30 November 2009

Accolades and Setbacks

Thank you Rebel Mother

Thank you Infactorium

On the accolade front, I should like to thank Infactorium and Rebel Mother for thinking of little old me when handing out the above awards. I really am amazed that people think of me as worth reading. Remember, I am doing this partly to get things off my chest, partly to alert people to the problems of living with alcoholism and partly to reach out to others in the same boat. That anyone should think I deserve a reward honestly comes as a bit of a shock. Anyway, many thanks Infactorium and Rebel Mother. I have pounced on so many people of late with awards, that I feel it is time to leave them alone , and not pass on these awards for the moment, although I am sure there are many who deserve it more than me. Hope that is all right.

So far as setbacks is concerned, you may remember I was having my cholesterol level monitored (see here) and had managed last time to keep it down (and avoid taking statins) by sticking hard to a self-designed diet full of pulses, oats and fruit/veg. The doctor had asked me to have another fasting blood test six months later and I went for the results of this a few days ago. I have to admit my "diet" had gone to pot over the summer and autumn months and I was not eating porridge any more (not one of my favourite foods I have to say), and had been comfort-eating, as I always do when I am stressed, with such naughty things as chocolate peanuts, chocolate anything and crisps. But I did partly deliberately go back to eating rubbish to see what effect it would have on my cholesterol levels. I knew things were not looking good, because my waistbands were getting a bit tight. (I think my clothes must have shrunk in the wash, ehem!) Anyway, the doctor confirmed my cholesterol levels had risen again. She asked if there was any history of strokes or heart attacks in my family. Most of my mother's side have gone with strokes; most of my father's side with heart attacks. I could see the horror on her face. Given my age, the genetic risk and my high levels of cholesterol, she said she should really be prescribing me statins. I have tried to hold out against statins, because of the known side efects of these little blighters, but I waved the white flag and agreed to start , with the proviso that if they made me ill, I would stop. So I have been taking them for the last few days now. I must admit, it means I can eat a rubbish diet now and again without feeling too guilty, because the statins will do their stuff overnight to eliminate cholesterol. Watch this space. Another blood test in two months to see what progress the statins have made.

23 November 2009


I seem to be on a proverbial rollercoaster at the moment, hence my absence over the last few weeks. There have been lots of highs, lots of lows and some scary white-knuckle bits in the middle. Quite frankly, I'd be glad to get off onto terra firma for a while if I could.

For a start, I am leading a dual sort of existence in two places sixty miles apart. One is with my mother. I went to visit her at the beginning of November for two weeks. We had a great time together, sharing laughs and memories. I also did the usual hard work felling two enormous holly trees and taking then to the local dump. I prepared her garden for the winter and took anything extraneous to the dump. I shredded loads of paperwork and took that to the dump too. I washed net curtains, cleaned windows, filled her larder and freezer with food and walked the dog inbetween. I don't mind hard work. It can be therapeutic and helps me work out and de-stress. In the middle of all that my mother got a call from the local hospital - they had had a cancellation and they were inviting her to have her other cataract operation while I was still there. So I was able to drive her to the hospital, hold her hand while we waited in the conveyor-belt queue, drive her home again, remove the eye patch the next day and administer the first antibiotic eye drops.

Then I had to get back home to run my other existence. The one where I live with Greg in a semi-nightmare world. He is back to drinking big-time. Back on a full bottle of whisky a day. Back to not eating. Back to not caring for his hygiene. In addition he has had upset tummy problems which alternate between constipation and diarrhoea. Because of his leg problems and inability to walk very fast, he is not making it to the toilet in time. I shall spare you the graphic details of what my involvement is when his diarrhoea meets his inability to walk quickly. Let's just say it is not pleasant. The words he uttered to the social worker in hospital when he declined her offer of back-up services at home keep coming back to me. "We can manage" Like hell, we can! While I was away at my mother's he managed to drive himself to the local hospital for some laser treatment on his feet, supposedly to help with the tingling feeling in his feet caused by the diabetes. He had several sessions. He also had to see the diabetic consultant on one occasion and, smelling drink on him at 10.30 in the morning, she refused to let him drive home, ordered him a taxi and made him leave his car in the hospital carpark. He picked it up the following morning - still intoxicated. He rang me at my mother's to tell me and was so humiliated and embarrassed..... unfortunately not enough to make a jot of difference to his drinking.

The best bit of the rollercoaster has been that Kay came home this weekend as she had a prizegiving at school and had to pick up her prize and A-level certificates. It was great seeing her again, as it was the first time we had seen one another since September. We have spoken on the phone lots, emailed, texted on our mobile phones, but not met. Either she has been busy with academic work or making new friends, so there has not been an opportunity up until now. For those who have asked, she is settling in well now and making friends from all over the UK and beyond. When she walked through the door, she looked so much more confident and older. We nattered a lot and she showed me some of her essays - written in entire gobbledegook, so far as my non-scientific brain could decipher. How she can cope with all that bio-chemical jargon is a mystery. Greg and I did foreign languages at uni, but bio-chemistry is a language all on its own! I put her on the train back to uni last night, but our parting was not at all tearful. She was happy to be returning to her new life and I was happy that she was happy... but roll on Christmas!!!

