pest control guy said feeding the birds was a sure way to attract rats. Mm. So we moved the bird-feeder further away from the shed.

No knitting or crochet yet. I did pick up some stitches for a friend the other day, which was quite complicated, but I managed it ok. Paid for it later though! thank goodness for ice-packs and Co-codamol . . .

Some ups, some downs.

New Skill

We have a spaghetti tangle of various wires behind the hifi, which looks awful. So we decided to do something about it. Most of the wires can be simply replaced with shorter ones (hdmi, power, ethernet), but two of the ethernet/network cables come from another room on the other side of the house. One is a flat ethernet cable, one is a standard round one. The standard one wasn’t particularly well fixed to its plug, and the wire sheath was a bit short, exposing the inner wires.

So I decided to replace the ethernet RJ45 plug.

Well. What a to-do.

Luckily, there is tinterweb and YouTube, which helped enormously.

Inside each ethernet wire, whether it’s “Cat 5e” or “Cat 6”, are eight very small wires, twisted into four pairs. All different colours. They have to go into the tiny little RJ45 plug in the right order. But they are not twisted in the right colour order. Why not? you might well ask, but I have no idea. And of course the twisting leaves the tiny little wires curly, so they have to be straightened out, then sort of wangled into a flat row.

Long story short, I found the best way to manage it, having practised (a lot) on a spare standard Cat 5e cable, is the magic “pass-through” RJ45 plug. That means that you can leave plenty of length of stripped wires, push them all the way through, and then check they’re in the right order before you crimp them. Saves a lot of trouble, and many plugs. Also, once you’ve crimped and trimmed them, you can be more sure that it will all work. There are apparently crimpers which do the trimming, but my crimpers didn’t, so I just used a kitchen knife and sharpened it afterwards.

You can buy network cable testers and I guess it would be worth it if you’re going to do a lot of this. I’m not, just a couple here or there, so I tested mine on our laptop, plugging the spare cable, with new plugs on both ends, into the laptop and a switch box. Oh my, the glee when it worked!

So now I’m awaiting short HDMI cables, and we have a plan for the power wires, so it should start to look a lot better soon.

And here, to lighten things up a bit, is a photo of our lovely black elder with the pink flowers. It stinks, though, of tom cat. I don’t remember it being smelly in years past, so I’m assuming it’s actually a tom cat. Am currently spraying a diluted solution of white vinegar, each evening, round the base of the plant, and on the patio flags nearby. Today our cat won’t go out. I really hope it’s not because of the vinegar!

Black elder in flower.

Bits and Bobs

Well, sadly, all my seedlings died. That is normal for me though. I’m just not great at seeds. I’m better with small plants, and have just planted two sage and one thyme plants in the garden, and the mint in a pot. Mint is not allowed in the garden. It’s such a thug. When it really gets going even in the pot it tries to root in any pots next to it. But I do love it, and the smell.

The old doorbell battery finally stopped working, so I have fitted the new one. I managed to sync it with the ringer – very pleased about that – and have fitted the new pusher thing to the front door. Little things do help me feel better about stuff.

My back is improving but slowly. Went to the hospital today for nerve conduction tests. Unpleasant. It turns out it’s not carpal tunnel syndrome, but cubital tunnel syndrome, which I think is basically nerves in the elbow being crunched. Hmm. Will see if the information gets to the consultant before I have the ultrasound/x-ray/steroid injection next week, and then it’s the week after that I see him. I’m relieved they found something, because I always feel such a fraud. Imposter syndrome, I think they call it. I certainly felt like that at work, always terrified somebody was going to discover I was crap at everything. I wasn’t actually crap at everything, though. Just felt like it.

Hubby’s new hi-fi was fitted yesterday. It all went well and he is very, very happy. The only problem was a technical one, and didn’t affect his music playing. We had access to the wireless network in the lounge, but no wired network in the study. It took me till this morning to work it out, and one of the ethernet cables wasn’t plugged in at all. Not just not where it should be, but not at all. Anyway, once I thought it through, and found it, we had access to the internet, the network, the lot. Hooray. Satisfying, if frustrating yesterday.

So now we have a gardener who comes fortnightly, a cleaner who also comes fortnightly, and a window cleaner who comes every two months. All jobs we are just not physically able to do any more, and I have actually been urging hubby to get a cleaner and a window cleaner for some years. The gardening was my domain, so I didn’t need to persuade anybody! All of them do a wonderful, wonderful job.

Today at about 1 pm, we had thunder and lightning. Only one clap/flash, but boy it was loud! in May!

The cat is currently trying to herd me into the lounge, where she clearly thinks I ought to be at this time of night (6 pm).

Not a terribly good photo of me wearing the top some of the grandchildren gave me for my birthday. This is before my post-lockdown visit to the hairdresser . . .

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!)

Mixed Results

Had a blood test last week. Our doctor’s surgery has a website you can log in to and have a look at your results. So I did. The good news is that my thyroid levels are fine, and the cholesterol level is better than it’s been for 20 years. Still a little high, but much better. I’m guessing that’s down to giving up dairy altogether.

However, there are several results which are “abnormal” so I have to have a repeat test next week. My red blood cells are too big, and my iron levels are low. I don’t understand any of the other results which are dodgy, so will wait and see what happens. If the doctors want to do anything, they’ll phone me. If they don’t, I’ll arrange a telephone appointment to discuss the endless sleeping.

Today has been a medium day. I have managed to get up, washed and dressed, make a chocolate fudge brownie thing, and eat lunch, but it was touch and go. I’m ready for bed now.

Not doing any handicrafts at all, but just reading a knitting magazine and thinking about crafting helps a bit.

Here are some photos to cheer things up a bit. The flowers in the vase are what’s left still in bloom after our 21st wedding anniversary last weekend. Yeah.

Trying to stay positive

Struggling a bit at the moment, to be honest, with pain and depression. I do have medication for both, and have needed to up the pain meds, so I’m taking Co-codamol 30/500, which is the strongest of that particular make, and has to be prescribed. But it makes me feel a bit odd, so I only take two doses of two tablets a day, and the other two doses are plain Paracetamol. It’s just a question of what time to take which meds.

So in an effort to be less miserable, I have ordered and received a latch hook kit. It’s something I thought about but never followed up on, and one of my friends has started and loves it. When I’ve finished the current project (tea infuser cover) I’ll have a go.

Meanwhile I’ve taken some photos of the lovely colours in the garden, which always cheer me up. May is my favourite month, I think, garden-wise, although autumn is my favourite season. I try to ensure that there is always something interesting going on in the garden for every season, though it does require research because I don’t know enough. I do know some stuff, but not enough. A couple of photos of Bertie the cat sneaked in. She’s being cute because she wants to be fed . . . and in the final photo she’s got her little tongue out a bit . . . .

So here you are: