Tag Archives: CFS

Today Is M.E. Awareness Day

12 May

The Hub has M.E. and I had intended to write about it and him but – somewhat ironically – after the day I’ve had, I’m too tired to blog.

Instead, I will re-post last year’s article (which is actually a re-post from the year before, but nothing has changed so I don’t feel guilty), and ask you to spare a thought for people like the Hub, facing prejudice and disdain from those who believe he is too lazy to work, on his best days; and too lazy to get up, on his worst.

 

Today is International CFS/ME Day.

That’s a mouthful so, in layman’s terms: millions of people across the world suffer unexplained fatigue, excruciating pain, the stigma of being called ‘lazy’, and are generally considered too idle to work.

Please consider me sticking two fingers up at those who say my husband who, before he became ill, ran his own business, travelled all over sub-Saharan Africa, trained under-14s at football, was a qualified referee who covered as many as five games every Saturday, set up and ran the official MCFC Supporters Club of South Africa and occasionally came home to remind himself of what his family looked like, is lazy and too idle to work.  I don’t buy it.

I don’t know how much you know about ME but here’s a bit of info to get you started:

It has many names, including:

  • Yuppie Flu
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia is similar but not exactly the same, though I can’t really tell you the difference; and I don’t think it matters to those who suffer from these dreadful and debilitating conditions.

It robs you of a meaningful life.

You will spend your time in a haze of pain, exhaustion and prejudice – because ‘you don’t look sick’.  Someone once said to the Hub, ‘I wish I had it; I could do with six months off work.’  Now that person does have it, and it’s been a lot longer than six months.  I don’t gloat over that because I wish nobody had it.

Symptoms vary from person to person.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to diagnose and treat.  It doesn’t help that many in the medical profession don’t believe it exists.  It took two years before the Hub was taken seriously by a doctor.  He would be in bed for weeks.  When he could drag himself to the doctor’s he would invariably be told to ‘take two paracetamol and go to bed.’  One doctor said he needed a psychiatrist.

When a doctor finally did take him seriously, it took many more months for him to be officially diagnosed: the only way to do it was to rule out anything else.  He has had every kind of scan, blood test, whatever, available on the NHS.  They were thorough, but what a waste of money.

Then, once diagnosed, you are left to get on with it because there is no cure.

A few of the symptoms:

  • severe, debilitating and disabling fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • brain fog
  • poor memory
  • useless sleep i.e. you never feel refreshed
  • muscle pain
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • joint pain and inflammation
  • swollen glands
  • sore throat
  • hot sweats
  • cold sweats
  • noise sensitivity
  • light sensitivity
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • too much sleep with no benefit
  • short-lived paralysis
  • numbness
  • twitching muscles
  • tinnitus
  • blackouts
  • depression
  • feeling spaced out
  • mood swings, particularly bad moods
  • nausea
  • IBS
  • lack of temperature control
  • allergies
  • chest pain
  • sinusitis 

This is not a complete list.

Not pleasant, is it?

So, if you know someone with CFS/ME or Fibromyalgia, please don’t take it personally when they cancel a long-standing date or seem fidgety and uncomfortable when you visit.  They simply don’t have the required energy.  If they live alone, offer to help with their shopping, take them to appointments, or anything else they might need.

Be nice.  Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes – you’ll have to do it, because they can’t walk a mile in any shoes.

And be careful yourself: slow down; don’t feel the need to do everything.  Believe me, M.E. can happen to anyone.

*

An apology: I had intended to write a good-humoured piece that would send you on your way with a smile and hopefully leave you thinking a little about this illness.

I couldn’t do it.  The sufferer has all the suffering, but their loved ones have to stand by, helpless, watching as their lives go on hold.  I hate it.

The saddest thing he ever said to me was, ‘I never got to play football with my own children.’

*

Two Useful Links:

If you need help claiming benefits: AfME Fact Sheet

From a convert to the cause: Daily Mail Article

 

When Is M.E. Not a Neurological Condition?

30 Oct

Answer: When it is time for a flu jab.

"The One Ring" from J.R.R. Tolkien's...

“The One Ring” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works (Photo credit: Wikipedia) If only medical reception phones worked like this

Sigh.

The NHS gives free flu jabs every year for those with certain conditions, including pregnancy and anything neurological.  I freely admit the Hub is not pregnant, but he has M.E. which is most definitely a neurological condition.

Unless I try to book his jab, that is.  Every year we go through the same much ado about something important:

Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring [The phone in the doctor's surgery] 

Receptionist: Hello, this is your medical centre speaking.  How may I obstruct you?

Tilly Bud: Hello Beautiful Lady, Keeper of the Appointment Book.  Please may I book a flu jab for my husband if it’s not too much trouble for your Kindly Beautifulness?

Reception [Barks]: Name?

