Friday, 25 November 2011

This is not a good friday.

My fears became reality - Wednesday night I lay awake for hours, unable to sleep. My alarm went off early on Thursday and I turned it off and went back to sleep because my body needed more rest. The getting up early routine would just have to wait a bit longer. When I finally got up I still felt quite drained and achy so had a restful day until about 3ish. By this time I was so stir crazy I decided to go for a walk regardless of how crap I felt.

The local shop is 20 minutes walk away (40 mins round trip) so I knew that even at my slowest I could be back within an hour. The weather seemed ok and I was in no rush. Unfortunately I had forgotten about the local secondary school and as it was just after 3, the pavements were awash with youth. In my healthy days I would have paced around them all but instead was reduced to grannying along whilst gaggles of teenagers loudly sped past me. So this is what old age must feel like.

I made it to the shop and purchased a few treats as a reward for when I finally made it home. It's funny but I have never noticed the lack of benches and places to sit in my neighbourhood but now all I could think of was why on earth no-one had thought to install somewhere I could have a pit stop as I was beginning to feel rather worn out. The journey back was quite a task and I felt like a clockwork toy in need of a key winding. Slower and slower I became and the odd sensation I have at times like this is not so much that my legs are tired, but that they physically cannot go any faster - as if something is holding me back. That wading in mud feeling again. Finally I got back and did actually feel better in body if not in spirit. The best news is that despite the lie-in, it didn't take me too long to get to sleep.

Woke up early this morning and attempted the bus into town to pick up some parcels from the sorting office. Despite me being stuck at home for the last 2 months, Royal Mail have been unable to deliver them to me, largely due to the postman's inability to ring the bloody doorbell.

Sat on a very busy bus I began to regret my decision. All the seats were full and very noisy and I just wanted to go home! Once I got to town, I went to the bank and then to the sorting office. There was a big queue and so I had to stand for a while feeling more and more like I was going to pass out. Eventually got to the counter and waited another age for the guy to come back...... with only one parcel. By this time I was so tired and narky and not very impressed. Turns out he couldn't find the other one and asked for my phone number so they could ring once it was found. I told him they needed to redeliver it as I wasn't happy about having to come all this way again. I couldn't be bothered to explain about the cost of the bus and the fact I wasn't well and the journey had nearly finished me off. He was narky back and so I left almost in tears and headed straight for the bus wanting nothing more than to be safe at home and away from incompetent people.

When I went to get off the bus, the driver started quizzing me about whether I had paid. As I had already shown him my return ticket when I got on the bus, I got a bit confused and defensive as I couldn't work out why he was giving me the third degree. All this in front of a huge queue of people waiting to get on. I grumpily showed him my ticket and it became apparent that he wasn't questioning my honesty, just how much he should charge the waiting passengers as all the other people on the bus were pensioners who had used their bus passes. This put me in even more of a tizz. Due to his incompetence at not knowing how much his fare should be, he had made me look like a pikey fare dodger in front of loads of strangers. After this new bout of crappiness, I couldn't help a tear or two from escaping whilst I walked home. All in all, a day I'd rather forget.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Fedded up.

Well, I wasn't quite prepared for how tiring socialising is...... I am absolutely knackered today. So much so that I have been too wiped out to do ANYTHING and even had a couple of hours napping this afternoon to recover. I am so shocked at how bad I feel - let's just put things into perspective. I mean it's not as if I ran a marathon yesterday. Here's what I actually did......

I got picked up by my colleague and driven to a cafe. Hardly had to do any walking other than short stroll to car and back. I had a hot chocolate and we chatted for an hour or so then I was driven home. Felt worn out so spent the afternoon on the sofa watching telly. Hardly high energy stuff. Then around 5ish I walked to another colleague's house. She lives 5 minutes slow stroll away and even this made me feel a bit woozy. When I got there I wanted to sit down so much! I was plied with tea and biscuits which was lovely and she kept asking if I was ok and saying how tired I looked. It just seemed that I got to a certain point and my energy levels just crashed and that was game over.

