Septupdate, 12 days after surgery

To say that my recovery from the surgery didn’t go quite to plan is an understatement. As in, when you’ve had an endoscopic investigation of your nasal cavities, some rearrangement of the same, including bone removal – the last thing you need is to catch a cold.

[If you’re of a delicate nature, maybe not read this next paragraph.]

I have to wash my sinuses four times a day, initially this was to help with removing the soluble packing put up there, but also to flush out the gunk. Blood and scabs from the surgery sites, mucus from the linings being aggravated. Saturday after the surgery Dan took me to the GP as I was feeling so nauseous with all the stuff going down the back of my throat, we talked through all my meds, put a plan together to manage my sickness. I went back to work on Monday last week as planned, albeit on reduced hours. Then on the Tuesday afternoon / evening, a week after surgery, the mucus started to get cloudy, and I started to go hot and cold.

I woke up in the wee hours on Wednesday morning feeling awful. In the middle of the night, I made an appointment with the GP for lunchtime, thinking I could work in the morning, talk to the GP over the phone, collect a prescription and carry on.

Yeah right.

I got out of bed and told Dan to take the car to catch his train to work (let’s just ignore that this was while an outbreak was beginning to gain momentum from the original cluster). Messaged BossLady and apologised, but I wasn’t going to be online this morning, told her I’d update her after my GP appointment.

Packed Arch off for him to walk to school, and went back to bed. The GP called me, I talked him through what was happening, then Manny came over to take me to the doctors to collect my prescription.

I was signed off for a week of rest and liquids. I’m on probably the strongest antibiotics I’ve ever been on. Although, on the plus side, they’re counteracting the oxycodone side effects *cough* that I’m still taking for the injury to my ribs, which even now (six weeks later from when I fell over), hurts more than my head does.

In the interim, we’re into a seven-day lockdown across Melbourne. I go back to work the day before lockdown ends and we’re all keeping our fingers crossed we can get a handle on it, again. People are panic-buying toilet paper, again.

I officially slept on one pillow last night and can now breathe through both nostrils. I’m still getting heaps of gunk out my nose, but the little patches of swelling around my eyes have mostly gone. One last hiccup today, I had what I thought was a hair tickling me in my left nostril, but actually pulled out a stitch. Which was as eye-watering as you can imagine.

So there you go, if I’d not caught a cold, I’d be back at work, but you know me – never knowingly taking the easy route…

Heading to theatre in a revealing gown

Nine months after I was declared ‘ready for surgery’ for a deviated septum, I’m booked in for this Wednesday, 19 May. The operation isn’t just to straighten it, but the surgeon also wants to improve my nasal cavity to reduce my ongoing sinus infections. I’m expecting two black eyes and to be a bit sore around the edges.

Last year when I went to see him with my CT scan in tow, he said that the septum is in a ‘s’ shape and that no amount of antibiotics or nasal spray will straighten it out. He also wondered why I’d not been sent to see him in 2019 after the CT scan was done in the first place…

What should have been a 60-90 day wait, has blown out exponentially because of the pandemic. And Victoria managed their cases well.

What is happening in India now is a direct result of leaders not listening to science, not taking action to protect people and the consequential crisis that this virus brings as it morphs, changes and gets spread around the population. It’s not just about beds being filled with people needing attention and oxygen, it’s the knock-on effect that it has on every other part of the healthcare system.

You can’t treat people who need surgery if your entire hospital is bed-blocked. People arrive needing assistance for injuries, or in labour – where do they go?

For part of last year I worked with people who found it infuriating that lockdowns and masks were required. They’d listen to news updates and still want to bring all the staff back into the building; only when it was mandated that people had to work from home did they reluctantly give in. Others would complain that it was over-the-top and a waste of time. They were fed up with Dictator Dan ruining their lives.

This mentality is so far beyond my reach of comprehension, I just would sit there and say nothing. Because no matter what I’d say, there would be an answer found on Facebook or Instagram about chem-trails and 5G and all the other bullsh!t.