Tilly Polite: The Hub.

Loooooooooong pause.

Recepti [Grunts]: Of number street name?

Tilly Politer: That’s right, O Clever Hoarder of the Surgery Pens.

Recep [Indignant]: He’s not eligible.

Tilly Desperate [Sigh - inaudible to avoid provoking the beast]: We have this discussion every year, dear Starched Muffin of the GPs.  He has M.E., which is a neurological condition.  If you don’t mind checking his record, Lovely Tracker of the Public Toilet Toilet Paper, you will see that he has had the jab every year.

Rec [Reluctant but Dutiful]: I’ll have to speak to the nurse and get back to you. Wait by the phone.  Do not take toilet breaks.  Do not pass/go.  Let your bladder burst and soil your seat before leaving the designated hearing-of-the-ringing-telephone area.  I will make one call only.  No reply from you, and I will disappear from the face of the earth with any possible appointment that may or may not be offered or not offered to your alleged eligible spouse.  Do you understand these conditions as I have explained them to you?  DO YOU?

Tilly Terrified: Yes, O She Who Wields All The Power.  Thank you for your great mercy to this humble supplicant.

R: Don’t mention it.  No, seriously, don’t mention it.  I don’t want the other patients knowing I have a softer side.  [Hangs up]

Tilly waits.

Waits.

And waits.

Still waiting.

Yellow pool starts to rise.

Waits.

What About M.E.?

12 May

Today is M.E. Awareness Day

(That’s only five words, but I was too tired to go on)

I wrote this for last year’s M.E. Awareness Day.  Nothing has changed, so I decided to re-post it as I wrote it.

Today is International CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

That’s a mouthful so, in layman’s terms: millions of people across the world suffer unexplained fatigue, excruciating pain, the stigma of being called ‘lazy bones’, and are generally considered too idle to work.

Please consider me sticking two fingers up at those who say my husband who, before he became ill, ran his own business, travelled all over sub-Saharan Africa, trained under-14s at football, was a qualified referee who covered as many as five games every Saturday, set up and ran the official MCFC Supporters Club of South Africa and occasionally came home to remind himself of what his family looked like, is lazy and too idle to work.  I don’t buy it.

I don’t know how much you know about ME but here’s a bit of info to get you started:

It has many names, including:

  • Yuppie Flu
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia is similar but not exactly the same, though I can’t really tell you the difference; and I don’t think it matters to those who suffer from these dreadful and debilitating conditions.

It robs you of a meaningful life.

You will spend your time in a haze of pain, exhaustion and prejudice – because ‘you don’t look sick’.  Someone once said to the Hub, ‘I wish I had it; I could do with six months off work.’  Now that person does have it, and it’s been a lot longer than six months.  I don’t gloat over that because I wish nobody had it.

Symptoms vary from person to person.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to diagnose and treat.  It doesn’t help that many in the medical profession don’t believe it exists.  It took two years before the Hub was taken seriously by a doctor.  He would be in bed for weeks.  When he could drag himself to the doctor’s he would invariably be told to ‘take two paracetamol and go to bed.’  One doctor said he needed a psychiatrist.

When a doctor finally did take him seriously, it took another six months or more to be officially diagnosed: the only way to do it was to rule out anything else.  He has had every kind of scan, blood test, whatever, available on the NHS.  They were thorough, but what a waste of money.

Then, once diagnosed, you are left to get on with it because there is no cure.

A few of the symptoms:

  • severe, debilitating and disabling fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • brain fog
  • poor memory
  • useless sleep i.e. you never feel refreshed
  • muscle pain
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • joint pain and inflammation
  • swollen glands
  • sore throat
  • hot sweats
  • cold sweats
  • noise sensitivity
  • light sensitivity
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • too much sleep with no benefit
  • short-lived paralysis
  • numbness
  • twitching muscles
  • tinnitus
  • blackouts
  • depression
  • feeling spaced out
  • mood swings, particularly bad moods
  • nausea
  • IBS
  • lack of temperature control
  • allergies
  • chest pain

This is not a complete list.

Not pleasant, is it?

So, if you know someone with CFS/ME or Fibromyalgia, please don’t take it personally when they cancel a long-standing date or seem fidgety and uncomfortable when you visit.  They simply don’t have the required energy.  If they live alone, offer to help with their shopping or anything else they might need.

Be nice.  Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes – you’ll have to do it, because they can’t walk a mile in any shoes.

And be careful: slow down; don’t feel the need to do everything.  Believe me, it can happen to anyone.

*

An apology: I had intended to write a good-humoured piece that would send you on your way with a smile and hopefully leave you thinking a little about this illness.

I couldn’t do it.  The sufferer has all the suffering, but their loved ones have to stand by, helpless, watching as their lives go on hold.  I hate it.

