Planning Convalescence

So my dears, just a quick note to say I am under the knife today so may be out of circulation for a little while. There is a YouTube link at the end to keep you happy while I am away.

I am hoping to get back to you soon though, and will be composing posts and thinking of you as I lie in bed – medication permitting. Actually some of the posts composed in that situation might be considerably more entertaining than my usual output.

I’m expecting George Clooney to drop by, of course, along with a convoluted and highly improbable storyline, and implausibly attractive nursing staff.

One of the things I have planned for my convalescence is watching my box set of “Due South”. I treated myself in the sales, and am looking forward to a few days on the sofa in the company of a mountie and his deaf wolf. I did watch an episode the other night because I am intolerant of delay, and Constable Fraser spotted a fake nurse because she had high heels and long, painted nails, neither of which were practical for the profession. I am not clear what he would make of some of the TV programmes which purport to represent life at the cutting edge.

If I become tired of Fraser and Diefenbaker (unlikely, but you never know) I have done my Project Manager best by establishing a contingency plan. The risk is low, but if needed, I have Dexter lined up as an antidote to cheerful television.  In fact, the chances are I will alternate anyway because Dexter is also great fun in a more macabre way. I have read the first three books, and seen series 1, so there’s plenty to look forward to. I admit I prefer the books because you are right inside Dexter’s head, bemused by the world, and witty to boot.

My third option for televisual entertainment is finishing off watching Monkey!

I, too, will be irrepressible!

Namaste.

 

Santa made me cry

Saturday night in front of the telly and my evening’s viewing was disrupted by a noise outside. I put my glass of wine down carefully and tweaked back the curtain. It was the Lions’ Christmas float, cautiously inching past the cars on the bend in the lane and blaring out carols while people in high-vis vests ran about with buckets to collect money. There were lights and music and cheery greetings, and goodness me, there was Father Christmas, taking time out from his busy schedule to parade through our hamlet. The elves must have everything under control back at base while the wily old gent scouts out the terrain ahead of the Big Night. Mind you, the elves are pretty experienced and the wily old gent has been doing the rounds on floats for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes he sub-contracted.

If you are a big devotee of Father Christmas and write him imploring letters every year, do not read further. It may be distressing. If you are not sure what to do, check with your mum or dad and take their advice.

Meanwhile, all I can tell you is one of the sub-contractors was my own dear papa, and in fact this is why as a child I never believed in Father Christmas (although I do believe, perhaps more foolishly and childishly, in peace on earth and that Christmas tree smell; my eyes are still full of tinsel and fire).

Rotary Float in 1967

My Dad was the local Rotary Club’s Santa. His costume would be hanging up to dry in the kitchen throughout December and I knew that Dad was all there was (it was more than enough) and other kids were deluded. I didn’t tell anyone though; it would have been unkind.

So he would go out on the float at night, and when I was a little older I was allowed to go too and help with the collections. I always got a good haul because people were sentimental about a small child lisping her way through the spiel about raising money for the poor and elderly of the locality. It also meant I got to go on the annual coach trip to the seaside with the old dears, who spoilt me thoroughly with toffees and boiled sweets.

me as santaI even wore the costume on Christmas Day to hand out the presents.

It might help to explain what happened when I saw the float on Saturday if I tell you a bit about my week, or rather my Thursday. Recently the nurses found that my mother’s blood tests were indicating a lack of iron. As she has a good and varied diet the doctor decided she was bleeding internally, although he didn’t know why. She seemed well and was eating and drinking without problems. So we stopped her anti-coagulants, which would be exacerbating any bleed, and waited a bit. Her blood results have been improving steadily so she is no longer bleeding. Excellent news.

Except she is no longer taking her anti-coagulants, which means she is at increased risk of stroke and as she has vascular dementia, at increased risk of more vascular incidents which will further melt her brain.