I’ve lost friends because they drank the Kool-aid and believed in the pseudo-science. Not that it is remotely science.

I’m yet to hear if I’ve lost friends to the pandemic. I know people who have, which makes it all the harder to watch what is going on in India. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I completed my pre-op COVID checklist this morning. I’ll see you on the other side.

Bless me

I have a cold. Or rather it has me, I’ve spent a day in bed alternating hot and cold, razor blades in the throat, earache and a headache. Not what I needed, or wanted.

I’m wafting in and out, listening to audiobooks dosing myself up on a 4hourly basis. As you do. I’ll be back when I’ve got something coherent to say.

What a weekend

Well, I do not think we have ever changed so many nappies in such a short period of time. The bin is being collected on Thursday morning, thankfully not next week! Peanut’s poor digestive system has been working overtime, trying to clear the virus out. Literally.

Yesterday we took him up to A&E, he was even refusing water, and instead of getting better, he appeared to get worse through the day. Nothing a packet of crisps (salt, as prescribed) after a hydrolyte popsicle didn’t fix – thank god. He will not take the hydrolyte in its ‘juice’ form, we have to pin him down and squirt it in with a syringe which is distressing for all of us, goodness toddlers are strong when they don’t want to do something.

He’s started eating solids again, mostly from our plates, which is good, he ended up having a good dinner last night by the end of Hubs’ lasagne and my risotto.

We try to be green and have used a plant based clothes wash for ages, but lets not beat about the bush here, it just ain’t cutting it with ‘freshening’ the clothes. Tomorrow I’m going to get some Persil/OMO (UK/Aussie) and as we wash through the week, it’ll give them a blast, hopefully getting rid of the last of the nasties.

He hopped on the scales this morning, he’s dropped over a kilo in three days, he likes weighing himself, not knowing what the numbers are, but we do, and it’s worrying as he was only just getting himself back to normal after our bout of flu.

Manny is coming up to save the day, he’ll also stay over, as we were told not to take Peanut back to nursery till at least Wednesday. What is so sodding frustrating, is that someone else didn’t keep their child at home, leaving us with a boy that says ‘Don’t like it’ and ‘Not really’ whenever we approach him with a syringe of medicine or funny coloured liquid.

What broke my heart though, was him standing on his change mat, poop pouring down his leg saying ‘I sorry’. It still upsets me now, and I think it will for a while. This morning he woke up at 5am, toddling down the hall telling us ‘stinky bum’. Which was more adorable, even if the blow-out did leave us having to dismantle his bed and wash everything on it, including two cuddly toys.

On a brighter note, we had most windows open, as many doors as I could get open and lots of fresh air blowing through. Just as well really, but I can tell it will be a while before my obsessive cleaning backs down. I did a lot today, too much actually as my back is now sore, I’m about to take some industrial painkillers and go to sleep, but I wanted to get this posted first.

Strep throat

I’m sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days, but I’m in bed and have been since Monday with an unbelievable sore throat. I’ve really got no other cold symptoms to speak of, the runny nose seemed to stop at the back end of last week, when I’ve been lying down for a while, my chest feels a bit tight, but every time I swallow, it brings tears to my eyes.
I wake up with the pain of it, have a croaky voice and fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I slept most of yesterday and last night, and while I’ve been awake more today, if I venture too far from my bed, I feel woozy. I’ve spent most of this afternoon knitting and listening to podcasts on my phone.
I’ve also done some more thinking and planning for Out On A Limb. I’m finding when I switch off and don’t try too hard – the ideas come much more easily. But I need space built in, and time, for me to do the preparatory reading and work, to allow the ideas to flow.
So despite feeling as weak as a kitten, and yawning a lot, it hasn’t been too bad being laid low with this.
But now I need to go back to sleep, I’ve had all my meals in bed today, really must change the bedding tomorrow!