Being such a lovely person, she insisted on driving me home even though it is such a short journey. I kept saying I'd be fine but I'm glad she did because the second I got through the door I burst into tears because of how tired I was. Spent the rest of the evening resting and too listless to do anything then woke up today aching and headachey and generally feeling rubbish. All very depressing. Was too worn out to go on the computer or even hold a book so watched Bargain Hunt then had to have some sleep because there was no way I could keep my eyes open. The snooze has definitely helped and I feel a bit more lively but can't help but worry I'll not be able to go to sleep tonight. So much for getting my body into a normal routine. Trying not to let all this get me down but it is hard - I thought I was so much better but really there is no way I could do a full day's work let alone a full time job. I'm just soooooo bored of it all. Normality please!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Aint nothing going on but the rent.

Friday continued on nicely and in thew evening we went to see some friends. It felt so good to be leaving the house on a Friday night, even if it was just to go and sit on someone else's sofa! I had a lovely time and energy levels started to ebb so we came home earlier than we would normally. Who would have thought that socialising was such hard work? Anyway, went to bed aching and tired and didn't have the best night's sleep.

Saturday was payback day - tired and aching from Friday's exertions meant I really did not feel up to much. The day was spent resting and mooching round the house. Was still tired and achy in the evening so went to bed early then proceeded to lie awake for hours. On the plus side, my body felt much better for having a nice lie down under a warm duvet.

Sunday was better and I almost felt normal at times! Did not want to waste the day with more mooching so went for a lovely Sunday Roast at the pub. This made me very sleepy so came home and read the Sunday papers for the rest of the day. Had a slight coughing fit at bedtime and again lay awake for a bit but not as long as normal.

Monday was ok on the whole. The weather was rubbish so that put me off going out, although in the end I was getting so stir crazy that I went for a walk in the rain. Decided to only go round the block as the rain got worse almost as soon as I left the house. My walking seems to be speedier, which is a good sign, although it is hard to tell properly without someone else walking beside me. Unfortunately just a short 10 minute stroll had me worn out and feeling the slightest bit dizzy. Again had slight coughing fit and trouble sleeping last night but have purposefully got up earlier today to try and get my body back into a normal routine. As a result, I am pretty tired through lack of sleep and I have aching in my hands, wrists and arms as well as a bit of oddness in my feet. To be honest, I feel like just going back to bed but I want to try and get into a routine of proper sleep times.

I've got quite a busy day today in the scheme of things. A work colleague rang me yesterday to invite me for coffee and very kindly offered to pick me up. You can tell you don't get out much when you dress up for a coffee - I've put perfume on and everything! Then later today I'm going to see another work colleague who lives round the corner. She has invited me for a cup of tea to give me an excuse to leave the house. As it's just a short walk to her house this is perfect. Hopefully going out will be good for my self confidence and give me a good idea of how my body will cope out of the house. I've a feeling I may suffer a few aches tomorrow as a result, but on the plus side that will make me feel better about still being off work. Wonder how the Christmas preparations are going? Can't decide whether I'm glad to be out of the stress or sad to be missing all the excitement.

Friday, 18 November 2011

I Feel Good

Continued to feel dizzy for much of Tuesday but was less so on Wednesday. Was very sleepy however and failed in my attempts to get up early. Mooched about the house because the weather was awful but ventured to the shop to get dinner and felt as if I was wading through mud as I wandered round the aisles! Seemed to have constant headache  - an annoying niggle in my forehead that wouldn't go away. Found getting to sleep tricky.

Thursday again started with me struggling to wake up early and sleeping quite late. Felt less achey and went out in the afternoon to treat myself to a new phone. Was worried the technical info would trigger my confusion and hot flushes etc but didn't feel too bad. The assistant was lovely and didn't try to bamboozle me with the hard sell, which helped enormously. Felt really good in the afternoon apart from the slight niggly headache, which didn't seem to want to go away. I spoke to work - still not had my referal to Occupational Health sorted out which means I definitely can't go back yet. Doctor was all booked up but managed to get her to call me back and extend my doctor's note for a further 3 weeks. Hopefully that will give me plenty of time to sort out a phased return with Occupational Health and fingers crossed I may not need to be off the full 3 weeks. Had more trouble than usual getting to sleep and was awake til about 3.

