Eye Up – My Hero!

On Friday morning, I put my contact lenses in before leaving for my clinic – but the left one didn’t feel right. I tried to remove it to redo it – it felt like there was a bit of fluff or something stuck on it, irritating my eye slightly. I couldn’t get hold of it at all but then felt it fall out. I scrabbled around on the floor to find it and came up with a torn half of a lens! Uh-oh! The other half was still in my eye. I tried to get it out but couldn’t, though I didn’t panic since this has happened with this brand before. Five times, in fact! (In over 10 years of wearing contact lenses, I’ve never had this problem before, but this brand has done it to me five times in the last couple of months!)

I left it alone for a bit to see if it would dislodge itself, but it didn’t. So then I tried a trick that worked once before – put in another lens on top, to see if it would force the broken bit out. It didn’t. I was aware of something in my eye but it wasn’t painful as such so I carried on with my day. And my (darts) evening. At bed time, I was sure it would come out along with the whole lens but it didn’t. Billy assured me it would be OK over night and if it wasn’t out by morning, he’d sort it out for me at work.

In the morning, it was still there – and still in the same place, lodged up underneath my eyelid. Now I was starting to worry. What if it never came out? What if it got infected? (I’ve always been scrupulous with my hand-eye hygiene and have never yet had an eye infection, which can be the bane of all lens wearers.) My eye was a bit sticky and I was scared an infection had started, but Billy assured me it hadn’t, and that it was just the irritation making my eye weep a little.

He was working the Saturday morning and I had a couple of errands to do, so we arranged that I’d go and see him at work after his last patient. As the time got closer, I started to get nervous. What if HE couldn’t get it? (He’d promised me earlier that he definitely could.) I can put my own finger in my eye, but I am terrible at letting someone else do it – what if I couldn’t manage to let him do it? ARGH!

By the time I went in to his consulting room, I was quite tense but I do know he is an excellent optician as well as being my husband so had promised myself I would do whatever he told me to do and trust him. He was very good, very gentle, calm and reassuring. First he put a dye in my eye so he could see the lens segment, and then he had a good look round my eye to locate it. It was firmly stuck to the underside of my upper eyelid and he said there was no way I’d have got it to shift. Then he told me to try and relax (which I did actually manage, somehow!) and he manipulated my lid until he got the lens. It wasn’t comfortable, but neither did it hurt as such.

I was so relieved, I gave him a huge cuddle and burst into tears – and I think I’d have done the same if he didn’t happen to be my husband! He was my hero! He’d been so professional and calm, which inspired confidence and helped me to relax and I was so grateful. I did tell him not to get me that brand of lens in the future as I don’t ever want to use them again, so he’s got me different ones this time which seem much more robust and user-friendly. On the way home, we picked up some eye drops to prevent any infection, and happily, my eye has settled back to normal without a problem.

All day I called him my hero and said I’d have to make him a cape and a mask. He tried brushing it off saying it was his job, but a smart husband really should just soak up the grateful adoration don’t you think? 😉

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Fighting the flatness.

With the weather still very cold, lots of snow still laying, continuing problems with travel and more bad weather to come, the last week has continued to be out of routine. Everyone has been skint,fed up and wanting some normality – and some warmer weather too.

This week’s days at work really dragged by and everyone felt the same – that the days were going very slowly. (Mum and I reckon that time does change speed rather than flow at a steady rate ‘cos it can’t be a coincidence that when time seems to be going particularly slowly or particularly fast, everyone around you feels the same. It’s not even just the hours – sometimes everyone feels that the day of the week is “wrong” – it feels like Monday when it’s Thursday or Friday when it’s Tuesday. We also think gravity fluctuates too – there are definitely days when you have a “gravity day” – you know, when EVERYTHING falls to the ground when on another occasion, it would have balanced. I’m not clever enough to work it all out properly but I don’t find it inconceivable that gravity might vary (possibly according to the pull or “push) of other bodies (planets, moon, sun) in relation to proximity during orbit around each other. And if gravity varies, maybe the speed at which the earth spins alters? So maybe time does speed up or slow down. Anyway, mum and I sticking to our theory and are quite happy to blame slow days and clumsy days on gravity and time changes 🙂 )

But I digress.