The doctor and I talked it all through on Thursday. The bleed may have been a temporary problem highlighted by the anti-coagulants thinning her blood; it may be caused by some disease of the bowel; or it may be bowel cancer.  To find out would require difficult, uncomfortable and potentially inconclusive investigations, which she would find inexplicable and terrifying because she can’t understand what is going on. Even if they found the cause, which is not guaranteed, we would then be faced with a decision around whether she is strong enough to take any treatment, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery. She isn’t, and even if she were, the trauma could be either damaging or fatal by stressing her too far.

So I decided we would let her alone. We’ll restart the anti-coagulants when her blood tests indicate she is back to normal, hoping she doesn’t have a stroke or vascular incident in the meantime (it should only be a couple of weeks). If her blood tests then get worse again, we will have to decide whether to risk stopping them or not.

So it had been a stressful Thursday.

There I was 48 hours later looking at a Christmas float pass by and waving to Santa, who waved back and boomed out a “Merry Christmas!” and I fell apart at the gate, in the dark and cold, where no one could see.

Because last year my mother saw the float and we remembered how Dad used to be Santa. She cannot now.

Because I wanted my dad here to help me. He cannot now.

Because whatever the blood tests tell us, nothing will be good or beautiful or gentle. Yet I must choose.

So I cried silent self-pity in the dark and cold where no one could see, then wiped my eyes and went back into the warm house and sat with Sigoth by the fire.

Because I have joy as well as sadness.

On Joy & Sorrow

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Namaste.

Addiction with EBL

Humans see pattern everywhere, even when they don’t really exist. Usually there is no pattern, just coincidence. Sometimes the patterns collapse into meaning.

I am not prepared to say whether my experience this week was coincidence or some kind of spooky world consciousness kind of thing. I was feeling frazzled. I was tired and a little worried that by agreeing to take on a project on top of my existing workload (which is already out of control), I was losing the battle with my over-active God-complex.  I was open to a new way of looking at things.

I agreed to take on a project that is in an almost desperate state. One that is likely to fail. One that could be damaging to my mental equilibrium. I agreed to work extra hours instead of reducing the time built up during last year’s marathon effort delivering a major OJEU tender and system migration to unreasonable timescales. Yes, I agreed to take on a Death March Project.

I can’t resist being told that no one else can do it, that no one else has the skills / experience  / capability. How stupid am I? I bet you never knew people fell for that line of nonsense.

“EBL saves the world again!” scream the headlines. “Without her we would all be lost!”

It’s official. I am insane. But there are those words: almost, likely to, could be. I grew up watching too many superhero cartoons.

I got back home after being away for a hectic week at work, and decided to relax by catching up on some blog posts. First of all I found that Rohan7Things was expounding wisely on self-discipline and Internet use.

“That’s good stuff,” I thought, frittering time away by using the Internet. “That’s what I need to do – after all, I have cut back on my blogging, so that’s all good. Hah, this stuff is easy!”

Who am I kidding? How deluded can I be? Pretty deluded it seems.

Next I read Rarasaur, who fell off a wagon. Even the mighty Dino of the Blogosphere, the Blogosaurus herself, has limits. Who knew?

I looked at my life. It snarled at me.

There I was thinking I was doing well because I resigned from Governors. Already I have been told I am about to be asked to pick up some jobs at our local Quaker meeting, and already, without knowing what they are, I know I will say yes.

My reasoning is this: all work and no play makes EBL a dull girl. If all I do is work, then I don’t enjoy my life. I need to be involved in activities outside work for balance. So it’s good to take on those jobs, right?

We-e-e-llllll….

Let’s say a friend has given up some voluntary work because it was too demanding and she had been doing it for nine years and felt stale and tired and wanted a break. This is all hypothetical, you understand. This friend has a fairly busy job and is often away from home. She works quite long hours, although not excessive hours like junior doctors. No more than 50 a week. Quite reasonable really; usually only 45 in fact. Civilised hours.

Now she has been asked to take on a trusteeship and another role in her community, on top of her other voluntary commitments for fundraising.

Did I mention she is also a carer? Well, she is.