The saddest thing he ever said to me was, ‘I never got to play football with my own children.’

*

*

Unhappy Anniversary

15 Aug
South Africa (orthographic projection)
Image via Wikipedia

Imagine it’s August 2021 – what is your life like?

If ever there was an exercise in futility…. 

On this very day, Fifteenth August, 1996 - fifteen years ago – I arrived back in the UK after fourteen years in South Africa, with two children, two prams, eleven trunks full of stuff I wouldn’t see for eight months, six suitcases, and the expectation that the Hub would follow me and we would have no trouble finding jobs, a home and a happy new life.

The Hub followed me, so that was something.

We found ourselves homeless and jobless; he got sick with CFS/ME; our money ran out; and three of our parents died within eighteen months of each other.  Did you ever stand in a hurricane and wonder how you got there?  Me neither, but I bet I know how it feels.

Work for a better future, definitely; but don’t expect it.  Expectations are a waste of time.  Dreaming is a waste of time.  Live in the now, and make the most of it; be grateful for what you have – a happy marriage; great kids; much laughter; a roof over your head and food, however burnt, on the table.

I’d rather look back on laughter and good times than hope for it to come, because there are no guarantees.

No Smoking Unless You Are On Fire

2 Aug
Teeth

Image by howzey via Flickr

Time for some more searches that found this blog.

Sound Advice

  • no smoking unless you are on fire
  • life is short smile while you still have teeth

For Those Between Bloggers

  • mezzanine levels blogs

People Often Come Here Looking For A Hard-Working Housewife Blog; How Disappointed They Must Be

  • pain stripping housewife
  • housewife tickle
  • a housewifes job are newer done…
  • my name is i am a housewife
  • how to look like a hard worker
  • housewife superhero 

The Search For Tooth

  • big dogs with cheesy smiles
  • good teeth smile
  • homeless people teeth
  • ugly person smiling
  • tooth bathroom

Ewwwww

  • brown stripe on root of wisdom teeth
  • granies sex
  • pet poo cartoon
  • cartoon fart fog

Sigh.  I Totally Get This

  • my hubby thinks im ugly poem
  • ugly wife blog
  • flaky mother

I Totally Don’t Get This

  • ugliest yorkshire terrier
  • gay socks eating
  • temporary poem
  • gay socks and fun
  • sick clocks
  • yoda police
  • womanless rotary
  • frog facebook

Why So Particular?

  • cfs/me in kusadasi

Demonstrating The Value Of Knowing Where The Commas Go

  • old fashioned house,wife rules

Demonstrating The Value Of Using The Correct Tense (And Complete Sentences)

  • cartoons give birth

Should I Be Worried?

  • noah ark 2011
  • free porn tube
  • knickerless women in the street
  • poem for a knickerless lady
  • gave my wife to another man

Thank You

14 May

For your comments offering support and sympathy.  They were appreciated much more than you will ever know.

I will go back to them on blue days.

What About M.E.?

12 May

Today is International CFS/ME and FM Awareness Day.

That’s a mouthful so, in layman’s terms: millions of people across the world suffer unexplained fatigue, excruciating pain, the stigma of being called ‘lazy bones’, and are generally considered too idle to work.

Please consider me sticking two fingers up at those who say my husband who, before he became ill, ran his own business, travelled all over sub-Saharan Africa, trained under-14s at football, was a qualified referee who covered as many as five games every Saturday, set up and ran the official MCFC Supporters Club of South Africa and occasionally came home to remind himself of what his family looked like, is lazy and too idle to work.  I don’t buy it.

I don’t know how much you know about ME but here’s a bit of info to get you started:

It has many names, including:

  • Yuppie Flu
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia is similar but not exactly the same, though I can’t really tell you the difference; and I don’t think it matters to those who suffer from these dreadful and debilitating conditions.

It robs you of a meaningful life.

You will spend your time in a haze of pain, exhaustion and prejudice – because ‘you don’t look sick’.  Someone once said to the Hub, ‘I wish I had it; I could do with six months off work.’  Now that person does have it, and it’s been a lot longer than six months.  I don’t gloat over that because I wish nobody had it.

Symptoms vary from person to person.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to diagnose and treat.  It doesn’t help that many in the medical profession don’t believe it exists.  It took two years before the Hub was taken seriously by a doctor.  He would be in bed for weeks.  When he could drag himself to the doctor’s he would invariably be told to ‘take two paracetamol and go to bed.’  One doctor said he needed a psychiatrist.

When a doctor finally did take him seriously, it took another six months or more to be officially diagnosed: the only way to do it was to rule out anything else.  He has had every kind of scan, blood test, whatever, available on the NHS.  They were thorough, but what a waste of money.

Then, once diagnosed, you are left to get on with it because there is no cure.