Just to make this seasonal low, and post Christmas impecuniousity, even worse, gas and electricity bills have started coming in. Like most people,we had a shock at seeing how high ours was – but our supplier wants to put up our payments by 50%! We obviously will have used more during the cold weather, and it doesn’t help that our house is a 24/7 home – there’s always someone up and using electricity as Stephen goes to bed about 5am and I get up at 6am! (The washing machine comes on at 5am so that the clothes are ready for me to put out to dry when I get up.) Billy, Raji and Stephen are terrible for leaving lights on, Nel uses a fan heater in her room, Raji takes forever in the shower – and I am always cold so tend to put the heating on. Sadly, I can’t see much changing for the next year or so so we’ll have to find the money – but our finances are in pretty poor shape already and this is one blow I didn’t need. (I’m still waiting for the car M.O.T bill to arrive, and the tax is due next month too.) I’ve been really disciplined and have thrown away catalogues as they’ve arrived, deleted e-mails from companies offering discounts and sales, and have avoided shop sales like the plague. I feel good about not being tempted to spend money – but miserable knowing I can’t even look – especially for the things that we could really do with and I’m fed up of doing without! I’m not sure I can remember being this poor before (even as a single parent on benefits) – and every time I think I’m getting straight again, something else happens and I’m back to square one – but have no more resources now. I fervently hope Stephen gets work soon – but the only jobs around seem to be part time (which he has, nevertheless, applied for.)

As I said, this flatness is by no means limited just to me – everyone seems to be the same and I’ve been battling hard not to let myself slip into depression. Unfortunately, people around me seem to have decided I must be fine and can therefore be used as a prop for themselves (not intentionally of course) and have been leaning on me – which means that I’ve had to fight ever harder not to fall into the pit. I’m clinging on to the sides – admittedly by my fingertips – but I’m determined to stay strong, stay focused and not wallow. I’m trying to just deal with the things I can do something about, and ride out those I can’t – and really, I need others to do the same. I have taken the precaution of adding some St Johns Wort to my usual (immune boosting) winter herb mix – I need all the help I can get.

Next step is to find some motivation to do all the things I really need to do. Currently I’m doing little, almost hibernating, and comfort eating – which I am going to regret if I keep it up much longer. 🙁

Roll on the good times.

More Bugs!

On Sunday morning when I woke up (at mum’s) my head was splitting, my throat raw, and my glands were so swollen I looked like a hamster. Oh no! I hoped I didn’t have flu as I desperately wanted to be well for our weekend trip next week. I staggered downstairs and sat quietly with a coffee which mum had made me, and gradually the headache calmed a little. I wished I had the right herbs with me, but as I didn’t, I resorted to a couple of soluble aspirin as I felt the need something anti-inflammatory. Just to make matters worse though, one of my new contact lenses split in half in my eye and I couldn’t get the half stuck in my eye out. I poked and prodded for ages but nothing worked. I left it to see if it would come out by itself but it didn’t. I tried calling Billy who was not answering his phone – what’s the point in having your own personal optician if he ignores you? 😉 So I tried putting another lens in on top, hoping it would dislodge the broken bit – it didn’t, and sat happily on top. So I left it like that whilst mum and I had the dinner she’d cooked us, and then as we were drinking our tea, something moved and I managed to get the offending segment out. YAY! Thank goodness for that! At least I now didn’t need to worry about driving home. Unfortunately all my woes meant that I was very preoccupied and bad company for mum all morning, which made me feel bad, so I just prayed I would be better by next weekend. I was really tired by the time I got home and got into bed to read at 5.30 pm but by 6.30 pm gave in and turned out the light and went to sleep.

I had a VERY strange night. I slept deeply but woke up every 15 minutes, which was very weird. Each time I woke, I felt as though I had slept for a couple of hours, yet it was only 15 minutes. With my throat being so sore, I was drinking a lot of water – which of course, meant I needed the loo a lot! I had strange, vivid dreams too and yet when I got up on Monday morning, I did still feel I’d had a reasonable amount of sleep. I went to work, but was definitely not firing on all cylinders, and with it being a morning clinic, managed to finish early and came home at 3.30pm. That night followed a similar pattern to Sunday’s only I managed to sleep for an hour at a time, and I made it to work on Tuesday. My overwhelming feeling through the two days was relief that it didn’t appear to be flu. I could cope with raging tonsillitis as long as it wasn’t flu. Naturally I took the appropriate herbs – though in a “don’t try this at home folks” manner i.e massive doses.

