Wish You Were Here

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Okay, I can positively attest that personal clarity and focus has returned to my brain after yesterday. The focal point came at about 4.30pm yesterday afternoon when I sat on the sofa and could feel an anaesthetic ‘fuzz’ almost pulling me to unconsciousness. There was an incorrect assumption that after three days I was shot of the worst of it, and that is was increasingly apparent what was needed was a return to ‘normal’ working hours as a matter of priority. This morning I could have gotten up and stayed up at 7am, but made the choice to go back for another 90 minutes. The benefits are already obvious, but I am still having to concentrate on focus. I can but hope that with the application of caffeine and enough time, this too will heal.

I can feel that happening now, rather bizarrely. My left wrist, belly button, upper chest are all tingling. The entry for instruments on my lower right hand side is no more now than a scar, not even bruised: it’s not counted as an injury. I’m still getting occasional tinnitus on waking and going to sleep, which says to me that maybe it’s not just ears but neck that could do with a poke, which I will bring up on Thursday when I see the surgeon. Half term starts Friday which is totally perfect timing, and the plan is to be back to ‘normal’ (as much as that is possible) for the first week of June. I’ve learnt an amazing amount about myself in the last six days, and I suspect there’s still a lot more to factor in.

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However, this morning my legs are really keen to do something. I can’t lift yet for another eight days, but nothing is stopping me being outside. Therefore, I’m already planning to go and eat lunch at the Gym today, and at least walk there for a drink every day this week. It’s a perfect short hop with two breaks in between, allows me to judge my levels of stamina, and stops me from going insane by being stuck inside. Plus, if I believe the weather forecast, I really don’t want to be stuck inside anyway. It will be glorious all week, and considering that I’ve been stuck in my own head for nearly a month now, getting outside needs to be a factor in the recovery process.

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In fact, let’s get organised so I can get out and enjoy the day. Be warned, there will be Instagramming.

You’re Not Alone

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This is the worst things have been since surgery. It isn’t the pain, or the stuff going on with my body (of which there is a lot, it must be said) but my simple inability to cope with the way life has irreversibly changed. It doesn’t help that my inner ears are still not 100% functioning as they should, that I can’t sleep in more than four hour blocks, or that I’m tired in a way that has never been experienced before. All these are surmountable with the support I have. What isn’t happening is recovery at the speed I’d hoped. However, with that said, I feel confident I can walk to and from the Gym tomorrow. That’s the next step in rehabilitation.

This is a day I just have to push through.

I didn’t wake up on Tuesday and suddenly feel better. This surgery has not instantly lifted a weight from my mind either. I’m still afraid of what I eat, but for different reasons. A previously healthy body is in a fair amount of turmoil that I didn’t want and now have to deal with. Mostly I am as miserable as fuck with tons of pain where none existed before, and that’s the most depressing part of everything. Fortunately, I remember this happening before, and the consequences of those three months on the whole of my life, and I will NOT allow the hovering dark cloud to consume me. I’ve come too far for that. It won’t happen. I am stronger than that, and this will pass.

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The most important task today is to get my sleep pattern back to something approximating normal. If it means pushing through, then I will. I am putting a lot of effort into focussing on tasks and not allowing mind to wander.

Today will not beat me.

Iconography

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I’ve been stealth writing stuff all weekend, since Thursday night, mostly because I don’t want to bore people with braindumps that means a great deal to me but not much to them. A friend told me I am perfectly within my rights to own my trauma, but there comes a point where the weight between exposition and boredom becomes very real indeed. I only need to look at my lovely and long-suffering family to understand that, like it or not, some days you just shut up and get on with life. The problem for me, right now, is that history is being rewritten. This is not revisionism, anything but. I am remembering the past as means to survive the present, and that is making for a lot of sudden and sometimes painful revelation.

This morning, we have returned to at least a semblance of normality.

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I went out after dropping the youngest off at School and did about ten days worth of overdue external running around: paying in cheques, posting mail, organising various things ‘outside’ including trying (and failing) to get a doctors appointment for my son. The earliest I’ll now manage outside of school hours is Wednesday, I’m glad he’s not horrendously unwell, or I’d be camping outside the Surgery tomorrow. I am also, inescapably, suffering what I now know is referred pain. Tonight cannot come quickly enough and yet, it is taking forever to arrive. However, I am making the most of the perception disparity by shoving as much work as possible into the space provided.

This may be only a semblance of normality, but it will do.

Running Scared

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Yes, I’m going to need surgery. It appears I’ll need it as a matter of some urgency too, if the panicky phone calls from the Doctor’s surgery in the last hour are any indicator. You see, the doctor I saw this evening didn’t know about my gallstone incident. Knowing this, they want it out NOW, because they’re concerned that what happened with the last one blocked my liver, and if that failed, nope, not going there.

I’ll be seeing a consultant early next week.

What this does to everything else? We’ll work it out, but not today.

Consider Her Ways

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Normally my blog posts are named after songs. Today, I’m taking a book, one that was particularly significant in my youth. I remember being astounded by the main story in John Wyndham’s anthology and it having a profound effect for weeks after reading: I can’t really tell you anything about it either, because by doing so ruins a narrative that really needs to be read unspoilt. However, what I can tell you is that birth forms a key component of the conceit.

I was reminded of the Wyndham after reading this Guardian article about how premature lambs are now ‘grown’ in artificial wombs and, I must admit there was a stab of horror at the pictures I saw. Initially my thought was more of a ‘Brave New World’ scenario but then the same feeling emerged that I remember after finishing ‘Consider her Ways’ for about the twelfth time: humanity mucking about with nature does not sit well in my head. Of course, without that evolution, I’d be dead by now. I’d have never made it out of hospital as a baby.

