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Yoyoing.

The past few months have been a bit like an emotional yo-yo for me. I’ve had as many ups as downs and that’s difficult to deal with. It’s hard to get yourself into a mindframe that can deal with both in short spaces of time.

While the ups have been reasonably easy to deal with, the downs have been extremely difficult. I was home for my birthday in September, and brought Sophie home with me. That was a really good trip home,  even if it did end in Sophie being taken off the plane by the anti-terrorism police and an ambulance crew…. More on that later. It was good to just have a few days of doing very little and spending some quality time with my family. I hadn’t been home since January when everything kicked off with my mental health, and I really missed home.

Having asthma, one has to learn to deal with the unexpected and unwanted experiences. But I think one of those most unwanted things that could possibly happen is when you have an asthma attack on a plane and have to get taken off said plane by the emergency services. Which is exactly what happened to Sophie. Her chest had been rubbish while we were home, and my main aim was just to get her back to Manchester. Needless to say we did some rather foolish things in order to make that happen, but at least we got there. Her chest kicked off though on the descent into Manchester airport, and we had to let the crew know that she needed an ambulachariot. Unfortunately the way it works at the airport is that the first response is the fire crew medics, who decide then if you are poorly enough to warrant a proper ambulance. But if you are going to delay a flight, they have to deploy Anti-Terrorism officers aswell. For all they know you’re delaying it for some naughtier reason than naughty lungs.  But it was amusing watching them all arriving to get Sophie off the plane. Concerned friend and all that, I couldn’t stop laughing and asked them to handcuff her. I’m a good friend. Honest. But that meant that we didn’t get a chance to pick up our checked baggage which was a major pain in the arse. There was stuff like a lot of my spare meds that I needed in it, and my colouring books. Which were definitely an urgent necessity! And then I managed to end up in about 2 days later. So we were both on the respiratory ward at the same time. Thankfully we didn’t get a chance to cause toooo much havoc. I think.

On Wednesday though, something new and totally unexpected happened. I had a seizure. In the middle of WH Smith’s in the sodding Trafford Centre of all places. We think it was related to my adrenal stuff because I’d forgotten my evening steroids, and when Cookie stabbed me with steroids, I came round, but it was a fucking terrifying ordeal. I bit my tongue pretty impressively which made drinking and eating for the past few days a nightmare. It just scared seven bells out of both of us. I think it’s taught me I need to be a lot better at taking my steroids on time. Urgh, the idea of that happening again just scares me in itself.

I did however finally get back to uni this week. I should’ve been back at the end of September, but between being in hospital and my head still not being great it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I went in on Thursday for my first lab. Thankfully this year my lab partner is a lot nicer, and it was his first lab aswell cause he’d moved from Bangor Uni. I managed to spill a pH12 NaOH all over the bench though, I wasn’t flavour of the month with the people around me whose module books I managed to kill. Whoops. I’m in Ireland this weekend because it’s my Mum’s 50th birthday, so I was off on Friday, and missed todays lectures but I’m flying back on Tuesday, so I should be able to get back for my lab on Thursday.  I do want to get back, and it’s getting to me something chronic that I’m struggling so much to do it. I should be able to just go back and get on with work as if I’d never left. Not having my stupid head controlling everything I do. It’s stupid and it’s making me angry. I know I can’t help how my head behaves, but I just want to get back to being normal. Or as normal as I can be.

Tonight I got some news that’s shook me up a bit. In January when my head went to pot, one of the contributing factors was that I’d found out that my nanny had a lump in her temporal lobe. Up until recently they weren’t worried about it and had said they didn’t need to do anything. she’s had a scan recently and they’ve found it’s grown 2cm since they last scanned it in June, and want to see her as a matter of urgency tomorrow. It’s totally freaked me out. I don’t like the idea of ANYTHING being wrong with nanny, never mind it being neurological.  Brain stuff is scary. It could change her. And I don’t like the idea of that.  Nanny and I have always been very close, and the idea that there’s something neuro going on is scary. And unfortunately my science brain has gone into total over drive and is over analysing it all. I’m a bit mental at the best of times, and having something like this to read up on isn’t the best idea.

I understand that life is stressful. But I’d just like a break for a bit. Give me a few weeks of things just going right and easy. And £500 :P. That would help.

It’s been going being home though. It was mum’s 50th birthday yesterday, so the whole family got together on Saturday night for a meal. It was a really good night. It was the first time I’d seen all my family together since my Nanny’s 70th, and it was an opportunity for other halfs to be introduced. I hadn’t met Kieran’s(uncle) new girlfriend Esther and mum got to introduce her new boyfriend, Gerald to the family.  Gerald’s mammy was home aswell and she came along. I was dreading it to some extent because I don’t like big groups of people and I knew that there was quite a lot had gone on that I hadn’t a clue about and I like knowing, but I’m really glad I just bit the bullet and went. It was a fantastic night and I really enjoyed it, and so did mum. Which was the important part.