Murphy’s law

DG, my much beloved is coming down with something.  When he gets poorly, he gets poorly, he will usually spend a couple of days in bed, get back up and for another six months, year or so he’s fine.  He stores up all his lurgy and gets it over and done with in one hit.  Then he passes it on to me.

I’ve been sneezing a lot this weekend, I do that every so often anyway so didn’t think anything of it, until I woke up this morning and tried to swallow a load of razor blades.  I have glands up under my chin like golf balls, or hamster, whatever mental image you need (as golf balls under a girls chin is probably not something anyone can think of without now thinking of Tiger Woods).  I am going hot, no cold, no hot, no cold.  Dammit.

I am off to start a new job in the morning and am hoping I can last the day out.  Great first impression huh?  Excuse me while I close for now.  Will blog you later.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that

I woke up, curled myself around my husband and settled in for our morning cuddle listening to the radio.  I rolled over, he followed to spoon me, and as I moved my head, I had the unmistakable flashing lights and swirling that comes from a migraine being on its way.  I’ve had them for half my life, probably longer, so I know if I catch them early enough, I can head them off at the pass.  I took some pills and tried to get back off to sleep. 

When I woke up at noon to the sound of grass being mown outside the house, (funny how the smell is lovely, the sound jars you), my head was clear.  I was also hungry, so staggered downstairs with hair all over the place and nuked some of the left over stew from last night.  Followed by hot cross bunnage and a couple of cups of tea, I watched Oprah interview Jay Leno, wondering what all the fuss was about.  But then, having never watched The Late Show or whatever the brouhaha was all about, I will never get it.  I had plans for this morning, but life got in the way, so I carried on with the ‘listening to my body’ thing and just let myself come to on the couch, not beating myself up about it.

When the mail man puttered past on his motorbike, I collected the post in my dressing gown and brown knee high biker boots, (hoping no-one saw me), and was overjoyed to see a card from Wiz.  She sent me some forget-me-nots, which will come into work to sit on my desk on Monday morning.

Yup, you read that right.  I am back at work on Monday.  Still don’t know what hours I will be working, still don’t know what I will say to people if they ask what I’ve been out for a month with.  Still don’t know what will happen when I get there.  But I can’t stay at home forever, I have a life to get on with.  I will spend this afternoon thinking about what I want from next week, I will also think about what to say for the inevitable ‘Where have you been?’ I don’t want to lie.  But I can’t tell the truth either; I am likely to be hung, drawn and quartered if I do.  Answers/suggestions on a postcard please. 

Should also say on here, that yesterday’s meeting went well, thank you to everyone who sent good luck messages and lurve over the interweb.  It will also have a ripple effect across my colleagues.  Which can only be a good thing.  It is reassuring (again) that a government agency doesn’t think I am mad, doesn’t think that I have a problem, doesn’t think it is me.  This meeting was followed by an uplifting and enlightening session with my counsellor.  It is reassuring that while this has knocked me sideways, I can, at last, sleep easy knowing I have done everything, everything, in my power to try and resolve it. 

So, I am in the position of power when I walk back into the office on Monday, I can hold my head high.  I am not absolving myself of all blame, I am not portraying myself as a patron saint or martyr.  I am saying: I tried, I did my best.  Which is all I or anyone can ever do, and as something that has haunted me for a long time is being penalised for not doing ‘enough’.  Boo sucks, because everyone who has been consulted outside the office has reassured me that I did.  Including WorkSafe, who have seen a huge amount of information from both sides of the table, not just mine.

I am off for a shower and to feed the ducks.  I will take a pad and pen with me, and think about next week and what I can do when I walk back in there.  I don’t want to be a contaminator, I want to be a contributor to the relationship.  I’ve drawn a line, both for behaviour that I don’t want to see again, but also for my sanity.  Enough is (and was) enough.


This isn’t talked about enough

So I am going to talk about it on here. 

