Author Archives: Jak

Weekly roundup

My Aunt &Uncle, their daughter & partner, her son & partner and their 2 children all tested positive for Covid this week despite the fact these three generations don’t live together. My Aunt is 76 and my Uncle 80. In addition, he is very overweight and already has a heart problem. It’s worrying. They both currently only have mild symptoms and so far neither of them feel particularly unwell but they only tested positive on Friday so it’s early days.

The number of Covid cases in the UK is scary. This map is from Public Health England and you can clearly see the number of cases per day now (around 26,000) compared to the height of the first wave of the pandemic in April when it hovered around 5,000.

The good news is the death rate is nowhere near what it was back in May as we have better ways of treating severe Covid infections. The bad news is we are seeing increasing numbers of Long Covid patients whose lives are being dramatically affected by continuing symptoms after contracting the virus. Personally I’m just continuing to self isolate (aside from seeing my parents, who are also self isolating), being religious about disinfecting my hands after I’ve handled the post, washing all my groceries with soapy water and social distancing whenever I have to come into contact with anyone ๐Ÿ™.

Monday I felt absolutely dreadful. Very MEish and unwell. I hadn’t done anything to cause a flare in my symptoms so was worried and confused as to why I was feeling so crap……………………and then Aunt Flo arrived, which solved the mystery. There is no need to still be having regular periods at the age of 53. Zero fucking needy-ness.

Wednesday I had to take my Dad to Hexham for a pre-op assessment in relation to his upcoming hip replacement and we both enjoyed having a ride out. His appointment took 95 minutes but he had to go in alone, so I sat in the car with my flask and butties and practised a talk I’m giving this week. I didn’t get any strange looks as I demonstrated the length of my 9″ studio bulbs and animatedly talked to myself. The men in white coats did knock on the window though and ask me to step outside ๐Ÿ˜†.

My dog Bertie has had a herniated disc in his spine for years and occasionally has flare ups where he’s in considerable pain. I took him to the groomers on Friday to be clipped, who knows all about his issues and promised to be careful, but by teatime he was obviously in agony. Luckily I have agreed a pain management plan with his Vet so was able to increase his Gabapentin medication and give him a Tramadol, which eventually enabled him to sleep. These episodes are happening more and more as he gets older though which I guess is to be expected but is no less distressing.

Friday evening I’d arranged to have a Zoom cuppa with 2 friends from my old camera club. I’m loving Zoom. It means I can have a social life with none of the cost to my energy levels which physically meeting in person entails. Oh how I wish it had been available when I was isolated and bedridden for all those years.

This morning I’ve woken with a migraine. I woke with a migraine yesterday morning too and have had period pain since Monday despite the fact my actual period only lasted 24 hours. Endometriosis is the gift which keeps on giving.

I’m off now to have some infant Ibuprofen suspension and my breakfast in the hope it will subdue my stabbing head pain. The clocks went back an hour last night which meant I was up at 5.15am as Bertie didn’t get the end-of-British-summer-time-memo, so it’s looking like a long week while I try to wrestle both our body clocks into submission.

Be vigilant my friends and stay safe x

Groundhog Day

I arrive at my parents’ apartment yesterday and as I get to the top of the stairs I hear my Dad saying in an agitated voice “you should have handed it to Jak!”
“Well where is she?!” my Mum replies testily.
“She’s just coming up the stairs now!” my Dad is clearly in a tizzy.

I take a deep breath and slap a smile on my face ready to face whatever crisis is looming.

“What’s happening?” I ask.
My Dad is clutching the phone. “We’ve just had TalkTalk on but your mother hung up on them”.
They’ve been having problems with their phone line since January and I have had such a nightmare with TalkTalk that I complained to Ofcom this week. As my parents are vulnerable and disabled they have a legal duty to prioritize any repairs.

What my Dad doesn’t know is that I’ve made a formal complaint to TalkTalk’s head office and I told my Mum that if they rang her to simply say that my Daughter is dealing with it, please contact her and hang up. The reason being, TalkTalk have tried to keep my parents on the line for over 2 hours the last three times they’ve contacted them and it’s stressed my Mum to the point of ill health.