Then there is her desire to pursue, in a completely selfish manner, some trivial hobbies for her own amusement. She had a rota for those but it has fallen apart recently.

She has just agreed to take on a Death March Project.

I have to admit that looking at it, it doesn’t sound so clever. Even so, I suspect I will still say yes.

My father died of stress in his sixties. I need to take that seriously.

But I will still say yes.

Only the good die young. What’s the point in living longer if you do nothing with the time?

Perhaps the first step to dealing with addiction is to recognise the problem and admit to being powerless over it. What I need is a Twelve Step Programme for Workaholism, like this one here. I scored 15 / 20 on the test, which is a bit scary.

So that’s another project to do – dealing with it.

How common is this, and is it because of the period of change our societies are going through? Or am I just a hopeless case?

Namaste.

 

What I did on my holidays

Did you miss me? I know, I know, but I’m very proud of how you coped without me, and I’m back now.

Lindisfarne Abbey

I went on a little holiday, a few days up north on the Northumbria coast just opposite Lindisfarne. It’s one of my favourite places and we had a wonderful rest. We forswore the Internet for five whole days. Somehow when I got back home I found I didn’t want to go back on-line. The thought of all the blogs and emails and news and social feeds and stuff was just too much.

Sigoth felt similarly so we decided to spend more time de-cluttering when we got home and have made many trips to the dump and to charity shops with our un-necessities. I even resigned from Governors. We feel like we are entering a new phase of our lives; it’s an age thing I suppose.

In any case, here in the northern hemisphere the world is turning its face to the sun and the evenings are filled with light until bedtime and the birds are up and shouting outside my window before 4 am. In those circumstances my mood changes and I want to be doing different things, or perhaps similar things differently.

Does that happen to you? In the summer I like to work more with my hands. Even though it’s hotter (well, a bit; this is England after all) I still want to knit. Fortunately I seem to have numerous young colleagues procreating so baby items are the order of the day. I take the camera out and about to photograph yet more trees and fields and birds, fuzzily and with a tendency to a slope down on the right.  I bake scones for Sunday tea in the garden.

In the winter I read and write and spend time on-line. I knit still, blankets and chunky jumpers. It’s all about cosying up in front of the fire with the lights on as the sun teases me with a quick game of peek-a-boo for a few minutes around lunchtime, then goes off to play with the more popular clouds in the South. If it’s not too cold I take photos of frost on spider webs, or the snowy lane. I make soup and casseroles.

This summer the Internet just felt winterish. I can’t explain it any other way. So I took extended leave and did the other things for a few more weeks. Today I have spent a larger than usual amount of time reflecting on things, with a quick spot of meditation after waking up, some meditative circle dancing, and then meetings for worship and for business (these latter two being Quakerly activities). I realised that I don’t want to stop blogging and that I needed to ease back into it at my own pace.

So that is that and here we are. It felt odd not to miss the blogging but to miss the bloggers. I hope you are well. I don’t think I will have time to catch up properly with you all, but I have been thinking about you nevertheless, wishing you peace and joy and perfect happiness.

No doubt come the solstice as the Great Wheel turns again, I will find my way back to keyboard more often. EBL at her computer is as seasonal as the Canada Geese on the reservoir. Some winters they stay longer and some they leave sooner, but every year they return.

Namaste.

 

The weight of the world

I don’t like to crow about how brilliant I am – it would only depress the rest of you. However, over the past year I have been working on losing some of the stones I gained while I was suffering with mobility restrictions. Thankfully last year I eventually had a couple of operations which have improved the situation no end. There are still days which are hard, but on the whole I am pretty much pain free and able to walk gently, so long as I wear the right support apparatus and don’t over-do it. Or move about when there’s an R in the month.

So, the stones. I have lost about five of them since January 2012. For those of you reading in American that’s 70lbs. I have no idea what it is in kilos, but assume about 35.

