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Cookie.

So I’ve mentioned Cookie a lot on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually explained who she is. Cookie is Vicky, my flatmate. But with both of us being Vicky, it got a bit weird. We became friends about 8 years ago on the Kick Asthma message boards, which was the kids version of the AUK boards. We chatted for years online but nothing ever came of it until I moved to England in 2009. The first time we met, I came up to Manchester to go to a dentist appointment with her. At the time she was terrified of the dentist and had a root canal due. We were sat talking about it at 11pm the night before, and I decided that night that I’d get on a train the next day and come to the dentist with her.

The second time we met, was when I was flying home from Belfast after a close friends funeral. Cookie had been really struggling with her mental health and not much was being done about it. I told her to book a doctors appointment and I would fly back into Manchester and go to the doctors with her about her depression. That was the first time she had confronted it and actually gone to get help about it. Scary to think that’s over 5 years ago. It was Friday 6th March 2009 that I finally realised how bad things were, and to see how far things have come since then is a massive eye opener. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t come up that day. This is one of those times where I believe in fate.

Anyway, when I moved back to England after my exams and had split up with Chris, we got talking a lot again. She was having a really rough time with her mental health, and a lot of the medication she was taking for different problems were interacting and causing her to get really sick and she wasn’t keeping food down. Her GP knew they needed to stop all her meds and restart them one by one to find out which one it was that was causing all the problems. But with her MH being the way it was, it wasn’t the safest of options to have her alone during this period. Her GP wanted her admitted to the psych ward, but if you’re physically ill, which she was with the vomiting, then the psych ward won’t take her. But the medical wards considered it psych’s problems. At the time I was sleeping on my friend’s floor in Loughborough, and was stuck in a bit of a hole. It was rubbish and my head wasn’t in the best place. I said that as there wasn’t any use me sitting looking at the same four walls in Bobby’s flat, that I may as well come up and stay with Cookie while she was going through all that. I was meant to stay for a week, and I never really left.

The thing is, a lot of people have said that I made the wrong decision in coming up to stay. And this is something I’ve thought about a lot since I made that decision in Oct 2011. I have a best friend called Vicky. My best friend was in trouble, and I was in a position to help. I’ve been the person who has needed someone to be there and there’s been nobody, and I know how alone I felt at that time. I’ve lost count of the nights that we’ve sat up playing card games because she’s struggling to sleep and her head’s misbehaving, or the times I’ve put her back together because of Self Harm accidents. I’ve spent many a night with her in A&E after an overdose and a lot of other nights sitting worrying about her because she’s my best friend and we worry about best friends. In 5 years, I’ve sat with my best friend as the doctors told me she’d been deprived of oxygen and may not wake up, I’ve held her hand as she’s sat rocking back and forwards because the voices in her head were shouting things I can’t even comprehend coming out of anyone’s mouth. I’ve had to restrain her as she’s tried to escape from a ward when she’s been under a psych hold, and been the one to get the blame when she legged it off the ward regardless. But at the same time, I’ve been the one who has ended up having an asthma attack because I’ve laughed so much at something random we’ve been talking about, the one who has learned patience, empathy and a hell of a lot of compassion. I make it sound like it’s been horrific. And yea, at times it was. But when she was sectioned in 2012-2013, I had to make a decision. Would I abandon my friend in the biggest hour of need? Or would I stick around, make sure she got better and that she had a home to come back to when she got out? Needless to say that I chose option 2. Since she was discharged on the 9th April last year, the difference I see in her is unreal. She has become so much better at dealing with her symptoms, and recognising when there’s problems. She is a much better friend to me and most people have seen a complete change in her attitude to life.