Just then, the phone rang again and it was TalkTalk, the upshot of which is they are sending the 5th engineer out today as a matter of priority. My Dad looks at me with tears in his eyes and says in a chocked voice “You are such an Angel. I have no idea what we’d do without you”.

My Mum, OTOH, seems very and I realize she is absolutely hammered. At 11.30am. FFS.

They sit down to their lunch, a ready meal I got them from Tesco.
“We didn’t get the meal for two” Mum slurs accusingly “we got 2 separate meals for one”. I look at the pile of food on each of their plates and don’t think they’ll starve any time soon.
“OK” I reply and change the subject.

My Dad tells me he’s been speaking to their next door neighbour who’s son had a baby yesterday. A little girl called Harper. Lovely ๐Ÿ™‚. Within minutes of that conversation, my Mum pipes up “Lee’s wife had a baby girl yesterday. They’re calling her……………what did they say Dad?”
“Harper” he replies.
“Harper!” Mum exclaims.
“Lovely” I say.

They finish their lunch and I ask if they enjoyed it. Mum tells me “It was really nice but we didn’t get the meal for two, we got 2 separate meals for one”.
I take a deep breath and smile before replying “well, it looks like there was enough”.

Half an hour later we’re discussing plants in the garden, which inevitably turns into an argument between my parents on which of the greenery on the wall opposite the lounge is a honeysuckle. As tensions rise I try to diffuse the situation by telling them it’s not worth rowing over a bush. My Mum then announces, smiling falsely “Lee’s wife had a baby girl yesterday. They’re calling herโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆwhat did they say Dad?”
“Harper” we both reply.
“Yes, Harper. I like it” states Mum.

My Dad clears away the plates and makes us all a brew. As I tuck in to the Celebration chocolates Mum tells me “Y’know those meatballs we like?”
“The ones I got you with your shopping yesterday?” I ask, knowing what was coming.
“Yes. We didn’t get the meal for two, we got 2 separate meals for one instead” her tone is suspicious.
“Does it matter?” I ask, unable to conceal my irritation.
“No. No. Just sayin'” she slurs.

I take the cups away to the kitchen and begin to wipe the counters down.
“Jak!” Mum shouts through at the top of her lungs, “Guess what? Lee’s wife had a baby girl yesterday! Isn’t that nice?”
I can’t resist. “Yes, I know. Harper. You’ve already told me”.
“Well I can’t remember telling you!” she shouts back, clearly narked.

6pm that night I’m lying in the bath, hair covered in shampoo, when the phone rings. It’s my Mum. “I just wanted to tell you that Joan’s son Lee had a baby yesterday!” she tells me excitedly, “isn’t that lovely?”
I know I should just let her tell me the tale, but I’m tired and hormonal and have Johnson’s Baby shampoo in my eyes which, let me tell you this for nothing, does sting and I can’t help myself “I know Mum. A little girl called Harper. You told me when I was there today. Three times.”
“Oh” she’s both disappointed I’m not excited at her news and embarrassed, which comes out as anger. “Well I’m sorry to have bothered you!” she says in a huff and puts the phone down.
Maybe if you weren’t roaring drunk every fucking day you might actually remember conversations with your precious child. I don’t say that of course. What would be the point?

Today is a new day, in which I’ll inevitably go through versions of yesterday all over again. Like a Groundhog. A fat, middle aged, tired, sick, hormonal Groundhog. I reach for the Jaffa cakes, my second packet this week. Fuck it. I’d rather be a fat but chilled Groundhog than a thin loonatic, rocking in the corner and dribbling.

Weekly roundup

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again already – I feel like I’ve achieved diddly squat this week. I’ve had 3 bad migraine days, 3 disturbed nights due to hip pain and my energy levels have been super low, consequently I seem to’ve spent a lot of my time in bed being as bored as a bored person on a boring train to Boredsville.

I discovered this week that 2 of my friends are suffering from Long Covid, once since he had a mild Covid infection in March. Most people who develop M.E. (though not all) do so following a viral infection of some kind and the similarities between Long Covid and M.E. are striking. In fact, some people who were infected with Covid in March have now reached the 6 month threshold for a diagnosis of M.E. and some doctors are calling these patients Long Covid M.E.

