JAYE’S JOURNAL 18TH ~ 24TH June

 

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I haven’t been writing in my journal this week as I don’t have anything of interest to tell you about.

My life is wall-to-wall pain at the moment, and I am sick to my back teeth with the whole subject. I am not good with waiting, especially when it hurts, but have nearly finished the second course of antibiotics. Several bottles of my blood are winging their way to be tested, which might mean there could be good news coming my way soon.

I have learned one thing this week though. Writers should never get ill because our imaginations will try to kill us off in numerous ways. Fresh out of optimism, I have imagined countless ways in which I will stagger from this mortal coil and none of them are pleasant or even remotely romantic.

Deep down, somewhere the truth has receded to, are the memories of every test I have ever had, and the fact that almost all of them came back negative. Even when they weren’t, so this is probably my default setting!

I have always been a disgustingly healthy person, but also someone who has occasionally test driven emergency scenarios, probably for the benefit of the medical profession. It would seem that equally occasionally, I have to suffer for no damn reason too, with unexplained pain and symptoms. All of which eventually fade away, leaving no reason or explanation.

This time though, as I said before, I have a sneaky feeling they won’t be fading away any time soon. I mean, at my age I must have run out of lives by now.

The worst part about this week, all the above notwithstanding, is my lack of progress on just about everything. The memory of my WIP has receded into the distance, accompanied by the suspicion that I won’t be able to finish it. I am somehow managing to cope with the daily routine stuff, so maybe everything else is on a temporary hiatus?

I have tried very hard to encourage the grey matter to kick into action, but it’s not listening to me. Maybe the constant stream of paracetamol is affecting my muse, for she isn’t listening to me either…

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Jaye’s Journal: 11th ~ 16th June

 

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MONDAY: The new week begins and I’m not having a great time of it. The pain in my back continued over the weekend and shows no sign of abating yet.  I will try to carry on blogging as usual, despite being in agony, as I intend to keep up our presence on the web and work on my WIP, for it will give my mind something else to concentrate on. I’ll update you on this theory later in the week!

TUESDAY: The muscle spasms seem to have stopped and I am glad about that, but the pain continues.  Anita offered to massage my back with the Ibuprofen Gel and found some of the muscles in my lower back knotted into hard lumps. I am deformed!

My mood has sunk to a new low even for me, as I feel so helpless. The high spot of my day is staggering to the loo after climbing the stairs on my hands and knees!

WEDNESDAY:  I received a telephone call from my GP. The results of my recent urine test show a nasty kidney infection, so maybe the pain in my back isn’t from juggling couches after all! Antibiotics are winging their way to me, so relief should be arriving soon after with a little bit of luck.

THURSDAY: Another depressing day. Pain is no better and the frustration of being unable to do even the simplest thing is taking its toll. Everywhere I look, there are jobs that need doing, jobs I just cannot do at the moment and I want to scream, as in my depressed state I imagine I might be incapacitated for the rest of my natural life.

FRIDAY: I awoke the next morning with a strange revelation. The pain seemed to have receded a little during the night. It might have been my imagination, but it did feel different. I realised that it hadn’t hurt so much during the night either. One hour later, I knew something had changed. The crushing pain had indeed lessened and walking to the kitchen didn’t have my body begging to sit down.

Against Anita’s better judgement, I decide to have a shower, as I desperately needed one. We have a strong handrail over the bath, so all should be well. The pain passed an opinion on my activities later on, but even then, it wasn’t as bad as it has been.

I hope that I have turned a corner and will be back to normal in no time, although I do know I will have to be patient! All of which is a pain (no pun intended) as I have discovered that my muse has gone into hiding. Apparently, she doesn’t do pain!


 

 

 

To Be or not to Be?

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This morning, as I was reading the news on my PC, there was an article about recognising the signs of Alzheimers or dementia, and as I am constantly being told that I am well on my way to having one or the other, I gave it a read.

I suppose it was inevitable at my age, 74, for the remarks to start because I must admit, I am nothing like I used to be. (Sssh, don’t tell anyone I said that!)

 For instance:

… How many times do I forget what I am doing, or what I was going to do?

… How many times do I ask the same question or misunderstand the answer?

… Trying to find the right words to express myself.

