My poisonous inner chatterbox

I have a voice in my head. We all do, I think. When I’m ok, not tired, and not in too much pain, I’m fine, and can ignore it. But it has been nagging me a bit lately.

It says things like “you’re lazy, you’re weak, you’re pathetic and you don’t pull your weight.”

The rational me replies “no, I’m not, and I do everything I can do”.

But if I’m tired, or having a back “episode”, or in pain anywhere else, I actually tend to believe the poisonous voice. Then I recognise the “wimpy” me, and I hate her. That doesn’t actually help much, because the “wimpy” me is just me, I’m just giving her/myself a very hard time, for no real reason.

It has taken me a very long time to come to terms with the new “me”. The old “me” could eat almost anything and not  put on weight, could run around all day, sleep like a log and be fine the next day, remember things with no problems, swim 30 lengths a week, and was always busy, busy, busy. The new “me” is almost the polar opposite. And the new “me” has been around for almost 15 years now, so you’d think I’d be ok with her. And mostly I am.

But sometimes I’m not. So what I try to do is remember that it’s ok to be me, it’s ok to be tired, in pain, and not up to much. It might not be fun, but it’s just part of my life.

I try not to complain or whinge too much, or even at all. I actually burst into tears the other day because hubby was explaining something about his hi-fi which I just don’t understand. I felt really stupid. So he cuddled me and said I wasn’t stupid. Which was nice. So I stopped crying.

And my life is generally fabulous. My two daughters have grown into wonderful people, who are funny and strong and happy and healthy, living lovely lives with their respective blokes. My gift to the world. Hubby is the kindest man, cooks all the meals, does the housework, his own ironing, and is a sweetheart. His sons are delightful. Between us we now have three sons, two daughters and six grandchildren! I love my knitting, my crochet, my guitar, and bake when I can.

I don’t think that the words “should”, “ought” and “must” are very helpful really. I try to avoid them as much as possible. I do what I feel I need to. If I am weepy, in pain and tired, I take painkillers and go back to bed for a nap whatever time of day it is. I have a cup of tea when I wake up. I try to eat healthy foods, and am about to embark on a “no bowls of cereal just before bed” regime. I discovered cereal is full of calories, and that’s great first thing in the morning, but not so great last thing at night. I’ve gained 7 lbs over Christmas, and want to lose it. So. No choccy in the week, no cereal at night. We shall see.

Next blog I’ll try to be a bit more cheerful!

Getting Older.

On Saturday last it was my birthday. I am now 58 years old. I’m guessing lots of you will be much, much younger than that.

You know what, though? as I’ve got older, I’ve relaxed, become calmer, steadier, much less likely to get stressed or angry (though that might have something to do with being retired and not having to go to work every day), and much, much happier.

Childhood I found fraught and difficult. Teenagerhood was worse. Young adulthood – well, I was married for the first time at 20, and although we have two wonderful grown up daughters, the marriage didn’t work out. Motherhood I loved. Loved it. I fed both my children myself, for a long time, and loved that too.

Working part time while they were younger was hard work but fun. I loved the days off as well as the work days. Working full time while they were older was much much harder. I was always exhausted, and at one point, when I was being badly bullied at work, I had a nervous breakdown.

Now, in my late fifties, retired, very happily married, I love my life. We have five grown up offspring between us, two daughters and three sons. We have five grandchildren, who are just a joy. A small cat lives with us and seems to regard us as “the staff”. She’s lived here since she was an 8 week old kitten, and we love her to bits.

Soon I will be able to knit again, when I’m recovered properly from my last operation. Hubby’s music server, after a frustrating six week hiatus, has arrived, is installed, and working. Thank goodness I back up regularly, or we might have lost his whole music collection.

I’m quite happy for anybody to know how old I am, I really don’t have a problem with ageing. I’m starting to understand why my grandparents used to say “it’ll all pass” or “it’ll all come out in the wash”. Nowadays I’m much better at waiting to see what happens with a problem. If the washing machine leaked, or burst into flames, clearly I’d do something about that straight away, but stuff that can be left, is left, and more often than not just sorts itself out.

There is more time to plan projects (for example the re-decorating and furnishing of the craft room). There’s more time to just sit and have a cup of tea, or sit and think, or look through my knitting magazines and books. Or read – just finished Timeline by Michael Crichton. Excellent. Just discovered there’s a film! hooray! will put it on our list to rent.

Healthwise – well, there’s a whole can of worms. I used to be quite fit. I would swim 30 lengths a week, easily, sometimes twice. The first time I swam a mile I was 12, the next time I was 30 I think, and then I did another one when I was 42, the latter two for charity. Loved swimming, always have. But now, if I go to a public swimming baths, the chances are that I will get a chest infection. I’m lucky if I don’t, let’s put it that way. So I don’t go swimming any more in public baths. When I get the chance, I swim in the sea, no matter how cold it is.

I do have some arthritis, mostly in my hands. I have had a bad back for 35 years now, and 20 years ago they removed the offending disc, which had prolapsed. That made a huge difference, but I still have to be careful because now there are two vertebrae right up against each other.