I’m flying back to England tomorrow though, and hopefully can start getting my teeth back into uni. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to at least trying. Here’s hoping it all goes a bit better than last year.

 

 

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Making tough choices.

The past few weeks have been totally manic for me. Between myself ending up in hospital, Cookie going to Spain and my head going to pot, losing one of my best friends, having to cremate said friend, making the decision to resit first year and making the choice to bring Sophie back to Ireland with me.

At the end of August I was meant to sit my end of year exams at uni. Because of my mental health, my GP, Cookie, Sophie and I had made the decision to defer my May exams to give me the best chance of getting my head into the best place as possible. Unfortunately, I ended up in hospital during the first week of the exams. I managed to make the first one, which was Cell Biology but wasn’t well enough mentally or physically to sit the rest. This left me in a bit of pickle in that I wouldn’t be able to proceed into second year because I didn’t get enough credits. So I attended quite a bit meeting in uni last week with my tutor, lab module co-ordinator and student welfare officer. We have decided that I’m going to redo 1st year as a clean slate and not have to sit the modules I passed, which were Study Skills and (shock horror) Cell Biology. I was totally gobsmacked to see I’d passed CB! It’s my worst subject!

Making the decision to resit 1st year and not just go “fuck it, I’ve had enough” was not easy. Every part of me at that time was not believing I was in anyway smart enough to be doing this course or well enough to be able to keep up. I just wanted to be able to do it in 3 years like everyone else. I know not everyone else didn’t have the crap going on that I did, but still. There’s so much I need to be able to do to keep up, and I’m scared I’m not going to be able to again. And then it’s essentially 2 years of my life and about 15 grand wasted. But I enjoy uni. I love having a reason to get out of bed and do something, I love learning new things and I’m excited to see what the future will hold for me. So I’m going to give it another go. Hopefully now we  know my head is doing a lot better(touch wood), I’ve had my shoulder surgery and hopefully my chest consultant will pull his finger out, things will be a bit easier this year. But I have another reason to work hard, and I’ll explain that in a minute.

I’ve had some rotten luck with the DWP lately. I got back from Leeds and the meeting at uni on Wednesday last week to a letter from the council telling me my housing benefit had been stopped. At this point I totally panicked and rang the council. They told me it had been stopped because it was up for renewal. I’d heard nothing about this and had no letter about it or anything, so needless to say I was a total mess.  At this point I rang the DWP to find out what was going on. They said that they hadn’t actually been cancelled or up for renewal, but in fact they were only suspended because I hadn’t sent in proof of my student finance for this year. I hadn’t a clue I needed to and was surprised when they mentioned it. The woman on the phone told me that they should’ve sent a letter out but didn’t for some reason and the only thing they could do was fit me in at the job centre in person to get the relevant documents sent into them quicker than it would be by post. Thankfully it was pretty much sorted by that afternoon, and hopefully things are semi sorted. Unfortunately due to a change in my student finance rate, my ESA rate has dropped considerably which is causing me a great deal of worry at the minute. I’ve been struggling to manage as it is. I’m debating cancelling a few things that aren’t totally necessary and seeing how much I can knock off monthly bills.  It was just a really shitty week.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Leeds lately. Sophie ended up quite poorly in her local and unfortunately her mum was in the Scottish Highlands and couldn’t get home, so I said I’d hang around to make sure she was OK and not on her own. I ended up with a sore arse from sitting in hospital chairs for so long! But we picked her up from hospital when she was discharged and the difference I saw from when I left her in the evenings during the week was astounding and was good to see. It was absolutely gutting and soul destroying to see her in so much pain and not being able to help or do anything. She really is an amazing human and I wish she understood that. But knowing that she wasn’t on her own has helped us both deal with it a bit. It was a very difficult admission for her, both mentally and physically, and being able to be there to hold her hand and show her the difference that she makes to me when she does the same was rewarding.

The reason I had to leave Leeds was that I had to go to the funeral of one of my best friends. Simi passed at the beginning of August, but due to circumstances we were only able to say goodbye properly last Thursday. It was heartbreaking. I was in no way ready to say goodbye. Simi was doing the same course as me, all be it at a different uni. But it brought us so much closer together and we spent many a night moaning about uni politics, lecturers and the stress of assignments and exams. She would’ve known exactly what to say when I made the decision to resit the year. She always just knew the right thing to say and I can’t see how it’s ever going to not hurt. To not be heartbreaking when I see a picture of us both or to make me cry when I think of good memories. I’m just glad she was able to fill the last few months of her life with things she enjoyed. And that brings some comfort to us all.

