My Life in 2020

Family

Constant tiredness and pain

It’s amazing how tiring it is staying in so much even with finding things to do to keep my mind occupied. On the other hand, I don’t like going out for long otherwise I get very anxious. My mood can’t get any worse as I am already rock bottom and my appetite is becoming poor but at least I shouldn’t start piling weight on. I have struggled so much over the past few years over putting weight on then struggling to lose it again which hasn’t helped with my mood.

My joints are suffering as well as I’m not swimming at the moment which isn’t helping with my health. Swimming is great for people who suffer with osteoarthritis as it’s low impact. It’s the one form of exercise I can do without putting a strain on my joints but as I can’t go swimming due to the lockdown I am physically suffering. My wrist has got so bad that I can’t use my right hand for heaving lifting such as shopping because the pain is that bad. My hips, knees and ankles are also getting painful quite quickly so it takes me a while to get comfortable in bed at night time. I am also losing my balance more often so that isn’t helping my joints. Subsequently I’m not getting as much quality sleep each night.

There doesn’t look like any let up any time soon wth the lockdown. The longer it goes on the less likely that life will get back to normal as we knew it before lockdown. The north east hasn’t been as hard hit as it has been down south but the population is much less than it is in the south. It’s much easier to do social distancing here particularly as we live in a small town. I am worried about neice who is expecting her third child at the end of the month particularly as she has asthma. Our nephew in law is still at home with COVID-19 so we are hoping and praying that he gets better soon. He and our neice have been through enough over the past seven months as they lost their baby daughter last September.

The family knew she was going to die due to Edward’s Syndrome (Trisomy 18) and she survived a day but it doesn’t make it any easier. The funeral was a day after their son’s 8th birthday so it was awful for him. He chose to go to school as he ‘didn’t want to see people upset at the funeral. That was very deep for a child of his age.

Having a ‘good’ day

I can’t really define a good day for me at the moment except for my mood is better and I haven’t lost my temper. Of course, nothing is normal due to COVID-19 and lockdown getting stricter by the day.

It’s bad enough for people who suffer with depression but it’s also bad for everybody. I worry more about domestic abuse/deaths because people are struggling being at home and tempers are fraught. That said it’s hard for people who are losing loved ones to COVID-19 and not being able to have a normal funeral. It’s also scary how many adults/children are dying even though they have been fit and haven’t had underlying medical conditions.

We are finding days are bluring into each other and have to think what day it is. In a few weeks times one of my neices will be having her third child which is something to look forward to but we don’t know when we will be able to see the little angel. I feel sorry for my sister and brother-in-law as they won’t be able to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary as they would have liked to have done.

I look forward to when we can start having a more normal life. It’s so isolating not keeping to our normal routine and not seeing friends. I’m thankful for the internet though as a way to keep in touch with family and friends.

Low mood and tired

For several days I haven’t been able to post here for a few reasons and mostly because my mood has been so low. I am getting fed up with shop staff attitudes and yes I know it’s not the easiest job at the moment, particularly with obnoxious customers.

Today we took our friend shopping as he hasn’t been out for several days and Rick needed to pick up his meds. Our friend went ahead of us and joined the queue as like other shops Tesco is practising social distancing. When we joined the queue we were told we couldn’t go in together as only one person per household was allowed in. I said to Rick I wouldn’t go in as I didn’t want anything in particular and Rick said he would go in to get his meds but he didn’t want to do shopping without me. The staff member didn’t care and insisted we didn’t go in together but Rick could go in to get his meds. He was also told that just because he had a walking stick didn’t mean he was disabled.

Rick was allowed to go to the front of the queue. was escorted to the pharmacy and escorted out of the store. It doesn’t bother me shopping on my own but at the moment I can’t shop on my own so I was still upset when Rick got back to the car.

Before lockdown, I was coping with osteoarthritis as we were going to the health club three or four times a week. Swimming helped with my joints so even though I was getting pain I was able to keep doing things I enjoy.

Yesterday my hips, knees, and ankles had got to the stage where I am now having problems with mobility including standing up. I had a bad night’s sleep due to the pain and I couldn’t get comfortable. This morning I woke up with a lot of pain in my right wrist – I am right-handed – so I am restricted in what I can do.

When Rick got into the car he rang up Tesco to complain about what happened. When he was put through to the right manager he explained what happened and why neither of us had gone in to do the shopping and she was very apologetic. She told him that in situations like this there is flexibility and she said she would come down to talk to us if that was what we wanted. Within minutes she was with us with the member of staff who deals with these situations. We know him well enough that he was able to back us up that we are regular customers. Thankfully they agreed that we should have been allowed to go in together particularly as I can’t pick up much with my right hand. It was good to hear some common sense and the agreeance that not all disabilities are visible.