The difference between how myself and my friends were treated as M.E. patients, and the way Long Covid patients are being treated, however is staggering. I had very severe M.E. symptoms, including seizures, paralysis, loss of speech and had obvious neurological defects like a loping gait yet it took 2 years for me to be offered an MRI scan and I was treated with huge derision while in hospital for that, while my friend who’s only had mild symptoms since March has already had both an MRI scan and a CT scan and is being regularly monitored by his doctor. It’s hard not to feel angry, but my hope is that the attention being given to Long Covid patients will benefit people with M.E. in the long run.

I had to take my Mum to see her GP on Friday. Her ankles had been swelling badly, so she had been advised to increase her existing water tablet but this caused her kidney function to decline alarmingly, so she had to have it re-tested . Plus she had a large lump under her arm with some kind of icky crust on it and the GP needed to examine that in person. It turned out just to be a massive comedone which the doctor was able to squeeze to her great delight ๐Ÿ˜†.

Bertie’s recent severe back pain seems to finally be settling and I’ve been able to reduce his gabapentin from 3 per day back down to his usual 1. I think the drug was making him sleepy because he’s been super perky since the dose was reduced – it’s great that he’s still so lively at the ripe old age of 12.

The nicest part of my week was meeting my bestie for a car picnic. Although she is really strict about self-isolating her partner goes out to work, so we are aware there is a risk he could unknowingly bring home the virus and we avoid meeting up in each other’s houses. We pulled up in a lay-by near some woods and chatted to each other through open windows while munching on butties and drinking tea from a flask, which was a bit cold and uncomfortable but still lovely ๐Ÿ™‚.

Well gorgeous people I desperately need to pee (I know, TMI!) then am off to put the grill on for some toast, which will no doubt be the highlight of an otherwise very boring day as my energy is still on holiday, no doubt sipping cocktails on a beach in the Bahamas the jammy git! Until next week, stay safe x

Weekly roundup

We have had brilliant, if slightly scary, news this week. Three years ago, my Dad started having difficulty walking and to cut a stupidly long and complicated story short it turned out he needed a double hip replacement (in addition to having spinal stenosis and suspected Sjogren’s Syndrome). He had his right hip replaced last November and was due to be admitted to hospital in April this year for his left, but of course lockdown happened so the surgery was cancelled.

The poor fella can hardly hobble, so we were all thrilled when this week the hospital rang to say he is booked in for his second op at the end of October. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also scared. He’s having it done in the North East, an area with one of the highest rates of Covid in the country (an estimated 1 in 250 people are currently infected and the numbers are rising rapidly), so obviously we’re terrified of him catching the virus while in hospital. But on the other hand we’re all praying he has the op before a total local lockdown is announced and it gets cancelled again.

Despite my Dad’s imminent surgery and 2 month recovery process, Christmas looming on the horizon and the fact we’re in the midst of a second wave of killer Covid, my Mum in her wisdom has decided to have three rooms in her apartment decorated and a new carpet fitted in her bedroom. So various tradesmen are now traipsing through the house. I’ve tried to tell her it’s insanity, my brother’s tried to tell her its insanity, but she says “it needs doing” so it’s getting done. No fucker is going to be visiting the house for months because of the risk of passing on the virus to my Dad, so why the hell it can’t wait until spring is beyond me ๐Ÿคจ.

On a personal note, I’ve had a very exciting week. I’m not spilling the beans at this stage as it’s early days, but I’ll just put the word Owl out there and you can draw your own conclusions!

My right arm is also finally much better, though still sore if I use it for any length of time. It’s been really painful for 5 months and I tried everything to try to get it to settle down (pain gels, taping, bracing, trigger points, massage, ice packs) but nothing worked, so I eventually decided to simply rest it in a sling for a month which seems to have done the trick ๐Ÿ™‚. Now if only I could get my sodding left hip to sort itself out I’d be a happy bunny!

Until next week my friends, stay safe x

On the brink….