On Wednesday morning I felt a bit brighter – with two hours sleep at a time 🙂 – though my glands were still a bit swollen and my throat settling to just “scratchy”. I had a morning patient in my clinic and then had a gap until my afternoon clinic so managed to fit in the grocery shopping at Iceland and some Christmas shopping. I even did some more Christmas shopping on E-Bay in the evening so I think I’ve broken the back of it now 🙂

Thursday‘s throat and glands were the same as Wednesday which was good – I should be fine for the weekend 🙂 I spent the morning catching up with things at home, banking, and so on, and then went to a hospital meeting in North Tyneside in the afternoon. I think it was fairly productive though I had to leave before the end in order to get a lift back with one of the physio managers. When I got home I had to try and think straight so I could pack but I was so very tired, I have no idea how well I did or didn’t do!

So here we are, Friday morning, after a bad night’s sleep but I’m looking forward to my weekend in London with mum. 🙂

Weird Week

My colleague, K, had asked if I could work Friday for her and she’d work Monday so on Monday I was in my clinic seeing patients – which was very weird as I never see them on a Monday. I also managed to contact a company about replacing my car windscreen and they said they could do it on Wednesday for me, and would call me to confirm. In the evening I went to the school to see Nel’s teachers for her Parents’ Evening. All three subject teachers were really pleased with her and felt she’d settled well into 6th form and appeared to enjoy her lessons and be gaining confidence. What lovely news! (Nel agreed that she was indeed enjoying school now, so that’s a huge relief.) She does a few problems outside of school, but we had a good heart to heart about it all and hopefully this is now resolving itself. Billy was still ill with flu and stayed in bed all day (as ordered by me) so he hadn’t come with me but was pleased to hear things were going well. I did another urine dipstick on myself and was pleased to see that the leukocytes had gone back down to “moderate” so my kidney infection looked like it might be clearing up.

On Tuesday I was at work as usual – but I had to keep reminding myself that it was Tuesday and it was strange to be there for just one day before having two days break and then back for one more. It was a very long day too, very busy, too few appointments and too many patients wanting them, and I didn’t get finished until 5.30 pm. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but Billy had ventured on wobbly legs, back to work and I’d told him to stay put until I got to him as I wanted to help steady him home. He had gone back to work too early really, but being an optician it was difficult to keep cancelling his clinics, so I allowed him back on the proviso that he took it very slowly and stayed seated. I felt he could manage the sitting and testing, but didn’t want him up and down the stairs or escorting patients to and from the consulting room. By the time I got to him, he was wandering up and down the street waiting for me, which rather defeated the object.

First thing on Wednesday I called the car window company as I’d heard nothing, and the man had to think before saying “Oh yes, you need the car by Friday don’t you?” I replied that, no, I needed it tomorrow actually! He said he could do it Friday but that it would be perfectly safe to drive in the meantime as the worst that would happen would be that the crack reached the other side of the screen. I wasn’t happy about it but had to make do with that. He agreed to call me and confirm arrangements and costs for Friday – the cost depended on whether they could get a second hand window or had to get a new one. The rest of the day was my usual busy Wednesday – shopping before going to my clinic and the lunch time education meeting. This was given by a cardiologist this week and generated interesting comments, questions and debate which made me feel quite awake and stimulated afterwards and my afternoon clinic sailed by. I did another urine test and at last the leukocytes were down to “trace” 🙂 Billy and I walked home together later, he having survived another day at work, but still feeling exhausted.

