Happy New Year!

Small update.

Horrible two-week long virus involving very sore throat, cough, sinusitis and feeling awful finally gone. Now in M.E. type exhaustion and sleeping practically all the time. Improving.

Christmas Day was lovely. Went to YD, having fetched Mother, and YD’s brother-in-law and young family were there. Food was excellent, had a delightful time and all four children were just sweet.

Brighton and Southampton, where we went on 27th to visit family, were also a delight. Weather was surprisingly mild and sunny.

 

No knitting mojo at all. None. Nope.

Had various plans for this week – bit of baking, into Solihull for a bit of voucher-spending, library books back, charity shop – not happening. Not this week anyway.

Have decided not to beat myself up for being tired. Just roll with it and sleep a lot.

Ooh. Also. Started a new thing. Am only allowing myself the recommended daily allowance of sugar. 30 gms. Sounds a lot, but I discovered I was getting through at least twice that amount. I’m still able to have chocolate, but a fraction of what I was eating! Feels ok so far. Day four today.

November!

Did my ironing this morning. All of it. Although I had to do it sitting down, as my stupid back is playing up. Painkillers, ice packs, phone call to osteopath tomorrow to see if I can bring forward the next appointment.

Had the leylandii at the back trimmed, and one of the leylandii hedges at the front cut down by half, so it’s just below the level of the roof of my car, which is an old Ford Ka. The other hedge at the front has been dug up and the stumps ground out. That was quite exciting to watch. Two men, fully kitted up in safety gear/helmets/goggles, with a large noisy machine, took approximately 10 minutes max! Now I just need to get as much of the thuggish ivy out of the soil as I can, weedkiller the rest, and see how it is next spring before I plant some more Photinia Red Robin, to match the little hedge at the front, parallel to the house.

Meanwhile, hubby decided to pollard the willow tree himself. Yes, himself. Worked, hard, all morning, up and down ladders with a saw, despite my bleating about stopping now, and did it all. Cut up the twiggy bits and fitted them all into the green wheelie bin. But he then had (heart) “symptoms”  for three days. I was very worried and a bit cross. It is frustrating not to be able to do the stuff you used to do easily. It is. But still. I’ve had years to come to terms with it (slipped a disc 43 years ago) so I do know how difficult and limiting it is. But harrumph. And of course he’s fine now.

Wasn’t able to knit for a couple of weeks – arthritis in my hands. But I’m ok now and nearly finished the Festival shawl (dark grey Gossypium and white/cream Paradou). It’s lovely and easy enough to knit (though not while I’m watching subtitled Swedish programmes!) and I will be pleased with it when it’s done. Next up, Whelk vest top for hubby, in pale grey Rowan yarn. Need to do a sample tension square, because the pattern is for DK, and the yarn I have is worsted. Not much difference, but enough to check first. Also need to check I’m ok with the pattern . . . . .

Have treated myself, after watching Black Earth Rising, to a cuff earring with two chains attached to a small stud. The heroine of said programme wore one, and looked stunning. I won’t look anything like her, of course, she’s about 6 ft tall, black, muscular and slim. Ah well. I do like it though. Hubby thinks it’s weird. Don’t care.

Christmas – presents all done. Not wrapped yet though. And I need to get my act together with regard to cooking. Planning a Yule Log, so need to practise with an ordinary Swiss Roll (tomorrow). Also need to do a carrot cake and a bakewell raspberry slice. And some mince pies (bought pastry, bought mincemeat, just need to put them together . . .)


Feeling better

Much better, in fact. Am having to be very careful, and not do more than three things in seven days. Also making sure I sleep every afternoon. Usually 2.5 – 3 hours.

Been knitting again – finished more Christmas presents, and a lace-fronted cardigan which had been causing me grief. I couldn’t manage the lace front which was in the pattern, so substituted a different one. It involved quite a lot of searching and maths-type thinking to ensure that it was the right sort. But managed it ok I think. Finished it last night, it’s currently “blocking”, as you can see in the photo.

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The garden is looking pretty good considering it’s August and it can look a bit scraggy at this time of year. But the crocosmia “Lucifer” really brighten it up, along with the hydrangeas.

Guitar lessons are going well too. Have learned a few more chords, and am able to play a few more songs now. At home, when I’m practising, I like to sing along if my voice allows. Sometimes it’s a bit croaky, but today I was in (comparatively) good voice.

Thermomix: I’ve made double berry dairy free muffins, carrot cake, and pizza dough. The first time I used it was fraught, but the muffins turned out fine, and I’m better with it now. Next up will be the (dairy-free) sponge base for a trifle. Hubby uses it most days, either for lunch and/or dinner. He loves it.

The counselling is going well, and helping with my “issues”. Feeling lighter (of mood) and more at peace with my life. I actually have a lovely, lovely life, and our house just feels peaceful and calm. The counsellor is a wonderful woman, very good at listening and analysing stuff, and makes me think about stuff in a firm but gentle way.