Generally, though, apart from the M.E. which is the main problem, and not age-related, I manage ok. I sleep a lot. At least 15 hours a day, sometimes 18. But that’s ok because I’m retired. I can’t do things like vacuuming, or drive for more than 20 minutes at a time. But you don’t want a litany of what’s wrong with me. This started out as how fabulous ageing is. And it is!

Trapeziectomy progress.

Well, this weekend I do feel I’ve turned a corner. The pain seems to have reduced to a much smaller area, and I haven’t needed any Tramadol for several days now. It’s still swollen, and bluish looking, and I’m still wearing my pressure glove (which is starting to disintegrate!) and the wrist/thumb splint. It’s six and a half weeks since the op now, so that’s really encouraging. The first time I’ve felt that I might actually recover properly from this operation and am looking forward to knitting again.

Occupational Therapy have been absolutely wonderful. I can’t praise them enough. My next appointment is on 8th April, a week on Monday.

Yesterday and tonight I was able to clear up after dinner too. Hubby does all the cooking and I do the clearing away and any washing up that needs doing. I need to use “his” rubber glove for the left hand though, my own rubber gloves are too small just yet. But that works. And I’m hoping that today was the last time hubby will have to do my ironing too. Poor hubby! All the cooking, all the cleaning, all the vacuuming and dusting, my ironing, helping me shower and dress for 5 weeks! gradually getting back to normal though.

I have been taking a small walk most days – even in the snow! because The Shop is five minutes’ walk away. Excellent. Unbelievable. I’m so lucky. A local yarn shop, run by friends I love, full of beautiful yarns. What’s not to like?

Today I met my school friend for lunch. We went to Notcutts, which is just in front of The Shop, talked and talked and talked, then went to The Shop, and then . . . . we went to see some lambs! I actually held a little baby lamb in my arms! Now, lambs are very, very cute indeed, very cuddly and sweet, but not terribly bright. They sort of stagger about enthusiastically, bumbling around, and they’re really not bothered about being picked up and cuddled. They head butt you, they sit there calmly in your arms just being cuddled – not like my cat, who barely submits to being held at all, although she will eventually give up struggling and purr – so what’s that about then?

Then we bought some buttons from The Shop (not having intended to buy anything at all, but just gaze at its splendour), came home to my house and had a nice cup of tea. How very British.

The Shop.

For two weeks now I’ve been trying, and failing, to get back into this blog. Eventually I emailed WordPress support, who are working on Pacific Time, whereas I’m on GMT. Nevertheless, it was all sorted within two days. Thank you WordPress!

First of all, I think, some pictures of The Shop. The first two are the little bag of goodies I bought yesterday. The rest are self-explanatory I think.

If you live in the West Midlands, it’s just off the M42 Junction 4. You’ll see a “Superstore” sign – turn in there. There’s a Notcutts and a Tescos on the site. Plenty of parking. Go into Notcutts, through the shop, outside at the back, turn right, and there it is. Stitch Solihull. (that’s the facebook link).


Look at all the lovely yarns! and there’s fabric too – must take some photos next time I’m in there. The photo above is the “snug” where Stitch groups will be held. I just love it. Go Ana, go Vickie! good for you.

Next blog – trapeziectomy progress. In a few minutes . . .

Occupational Therapy

went to the hospital today to see the OT. wonderful, wonderful people. understanding, practical, reassuring, new pressure glove (to reduce the swelling) and much better splint, moulded to fit me. also silicon strip for under the pressure glove at night – to make sure the scar stays flat and heals well).  pain is normal for a long time after a trapeziectomy, so i feel reassured on that level as well.Image

just a short post this time

hi guys

had the cast removed on friday – thank goodness – after many problems trying to actually get the appointment. now have a temporary splint and am off to physio tomorrow. it’s swollen, very tender to the touch, and very weak. physio will give me some exercises to do. meanwhile, i use the splint when i’m doing stuff – eating, etc – and an ice pack when i’m not!


just a quickie

have been for a little walk today! just round the block, only 10 minutes, but the weather is dry, and not quite sunny. nice wind blowing so all the cobwebs have gone!

can now dress myself (if hubby does up my bra), even though i still need help showering. a bit low mood-wise but hopefully that will sort itself out. in fact, a bit weepy, then next minute i’m singing, so mood swings i guess.

pain control – 2 x paracetamol 3 times a day, one or two tramadol as necessary, but very much ad hoc instead of regularly. so marked improvement there.

still no appointment with the hospital to remove cast and see physio – actually that needs two appointments, believe it or not, and the departments don’t seem to co-ordinate such things. so tomorrow, before the steroid injection in my foot, i’m going to phone them. am actually very anxious and cross about it, probably more than necessary, so must remain calm.

and here are a couple of photos of a very relaxed cat . . . it must be such a hard life!ImageImageImage

where to start?

what a week. first things first i suppose.

music server – still no joy. the “right” one came back from the techie guys, ostensibly fine and working, but when we opened it, set it up and connected it, it wasn’t ok. no power light, although there was clearly power, you could hear the fan. but it wouldn’t connect, either via the network, or directly. had a long talk with said techie guys, tried more fiddling and faffing about (taking out the hard drives, changing the network leads) but no joy. now we’re in the process of insisting on a refund. Hmph.

