Tag Archives: peri-menopause

Neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain is just a fancy word for pain which is coming from the nervous system.  It can also include altered sensation like burning, pins and needles, and sensitivity to touch or pressure.

When I was severely affected by M.E. my neuropathic pain was legion.  I had no idea there were so many types of pain and they tortured me every second of every day.  My legs burned like they were on fire – it was so bad I used to lie with wet towels wrapped round my thighs just to get 20 minutes of relief.  Luckily now I’m less severely affected this has improved and my muscles only burn if I’ve done too much.

I have had severe pins & needles in my hands and feet for nearly a quarter of a century.  It is constant and feels like I’m plugged in to the electric.  It was so bad when I was severely ill with M.E. that putting on shoes or walking was excruciating – it felt like the soles of my feet were full of crushed glass.  I also used to get pins and needles in my face, tongue and scalp.  Even now, as I lie in bed typing this, it feels like there’s a swarm of bees buzzing away under the skin in my feet.   It is not fun.

For about 4 years I was so sensitive to touch that I couldn’t bear anyone near me.  If someone inadvertently brushed my arm pain would shoot along my nerves and explode in my brain like a bomb.  Now I am less severely affected by M.E. this has improved but I still wince at sudden touch and having a gentle massage would bring both pleasure and discomfort.

Over two decades on I thought I’d had every type of neuropathic pain imaginable but I was wrong.  Three years ago I started getting sharp, stinging pain in my breasts.  It would come on suddenly for no reason and take my breath away.  I went to see my GP, who discovered my breasts were so lumpy from peri-menopausal hormones that a proper examination wasn’t possible, so sent me for an early mammogram.  Thankfully all was fine and having read menopause message boards online I discovered neuropathic pain is a ‘thing’ for some menopausal women.

The breast pain eventually went, to replaced by neuropathic pain in other parts of my cattle prod body.  My lower legs, ankles and feet have been particularly affected during the past year though I can get it just about anywhere.  I’m lying in bed minding my own business when suddenly it feels like I’ve been zapped by a cattle prod.  This can happen every couple of minutes and has, at times, seriously disrupted my sleep.  Not only that but I’m getting weird cramps in my calves and my toes keep going rigid.

I’ve been tested for peripheral neuropathy and, as far as I can remember, they concluded I didn’t have it.  If anything my nerves are hyper-responsive to stimuli not under-resonsive.  The only abnormality that ever shows up is massively brisk reflexes, which doctors don’t ever seem to be concerned about despite the fact that I get muscle twitching, cramps and jerking (as I type this my right big toe is rigid and pointing down to the sole of my foot and both large muscles in my thighs are in spasm).  I also get crawling sensations and huge goosebumps over the skin in my legs for absolutely no reason.

When I was severely affected by M.E. my gait (ie the way I walk) was obviously abnormal and I took very high loping steps.  How any doctor I saw could ever tell me I was fine and just needed to pull myself together still makes me livid – it just shows the power of suggestion (by psychiatrists that M.E. is a mental health issue) rather than impartially observing the clinical signs which could not have pointed towards neurological disease any harder if they’d tried.

Regular pain killers have zero effect on neuropathic pain.  The best drugs are anti-seizure meds such as Pregabalin and Gabapentin.  My Mum has had shingles twice, as well as severe post operative nerve pain, and swears by Pregabalin.  I also have friends with M.E. who couldn’t manage without it.  Of course, I’m so drug allergic there’s no way I’d tolerate something so potent.  Please, I beg you, don’t comment and ask if I’ve tried x, y or z drug, herb or treatment – it’s really insensitive to someone in my situation (I had an anxiety attack last night trying natural, organic yoghurt for the first time in 5 years :-/ ).  And, yes, I know all about magnesium – I take antacids every day and as a result my blood work shows a higher level of magnesium than should be there.

I just put up with all the weird nervy stuff and accept it as part and parcel of my myriad of diseases – I have no idea which part of the nerve stuff belongs to which illness, not that it matters.  I really hope the stinging pain bogs off when I’m through the menopause though cos I’m getting proper fed up of that :-/  I’m proper fed up of the menopause in general to be fair and just wish it would jog the hell along!