… Are my mood swings more pronounced? Although personally, despite public opinion, I think I am having more good moods lately.

… Then there are the changes in my vision. (Which are definitely caused by my cataract)

…Do I have trouble learning new skills? (This is not exactly new, I have always been a bit dense, but I get there in the end!)

 

But on the good side:  (That I managed to find a few of these pleased me no end!)

I haven’t yet got lost in the street. (Although I did recently forget my dentist appointment)

I haven’t yet staggered down the road, waving my knickers in the air. (And I hope I never do, but it could happen apparently!)

I have not lost interest in any of my projects or hobbies. Just the time I need to do them!

I can still do sums in my head and follow a plot. (More or less!)

I have begun to worry less about our progress, but wonder if this is down to losing the plot!

 

One of my main accusers is also displaying some of these telltale signs, so it is probably only a matter of time for either one of us falls foul to the disease of the aged…  This isn’t a competition I intend to win, however…

All joking aside, I am becoming a little concerned about the star of my brain. At first, it was amusing and on a good day, it can be hilarious, watching myself do the most stupid of things. Like going out for a walk without any shoes on, or forgetting to switch on the washing machine/computer/iron/oven and wonder why nothing happens. One the best ones was wondering why the kettle didn’t quite fit in the fridge. Even I had to laugh at that one.

All of this is beginning to affect my writing too, despite all the notes I make, and the frantic checking what I actually wrote yesterday.

I still get a satisfying buzz when I reach my daily total, but the extent of my elation is in itself alarming. I am having to work in short bursts, and this is playing havoc with my productivity!

I want to believe this has everything to do with the cataract in my left eye. It has been slowly growing for some years now and is finally large enough to be removed. As per NHS guidelines, of course. My vision is doing such weird things, but could it be affecting my brain too?

If anyone has any experience of this, I would be delighted to hear it.

 

 

Back From the Dead… I think!

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all their good wishes…  and sincerely hope this rotten flu passes you by…

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image by Pixabay

 

This is my third week of suffering the effects of the flu and I can honestly say I haven’t known anything like it before in my life. I have had some spectacular medical incidents in my time, heart attack, cancer and other delights. I even had something called Asian flu, which nearly saw me off when I was a child, but I don’t remember ever feeling as bad as this before.

I was the last one to fall foul of this virus in our house, smugly watching everyone else as they coughed and sneezed their way through hell and back, confident that I was made of sterner stuff and not likely to catch it.

But I did.

It has been nearly four weeks now, and I don’t think it has quite finished with me yet. The violent headaches and the coughing have eased a lot, but the nausea shows no sign of abating. Everything still tastes foul, even the water from the tap.

I don’t remember much of the last few weeks as I have slept so much. I have lost weight too, in a way I wouldn’t recommend and still have no appetite. I have tried to keep up with the emails and comments, but anything-resembling blogging just hasn’t been happening. At first, I didn’t argue, not being anywhere near well enough for that, but gradually I have begun to feel guilty. I supposed this could be a sign of recovery, but no matter how bad this guilt feels, I haven’t been able to get the brain to cooperate and come up with anything interesting to blog about. I haven’t been able to read either and that wasn’t best received either.

So, feeling just a tiny bit better, I thought I would try to write something. However, even as I sit here, my fingers caressing the keys, my eyes want to close and my brain slowly begins to slide into semi-consciousness.

But wait a minute, what is that strange feeling stirring in my head? It seems to be an idea for a blog post…

Maybe normal service will be resuming after all…

History Repeating…

 

 

 

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image by Pixabay.com

 

 

I have always wanted to believe that history doesn’t repeat itself, and prayed that I would never have to relive some of the pain and tragedy that has stained my life. This, I have discovered, is merely wishful thinking, although, thankfully, I haven’t had to relive the heart attack and cancer.

I have discovered that we can repeat other people’s mistakes too, often some that we swore on a stack of bibles we would never do. For example, my life has almost been a mirror image of my mothers, something I really despise myself for. Some of the things I have done, I did without the knowledge that she had beaten me to it, so to speak, so what’s all that about? Are we destined to do certain things, or is it merely coincidence?