At the end of the first covid lockdown in August, our Prime Minister said that if the R rate (ie the number of people 1 infected person passes the virus on to) went above 1.0 he wouldn’t hesitate to go back into lockdown. Less than 2 months later the R rate is currently 1.6-2.0 in the north of England, yet a lockdown is nowhere to be seen. We economically can’t afford it. We’d rather let people die than close down the economy again. Tough choice. I get it. Though I probably wouldn’t get it if I died. Or my parents died. Or my best mate died just to keep my local pub open so everyone had somewhere to get pissed on a weekend when the pandemic is over. Just sayin’.

Instead, local areas are facing tougher restrictions, like closing the pubs at 10pm instead of 11pm (because the virus likes an early night) and not being able to mix in groups of more than 6 indoors (unless you’re in a pub filled with 100 people, all of whom are off their heads on drink and none of whom are wearing a mask).

The restrictions differ depending on where you live in the country and no-one understands them, not even our Prime Minister apparently. Consequently not everyone is obeying them, making them about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Where I live in Cumbria, we are the only part of the North of England not on local lockdown. But it’s coming. It has to, because there is no ban on travel from nearby infected areas (fucking insanity!) and the virus doesn’t respect county line borders.

Last week, I rang my Mum for their weekly shopping list. “We’d like some loo rolls” she tells me.
“Er, didn’t I get you 9 last week?”
“Yes, but we want some more in case there’s a lockdown”.
“Mum, there isn’t a shortage of loo rolls and you don’t need any more”.
“There was a shortage of loo rolls during the last lockdown, so this time we’re stocking up!”

Yesterday, we were talking about the 16,000 missed infections cockup which will inevitably lead to an exponential increase in cases. “And did you see on the telly all those people panic buying again?” Mum asks me, clearly frustrated, “it’s bloody ridiculous!”
And no matter what I said I couldn’t get her to understand that her bulk purchase of bog roll and UHT milk last week is panic buying and it’s because of behaviour like hers that the bloody shelves were bare during the last lockdown. It’s a self-fulfilling event.

Today I’ve done this week’s Tesco shop and there were only 3 types of loo roll available. My Mum has asked me for yet another 4 cartons of UHT milk and I’m delighted to say that Tesco said “not on your nelly!” and only allowed me to put 2 in my basket.

Far from bringing out the Blitz spirit and us all being “in this together” the pandemic has clearly shown that it’s every man for himself. Which makes me desperately sad.

I still don’t understand the whole bog roll thing. I could understand it if Covid-19 gave you raging diarrhoea but I’m fairly certain it affects your lungs, not your arse. Yet at my local Tesco this week there are 32 bottles of cough medicine and no Andrex ๐Ÿค”. As Piers Morgan would say:

Weekly roundup

The poltergeist has struck again. I decided a few months ago to rest my right arm in a sling to try to cure my elbow pain as nothing else had worked. I had a cloth sling in my first aid box, and while I waited for a better sling to arrive from Amazon I used that. But so that my arm was totally still I wrapped a bandage around my torso to keep the sling in place. When my nice, new, much more comfortable sling arrived I dumped the old sling and bandage on the chair in my bedroom and promptly forgot about it under a pile of books. That was 3 weeks ago. Friday morning I woke to find the bandage on my bed. It wasn’t there the night before when I went to sleep………….

After having no working downstairs loo for 3 weeks as there was a leak from the isolation valve, I finally found a plumber who would come and fix it. While she was here (yes, my plumber was a girl yay!) I also got her to install the new kitchen sink and tap I’d had sitting in my lounge for 3 months. Trying to get tradesmen to do small jobs like this is nigh on impossible but she made a great job, even if she was expensive. The house needs all sorts doing to it, like the exterior painted and a re-wire, but as I’m planning to move I’m only doing jobs which will make the house look prettier in order to sell.

