I have had one of the busiest times of my sick life this past 2 months and I thought that after I’d done my talk in Scotland last week that I could finally rest up, because I was on my last legs. Looking back now, that seems a bit………..naive 😉
I can’t cope with the sensory overload, not to mention the physical effort, of going to a supermarket, so have my groceries delivered to my home courtesy of Tesco. I’m in love with Tesco – they are the 8th wonder of the modern world – that is until Christmas, when the battle for delivery slots becomes a catfight to the death. I have a delivery saver plan and therefore have access to the Christmas week delivery slots early, along with tens of thousands of other delivery saver plan subscribers. We were informed that the slots would be available at midnight on Tuesday night and I knew I had to book my delivery then or I’d have to actually visit the store on Christmas Eve and, having done that last year and barely survived, I’d rather starve. However, I have been so exhausted recently that there was no way I was going to be able to stay awake til midnight, so I went to sleep around 9.30pm and set my alarm to wake me, which it unceremoniously did at 11.45pm. The ringing felt like a bomb exploding in my brain but I managed to come to and blearily got myself ready, finger poised, to book my slot on the dot of 12. With a minute to go, however, I panicked and decided to reserve a delivery for Monday 23rd just in case something went wrong (last year the website crashed and I ended up delivery-less!). Then on the stroke of midnight the slots for Christmas Eve appeared…………and they all said “unavailable”. Say WHAT?! Either there were shoppers out there with freakyily speedy index fingers, or Tesco had failed to tell us they WEREN’T FUCKING DELIVERING on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, though, I had my reserved slot on 23rd, and it’s a damned good job because at 3 minutes past midnight the site crashed. Again!
It goes without saying it took me about 3 hours to get back to sleep and I woke on Wednesday feeling like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. My plan was to rest up all day because I desperately wanted to go to my Camera Club in the evening, but the Universe had other ideas. My Dad is on the waiting list for a hip replacement and it was booked for 24th January, but at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon the Hospital rang me to say they had a cancellation for Friday this week and would he like to come in? Holy crap! So then I had to go through to town to break the news to my (very nervous) Dad, who’s never spent a single day let alone a night in hospital in his life. Mum and I got his hospital bag out (they both have one packed ready in the wardrobe for emergencies, well they’re 80 and we think it prudent) while my Dad got in the shower, as you’re supposed to bathe with antiseptic body wash for 5 days before the op. We then had to change his bed, because he needed to use fresh sheets every day after his shower. I did still make it to my Club, but by the time I got home at 11pm I was so ill and exhausted my brain was swimming, I was literally seeing stars and could barely focus. Proabably shouldn’t have been driving – don’t tell anyone!
Thursday I’d arranged to go to my elderly, disabled friends’ house to finally finish his unpacking. I knew I should cancel because I needed to conserve my energy, but he’s been in his new house 2 months now and hasn’t had the internet all that time because his laptop, modem, printer etc. was still in a box in the spare bedroom. So I made the effort to go, and thank God I did because I arrived to find his house freezing and him flushed. Neither the heating or hot water had come on and he obviously had a temperature. I discovered his gas boiler had no pressure, so I re-pressurized it which got the heating back on but there was clearly a leak somewhere, so I arranged a visit from the plumber the following day. I then forced him to ring his GP (he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t made him) who told him to go straight down to the surgery. He landed back with stronger antibiotics because his chest infection was back with a vengeance (it never went – he should have been admitted to hospital the other week for heaven’s sake) and an insulin injector, because she’d found his blood sugar was sky high (he’s type II diabetic). I wonder, now, if I hadn’t gone that day whether we’d’ve found him the next morning in a hypothermic, diabetic coma
Thursday night I felt like the undead and barely slept in case the alarm didn’t wake me the next morning.
My Dad had to be at Hexham Hospital for 7am, which meant me getting up at 4am. I have fucking M.E. and waking from deep sleep in the middle of the night, then having to get dressed, eat and venture out into the pitch black freezing cold of winter was never going to make me feel my best. I dropped Bertie off, picked my Dad up and at 5.30am set off to make the 80 minute journey over the Pennines to the North East. It’s a windy, twisty, narrow road over the mountains and my brain lurched around in my skull every inch of the way, which made me massively motion sick and at one stage I thought I was going to have to pull over to throw up, but I somehow (and I really have no clue how) got there without crashing and killing us both. All went well and he was home at 5pm the next day – as it was Saturday my brother offered to go and collect him which was great. My Dad’s not going to be able to drive for the next 6 weeks though, so it’s going to be a busy time for me – my life is never anything but busy and I just have to give up the expectation of it being anything else!
I’ve woken with a stonking migraine this morning and a raging sore throat (my sign that I’m way overdoing it). Of course I have, it’s all been too much this week, but I swear I’m going to deck the next person who says to me “you need to rest more”. Which part of my life would they like me to cut back on, exactly? Should I leave my sick, disabled, friend to die in a hypothermic, diabetic coma or to live without central heating or hot water in the middle of winter, or without his laptop even though he’s too ill to leave the house so relies totally on the internet for just about everything? Or should I leave the care of my parents to my siblings, who all work full time and aren’t available at the drop of a hat at 7am on a Friday morning to take my Dad to hospital, or at 11am on a Tuesday morning to drive my Mum 90 miles for a cataract operation? Or should I not walk my dog? Or should I not eat, which would negate my need to cook? It’s not like I’m doing stuff unnecessarily, well apart from going to my Camera Club but even that feels vital – I need something of my own in amongst looking after everyone else. Instead of the pseudo-caring advice I’m given, it might be more useful to me if these people who tell me to rest more actually fucking helped me in some way – offered to walk the dog, for example, or brought me round a casserole, or offered to change my bed or hoover my floors because I currently don’t have a cleaner. But they don’t because that would mean they had to put themselves out.
I’m a bit tired and grumpy this morning, as you can probably tell 😉 I’d sell a kidney for someone to go and make me a brew or bring me breakfast in bed, but as I gave up waiting for my Prince to arrive on his white charger about a decade ago I guess I’ll have to do it. Then I’ve got Bertie to take out, despite the fact it’s -6C outside (and will feel like -10C on my scooter!) and my skull feels like it’s being stabbed by ice picks. I’m delighted that my Dad is OK after his operation, but I have to be honest and say that just now and again I wish someone would care for me, just for a little bit. Dream on!
Note: It’s 8am and I’ve just logged on to my email. The first mail of the day isn’t from the Lottery saying I’ve won the jackpot, but from my parents’ energy company requesting a meter reading from disabled customers who are on their ‘extra care/at risk’ register. What the fuck ever happened to Meter Readers? Y’know, people who came to your home to take a goddamn meter reading? It’s not like we don’t pay a shit load of money each month for our energy, more than ever before, yet we receive fewer and fewer services. It’s another chore to add to my list. And the first person who says to me “have you heard of smart meters?” will die. Just sayin’.