I’m not here to gloat about that. I am still a little above the mid-way point on the BMI measure so I am just about right which is a very strange feeling because I haven’t been this right since I was in my 20s. Having children is fattening, both before they are born and after, as you finish off their leftovers.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to try out the Global Fat Scale that the BBC so kindly provides, and it turns out I am Gambian. Who knew?

The best bit about this little bit of BBC hilarity was this quote:

Did you know?

If everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would remove 13,630,341 tonnes from the total weight of the world’s population

I felt quite alarmed. If we all put on any more weight will the Earth break? Might she rip the space-time continuum with her porkiness and tumble through the resulting hole into another dimension?

What if she starts consuming pies directly? I envisage chomping Earth-mouths opening in the street outside Greggs the Baker, and customers tumbling into the crevasse clutching their pastry purchases and screaming, the sound dying slowly as they fall into the centre of the planet. “Noooooooooo!”

Suppose she decides enough is enough and goes on a diet? No more fruitful abundance. Oh no! It will be global famine on an unprecedented scale, and earthquakes at least three times a week as she tries to lose the blubber by shaking about. What kind of gym would a portly planet use anyway?

What if she goes in for cosmetic surgery? The Galactic Medical Aesthete would use a meteoric scalpel to carve humanity from her body surface and restore her to her youthful dignity. We would end up in the bio-hazardous waste.

I think I need some chocolate to calm me down.

Enjoy your dinners tonight, my dears. While yet you may.

Namaste.

I believe in magic

I’m sorry, my dears, but EBL feels whiny today so this will be a post of brevity in order to spare you my complaining. It’s enough that my family suffer without inflicting it upon other innocents too.

InsteadShawl I will show you the knitting I completed over Easter, because I think they were good and cheerful things and they make me feel better.

Firstly I finished a shawl I was trying out in super chunky wool. I scaled it up from an Aran pattern and it worked pretty well. The most fun, as so often in life, was adding the tassels.

 

TheFair isle jumper second was a fair isle jumper, which was an exercise in the style of knitting, as I am still building up a head of steam to produce the Sarah Lund jumper later this year. It turned out pretty OK, and I am now working on a chunky Norwegian style jumper, in part to get my tension right. I like this style of knitting but it takes more concentration.

 

To relax I am working on a cotton scarf, using a pattern from Stolen Hearts, Vintage Souls. It’s pretty, but I find I am not fond of knitting in cotton. It’s basically coloured string.

However, I proved today that such knitting is truly magical. This is going to refer obliquely to my complaininess, but be not afraid. I want to tell you about it because it made me laugh too.

Yesterday I had to take mother for a spirometry check-up. It’s traumatic for all concerned because she can’t follow the instructions due to her dementia, and she gets very anxious being somewhere strange and she can’t remember why she is there so gets more anxious the longer we stay. Anyway, on top of all that we had to wait for about 40 minutes because they were running late in clinic. It was the dictionary definition of stressful.

Today, as it happens, I had to go back for a blood test myself. Shoulder pain, boring. But to pre-empt the inevitable delays and waiting I took my knitting.

“We won’t have to wait if I take it,” I told Sigoth, “they don’t like it if you get settled with some knitting to keep you busy.”

And so we arrived a little early, because traffic was quiet, and sat down. Out popped the nurse straight away and within a few minutes we were heading back home with me laughing like a drain most of the way.

If the NHS introduced targets for completing rows, I reckon it would transform patient care within a week.

Namaste.

That forgiveness thing

See, I had a bad day today and I need to forgive someone and I don’t feel I can. I feel they put my mother at risk when they had a responsibility to step in.

I can make up reasons for their actions. But I can’t absolve them. They were tired. They were under pressure. They had to clean up a lot of mess. They don’t get paid enough to put up with it. They think I am there when I am not.

None of that makes it OK.

Suddenly all the nice words and well-meaning thoughts dissolve and I shout and swear and cry because some idiot left my mother when she needed care.

Fortunately there’s no harm done, and mother is fine. But they didn’t know that.