My Mum’s drinking has been totally out of control this week. I went there at 10.30am on Thursday and she was already drunk ๐Ÿ˜•. What’s more, she’s been nasty and argumentative with it and she told me to “shut the fuck up” even though I’d driven 14 miles to help my Dad despite having a migraine. Lockdown, when she physically couldn’t leave the house, was lovely. She was back to the Mum I’ve known and loved all my life but now she is sneaking out to the supermarket every week it’s all turned to shit. It didn’t help that my niece bought my Dad a humongous bottle of whiskey, my Mum’s favourite tipple, for his birthday in August which I think was the starting point to her current fall off the wagon. It just makes me so sad.

My eldest cousin said she’d had a phone call off our other cousin who lives down south, to ask if my Mum was OK (why she hadn’t rung me I don’t know). Turns out, my Uncle had rung my Mum recently and she’d been really weird on the phone and passed the receiver to my Dad mid-sentence. She will have been drunk of course but as her drinking is a secret which only me, my Dad, my bestie and my eldest cousin know about she couldn’t tell our other cousin why my Mum was acting strangely.

I try to feel compassion for my Mum but it’s hard. The relationship we have with our parents is so fundamental it’s not something you can brush off or ignore like you can with most other people. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t affect me on a deep, deep level, despite my best efforts to just be accepting. And it’s particularly difficult when I do everything in my power to help and care for her, despite my own health issues and lack of care, yet receive abuse or dismissal.

We are firmly in the grips of a second coronavirus wave here in the UK, especially in the north where I live. Despite having more daily cases than we ever did at the start of the pandemic in March, people seem to be disregarding social distancing and not being in any way extra careful. My parents are allowing my brother and sister-in-law into their apartment, despite the fact they both go out to work and mix with other households, and my niece was there yesterday despite the fact she is a police officer and in close contact with idiot members of society. My parents seem to think that as they’ve survived the pandemic so far they are invincible, so I must have a word with my brother and niece instead and tell them not to visit. Why the hell can’t they use their own common sense though?! I’m fed up of playing the role of Parent – if I’d wanted children I would have fucking well had my own.

Today I must try and do some cooking as my freezer is bare. I hate cooking and find it sooooo painful, so I batch make meals and freeze them. When I win the lotto jackpot the first thing I will do is employ a cook!

Until next week, stay safe all x

Weekly roundup

I’m bone weary and it’s only 7.30am, but for once it’s a good weary. The award ceremony for the humongous photography prize I won took place via Zoom yesterday, however just because an event is wonderful doesn’t make it any the less energy-robbing. Intense emotions, be they good or bad, are simply and utterly knackering.

I am currently drowning in paperwork. Again. I get on top of it only for more letters to arrive through the door – I swear there’s a fucking letterbox Fairy with insomnia in this house, who has nothing better to do all night than multiply my paperwork. The bitch has to die.

Speaking of things which go bump in the night, my resident poltergeist is at it again. I keep a couple of bits of paper stuck to my fridge with magnets – they contain a list of things I need to remember when I go off taking photographs, and instructions for cooking meals I’ve made from frozen. Just about every day for the past 2 weeks, when I’ve come downstairs in the morning one of the bits of paper has been on the worktop. Weird, but maybe the magnet which holds it up is somehow faulty (can magnets loose their magnetism?!) even though it never, ever drops off during the day. To test the theory, I swapped the magnets over so that the one which keeps dropping off is now holding the other bit of paper up. But it didn’t help. When I came downstairs on Friday morning the bit of paper with the new magnet on was on the worktop ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. And look at how the magnet is positioned. If it had fallen off, the paper would be face down with the magnet underneath it! But it is face up, with the magnet upside down on top!!

I used to think the poltergeist was just old energy living alongside me in the house, until the night the de-fluffer I keep in my dressing table drawer went off at 3am which I wrote about here. It obviously woke me and I had to hunt to find out where the noise was coming from and turn it off. I didn’t know it then, but I had bedbugs which I’d unknowingly brought home in my suitcase when I stayed in London for my exhibition and they are most active between 2am and 4am. I now am convinced this was the poltergeist’s way of waking me to find the bugs, because after this I woke at 3am for days eventually discovering said bugs which I was able (at huge cost) to eradicate.

I’ve no idea what the poltergiest is trying to tell me with this bit of paper in the kitchen. Possibly nothing and it’s just reminding me it’s here, or possibly something which I am not yet privvy to – I’ll keep you posted.