From reading this blog, you all know a fair bit about me. About my health, mental stuff and problems with my stepdad. Cookie was there for me throughout it all. She sat up all night with me when James was drunk and yelling through a locked door at me, trying to kick it down to get in. Back in the days of MSN she would keep me talking all night about absolutely everything and anything to try and keep my mind off what was going on, despite the fact that we would both have school the next day at 9am. Since I moved in with her, she has become my carer, cook, sister and best friend I could ask for. I’ve been bed bound for pretty much the past 18months because of my hip. During that time she’s cooked for me, taken care of the bills and things arising with the flat, helped me with the showers, gone shopping with me and generally been at my beckoning call, and not once did she complain. She makes me laugh on my shittest days, and knows exactly when to give me a hug. She motivates me in the gym and makes sure I take care of myself and eat right. She says that she’s done nothing special, but so many people would’ve run a mile when they first met someone like me. But we look out for each other. If you ever find this and read it Cookie, then please remember that you’re special. You’re my best friend and have stood by me throughout absolutely everything that’s happened. I know you say that I’ve done the same, but you had a lot more going on in your life than I did in mine. And it was a lot more to take on when I moved in looking after me. You’re awesome, and I love you to bits.

Cookie is more than a friend to me. She’s my big sister, my confidante, my non-lesbian lover and all round good egg and I couldn’t ask for a better friend. Everyone has friends, but best friends like this are few and far between, and you should make the most of them and treasure them.

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Project 365 Week 1

So I decided to follow on from Mumto2wcf‘s idea of Project 365. The idea is that basically you take a picture of something everyday that you want to remember and look back on. Different people have different takes on it, but my understanding of it is so I can see just what I got up to in the previous year and what could go better/worse etc. So anyway, I’m going to /try/ and keep my blog a bit more updated with P365 posts! So here’s week 1 of 2014!

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Day 1 – Wednesday 1st Jan – I had Michelle over for a few days over New Year. It was fantastic to see her again. I’ve not seen her since I was home in August and she’s never been over here before. We didn’t do alot on NYE. Cookie had gone to see West Side Story with her family, so we just chilled in the flat for a bit and watched movies. When cookie got back we had a few drinks, saw in the new year and watched the fireworks on the telly, and then headed to bed. It was a tough night for me. New Years has always been a bad time for me. I think it was always the thought that it was going to be another year of drunken arguments with James etc. But that’s not going to be the case anymore. But I’ll talk about that next time.

Day 2 – Thurs 2nd Jan – I’d said goodbye to Michelle that morning as she had to catch her flight back to Dublin about 1pm. So she had gone to the airport about 10.30 because me and cookie had hospital appointments to get to for 11ish. I had clinic with my consultant and cookie had her Xolair jab. Clinic was pretty successful. He’s going to speak to my Orthopeadic consultant and tell him that he doesn’t think my chest is a reason not to go ahead with my hip replacement. So hopefully they’ll be more willing to go ahead with it. He’s also referring me to endocrinolgy. I’ve been having countless problems with my sugars lately, whereby I’m having to eat massive amounts of sugar to keep my levels up, then they’ll oddly spike a high for no reason. So he’s referring me to see if they can work out what’s causing it. It’s interfering with one of the nebulisers I take, as I’m not meant to eat or drink for 2 hours after, and if I’m needing to keep my sugars up, that’s just not an option. So hopefully something more will come of that.  But I was sitting in clinic doodling in my little sketchbook, and drew this picture of the 10th Doctor. AKA David Tennant’s Dr Who. I think it’s quite cute and I like the angle he’s stood at!

Friday 3rd Jan – Disaster. I’d been doing OK for most of the day, and then suddenly, out of nowhere started to really struggle with my chest. It came on out of the blue, and after a few hours of trying to settle it with nebs, I had to admit defeat. There’s a system used by the ambulance service for deaf people, whereby you can text if you need an ambulance. It’s also useful for me because if I’m having an attack, the last thing I want to be doing is having a conversation with someone on the phone. But this time they were really busy. As in it took them 35mins to send anyone out, and even then it was only a motorbike responder. I ended up having a paramedic themed fancy dress party in my flat with the amount of green meanies there was! But anyways, off to A&E and the usual rigmarole began again. IV’s up, nebs increased, oxygen and rest. We were having problems with my stupid sats again, and I was completely bored out of my tree so snapped the picture of the sats probe. It, along with a peak flow meter, are probably the two most hated items in a diagnostic arsenal.

