2021 in Review

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I wanted to write a review of 2021 and tell you all the exciting things I had done, this was as far as I got……

…it. was. shite.

I mean if I left it there, this could be one of the shortest posts I have ever written, and believe me, in 2021, that is a thing there was a lack of, posts. I wrote a grand total of 5 posts, granted, that was one more than the year before and I could argue that I went for quality over quantity, but I think that is more of a case of me trying to convince myself than you.

So what did I do in 2021 then, because clearly I was not busy updating my blog. I got sick, that was a thing. At the start of the year my gall bladder problems got worse. Middle of the year I ended up in hospital because the gallstones hated me so much they gave me pancreatitis. I spent 5 months recovering, going to scans and appointments and worrying, I did a lot of worrying, sometimes I shared it with others, but most of the main ones I carried myself. Being sick is very lonely, it’s not something that anyone can really help you with and you just have to go with the flow and let time sort things out, which is something that someone with anxiety finds very difficult, because the weight of it never goes away until the problem does.

At the end of October I was able to go back to work, I was nervous because I had been away for so long and also as I did not know how going back would affect my illness. I lasted a week and a half until following another gallbladder attack I was again hospitalised with pancreatitis, this time my gallbladder was removed.

Thankfully in the middle of all this my large mass that I had mentioned in a previous produced a clear biopsy, however it is effecting my bladder and bowel so I am now on an urgent list for a second surgery to have to it removed. It never rains but it pours it would seem, but at least things are moving forward.

I didn’t write about any of this between July and now because there were too many unknowns, too many results still to come. I didn’t want to write about it and say all is well and then a result comes in and knocks the wind from my sails. Yesterday I saw my surgeon regarding the gallbladder side of things. Stomach biopsies have returned as normal and the pancreatitis, while it will not go away, should settle now the gallbladder is out as long as I am careful. The gallbladder removal itself will not cure the pancreatitis attacks, but it should hopefully lessen the amount of them. He has signed me off.

So 2022 starts a new chapter in my life where I learn to adjust my diet to having no gallbladder, where I run to the loo when I eat something I shouldn’t and where I also try not to eat too many sweets and put back on all the weight I lost when I was sick. I dread the next op, but I know it is something that has to happen, so as above, I am trying to go with the flow.

2021 was the year when COVID still didn’t go away. We lost some family friends and by and large kept to ourselves. The Fathership was diagnosed with Emphysema but with his new inhaler he’s doing ok.

In each of my hospital visits I met the most lovely ladies who touched my heart. In May it was someone who reminded me of my Mum and in November, it was perhaps one of the bravest ladies I have ever met as she gracefully battled cancer. Sadly neither of them are with us any more, but I hope the Mothership was there to greet them when they were called home. I can guarantee she probably said to them, isn’t that daughter of mine a right pain in the arse!

So here’s the thing, 2021 was honestly, a bag of shite, but there were still good bits in it. There always are good bits among the bad. I might have lost friends throughout the year, but I also made new ones. Some I thought had gone, returned, I guess that’s the circle of life.

I am proud of myself. I have mental health issues, and despite what I faced last year I walked out the other side of 2021.

I have no plans for 2022, what would be the point. Last year showed me that we have no idea what is around the corner, so perhaps it’s just better to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time.

Ok, maybe one plan for 2022….to perhaps write 6 posts???

Happy New Year to you all.

Looking back

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When I think about my time here, now going on for nine years, I can see that I have changed so much over that time. There’s been a lot, recovery from the alien leg incident, the Motherships dementia and her eventual passing and also all of the things relating to my own mental health.

The past couple of years have brought a new set of challenges, illness, COVID and changes to and the loss of some friendships. That’s one thing about life, it never stops and it is always changing, whether we are prepared for it or not. I turned 50, just a number I know, but still a significant one in terms of life, because while things have not always been a bed of roses, existing for half a century is certainly something to celebrate right? In my head I still feel like I am 18 years old and I get a little bit nervous when I am expected to adult, but somehow I manage to bumble my way through it.

Even though I am not here often, I love this place. It has always been a bit of a refuge for me, reading what my friends have to say on their blogs and also what they choose to comment on mine. We never really understand how our words might affect others, but there is no better feeling when someone stops by to tell you, as recently happened to me. Those words were something I needed to hear at that time, so thank you Joe for commenting on my about page, it means more than you know.