So already I am going back on my fine sentiments and not forgiving. I managed to forgive myself the other day – it was hard. I can forgive other people for being annoying, or for being unkind to me, or for all sorts of things. When they mess with my family I just see red. It’s the Rubicon and they have not only paddled at the edges, they have waded the full width ad climbed out on the far bank.

I will hold them accountable for their actions, and report it. I will tell the company not to send that carer again. I could do all those things and forgive as well. But I am not sure I will. I think I will fail to let it go.

And why? Holding to account is about expecting people to take responsibility, and does not rule out forgiveness. But I am not forgiving.

I am thinking of Kozo’s post about fear as the cause of suffering, and I can see what is happening here. I can understand, in my head, that it is my fear of failure as a daughter that is driving my inability to forgive. In a way I am not forgiving myself, because I feel I should be providing the care, even though I would be terrible at it, and my mother and I would both be unhappy.  I understand, but my heart cannot feel it is true.

One day I’ll get there. Not today.

And yet, and still, and just because, namaste.

Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week

Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of  five songs that represent it.

Well my dears, I haven’t had time to tell you about my week, which included a cataract operation, a decision on The Project and Mother’s day dinner with my mother. So obviously the Daily Prompt felt that it needed to remind me to do so.

Fit the First:

On Wednesday I went across to Head Office in Leeds ahead of my operation because I knew I would have to avoid travelling for some time after it. The train was, as ever, crowded and a little late. It is ever thus.

That was not what was on my mind though. I was thinking about how we actually need another stop, like we used to have, to help all the harried commuters who live on the outskirts of York at Wigginton and Haxby. Every now and then they talk about restoring the station at Haxby which was torn out during the Beeching Evisceration of the railways on the 1960s. Flanders and Swann wrote a song about it at the time, called “Slow Train”. It’s very sad and sweet, rather different from most of their songs.

No-one departs, no-one arrives,
From Selby to Goole,
From St. Erth to St. Ives,
They all passed out of our lives

Fit the Second:

On Thursday I went to hospital for the cataract operation, the second of the two. Being Britain this was done under the auspices of the NHS, which meant I had a long wait between eye one and eye two, and then sat in a dingy room with five beds which was designed for four beds, surrounded by curtains which had a cheerful logo on about “Clean Hands Saves Lives” . The logo bothered me. I’m sure it should have said “Clean Hands Save Lives” but I suppose grammar has been cut to make savings. Sigoth couldn’t wait with me because there was no room for visitors so he went into town for the afternoon and came back about tea time to collect me.

In another bed an 85 year old woman was being sent home to manage on her own. She was blind, although the surgeon hoped to have given her some sight back, but she had no one with her. She will have to manage eye drops for four weeks. Eye drops are tricky beasts to wrangle. I dread to think what it is like to do them when you are 85 and mostly blind. Social care is also being cut along with grammar and ethics.

The surgeon was a delightful Dutch gentleman, fairly young and rather stressed because the 85 year old had blood pressure above 200 and he needed to operate on her first so she could get home before the transport system stopped at 5.30. Transport has been cut so it only runs during office hours regardless of what time you wake up from anaesthetics.

He gazed at me and said “Amazing! I’ve never seen anyone with Minus 24 before!” He was referring to my eyesight, in case you were wondering. I am used to it. It’s why I am having surgery. What it means is that they all pay attention and do a good job because it interests them.

They gave me a general anaesthetic and when I woke up the eye patch I was wearing made things a bit blurry, but I could see the surgeon smiling. Cue Jimmy Cliff and God Bless the NHS!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshinin’ day

Fit the Third:

On Saturday I woke up, took off the eye patch and I could see. I could read the clock. I could see the knots in the ceiling beams. I could read the crossword clues to Sigoth. I could see the pattern on the curtains and on the duvet cover, and the veins in my hand. I could see the photos on the wall and the dust on the dressing table and the shadows to eh birds against the curtains as they flew past the window.