I’m going to be going to Ireland on Wednesday for the first time since January. I absolutely cannot wait. I’ve not been home since January because of many circumstances. I’m taking Sophie home with me for the first time ever. I’m totally beside myself with excitement. I’m counting down the days. It’s logistically a nightmare, but the idea of giving Sophie a break for a few days and seeing where I grew up is fantastic. It’s coinciding with my birthday as well so I’m hoping we can all go out for a few drinks. It was tough making the choice to ask Sophie, as she has a lot of medical problems that could stop her flying and is taking a lot of phone calls and toing and froing to try and get it sorted. But I made the choice to ask her if she wanted to and left the ball in her court. And she made the choice to come over! And I’m glad she did! I’ve already started writing my packing list and tidying my room so I’m not having to come back to a bombsite!

 

So anyway, it’s nearly 4am and I’m not asleep.

 

Until next time people x

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Christmas.

So I’ve not been a good blogger recently, and have let my blog slide a bit. But I do have a pretty good reason. I think anyway.

It’s been a manic few months. When I last updated in October things were looking pretty good in my life despite a lot of things going on and I was quite optimistic about things. Since then though, there’s been a few setbacks both with my own health, and Cookies. Since then though I’ve been back home twice. Once in November for my Nanny’s 70th birthday and then for Christmas. But along with the trips home came 2 different viruses that caused havoc with my chest, Cookie ending up on the verge of being resectioned and just a lot of things that have taken some getting over.

I went home for Nanny’s 70th birthday in November. She hadn’t a clue I was coming home and we had all been winding her up giving her reasons as to why I wasn’t coming home. We toyed with her a bit by putting up facebook status’s that only she could see saying things like I was unwell, that I was up to my eyes with things and basically trying to put her off my scent. But I’d blocked her from seeing my actual status’s saying I was coming home and was at the airport etc. She had said that the only thing she wanted for her birthday was that we would all be home for it, so we had been mean by making her think it wouldn’t happen! Little did she know! But as part of her Christmas/birthday present we had a photoshoot done with all the grandkids and got it printed for her. There’s 8 of us and it’s the first time we’ve all been together. It was a really symbolic day for me. I’m the eldest in the family, and there’s 5 years between me and Jessica, who is the next eldest. It was brilliant to see all my cousins. I hadn’t met my youngest cousin, Leah, so I really enjoyed meeting her. It was the first time I’d been home since my operation in July, so it was the first time the family had seen me without crutches. It meant I was able to run after the kids and throw them in the air and do airplanes with them. It really is the little things that make you realise just how lucky you are in life. For so long I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be because of the stupid hips, but now I can finally enjoy myself and my cousins.  Unfortunately though, I caught some kind of bug on the way home and ended up dosed to the eyeballs with the cold, which inevitably went straight to my chest and I ended up with pneumonia. That A&E trip was one of the ones that has left an imprint on me, and not for a good reason.

When you have brittle asthma, you tend to get treated a bit differently in A&E when you present with breathing difficulties. You’re generally brought into the resuscitation room (resus) and hooked up to monitors. Within about 10 minutes you’ve got doctors all around you, a neb going and several different people fighting to get some IV access. This time, I had the misfortune of bumping into a nurse in there that really doesn’t like me, and has told me it on several occasions. The best line she has come out with was “75% of R’s (consultant) patients have more psychological problems than physiological ones” or when I asked her if she had a problem with me got told “Our system has a note on it for all the patients who come a lot. We know when you’ve been to lots of different hospitals and when you are considered attention seeking.” Up until recently the problems I had with her though were just the things she said to me, but on this occasion it was a lot more. When I got to A&E, the triage nurse sent me through to resus. Ann (names protected etc) decided that I didn’t need to be in resus because I was hyperventilating and tried to get me moved to minors. Luckily whoever was in minors had sense and told her in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t happening. This was only the start of my problems that night. She put me in the very end bay in resus and ignored me for an hour. I jest you not. I saw no doctor, had no observations done, didn’t get a neb, anything. She would pop her head around the screen occasionally and tell me to slow my breathing down because I was hyperventilating and that I was making myself poorly. When I did finally get a neb written up by a doctor who passed me and saw how unwell I was becoming, she refused to give it to me because she believed all I needed was a paper bag. Shortly after this she moved out of resus and I was treated by a different nurse who immediately rang the chest team and got the A&E consultant to see me and I had gases done. In the hour that I had been waiting, my gases had become appalling. As it is my gases tend to be quite bad when I’m admitted, but when I get there and they start pumping me full of stuff, they start to sort themselves out. But because I’d been left for so long, they were really worried and had ICU come and assess me. It took 3x the normal amount of medications to stabilise me again and I was actually starting to get scared. That doesn’t happen often. Eventually I did start to stabilise enough to be moved to the wards on a monitored bed and saw my consultant that evening. I told him about my problems with this nurse, and from what he said, I’m not the first person to have had problems with her. Apparently the new psychologist on the chest team is going to be working with the A&E staff to improve the attitudes towards asthma. As a result of the way I was treated by that nurse, I decided that I was no longer going to attend that A&E because I couldn’t trust her to not do the same again. I was so much more poorly than I was when I arrived and it scared me. But it’s never good when as a severe asthmatic who does have to go to A&E a lot, that you are actually scared to go to A&E because you believe it will actually make you worse. I saw R in clinic a few weeks later and we decided one of the best ways to deal with the situation in the interim was to make me a care plan so that when I get to A&E, they have to treat me a specific way, and if that plan isn’t followed then he can get involved. When I attended A&E on NYE for an infective exacerbation of my asthma, that piece of paper was my saving grace. Granted that Ann* wasn’t there, but I was still seen and treated extremely well and quickly.