I tell myself I should write more, I know I should, but sometimes it feels like I just write the same things over and over. Occasionally I will read things that I have already written and I think, holy cow, did I write that. Other times I can remember exactly how I was feeling at that time, the moment, the place and perhaps even the music I listened to as I tried to formulate my thoughts into something legible.

I was never big on the whole social media side of things, that’s just not me, and as life changed I didn’t have the same time to put into it as I had at the start. That said, in the beginning I had no idea how much time writing a blog and trying to further it would take, that was certainly a wake up call.

I have met some of the most amazing people and there are also others who are no longer with us. People who made us think, or made us smile and undoubtedly left an empty space in either our heads or our hearts.

This is a fantastic community and there are no set rules as to what your place in it should be. Don’t try to be someone else, because the weight of walking in someone else’s footprints will be a heavy one. Just be you, be true to yourself and write what your heart desires, it will always resonate with someone, even if they do not stop by to tell you it did.

Thank you for still being here with me, despite the fact that I am not with you as often as I would like :)

WTF is it with…..

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…junk comments these days. It’s like they multiply. No matter how many times I empty the junk folder, it is always full when I return. Perhaps I should return more often, so this is kind of my own fault isn’t it. Anyway, moving on, that is not actually why I stopped by, it was just something that irritated me on my journey and I thought I would share it, because I am nice like that :)

How have you all been? The strange goings on in the world continue, the return to normality that some have been dreaming of is not yet here, albeit there is perhaps a glimmer of light in the horizon. Me personally, well I’m still hoping for a blended mix of the old and the new, fingers crossed.

So I was in hospital, that was a thing that happened, oh way back in May now. The dreaded gallstones decided to play dirty and introduce themselves to my pancreas. Clearly they didn’t get the memo about social distancing and decided this was a space they would like to muscle in on, thoughtless little shits. So I’m also sure you know that being in hospital comes with all the tests, bloods, scans, not just one variety, noooo I had them all, CT, MRCP and Ultrasound. Then after the scans come all the things that you didn’t even know you had, like a large mass, stranding / weird things around the gallbladder, a hiatus hernia. I mean ffs, I though the gallstones was enough to be getting on with, but apparently not.

The current situation is that I am waiting on the results of tests. I’m finding that consultants don’t really talk to you, they talk around you and mention things like tumours and anomalies, but don’t really tell you why or if this is something that you need to actually worry about, bearing in mind I have anxiety and worry about E V E R Y T H I N G. Thankfully for me, in the last visit the mention of tumour was preceded with I don’t think it’s a…. so I hope they are right. Anyone going through this, my heart goes out to you, it is a very unsettling time. There is something going on in my body though and I hope they find out what it is soon so I can at least have an explanation for the daily pain.

Being off work has been challenging for me. I am so used to working that for the first few weeks I felt an incredible guilt that I was letting people down even though I knew myself that I was not well, very little tired me out, and it took a while to build up my eating routine again. Thankfully this last week I have not been tiring as quickly, I can tidy a little bit more before I have to sit down, but I’m not yet at the stage where I can return to any kind of normality. It’s incredibly frustrating. That said, I am thankful that I am still here typing, another lady who came into the hospital at the same time as me with the same thing didn’t make it out again.

Being in hospital was a real eye opener. We hear all these stories of the fabulous NHS and the work they have done throughout this pandemic, but honestly, from the outside, we have no idea. Those nurses are incredibly busy, they never stop, I know for sure I could not do what they do, never mind anything else, I would not have the patience, especially for those people who treat it like a hotel stay. I’m incredibly grateful for the care I received during my stay.

So I guess in the grand scheme of life, this is the next hurdle to face. Most days I am ok, and sometimes I cry, but I think that’s to be expected, I mean apart from anything else I’m probably being smacked in the face by the menopause too, so the fecking hormones are almost as problematic as the gallstones.

Anyway, what’s new with all of you, tell me a good story, actually just tell me a story, we have to take the rough with the smooth!

What a week……

I really need to look at updating my emoji / bitmoji thingy ma jig, I mean this one has been with me for years now and I don’t really look like that any more, actually that’s not true, my face has that look on it quite a lot!