Sat 4th Jan – So I’m still in hospital, and even worse is I’m on the Assessment ward. I hate it on there. It’s noisy, busy and the nurses are a pain in the ass. They’re all grumpy sods and it’s obvious that they’re only there for the pay they get. The entire time I was on that ward, which was about 4 days in total, not one of the nurses took the time to say hello properly. The HCA’s were great, and couldn’t do enough to make you comfortable, but the nurses are just… Urgh. I think half the problem is that they’re not a respiratory ward and are expected to deal with anything and everything that’s thrown at them. Which they do and are incredibly busy. I can’t say it’s their fault they don’t get to speak to you, but they could make a bit of an effort. But Cookie had bought me this teddy for Christmas, and I’d put him in my rucksack when I was packing for good luck, so he had a hat on and cheered me up! He was my guardian against the nasty doctors!

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Day 5 – Sunday 5th Jan – It was quite a rainy day, and I spent most of it snoozing or looking out my window. When you’re not well sometimes all you want to do is sleep. But the sun was poking through the clouds and I thought it looked quite cool! Sort of one of those “No matter how shit things are, the sun does come out” sort of pictures!

Day 6 – Monday 6th Jan – Much the same as yesterday to be honest. Except today I got moved to my respiratory ward. I like it on here, I know the staff and they know me. It’s good because it means that there’s always someone to talk to and they know how to treat me better suited to my condition. And there’s always someone in who’s around my age, so I’ve got someone to talk to aswell. It does make the time go a lot quicker and makes it easier. But I was waiting on a new oxygen mask since I’d snapped the elastic on mine, and just caught this picture looking down the tubing of the humidified O2. It’s quite wide and bumpy, so it makes a good pattern!

Day 7 – Tues 7th Jan – Cookie came to see me today and brought me some stuff from home. Including some Screme Eggs. I’ve been craving Creme eggs lately and I’ve no idea why. Must be the weather or something. But she’d brought me two, and before she left, one of them went missing under strange cicumstances, so I was left with only one! Luckily it was found the next morning, in the staff kitchen. I reckon the night staff wanted it and stole it. Cheeky gits.

But until the next one, Hope everyone’s ok!

Vicky

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Letter to dad.

I wrote this the other day and sent it to dad. I think it sums up why I love him so much and why we get on so well.

This was meant to be a list of films/telly stuff I wanted to download, but I decided to turn it into something else, mainly cause it’s just been one of those days that I’ve been thinking about anything and everything.