I celebrated my birthday this month. I used to buy birthday and Christmas presents for half of Cumbria and the effort, not to mention cost, used to cripple me. I was on my knees for months financially just to buy gifts for people I never saw and who earned twice, sometimes four times, as much as me so several years ago I called a halt and now only buy presents for my parents and best mate. Consequently, it means I don’t receive many gifts so instead on my birthday and for Christmas I now treat myself to something nice.

This year, I bought a wall plaque. I’m not one for ornaments really, so the things I do have in my home are meaningful to me. I try my very best to live my life with integrity, even though at times it’s monumentally difficult especially when so many other people are out for themselves, stomping all over others to get what they want – you only have to think of the panic buying during the pandemic as a case in point. You’re aware that by living with integrity you may not be at the top of the pack, but at least I can sleep at night with a clear heart and conscience. I don’t always manage to do what’s right, but faced every day with this message I hope I’ll think twice if I’m tempted to act in ways which are detrimental to my higher purpose.

Until next week my friends, stay safe! x

The Feels

During the summer, I won the biggest photography competition of my life. I have no clue why I entered. It was an organization I don’t usually have any dealings with and I can’t even remember now how I heard about it, but once I knew it seemed to constantly be on my mind.

It was a global competition with potentially millions of entries. “There’s no way on god’s earth I’d stand a chance of winning” I thought to myself, yet I entered anyway. And the reason I entered was because I had The Feels. Something in my gut told me it was important for me to enter. I knew I’d be amongst the winners, even while dismissing my own intuition as wishful thinking.

I get The Feels about places, events and people. A new couple have moved in to a house next door to me. They are perfectly pleasant and haven’t really put a foot wrong, yet I don’t like the woman. I’ve tried to like her because there’s no tangible reason not to, but I know that there is something about her I should be wary of. I’m not sure what yet, but it’s there. Her husband, OTOH, is absolutely lovely.

We all have intuition, we just don’t accept, tune in, or acknowledge it. But as I’ve aged I’ve learned to trust my gut more and more. It never lets me down, even if I don’t understand situations when they happen as with the bungalow-which-fell-through sitch, which felt absolutely like it was meant to be in my soul.

An old school friend of mine used to say this “what is meant for you, won’t go by you”. I thought when I was younger that this was absolute bollocks, but now I totally get what it means. There’s all sorts of stuff I’d like in life which I don’t get yet which I think I deserve, and all sorts of scenarios which I think should have panned out but didn’t, but the truly important things have always come easily. Chance encounters, unasked for help from unlikely sources, money from nowhere landing in my lap. I haven’t worked for, or looked for, or asked for any of it yet it’s appeared anyway.

My partial recovery is a case in point. For 6 years I spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to get better from very severe M.E. I tried every ‘cure’ known to man, yet none of it helped. Then one day, skint and exhausted from the fight, I decided to simply accept my lot. I was going to be bedridden forever and I just needed to get the fuck over it and live my life as best I could despite it. And that’s honestly when my recovery began – when I stopped trying. Which doesn’t mean to say I just lay there like a blob all day! I still paced, and tried to eat well, and took medication for my sleep and pain and all manner of other stuff but I wasn’t trying to get better, I was merely trying to live my best life within my given set of circumstances. And having done that, the Universe helped me along.

I don’t get The Feels very often. We don’t encounter life altering situations every week, so when I do have intuition about something I listen. The more something feels wrong, or the more it’s on my mind, or the more it feels right……the more I listen. My gut instinct is the Universe’s way of speaking to my soul.

Weekly roundup

Our Prime Minister this weekend is apparently deciding whether the UK should have another national lockdown. There’s no way he’ll sanction that (we can’t afford it) but I’m fairly sure come Monday new restrictions will be in place due to the fact that rates of Covid infection are now doubling every 7 days. Whether anyone will actually follow the new rules is anyone’s guess. Due to the nice weather, the Lake District this weekend was absolutely heaving with people, few of whom were social distancing. FFS will they never learn?!

