Sunday, 26 June 2016

Not European

So, the UK voted to leave Europe.  I feel like a toddler wanting to shout "not fair".  I am 47 years old.  We joined Europe while I actually was a toddler. I've been European all my life and someone I can't shout at has taken that away from me.  I've been robbed, I've been bereaved.  If you told me I could no longer be British, the feelings would be as strong.  I am European, how can people I don't even know make me give that up?

I'm scared. So scared.  By so many things.

I'm scared of my neighbours.  I fear the UK breaking down into a place where racism is out in the open, accepted, tolerated.  I fear for my neighbours as well as being afraid of them, for not everyone around here has Englishness in their blood for ten generations.  Where would it end.

I'm scared because I've contributed to a pension scheme for 27 years now, and it loses money every year.  It went down 5% last year and now, well, thousands more have gone from it. I have just 20 years of a working life to try to build myself into a retirement where I don't have to rely on a state pension which I fully believe will not be adequate to keep a roof over my head.  Because this is my home, this house, and I want to see out my days here, but I could not afford the running costs on a state pension. I guess I'd have to take in lodgers in my 70s.

I'm scared of losing my job.  My much loved team is International.  I don't know how it's going to work, in terms of having foreign workers, I don't know how the budgets are going to cope.  I presume we're funded in sterling and spending in Euros and that's frightening.  How long will I have a job?

I'm scared about the mortgage rate and what could happen to my repayments in a world where employment has suddenly become uncertain.

I'm scared and angry about what we've done to the younger generation.  The day before voting I looked down over our local playing field and saw the kids.  I don't have kids, but I knew I wanted a future for those having a kickabout where they had opportunity.  The chance to work in a wider world, to embrace the global culture which I think is the future, the best place to be everything you want to be.

I worry for my friends who live European lives.  So many living in Europe, so many in loving relationships with people who were, until Friday our fellow Europeans.  What is going to happen to their right to work in Europe, to love in Europe, to bring up their dual nationality children wherever they want to bring them up.  I worry for my European friends living here, contributing, being a part of this amazing, eclectic country which is richer for diversity.

Will the French hate me?  Will I get abuse when I travel overseas.

Our youth may not be able to do what I had the privilege of doing, to take off in a campervan, drive around Europe with an unknown itinerary and an unknown duration, to freely move through Europe.

I hate this, and to tell me to "suck it up", to roll up my sleeves and get on with it.  Well, it's too soon for that. It'll be too soon until we can be offered some certainties over how our future is going to look.

I am one of the sixteen million my local MP seems to be pretending don't exist.  He is delighted that 17000 people in his constituency wanted to leave.  What about the 16,300 who wanted to stay?

I'm terrified.  And yet, usually, I deal well with change.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


Facebook have an "On this day" app which sometimes makes me smile with fond memories, and often makes me wince.  I don't really like the person I was in 2007, or so it appears.  Almost every post from that era makes me feel  nothing but regret.  Maybe I was the only one who knew what a mess I was or maybe it did come through, post by post, as I was angry, frustrated, drunk or hungover. I'm ashamed of who I was that year, I don't like that person.

I then realised I could make her and all the memories of her disappear.  Click top right of that old 9 year old status, scroll down, press delete.  After a diligent and consistent 365 days of doing that, she'll be gone, expunged, and I won't have to deal with her again.  There's no learning to be had, no benefit from remembering those bad times, they won't serve as a warning or a caution, they just make me feel bad about me.  The delight of delete is fabulous.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Wanna Gag?

I didn't want to gag.  The doctor made me.  So, to cut direct to the conclusion, my endoscopy gave pretty close to an all clear, nothing sinister going on inside these guts.  There's still a test result to come for a bacteria the gastro dude felt was a possibility but there's nothing in the way of polyps or weird stuff happening.

The endoscopy was kind of unpleasant.  Not painful, not particularly horror story material, but unpleasant.  I opted for sedation and the throat spray, one or other of which was meant to deaden my gag reflex.  Not my gag reflex, no sirree, that's live and well and undeterred by such things as mere medication.  It put up a good fight against the tube despite all the breathing and relaxing I was doing in a token gesture kind of a way.  Difficult to focus on those things when your body has other ideas.  And a long liquorice like tube went into me and at some point it came out and I was wheeled into recovery where I could quietly watch my resting heart rate and see it rise when I stressed out about farting.  That's a side effect of them pumping air into your stomach so their camera can have a good look around.  It feels slightly anti social even though you know the other three or four women in the room are presumably having the same issues.

Then there were instructions.  A responsible adult for four hours.  Fella found that horrifying, what, spend four full hours with his girlfriend?  Perish the thought.  Then the alarming don't operate machinery or kitchen appliances.  Wait.  Hold on right there. Not even the kettle?  No, apparently I'm not safe to operate the kettle.  No driving for 24 hours, fine, no worries.  No big decisions. I was glad about the no big decisions.  After we walked around Sainsbury's and then on to Co-op for chorizo (not sold in our dinky Sainsbury's), I wanted to buy ice cream in co-op.  Turned out we'd already bought ice cream in Sainsbury's.  Big decisions would clearly have been a bit of an issue.

And all continues, business as usual.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Mid May

What a curious time of year this has proved to be for me over the years.  Today I saw on facebook the wedding anniversary of two of my friends.  Sixteen years it's been.  I missed their wedding because I wrote off my car and had whiplash.  On the same day as I wrote off the car, I got the keys to my house - the home I shared with Dave from 20th May 2000 until his death in 2005.

Three years later in May 2003 I got married.

Fast Forward to 2012 and I met my current fella 20th May.