02 November 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Nechtan recently very kindly passed on to me the 'Kreativ Blogger' Award, for which I belatedly thank him. I always feel so false accepting such "awards", as, after all, I am only telling my story, but accept it I do and very humbly so. The rules of the award are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
  2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
  3. Link the person who nominated you.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
  5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers.'

1.2. and 3. I've thanked Nechtan above, linked him and put the logo on.

4. Now to the difficult bit. Can I scratch together 7 things about me...Hmmm....let's see

i) I have a special attraction to Cornwall, because my husband and I were engaged whilst on a holiday there and spent our honeymoon there a year later.

ii) I adore Thomas Hardy novels.

iii) I am currently fascinated by anything to do with Charles Darwin.

iv) Kit Courteney has reminded me that I have a thing about numbers and can get quite excited if the clock reads, say 12:34 or 12:21 or 09:09. Anything where it seems to be numerically in a pattern.

v) I love going for long walks and kicking up leaves in the autumn.

vi) I would far rather skip the main course and go straight for the dessert.

vii) I am hard of hearing ( a genetic condition) and have been for the last twenty years. Don't feel sorry for me..... it can come in very handy sometimes.

There. I bet you are all glued to your seats with shock or excitement or both! Oh well, suit yourselves.

5. And so to the nomination of seven others..... There are so many creative bloggers on my reading list, but I have chosen those whom I have not burdened for a long time. Sorry if I have chosen someone who is busy at the moment, but feel free to decline if you want to. I understand.

Working Mum on the Verge
Not Waving but Drowning
Rebel Mother
Just Twaddle
Fat Frumpy and Fifty
Retired and Crazy
Liebfraumilch and Lipstick

P.S. Off to my mother again for another ten days. Back soon.

01 November 2009

Halloween time again

Yesterday history repeated itself in a strange kind of way. This is what I wrote last year......

We live in a small cul-de-sac off a fairly busy road in London. There are 32 houses in the cul-de-sac and everyone knows everyone else by name. Quite rare by any standards, let alone in somewhere as large as London. The children all play with one another and are in and out of one another's' houses. It was great when Kay was growing up, because, as an only child, she always had someone to play with at the click of a finger at any time of day. There is a new generation of children now since Kay outgrew such things - out playing on their bikes, pushing toy prams, playing football. The cul-de-sac is a village all of its own and we are quite separate from the goings-on in the main road. Halloween is always a special time here, when all the cul-de-sac children go around in a large clump knocking at doors to trick or treat. The grown-ups go round with them, keeping a safe distance so as not to destroy their child's feeling of independence, yet watching over them in case they fall into the wrong hands. In the past, when Kay was little, I was known to host small dinner parties for the children before the tricking and treating commenced. On the menu would be bloody eyeballs (scoops of water melon), followed by dead man's fingers (sausages) with worms in blood sauce (spaghetti in tomato sauce). Kay and I found one of the home-made menu-cards yesterday while we were searching for the battery-lit pumpkin.

Before it got dark, we prepared a basket full of chocolate mini bars to hand out to any callers that might come by and hung the plastic pumpkin on the front door.
At seven o'clock yesterday evening, then, Kay was getting ready to go out to a teenage party at a friend's house. All black dress, high heels and red lipstick. Not a pointed hat or white sheet with holes for her. Definitely not cool. Suddenly the doorbell rang. We opened the front door to find about twenty monsters, ghosts and ghouls standing on our doorstep. They ranged from those who could barely toddle and still in nappies to those who were at the age of eleven or thereabouts. All looking fabulously scary and holding out bags for their treats. Their parents stood much further back, shivering in the chilly night. Wanting them to work a bit for their treats, we playfully asked the group what they would do, if we did not give them anything. A little witch, not much older than four with blonde ringlets, acted as spokesperson at the front of the group.

"We would trick you", she shouted. The others all nodded and giggled in agreement.

"So what would that involve?", we asked.

The little blond witch thought long and hard, biting her bottom lip, and then blurted out with all the aplomb of the Godfather delivering his sentence.....

"I'd say BOO". Her little face was a picture. In fact, I'd say a real treat. The chocolate bars were passed around.

Swing forward one year to last night. A few changes but more of the same. The same little group knocked on my door, standing a few inches taller and one year older, with a few more younger ones in nappies added to the crowd. There they stood giggling and expectant. The parents stood further back shivering in the cold. Two hundred miles away Kay was getting ready for a Halloweeen party with her new friends. Was I scared by all these little ghosts and witches? Not a bit.... I felt toasty warm inside remembering the lovely times I had with Kay at that age.