A few of the symptoms:

  • severe, debilitating and disabling fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • brain fog
  • poor memory
  • useless sleep i.e. you never feel refreshed
  • muscle pain
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • joint pain and inflammation
  • swollen glands
  • sore throat
  • hot sweats
  • cold sweats
  • noise sensitivity
  • light sensitivity
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • too much sleep with no benefit
  • short-lived paralysis
  • numbness
  • twitching muscles
  • tinnitus
  • blackouts
  • depression
  • feeling spaced out
  • mood swings, particularly bad moods
  • nausea
  • IBS
  • lack of temperature control
  • allergies
  • chest pain

This is not a complete list.

Not pleasant, is it?

So, if you know someone with CFS/ME or Fibromyalgia, please don’t take it personally when they cancel a long-standing date or seem fidgety and uncomfortable when you visit.  They simply don’t have the required energy.  If they live alone, offer to help with their shopping or anything else they might need.

Be nice.  Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes – you’ll have to do it, because they can’t walk a mile in any shoes.

And be careful, slow down, don’t feel the need to do everything.  Believe me, it can happen to anyone.

*

An apology: I had intended to write a good-humoured piece that would send you on your way with a smile and hopefully leave you thinking a little about this illness. 

I couldn’t do it.  The sufferer has all the suffering, but their loved ones have to stand by, helpless, watching as their lives go on hold.  I hate it.

The saddest thing he ever said to me was, ‘I never got to play football with my own children.’

*

*

http://www.afme.org.uk/allaboutme.asp?table=contenttypetwo&id=4

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/understandfibro.htm

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatischronicfatigue/a/understandCFS.htm

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/forfriendsfamily/a/lifeafterfmscfs.htm

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibrofactsheet.htm

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatischronicfatigue/a/cfsfactsheet.htm

A Massive ‘Thank You’ And An Update

16 Mar

What brilliant readers you are!  Thank you all so much for your supportive comments on yesterday’s post.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me.  I sometimes feel like we are living in a vacuum, coping with ill-health, no work, no money, and little support.  I haven’t felt like that today.

Thank you.

I want to address a few issues that arose from the comments. 

I don’t read the Mail; I linked to the article from a Google alert I have set up for all CFS items that appear online.  This particular article was written for their Science & Tech page.  The Telegraph also covered the Skiver app story, but the tone was not so low.

Making a formal complaint: I have to admit, it never occurred to me.  I have strong feelings about the right to free speech and a free press: Ms Rees is entitled to her opinion, however misguided I might think her, or how inconvenient that may be to me.  I had no compunction in availing myself of the right to upbraid her: freedom of speech works both ways. 

The reporter may have been insensitive – it was her ‘Poor you’ after the mention of CFS that so enraged me – but I’m not convinced she broke any guidelines, so I don’t feel I have the right to complain.  I do very much appreciate your indignation, however; and I hope you don’t think I’m letting you down.

What I did do immediately after posting last night was send the link to the MailOnline editor, with a request that s/he forward it to Ms Rees.  I had to laugh; the automated reply came back with this information:

Our Email Support Service is able to provide you with :

Information on CFS/M.E.
Details of local NHS services for CFS/M.E.
Support to help you cope with the illness
Support for carers

I also sent the Mail link to Action for M.E., a charity campaigning for better recognition of the condition.  They had this to say:

Like you, we took serious issue with the reports in yesterday’s media that make light of the ‘Skiver’ app encouraging people to use CFS/M.E. as an excuse to take days off sick.
 
We wrote to the Daily Mail and the Telegraph expressing our concern. We also wrote to the makers of the app itself, who have been in touch to apologise. You can read about this here: http://www.afme.org.uk/news.asp?newsid=1079

I was pleased to note that they had acted so quickly.  You can read the whole article at the above link but here’s the important bit:

A senior Gospelware representative has replied, saying:
 
“Please accept my sincere apologies if we upset or offended you or your members in any way. The app was meant to be a bit of fun, and from feedback I now realise that we got it totally wrong in using CFS in this case.

It hadn’t occurred to me to complain to the app maker for trivialising CFS, so I’m glad to know the people at AfME are on the ball.

I haven’t had a response yet from Gwyneth Rees; if I do hear anything, I will let you know.

Once again I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone for your support; it means much more than you will ever know.

An Open Letter To Gwyneth Rees, MailOnline Reporter

15 Mar

I am furious.

My husband has severe CFS/ME, and has had it since 1996.  I read your article in MailOnline.  You, Gwyneth Rees, gleefully suggest that your readers should use the new Skiver app to come up with a suitable illness to get a day off work:

You could just have a one-day migraine, for instance, or you may be struck down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, accompanied by severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck and sore throat. Poor you.