I had a fantastic day on Tuesday. A photo buddy and I visited a local wildlife centre to photograph birds of prey. They aren’t imprisoned in tiny cages, which I wouldn’t condone, but are kept as part of a breeding and conservation programme and are allowed to fly freely at certain times of the day (at least as freely as any captive bird can with trackers sewn into their feathers).

Fabulous as it was, it did take up all my energy for a good 3 days and I was just getting my mojo back when I had to take my Mum to urgent care on Friday which robbed me of yet more energy. Consequently I haven’t done much else all week other than try to survive. My day out was worth it but and when I spoke to my Mum yesterday she said her arm was much more comfortable and less painful ๐Ÿ˜Š. My bedroom, where I spend most of my time, is a shit tip though and I really need to find some umpf from somewhere today to tidy up and my parents’ energy deal is coming to an end soon so I need to get my fuzzy noggin in gear to switch them to a cheaper provider.

I’m flummoxed as to what is going on with the online gallery I signed up to. In the past month 52 people have added my photos to their cart, yet I’ve not had a single sale. I have the equivalent of a business degree, so know that cart abandonment is usually around 65-70% but 100% is weird to say the least. I’m also questioning the site’s search function for buyers. When I add a new picture, then search for it using “newest” as the search function it’s nowhere to be seen, yet images added 2 months ago appear on the first page of the search. You don’t want to start whining when you’ve just joined a gallery, but OTOH if I don’t look out for my interests who will? I’m unsure whether to contact them or leave it a bit longer.

Well, this was a fun and interesting post wasn’t it?! ๐Ÿ˜. Is it just me who finds their personality does a bunk when they’re really tired? There are zombies with more pzaz than I’ve possessed this week!

A thankless task

It’s 5.15pm and I’ve just dropped my Mum off at Urgent Care in town. I’m feeling woozy and light headed, because I’m usually in bed by 4pm and my illnesses don’t take time off when crises hit. My Dad’s with her, but that’s no consolation. Lovely fella my Dad, but absolutely and utterly feckless.

Last Friday I was chatting to Mum on the phone and she says “I have something to talk to you about when you come on Monday. It might not be something you can help with and I might have to put up with it forever, but I still thought I’d talk to you about it.” What now? I think to myself, fearing the worst.
“I can come through today Mum” I tell her, “you don’t have to wait til Monday.”
“No, it’s fine” she says, then sighs.
“What’s the problem?”
“I’ll talk to you on Monday” she says cryptically, and I wonder if it’s about my Dad but she can’t tell me because he’s there.
“Well, if you’re sure” I reply, concerned.

I worry all weekend about what the issue could be. Has she found a lump? Is my Dad’s dementia worse? The possibilities are endless.

I go on Monday to do all the jobs she lines up for me each week and ask her gently “so, what is it you need to talk to me about?”
“I was wondering if you could switch the sofa and my chair round. I hate seeing all these trailing wires” she points to the cable for her electric chair, plus the cable for her lamp, the plug cable for the phone and the plug cable for the video doorbell handset “but if the sofa were in the corner where my chair is they would be behind it and you wouldn’t be able to see them.”
I’m flummoxed. “Okaaaay……..we can have a look at that in a minute” I say trying not to sound irritated, “but what did you want to talk to me about?”
“That’s it” she says, surprised.
“What’s it?”
“Hiding the cables!”
It takes my brain a few seconds to process what she’s saying. “So that’s what you wanted to talk to me about? Swapping the furniture around?”
“Yes!” she looks at me like I’m stupid.
I inwardly roll my eyes, not believing I’ve spent all weekend worrying myself sick over moving a settee. FFS.

I start sliding the sofa around on the wooden floor. It’s not difficult but I’m sweating like a hog on a spit. I glance at the thermometer which tells me it’s 27.3C. “Did you turn the heating up for some reason Mum?” I ask her “only I’m sweltered!”
“Well it was chilly last week so I turned the green button up on the radiator” she tells me.
“How high did you set it?”
“I DON’T KNOW! I can’t get down to see the dial, so I just turn it right up” she’s irritated I’m asking because she knows I know she can’t see the dial.
“Well, would you mind if I turn it down a bit?” I ask patiently “before we all die of heat exhaustion”.
She humfs and walks off.