Which brings me on to Christmas! I was at home for Christmas this year. I was in Tenerife last year, so it was a bit of a different setting! But it was the first Christmas in five years that my grandparents were home for it. They have an apartment in Tenerife so spend a good part of the winter out there so it was lovely to have them home this year. While I was home I went up to Belfast to see some family and friends. I got to see Kathleen who is like my adopted Grandmother, (My grandma (dads mum) was Kathleen’s Matron of Honour at her wedding, and her husband and my granddad were best friends) Lorraine who I’ve known for as long as I can remember, Aunt Peggy, who was granddads only sister. It was extremely important that I got to see her though because she isn’t well and we don’t think she’s got a lot longer to live. It was an extremely difficult visit, but I made her smile a bit and I feel at peace now with her should the worst happen. I also saw my adopted big brother, Chris. I’ve probably already rambled somewhere else about Chris, so I’m not going to go into details, but he’s my big brother, best friend and awesome aspie! I got thoroughly spoilt this year, but to be honest, It was much more fun watching mum and TJ opening their presents. For the past few years we’ve not really been able to know what the best things to get mum are, but I really put thought into it this year and knew what she wanted. But she also had a stocking this year for the first time. When we were little babies, my aunt in Canada made us all personalised stockings so they’ve always been up at Christmas. But this year even the dog had one and mum didn’t. So we decided it wasn’t very fair that we all had stockings and mum didn’t. So we got one that you put a picture into of the person. I didn’t want to just print out a picture of mum and stick it in, that’s boring! So I got mum to show me how to use her sewing machine, and spent hours and hours learning how to use it. I stitched 4 pieces of fabric together and then used the glue gun to stick a piece of cardboard onto it, and then her picture onto that. That meant more to her than just sticking the picture in anyway, because she knows how long it took me to do it, so that was cool to be able to do. But we put loads of nice stuff into it like ribbons, lush stuff, chocolate and little bits and bobs. Mum got spoilt this year and it was fantastic to be able to do it.  This was a good christmas for me though, because I got to bring Billy home to meet the family. He got the ferry over on the 27th, so I went down to Dublin to pick him up and get him safely back to Monaghan. Unfortunately by this stage though I was loaded with yet another cold and felt like hell, but it was worth it to get to see Billy. He got to meet most of my family and thankfully he got on well with them all. It’s hard not to like him though! Unfortunately while he was over I was completely loaded with the cold and felt like crap for most of it, but I did try and get out of the house with him a bit. But he was really nice about it and didn’t mind just sitting in front of the fire with me. We got the ferry back on NYE because it was going to work out stupidly expensive to fly so we got the ferry to Holyhead, then I got the train back to Manchester via Chester and one of t’other stations in Manch. That was a difficult journey. I was feeling absolutely horrific and knew my chest was going to throw one at any moment. Billy got the train to his parents in Wales to help out at the bar so I was on my own which was not fun. As soon as i got home, I threw my PJ’s, phone charger and tablet into my bag and called an ambulance. Considering it was NYE, the ambulance was out in 10 mins and I was in resus in A&E being sorted within an hour of me calling it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the hospitals are up shit creek at the minute, but I can’t fault the care I received! So I spent yet another NYE in hospital, and spent a few days on IV antibugs and Aminophylline. Still not feeling 100%, but definitely feeling better than I was! On top of that my consultant has finally agreed to give me some decent IV access and I’m having a PICC line put in.

Am quite optimistic about this year. I’m starting uni in September, I’m mobile and able to do so much more and I’ve got a fantastic boyfriend and best friend. Most people make New Years Resolutions, but I don’t understand why they have to be ones that start only on new year. And it’s not so much a resolution as just common sense for a lot of things. So I have aims that I want to achieve, and it’s not something I have a lot of choice in. It’s things that if I want to get better in myself, I have to do. So this year I want to loose 25kg, start uni, get my elective admissions sorted and get to the gym more.