I get that it is a light-hearted piece but it is inappropriate and insensitive to CFS sufferers – and they do suffer, believe me; I see it every day, pain etched into my husband’s face.  Try substituting Cancer/Multiple Sclerosis/AIDS for CFS in that quote, and see how many cheap laughs you get.  (And before you accuse me of being as flippant as you, a random search for ‘List of chronic illnesses’ threw up all of those and CFS, every time.)

I wonder how many migraine sufferers find your comment amusing?  Incidentally, migraine is one of the many symptoms CFS patients have to deal with.  Try having that on top of arthralgia, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, dizziness, nausea, sleep of such poor quality that all it gives is a respite from the daily grind of simply existing, and, of course, fatigue, which is not simply a case of feeling over-tired after a busy day, but prevents you from getting out of bed on your worst days and gives you an hour on your best day, if you’re lucky, in which to do the thousand things your brain wants to do – because there’s nothing wrong with your mind – but of which your body is incapable.

This is not a comprehensive list of CFS symptoms, by the way; merely the most prevalent in my husband’s case.  Every sufferer is different. 

Your article was crass and irresponsible and you bring shame on your profession.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1366372/Skiver-How-phone-help-skip-work.html

The Laughing Housewife And A Cast Of Minions Proudly Presents: Who-He?

3 Feb
Toilet Paper Roll

Image via Wikipedia

Something that keeps coming up lately is back history: when I’m new to a blog I like to know something about the writer, such as age, family, hair colour, bank details.  The usual stuff.  Many blogs have running gags or themes; many writers have history that it’s necessary to know in order to fully enjoy what I’m reading so, prompted by Cin (not ‘sin’; I’m a good girl, I am.  Cin left a comment the other day about just this thing), here’s the story so far. 

Once done, I’m going to have a bash at making another blog page where this info will be stored.  Wish me luck and if you never hear from me again, know that technology finally killed me and I love you all, each and every one of my dear readers (that’s you, Tory Boy; and Robert).

The Laughing Housewife

That’s me.  In my late forties at the moment (how did that happen?).  Born in the capital of Ireland (Liverpool); grew up in Wallasey and Runcorn.  Emigrated most reluctantly with my family to South Africa at age eighteen.  You can read all about that at my other blog South Africa – A Love/Hate Story.  Don’t expect funny though; I wasn’t a laughing teenager.  It’s mostly poetry and angst and angst-ridden poetry: you think Spiderman was miserable?  Meet me.

I lived there fourteen years and came back to the UK in 1996.  I’ve got a degree in Literature from the Open University.  I’m married to:

The Hub

He’s from the capital of Crimeland (Wythenshawe, Manchester) but spent three years at my school in Runcorn, where we didn’t meet.  He lived in South Africa for eight years; had three years back in the UK; and then went back to South Africa in 1981.  We met in a car park in a tiny dorp in the middle of nowhere.  Ain’t life strange? 

We were engaged after three months and married three years later.  It’s lasted twenty-five years so far but I figure, if the three motif recurs, one of us will be free in eight years’ time.  Or even five, because we will have been together thirty-three years in 2008.  You maths wizards out there might be scratching your pencils right now but factor in that we married in the middle of a year and that you really don’t need to care about this stuff, and just take my word for it.

We fight a lot.  Squabble, really.  All day long.  Who said what to whom about when and why and where.  Stupid stuff, but we are both easily irritated; and irritating.  I hang onto him because he fixes the computer and even does it without moaning if it wasn’t me who broke it.  He moans a lot.  What I really love about him, though, is his ability to put down the toilet seat and replace the toilet roll.  Things like that matter after twenty-eight years.  He is forever leaving love notes for me and being romantic, but I try not to mind.  I must have not minded it at least twice, because we have two children:

Tory Boy

Born in Johannesburg, he is the first fruit of my loins and Conservative Prime Minister-in-Waiting.  Currently in his last year at Lancaster University, where he’s studying Politics & Philosophy.  That’s kind of our fault: the Hub was telling him while he was still in my womb that he was going to university.  The Hub and I are great believers in getting an education and thinking for yourself and all that junk. 

Tory Boy spent his whole life listening to his parents argue about politics and issues of the day and who put the toilet roll tube in the wrong recycling box, so I suppose a career in politics was inevitable, given his megalomaniac tendencies: the first thing he’s going to do when he takes over the world is send all the teachers to Antarctica and put the toilet roll tube wherever he feels like.  There should have been a swear word-well in that last sentence [put the toilet roll tube wherever he swear word-well feels like] but he’s scared of his father and respects his mother so there isn’t.  He’s also a good big brother to:

Spud Bud

Like Princess Diana, I, too, have an heir and spare.  He was born in Alberton, South Africa and cost us a fortune because we didn’t have medical aid at that point and it wasn’t a natural birth.  It would have been cheaper to adopt.  Still, we decided to hang on to him.  Well, he’s family.  He worked out as a good deal in the end because he’s on a full bursary at an excellent grammar school here in Stockport, where we now reside.