Today is Friday and I had a good night's sleep eventually. Woke up feeling refreshed and very minimal aches today. My cough was a bit bad on getting up and I had a slight hacking fit, but it seems to have settled now. Actually feel really good and as usual this has me convinced I am better and should be straight off to work. I should remember to reserve judgement for a few days as if I feel bad tomorrow I will be down in the dumps again. Have spent the morning sorting out my new phone and don't feel too befuddled. Time for a technology break and perhaps some fresh air. Doesn't look great outside but a stroll will do me some good. Here's hoping the feeling good continues.....

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

You spin me right round

Yesterday's aches and pains went over the course of the day but by evening, I was feeling dizzy even though I was just sat on the sofa. Went to bed with a headache and this combined with the dizziness kept me awake for some time. Woke up this morning still feeling a bit dizzy and my hands are very sore. Bit down in the dumps and lonely today as I am really missing human contact. I'm planning to go for a walk at some point for some fresh air and a change of scenery so really hoping the dizziness passes soon as it's quite nervewracking going out by yourself when you're feeling spaced and odd. Think I had a bizarre dream last night also which always makes me feel out of sorts. Strange how you sometimes can only remember snippets and flashbacks.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Blue Monday

Time for another round up from the last few days.....

Friday - Woke up with more aches than I'd had for some time. I was still pretty rough from all my oven cleaning on Wednesday and didn't really feel up to much. Spoke to work which was good as I was feeling rather isolated and out of the loop having been off for so long, but also not good as I then started to worry about the things I was missing. Managed to force myself to go out for a short drive and a mooch round the local high street. Was a bit dizzy walking about but it was nice to out and about somewhere different.

Saturday - Good day to begin with. Slightly stiff first thing but no aches and pains and was in quite an upbeat mood. Went into town with the husband and things went downhill from there. We went for a delicious full english breakfast first, during which I began to feel a bit peculiar and had a hot flush. Off came the coat and jumper and on we went to the bank to open a joint account. The guy in the bank was very friendly but did the usual security questions to make sure I was who I said I was and under pressure, my confused mind and memory gaps started working overtime. Each simple question was like being on mastermind and involved me clasping my forehead dramatically as if I could squeeze the information out of my brain. Still, we got there in the end and were finally able to pay in some cheques from our wedding over three months ago. The longer we were in town, the dizzier and more peculiar I became. I must have looked a real sight, blundering along like a zombie with hands outstretched in case I passed out or fell over. I had to hold on to the husband in order to make it back to the car.

Sunday - In contrast I felt really good today and had a lovely day of pottering. Still felt a little dizzy when we went to the shop to buy ingredients for dinner and again when we went out for a short afternoon stroll. Even this could not spoil my mood and so had a lovely, positive evening. At bedtime, I had a bit of a coughing fit which usually is a sign of a bad day to come which brings me to this morning.

Monday - I feel worse than I have felt for a while. Achy limbs and neck, sore throat (probably from all the coughing last night) and hot flushes. Trying not to let it get me down but it is hard, especially after feeling so good yesterday. It is strange that however I am feeling, I tend to completely forget the following day so that if I feel good, I start to make plans for my return to work and become ridiculously over positive yet if I feel bad, I get really low and can feel like this will never end. That's why this blog is valuable to me, even if no-one else can be bothered to trawl through it! It means I can look back and really see how I'm getting on. There are signs of improvement thankfully, but at the same time, I am not as fit and healthy as I try to convince myself I am when I'm having a good day. This helps to make me feel less guilty for still being off work as I realise writing this that I am not better yet. However, I will be soon - watch this space!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Going blank again

So yesterday was a good day. My aches and pains were reduced to almost nil and I felt really positive. In celebratory mood, I decided to clean the oven - I lead such a glamorous life! You can tell you're getting older when your idea of bliss is a nice shiny oven. And that is indeed what I have for the first time since we moved in over 2 years ago. I almost don't want to use it now and get it all dirty again. I think it's safe to say I definitely need to get out more.