Advertisements

Weekly roundup

I’m kinda glad this week is over.  Although I really enjoyed doing my photography talk up in Scotland it was months of preparation and worry about how my health would hold out which has felt like a lot of pressure and my mast cells don’t do pressure – I’ve had hives on my bum for weeks.  My Mum & Dad (well, my Mum……..my Dad wouldn’t think to!) bought me a card and a bunch of flowers to say “well done” and I was really touched.  Due to Mum’s alcoholism she hasn’t done anything like that in years because she hasn’t cared less about my life.  Now she’s massively cut down on her drinking she does seem to be much more engaged.

I am on day 43 of my menstrual cycle.  Dare I hope that this is the beginning of the end and I’ll finally be saying goodbye to The Curse which has tortured me for 40 years?!  Every day for the past fortnight I’ve felt like my period is going to start as I’ve had bloating, migraines, period pain, backache and exhaustion but as yet there is no sign and my boobs aren’t sore – they’re always sore leading up to my period so that’s weird considering I’m having all the other symptoms.  My back pain is terrible, though, the worst it’s been in years and I have had horrible shooting nerve pains in my legs and feet – I’ll be lying there in bed and all of a sudden it’s like I’ve been stung by a cattle prod :-/  A couple of years ago I had the same pains in my boobs and was sent for an early mammogram but all was fine and they eventually disappeared, so I’m sure it’s ‘just’ my hormones.

My Dad was due to have an echocardiogram of his heart on Thursday, which is basically an ultrasound to check the structure.  I offered to go with him but as he wasn’t seeing the consultant or anything he said he’d be fine and my Mum went instead – he’s had an ultrasound on his gallbladder & kidneys so knew what to expect.  Afterwards I rang to see how it had gone and he said “Grand.  She put the sticky pads on my chest and I was in and out in 10 minutes” which I knew wasn’t right.  The sticky pads are used to do an ECG (ie heart rhythm trace) and as he’d already had a 4 day ECG done he didn’t need another.  I quizzed him a bit more and he was adamant that he’d had the sticky pads and no scan, so I phoned the hospital to find out what was going on.  Sure enough, he’d had a scan and they had the results on the screen.
So I asked him again.  “Did the lady use a wand or anything on your chest Dad?  Was there a screen next to you?”
“Oh yes, she pressed into my ribs, then I had to lay on my side and she pressed again.”
“And you didn’t think to tell me this when I asked the first time?”
“Should I have?”
Bless him, you can’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth.

Today I really must do some housework because the place looks like a bomb has hit it.  I haven’t touched housey-type jobs in 3 weeks as I was conserving energy for my talk but I can’t put it off any longer.  There’s one huge obstacle though…………….I fucking hate housework.  And paperwork.  And having to put away my garden furniture for winter.  And clipping the dog.  And scrubbing poop off the bird feeders.  And changing halogen bulbs in recessed ceiling lights (why in God’s name has that been made so complicated?!).  And ringing the electrician to come and look at my faulty outside light.  In fact, anything which doesn’t involve taking photos 😉  I hope the Universe knows that I need a lotto jackpot win so that I can employ a servant to do all this boring shit for me and sorts that out tout de suite if not sooner!

Weekly roundup

I wish I could begin this post by saying I’ve had a great week for a change but sadly I’d be lying.  It’s been shit.  I am poleaxed by exhaustion to the point where I feel I may be on the verge of an M.E. relapse, something I haven’t had in years.  My limbs feel like concrete and my blood is poisoned with achy, fluey weakness.  I’m assuming my hormones are to blame – I seem to be blaming them for everything lately – and I know the Menopause has caused relapses for other women with M.E.

I am definitely having vasomotor events, just no flushing.  They happen at roughly the same time each day, between 6-8pm and 6-8am, which I thought was totally weird until I Googled it and discovered that oestrogen is lowest at those times of the day and other women had experienced the same thing.  I am learning so much about my body at the moment, which under other circumstances would be fascinating but under current circumstances I couldn’t care less about – I just want the symptoms to bugger off.

I am sleeping for England.  After having 2 months of being woken several times a night to pee sleeping through is wonderful but on the flip side going back to sleep at 10am and then again at 3pm and then again at 8pm means there’s very little of the day I’m actually conscious.  Nothing is getting done.

My brain fog is seriously bad and I feel like I’m being drip fed a mild dose of general anaesthetic.  I am dizzy, spaced out and totally unable to think straight.  Even watching my favourite TV programmes is beyond me let alone doing any photography.