Stockport

Features a lot.  As does the Viaduct, the railway station and the Stockport Express.  

Toby & Molly

Our dogs and the cutest Yorkies on the planet.  We have a fish tank and thirteen fish, four shrimp and two butterfly loaches.  Until recently, we also had gerbils.

Also, you will find that a lot of dead pet references tend to appear in this blog.  Pay attention because I may set a test at any time.  We have three cats and seven gerbils buried in our garden (my brother says we are on the RSPCA’s hit list).  We loved them all, but the Hub is daftly ridiculous about animals.

Neighbours

There are only two that I mention with any frequency:

The Boy Nik

An ex-addict who isn’t really a boy but talks and acts like one, and who I first met when he knocked on my door just before one Christmas to ask me to phone the nearest prison so he could visit his mate; and who has never stopped knocking since, for a hammer, a bin bag, a spade…umm, I’ve just made a connection here.  I’ll get back to you on this one.

Next Door

Housewife whose husband works away and who spends all her time hammering nails into our shared wall.  I think she’s building a secret extension in my lounge.

A Few Important Facts

Necessary for comprehension.

  • Maltesers – probably the single-most important influence in my life.  No Maltesers for Christmas sets the tone for the following excruciating (for my family) year.
  • The hub has severe CFS/ME and a host of other ailments which means he spends all his time in pain and a lot of time unable to do stuff; and by ‘stuff’ I mean if he takes a shower then that’s it for his day. 
  • As a result of his illness he hasn’t been able to work for many years.  He became ill when I had a baby and six-year old on my hands.  Before he learned to manage his CFS he would spend weeks in bed, unable to get up, so we ended up on benefits once our money ran out.  It’s one of the reasons I got my degree, so I could go back to work once the boys were old enough.  That plan didn’t work out so well because I graduated at the height of the recession.  Timing is everything.
  • Christmas and Maltesers must be done to excess; everything else is showing off.
  • We live in a council house on a council estate.  Expect a lot of posts about crime.
  • Poetry – I write it.  Deal with it.  Or ignore it, if you like: this is the internet, after all; how would I know whether you read my poems or not?
  • I’m not soppy.  Mush embarrasses me.  What can I say?  I’m British.  I’m so un-soppy that I even have a special category – ‘Feeling Sentimental’ (see right under ‘Category Cloud’) – for days when the hormones take over and a nice thought bursts out.
  • I make up words.  Did you spot the one under ‘Toby & Molly’?  I figure if Shakespeare could do it, so could I.  Pity I don’t have my own theatre in which to try them out, but them’s the breaks. 
  • My motto: you can never have too many Maltesers (the roof of your mouth is raw from eating seven boxes on Christmas Day?  Suck it up, you wimp!)
  • 

And Finally…God

I’m a Christian – I know, incredible, isn’t it?  I wouldn’t have believed it if I’d been reading me, either.  I have a strong and enduring faith, but that’s not what this blog is about.  This blog is about poking fun at life: if something funny happens in church, you’ll hear about it; but otherwise, no preaching.

On the strong and enduring faith bit: the Hub reckons if it was that strong I wouldn’t have married what he calls an ‘agnostic’ and I call ‘a rabid atheist’.  The Hub is really annoying sometimes.  We have learned not to argue about religion (much), but everything else is on the table.  Unless he feels like winding me up and we fall out over the monarchy (he’s against it) and I swear I really am killing or leaving him this time.

Happy reading!

Writer’s Island: Clarity

22 Jan

This week’s prompt from Writer’s Island immediately made me think of the Johnny Nash song, I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone.  Then I thought it would be a great song to sing if the Hub was one day miraculously cured of his CFS/ME.  This is the quickest I’ve ever written from a prompt; but it’s easy when the words are already there for you.

An M.E.Pastiche In Anticipation Of The Great Day When Doctors Find A Cure (with apologies to Johnny Nash)

I can see clearly now the pain has gone
I’ll no longer fall over obstacles in my way
Gone are the migraines that had me blind
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day
I know I can walk straight now the pain has gone
All of the inflammation has disappeared
Here is the energy I’ve been praying for
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day
Look at me now
There’s nothing but big smiles
Look straight at me, no pain in my eyes
I know I can live again, the pain has gone
All of the dreadful pain has disappeared
I can see clearly now the pain has gone
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day
It’s going to be a great, great, great pain-free day

The original lyrics:

I can see clearly now the rain has gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day
I think I can make it now the pain has gone
And all of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
Look all around
There’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead nothing but blue skies
I think I can make it now the pain has gone
And all of the bad feelings have disappeared
I can see clearly now the rain has gone
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day

Merry Christmas Eve

24 Dec

Apologies for the intermittent nature of my posts this week; you know what it’s like in the run-up to Christmas: shopping, visits out, glasses of wine to drink, visits to us, glasses of wine to drink, turkey defrost calcualtions to maik, glashes of wine to drink, visits to the ductor, washes of gline, preshunts to exshange, clashes of wane to dunk, whine….