On Thursday I drove down to Chester to fetch Stephen after his cat/house sitting stint. It was very wet and windy all the way with poor visibility so I had to concentrate – and of course, I was still warily eyeing that crack! Mum had made us a cooked lunch and it was nice to sit and eat all together – even though Stephen did struggle to eat so early – he tends to eat late at night. Afterwards we sat and chatted do that I could rest before driving back home, and mum and I tried to get Stephen more motivated to get a job and to think what he wants to do with his life. He got us in stereo, so he couldn’t wriggle out of it, and then on the drive home, I did continue to discussion a little in that I got him to agree to do more around the house whilst he is out of work. He’s agreed to take on the task of doing the Christmas decorations for a start – and he seemed fairly enthusiastic about this, having been given carte blanche to do it as and when he chooses 🙂 I also tried to to discuss his cannabis smoking which I have suspected for a while but recently had my suspicions confirmed. I’m not at all happy about it, especially as it’s rather sad that a young man his age needs help to get a buzz – life should be exciting enough, surely. However, I’m trying not to get too hysterical since I’ve been assured that everyone (bar me, obviously) has tried it at some point and it’s OK in small quantities. Hm! I’m not convinced but got Stephen to agree to read some literature on the subject if I sent him some links etc. I don’t THINK he does it too much/often but of course, I could be wrong – though he has no money so that presumably limits him! The joys of being a parent – and one with some old fashioned views at that. For the remainder of the journey, we enjoyed just talking – about football, friends, and life. I do enjoy his company (as does Mum and she’d enjoy having him with her for a couple of days after she’d returned from Sussex) and know he is a nice person underneath the teenage apathetic front. When we got home I sent Billy a text to see how he was coping with working his late evening and he said he felt better and was going for a drink after work. Hmmm – a little too early I felt, but I was glad he felt better.

It was back to work on Friday – I haven’t worked a Friday for a long time, but I had a reasonably calm day and got through a lot of work before I left at 4.15pm. I still hadn’t heard about my car windscreen and ended up phoning from work in the morning – they were goign to come and do it at lunchtime apparently, so it was lucky I’d thought to leave a key and some cash at home in case! I called the children and asked them to deal with the man when he came. When I got home that evening, I was pleased to see that I had a brand new wind screen fitted – at a cost of £145. As it was a darts cup game requiring only four players, I suggested the men went and had a boys’ night out, which they did – though Billy came home straight away afterwards as he felt exhausted again. I watched “Australia” on DVD whilst I did the ironing and must admit I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it. It’s not jsut a love story – which would have put me off it, but a fantastic film with something for everyone and very thought provoking.

It was quite a relief to get to the end of my weird week – every day I’d had to think what day it was and what I was doing – more so than usual.

City 1 – 1 Hull

Before going to the match on Saturday, I was taking Stephen to Chester to cat- and house- sit for Mum whilst she was away visiting my brother. Originally, the plan was for Billy and I to have stayed at Langley Castle on the Friday night and then leave early (having to miss out on breakfast 🙁 ) so that I could collect Stephen and his friend who was planning to accompany him at 8 am. At least with Billy’s illness preventing us from going to the cricket dinner at the castle, I got my breakfast before leaving 🙂 Stephen’s friend didn’t come in the end, either, so it was just the two of us driving down. He was surprisingly awake for most of the journey, given that he’s a nocturnal creature 😉 and he even coped OK with my music since he had neglected to bring his MP3 Player.

First stop was the petrol station – Raji had left me his contribution on my desk, and whilst there, I noticed that the little chip on the windscreen had split into a crack – presumably with the cold. Oh great! I was paranoid all the way down (and back) about the crack, which grew steadily longer and I had visions of my windscreen breaking completely! (Happily, it didn’t, but nevertheless it has become an urgent task to get the whole window replaced now!)

It was very foggy most of the journey, mixed in with some light rain and sunshine, but no matter the weather, it was very cold all day. Just one hour away from Mum’s house, I suddenly realised that I had left my key to her house at home in my handbag (having brought just my football bag with me for the day.) Oh NO! Panic! Mum was already en route to Sussex! I remembered that her neighbours have a spare key so prayed they were in – else I’d have to miss the match and drive all the way home again for the key since Mum quite rightly keeps her house very secure so I couldn’t think of any way in without a key. When we got to the last services, I called mum and asked if she would be able to phone her neighbours so I’d know if they were in – and fortunately, they were home and available to give me the spare key. PHEW!

I settled Stephen in, who seemed to be looking forward to doing his own thing for a few days. Rocky proved my theory that he would be cat-sitting a cat he’d never see, by taking one look at him and running straight of the cat flap! I shifted the bedroom about to remove the extra bed intended for his friend, (so mum wouldn’t have to move it when she returned) and had some lunch before setting off to Manchester (still eyeing the crack in the windscreen very warily.)

