Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Blog 54 h...A New Challenge...

Blog 54 h...   A New Challenge...
A few blogs ago I did say that I had some news regarding my pain…following a Nuclear Scan in November; yes it does take a long time to get results and have follow up appointments but to be frank I have now got used to the waiting! The news is that a consultant I saw in November referred me to a specialist in the spine department who diagnosed that the pain could be due to either an abscess or a cyst in the area of the hip joint…well this was good news to me: not that I had one of these things but because it means that it is not all in my mind as some people had been thinking! There is actually something causing this dreadful pain!
Well, last week I was invited to the hospital to have a couple of swabs taken in order to rule out my having the MRSA virus; so two swabs of the nostrils and two swabs ‘down there’ and fill in a form and bingo I’m all set to go this week; I will be admitted to hospital where I will have a procedure in the sacroiliac joint: which is designed to relieve the pain. Don't ask me to explain what the consultant said as you see I was busy concentrating on the fact that he looked about 12 years of age and was the spitting double of a young actor in my boys' favourite T.V. programmes about teenagers growing up and trying to have a great time of it! Not only that but when he was explaining the procedure I keyed into the words:'lying down with your bottom in the air to help with the x-ray machine positioning...' and immediately my brain went into overload...OMG I'll need to buy some decent underwear; what colour? Flowers look too young for a middle aged woman, red is too slutty for such a young man to see, white too virginal and black possibly too sexy for his little young heart! Then; should I wear a matching bra, my God it's years since I've had such a dilemma, will I be wearing a bra? OMG no bra and slutty knickers too much for me to process by which time he is smiling at me and saying:'at least you know it'll be me so that'll be a familiar face for you even though the whole process is less than dignified.' So I'm all set for an undignified unveiling of my stretch marks, cellulite, saggy derriere and face the problem of not being able to lie flat on my face, seriously...just not possible with or without a bra!

Now I face this question: after 4 years of agony will I be cured? Ah bliss…I can hear my red stiletto shoes calling from the bottom of my wardrobe…yeah they are eagerly waiting for an airing; ah to be pain free and to walk [or perhaps totter] in decent shoes. My stilettos always make me feel confident, a real female, sexy, clever, capable. You see becoming so ill with a pain has affected my life in so many ways that it is hard to describe without becoming maudlin.

First there was the sudden unemployment that I have mentioned before. Who’d have thought I would have finished my teaching career so flatly? It was as if I had fallen off the face of the earth; no goodbyes to children and parents; no  golden handshake from the Education Department for giving them the best years of my life; no opportunity to clear cupboards and remove all the years of teaching paraphernalia hidden deep in the cupboards. Worse still, which has to be every teacher’s nightmare, is to no longer return to your class room: leaving it with unmarked books or unsigned paper work. Would I look unorganised? Unprofessional? Literally I was in school one day and the next; gone, bedridden.

Secondly there was the weight gain due to being at home all day sitting around or lying around depending on the level of pain, with nothing better to do than eat biscuits, crisps, bowls of sugar-laden cereal, drinking hot chocolate or milky coffees and cakes; all foodstuffs designed to keep the depression at bay as well as the boredom and the loneliness. The watching of old movies or day time chat shows does nothing for the morale and by the time the family came home at the end of their busy days my eyes would be red and puffy due to the crying caused not just by the pain but by the sadness of the T.V. selection!

Thirdly there was the lack of finances: the loss of a salary is devastating for any household but when the other salary is unsteady due to the recession then it becomes ten times worse. ‘How do we cope without my salary?’ is something that still haunts me during the never ending sleepless nights. Bringing two growing boys up on so tight a budget makes you feel more ill than you are sometimes; the worry of the price of school uniforms, school trips, Christmas and birthday presents, dreading the invitation to a birthday party is overwhelming at points due to having children who are popular and have a better social life than their parents! Transferring them from school dinners to packed lunches is always hard for boys who prefer the option of 'seconds' at lunch time; let's face it, was it really any cheaper? Then of course there's the loss of holidays; somehow a picnic on a windy park does little to lift the spirits of anyone when you receive a stream of postcards from around the world from their friends who were holidaying, when you don't know if it'll ever be possible to travel again.

Fourthly there is the loss of 'mojo' linked to the incredible guilt that surrounds the loss of my job; my career and how our family life may never be the same. Exhaustion caused by lack of sleep led to memory loss and confusion as days meltd into each other: I often lost track of time or what day of the week it was; sometimes finding it very hard to make simple decisions!
Feeling tired, fat, spotty [I know what the hell is mother-nature doing to me? I didn’t have acne as a teenager!] Having no clothes to fit, non-existent waistline preventing me from wearing anything that isn’t elasticated, wearing baggy T-shirts due to having boobs bigger than either pregnancy had given me; which also stopped any ideas of wearing dresses or blouses, fat ankles disappearing into swollen legs and tubby feet meant that I was more comfortable in slippers or trainers and would spend winter in the same wide ankle boots year in year out: a lot of side effects of pain killers cause these changes as well as inactivity. Lack of finances also dictated the colour and style of my hair; home colouring kits bought in the sales do not guarantee that your grey will colour successfully every time nor can you colour match; resulting in the three colour layering of my hair which probably didn’t attract as much attention as the strange fringes or my haphazard cutting [or hacking] of the split ends!

Feeling as low as this on the inside makes you want to hide behind the curtains and stay indoors.
Looking as bad as this on the outside makes you want to keep away from everyone, family and friends included, as you see your reflection in peoples’ eyes as they wonder how could you change so much?
I could feel myself closing in on myself as my world began to close in on me.
My pain took over my life, my family’s life, as I have said before it became my constant companion.

Now I face a new challenge; if all goes well at the hospital will I become pain free?
If so how will I cope without my constant companion?
Will I miss it?
Will I now be expected to step outside into the world that I have hidden from for so long?
Will I now be expected to pick up where I left off?

I’m four years older now, I’m slower than I used to be, I used to rush everywhere and when I wasn’t running about I was driving. I was always multi-tasking: organising the children as well as 'Hubby' and 'Bridezilla', I ran a house, cleaned, cooked, shopped, decorated, did some gardening and worked full time. Then it all stopped.

The thought of being able to live a normal life again is actually quite frightening…overwhelming if I'm truthful...

...good job I have my red stiletto shoes at the ready then…

Blog 54 i...coming soon...Watch this Space...
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