So dear followers (if anyone actually reads this!), Here’s to 2015!

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Project 365 – Week 9

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Day 61 – 1st March – Went into town with mum and nanny today. Had a dander around the town and went into McDonalds for a Shamrock Shake. They generally only bring these out over St Patricks Day, and don’t bring them out in England so when I get home ad they have them out, I do enjoy them! It was nice to be able to out and enjoy some time with family 🙂

Day 62 – 2nd March – Started knitting today. Haven’t been knitting in years and mum does it quite a lot so I decided I was going to give it a go again. I’m not very good at it, and can’t really do a lot with it. But I can knit a scarf! I might actually get good at it and do it a bit more, but for now I’m content just trying to knit simple things haha. It’s meant to be something I’ve tried doing loads of times, but I’ve never managed to keep it up. So will see if I can manage it this time!

Day 63 – 3rd March – Have been doing this for TJ for about a week. He wanted me to draw something for his room but wanted something with a lot in it. I’m rubbish at putting pictures together, So I’m not as happy with this as I could be. But he loved it, and put it up in his room, so as long as he’s happy with it, I’m happy enough! I still like drawing though, but think I will avoid doing anything like this again.

Day 64 – 4th March – Took nanny for lunch today. She had originally wanted to go to McDonalds, but I wanted to take her for a proper lunch and McDonalds didn’t count as that. So we went to one of the local restaurants in Monaghan called Dinkins. It was really nice to be able to do it and we both really enjoyed our lunch. We both had sandwiches and a cake for afters. I don’t get to spend much time with nanny, and I had originally extended my trip for a few days because I wasn’t going to be able to get to see her otherwise, and despite having done that I wasn’t spending much time with her. So getting to do this was great.

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Day 65 – 5th March – Flew home today. Went home from Belfast City which was something I hadn’t done before. I’ve flown from Belfast City before when I was originally moving to England, and once when I flew to Manchester shortly after moving. I quite like flying from Belfast. It’s quite a small airport and is a lot easier to get around than Dublin airport. Mum and Nanny drove me up and I tootled through security and got myself something to eat. Was nice to be able to not have to worry about buses and stuff. I much prefer being able to get lifts but sometimes the only option is the bus.

Day 66 – 6th March – Back home and back into the normality of appointments. Today was endocrinology. it was my first appointment with them, and I’m not feeling as if I got any straight answers from them. The only firm answer I got was that I don’t have an insulinoma as Dr N suspected which was a relief. But things are still very confusing to me. He spoke about my adrenals, the steroids, my hypos and other things. But none of it made sense. They also haven’t written the clinic letter from the appointment yet, and this is now months on. I have chased it up several times but heard absolutely nothing.

Day 67 – 7th March – Went for pancakes with my friend Chris today. Chris stayed overnight last night and i’ve not seen him in ages. He’s from Belfast and I went to school with him when I was about 10. He’s my oldest friend and even though over the years we’ve lost touch a few times, we’re still best friends. He’s been there for me through some really rough times and I love him to bits. We’ve gone out a few times but we work better as friends and I’m happy with things like that. But there’s a place near us that do the most awesome massive crepes. You can get all sorts of different fillings in them and they’re amazing. Was good to be able to get out and have some time with him!

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How things are.

So I’ve not really done a general post since I started my P365, and I thought it was about time I did a general update for everyone!

Overall I’m not doing too bad! I was in Ireland for a few weeks in Feb/March which was fantastic. I’ve not been able to spend any proper time with them all in months and missed them to bits. I’ve started to get my room sorted in terms of pictures on walls and storage. I’ve still got a bit to do, and I’m not sure what way I’m going to do the rest. I need to get a chest of drawers in my room but at the moment I just don’t have the room for it. I really need to get it tidied up within the next few days and then I should be able to concentrate on getting it all finished. I’m looking forward to it, because this will be the first time I’ll have my room done the way I want it, and done by me in my first flat. Another reason for wanting to get it finished is that we’re going to start fostering dogs! We are going to be fostering a dog called Lizzie from Weds. She was rescued from Bulgaria where she was found severely malnourished and tied up, about to be poisoned. Luckily she was rescued and flown over here and has now put some weight on. She still has abandonment issues and is very whiny, and she’s not used to walking on a lead, so she’s going to need quite a lot of hard work, but we’re both looking forward to the challenge!