Depression has been described as a ‘black dog’ that follows you around.  For me, it is a black pit that creeps in closer and higher around me, so that it is hard to see light, suffocating me, weighing down on my chest.  I walk with my head bowed, following my feet along the pavement, and have to remind myself to stand tall, let the light in.  I know when I am having a good day, it’s when I look at the horizon.  When I walk along and smell the roses in the gardens as I walk past.

Depression is also a cold hand, clutching at your heart, making you feel worthless in every area of your life, even simple things that you once used to find funny.  If you have a disaster when cooking dinner, that can be the end of your day, sending you to bed stressed to think over and over what you didn’t do on time to fluff up the meal.  If you burn the toast, it can be the end of your day, before it has even begun.  You feel that you are assaulted from every turn, if someone cuts you up when you are driving, it can make you weep. 

Usually somnolent to the point of coma when I sleep overnight, now I am agitated, fidgety.  When I go to sleep, I listen to audio books, I concentrate on the words, print them out in my mind, and so eventually drift off into fitful sleep.  I also struggle to sit down and watch a TV programme, DVD or to read a book, so I choose the easiest, quickest, safest books on my shelf.  The Darling Buds of May series, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series: both can be dipped into, and are worlds away from my own.  I relish in the imagery of 1950s England and Botswana, removing myself from my life into theirs, albeit briefly, is such a relief. 

But at the same time, I am reading books on how to get through this.  Reminding myself that this is the present moment, that I am not at work, so I shouldn’t be thinking about it, as I am here, slowly learning and unlearning the habits of a lifetime.  Practicing daily that I am ok, that I am full of worth, that I do count. 

I didn’t want to take antidepressants, but if it gets me through the next few weeks or months so that I can function again as a normal human being, I will take them, and gladly.  At the moment, they are still getting into my system, giving me a slight nauseous feeling and when I turn my head, my brain follows slightly afterwards for the first hour or so.  I can’t say they are lifting my mood yet, I’ve only been on them a week.  If when I go back to work, they help stop me from disintegrating into a puddle, then I will be happy they have done their job.  If that is all they do for me, I will be happy.

It’s funny, I get messages from all over the world asking me how I am doing.  But some of my family and friends don’t want to talk about it, it’s like it hasn’t happened.  Or if they don’t talk about it, then they can pretend everything is ok for me.  I don’t open every conversation with ‘Oh by the way, I am clinically depressed’ as what you think about just perpetuates and carries on and on and on.  But you cannot pretend that it isn’t there.  You cannot pretend that at the moment, I am not struggling with my life.  You cannot expect me to walk into a room and light it up, although I am trying to be present.  At the end of the day, people who are depressed need to know that they are safe with their friends and family.  That they can sit there and be quiet; just be, is more important than anything else.  I don’t need you to do anything for me, I need you just to be there for me when I show up either with a phone call, email or text, or in person.  I also am looking out for number one at the moment, I am putting my oxygen mask on first.  I have to fix this, no-one else can, but I need people to lean on every so often.  To remind me of what route to take.  To remind me to hold my head up.  To make me laugh by saying ‘Remember when?’

Have a little respect, at least for other people!

I read on The Times website that Tesco has banned people from wearing pajamas while visiting their stores. Couple that with the people of Walmart website, where Americans submit photos of the truly horrendous outfits that people wear to go shopping, admittedly this is Walmart, but still.

How people can be happy leaving the house, unwashed, undressed, with bed head by saying they are too busy, ran out of time etc is beyond me. Even if my hair has behaved overnight, I will still have a wash and brush it before I go out anywhere, in clean clothes.

My grandmother would wear a hat whenever she went anywhere special, she also had white gloves that came out on occasion. How did we get from people wearing hats every time they went outside, to people wearing pajamas and complaining they can’t go shopping in about 60 years? I am all for times moving on, I am all for tolerance and accepting others, but there are limits. People constantly complain that they are busy, that they don’t have time to do anything, but will quite happily park themselves in front of the TV for hours in the evening. Change your habits, it will amaze you what you can get done.