The male staff member went over with us to let the other staff member know we could go in together. What annoyed me a bit was that at least two couples were allowed to go in together and we saw parents allowed to go in with children. We didn’t bring that up but it is added ammunition if we get problems going into Tesco again. It should never have come to this though in the first place as we should have been believed that we are disabled so we need help from each other.

Lockdown, depression, and coronavirus

Since the coronavirus has hit the UK it’s been a wait for the unknown to happen. People are dying of it now and thousands infected yet there are still very irresponsible people not worrying about being in masses such as parks. It’s also a sad day that the government has forced pubs, clubs, restaurants, etcetera close down.

What is wrong with people?

What part of social distancing to help slow down the virus don’t they understand?

It hasn’t been too bad where we live even with extremely selfish panic buyers making it harder for the rest of us to get food in. I, however, succumbed to a vent in the middle of Tesco earlier due to selfish pet owners stripping the pet aisle. What was left was the more expensive pet food and small packs/single cans. Now I know it can be argued that I chose to have cats and dogs but up until now we haven’t had a problem getting pet food. They help us due to both of us suffering from depression which helps ease the NHS as we don’t need to ask for medical intervention regularly. We just ‘check-in’ when we have a particularly bad time. If the selfish buying continues we will be forced to ask for help which, in turn, adds more pressure on an already overstretched NHS.

I am worried about our families down south even though they have good support networks. It’s times like this we all need to pull together and for estranged families to put their differences to one side.

Too tired to care

After a week of visiting our friend in the hospital, we got him home on Friday. At the moment I am going over three times a day just to make sure he doesn’t over-medicate himself but we already know he isn’t happy that his medication has been reduced. He is also being a bit of a pain with being told that he can’t take any as and when he wants to the point that I’ve told him to read the labels. I have also got to finish going through all the meds he was taking pre-op to make sure I get rid of the ones he doesn’t need anymore. It was that bad he was also self-medicating and overdosing on over the counter medication.

It’s sad that we are doing this to keep a 61-year-old man from being childish and thinking he knows better than the rest of us. We had to let the nursing staff know what he was doing so on discharge she went through the meds with us and him. I have made it quite clear with our friend that I will do what I can to help him but he has lost my trust so there only so much I’ll put up with.

Due to everything that happened last week, I stopped sleeping so well and my mood has dropped very low. On top of that, I have run out of three of my meds and I am waiting for a text to let me know I can collect them.

Too much stress ….

We knew our friend was on a programme to aim for bariatric surgery as he wanted to lose weight. The day came round for the operation on Thursday so we got him there as he needed to be at the hospital by 7 am. The operation went well and we went to see him in the evening.

Yesterday Rick and I went to visit him in the morning and found out he had had a fall but wasn’t concerned about that. He did seem rather drowsy and then we found out he hadn’t used his sleep apnea machine. The nurses’ didn’t even know he should have used it so they took that as the reason for him being like he was.

Yesterday afternoon we took his girlfriend to see him whilst we went to the health club. She was quite upset as he had discussed a DNR form as she didn’t know he had one and his surgery had a copy of it. We hadn’t known either and we’re down as his next of kin and then we found out he has a living will. It’s not that we mind as we know him well enough to respect his wishes but we don’t even know where they are. It’s something we need to sort out when he is home so assuming he dies first we know where the documents are.

The other issue that really upset all of us is he took tramadol before we got there in the morning. This is what contributed to his fall. Our friend knew that he couldn’t have any solids so any medication that doesn’t have a liquid equivalent has to be crushed. Water has to be added and he also knew he should have his medication when given and if he was in pain he should tell a nurse. His medication had been locked in a cupboard but he didn’t tell anybody he was in pain or that the Tramadol was in a pocket.

By the time his girlfriend turned up, the nurses knew what he had done and asked her to check his room. Subsequently, this was why he wasn’t quite his normal self has. Subsequently, our friend had a minor bleed and went to theatre last night and is in ICU now till at least Wednesday or Thursday. So … our friend has a catheter, various drips and is on oxygen but not the usual cannula type tubing, this tubing is bigger and fixed in place into his nose. His blood pressure is too low and his sats are all over the place so those need to be back to normal before he is allowed home.

When we saw him today he denied taking Tramadol but his girlfriend floored him and reminded him that the nurse had spoken to her about it. His next lame excuse was it is medication, not food so was reminded that we knew he couldn’t take medication unless it was crushed with water added or in liquid form.

Our friend doesn’t know yet we took in a slimming aid (tablets) and codeine which I thought was on prescription but it isn’t. I looked online and found out it is okay to take it with Amitriptyline but not if taken with that and other pain relief. He is very fortunate he isn’t in a coma or worse dead. The nurses had to write up a report and are arranging that we talk to one of the surgical team.