Really, I love science, and I love medicine and I loved that consultant for taking time out ina  really busy afternoon to run through the formula for the lens change three times to make sure he got he it as good as he could.

I have to praise you
I have to praise you like I should

Fit the Fourth:

On Sunday it was Mothers’ Day and we took my mother to the local pub for Sunday lunch. She enjoyed herself but couldn’t remember where we were going for the less than one minute drive (it less than ¼ mile from the house) or read the menu. She had fun though and I let her have a Knickerbocker Glory despite the diabetes.

We’ll build the world of our own that no one else can share
All our sorrows will leave far behind the stairs
And I know you will find there’ll be peace of mind
And we’ll live in a world of our own

Fit the Fifth:

Later on Sunday the Offspring who loves locally decided not to call me, but came over instead with a beautiful card. I was able to read it and I was so happy to see her and get the card and to Skype other Offspringses and I felt so blessed.

It was a cold day with snow on the wind. The weather forecast was grim so we stayed inside and lit a fire and drank tea. We have a song we sing when it’s cold. We nicked the tune from Lennon & Macca.

All you need is gloves!” we carol. “Gloves is all you need!

Epilogue

I haven’t even mentioned that I rang into a tele-conference on Friday to approve go ahead for The Project, so was feeling very chipper about that too.But I did. It’s been an amazing few days.

Next Wednesday I am back at the hospital to have a suture removed. They might need an entire opera for that.

Namaste.

Operation

I finally received an appointment for the second cataract operation.

Previously on ElectronicBagLady’s Blog….In case you don’t recall, or missed the first one, I am between operations to replace the lenses in my eyes. I don’t have fully formed cataracts yet, but I am myopic (“pathological myopia”, they told me) to an extreme level, so much so that the optician can no longer correct the problem fully. So they are giving me new plastic lenses in the eyes which should correct the vision and also prevent the further development of cataracts (they are beginning to form). The first operation in October was very successful but in the interim I have been suffering headaches and vertigo and nausea from having one eye very slightly long sighted, and the other so short sighted it’s almost looking behind me. And now the story continues…

There was a great deal of fuss involved in sorting out how to get to and from the hospital (not that easy from where I live), arranging the pre-op assessment (again a whole day to get there and back for a five minute MRSA swab – annoying but necessary) and many colleagues to calm down because it will be a week before Project Go Live and about 24 hours after I sign off Go Live, assuming that I do, in fact, sign off Go Live.

Well, that was all gobbledegook, wasn’t it? In English then, I will be going in for an operation at a Very Awkward Moment for everyone at work. However, being a Project Manager of some competence, I had recorded the possibility in the Risk Log and we all had agreed what to do if it happened (which is what a risk is). So there was no excuse when I held everyone to account, looked them in the eye down the phone line and said, “So you know what to do, right?”

Bless their hearts, they did. After the initial shock everyone admitted they might be able to manage, which soothed my ego nicely. I am sure they are cheering really because I have been so neurotic over the last few weeks they will be glad to get rid of me. The other item in our favour was that we finally signed off the documentation yesterday, by which I mean the planning documents, policies, joint procedures and so on, and have more or less finished running the Disaster Scenario tests.

Oh my dears, I will be so pleased to have this operation over. I hope the second eye will be as successful as the first (although it’s a different surgeon so I am a little nervous). They had said the wait would be 6-10 weeks, and that was a few months ago. God bless the NHS and all who sail in her, but they are lousy at timing, although in this case it has worked out better for my work life, even if it has meant a period of nausea and vertigo which was longer than hoped.

I don’t really have much to say tonight; I just wanted to share with you about the operation, and to say I am not sure if I will be able to see well enough to post for a while. If I do, I pray you will indulge the many typing errors (as opposed to the hopefully lower number that slip through during normal service).

I can’t touch-type. I wish I could now, but when I was more nimble pf brain and finger, my school took the attitude that we girls should not learn to type because that was what less academic girls did in order to become typists. We were destined to do greater things, attend university and marry well so we could entertain our husband’s business colleagues amusingly and intelligently. That was why girls went to university, don’cha know?