Early in my life, I suffered from back pain. Over the years, x rays revealed nothing and I was told repeatedly to go home and rest. After twenty years of this, I broke down and begged them to do something. A special x-ray, involving injecting dye into my spine, revealed several crushed discs. I was literally on the verge of paralysis. Recovering from the surgery was a nightmare and I literally had to learn to walk again. It was all worth it, for in the 30 years since I have never had a backache.

But…

The nagging pain in my hip has been gradually getting worse for months now. It could mean a new hip, not something I envisaged at my time of life. The pain spreads across the base of my spine, reminding me all too well of the years I suffered from my back.

I have since had an appointment with the doctor to discuss the findings of the x-ray and subsequent treatment. According to the x-ray, my hips are fine, but there is substantial arthritis in my lower spine, so the pain won’t go away and has to be managed. Before I went, my imagination was running riot, reliving the awful memories of so long ago. If I had to choose which horror to repeat, it wouldn’t have been that one, so this at least was a blessing.

What I need now, is to adjust my diet to try to relieve arthritis, so any advice on this score will be most welcome!

Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?

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I read something strange the other day, something that really made me stop and think. It has been discovered that being hungry actually impairs your judgement.

Here are the articles that prompted this post.

“New research is discovering how metabolic state and the nutritional quality of food influence risk-taking and decision-making behaviours in animals and humans. The metabolic state can have a serious impact on risk-taking and decision-making in humans and animals…”

When Hunger Leads to Anger: Noticing External Influences on Mood

By Nate Kornell Ph.D

Internal states, like hunger, affect us more than we imagine.

The decision to grant a prisoner parole is not something to be taken lightly. It should be considered as seriously and objectively as possible. As a new study of Israeli judges shows, however, these decisions are influenced by a lot more than the lofty ideals of justice. They’re also influenced by snacks.

The researchers investigated the percentage of parole cases that were given favorable rulings. They found that as mornings wore on, the judges became less favorable. But after a meal break, they became more favorable again–followed by the same downward trajectory. The Economist has a figure that says it all: Hungry judges give less favorable rulings.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that people get grumpy when they are hungry. (There’s even a term for it: hangry.) But two things are interesting here. First, hunger had huge effects on a decision that should be, and presumably was, taken very seriously. The scale of the finding itself is pretty amazing. Second, like the judges in the study, most of us underestimate the effect hunger has on behavior.


Could this be why I have been having trouble concentrating lately? Ever since I reinstated the diet in order to take some of the weight from my ever-complaining hip, I have been unable to string any decent thoughts together. The more I try, the harder it seems to get.

The current WIP has suffered, and even the everyday stuff has been difficult to assimilate. Maybe we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of anything, in order to think and feel our absolute best?

I mean, we all know that a good meal usually leads to a good mood?

Anita has just reminded me that years ago many artists ended up starving in a garret somewhere. Makes you wonder which came first, poverty or starvation?

I can believe that depriving ourselves of anything will have a detrimental effect on our performance, as everything is more difficult if you are tired or hungry. I can still remember the torture when I tried to give up smoking. Luckily, a mild heart attack solved that problem and I stopped immediately!

Personally, I don’t want to revert to my previous gluttony for my arthritis demands there must be less of me. So, is there a solution to this quandary?

There has to be a way to convince my subconscious self that I am perfectly happy with the odd hunger pang, and that it needs to ignore the mountain of stress that erupts every now and then like Vesuvius.

Maybe then I can get back to writing 1000+ words a day!

 

 

 

2018…

 

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It’s as if we are on a merry-go-round, and everything is becoming a blur. This was brought home to me this morning as I drank my first cup of tea. I was watching the sky get lighter, gradually changing from inky black to grey, wondering what kind of day it would be.
Would it be boring, or eventful maybe? Busy, for sure, my cluttered desk an indication of that. As I watched, gentle fingers of soft pink stretched across the gradually lightening sky.
Even as I watched the wonder of it all, it faded away in an instant, leaving no trace behind. It made me think of all those sunrises and sunsets of my youth. Was it my imagination, or did they seem to last longer?
Was my memory at fault, or has the world become a much faster place?