Medicate or not medicate

I never thought I would see the day where I would be taking so much medication. It was a gradual increase with starting with finding out how high my blood pressure was resulting in being prescribed two lots of medication.

Since then the increase has been due to severe depression and osteoarthritis. A few years ago I was having a lot of discomfort when eating so I paid a visit to my GP about it. I got asked questions such as a history of ulcers in the family and stomach cancer so it was a straight ‘yes’. He put in a request for an endoscopy and was told I would get an appointment in two weeks’ time, this was on a Thursday. On Friday I got a telephone call from the hospital asking if I would accept a cancellation appointment the following day which I accepted.

I found out that there was erosion on my oesophagus and two tiny ulcers in my stomach. It was a relief to know what the problem is and I have been coping okay. My GP advised me to stop taking Naproxen which is an anti-inflammatory which I have done as it’s the drug that is most likely to cause this problem. Since then I haven’t been tempted to take it again and have got used to having swollen fingers.

I have been weaning myself off Gabapentin and Tramadol over the past few weeks after speaking to one of the doctors at the surgery. Now I am Gabapentin free and slowly getting off Tramadol. I’ve had days when I have felt sick and had headaches but the pain I suffer isn’t any worse. The main improvement is I don’t feel tired all of the time now.

Swim22

For the second year running, I am doing the Swim22 challenge for Diabetes UK and started today. The only problem with going to the health club on a Saturday is it’s busy yet the children were good in the pool. It was the parents who were annoying as they were very good at getting in the way of all the swimmers. At least I was able to do 400 m as Rick had had enough by this point – we had also been in the steam room for 20 minutes.

I hope to do much better than last year but voluntary work didn’t help last year as we weren’t going to the health club often enough. Sadly I’m not expecting anybody sponsoring me even though I do sponsor other people. I have sponsored a niece who is doing a half marathon for Tommy’s in memory of her sister’s baby, Chloe, whom we knew was going to die due to Edward’s Syndrome. Chloe survived a day but it doesn’t make it any easier for my niece and nephew in law. Last year only two people sponsored me and I contributed as well. It would be easy to say I won’t sponsor other people but I can’t be mean.

Since my last post, I have dwelt too much time dwelling on the unhappy memories of my past. It’s nighttime that’s the hardest time so I appreciate the dogs going to bed with me as they know my moods. Sometimes I wish I could relive my early years as those memories are generally happy ones. The problem with that is knowing I would live through the dark times. Depression is a terrible thing to live with and can be a very real threat to a person’s life.

Only once have I ended up in a hospital due to an overdose but nobody could force me to stay any longer than one night. I couldn’t explain to anybody why I was so depressed and I was ashamed of the way I felt. It wasn’t the first attempt either, there were several before. Since then I managed to control that but it was a few years after that before I stopped self-harming. Cutting was the only way I could let the emotional pain out and the cuts didn’t hurt.

Happy, depressed and loneliness

Until I moved up to a comprehensive school I remember being happy most of the time. My sister and I were very much typical siblings and I had friends that lived on the same street.

Going to another school was frightening as I went from a small primary and junior school to a comprehensive that had about 2000 students. What made it worse was I was split from my friends which added to me feeling scared. The teachers, who thought they were being helpful, wanted me to sit near the front and on their left-hand sides. I am deaf in my right ear so my mum made the school aware of that. That just made me feel even more uncomfortable so I told the teachers I would move if I had problems hearing them.

I was fortunate that a girl from another school latched onto me who had plenty of confidence, enough for both of us. That friendship was strong for the next five years and helped me get through some difficult times. One of the first ones was to do with a family matter but I couldn’t tell her exactly what it was. Just being there for me was enough to help make life easier.

What I didn’t understand at the time was I started feeling depressed. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody including my family as I didn’t know why I was feeling so low. It just became a pattern in my life that I could be happy then suddenly felt miserable so I tried blaming it on hating school as I really did hate school. I would become moody at times so of course, I would get comments about it at home. I would just freeze up completely which just made it worse for me emotionally.

Valentine’s Day

We haven’t bothered with celebrating Valentine’s Day in the past but this year we decided to go out for a meal and a night’s stopover at Bannatyne Hotel in Darlington. It was a lovely meal with a free cocktail each although I had Rick’s. I wasn’t expecting so much food on our plates for the main meal.

The hotel is a Grade II listed building so we were expecting the period features and we weren’t disappointed. Even one patch of the floor was a bit squeaky. Of course, Rick had to have a moan about something and it was the bed which was too hard for him. There were also two single mattress toppers that hadn’t been secured which were also room to complain but I thought it was funny. Despite that, we had a good night away and had a dog-free sleep – our angels are spoilt and sleep on the bed. An added bonus was we got 20% off the bed as we are members of the health Club.