And every single year I still send my mother in law flowers for her birthday, always with a twinge of sadness because she lost her son and he can't send her a present, or a card, or visit as he used to, and my meagre offering, a symbol of affection and caring is all I can do.

This year is also proving distressing, firstly for reasons I can't quite put into words relating to an old friend, secondly tomorrow's endoscopy which is quietly concerning me.  It's like a rite of passage into a stage of life where medical procedures begin ...

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Perry Many

It seems to me it's not something anything attempts to warn you about, the peri menopause.  Mind you, thinking back, I'm not entirely sure anyone did anything to prepare me for periods or for period pains or for the pre period madness.  Maybe back then a couple of friends talked about their periods, because I knew what was going on at my first "showing" as I believe the polite phrase may be.

But in your thirties / early forties, nobody tells you there's this stage which happens between fertility and non fertility, as it were.  This bit in the middle where things start to change.  So things change and you start to seek an explanation.  You talk to friends about bits and pieces, you read the internet, and eventually, finally, it dawns on you that these body changes aren't your fault, that you're not messing up, that you're not dying of some outlandish illness, and for some of them, there's a chance you can do something about them.  You also realise you could have it a lot worse.  There's a veritable smorgasbord of options you can select for how your perimenopause is going to hit you today or next week.

So, I got a massive bad dose of the jittery hormones and a dose of unwanted body fat as part of the gift aging gave to me.  And decided I could no longer be a passive passenger of my body at this point.  I was going to seek help.  And I sought help.  I put aside my usual conventional approaches and booked in at the Alternative Health clinic.  Wincing a little bit as I did so.  And a month or so later, things are normalising - in the way I want normal to be, not in the way my body had decided for me.  A month of fasted pre breakfast exercise washed down with a prescribed amount of smoothie which is all the food I get until lunch and I have energy back, the want to get out and do something with myself has returned.  My old shape has started to return, my waist has definition and my waistband is not obscured by a somewhat alarming roll of belly fat.  Starflower and Agnus Castus and I seem to have levelled out, mood wise, hell, sometimes I even feel quite smiley!

Still, I wonder why nobody warned me ... 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Roles Reversed

So, I went into hospital, in an ambulance and everything.  Excruciating abdominal pain involving attempts to vomit, attempts not to move a whisker.  Waves of pain that when at their worst made me shiver violently with teeth chattering with what became an almost mesmerising regularity.  Oh here we go again, big pain hit, count to 5 and here comes the shivering.  Apparently I have an interesting reaction to morphine.  My blood pressure decides it just wants out of here, through the floor or anywhere available and it all gets a bit swimmy.

And there was fella, having to deal with seeing me in massive pain and helpless to help. He strokes my head, and at one point I request his hand resting on my belly while both mine are occupied, what with blood pressure cuffs and morphine.

And I think I know what he's going through and I feel bad.  But I don't know if I do know what he's going through.  I hated being helpless when Dave was in the agony of the shingles head, nothing touching the hurt.  And that's what I assumed, so felt bad for fella as well as bad for me. Hell, eventually all I felt was the need for everything to stop.  I wanted unconscious, or I wanted a large knife to rip my own abdomen out.

I resolutely refused all suggestions of one sided pain or start to pain, and it felt really hard to insist that I was lucid and truthful but kept insisting it was a band across the whole.  Good job really or I might have had a random appendix surgery.  It was a blockage of my small intestine.

In the middle of all of this I somehow transfer to fella all responsibility for us.  He's the one who has to talk to the doctors because sometimes I can't talk through the waves of pain, although I try, and sometimes I am completely unaware of what's happening around me, and couldn't possibly repeat a history of what's happened since we first phoned the NHS helpline.  And I have to relinquish something, not entirely control but I need to depend on him to be the one who holds it all together, and I'm not entirely sure he can do it.  That's always been how I've seen my role, the one who competently manages to keep the plates spinning.

And it's OK, it's all OK, I go in on Monday evening and I'm out on Tuesday evening, confused, bewildered, shell shocked and tired, so damned tired.  All the shivering and the loss of a night's sleep has taken its toll.  Wednesday I cry, those relief kind of tears when you actually get the chance to cry after a trying experience.  Perhaps I should have screamed while I was on the trolley in the hospital corridor for what felt like hours, but I was in silent pain mode.  I didn't cry, I didn't scream.  I may have whimpered, perhaps twice.  And attempted to puke a few times, not that it helped.

And somehow on Wednesday I expect to be as right as rain, and oddly I'm not, and trying to be as right as rain is exhausting.  So that's me, learning to recover.  Trying emotionally to come to grips with an ambulance journey and a night in hospital.  It's a first for me.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Pinball Wizard

Did you play pinball in your youth?  I remember the electronic machines.  Stuff happened, lights flashed, paddles flicked, bells sounded, springs compressed and exploded.  Sometimes you'd set your ball free and wouldn't have to lift a finger as it ricocheted around the inside of the machine.  You didn't even need to try to flick the flapper, as it were, it was just everywhere, all at once, out of control, bashing into everything.  Sometimes when I look at facebook I realise I have friends like that, their lives resemble that shiny silver ball, no control as they are lurched from one thing to another, they speed up, slow down, get caught behind a barrier, start to fall, and are heartachingly flicked into a completely different place.  It's not easy watching, not at all, and the powerlessness of not being able to open any kind of trap door or provide any kind of resting cushion for even a short while is uncomfortable.  I don't like watching the unstoppability of it, never knowing if it's an up or a down they will hit next and not able to just grab their shoulders, look into their eyes and try to make the dizziness and disorientation go away.

I'm not sure I could live like that, but I do wonder if from the outside, people believe that I do?