Upgraded to Windows 10 today. It was very smooth and quick. Doesn’t look particularly different from Windows 7, the only niggle I have (and many others too going by the chatter on the internet) is the colour of the menu bars. They are white. All of them. So you can’t tell which window is live. I’ve fiddled about a bit (a lot) and found one workaround which will allow you to have one menu bar coloured, so you can tell that one is live, and at the same time allows you to have a slide show background, but only one of the standard pre-installed ones. It’s a little niggle, and doesn’t really affect the functionality, but it’s an odd little thing for the developers to have done, really. Fingers crossed that they fix it soon. It also seems that Microsoft are not going to make a charge for updates/upgrades, except to businesses. We shall see. First time they try to charge me, I’m off.

What M.E. feels like.

I’ve decided not to say on facebook how I’m feeling. Looking at “on this day” I seem to go on and on about how much I sleep or how tired I am. And I’m not sure it’s very interesting for anybody really.

So this post is an effort to explain how it feels when I’m having an “episode”.

Last week I did some gardening on Sunday. Monday we had a demonstration of a Thermomix. Tuesday I went to see my friend. Wednesday I had my hair cut and lunch with another friend, then went to the library and picked up five books. Thursday was counselling. Friday I had a meeting. Saturday I helped unload the shopping. That is way, way too much for me in a week. I know that I should do a maximum of three things per week. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that. Life is just messy.

However, as a result, I have had to cancel everything I’m doing this week. It feels as if I’ve had the flu. I drag myself out of bed at about 10.30 am. Can’t wait to get back in there and just sleep. Standing up and walking to another room leaves me shaky and aching. My brain is just not working properly. Haven’t picked up my knitting or my guitar for a week now. And I feel sad about that, even though I would feel much worse if I did try to knit or play and it went badly.

We like to try and answer the questions on University Challenge, and award ourselves one point for each correct answer, as long as we actually say it before any of the panellists do – including when they’re discussing amongst themselves what the answer might be. Well, unsurprisingly, on Monday night I did very badly. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because I’m in the middle of an episode.

And I’m even more clumsy than usual. I managed to spill a full glass of water all over some magazines and stuff on the table next to where I sit in the lounge. Involved two large napkins, two hand towels and a teatowel to soak it all up. But it was only water, and I didn’t actually break the glass.

Some days I can actually shower and dress, other days I just get out of bed and slob around in pyjamas or old “working” clothes (an old t shirt and very old paint covered trousers). I haven’t been able to wash my hair for three days now. Usually I wash it every day. I’m hoping I’ll have the energy to wash it today. I do like it when I’ve showered properly, I feel clean and I smell nice. But it’s just such an effort that I need a long sit down afterwards.

I can cope with reading for short periods. I can play Solitaire on the computer, or my tablet. But that’s it. I was planning to do some baking in the new toy (the Thermomix) but that’ll have to wait.

And next week I only have to see the doctor on Monday, and the counsellor on Thursday. And that’s the way I’m intending to keep it.

And that’s about it really. I don’t intend to sound self-pitying, so apologies if I do. This was really just to blurt out how it feels during an M.E. episode. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. If any of you have M.E. I send hugs and sympathy.

It’s been a while.

I can’t believe it’s over a month since I blogged.

On Monday ED came to stay for a couple of days, which is always just delightful. This time she took me to Harry Potter World for my (belated) Christmas present. It’s belated because I haven’t been well enough to go. Until now. It’s absolutely amazing. I can’t remember a better day out. I took 100 photos and videos (trimmed down now!). It is so well done, I spent the whole day saying “Oh my God” and “it’s so well done”. I loved it. And now I want to read all the books again! of course. ImageImage

Things have been quite busy here, not least because I’ve been going to Stitch & Sip (the knitting/crochet group) twice a week. I love it, I really do, but it’s just too much. So I have had to rethink that, and have decided that I’ll go one week on a Thursday (with home baked goods) and the following week on the Saturday. I really like both groups of people, and would miss them if I only went on Thursdays, or on Saturdays. So that’s my plan.

Have also decided to learn to crochet, and my next knitting technique is going to be sock knitting. I’ve cracked knitting in the round (with two circulars) so that’s my next big plan. Am booked on courses for both at Stitch Solihull. Exciting.

I have been minuting the meetings of the newly fledged Patient Participation Group at our local surgery, but will have to stop, probably after the next meeting. It’s too much – first of call because of my wonky hand (of which more later) and also too much energy required for concentration during the meeting. It flakes me out completely.

I am going to a union meeting tomorrow. I’m a retired member of UNISON, and the local branch has just started up a new Retired Members Section. In some ways I’m looking forward to it, in others I’m a bit worried. We will see how it turns out.