Billy and myself have put our relationship on hold for a bit. He’s really struggling with his mental health at the minute, and he didn’t quite expect it to get to the severity that it is. Being in a relationship with me is hard work at the best of times, but doing it with a pretty severe mental health illness aswell is going to be hard. Right now he needs to concentrate on sorting his head out, and getting better in his way, and having a girlfriend who needs a lot of support and can be a major cause of regular stress is going to make things worse. So while he concentrates on getting his mental health a bit more stable, we’re taking a break. We’re still really good friends and he’s coming round tomorrow, but I’m a bit wary. The last time a relationship ended like this for me, it was quite messy. I was cheated on and hurt in a way that I still haven’t quite got my head round. But I think that this time it will be different, Billy’s a completely different guy and I do still trust him. With Chris it just didn’t fit and he wasn’t the nicest of people, so I was kind of happy when he ended it and I’m pretty gutted about this. But if it means he can get his head into a better place, then I’ll wait.

As you’ve gathered from P365, I’ve spent quite a lot of time in hospital. This for me isn’t anything new, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Luckily I’ve not had an attack requiring ICU in quite a while, and I really do hope to keep it that way. My chest does seem to be better between attacks though, and I find that makes it easier to enjoy other activities. My consultant is fantastic, and although he winds me up something shocking on a regular basis by refusing to change anything to help me stay out of hospital, he has managed to help me reduce the severity of my attacks. Although I still need a lot of IV medications and admissions, I have had worse and consider myself lucky.  My hip is still causing a large amount of problems, and since my latest admission, I have lost a large amount of my mobility and can no longer do a lot of things that healthy people take for granted. I now have to get help putting my socks and shoes on, can’t get in and out of the bath, and in our flat that means the shower aswell, and I now struggle to find comfort in any position apart from lying in bed. It’s as if my joint falls out of place and pops when I’m sitting upright on a chair. It’s a good thing I got a double bed lately, because it makes it a lot easier to have to spend the day lying down when I can have Cookie sitting beside me watching telly and can stretch out properly. I’m seeing my consultant on the 1st April, and I’m going to try and get it across to him that I want my hip sorting sooner rather than later now. I’m getting very bored of being held back from doing things because of my hip and just want to be able to get on with my life. He can’t use the excuse that it’s my chest either because my chest consultant wrote to him and told him that he wasn’t to use my chest as an excuse for delaying the operation to replace it. Hopefully he will do it soon.

We’re off to Grantham on Friday to see Kira. Kira finally had her hip replaced a few week ago, and I’ve wanted to spend some time at hers for quite a while. So we’re going to stay from Fri – Sunday all being well!

Here’s to next time folks, and thanks for reading!

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Project 365 – Week 8

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Day 54 – 22nd Feb – Today was James’s months mind mass in Fermanagh. I was really apprehensive about going because of the way things had been with his family. Ted, James’s dad had basically told mum it was her fault that James had died and that he would’ve been better off without her. So the atmosphere was going to be strained. Mum’s sister, Roisin was coming with us. At first I was really confused because mum and Roisin had basically not been on speaking terms for about 15 years and the fact that they were now speaking was something of a miracle. Mum says it’s because Roisin had finally understood what it was like for things to go wrong in someone’s life and she had seen the way mum had been treated and decided to be nice. But the mass wasn’t horrendous. It was quite awkward at the end though when his sisters came up to us and started to talk to us. Nobody had known I was home so I was getting all the questions about my hip and the “God love you” expressions. That bugs me. But the mass was nice enough and once things were over, we talked to them for about 15/20mins and then went home. I think it would quite possibly have been the last time we will ever speak to them again. It’s a 15 year chapter of my life closed. Or at least I hope so.

Day 55 – 23rd Feb – I didn’t actually do a lot today. I got a new sketchbook in January so I’ve been working on getting some more drawings into it and building it up to the amount of the one from last year. I like doing it by year because then I can see how I’m progressing with my drawing. I’m never going to be Pablo Picasso, or Claude Monet, but I’m still able to draw more than a stick person, which if you had of seen my drawings 6 years ago, you wouldn’t have thought it possible. But mum had been knitting an Eeyore teddy for her neighbours and it put it into my head to try and draw something from Winnie the Pooh. So I tried Piglett and Eeyore! It’s something to work on! TJ wants me to do a drawing for his wall, so I need to come up with an idea for that. But we’ll see how it goes. I’ve a few things in mind!

Day 56 – 24th Feb – For the first time in about 2 years I had to buy ketosticks. For those not in the know of what they are, ketosticks are test strips for checking to see if there’s ketones in your urine. It can be a sign that your diabetes is out of control and you need further intevention. I was getting a fruity breath and feeling rather rubbish so thought it would be worth checking, especially considering how much Club Orange I’d been drinking! It showed traces of ketones, which was quite odd because I’ve not had that problem since Nov 2012. I managed to get it under control by drinking a lot of water and taking better control of my diet. Thankfully it did resolve and I didn’t have to take any more action. But it was a bit of a wake up call that I needed to not drink as many fizzy or sugary drinks. Since then I have actually been a lot better at controlling my diet. I’ve got to see an Endocrinology consultant when I get back, so we will see what he says!