Despite my slightly stressful morning, I arrived at CoMS in good time and relaxed, determined to enjoy the match which I hoped we would win. It was freezing cold so I wore my scarf, hat and gloves for the first time this season, and saw that most people had done the same.

The game wasn’t great – we had plenty of possession and played some pretty football at times, but never made it count. Lots of long balls up to Ade, who never looked like winning them, and rarely made any off-the-ball runs (including one very noticeable time when he was just standing watching from well outside the area as others ran to get into it and receive the ball which was moving that way.) By the time he was substituted, I couldn’t have cared less if it had been Taylor (keeper) who came on for him as long as he went off – it was like playing with 10 men at times. (In fact it was RSC who didn’t do much though he did at least run I suppose.) Some nice moves from Tevez as usual, with SWP taking a few clatterings but managing to bounce back up as ever. Micah was back and made several runs forward – but left the back line stretched. Ireland’s passing was very suspect and though it was nice to see Robinho back, he seemed determined to try and do everything himself, leaving potential passes too late and giving the ball away. It was starting to get very frustrating when SWP managed to put us in front seconds before the half time whistle. The home fans felt relief rather than elation, I think!

The second half was so uninspiring for us, though Hull were having a go from the off, and nearly scored early on. Thanks to our midfield backing off and letting them through, they were succeeding in frustrating us. (Hull fans were excellent throughout, they’d brought a good number and were very vocal – unlike the home fans, who were just too dejected to sing.) The one surprise for me was seeing Shay get rattled – seemingly first by Hull fans singing “Thierry Henri” and then (understandably) with his team mates. He was visibly annoyed, kicking the goal posts and shouting. There was a feeling of almost-inevitability when the ref awarded Hull a penalty, there was no way Bullard was going to miss, and Shay was far from calm. 1 -1 then – ANOTHER draw! (Nice goal celebration though 😀 )

I was cold, wet, fed up and am now in the “Hughes Out” camp, I’m afraid. Whilst you cannot expect even the world’s greatest 11 players to necessarily perform as a team, our team were playing much better than this earlier in the season so it can’t be a team- gelling thing. So what’s changed? The coaching maybe?

By the time I got home (still watching that crack working its way down the windscreen) I was so tired I could barely stand. I quickly checked on Billy and dosed him up – his fever was completely gone but he was very, very weak and still unable to get out of bed and so missed his own game that afternoon. Then I was asleep almost as I fell into bed.

Kippax Blue’s photos here.

Damn Bugs!

Since I returned from Sussex, I’ve had a back ache – which I put down to sleeping in a different bed, though the bed was very comfortable and I was not aware of any problems. However, it didn’t ease up when I got home, and in fact kept getting worse until I was like an old woman every time I had to bend, and even worse, every time I had to put on socks or boots. As time went on, the intense pain seemed to get more localised though the whole of my back remained tender and it finally dawned on me last Sunday that maybe it was another kidney infection/stone rather than muscular! I took some herbs for cramp and they did help which made me even more convinced – though I hadn’t had any urine symptoms such as going to the loo more than usual.

On Monday, after work at the hospital, I popped in to my clinic and did a urine dipstick – and sure enough I had a moderate amount of leukocytes indicating a moderate infection. On Wednesday when I was next in there, I made myself some herbs for a kidney infection and I had an aromatherapy massage with oils which might help too. Today (Friday) I tested my urine again and I have a large amount of leukocytes now, though the pain is much better, so hopefully the herbs are sorting things out. I will test again on Monday and if there’s no change, I’ll go and see the doctor.

On Thursday, Billy came down with a cold and by the time he finished work at 7pm, he was shivery and feeling very poorly so I made him a hot water bottle and tucked him up in bed. This morning when I asked how he felt, he said he still felt rough but was going to try and get up as he wanted to be able to go to the cricket dinner at Langley Castle tonight. We’ve both been looking forward to it for a while, and especially this week so he was desperate for nothing to spoil it.

