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.

Wimpy Me

Last week I had x-ray and ultrasound scans of the wonky hand. That was ok. Then they did an ultrasound-guided steroid injection into the thumb of same hand. That was not ok. I am a total wooss when it comes to such things. I manage blood tests ok because I don’t look.

I didn’t look this time, either, and it felt like there were three different vials of stuff going in – one was the local anaesthetic so it shouldn’t hurt (ha!), one was the actual steroid, and the final one was another longer-lasting anaesthetic.

It was all horrible, and as per usual I had to have a little lie down afterwards so I didn’t actually pass out. Everybody was very kind, but I always feel so pathetic!

Large, ugly, black-purple bruise where the injection went. A good 2″/5cm long. It’ll fade though, eventually.

And on Monday I am to see the consultant so he can decide, based on the results of the scans, what he’s going to do about the arthritic knuckles (fuse or replace).

Ho hum.

But all is well otherwise in our little world. Could do with the gardener coming and doing stuff, though. The weeds are learning to answer the phone . . . . .

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.

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:

Technology! pah!

Spent yesterday afternoon after my siesta and most of today failing to erase an old Dell Dimension and install Linux on it. In the end I just erased it. Formatting doesn’t do it properly, it just hides the data, and that’s not what you want when you’re Freecycling an old computer. I did have another go at installing Linux after I’d nuked the hard drive, but no luck.

Still, the people on Freecycle who come and collect old computers are very likely to have a stash of old computer parts including old hard drives, so it’ll all be fine. I certainly have boxes of bits. We have a desktop computer each, a tablet each, one Apple, one Android, two laptops (one running Windows 7 and the other Windows XP), and a variety of wires, plugs, mice (mouses?) and so on.

We’ve booked an appointment to go to the tip (recycling centre is the posh name for it) in a couple of weeks. You are allowed 15 minutes once a week, and must be a resident of the Borough. So if nobody wants this old Dell it’ll end up there.

The desperate houseplant I potted on is much happier now. Managed to get some potting compost delivered, and have bought a storage box thingamajig to store it in. It can live in the shed, but then needs schlepping up and down the garden each time it’s needed. The storage box sits just behind the house and is much more convenient. Hubby had to assemble it though. When I finally manage to get some horticultural grit (of which there seems to be a national dearth) that can live in there too.

The seeds I planted a week ago (M&S “little garden”, kindly given to me), have actually started to grow! Three radishes! They are the reason I needed the potting compost, because the time will come when they need to be potted on. It’s all very clever. The seeds are in a sort of tiny little “mat” thing – about six per mat. Then there’s a pellet of dried compost which expands magically upon addition of 50ml water, and the little pots seem to be made of coir, which I think means the roots will grow through them. So that should mean I don’t need to handle the seedlings at all. I’m not usually very good with seeds/seedlings. They usually just die on me. So I am going to be extra vigilant and see what happens.

I have added better labels – these are cardboard and a bit soggy. When a few more seeds start to show their little heads I’ll post better photos.

Mother’s Day here in the UK was Sunday 14th March. One daughter sent me beautiful flowers, the other fabulous chocolates. I’m so lucky! both are excellent. Flowers still in bloom, some chocolates still to be eaten.

Knitting and crochet are occasional things now, what with the pain in my hands. I need to think about talking to the doctor and getting a referral to a consultant. Hubby has requested a special teacosy to fit his special tea infuser. Just need to discuss with him the detailed requirements. Shouldn’t take too long. It’ll need to be knitted, rather than crocheted, and that takes longer, but it’s only a small item. Just had the discussion. He wants a tube with a closed top, no hole for the handle. Excellent. Probably do it in the round, so no seams. Found some Aran West Yorkshire Spinners yarn which should do the job. Yeah.

I think that’s about it for today. Cheers for stopping by!

Baby Steps

Well, I feel as if I’ve been really daring this week.

I went to the osteopath on Tuesday – both of us masked and all precautions taken. It felt great, if painful!

Today we took the cat to the vet for her annual inoculation. It’s always a major performance getting her there. Recently we’ve started putting a little harness on, and only putting her in the carrier when we arrive. That works much better but she still yowls the whole time in the car on the way there, and some of the time on the way back. When she’s actually in the vet’s surgery she is very interested in everything except what the vet is doing, and tries to jump off the examination table and investigate the whole room. Anyway, that’s done, although you have to wait outside the vet (masked up) while they take in one animal at a time and bring the card machine out to you. That’s fine, but it was raining today!

And best of all I finally have an appointment at the doctors next Thursday to have steroid injections in my hand. I am so relieved. It’s felt like a long time.

What I Can Do

Well, if I can’t knit, which is a major bummer, I can still tidy things up.

Today I’ve re-organised my bedroom storage. Had ordered some things to enable that and now my underwear is in excellent order. Re-lined the drawers too with some of the excessive amount of brown wrapping paper from Mother’s house.

Sorted out a new Kindle Fire so that I can download library books and have managed to actually do that and read one. Excellent.

Made an appointment for the cat’s annual vaccination.

Ordered present for upcoming birthday.

Gardener guy came yesterday so the garden looks great.

Ordered some new clothes (always, always cheers me up. How shallow am I.)

And that’s it for now.

To mask or not?

Had to go into Solihull today to the bank. Some things just can’t be done online, on the phone, or by post. Sigh.

But what struck me most is how many people are not wearing masks! I went to a knit and natter group on Saturday. Five of us all sat outside, but I was the only one wearing a mask. Am I paranoid?

In New Zealand, the advice was, when you’ve been out and about, change all your clothes and have a shower when you get home. So I did. It might be over the top, but New Zealand is in a much, much better state than the UK.

Hmph.

In the end my sister and I decided that digitising all the cine films was just too difficult and too expensive. Some had already been done, so we are assuming they were the only ones worth doing, and dumped the rest. Freecycled the Eumig projector,  the slide projector, and the screen. A lovely, lovely Polish lorry driver collected them on his way back to Poland, where he lives opposite a children’s home. He volunteers there and collects stuff just like this to help entertain them. He will fix the stuff and then donate it. The Paul Klee prints went to a lovely guy who was influenced by Klee at uni and everybody is delighted, including me.

Dressed in my “working clothes”, had a nice cup of tea after the shower, then used the “jet” setting on the hose to clean up the green wheelie bin (for garden refuse). And now it’s lunchtime.

Have been reading a lot. Had already read Fire & Fury, Siege, and Surviving Autocracy, just read Too Much and Never Enough. Now I’m back into the Boudica: Dreaming series of 4 books. It all seemed much cleaner, somehow, back then (I know it’s fictionalised), but really, honestly, I don’t think I can cope with  knowing too much more about Trump. We do have two programmes recorded which we will no doubt harrumph our way through. Also the Rupert Murdoch 3 part documentary. Oh. My. God. If you’ve watched Succession, know that it is scarily accurate.

Next up will be another book on the Trojan War from a woman’s point of view – Song of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon. Then hubby has a book called “Pew” which sounds great.

Have been able to knit a very small amount – half an hour about three times a week, if I’m not doing anything else. And only in the morning. Not today, too busy. And thank goodness for the gardeners. Although they haven’t turned up today . . .