Day 57 – 25th Feb – We managed to have an early pancake Tuesday. I got confused when Cookie posted a facebook status saying she was going to her nanna’s for pancakes. I thought that meant it was Pancake Tuesday and so mum made an absolute shed load of pancakes with some of thee most amazing toppings I’ve ever heard of. We had raspberries, bananas, ham, cheese, strawberries and cream, all different sauces and other stuff. Even if it was an early pancake tuesday, it was amazeballs. When I was in secondary school on Pancake Tuesday you’d get lemon juice, sugar and nutella as toppings, and even then you had to pay for each one!  TJ loved them aswell and it was great fun watching mum flipping them and trying to catch them. Mum’s fantastic. She worked really hard to make sure that we were happy while I was home and I actually enjoyed spending time with them tonight!

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Day 58 – 26th Feb – Mum bought me a tub of ice cream today. Cookies and Cream ice cream is amazing. It’s not quite as nice as Ben And Jerry’s, but it’s still up there among the greats. I’m just having a really rubbish few days. My joints are aching and I feel quite rubbish. And for some reason ice cream always makes me feel better. I think I need to just hide under my duvet for a few days, but I know that I can’t. I think Cookie Dough Ice Cream is still the best ice cream known to man though.

Day 59 – 27th Feb – We went to get Dolly a new collar today because the one she had was falling to pieces. When we were at the pet shop we had a look around at the other stuff they had. Although having a cage saying “Hampsters May Bite” with no hamster in it, with horrendous spelling on the notice! Considering it’s a pet shop, you’d think they were going to be able to spell it right! But while we were there we got her a new bed and some treats. She has never been properly treated before cause it’s never been a case that any of us could afford it, but cause I could I decided I would. So she got a new Toy Story bed that she can’t destroy by clawing it, a nice purple collar and treats. It was funny because Dolly isn’t really a treats kind of dog. She doesn’t really know what to do with toys. I got her one of those shoe things and she took it into the back garden and buried it. So I got the other one and put treats in it. It was funny watching her trying to get them out. She could see and smell the treats inside, but couldn’t get to them. It sent her mad. I will teach my dog what to do with treats! I will!

Day 60 – 28th Feb – Went into town with mum today. TJ’s going out tonight with friends to youth club, so mum and I are planning a DVD night. Think I want to watch Gravity. That new one with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney that everyone has been raving about. Everyone I’ve spoken to says it was brilliant so I want to decide that one for myself.

Every year in Ireland the registration plates change. So for 2014, it becomes 14 – MN – XXXX. Because I haven’t been home since before Christmas I hadn’t seen any of the new plates. For some reason they’re doing it in halves where the first half of the year has 141 and the second has 142. They did it in 2013 and apparently it was because of people being superstitious about the whole 13 thing on license plates. But when I was younger I used to think I was amazing because I could recognise all the different counties on the number plates. Every county has an abbreviation, so Monaghan was MN, Dublin was D and so on. So it’s always been something that makes me smile when I see the new plates!

So until next time!

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Project 365 – Week 7

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Day 47 – 15th Feb – I was very naughty. I’ve wanted a mac for as long as I can remember, and specially since I knew James. Because he worked with Macs, he always had one and I always thought they were fantastic. So I decided with the amount of time I spend in hospital and travelling, and the fact that I got a massive amount of back pay, I was finally able to warrant buying one. I used a pic I’ve nicked off the internet. I had taken a picture of the box that my MacBook Air came in, but it’s really not a fantastic picture so I stole this one! It’s a 13″ MacBook air, which in comparison to my big 17″ Samsung is tiny! It’s very thin and light, which is why it’s so ideal for travelling and taking into hospital. One of the things about these laptops is that they generally have very little hard drive space, and don’t have a DVD Drive installed either, which is part of the reason why they’re able to be so thin and light. Because my old external hard drive was not compatible with Macs I had to order a new external hard drive that I could use with it. I’m going to Ireland in the morning, so I’ve got to pack for 2 weeks in Ireland, install a new laptop and transfer my stuff from one hard drive to another. It was a very busy day. I had to make a few trips out aswell to appointments, the chemist and tesco. So I was definitely ready for my bed that night!

Day 48 – 16th Feb – Off to Ireland today! I’ve not been home now properly for about 4 months since I took TJ home in November. I was going home partly to grieve for my stepdad and partly to see the family. I knew going home was going to be hard and I knew I was going to be going to his Months Mind mass. A months mind is basically a normal mass that’s said, but with a dedication and prayer for the deceased. It’s a bit like a memorial. I knew I’d be going to the one in Monaghan that was being held and organised by my mum, but wasn’t expecting to be going to one in Fermanagh aswell. Unfortunately, things weren’t on the best terms with his family since he died, which is really unfortunate. They had all, bar one of the brothers, been exceptionally nasty to mum. I might go into it at some point, but I don’t think that now is really the right time. But it made me angry. When someone dies, the family is meant to come together to comfort each other, and be there for each other. But this wasn’t the case, and I think that’s partly why I was so angry. But it’s all over now and mum won’t have to deal with them again.