I am hurting all over.  I’ve had bowel and stomach pain for days, a bit like when my period is about to start (which isn’t about to happen cos I’m only on day 8 of my cycle).  My back in particular is constantly painful and not helped by the fact I have some kind of butt strain, in both buttocks.  Not on my actual bum cheeks more underneath and at the top of my inner thighs at the back.  I’m assuming it’s my adductor magnus or gracilis muscles but why both should be strained at the same time is a mystery.  Walking is painful because I constantly have ‘the burn’ even just pottering round the house.  The very last thing I needed was a red hot arse on top of everything else 😉

I am also plagued with cramp for reasons unknown.  Getting dressed, moving in bed or just stretching my legs makes them go into painful spasm.  Before anyone mentions magnesium or indian tonic water I know all about them thanks, having been ill for some considerable time.

To add insult to injury I’ve also had a 2 day migraine this week and toothache.  Yippe-fucking-doo.

Despite my body catastrophically failing me, however, I am trying to refuse to give in and still went out for lunch with my closest friend at Camera Club……..who told me she is moving to the North East 😦  Honestly, I could have bawled.  We get on really well and I have so few friends to start with that I was gutted.  Talk about kicking a girl when she’s down.

On Thursday I had to drive to the city for a mammogram.  I can’t remember half the journey and am amazed I got there in one piece, but at least it’s over and done with.  I’m not going to lie though, having it done nips like a bitch.

The only bright spot on my horizon was that I won another medal in an International Photography salon, this time a Special Jury Award in India for my Swallow! picture.  I currently have several ideas for photos in my head and it’s massively frustrating to not be well enough to do any of them.

It’s now 7.30am.  I woke at 6am, having slept for 8 hours, and I’m already seriously ready to go back to sleep and if it weren’t for the fact my tummy’s rumbling I’d do just that!

Treatment of peri-menopause

When you’re going through any change in your life, particularly if it’s health related, it’s often comforting and reassuring to read about other people’s experiences and/or to read up on the facts.  I’ve sometimes felt a bit isolated and bewildered during my peri-menopause because when I’ve asked older women I know about it they’ve either looked embarrassed and changed the subject or told me they didn’t even notice their transition and simply stopped having periods (!), so I’ve had to resort to Google and forums to find out if my experience is normal.  It’s such a relief to read that other women are having the same issues as me though of course no two experiences are ever the same, but some of the advice I’ve heard from so-called experts, including female gynaecologists who should sodding well know better, has driven me insane.

I’ve read from several websites that “lifestyle” choices can “treat” the brown discharge I’ve experienced this month.  Apparently I have to drink more water, exercise more and improve my diet.  Oh do fuck off.  Having a bleed replaced by brown discharge when you’re nearly 51 simply signals the end of peri-menopause and the start of actual menopause – no amount of Perrier or walking up a mountain is going to ‘cure’ it.  It’s natural and no treatment is needed.

The only cure for the pain I’m experiencing is a hysterectomy, due to the fact I have severe endometriosis and adenomyosis.  Unfortunately, due to my MCAS and almost total drug allergies, this isn’t feasible otherwise I would have had it done a decade ago and saved myself years of torture.

Peri and actual Menopause are natural, if oftentimes not particularly pleasant, times in a woman’s life and not diseases which need to be treated.  Obviously for some women the symptoms become unbearable and they absolutely need hormone and other help, but for anyone to suggest that drinking more water or eating more leafy greens is going to provide relief is ludicrous.  Neither food, drink nor exercise is going to replace our dwindling hormones.

Instead of giving out bollocks information I wish there was a website that just told it like it is.  Which explained that many peri and menopause symptoms aren’t very nice but to just grit our teeth and get on with them cos they won’t last forever.  Or, if the symptoms are really bad, pointed us in the direction of effective treatment, eg which is the best hormone cream, the differences between cream and pessaries, how long to use them for and what side effects to expect.  Now that would be useful.  The thing that would be most useful, however, would be large scale research on what actually happens to women during peri and menopause so there was some proper understanding of the symptoms, the phases, how long it lasts and what’s normal and not normal.  Yes we’re all different but there are common themes as anyone who reads the message boards can see.  The current inaccurate advice seems to be to ask your Mother, because your menopause will mimic hers.  We’re not clones for heaven’s sake!   My Mum’s menstrual history is worlds apart from my own and her Menopause and mine have been polar opposites.  We aren’t just made up of our Mum’s genes we’re also made up of our Dad’s, so maybe I take after my paternal Aunt or Grandmother or maybe I’m just unique!  Some up-to-date research on the effectiveness of HRT for symptoms like hot flushes and vaginal atrophy is also sorely needed, and the truth about the risks of using hormones after the menopause in terms of side-effects or increasing female cancers.  We’re not supposed to have hormones after our 50s, so what are the consequences when we artificially replace them?