But it was no good. I think he may have flu as he was clearly still very ill, so we shelved the evening’s plans, I made him another hot water bottle and then went to my clinic. I made him some herbs up, brought home the thermometer and bought him some Lucozade so he’d get something inside him to keep his fluid, sugar and salt levels up. He had a temperature of 39 degrees when I checked him so I dosed him up and ordered him to stay put. Not that he was capable of doing otherwise! This evening, he is feeling slightly brighter, and the splitting headache has loosened slightly, though his temperature is 39.5 degrees. At least the damned virus should have stopped replicating now that his body’s got the temperature where it needs to be. 🙂

I’ll go and dose him up again shortly to get a good level in his system and then hopefully he may have turned a corner by morning.

P.S – Fri night: Temp 38.9 degrees, has finally broken sweat 🙂
– Sat morning: Temp 36.7 degrees, much brighter and just feeling weak. Think those bugs are dead now – isn’t the body an amazing thing? 🙂

Working my way back…

On the Friday morning, mum and I had breakfast together, and she even made me a packed lunch before she left for work and then I got myself ready to leave, and told myself that this was still my holiday so I was going to relax and keep the holiday mood as I returned home. Then Billy called me to say that he had not done any top-up shopping (I’d done enough to last for 2 weeks, bar needing a top-up of bread and fridge things, and I’d given him the cash to do it) nor had he bought a new kettle (ours had died the evening before I left so again, I‘d given him the cash to replace it)! I couldn’t believe it and ended up saying I’d get them before I left Chester.

Stephen and friend are cat/house sitting soon for mum so I had offered to move the furniture around in the bedroom and set up the other bed ready for them. It didn’t take too long and once that was done, I packed the car, let myself out and went to Tesco – it didn’t feel like I was on holiday anymore. I got the food, and then had to drive across the retail park to the huge non-food Tesco to get a kettle since the food shop didn’t have what I wanted. I thought I’d take a little look at what else they had as they often have some good offers, and I ended up with a new Christmas tree and a half-price black printer cartridge as well as the kettle!

By the time I’d done all this, it was lunchtime so I sat in the car park and ate my packed lunch before finally leaving Chester at 12.30 pm. The drive home was clear on the motorway though there are lots of road works on the M6 at the moment, and speed is reduced to 50mph which is a slight pain. I stopped for a cuppa and a read of my (rather un-put-down-able) book on the way – determined to try and salvage SOMETHING of the holiday mood. The A69 though was slow going, with lots of lorries and slow cars on the single carriageway, and I eventually got home at 4.30 pm.

What REALLY spoiled my mood was that a lorry sent a stone flying and it hit my windscreen and chipped it. Grrr! Although it’s a small chip, and not in my line of vision (wiper blade area), it’s quite close to the edge which I felt sure meant I’d have to have a whole new windscreen rather than a repair. Just when Rick had got my car sorted for me too! (Having spoken to him since, he’s relieved me by saying it shouldn’t be an MOT failure so I can probably leave it for now. Phew!)

When I got home, I unpacked the shopping (luckily I keep shopping bags and cool bags in the car) and then had to put washing out to dry that Billy had put in the machine that morning. I discovered the wash basket was very full and only 2 loads had been done during the 6 days I had been away, so I spent the next few days trying desperately to catch up with it all – with my own holiday dirty clothing added to it of course. When I finally did get to the bottom of the basket, it was to find the pyjamas I’d put in the day I left. Ugh!

However, on the plus side, Mrs Gem had been in the previous day and I could see that Billy had made an effort to tidy the house again ready for my return – and he’d changed our bed, and emptied bins. The children both chatted with me for a bit, and I gave all the cats a good fuss, and I enjoyed seeing them all (kids and cats, that is) again. Later I got welcome home cuddles from a very snuffly husband who was miserable with a heavy cold, but who was pleased to have me back I think 🙂

World outside of sports.

Yes, despite my blog entries, I HAVE done other things besides play darts and watch football 😉

Work has settled and I’m much less stressed now – not because the workload has eased, but because I’ve changed my attitude and accepted that I am only human. Now, whatever’s going on, I just smile and deal with it.Calm and Serene” has become my mantra and it’s amazing how effective it is. Admittedly my fortnight off helped, and I have another week off next week, and K is well settled now so that I won’t come back to a pile of queries. 🙂

Last weekend was a strange one as Billy was working Saturday morning, as usual, and he was going to a conference in Birmingham on Sunday, going in a mini-bus in the very early hours of the morning with other north-east opticians. Unfortunately, this plan fell through when Billy was told that actually, there now wouldn’t be a mini-bus and he’d have to make his own way for the day. Great! This meant we’d have to miss a wedding party Saturday night so Billy could get the train down and then have to stay in Birmingham overnight. Then he sent me a text saying that the other optician (who was working all day) had had to go home, urgently, so he had agreed to cover the afternoon too. I saw him briefly when he came home to change and pack, and then he was off and I didn’t see him until Monday morning as he was late home on Sunday.