Day 49 – 17th Feb – Anyone who has been to Ireland MUST try Club Orange. It’s a fizzy orange that you can’t actually get in England, and it really is one of my favourite drinks. It’s quite a sweet fizzy orange with bits in it, like the pure orange. Anytime I go home I drink gallons of the stuff (blood sugar allowing! ;)) and end up always trying to bring some back for Cookie. Obviously with the cabin baggage restrictions, it’s not the easiest of things to get back, and being heavy, you can’t stick a shedload in your case and check it in! But I ended up drinking too much of it while I was home, and ended up a bit poorly. I then decided that it was probably best to stick to sugar-free cordial for a bit! Doesn’t mean it’s going to put me of the next time I’m home though!

Day 50! 18th Feb – So I’ve actually managed to do 50days of Project 365 so far! I must say I’m pretty proud of myself that I’ve managed this far! Anyway, meet my doggy! This is Dolly, named after Dolly Parton. My mum and James had been to see Dolly Parton a few days before she showed up at our back door, and they’d bought a calendar while at the show and while we were sitting trying to decide what to call her, I looked at the calendar and piped up with Dolly! She’s a Jack Russell terrier, and we think she’s about 7 or 8 years old. We’ve had her now for about 5 years, and she really is part of the family. When you have a dog that you love as much as we love Dolly, you let them away with murder, and as you can see, she does! I came in to go to bed after brushing my teeth and found her in my spot on the bed! She’s a right charmer! But I promptly shifted her to the other side of the bed and climbed in. She is better than any anti-depressant available. She knows when I’m unwell and is able to tell when I’m having a rubbish day. A few years ago when I was living at home, she used to sleep at the foot of my bed, and if I started to wheeze would come and wake me up. While I was home I was having problems with my sugars, and one morning had a pretty good hypo. (1.7 for those interested!) She somehow knew something was up and started licking my face and nudging me until I woke up and got some sugar in me, then sat watching me for the rest of the day. She’s the best dog I could ask for!

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Day 51 – 19th Feb – Although this isn’t technically a picture, it still happened on the day and makes me smile! I sat Leaving Certificate English, and got an A grade in it, so I’m a mega grammar pedant. So when people make grammar errors I’m forever pulling them up on it. I actually have a friend that takes pictures of all the mistakes he finds in places that should know better and posts them on his website! But I was reading an article on the BBC News app this morning and noticed this classic. “It is the first time the catch-up service has past the 300m viewers mark.” Who wants to find the mistake there then? But considering it’s coming from the BBC, who are meant to have some of the best journalists in the world, it did make me giggle that I could find that error on a first read and I’m nowhere near as qualified as them! (And funnily enough while I was spellchecking this, it came up with me to change it to passed!)

Day 52 – 20th Feb – This was the view from the front garden of my house. We live quite close to the edge of the town, and right beside the Garda station, which has proved to be both a blessing and a curse in the past! Back when James was hassling mum a lot and she had to take out a restraining order against him, it made it a lot easier to keep it enforced because I don’t think anyone would dare break a restraining order on the police station’s doorstep! But on the other hand, TJ has quite a lot of nightmares and one night had quite a graphic one involving James hurting mum that woke him up. For some reason that night mum had gone to sleep in the spare room and TJ didn’t know this, so when he got up to go into her after her nightmare and she wasn’t there, TJ panicked. Because he was half asleep it didn’t occur to him to check the spare room, and he immediately thought something had happened to mum. His first instinct was to get the police and started walking in his pyjamas and bare feet to the police station at about 2am. Something had made mum wake up, and to this day doesn’t know what it was. She says mothers instinct. But she went to check on TJ and found him not in his bed, but the front door was open. He was halfway up the road to the Garda station to tell them that mum had gone. Bless him.

Day 53 – 21st Feb – The last of the good weather was yesterday, and today it was back to normality with rain! But we were in the shopping center car park driving round while we were looking for a decent spot, I spotted this. I had to take it through the car windscreen, which at the time was covered in rain, so it’s not the best picture in the world! But can you spot what it is? Some adventurous person has obviously been kayaking and has it strapped to the top of their car. It made me giggle because a few years ago there was major flooding in Monaghan, and there was a picture of one of the managers of the Leisure center kayaking across one of the busiest junctions in Monaghan in about 6 foot of water. It really was a sight to behold, and seeing the kayak in the rain just reminded me of that!