The last few weeks remain challenging as my illness goes on as do my visits to hospitals & doctors & consultants – oh my.. but the latest developments is a blinding skull crushing endless headache that has been my constant companion for two weeks now, it is affecting my vision, I wear sunglasses all day and spent most of the time lying down in a darkened room. Screen time is limited because it is too painful and it also means I can’t read anything. I’m dosed up on lots of lovely painkillers that aren’t quite touching the sides of the pain and they mean that I can’t drive essentially leaving me housebound. This situation has therefore forced me to literally just ‘sit and be’.
I was feeling most despairing of the situation until I hit upon a drug combo that helps lifts the pain slightly for a for a few hours a day and it has been during these periods of time that I have developed a clarity about the things that I enjoy doing and that bring me genuine pleasure. Top of my list is reading, I adore books, all looks, old books, new books, Amazon & Waterstones are my guilty late night online shopping addictions. I have missed reading for the last few weeks, my little forays into other lives and worlds, the importance of being able to pick up and immerse myself in a book has never occurred to me to be anything other than ‘just what I do’ but since I haven’t been able to I have been reminded what a simple and satisfying pleasure and, often a comfort,it is to me. It is not something I shall take for granted again.
I am now also extremely grateful to the BBC Radio podcasts that have allowed me to listen to books instead, so far Rogue Gerries, Mary Barton and part way through Vanity Fair. In Our Time has also become a firm favourite, a 45 minute discussion on a specific topic hosted Melvyn Brag with a panel of experts, the topics are very diverse; history, religion, science etc, it has taught me loads.
As a parent, something I am ashamed to admit and wasn’t really fully aware of was the fact that when I am with baby Lulu I am not always 100% ‘present’. But lately we have been lying in bed together cuddling and talking , listening , and giggling together. I realise that gleaning pleasure from these things seem ridiculously obvious but for me I feel that its been the silver lining of my time off work, and the inability of me to be detracted by the TV or phone or tech has given me the gift of time with her and it has been an honour.
I’ve learnt not to sweat the little things too much, when you are in chronic pain, unable to see properly and suffering from insomnia the fact that I haven’t hoovered for week and the floor has ‘bits’ on doesn’t seem very important at all, its not even been put high on the list of ‘things to do’. I have lost my appetite but cups of gorgeous to chocolate with sticky sweet unctuous marshmallow melting on top has brought me great comfort, as have hot water bottles on my neck, lying down for an afternoon nap, being able to really listen to what my body really needs, sleep, food, water, and the company go my constant companion, Livia.