One good thing came out of the conference though – Billy learned about what might be causing my continuing sight deterioration. I’ve been getting ever more short sighted over the last 4 years or so, which we found odd as usually this settles in early adulthood. (Which mine had, but started getting worse again these few years.) Apparently, this is thought to happen in people who wear contact lenses for everyday use, but who then do a lot of close work (paperwork/computer). The eyes get lazy and don’t bother to adjust to the close work properly and accept a degree of poor focus – and the eye shape changes, making the person more short sighted. The potential solution, is to have the contact lenses to correct the vision for normal use, but for close work, wear glasses to UN-correct it to a degree. I’m certainly willing to give it a go and don’t mind wearing glasses for close work – they are just so uncomfortable to wear all the time which is why I prefer my contacts. Now we just need to find time for Billy to test my eyes and alter my lens prescription again and then we can sort the glasses. I really hope it works, firstly as I do worry about my increasing blind-as-a-bat tendencies and secondly because I’m wondering if my prescription change is affecting my darts. I’ve had this happen before and as soon as my vision was correct again, my darts improved – and since my darts are generally steady, I don’t think it’s my throw.

This week I have been sent a bottle of 2-in-1 Bold Gel to try. That was a nice surprise, though I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it since I’m a firm fan of Bold 2-in-1 tablets. I’ve been using it all week and must admit that it’s lovely and easy to use and it smells gorgeous. As the clothes dry on the radiators, it makes the house smell good too. I think the tablets (from Costco) are probably better value for me to buy, but if this gel was on special offer, I’d certainly be happy to buy it.

Stephen’s been poorly for a few days, with a temperature and cough/cold. I must admit I haven’t seen him so poorly for a long time so he had his mummy fetching him drinks and then, when the fever broke, changing his bed and freshening his room whilst he showered. He seems to be well on the road to recovery now, thankfully, though whether it was just a bad cold, flu or swine flu, we’ve no idea. I don’t suppose giving it a label makes any difference really.

On Saturday night, Nel and her friend wanted to dress up and go into town for the Halloween “Spook Night” and as they are both cartoonists, they each went as one of their own characters. Nel’s was one who wears a sari so she asked if I’d help her to don her sari that Billy’s mum had given her. I said I was willing as long as she was patient as I’d have to concentrate to remember how to put it on. I did hesitate a bit and have to tweak here and there, but over all I was pleased that I did OK – though I could almost feel Rani’s hands smacking mine when I went wrong 😀 Next, Nel wanted bangles, a necklace, shoes and a wrap to complete the outfit – so I obligingly dug them all out – and she looked beautiful. Really beautiful. I didn’t tell her that though, as I don’t think she’d have thanked me for it. As it turns out, the girls weren’t gone long as they said it wasn’t up to much and all the stalls were selling things that cost £5 or more. Still, I think they were glad they’d seen for themselves anyway.

Herbs, glorious herbs…

I had herb talks/events arranged on the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and my usual Wednesday clinic so my first week off was pretty much taken up with preparations for these as well as by the events themselves.

On Tuesday afternoon I was talking in Alnwick to the Parkinson’s Support Group and it was a good job that I’d already given a couple of Parkinson’s talks already so that it was all written ready as I had a headache and was very cold – both of which seemed to get worse as the morning went on. I managed to print off all the handouts I’d need and make up some jars of cream to take as they are always in demand, but didn’t feel like eating before I went. At 12.30pm I met up with the specialist support nurse who had invited me to go, as she was driving us there. On the way, we collected one of her clients from a (very nice) nursing home and passed the rest of the journey chatting with her. (What an amazing lady she was too! Very dignified, interested and interesting.) When we arrived at the rugby club where the meeting was held, we found the heating was broken so we all sat in coats and nursed mugs of tea for warmth. (I hate cow’s milk in tea and though the warmth was nice, it did nothing for my growing nausea!) I gave my talk and as usual I had a kind audience (of about 16 or so) who seemed interested and asked relevant questions and then we chatted a bit and cleared up before setting off on the return journey. By now I felt very sick and my headache was much worse and I came to the conclusion that I had a migraine and would be heading straight for my bed when I got home. Somehow I managed to keep up the chatter on the way (though fighting the nausea was a case of mind over matter.)