next thing, also computer related. have been trying to get iTunes to work in Ubuntu. well, what a performance. there are a number of software packages in Ubuntu which will do some of it. I need cover art, ripping, medata editing and syncing. none of them will sync, but one or two of them will do most of the rest. well, that’s no good. i knew about  “wine” which is a little package you can use in Ubunto to make Windows packages work. But not iTunes. Same with “playonlinux”, which was new to me, and quite exciting till I discovered it doesn’t like iTunes. but nowhere on my extensive trawl of the internet did anybody mention something absolutely fabulous called “VirtualBox”. It’s free, written by oracle, and amazing. you install it, and then you install Windows x inside it, then you install iTunes inside that. It mostly works – the only stumbling block is ripping, but it works perfectly otherwise. i guess most people download music these days anyway, i certainly do, so i’ll be using that from now on, rather than dual booting. my friend’s extremely techie partner told me, via her, about it. thank goodness there’s somebody to ask now, though don’t want to bother him too much.

and me. how am i? well, have been improving day by day but today have needed a tramadol, having managed without for the past three days. but that’s ok i think. am anxious because i’m supposed to have the cast removed next tuesday, and still have no appointment with the hospital. when it does come through, i then have to phone physio and try and get an appointment synced with them so i go to one department, get the cast off, then go to physio. not going to work, is it, they’re going to be fully booked.

and to finish on a lighter note, we had all five grandchildren to stay last weekend. it was absolutely lovely. they love being together, and played so well, lots of laughing and hugging. loved it. and here are a couple of photos of said weekend!ImageImage

next exciting instalment

hospital yesterday. they removed the old cast, took out four stitches from the three wounds in my wrist – the big wound in my hand has invisible stitches under the skin. put on a new cast – a thumb spica they called it – which immobilises my thumb. the cast is smaller, lighter, and much harder/firmer than the last one. i was able to wash my hands – oh the bliss – before they removed the stitches and stuff.  i was in a lot of pain last night – because they’d been Doing Things to my hand I guess, and today not much better.


But i’ve managed to reduce the tramadol to 1 x 4 times a day, which is less than 2 x 3 times a day. still taking the paracetamol though.

i seem to have less use in my hand now because the thumb is not moveable. but the strength in my fingers is still gradually improving. i can’t do my own hair mousse though now. two more weeks and they are going to remove the plaster, fix me up with a removable splint, and give me physio exercises to do.

but they said yesterday it’ll be a good 3 months before i’m anything like back to normal. you know, they don’t tell you this stuff before the op. only afterwards.

must say the care at the hospital is absolutely wonderful. i love the NHS. without it, i’d be in real trouble, physically and financially. thank goodness for it i say.

all done – but can’t do capital letters.

nine days since the operation.days one and two – awful, no sleep, haze of pain, 2 tramadol 4 times a day. couldn’t use either hand at all.


day three slightly better, able to be showered and dressed by wonderful hubby. and that felt better.

now, day nine, can type, can dress myself apart from doing up my bra, still need help showering, and am still very tired. when i’ve had a general anaesthetic it takes ages and ages to disperse through my system, so i get waves of aching tiredness. but i’m drinking lots of water. three hours sleep every afternoon. and only taking 2 tramadol 3 times a day. have tried to reduce that but failed. will try again soon.

next tuesday hubby is taking me to the hospital – i’m hoping they’ll take the plaster cast off. trouble is, the appointment with the physios, who told me pre-op i needed to see them immediately after that, is not till friday. so the hospital have advised me to go straight round to physio after they take the cast off and see if somebody will see me.

meanwhile. i’m actually comfortable in long skirts. have bought several new tops. can only wear short sleeves, though, but that’s ok because i’m always, always boiling hot, and anyway they’ll be nice in the summer.

poor hubby though. having to do even more than usual. i always wash up after dinner, because he cooks it. we do have a dishwasher but not everything can go in that – like, say, sharp knives, non-stick stuff, glass saucepan lids, the pressure cooker. he also has to spoon-feed me one of my medicines, as i can’t hold a bottle and pour from it into a teaspoon yet. but there are definite, marked improvements.

i can get my own breakfast. i can deal with the cat’s tray – i’m so pleased about that :-/ – i can type, read on my kindle, lots more than this time last week.

i thought i’d list the things i’ve been doing to stop myself moaning and feel a bit better.

sunday – eat chocolate.
monday – eat chocolate.tuesday – eat chocolate.

oh. there might be a pattern emerging, if only vaguely. 🙂

ah well. i haven’t gained any weight, so won’t worry just yet.

major major problems with music server – poor hubby is having to manage without his DS for the moment. a DS is like a huge expensive iPod and plays all his music. luckily we have his music backed up because his music server died. and getting a new one which works is turning out to be a major pain in the neck. plans are afoot though. not the best time for me to be faffing about with computer stuff really, but i am feeling better in myself.

and yd bought me some beautiful flowers last saturday, which, one week later, look just the same.