Science has always trodden a delicate path between interference and assistance.

I suspect this has a lot to do with current concerns over my own health, but there is discomfort in growing amounts over what counts as ‘good’ science and what feels ‘bad’: I’m not a religious person, but the possibility that people could pick the sex of their child or ensure it has certain characteristics does not sit well in my mind. The Universe works best with the full spectrum of both diversity and chaos: trying to counter that or effectively guide the course of Evolution feels wrong. I’ve read enough speculative fiction to understand that for every wonder discovery or great idea, there’s always a price to pay.

I knew my great grandmother only for a very short time. One of my earliest memories is of her using a cloth hankerchief to make a mouse as amusement, and it always worked. She passed away, I remember, as not as a result of gangrene but the surgery that was supposed to extend her life. She never regained consciousness after the operation to remove her infected lower leg. I’ve always held a fear of being sent into a medically-induced sleep not simply because of this, but an incident when I was 4 or 5 and because of bad dental hygiene I had to have teeth extracted, and was rendered unconscious to do so. I can still remember exactly how this felt, enough to make me shake as I type. It is another fear that needs to be dealt with, as I have with so many others in the last year.

Science has made things immeasurably better in the last 50 years, yet it is still regarded by so many with a sense of trepidation. It is on days like yesterday I can understand that feeling, but the rational part of my brain knows that to move forward, this is yet another fear that needs to be overcome. Without science, there would not be a legitimate cure for asthma on the cards in my lifetime. When people with no other form of potential cure take gene therapy and the result is remission of their cancer? Science is amazing, and without it we’d all be lesser beings. Sometimes, taking the risk with the consequence is the best way forward, especially if it allows you more time to live.

The flip side of Science’s wonder remains the financial cost to the recipient.

When my husband and I spoke about the possibility of surgery, his first response was brutal, yet damning: at least I have the provision to do this without having to make a financial decision first. I am well aware of friends in the US currently in a state of near-permanent dread over what will happen to Obamacare, who have had to set up GoFundMe accounts in order to pay for unexpected medical expenses. I understand only too well that medicine is nowhere close to universally accessible to the people who need it most, and that this is intrinsically unfair. It may seem we live in a world full of wonder and potential, but if this is only available to a select few, is it really so brilliant to begin with?

There’s a lot to think about over my morning porridge today.

The Final Countdown

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So, May is here, and I will admit that this is not exactly how I expected the year to have panned out thus far. Today, like it or not, begins the process of redefining my online experience, across three websites and two Twitter accounts, plus Facebook and everything else. It won’t be an overnight shift, but I hope by the end of next week to have put all the pieces in place so I can start writing stuff in advance. I successfully scheduled my first Haiku on the writing site, and for the next month I’ll be planning ahead as much as conceivably possible, mostly because it makes the process of organisation easier.

However, I missed a scheduled blog post or two over the weekend. I need to catch up on what was originally promised today so tomorrow I’m where I should be. I’m not going to lie though, last night sitting in front of Pride and Prejudice on DVD finishing off my wooden friendship letters was something I need to do more of and not less. Having the ability to decompress is something I’m woeful at and relaxation really does matter at present. I have several friends who push me to ensure I’m taking time for myself in all this organisation, and it makes the world of difference.

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I’ve also acknowledged some significant body changes this last week. My stomach is now shrinking, without doubt, and more abdominal muscles are apparent. Places which had excess fat before continue to vanish, and body measurements taken at my Medical on Friday showed a 20% reduction in fat content across the board from the last time I was recorded. I’ve still got some details to come in, including results from a raft of blood tests. Oh yeah, and there’s the Hemoccult test for bowel cancer that won’t be a whole lot of fun to do but needs to be done that I’ll start on today.

However, for now I am focussed on the future. Let’s get on with redefining my existence, shall we?

 

Save Me

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I’ve been thinking about the sonographer yesterday probably more than I should, trying to work out what it was I sensed from him, and there’s one word I keep coming back to: irritation. This is one of those moments where I wish I’d had someone else with me, so I could check if I read the whole thing right or not, because inevitably one of my failings is grasping intent from strangers. I’m hoping what I sense was annoyance, that a perfectly healthy woman was wasting his time with a set of scans that showed that I have no infection, I’m completely fine and don’t need surgery. That’s my hope, that when the GP sits down with me next week and looks at the ultrasounds there’ll be nothing except the understanding I have the stones, but as of right now they’re causing me no discomfort or issue whatsoever, and we can all go back to life before all this stupid happened.

Of course, there’s also a part of me that is worrying he saw something horrible but because he’s not a medical professional, that isn’t something for him to pass on.

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Whatever happens, I’m in no pain at all right now. This is the best I’ve felt for close to six months, and in terms of fitness and energy, pushing 20k steps yesterday would not have been possible were my body not doing the business. I’m trying really hard not to think about what might happen, and have reconciled myself to the surgery option should it be required, but then I have to think about the sense of sticking me under the knife if I’m feeling perfectly fine, and can continue to ensure I never get a repeat of what happened by eating sensibly going forward. I’m not a doctor, after all, but it occurs to me that considering the current strains on resources, and assuming I have no issues with my health right now, what happens in a situation such as this. Do you assume it will happen again and plan regardless, or is it left to me as the patient to make the choice, I wonder?

I’ve never been in this situation before, so I have no idea.

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I’ve taken a day off exercise. PT is normally scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m back on focus towards losing the last of my excess weight. It’s also May 1st and that means it will be a month before I effectively become totally self-employed. It is a bit scary, all told, what is coming up however has got me more excited than anything for several years. Here is the opportunity to sell myself effectively, based purely on my ability to create content.

I hope I can encourage people to take the chance.