Knitting – it has just taken me six weeks to knit a child’s top and matching doll dress. I am very pleased, but it is the sort of thing I would have got done in a couple of weeks in times gone by. I also managed to lose the buttons I wanted to use, but managed to find some nice ones anyway. Here’s a photo:Image

Saw the doctor today. I have been referred to a bloke who will see if he can sort out my shakiness (they seem to call it tremor these days) and another bloke for my poor old hand. But am finally taking Tramadol again, which just works. And I can take paracetamol as well in between the Tramadol doses. My cholesterol is 6.something, so I need to reduce my cheese intake. Boo. On the plus side, I don’t have a chest infection, despite most of the symptoms. Which is good. I think.

My poppies, which are just fabulous, have been a wonderful display in the front garden. I grew them from seed, and they’re a dark orange. In the evening, in the sun, they look as if they’re lit up. The rain has bashed them about a bit, but people actually stop and point them out to each other – including the refuse collectors. It’s so lovely to think that they brighten other people’s days too!Image

Update on surgery

Well. The trapeziectomy has settled. My hand doesn’t look quite normal yet, and differs from the other hand – it’s narrower and a different shape. But the pain has settled down. There is some pain at a background level, and the occasional long, nasty twinge. Mostly, however, it’s ok. It feels normal most of the time. I’m very pleased. It took 3 1/2 months – but that’s normal. In fact, that’s a minimum, really. So in time I expect it will settle even more, the swelling may go down more, and it’ll all be fine.

However. While I was under the anaesthetic they also administered a steroid injection into each of my forefinger knuckles, where they join the hand. Now, that worked for just under three months. Now, I am in considerable pain with them all the time. The right one is worse than the left one, and is visibly swollen. The pain goes right through the joint, from top to bottom.

ImageI am taking Paracetamol anyway for the surgery pain, but need more than that for this. So I take one Tramadol a day, two if I need to, and have an appointment with my GP to see if there is anything else they/I can do to help manage/control this pain better. The physiotherapist strapped the right one up, and that does help, but isn’t practical all the time. She used Micropore, which is cheap enough, and gave me the rest of the roll. I do use it, but once it’s wet it’s no good, so it needs re-doing regularly.

While I was waiting for the physio, I read an article in an Arthritis magazine which said that while rheumatoid arthritis is recognised as an auto-immune disease, osteoarthritis is regarded as part of the natural ageing process. However, research has discovered that there is an auto-immune element to osteoarthritis as well, and that response to drugs used in rheumatoid arthritis in osteoarthritis patients is good. I’m really hoping that my GP knows and agrees with this, and that she’ll try some different pain relievers. I can’t take NSAIDs (Nurofen, Voltarol, etc) because of my asthma – two days and I’m wheezing like an old bellows – so the choices are limited for me.

The choices apart from pain relief are: one more injection in the affected joint(s), and if that doesn’t work, joint replacement. That sounds very invasive to me. Even an injection in those particular joints involves a general anaesthetic, and that in itself knocks me about for weeks and weeks. So pain control would, hopefully, be a better way forward. Appointment with GP a week on Tuesday.

In other news, I’ve been able to knit for short periods. I’ve done a child’s hat, and am currently almost finished on a baby’s jacket for my niece’s little boy, who will be 1 in December.Image

time for another blog

Well, things have moved on apace. Saw the physiotherapist on 8th March, which was 8 1/2 weeks since the operation. She said that now it’s all healed inside, and is stable, I can work on getting back to normal. So I’m hardly wearing the wrist support at all, only needing to take 2 paracetamol 3 or 4 times a day, and feeling much better generally.

I asked her about knitting and she said to start off doing a few minutes at a time. I knitted a dishcloth, which would as a rule take me an evening, but only did five minutes at a time. Went to the new knitting group at the shop on Thursday and again on Saturday, and after 6 evenings’ knitting as well as that, I finished it. At the group I knitted for a few minutes, then had a rest for 20 minutes or so, then knitted for a few minutes. I know when it’s time to stop, and do, and it’s going well so far. I can’t knit as fast as I normally can just yet but I’m definitely improving.dishcloth

So now I’ve cast on a hat for Lily, who is 2. It has a ruffled brim, which meant casting on 290 stitches. That’s a long row. But there’s only 6 rows of that, then when the brim’s done, it’s down to 90 stitches, which is more manageable. And it will look so pretty, I think she’ll look like a little flower. It’s a winter hat so completely the wrong time of year to be knitting it, but I’ve promised myself small projects, and this is a small project. bowl with yarn

Took the car out for a spin last night, to see how that went, as it’s a long time since I drove. That was fine, so today I drove to Solihull to meet my friend and we had a really nice coffee and a chat in Starbuck$. Tomorrow I can take myself to my hair appointment!

And to cap it all, the weather is absolutely beautiful outside. Breezy, but sunny and exhilarating. Finally!

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.