Swapping the chair and settee around is the easy bit. The hard bit is re-sorting all the cables. I had them all in a cable tidy next to her chair and had put a 4 socket plug on the wall at chair height so that she could turn her lamp etc. off easily at the wall. Now, I have to unplug everything, pull out the massive corner unit I’d fed the extension cable round and re-plug everything in. So now, instead of all the wires being neatly in the corner of the room by her chair they are halfway across the lounge. And you can still see them. In fact, you can see them worse than before. And to make the situation worse, there is now no way she can turn her lamp on and off as she can’t reach the switch. FFS.

This morning I get a phone call. “Are you busy today?” she asks.
“No, it’s Friday – I never usually have plans on a Friday” I tell her. “Why?”
“My bell’s not working.” Bell. Bell? It takes me a while to figure out she’s referring to the doorbell.
“Ah, I wonder when I unplugged everything on Monday whether it’s upset it. I’ll come through and have a look after lunch” I tell her.

It turns out that the wireless video doorbell had turned itself off at the handset (my Mum has a tendency to keep her finger on buttons too long, and if you do that to phones it switches them off). So I turn it back on and all is well. I can’t explain what the issue was to my Mum, though, because she’s pissed as a newt and won’t even remember I’ve been today let alone any conversation we had.

We get on talking about wheelchairs and how the footrest on Mum’s keeps flopping down and hitting her leg. “I’ll take a look at it while I’m here” I tell her, going and getting it out of the boot of their car. The footrest arm is bent so I’m not surprised it’s not staying up. Plus it isn’t locking into position properly.
“It’s never been serviced since you got it Mum” I tell her “so why don’t you and Dad have a tootle through to the city next week and you can have a look round Dunelm Mill for an hour while they fix it.”
“Good idea!” she slurs, so I ring up the service centre and book it in. But they aren’t providing courtesy wheelchairs due to Covid, so I then have to ring shopmobility and book them a courtsey wheelchair from there.

By now it’s 4pm and I’m getting groggy and really tired. So I put the dog’s harness on ready to leave.
“Before you go, would you have a look at my arm?” Mum asks.
“Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“I banged into the door this morning and chipped a bit of bark off” she laughs merrily. “It’s bloody sore but”. She rolls up her sleeve to show a bruise the size of Kent and a humongous blood soaked plaster. I’ve been there for 3 hours and she waits until I’ve got my coat on to mention it.

I try to get the plaster off and it’s stuck to the wound like cement. Not only that, but her skin is so fragile it’s ripping it off as I pull. So I take a lonnng time gently prizing it off her arm and she actually screams aloud in pain when I take off the final piece. Below the plaster, nearly 2 inches of skin is rolled back to reveal bloody, raw, gaping flesh.
“Oh my God Mum!” I exclaim horrified.
She leans back in the chair and moans.
“Dad, get your car keys. She needs to go to Urgent Care to get this wound dressed. If it gets infected anything could happen, plus the skin needs to be glued back on”.
He starts flapping around in a panic and the fact Mum doesn’t argue with me about going to the hospital speaks volumes.

They tell me they’ll be fine on their own, but I go ahead of them anyway. You can’t just waltz in to A&E these days. They stop you at the door, you have to put on your mask and use hand sanitizer, then you ring a bell. The receptionist then calls you via a phone on the wall. I book Mum in (there’s no way either of my parents would have been able to hear what the receptionist was saying on the phone) and they arrive shortly after. Only then do I come home, trying not to be embarrassed about how Mum will be acting with the nurses as she’s clearly drunk.

As I’m typing this final paragraph the phone has rung. It’s Mum to say that she’s had several butterfly stitches, a sterile dressing put on the wound and her arm bandaged. She has to go back on Monday for a new dressing and to check for infection. I can relax a bit, but feel too stressed and sick now to eat any supper.

It’s just been an ordinary week as a Carer of old, frail and confused parents. There are always jobs to be done and crises to deal with. The sad part is, my Mum won’t remember a damned thing I did for her today so it’s a good thing I don’t rely on praise or thanks. Just love.