By bedtime I still felt pretty great and even began thinking about work and all the things I have already missed plus the things I would need to catch up on. In the cold light of day I think I may have been getting ahead of myself a bit as today I feel knackered. As usual, by exerting myself yesterday, I now find I feel washed out and achey. It is such a fine balance between too much resting and too much activity but I figure I need to do things like oven cleaning to keep active and then if I am tired the next day it is at least a way of working out how my body is coping. Because that's the key here - I am getting better. I may feel tired and worn out today but I don't feel as tired or achey as previous days. Hopefully I won't feel as tired for as long either. I think if I rest today then tomorrow I should feel ok again and then can maybe do something a bit more active. It may be small steps but I will still get there eventually.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

'Help! I'm in a nutshell.'

Been a bit slack the last few days so here they are in a nutshell.

Saturday - felt knackered from high jinks at the hospital on Friday but managed a short trip to Homebase (woo!). Ordered a curry for dinner but then waited over 2 hours for it to arrive. We were literally about to drive off to Sainsbury's for back-up dinner when the delivery guy arrived so managed to get a 25% discount on the price. Just as well because it was bloody cold! Take away menu now ripped up and in the bin.

Sunday - Feeling more lively and less achey so went into town to look at mobile phones. I have decided it is time I rejoin the modern world by getting a phone that does more than just text or phone calls. Found my dream phone but in typical fashion, discovered it is not actually available yet. Curses! Patience is NOT my strong point. Lasted about 2 hours in town before I began to feel dizzy and out of it so came home.

Monday - Woke up feeling tired, achey and depressed. The first two I put down to being out and about yesterday. I do find that the day after even the mildest exertion I feel worn out and listless. The depression is due to still being ill but also being back on my own. It's lovely to have company at the weekends and when everyone heads off to work on Monday morning it just serves as a reminder that I am stuck at home.

Tuesday (today) - Much more chipper today. Less aches and less tired. Went to buy some groceries at Sainsburies and apart from my weedy arms making it difficult to carry the basket, I almost felt normal. Right cheered me up it did so I celebrated by treating myself to some online goods.

Overall, still peaks and troughs healthwise. My hands are still quite bad, particularly my left hand. It tends to swell up at night and most nights I wake up with pins and needles or cramp. My knees seem better and the pains seem to have gone but my feet are still dodgy and I have slightly swollen soles each morning. The tiredness seems to linked to how much I have done the day before and so I'm trying to find a balance between doing too much and not doing anything. I'm also trying not to worry about the future as it is hard to know how long this is going to last. The important thing to remember is that it is not going to be forever.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Conquering Everest

After yesterday's behemoth, a shorter one today. Not quite Everest I'll warrant you, however today's jaunt felt like a feat of endurance to me although I did indeed manage to get to the hospital and back in one piece (I am now knackered). Being out of the house on my own felt a bit like landing on the moon but without the spacesuit. It's good to know I can get myself about even if I have now become one of those annoying people who shuffle along the pavement getting in everyone else's way. Usually my reaction is to mentally slap these people whereas from now on I may possibly hug them and shriek 'I know your pain!'.

Shuffling aside, I got my money's worth from the NHS today. First I was poked and prodded and had my reflexes tested with a rubber doobery. Then down to the basement for a chest and hand x-ray. Back to the doc for a look at the pics - quite interesting looking inside oneself. I was glad to note I have lovely bone structure in my hands. Quite wish I could have a copy for posterity. Then, finally a blood test before shuffling back to the bus and home just in time for Bargain Hunt.

The general consensus is that aches and pains are indeed temporary and will go away of their own accord in time (possibly up to a year!). There is no damage in my hands and chest is ok too so not rheumatoid arthritis, which is good news. Blood test results are due in about 2 weeks and should back this up.

As for how I'm feeling today, tired but positive. A boost to my confidence to have made it on my own. The walk did my knee some good but still have slight swelling in my feet and hands. Bizarrely my thighs feel a bit numb - this is a new one and typically only came on after I got back. Oh well, as the saying goes, worse things happen at sea.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

'Am I still ill?'

So, I shall attempt to explain the saga of my continuing poor health. Forgive me if I go on a bit - I will try to stick to the abridged version. To start at the very beginning, I guess I need to go back to the end of July. This is when I first started to feel unwell and thought I might be coming down with a bad cold. At the time I was about to get married so put it down to the stress of last minute preparations and carried on regardless.