The past few years have been a bit shit for both of us. I don’t think I need to list the amount of rubbish we’ve both gone through, and in some ways are continuing to go through. When I was at one of my lowest points, when things were really starting to go downhill with James, you were the one that was always there for me. I knew that I had you coming to get me on Friday evenings and that I could spend a weekend away from it all and that you’d provide a listening ear for when I needed to let loose. For 3 years, probably more, you listened to me moan, cry and groan about the asshole that I was living with, and although you wanted to do something about it, you didn’t because I had said no. I can’t begin to imagine how hard that was for you knowing that I was getting so hurt by what was going on and not being able to do anything about it, but you kept your word that you wouldn’t say anything to him, or get involved. And I really appreciate it. Looking back I think it probably would’ve made things worse with me and mum, and at the time we were barely speaking, so I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if it had of gotten any worse.  But you went against your better judgment because I had asked you to.
When you flew me out to New Zealand, and we spent those few months travelling together, it really was some of the best times of my life. It was something that I can say I enjoyed about my teenage years. And I still look at the pictures and think how lucky I was to be able to do that kind of thing, none the less with my dad. I got to spend proper time with you, we talked a lot about what was going on at home, and you gave me the courage and the knowledge to get through the next few years. I look back on those months and smile, and remember that no matter how shit things get, I’ve always got someone that can make me smile. I don’t think you realise just how much I appreciate what you did for me that summer. I gained a lot of insight into the world and learnt not to take so much for granted, specially after spending time in Cambodia. Now I consider myself incredibly lucky that I’ve seen other parts of the world and how, even when things seem at their worst, there’s always somebody worse off. I try not to take things for granted so much anymore. Then coming home for my birthday, and sitting at a table with Pappy, who lets face it, isn’t the easiest of people to get on with, meant a lot to me. For the first time in about 10 years, I had my family in one place, being civil with each other and it was a good night. I still look at the picture of us all together and smile.
I don’t think anyone is as happy for you than I am. You’ve finally found someone you’re truly happy with, and have a job that you’re enjoying and that’s secure. You’ve not exactly had the best of luck in the past with relationships and jobs, but to see you happy now, is something that really makes me happy. Irene is someone that, in my opinion, is perfect for you. She really is a special person and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like her. She really is a caring person and the fact that you love her and trust her, is amazing. I love you to pieces, and the fact that you’ve found someone who loves you as much as you love her, is something you’ve needed for a long time. I honestly think that Irene is the person that you should spend the rest of your life with. And I couldn’t be happier. I really like her and consider her as much a part of the family as I do mum and you.
The op I’m having in a few weeks time, is to be quite honest, scaring the crap out of me. But the one thing that’s stopping me from freaking completely is that you’re going to be there with me. I know at 21, and after all the other crap I’ve been through with my health, that I should have a bit more courage, but sometimes we all just want our dad. It means a lot that you’re coming home for it, because I know how much pressure you’re under with work at the minute. When you showed up on that Saturday when you were home for the funeral, you’ve no idea how much it helped me. Sometimes when you really feel crap, there’s only one thing that would cheer you up. I’d resigned myself to the thought that it wasn’t going to happen, because it was just not possible. But then you showed up and it really gave me the morale boost I needed. I came out of that admission feeling better than any other time and I’ve got my all time best lung function at the minute. I’ve got you to thank for that. Sometimes you have to be mentally well, to be physically well, and you got me out of a hole I was in.
I know sometimes I’m a complete pain in the arse, and wind you up something shocking, but I do love you to pieces. I don’t think I’d be the person I am today if it wasn’t for you, and how you’ve been a constant support to me throughout the past 10 odd years or so. I like to think that I’m a stronger, caring person and in some ways, a bit more mature than most 21 year olds. And I have you to thank for that. For making me see the bigger picture and not just focus on myself all the time.
I love you more than I can put into words, but I hope this shows you a bit of that. I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks, and even though it’s not going to be under the best of circumstances, I’m just going to be happy to see you.
Love you so much
Vicky xxxxx
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First week of a new attitude. Pro’s and Cons.

Well the past week has been pretty good. I’ve had one of my best friends, Kira, over to stay. Originally she was only meant to stay from Monday to Thursday, but only ended up going home last night. It was fantastic to see her. Kira has the same problem in her hip as I do, so she was able to understand the kind of problems I was having, and showed me ways to get around them.  It was good having someone in the flat aswell. I’ve not had anyone about for a long time while cookie’s been in hospital, and I don’t think I realised just how good it is to have someone else around. Even if it’s just to answer you when you talk to yourself, to laugh at you when you do stupid things or to play the DS with you.

So Kira arrived on Monday night. Originally it was going to be about 2130, but they got held up and it was about 2330 by the time they got here. Kira doesn’t exactly travel lightly. Doesn’t really help that she needed to bring her pillows with her, and then all her meds etc. But that Monday was good, I’d managed to tidy and sweep the kitchen floor. I hurt like hell afterwards, but it was a major accomplishment for me. For the past few months, since my hips went to complete shite, I’ve been unable to do things like that. But managing to both clean the kitchen properly, and then sweep the floor, made me feel like I’d managed something on my own. It sounds so stupid that such a small thing could make me feel so good, but it was a good thing for me 🙂