*

The Hub made apple and meat pies yesterday.  Um, let me rephrase that: the Hub made two apple pies and two meat pies and one apple & mango pie, and fifteen large sausage rolls with proper sausages (it should have been sixteen but I stole a sausage when he wasn’t looking).  The Hub was in bed for six o’clock.  He over-estimated his energy level and the time it would take to bake.  Never mind: the CFS might do for him but at least we’ll eat well.

We will have one of the meat pies for tonight’s dinner.  We didn’t have it last night because I had prepared chicken stoup in my slow cooker.  Chicken stoup is what I call it because I’m not certain if it was stew or soup.  Whatever: it tasted good; who cares what it looked like?

*

You will notice the absence of photos on my blog today: I was going to post a picture of the Incredible Bearded Baby but the computer had a hissy fit and refused to play with me.  When the Hub wakes up, I’ll kick him downstairs to come and sort it out.

The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems was to say what you want.  I want to have some serious writing time, but that’s not happening this week, so here’s a senryu I got as a result of two spare minutes in the bathroom:

*

What I Want

I want my husband
to be well again.  I want
him to play football

with his children.  I
want our lives back: say what you
want, I don’t aim low.

*

But that was too grim so I had fun instead:

*

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Beauty Queen: I want world peace

Megalomaniac: I want the world, piece by piece

*

I had planned to write a load more (Old-Fashioned Pudding: I want pease) but I had baking to supervise (i.e. clean up after) so I’ll come back to it in the New Year.

*

If you want to know in seventeen syllables who will rule the world after a nuclear holocaust, go to my other blog.

*

Sorry if this post is somewhat downbeat for the season, but today is the tenth anniversary of my darling Dad’s death.  He was 64 and lung cancer brought on by lifelong smoking killed him.

He was a funny man, always joking.  I miss him.  I would post a photo if this stupid computer wasn’t sulking.

*

That’s enough gloom for today.  Our plans are: a lot of cleaning (me, delegating to Spud); a lot of cooking (turkey & gammon are sizzling in the oven right now); a visit to the cemetery followed by a walk (me, husband, dogs, youngest son); a lot of nail-biting (me: will Tory Boy’s train get through in time?); and a glash or tree of Bick’s Fuzz.

Merry Christmas to you all, or any other holiday you might be celebrating.

Thank you for making my blogging year a successful one!

 

The Odd Couple

5 Nov

We have had almost non-stop rain for three days now, and for three days it has been difficult to walk the dogs.  My dogs love walks but hate rain.  They ran to greet the Hub at the front door the other day.  When I opened it, they hurtled out, then hurtled right back in again, like a cartoon character running off a cliff.

It rained and rained and rained and rained and rained yesterday, and was as tedious as this sentence.  By nine o’clock I was in my pyjamas because I knew there was no hope of a walk for them.  At ten, Molly, who doesn’t even like to go in the garden to do her business on dry days, was crossing her legs and hopping on the spot. 

I opened the back door to force her out and noticed it had stopped raining.  Such joy!  It was like the moment in Abergele the Hub told us we could give up camping. 

The Hub’s CFS/ME gives him temperature issues.  That’s how we found ourselves in the middle of the night in a November Stockport street: him in summer shorts and loose sweater; me in trainers and an ankle-length winter coat over my pyjamas, walking two frisky dogs.

The Hub shushed me as I said, ‘I’ve never been out at night in my pyjamas.’  ‘Shush!  Everyone will know you’re a Scouser.’  ‘I hope no-one sees us,’ I said, just as the packed 309 bus passed us, with every passenger on our side of the street doing a double-take.

Of course, the real issue is: how do you see a dog poo in the dark?

 

Well That’s A Relief; Now What?

6 Oct
Peripheral blood film of a patient with iron d...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Good news, sort of: there is no sign of cancer in the Hub (though they didn’t look at his soul; I don’t think they have a camera for that).  They biopsied a polyp but they tell us that’s routine.  However, if no news is good news, it’s still no news; there’s no explanation yet for the Hub’s anaemia.  He will be called back for a discussion at some point and he just has to keep taking the iron tablets. 