However, as with most things which affect women this information isn’t available.  A few years ago my Mum was having issues ‘down below’ so was referred to a very nice, and honest, gynaecologist who told her that historically women haven’t routinely lived to their 80s so we’ve no clue what’s going on with their hormones at that age or how to treat the problems older women experience.

On the one hand we’re told menopause is normal so isn’t worthy of research and on the other every Tom, Dick and Harriet is trying to ‘cure’ us with bullshit or unsubstantiated advice.  I don’t want to read about bio-identical hormones from someone who has a book to sell either – I want impartial information from Doctors who aren’t making a profit off my misery.

Unfortunately should this information ever be available it will come too late for me as I’ll be through Menopause and out the other side.  I feel, therefore, it’s important for me to discuss my transition which, for some bizarre reason, seems to be one of the last taboos – we openly discuss puberty and pregnancy these days but periods and the Menopause are still firmly in the closet.  It still amazes me when I mention my peri-menopause that people look shocked, like I’ve admitted to urinating in public or something!

A female MP this week was late to a House of Commons debate on period poverty because she was unwell due to her period and it made headline news.  It’s the 21st Century FFS – women shouldn’t have to hide their periods like it’s some kind of dirty secret!  Even some women discussing it were unsympathetic, told her to stop being a wuss and to be more professional.  I’m disgusted with them.  Some lucky women sail through their lives with perfectly healthy periods they barely ever notice, but for others periods are a kind of living torture.  I’ve suffered with endometriosis since I was 13 years old and by the time I was 40 was so exhausted from the suffering that I literally wanted to top myself.  Why can’t these judgemental women have some compassion for those whose experience is different to theirs?  I wish more women discussed their periods and menopause in polite society because then it would be the norm and we wouldn’t have to try and act like nothing is happening.

Menopause isn’t a disease, just like pregnancy isn’t a disease, but oftentimes there can be problems and it’s hard to treat those problems when Doctors have hardly any accurate information to go on.  Considering Menopause is something every woman on the planet will go through it’s gobsmacking that it’s still in the relative dark ages when it comes to research and understanding.

 

Weekly roundup

The UK is enjoying a heat-wave and we may be on trend to have the hottest summer on record.  It’s been over 30C here in the North, which is virtually unheard of, and we’re having the most prolonged hot spell in over 40 years.   I luuurve nice weather but this is too hot even for me and the temperature in my bedroom hasn’t dropped below 26C all week despite a huge fan going full pelt, consequently there hasn’t been a huge amount of sleep happening and I’m now feeling pretty wiped.

Monday, one of my photography buddies and I took advantage of the sunshine and went down to the river with our cameras.  To be fair we didn’t get any useable shots but had a nice time anyway and ate our picnic lunch in a wild flower meadow.  In the afternoon I had to take Bertie to the vets.  He’s had a herniated spinal disc since he was about 3½ and now and again the pain gets really bad, so he’s been put on Gabapentin.  He’s had it before and it It usually helps but this time despite both that and daily paracetomol the pain still isn’t under control so I’m not sure what the next step is going to be 😦

Tuesday my Dad had his long-awaited appointment with the spinal team and has thankfully been referred for surgery.  He’s always been super fit but 18 months ago started with back stiffness and leg pain and is now unable to walk around his home without a stick.  His MRI showed spinal stenosis which can happen as we age, but his seems to have progressed at an alarming rate of knots.  I just hope he doesn’t have to wait too long for treatment.