I write this from the couch, feet up, aching all over with a head cold. It started on Friday, I had a shower went to work thinking it was yoga ache; woke up on Saturday brushed my hair and had a wash before I went to buy the papers and retreated back to bed realising it was a flu-ey ache; today I would still be in bed, but it is 37c here, so the bedroom is like an oven. Before Dan comes home from playing cricket tonight, I will have a shower, because although I am poorly, I still am aware that I need a wash! There is no way I would go to the shops like this, even though I need more lemsips, FFS.

I can’t think of a funny title for this one, I’m blaming the pain-killers

Eating, drinking, swallowing – goodness how easily they come to us. Except for the last 18 hours for me, my wisdom tooth has finally been taken out and gone away. When the dentist said ‘To fill it you would need a root canal, possibly a crown, or as you don’t use it, we could just take it away’ it all sounded so easy.

That was last year, the closer I came to actually having the bloody thing taken out, the more nervous I got. I’d already had 2 fillings replaced by this dentist (that’s the thing when you have a few minor things done in your teens, they come back to bite you on the bum in your 30s), and cried. Pathetic, but he wasn’t exactly gentle and I hadn’t had anything major done before, so what did I have to compare it to?

So yesterday, I sat in the chair, took my glasses off (still got the last remnants of conjunctivitis so can’t wear any lenses), it is all blurry but I can still see the foot long instruments and saws hanging on the wall, I’m kidding. I plug my iPhone in, listen to an audio book on near enough full blast, but can still hear and feel the bzzzzzzzzzzzzz in my head.

Yesterday I had to have 3 minor fillings replaced as well as the tooth coming out on the top left of my mouth, again he wasn’t exactly gentle and I knew that the biggie was coming at the end of the appointment, ‘You can’t fill a tooth with blood in the way’, he so helpfully pointed out. After nearly an hour in the chair, I’m crying again, my head has been tilted every which way; he also put in a piece of rubber so when I swallowed my tongue wouldn’t come up to my teeth. Not pleasant, not my idea of fun and that I had flicked through Marie Claire and read about people liking rubber, for fun and games, if you know what I mean, filled me with horror as I thought they would probably be enjoying this.

Up the chair came, in went the longest, hugest pliers and oooh goody my head was being wiggled about again as he tried to pull the tooth out. I’ve never felt anything like it, I couldn’t help myself, hot, fat tears and a low moan in my throat, which turned to a shriek as he finally got the thing out. He patted me on my shoulder and said, ‘Are you ok?’ By this time a gibbering wreck, I thought I better just nod, not smack him.

Any hoo, the joy is not over as he now tilts the chair back again and shoves a healing pack the size of a fist into the hole left behind. I am given some gauze to bite on, plus a few extra packs if I carry on bleeding and sent from the surgery. My health insurance covers $319, I have to pay $399. Good job it is a PIN, not a signature card, I am now shocked at how much it was too, so don’t think I’d have the strength to sign. I get in the car, as we drive out, Dan trying to drive a manual and hold my hand at the same time, Nelly from work is driving in with her husband Raul, who is more scared of the dentist than I am. They wave gaily at us, grimly we wave back.

We get home, Dan hots me up some soup which I slurp through a straw. I take industrial strength painkillers and drift off fitfully to sleep. I get up this morning and inspect my mouth, blood everywhere. Cleaning my teeth, I spit into the sink Sweeney Todd’s barber shop. I take another painkiller and get back into bed, emailing my boss that ‘I look like I have the mumps on one side, my left cheek is red and sore, and talking is difficult, so I am sorry I won’t be in today.’

When your child is teething, have some sympathy for them. I’ve had one out, let alone what it must feel like having them coming through, one after the other.

The only saving grace from this? I only ever had one wisdom tooth in there, so I won’t have to do this again. Although, now that is gone, will my IQ start to depreciate with it? Now I’ve got this off my chest, I am going back to bed with a book. I’ll be the one drooling if you need me.