It was a long day yesterday.  The Hub was to be given a sedative and had to be accompanied home afterwards; I don’t drive so we had to get a taxi to the hospital: two buses and a fair bit of walking are two buses and a fair bit of walking too much for the Hub at the moment.  He’s not breathing well – a combination of the anaemia and a chest infection; his pallor gives the word ‘grey’ a bad name; he is in more pain than usual because he had to come off the anti-inflammatories; and he has the ongoing CFS/ME, of course.  He is one sorry little puppy.  He’s so unwell, we haven’t had an argument in days; never thought there’d be a day when I missed his pig-headed shouty view of the world; but I do. 

 

Still, enough about him.  I had a horrible day too, but nobody wipes my brow.  While I waited for him, I had to read two books and the paper, drink tea, eat crisps and chocolate and sit on a chair deemed too cruel for use by the Spanish Inquisition.  That was a long three-and-a-half-hours.  Well, it would have been, if I hadn’t had two books, the paper and lots of snacks to keep me going.  Why don’t hospitals add a library or a tv room or something for family & friends?  Even a comfortable chair would help.  But no, it’s all spend the money on the patients; look after the patients; make the patients comfortable while they wait two hours for their procedure. 

We arrived twenty minutes early, so that bit was our fault.  They took him in early and made him wait over two hours, so that was their fault.  They prodded and questioned before the Big Probe and gave him paper boxers to wear under a girly gown.  You check in your dignity along with your valuables when you go into hospital; luckily for the Hub, he’s used to that, appearing in my blog every day.  He said they pumped him full of air and he lay in a ward at some point, having a fart-off with the other testees.  He swears he did one four minutes-long.  At last I have competition!  

 

Pardon my vulgarity; I was not brought up that way, as Rizzo would say that Sandra Dee would say.  Of Irish Catholic descent, I come from what my mother called the capital of Ireland, Liverpool; and we are a refined lot.  We always say ‘please’ when we ask for your wallet and jewellery; and we never steal your tyres without resting your car on even piles of bricks.   

 

It must be the Mancunian rubbing off on me after all these years, though I don’t think it does take years: Tarik the taxi driver, who told us he hasn’t been here that long, had a fund of horror stories to share about his life in Levenshulme; most of which seemed to involve being on his break and eating pizzas and kebabs while he watched young men knock out their drug addict girlfriends and youths insult grannies and generally behave in an anti-social but all-too Mancunian manner. 

The taxi driver going home was Stockport-born and bred, but he talked just as much.  So much, in fact, that he forgot to turn on his meter until we were halfway home, and had to ask us how much he should charge.  I gave him a decent tip.  I wouldn’t have normally, what with being Scouse and knowing the value of a penny; but my husband had just been told he was cancer-free and I was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, if I can just rile the Hub so he yells at me, we’ll all be happy. 

* 

The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems is What’s for dinner?  I haven’t been in the mood to write poetry this week, so I dug up some old ones on the same theme. 

A Recipe For Torture 

Starter: 

Too many cooks
Not enough broth
 

Main Course: 

Four planes
Dead thousands
One paralysed nation
 

Stir until hatred reaches a peak. 

Desserts: 

One concrete cell
One bucket of water
Two bare feet
A dash of electricity
 

Throw together and watch carefully
as your suspect surges the walls.
Look on in satisfaction.
Extract information.
Discard waste.
 

Please note: No guarantees can be given that
following this recipe will produce the desired results.
 

  

* 

Recipe for Contentment  

Ingredients: food,
good film, children home, husband,
dog.  Mix well.  Relax.
 

* 

How To Bake A Cake  

With care and good scales
or you’ll fail.
You’ll burn it;
flop it; scrape
it off the
plate and pop
it in the bin,
   to your children’s accompanying wails.
 

  

I Won’t Dance; Don’t Ask Me

18 Sep

Thanks to my sisinlawann for sending me this link:

Despite his recently diagnosed restless legs, the Hub can’t dance any more.  The Hub can barely walk downstairs any more without being out of breath.  We thought it was the CFS/ME but when he went to the doctor about his legs she had him take a blood sample.  Turns out he’s anaemic.  It’s quite rare in men so he has to go to the hospital for an invasion.*

*The Hub swears she said ‘examination’ but from the disgusting things they might possibly be doing to him, ‘invasion’ sounds nearer the mark.

The silver lining to all this, of course, is that at least it’s him and not me.  I can’t put a large forkful of food in my mouth without gagging; it’s why I don’t eat trifle.

The Hub won’t be doing this any time soon (though he will probably manage the first bit of the video):

I used to love dancing.  I can tap dance, and I have three certificates and a bronze medal to prove it.  I also have scarring on my arm: as a child, I swung round and round in dancing joy and accidentally clocked the dog and he bit me.

Um, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration for dramatic effect: our aged golden labrador, Bruce, happened to be yawning as I span spun spinned whirled around and my arm went in his mouth and he licked me.  I shouldn’t malign that beautiful old dog; he was so gentle, the budgie would land on his head and peck him and he would run under the couch to get away from it.

This isn’t him:

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