Sunday, 4 January 2009

Belated Christmas and New Year greetings (plus catch-up!)

Oh dear. This isn’t very good is it, sending such a late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year message? But I have been thinking these things and, so often, wanted to stop and write you a post. It’s just that the whole of December (and now, beginning of January) was filled with horrible things (well, except Christmas, of course, which is, by definition, beautiful) to contend with; and I’ve only just got back any impetus to construct, rather than allow destruction. Which is what’s been going on.

So no, I haven’t been writing my magnum opus; not been climbing mountains for physio.! And, if you don’t want to hear about doom and gloom, you’d better stop reading. Because that’s how it might come across, even if I don’t feel it now.

And I do wish you all a very happy, what’s-left-of, Christmas and, most of all, peaceful New Year.

I’ve just realised how short the time is with the “twelve days of Christmas” being over on 6th January (‘inst.’!) so I think for brevity’s sake, a list is in order (which, anyway, will stop me dwelling and probably be easier for you!). Not good but here goes…

NB Bear in mind, still no word from Social Services (SS)!

- First week of December, Tom goes away for three days (somebody’s gig at Butlins, Minehead [can’t imagine anything worse, personally!]). Very difficult. Almost impossible for legs, etc. Fatigue, miserable. Didn’t speak to anyone till third night, then church friend. Brother B. – who I didn’t want to beg – apparently got impression I wanted to see if I could do it alone (no, that was last year B., things have got worse since then!).

- Lucy, very good. Had been giving her human dairy-free probiotics, now trying fancy, with herbs, designed-for-dogs culture. Seems to be going well. Also found an ear powder, highly recommended by groomers, etc. for itchy ears (mites?). So far, so much better. (Powder called “Thornit”.)

- I got into studying astronomy online. To help with my sci-fi novel! By the end of the third day I had applied to do a postgraduate certificate in science (astronomy) which could lead to an MSc if you wanted it, c/o a university in Australia. (This is the kind of thing I get up to when I’m left alone – I get so bored!) Never good at science; maths are anathema to me; don’t usually like sci-fi, but, heck, this astronomy’s fascinating (to know more of God’s fantastic creation) and I can always learn.

- Tom returns and brings with him that awful ‘flu virus that was going round. Bad chest infection. Keep away from MSers. But Virginia needs help – she’s practically immobile now. Tough, it’s either the ‘flu or no one. For a few hours then, please stick around.

- T. goes to work next day but by evening very ill. V., knowing it’s dangerous (see piece on respiratory problems in MS – My Scene), tells T. he cannot stay with her. He protests that it’s too cold at his friend’s house, he must stay. Maternal love clashes with MS common sense. If only he hadn’t left (last time he went, also got ill – same thing!). If only he still took herbs (the legal ones!). He is ill and bad-tempered.

- Five days after T’s come back and stayed, he is well again. Just as V. is starting to go down! No matter, T. is ready to party and he’s more-or-less gone, regardless.

- Right, enough of the third person!… So, there I was, as if hit by a ten-ton truck, feeling wiped out and with every MS symptom tortured and crying for relief. And there T. was, out the door (work and social life). Social Services? Might as well be non-existent – nothing, no news, no new social worker. In desperation, following one hard and sleepless night, I decided the only place I’d get the help I needed was in a care home (shows how ill I was!). So I rang the MS Nurse. And, oh dear, I wish I hadn’t now, because it’s a few weeks later, the ‘flu has long been better (nothing but herbs dear Nurse, who thought I might need anti-biotics!) and the hornets’ nest of SS has only just come to life, driving me crazy with buzzing activity and wanting to start everything again (assessment etc.). Sting, sting, sting. Every time we speak, there’s some mix-up or someone gets something wrong – or doesn’t get it at all – there’s always a sting! I want to run away.

- Good news though, just after I fell victim to T’s virus; and a huge surprise: I was accepted onto the (online) Graduate Certificate in Science (Astronomy) course. Wow! I was thrilled to bits. But slightly bothered by a nagging lack of confidence in my abilities (I really am hopeless at maths - they make me cry!) However, what an honour (Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia). I decided I would work like mad – with help from brother Blob who is good at maths and science - and do as well as I could. I was excited. And still would be but, unfortunately, things have continued to go wrong. I didn’t think I could get organised in time to start in March, so have now said I’ll do the short six-week course this year and prepare for the big one, to begin 2010! Well, there’s optimism again. But the truth is really, of course, I just want to get on with my writing. That’s what’s most important. We’ll see, I’m still loving astronomy.

- And then, I think, we came up to beautiful Chrismas. T. was full of plans (as you know he loves cooking) and he planned lots of fabulous meals. (There was no doubt that he would stay here – we always said we’d be together at Christmas, wherever we were in life.) SS could be put on hold, most workmen would be on holiday (in other words, hopefully no building noise!), the neighbours here have always been good (unlike the last place), so I was looking forward to a good rest – I still felt weak from the illness. But, then again, it was the first year T. hadn’t made sure we had a religious Advent calendar, so things didn’t actually bode well. I should have known… And, although they started pleasantly enough (Christmas Eve and Day), come Boxing Day it did all gravitate downhill.

- Not only has poor T. been unhappy with all his trying to help me (and, with MS, the “job” never being done) which he lets show now, but Lucy started to attack me! Really. Hurtling out of her igloo-bed every time I moved to try to stand up or even ease a pressure sore, and, especially, if I raised my voice. Well, heck, isn’t that par-for-the-course with this wretched brain-damage (emotional lability) disease? To say nothing of T’s enjoying “winding me up”! I thought she was used to it (after all, I’m the one she comes to when she needs to relax – the one who’s actually calmest!) It didn’t make any sense. But we knew it started when she was lying in T’s room with him on the bed – “possessing” (as in “owning”) him. Was it only when he was here then? Oh, if only, but no. Sadly she has done it a few times when we’ve been alone.

- There’s no doubt about it, if she’d been an alsation or - perish the thought - a rottweiler, she’d have been put down. I could feel her razor-teeth through my slippers. We were going to take her to Battersea (though T., it has to be said, didn’t get quite as upset as me [or, as he should?] when she did this). Yet we kept giving her more chances. Decided it might be the sugar, which as liquorice and dextrose, was in the new probiotic, and took her off it. Maybe getting her spayed would be the answer? But then we read about this sometimes happening with poodles at this age, and, honestly, since Christmas Eve she’s only not attacked me one day – yesterday. Tonight she has and, apart from her, I’m physically alone. So I’m very upset.

- To add to all this (and I admit I’ve held back on some), I’ve nearly fallen down a few times recently (did I tell you about when I did, a couple of years ago and an ambulance crew had to come and pick me up – can’t get up alone, not strong enough?!). Hmm, perhaps Lucy picks up (nice pun!) on this and is therefore, insecure?!

One of the neighbours at our last address was a plump Italian woman who sang beautiful arias. Do you think she’s singing now?

That’s it. But, P.S. I’m sorry the ‘list’ idea went awry. (Just seems like a load of badly spaced, short sentences now)… Oh dear!