I was very glad to see Friday this week and pelt myself head long into the weekend. Friday itself was a bit of a wash out because I spent most of the early morning and I mean EARLY morning, like 1am pacing the floor in pain and throwing up into a bucket, f@*kin gallstones! That’s the third attack in two weeks.

It was one of those weeks where my mind was like a washing machine, constantly turning, full of bubbles and in the end, full on spin. I just could not settle myself, yes of course the old anxiety played a part, but there were also darker forces at work, gremlins I think, they definitely got into my system. I wrote this e-mail, I even got as far as sending it to my boss and then when I had to go back and check something and I read it over I was like what the actual feck was I thinking, it was the biggest pile of garbage, thank goodness for the recall function.

Wednesday was a day off, thank you St Patrick, but when I went to work on Thursday it felt like a Monday and I mentally reminded myself about five times to put the bins out before remembering I didn’t have to.

It’s been a testing few weeks what with the Fathership not being the best and the gallstones and all things COVID and the thought of returning to normal and I think the few brain cells that I have left either could not cope, or had a wee melt down, well that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it!

I’m hoping this week will be a better one, with less gremlins and more legible e-mails, wish me luck!

I was catching up on reading this week and also searching for new people to follow, so if you have any suggestions for good blogs I am all ears and would be grateful for any suggestions, I like the humorous / life stuff if you know any like that.

What’s new with all of you?

It’s Mothering Sunday

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Sometimes I’m not sure my sense of humour is appreciated. I was at the Pharmacy a couple of weeks back and while paying for my goods, they tried the old, have you seen these that we have on offer trick. I’m a nice person, I hope, so I looked and said, oh yes they are lovely, but not for me thanks. She said, oh well what about one for your Mum for Mother’s Day and I laughed and said I’m not sure she needs one of those, she’s six feet under. OK so maybe I shouldn’t have but I thought it better to make light of the situation than to just turn around and say my mothers dead. She said I’m really sorry, and I said, don’t be, in the end it was a blessing, she had dementia.

The Fathership and I went to visit her grave yesterday, to leave flowers from my Sister and I. We sat in the car until the rain stopped, typical Norn Irish weather, rain one minute, then sunshine, then hail. On the second sunshine we made a dash for it.

It’s a really beautiful graveyard, but it’s cold, there is always a wind blowing. The snowdrops Dad planted last year have been and gone, but the wreaths that were laid at Christmas still provide a pop of colour as did the addition of the posy we left today.

When we came home I started thinking about what she would have made of this whole pandemic and how we would have coped, not being able to go out and all stuck in the house together. I have to be honest and say I think it would have been a recipe for disaster. The Fathership has not been well either, so I thought about him trying to get her dressed in the morning when he himself was getting breathless from just walking up the stairs. I thought about me and my effin gallstones and who would cook for them, put her to bed or get up in the middle of the night to change her if I was sick too, and I thought, maybe things do happen for a reason.

To all the carers, I can only imagine what you are going through. I know first hand how difficult if can be, and that’s without the addition of a pandemic. You have my admiration and hugs.

When the Dr’s finally saw the Fathership after two weeks and confirmation of a negative COVID test, we were given a letter and sent straight to the emergency department. Being all things COVID, I wasn’t allowed to stay with him, so I went to the car and cried for 45 minutes until I had no tears left, because the last time I had come up the road, to that hospital, at that time of night, it had been for the Motherships final flight and I wasn’t ready to let another one go.

Thankfully 4.5 hours later out he came and we were able to go home. Further tests have been able to tell us he has COPD / Emphysema, so I guess we just have to wait and see where that one takes us.

I’m an introvert, I don’t have a lot to complain about where the new normal is concerned to be honest, I’m more anxious about things returning to a version of the old normal. But in amongst it all, for me, there are things to be grateful for, like the fact my Mother missed this. I’m grateful that she didn’t have to wonder why people stepped away from her hugs. That she didn’t think she wasn’t allowed to go to church anymore, due to it being closed. That she didn’t hate us for keeping her in the house, when there was nothing else we could have done.

That version of my mother is the one who is six feet under.

So, to the Mum who made smiley faces from angel delight and whipped cream, whose perfume I used to smell as I walked up the stairs, to the women who loved my father and my Sister and I and worked hard to give us a good life. To the woman who was a nurse and a carer herself and who laughed and danced and sang (even if it was out of tune), Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, and I miss you.