It didn’t work out. I fear I have let Sigoth down terribly. I am most ashamed. If he ever brought captains of industry home for supper, I shudder to think what would happen. Much would depend on their conversational ability, and the level of casual –ism of choice (racism, sexism, homophobia, which is an –ism really, or their position on hanging, which will have some –isms attached somewhere, probably by a reef knot).

On the other hand, if I bring home strays from work, as I used to do back in the day when we didn’t live in Ultima Thule, Sigoth can whip up demon veggie lasagne and we have a right good laugh. Even that time I invited my boss, we forgot he was coming and ate everything before he arrived. He enjoyed his Indian takeaway very much though so I think we got away with it.

Namaste.

Chaos stalks me

I have had a couple of days off this week and decided to take a chance to catch up on some creative projects. What bliss! No work for 72 hours that was not of my choosing. I started reading a new book, I worked on the Alleged Novel. I worked on the knitting project and did some yoga. By today, the third and final day, I was feeling good. Oh so good.

My friends, it should have been a warning.

When I feel too good, it is likely to be too good. This is not just my depressive personality talking. It’s experience, my dears, true and uncompromising experience. I should have heard Chaos stalking me, because it snuffles quite loudly, but I wasn’t listening. That is how it gets past your guard, you know, You stop listening.

It all began with a slightly desperate note left on a piece of toilet paper. To be fair it was the only paper the carer could find in mother’s room, so quite ingenious really. But what the note said was they had run out of some of mother’s tablets. Now the tablets are supposed to last until the weekend because we order them every four weeks and they provide four weeks’ worth of drugs.  For whatever reason, this time we ran out.

So there I was in a flat panic. The surgery insists on 48 hours notice and mother needed those tablets in the morning. I anticipated an argument on the phone. I imagined they might refuse to provide the tablets she needed (although I didn’t think it was likely). I imagined a huge row. I panicked about what would have happened if I had not had a holiday and if I had been away all week, like I usually am. Sigoth would only have seen the note in the evening after the dispensary had closed. There would have been no tablets.

I literally paced up and down the dining room before I felt able to call the dispensary. The phone went to answerphone because the dispensary closes between 12 and 1 o’clock. This drives me mad, because usually you can only phone in your own lunch break and so it is really hard to get through. No matter, I only had to wait until 1 o’clock.

I waited until ten past, to be on the safe side. I still got the answerphone but someone picked up on the third attempt. She was very nice about it and Sigoth and I drove into town after he finished work and picked up the tablets. Mother will now be drugged to her eyeballs again.

So all’s well that ends well, as they say in Stratford on Avon. Yet again I catastrophised needlessly. And yet, and yet – I usually am away. It was luck. And I know every day that such small crises can appear from nowhere and my world turns upside down. Suddenly in the middle of a working day a phone call overwhelms me, and I phone back and email and rant and rave because I am not at home and able to do the simple thing needed.

That upheaval is the chaos stalking me, and when I can do the simple thing, I don’t immediately recognise it. I feel the disaster before I feel the solution.

This stress denies my claims of restful creative endeavours. That’s how stress works. When you aren’t actually pacing or chewing your fingernails to the root, or pulling out hair, then your hard fought sense of peace and equilibrium can be shattered in a second. Peace is a fragile thing.

It’s so easy to snap from peace to panic; so hard to go the other way.

These events are not personal. No one is setting out to make my life difficult, although unwittingly they do. The carers don’t think to tell me about waning medical supplies in good time, but on the day they run out. The dispensary didn’t really plan to close just as I needed to call them, or require 48 hours’ notice just to frustrate me, but to allow them to cope with requests in good time and presumably reduce mistakes and stress for their own staff. Knowing that doesn’t help.

What I now need to work on is the return ticket, from panic to peace. I need a mantra, or song, or picture to bring my feet to that path.

And once I have achieved that I will have the secret of world peace. Watch this space.

Namaste.