When I got home, I had some herbs and went to bed with 2 hot water bottles as I was frozen, but I soon realised I had some sort of bug as I had a raging temperature. Great! Luckily, I did sleep the worst of it off and by drinking herbs all the next day too, managed to keep it at bay for the rest of the week, just feeling a bit tired and off colour.

On Wednesday I wasn’t up to going to Tesco for the weekly shop so made do with Iceland instead. I hadn’t shopped there before (it’s new to our town) but it wasn’t bad for an occasional shop, though I couldn’t do it there every week. Still, a quick whizz round in half and hour then just paying whilst the staff packed the bags for home delivery in the evening, wasn’t bad at all, and certainly better for me than struggling with Tesco that day. Later, I did my drop-in clinic and attended the Wednesday lunchtime education meeting at the hospital as usual, and even managed to make in roads into writing the talk for Thursday evening.

On Thursday I finished my talk and gathered together the “props” I wanted to take, and also managed to begin campaigning for Statutory Regulation of Medical Herbalists. In short, in 2011 new regulations come into play, which will restrict over the counter sales of many herbal remedies. Back in 2000 the House of Lords looked into whether Herbalists merited Statutory Regulation and decided they did. So for the last several years, our Professional Bodies have been working hard to get together and bring us up the required standards of self regulation – and every Herbalist has had to pay an extra annual fee towards this. NOW the government is back-tracking and has decided to do a public consultation on the matter. (Did YOU know you were being asked for your opinion? Thought not!) I can only assume this is to do with cost because why on earth would anyone feel it was a bad idea to have us have to prove ourselves transparent and up to professional standards? The worst of it is that if Statutory Regulation does NOT go ahead, then all those herbal remedies that will disappear from use for the public, will also disappear from our dispensaries – meaning the public will have their choice taken away! (Not to mention making it difficult for us to help our patients of course!) You can see how this became somewhat time consuming and absorbing can’t you? I wrote to my MP, gave my own responses to the consultation, printed information for my patients and wrote a page about it on my website.

On Thursday evening, I gave my talk to the Rotary Club of Hadrian’s Wall and again, they were a nice audience and seemed interested in the subject of Herbal Medicine. They said that the thing that most surprised them was the 5 years training I’d had and that they’d thought it was just a quick course at a local college with a certificate at the end. I wish there was a way to convey to the public that this is not the case. Oh wait! There IS! Statutory Regulation of Medical Herbalists 😉

On Friday I had a long day in my clinic seeing patients and getting together everything I’d need for Saturday’s Fighting All Cancers Together event in Newcastle. I then had to stagger home with all my literature and other bits for my stand – who needs a gym workout? On Saturday morning, I followed Sarah in as she had been before, and we picked up our friend H on the way as she was going to help. We were a bit later than planned as we got slightly lost, but eventually arrived and hurried to set up our stands. The morning went by quite quickly and H was a real help, and gave me the opportunity to visit the other stands and do some networking as well as gathering some information that might help my own patients too. She even went on a coffee run as I’d have had to go thirsty without her! At the end of the event, the raffle was drawn with lots of lovely people winning some really nice prizes. We cleared up and put our stuff in the cars before returning for a buffet lunch. The food itself was superb, but the organisation was dreadful – we’d just been bundled up to a quiet end of the restaurant area and left standing or sitting as best we could manage. I then gave H a lift home as Sarah was going elsewhere and felt that over all it had been a very worthwhile exercise and one that I would repeat. I’d definitely take along a helper of my own next time though, rather than relying on borrowing Sarah’s half the time. (Send your CV and a photo to…. 😉 )

A couple of photos:

Anji and glamorous assistant H
Anji and Herbal Clinic stand

By the end of the week I really as quite tired – but I’d LOVED spending a whole week on my business and thinking of little except herbs. If only I could do that more often.

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