Here she goes again ffs……

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The picture above has no relevance to this post whatever, I just liked it, so here it is….enjoy?

So there it is, and here I am, struggling a little it has to be said with the new blocks and paragraphs system for writing, but I’m typing away like a good un and hoping that by some miracle of modern something or other it will look ok when both you and I have to read it.

It’s that time of the year again. WordPress will very shortly tell me that I have reached another anniversary, this time 8 years I believe. This is perhaps the longest I have stuck at anything, with the exception of my job, although I am not sure that you could call writing perhaps one or two posts a year sticking at something. I miss it, writing that is, I miss it a lot. I also miss the way my old brain worked and my sense of humour but age and life has got in the way of both, so I’ve just got to suck it up and adapt.

Usually around this time I also have mental conversations with myself where I discuss whether to carry on or give up, questioning if it is worth paying for domains that I rarely use. Sometimes I think it isn’t and I consider leaving and then I log into the app and I go to the reader and I catch up on all the things I have missed and I see all the people that I love and I think, I cant go, not yet anyway.

A couple of weeks back I did just that and I logged in and I found people I had not spoken to in such a long time, and then I read posts from a few of the people who have been with me on this journey pretty much from the start, albeit with a few breaks in between and it was like someone had given me the warmest hug, it made my heart so happy to read their words.

I’m never going to be the world’s greatest blogger, and nor would I want to be, it’s like a full time job at the start ffs. What I do want to be is here, as much as I can. If I only write two posts a year, then so be it. If no one reads what I write, that’s fine too, it’s for me anyway, but as I have detailed in countless posts before, that is something I lose sight of.

So maybe I will stick around for another year. I might even try and get back into this, I just need to be more disciplined with time by making sure there is space in there somewhere to write, because it’s good for the soul.

I hope you are all well, and I hope to see you soon :)

Saying a proper goodbye

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I feel like every time I log on here and start to write these days, it is always about coronavirus, but really, what else is there to talk about. I mean life carries on as normal, but at the end of the day things are not really normal for any of us at the minute.

So what prompted this post you ask yourself, well, it was actually my reading of a story on the news, a sad story about a couple who had passed away from Coronavirus, within 12 hours of each other. I can only imagine the loss and grief their family must be experiencing. They like so many others will find themselves in the situation of not being able to celebrate the life of their loved ones as they normally would, in the company of their family and friends.

I suppose the line that resonated with me the most however was the fact they were not going to be able to hold a wake and hear all the stories that others had to share about the couples life.

wake is a social gathering associated with death, usually held before a funeral. Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased

Here in Northern Ireland, wakes are a thing, I can remember a few times the Fathership coming home a little worse for wear as we would call it, in other words drunk, after having raised perhaps one too many glasses out of respect for the dearly departed.

When my Mum passed away, our house became an open one to accept the many people who cared enough to come and pay their respects. We were given, love, kindness and food in abundance.

In the four years prior to my Mum’s passing and as the dementia got worse, while she was still my Mum, she was not the same person through no fault of her own. When living with and dealing with that situation every day, it was hard to remember the person she was before, because like with the coronavirus, we had to adjust to a new normal.

This is where the wake and the stories that were told became so important, because through listening to others and their memories of what she was like, it helped to erase some of the bad memories of the preceding years and replace them with good ones, reminding me of the person she was before.

There was laughter and there were tears, but it was a nice in between before the end of a long road. So I am sorry for this family and that due to this situation that we find ourselves in they will not be able to experience this small sense of comfort like we could.

We’re in the second wave that they kept warning us about and its seems scarier in some ways than the first. I know that face masks and socially distancing are an issue for some and there are very many theories circulating about the legitimacy of it all, but for me it’s simple, people are dying, so we can’t do nothing.

I hate wearing a mask, but I think of all the people in the emergency services who have to wear one every day, who despite being as worried as we probably are, turn up for work every day to care for the sick. To keep us safe and to stop us dying. So my wearing a mask is a small matter compared to that.

I think about my family, my friends, especially those who have lost loved ones during this time and my work colleagues and that’s also reason enough.

And I think about this family and their loss too, and the fact that they cannot share stories and memories with the ones they love.

That should be a good enough reason for us all.