Wednesday I received a call from one of the men at my Camera Club.  Can you remember we were given arranged seating at our annual dinner the other month and I was placed opposite a single, middle aged farmer who bored the arse off me all night?  Well it was him, telling me I had beautiful eyes and inviting me up to his farm.  I go to my camera club for help with my photography – if I wanted a boyfriend I’d join a dating app.  I had to let him down as gently as possible but it’s now going to be bloody awkward when we next meet up.  I could sodding well kill the woman who organized the dinner and placed me on a table with no less than 3 single, middle aged men I’d tried all fucking year to avoid.

Thursday I had lunch at a lovely local cafe with another camera club buddy.  It’s so fabulous to be able to eat outdoors, although all the goddamn flies are annoying and despite wearing insect repellant I have several, large, angry, I-want-to-scratch-my-skin-raw bites.

Aunt Flo this month has been a bitch.  I’ve had period, endo, bowel and back pain for 10 days now but no proper period.  I had brown gunk for 3 days then 1 day of light bleeding.  Nothing for 2 days followed by anther day of brown gunk.  The pain has been ridiculous though and has included shooting pains down my legs which have kept me awake half the night for most of the week not to mention the fact that I can’t sleep on my favoured left side because it sets off wicked bowel/ovarian pain, and to add insult to injury I’ve had no less than four migraines.  FFS I’m so over it.

With the pain, heat and lack of sleep I’m flagging this weekend so have just had a quiet time not able to do much of anything.  I’d had a couple of photos in mind though, including this one, which I’ve worked on in the evenings, while simultaneously eating my body weight in Haagen Dazs and binge watching old episodes of the Kardashians to avoid the torture of eleven men in shorts chasing a ball of air around a field, otherwise known as the football World Cup 😉

 

 

 

 

Weekly roundup

All my wisdom teeth came through in my early twenties and have never caused me any bother, but recently one of the bottom ones has been painful and when I woke on Tuesday morning with a really sore throat and swollen glands on the same side I thought I’d better get it checked by the dentist.  Thankfully there was no abscess or infection but the gum was severely inflamed and needed to be packed with an anti-septic and anti-inflamatory dressing.  It tasted vile and was so minty hot my mouth was on fire for the rest of the night but it helped and that’s the main thing.  As you all know, though, I’m flaring at the mo and I did have a small reaction driving home in the car, which I now know was nothing to do with the drugs in the dressing and more likely due to simple exhaustion and the stress of the procedure.

I continued to feel unwell on Wednesday and was very MEish.  The Dentist said the sore throat was nothing to do with my tooth so I probably had an unconnected throat infection from which I’m still suffering, and for the first time in ages I was on the verge of collapse by lunchtime so had to go back to bed.  I felt both sick and ravenously hungry at the same time, which is usually the warning sign I’m getting a migraine, and sure enough by 8pm my noggin was thumping and the pain kept me awake half the night.

Thursday I’d arranged to meet my best mate for lunch but when I got up at 6am my head was still banging and I wasn’t well enough to go, so I risked taking some junior ibuprofen suspension which calmed the pain down and allowed me to drive.  I’m glad I managed to go despite feeling like a limp lettuce because I really enjoyed the goss and it was nice to be out of the house.

That night I was kept awake half the night with tummy ache which felt suspiciously like period pain.  I was only on day 16 of my cycle, though, so dismissed the notion and thought instead that maybe it was just collicky pain to which I’m prone.  Nope, it actually was my period – at least I think it’s my period.  I have all the symptoms: backache, period pain, nausea, migraine, exhaustion………… but no bleeding, just thick brown gunk.  Apparently this can happen when there aren’t enough hormones to cause thickening of the womb lining, which I’m hoping is a good sign that my peri-menopause is moving on towards actual menopause, but it’s cruely ironic to have looked forward to my bleeding stopping only to still have every period related symptom known to man. FFS!  I’m also monumentally unimpressed at having a ‘period’ only 2½ weeks since the last one.  Pleeeeaaaase God make it stop.

Friday I was back at the Dentist.  I’d had the appt booked for ages as it was just for a routine check-up but my gum was still inflamed so he put another dressed on and we’ll see if that finally does the trick.  This time I had no reaction at all, which is how I know my first reaction was nothing to do with the dressing.  Friday evening I started with another migraine (I always have migraines during my period) so was, for the third night running, awake half the night in pain. This week has been hard work.