I didn’t make any resolutions this year as I couldn’t bring myself to think positively about anything much. Two days before Christmas, I had my second annual mammogram to check if the monster in the woodpile has returned. They never tell you at the time, and the letter took an age to arrive. Luckily, the results were clear and I can breathe again until next year.

This ongoing personal drama has been a timely reminder that time is not elastic, that no amount of cramming and stretching will make it grow or change the outcome.

I didn’t want to write this post, but I thought it might help me to wade through the gloom that tries so hard to envelop me, allowing me to see the light that I know is still there somewhere.

Yesterday, I had an x-ray to see how bad they think my hip is. I am not expecting to be offered a brand new one just yet, although it is possible. It is more likely to be something else to be endured because of my age, and I will just have to give up trying to walk into town.

If I could afford it, I would get myself one of those disability scooters, or zoom buggies, as I call them. Although I would probably end up being banned, as the thought of whizzing around town is very appealing!

Then there are the cataracts. Last time they checked, they weren’t big enough to warrant being removed, so my eyesight is getting progressively worse.

I usually manage to smile at adversity, being an optimistic soul, but since my new teeth are the most uncomfortable things I have ever put in my mouth, that pleasure has been denied me too. I have an appointment next week to see if anything can be done about them, but I am not holding my breath!

So you see, all of these things have rubbed most of the New Year gilt from the gingerbread if you know what I mean. Finding something to smile about gets harder each day, and it is only my online friends that keep me going…

My New Year Resolutions may never make an appearance, but keeping my chin up is probably number one on my list!

All I want for Christmas…

is teeth!

 

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Several months ago, I had to have a tooth out. It just couldn’t be saved, so it had to go. This resulted in my needing a new denture. At the time, whatever could go wrong promptly did and what they came up with just didn’t fit.

I don’t know why, but from their comments and excuses, I think they thought it was my fault!

Before I continue, I have to mention that my dentist, for the want of a better word, is National Health and I am an old age pensioner. Which means, basically, that I don’t pay for my treatment. Whether this explains the slipshod attitude towards my mouth, and me I cannot say. But I was told in no uncertain terms that I would have to wait until three months had passed before they could try again. Something to do with my entitlement…

Well, I did complain, but they wouldn’t budge.

So I waited…

 

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In the interim, two more teeth decided to give up the ghost, developing nasty abscesses in the gum and they had to be removed too. Not a simple procedure either and they came out in pieces. Despite this ordeal, I considered myself lucky, as it could easily have happened after I had the new denture. That’s if you ever do, said the voice of niggling doubt!

Time has elapsed and I now have just two more appointments for fittings before they are ready, although I am not holding my breath!

So far, I have been without any top teeth for months, and I am getting REALLY fed up with soft food. There is only so much porridge a person can stomach you know. Although I have learned to successfully suck a slice of toast to death…

…and I did come into my own at Halloween, my toothless grin was very popular.

 

You wouldn’t believe what really upsets me though…

No matter how carefully I try, I can’t talk properly!

The family think this is all amusing, but they have no idea how hard it has been. How many different foods I have picked up to eat, only to realise I can’t and have to give up walk away. And before you ask, I haven’t lost any weight!

Stubborn as ever, I even tried sucking my way through a bag of crisps, but they just made my mouth sore.

So in four weeks’ time, with all my fingers crossed and a prevailing wind, I might just be able to smile at the world again and eat what the hell I like!

What do you know about Gluten?

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“Gluten intolerance can affect nearly every tissue in the body, including the brain, skin, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, smooth muscles and even the nucleus of cells. CD and NCGS are associated with an astonishing variety of diseases, from schizophrenia and epilepsy to Type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis, to dermatitis and psoriasis, to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism to peripheral neuropathy. Because the range of symptoms associated with gluten intolerance is so broad and nonspecific (e.g., can be attributed to any number of conditions), many patients and doctors don’t suspect gluten may be the cause.”

 

When I awoke this morning, my body was racked with pain, again. My joints were screaming before I even rolled out of bed. I knew there had to be a reason for it, and resolved to find out what it was as I was really tired of feeling like an old woman.  I am an old woman, but I don’t have to feel like one, now do I?

As I staggered to the bathroom, a word arrived in my brain. My brain works best first thing in the morning, something I don’t understand but welcome gratefully. Nice that it can sometimes, eh?