It’s the Sunday before the Monday

Hello there, well I wish I had something really exciting to say or tell you, but I don’t so….eh…hello :)

I’m not sure what it is that brought me here tonight, I had a little time to kill and a cup of coffee in my hand and I thought why not.

The last time I wrote we were in the midst of the COVID pandemic, and now almost four months later we still are, with what looks like no end in sight.

This time around I actually know people who have been unfortunate enough to have tested positive and I think it was a rough week to ten days, that said, thankfully they have come out the other side, many others were not so fortunate.

Life for me has pretty much carried on, work still has to be done, along with the general day to day of looking after the house. You get so used to being inside that it’s almost easy sometimes to forget there is a whole world outside of these four walls. The introvert in me has coped not too bad with the situation, but even I have found that I need to get out once in a while, walk in the sunshine and smell the sea air, it really does blow away the cobwebs.

The hardest part of this for me has been for friends who in the middle of all of this have lost parents or loved ones. Not being able to attend funerals and give someone a hug is heart breaking. Not being able to be there to help them celebrate a life lived, or offer condolences, well it’s just not the same via text message is it.

The other end of the spectrum and stories I have heard are of expectant parents, who cannot enjoy the experiences of scans as a couple. Women having to attend appointments on their own while their partners miss out. All those little firsts, that can never be replayed.

I never in my lifetime thought I would see anything like this. I hope once it is all over, that we never do again.

But there is a lot to be thankful for, I am here and well and typing and you are here and hopefully well and reading.

I have missed you :)

I feel like I should…..

…..write, but I don’t know what it is that I want to write about.

You see shouldn’t this be the perfect opportunity, it’s not like I can go out, hmm, not that I did that much anyway. In some ways lock down is perfect for an introvert like me, other ways not so much, I’m genuinely starting to miss looking at other faces because at the minute the only ones I see most days are the Fatherships and my own, which now my hair has taken on a life of it’s own is a scary fecking sight I tell ya!

I hate shopping just now too, but still when it comes time to take the weekly trip for the groceries there is a little bit of me wants to punch the air and after about 10 minutes of freedom I’m all giddy and stuff from the high of seeing the outside world!

But there are limits to the freedom, because as much as I joke, there is a seriousness to all of this, and there have to be limits. I have an 81 year old with Asthma to consider and as much as sometimes I want to murder him as I swiftly move towards the menopause, I love him dearly.

This situation is not ideal, we are in unprecedented times, so they keep telling me, but we have to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking of the bigger picture. We are staying at home to save lives. That’s very important, because too many have been lost already.

So I shop and I come home. I no longer browse or idle. I follow a list and I move on.
I thank the people stacking shelves as I shop, because they are working to keep us fed and I tell them to take care, because they matter. All those key workers do, every one of them matters, so we should stay at home.

One day, hopefully, this will be over and life will return to normal, albeit maybe a new one.

My friend will tell her daughter then when she was born she wasn’t able to see anyone for the first three months of her life. We will always ensure that we have an extra supply of toilet roll. We will hug people, and reconnect, sharing stories of how we survied the life in lockdown. Families will remember their loved ones and celebrate lives cut short.

None of us will forget.

 

I am Seven

It happened sometime in March, and unlike real birthdays, it’s a low enough number not for me to be concerned about, or is it, because in terms of blogging I think seven is probably quite good.

That said, some could argue that I have not actually been blogging and they would be absolutely correct, in 2019 I wrote only seven posts, can we class that as one for each birthday.

In terms of writing, there is still not an issue with regards to wanting to write, because I do all the time, I just never seem to get around to it, something else gets in the way, I am lazy, there are very many reasons, all with their own percentage.

This blog birthday finds the world in ‘unprecedented times’. I have heard that phrase so much in the last six weeks. It’s a time when I should be writing, documenting what is going on, lest I forget, but I think because it is so unusual, it is unlikely that any of us will forget, or should forget the lives that have been lost and the families affected by this pandemic. Neither should we forget all of the key workers who are continuing to do their jobs in the these difficult and unusual of circumstances.

So this birthday, we shall just quietly celebrate that I am seven. Trust me, I’ve had the usual yearly wrangles of should I stay or should I go and for this year anyway I have decided to stay. Who knows, I might even write eight posts, but don’t hold me to it ffs, or we could all be let down.

I hope all my favourite eejits are well. If you are reading, then thank you for still being here :)