The wedding was amazing and off we went on honeymoon where I soon developed a cough. Again, it was nothing out of the ordinary and I assumed the air conditioning in our room was to blame. On our return home I was understandably tired but this was to be expected after long haul travelling. About 4 days after we came back it was my birthday and with impeccable timing, my body decided this was the day for me to feel really bad. I spent the day zonked out on the sofa or in bed and cancelled all plans. I was too ill to even have a birthday drink which I found most upsetting. This was the beginning of the end for me and my body.

After a week or so of feeling really rubbish I went to the doctors and was given antibiotics for a chest infection. The very same day I started taking them, my back went into a nasty spasm, leaving me in constant pain for several days and nights with no respite. It is no exaggeration to say I have NEVER been in so much pain before or since and hope I never experience such horribleness again. So it was back to the doctors, who seemed completely unconcerned and told me I'd probably just pulled a muscle whilst coughing.

Luckily the spasm went completely after a few days but I was left with aches and pains all over my body. As my cough was starting to improve and the doctor was not bothered by my symptoms, I just assumed my body would recover with a bit of rest. I began to feel a bit better and as the end of the school holidays was approaching I thought I would be fine to start back in my job as a teacher.

My first week at work and I was still coughing, snotty and had swollen feet alongside general aches and pains. I tried to put up with it by taking vast quantities of Ibuprofen but in the end went back to the doctors and was prescribed some even more hardcore antibiotics - this time for a sinus infection. Again, the doctor seemed unfazed by my many aches and pains so off I went and carried on working to my best ability.

I found that as well as the aches and pains, I was finding it hard to concentrate and my memory was starting to play me up. I had a constant fuzzy feeling in my head which I assumed was my sinuses and was still experiencing swollen soles in my feet on a daily basis. In hindsight I'm not quite sure how but I managed to carry on at work like this for several weeks. I kept heading back to the doctors but each time was told my body was recovering from a nasty virus and that I should rest.

Eventually, something had to give and one Wednesday morning I felt so rough and dizzy I had to go home. That was the end of September and I have since had about 5 weeks of rest and still my body is unwilling to let me do more than light pottering and short walks. If I attempt to do more, I get dizzy and worn out and spend the next day aching and knackered. On the plus side I can feed and clothe myself and am not confined to bed but then this makes me feel guilty that I am not properly ill and should be back at work or doing something more constructive.

Believe me, I have tried to do more and even attempted a return to work on Monday. This was a bad idea and caused total meltdown of my body. It has taken me 3 days to recover back to where I was before. I now don't feel quite so guilty at being stuck at home as I realise there is no way I can physically carry on as normal. I am coming to terms with the fact that this may take a while longer until I am back to normal and so am thinking of ways to relieve the cabin fever of being stuck indoors for most of the time. When my body allows it, I do try and get out and about for some fresh air and a change of scenery but my confidence has had a bit of a knock and I feel nervous about being out by myself in case I start to feel really tired.

And so ends my rather long essay. Be thankful this is the short version of events! I haven't even touched upon having to change doctors due to the poor care and general rudeness I experienced. Not what you need when you're already feeling awful. Perhaps that's a story for another day as I think I've bored you enough already. If you've made it this far then give yourself a gold star for persevering.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

My first blog

Well, this is an experiment really. Never having written a blog before and failing miserably at diary writing in the past I thought I'd give this a try. My main motivation is the fact that I have been off work with Post Viral Fatigue for a month now and after a disasterous attempt at returning to work on Monday have now been signed off for the foreseeable.

Now, I'm not assuming anyone out there has any wish to here me moaning on and whinging but this is my attempt at filling up the many hours I'm at home alone and quite frankly bored out of my tiny noggin. There is only so much Bargain Hunt you can watch before you go a bit loopy and I think I'm perilously close to the edge!

This blog is not intended to be solely about my poor health but as I'm not getting out much lately, it's fair to say I won't have much else to talk about for the time being.I'm also hoping that by talking about my symptoms a little, I should see some sort of improvement as sometimes it is hard to see any progress.

So that's a little intro into my world and I will start my blog in earnest tomorrow. Bet you all can't wait to hear about my feeble limbs and befuddled brain.