Tuesday was a hard day. I don’t know if I can successfully think of something positive to come out of Tuesday. It was one of my best friends funerals on Tuesday.  I spoke about her in A Proper Diagnosis, but her funeral on Tuesday was a huge test of my emotions. It was the last time I was going to ever be in the same room as her.  Watching her coffin going past me just made me feel as if a huge hole had just formed in my heart. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her. She was too young, and was far too nice of a person to suffer the way she did. I miss her hugely already. When cookie gets out of hospital, Kira wants to go to Blackpool and see the illuminations. So hopefully we’ll be able to do that, visit Kat’s grave and say Bye properly to her in our own ways. She was, and still is an inspiration to me. She battled the people who put her down and fought tooth and nail for a proper diagnosis and no matter how ill she was, she always provided a listening ear for me when times were rough. I will always remember her for the person she was before she took severely ill. But her funeral was a celebration of her life. They chose some fantastic songs such as Amazing Grace to open, and the priest gave a beautiful homily about Kat’s life and what she had achieved.  R.I.P My sweet, and breathe easy now. x

Wednesday was spent chilling in bed. I think… I’m having a serious mind blank now as to what’s happened over the past week. I should probably write these things down.  But I think I spent Wednesday in bed watching DVD’s with Kira. She needed a day of rest after Tuesday and I was feeling a bit down. But I learnt something on Wednesday. That asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength that you’re not afraid to show you’re not invincible. Especially when it comes to asking for help with things like getting my socks on when I can’t reach my feet cause of my hip. Until recently I thought that asking for help was putting pressure on my friends, pressure that they don’t need.  But then I realised if they were really my friends then they’d not have a problem with helping me out. I said I wanted to change my attitude about things, and I really did mean it. Both online and in real life. And I can do it.

On Thursday I had a blood test to go to at the GP’s surgery. It was my annual diabetic bloods plus some that the hospital had requested. after my admission, just to make sure that a lot of the levels had returned to normal. Karen, one of the practice nurses, is absolutely amazing. She used to be an A&E nurse, and a phleb before that. So she’s well used to getting blood out of difficult veins. But as well as that she is a fantastic listener. She knows a lot of what’s going on at home, and understands why a lot of the time I struggle to keep my moral up. Not only that, but she generally ends up being the person who has to deal with me when I’m splatting in the GPs surgery haha. I think I’ve scared her a few times. But I trust her a hell of a lot to not call an ambulance unless it’s really warranted and wouldn’t do it against my will.  But that all went OK and I then went to the chemist and sorted my script out, got some gas and electric and then tootled home. Then Cookie came round with a support worker for a bit. The SW was a bit of a pain in the arse. A) She sat on my bed when there was a chair sitting right beside it, and I don’t like complete strangers sitting on my bed. B) She followed Cookie around constantly, despite the fact there was always either myself or Kira with her so it wasn’t as if she was going to do anything stupid with us watching. and C) She kept treating me and Kira like complete invalids! I hate that! With a bloody passion!  But we sat and played Monopoly card game for a bit which was good.  Was sad having to say bye to her that afternoon, but that’s the way of things at the minute. But the positive was that she managed to get out, and we did have a laugh playing monopoly.

Friday was a tad manic. Cookie and her mum had to come round to try to find some clothes cookie needed for the show. They didn’t manage to find them in the end, but they hung around for a cup of tea and a biscuit. I managed to try to show Julie that I wasn’t against the plans that were being put in place by the pyschs. I think she was of the opinion that I had sort of been telling Cookie to rebel and not follow the treatment plan, but I want her home. And the easiest and quickest way for that to happen is if she follows the plan and talks to the pyschs. Although her mum carried the conversation on for far too long afterwards, and I could see Cookie getting visibly upset. I think at that point I sort of said that she needed to get back to the ward. Whether or not her mum carried that chat on in the car, I’m not sure, but who knows. Then that evening we went up again, and played a game of monopoly then had a Chinese  Of course I finished mine, but Cookie barely ate any of hers, but Kira managed most of hers which is good. Her tummy had been playing up something silly lately so for her to be able to finish an entire meal was wicked. But when I got home I decided I was going to attempt a shower. Bearing in mind I’ve not been able to have a proper shower in months because I’ve not been able to get in to the bath. (Our shower is above the bath) But Kira had shown me a fantastic way to do it involving a scarf or belt going around the sole of your foot, and sort of slinging it over the side. It was absolutely amazing to have a proper shower, And I honestly think it’s the best shower I’ve ever had. Seriously. So that was the positive of Friday. Having a shower and showing myself I can do it, it’s just finding ways around my hip, which Kira had shown me. Brilliant.