As if all that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, I woke up Weds morning with a painful index finger on my right hand – I have no fucking clue why.  I already have my right thumb and wrist strapped up and now I’ve had to buddy tape my finger, which means using the laptop is tortuous.  My one distraction from all my woes is my photography, however using my editing tablet is aggravating the pain so I know I should be taking a break but I honestly think I’d go nuts, so I’m carrying on regardless and probably making the situation worse.  Here is an owl we saw at the flying display I went to a couple of weeks ago, which is still one of the best days of my life:

The good news is that my Mum had her latest test results back and her anaemia has improved to within the normal range.  She also had a bone density scan, having been diagnosed with osteoporosis 23 years ago and never having had a scan since, which shows her bones are much better than they used to be and she is now classed as having osteopenia rather than osteoporosis.  She was on bisphosphonate tablets for two decades then switched to a 3 monthly injection, but is now deemed to no longer need them and just has to take calcium & vitamin D supplements.  Maybe if she’d been monitored and had regular scans she might have been able to come off them years ago :-/  I was told off by a GP who used to follow my blog when I said that Doctors don’t monitor their patients properly but from my experience they absolutely do not.  It was my Mum who requested the scan – if it had been left up to her GP she wouldn’t have had one as long as she lived and carried on taking drugs she no longer needed.

 

Weekly roundup

The sun is shining for a change, hurrahhh, and Bert and I have had a couple of lovely walks down by the river wearing a t-shirt for the first time this year (me that is, not the dog – the dog thinks clothing is for wusses).  At least they would have been lovely if it weren’t for the fact that I feel like death warmed up.  I have had a week of hormone hell.  Not sleeping, not eating and so emotional I’ve felt like I was losing my marbles.  One minute raging, the next minute weeping and generally just feeling overwhelmed and like I’m crawling out of my skin.  I hate not being in control of how I feel and am so exhausted I could sleep on a washing line.  When is this Menopause shit going to be over?!

Thankfully I’ve had a fairly quiet week which is a good job as I’ve barely had the energy to shove a meal in the microwave, however my cleaner didn’t turn up on Wednesday so despite the fact I’ve only just got my back pain to settle down I had to start changing the bed sheets (the dog had been in the river then come home, snuggled actually in the bed under the duvet and left a huge muddy wet patch where I sleep) and washing the floors (I swear they are so dirty they must be hazardous to human health).  She’s let me down so often now I think I’m going to have to find someone else.  It’s all been legitimate – she was off work 3 months with a bad back, various weeks when her daughter was off school ill and now her Dad is terminally ill with cancer – but I think she forgets the reason I have a cleaner is that I’m not well!  She also took on walking Bertie two days a week, which lasted all of 2 months before she decided she didn’t like it and quit.

The Doctor rang me about my Dad but thinks that none of his symptoms are linked to the kappa paraprotein in his blood.  I’m still not convinced as she couldn’t explain his chronic fatigue, but she has referred him again to the spinal unit to have another look at his back so I’ll mention my concerns to them and see what they say.

Stuck in bed and feeling bored I decided to write an article for a national photography magazine on overcoming obstacles.  I’m disabled with a hobby which involves being mobile and skint in a hobby which can cost the sodding earth, so I wrote about how I’ve managed to find ways round these limitations.  The magazine editor happened to belong to a Camera Club in southern Scotland and he liked the piece and my photos so much he’s asked me to go along and give a talk one night at his Club.  Gulp!  I hate committing to stuff because I never know on any given day how I’m going to wake up feeling, but at the same time it’s flattering to have been asked.  My lovely friend John has offered to drive me so I think I’ll give it a bash and see how it goes though it won’t be until after September when the new season starts.  Without my photography I honestly think I’d be losing my mind at the mo.

My elderly neighbour Sam and I were talking about Scampi the other day.  She said she’d had some Whitby scampi and how nice it was and I mentioned I’ve never tried it, so two days later she rocked up at my house with a packet for me.  Aren’t some people kind? 🙂

Today is my parents’ Ruby wedding anniversary.  40 years of bickering and having absolutely zero in common 😉  My Mum was with my biological Dad for 18 years before that, so she’s been married for nearly 60 all in all.  Blimey.  My step-brothers, aunt, uncle, nieces and partners are all going out for a meal tonight to celebrate.  I can’t stand my Uncle, who shoots beautiful wild animals for fun, or my eldest brother who in 7 years has never once offered to do a thing for our parents, but I’ll grin and bear it and a least I’ll be eating food I haven’t had to cook myself!