This word was ‘gluten’.

I resolved to investigate and see if gluten was affecting my body. I wasn’t prepared for the long list of symptoms that I found, just about everything I complain about was on that list. The weight gain, chronic itching, migraines, joint pain, constipation, asthma and my peripheral neuropathy!

I think it is time to stop eating food containing wheat, barley and rye.

 

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Gluten Containing Foods – foods to avoid

  • Biscuits
  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Cereals (except a few from the good list below)
  • Chocolate bars
  • Cookies
  • Corned beef
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Donuts
  • Gravies
  • Malt beverages e.g. whisky
  • Malt vinegar
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Muffins
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Pretzels
  • Pizza
  • Sauces
  • Sausages
  • Salami
  • Sauces – many have wheat as a thickener
  • Soups – many have wheat as a thickener
  • Wheat flour

And replace with these…

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes, and nuts

Read more at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/food-options/#0ltbAIH8aotdqp7W.99

Gluten-Free Substitutes

“Many items that usually contain gluten have gluten-free alternatives that are widely available in most grocery stores and make living gluten-free much easier. Keep in mind, however, that minimally processed fresh foods are a crucial part of a healthy gluten-free diet. It is very important to base your diet around fruits, vegetables, meats, and other healthy food groups listed above.

Many commercially available products are labelled “gluten-free,” but there will be some that are not; this is why proper label reading is important. It is also important to remember that “wheat-free” does not necessarily mean “gluten-free.” Be wary, as many products may appear to be gluten-free, but are not.

As a rule, traditional wheat products such as pasta, bread, crackers, and other baked goods are not gluten-free. However, there are many gluten-free options available that use alternative flours and grains. Often, gluten-free bread can be found in the freezer section. Additionally, there are gluten-free flours and flour blends available in the grocery aisle, allowing you to bake your own bread.”

All of this sounds like a plan, so when I have armed myself with a stack of rice cakes, I will begin to go gluten free. Losing the aches and pains will be sooo worth it!

I will report back on my progress, as soon as I get any!

 

 

 

The Heart of the Matter…

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After my heart attacks three years ago, and my subsequent brilliant behaviour since then, I didn’t think I would be having any further trouble in that direction. I can still remember every gruelling moment of that time, and how near I came to shuffling off this mortal coil.

For a while afterwards, though, I was very nervous. Every twinge of heartburn (for that is how it started before) was met with chewed fingernails and immense trepidation. Probably a good thing in the end, for it made me a model patient. I took my medication religiously, even though most of it had a dire effect on my asthma.

I gave up smoking that day, and I like to think it was because the cardiologist asked me to but the truth is, I didn’t want to die, so I stopped willingly. I have taken steps to improve my health and fitness too, and think I am in a much better shape now.

So when I began to notice something odd going on in my chest, my spirits hit the floor. I was experiencing little thumps and fluttering’s, and although this doesn’t sound too serious, I worried. When I checked my pulse, I noticed gaps in the rhythm. Every couple of minutes, my heart would skip a beat, and not a shred of romance or excitement anywhere near me!

I have my own blood pressure machine for regular check ups, and I seemed to be fine, so I was confused. I had recently stopped taking the daily aspirin and the beta-blocker, as they were making my asthma so much worse. Maybe I should start taking them again and see what happened. The other odd thing was that my ticker behaved itself during the day, but come the evening, it had a field day. Sleeping wasn’t easy either, more because I was worrying than anything else I think, for I can normally sleep through anything.

And of course, the usual question presented itself. Do I bother my doctor with this? I have a check-up soon, so I could mention it then…

I know at my age there is so much you just have to get on with, and I do seem to have more than my share in that department, but my instincts were not clear. I usually know what to do, whether it turns out to be a waste of everyone’s time or not.  My dilemma is this, apart from the funny goings on, I feel quite well. Apart from arthritis in every joint, failing eyesight, a painful neck and hip, the list is getting longer.

I decided to wait a few days and see what happens…

Two days later… I have reinstated the beta-blocker but not the aspirin, and the thumps and fluttering’s have now stopped. So far, so good. I wonder what will happen next?

Old age can be so much fun, don’t you think?