Saturday was fantastic, if not very tiring. Kira’s friend was in Manchester for the day, so we met up with her and went to the Trafford Center. If you’ve never been in the Trafford Center, it’s ridiculously huge. I think we spent about 4 hours there but only went into about 5 shops in the end. But there’s a Legoland there as well, all be it outside and a bit of a hike. We didn’t have time to go to the proper Legoland, but went to the shop. Kira got me an awesome notebook that you can write your name on in Lego, I got some stickers, a pen and pencil set, an orange block key ring with my name engraved in it and got Cookie a personalized minifigure. She’d been able to join us for an hour because her mum was going to Costco and she really didn’t want to wander round there with the family. So Amy (Kira’s friend), Kira, Me and Cookie wandered round the Lego shop then back to the main center. We went into HMV, but it was getting quite late in the day and Kira had wanted to go to Next and get jeans, but I didn’t wanna have to drag cookie to the opposite end of the center for her to have to walk to the other end again when she was getting picked up, so we hung around HMV until her mum was picking her up, then she headed off to her mum and I headed in the general direction of Next, calling in at Claire’s Accessories and the model shop on my way. I don’t have any of my modelling tools or paints here at the minute, they’re all in Loughborough at Bobby’s (I really should go down and get them actually) so didn’t buy any models, but I bought a new purse in Claire’s because mine is falling apart and I’ve had it since I was 12. It’s quite a cool pink one with a monkey on the front. So I met up with Kira and Amy and we headed back towards the shopmobility place. I’d hired out a mobility scooter because I wouldn’t have been able to walk around the TC on my crutches with the way my hip is being at the minute. It wasn’t so embarrassing because both Kira and Amy were in wheelchairs so I didn’t feel like the odd one out. When I got home I took some pictures of Amy and Kira. Since Kat died and I realised I didn’t actually have any pics of me and her together, I’ve been all for people taking pics of them and friends.  Amy had to go and collect her dad from a St John duty then, and me and Kira jumped into bed. We were absolutely knackered, but it was really worth it to be able to spend some time doing normal things. There was loads of positives for that day, but I think just getting out and doing normal stuff with friends, and being able to not feel embarrassed by using a mobility scooter, just made things so much easier. It really gave me a moral boost.

Sunday was a lazy day. Kira wasn’t feeling very well, so we spent the day in bed sleeping and watching DVD’s. Can’t say I did an awful lot that day to say I did something positive. But I think overall the week was pretty positive. Just having someone to stay was great. It gave me a morale boost at just the right time. So thank you Kira 🙂

Will try to keep this up! Don’t know how well it will last, but I can try! x

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Change of Attitudes.

When I started this blog, and even until very lately, the purpose of this blog has been to moan and groan about my health. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately, (Dangerous, I know) and I reckon it’s about time this blog changed direction. No matter how much I moan about stuff, it’s not going to change the outcome of situations. Only I can manage that, and it won’t happen if I sit here and moan constantly. I know that my hips fucked. I know it’s causing me a lot of pain and making things difficult for me, but I don’t want my health problems to define me. I know that from now on I’m going to be the girl on crutches, and that’s going to be the way for quite a while. But from now on I’m going to try and make this blog a bit more positive. Aiming more towards the things that are going right in my life. Because everyone has problems, and a lot of people have problems worse than mine and just carry on without moaning. 

So my new challenge is that every day I’m going to do something positive for myself. Not for others to benefit from, but for me to benefit. And then hopefully, at the end of every week I’ll be able to post and say I did this, this and this. It might not always work, and I know I’m going to continue to have shite days and will probably moan on here about them when I just want to rant and don’t wanna throw my problems at someone else I care about. But fingers crossed, this blog will be a bit more positive from now on.