Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm beginning to see a pattern

I think with a year's worth of observational data its time to do some analysis. Don't worry, I'm not talking about my marriage, I'm talking about the new status quo regarding my CFS.

I think my illness has well and truly entered a third phase. When I first got sick as a kid, I was sick all the time - with only one in seven years straight. It was utterly crap, boring, daytime TV, headaches, frustration - basically not fun.

Then something changed, I got back to school, did my A-levels and went to University. Whilst at Uni I was generally ok, few ups and downs, and the odd major crash lasting two to three months. They were horrible, feeling like I was trapped in the body of a very grump 80 year old. But I came out of them, and was well to the point of actually going jogging (yes, me, jogging, don't faint).

Then 2005 happened. I moved 250 miles, got a new job and a new husband. About 1 month after I came back from honeymoon I crashed. But after a week in bed I was back to work half time and worked my way back to full time - so not the 2-3 month crash I'd had before. Since then I've never been 'right' (or 'right' for me anyway). I always seem to be working the last bit of my energy on credit. Even when we've been on holiday I've struggled to walk very far or stay awake for long periods of time. With the odd blip day here and there I've been working full time. That, however, has pretty much been it - not much of a life outside - and when I do try to do something, like decorating the hall last weekend, I end up in a heap by the end of the week. I worked from home yesterday, but I wasn't even up to doing that today.

So I reckon this is my new pattern, I'm going to call it "Livin' on the Edge" as a homage to Aerosmith. How long this one will last, I don't know. I haven't decided if its better or worse than big crash, long boom of the previous few years - although at least it does help us with our financial stability. Would be nice to feel like I had some energy left to live the life of my own choosing, but it doesn't look like that is what's happening at the moment.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interrupted breast rant

I was just about to start a rant about the fact that the media reporting scientific research don't seem to have any concept of the differences between correlation and cause, when I was rudely interrupted by the facts of the case I was about to cite. Actually, it doesn't undermine the dodgy presentation on the BBC Breakfast News show the other day but at least the article on the web shows that in this case, the research does show some kind of causal relationship.

Anyway.... what am I talking about.... ah yes.... research seems to show that there is a causal link between being breast-fed and climbing the social class system. Accounting for other factors, individuals who were breast-fed have a 58% incidence of moving up the social classes, compared with 50% for those who were not breast fed (an increase of 41%). The difference was even perceptible between siblings, where one was breast-fed and the other was not. The research is based on a huge cohort study of individuals born in the late 1930s who had all been studied as babies.

I can't decide whether having another pro-breastfeeding argument is a good thing, or is it just something else that kids will be able to throw back at their Mum claiming "I'm not posh because I didn't get any!".

Anyway.... even though the facts rudely interrupted me this time, I sure there will be many times in the future where Husband walks in to find me screaming "correlation not cause" at the TV.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Well its about time!

And finally winter has decided to make a proper showing - we have snow. I'm working from home today but Husband headed out in his "action accountant" outfit - steel toed wellies, cord trousers, big jumper (he left he hi-vis jacket at home). I'm waiting for the heating to have been on long enough for it to be passable for me to have a bath without freezing my extremities off. Four hours and counting.

The cats are pretty much in hibernation mode. They both seem to have puffed out their fur to ridiculous proportions and make every attempt possible to steal my body heat whenever I sit down. I don't think either of them have been out today - frozen cat on a stick would be a possibility. Anyway, Lyle has lost his third collar in 6 months, which means he doesn't have a magnetic tag to open the cat flap; so it's probably best that he doesn't go outside.

Most of the schools around us were closed. The snow hasn't been at all bad (about 10cm) but as its all very steep hills and narrow roads around here, they become impassable pretty quickly. The kids were out on their sleds by 8am. I could see them slipping down the grassy bank in the park at the end of our road. Husband nearly slipped into a load of them as they watched to see he could make it down the end of our road without losing control - dangerous thing to watch if you ask me. Hopefully this means that he'll have to come home from work early today to make sure he can actually get up the hill. I think tomorrow will be the fun day as all this snow and slush freezes solid over night - now that will make for interesting driving conditions.

I do find it rather humourous how England (sorry, make that the bottom half of England) comes to a halt with even the slightest flurry of snow- even when they've had tons of warning. Other countries seem to have their infrastructure functioning even in really heavy snow. Yorkshire didn't seem to have too many problems coping when I used to live up there. I used to enjoy "skating" to Uni along the lethal flagstone pavements!

Monday, February 05, 2007

What weekends are meant to be...

The sun was shining, the air warm – very much like the day one year ago that Husband and I tied the knot. Delightful – an expression I really haven’t used much lately (can’t claim kudos for the picture, but it is what the sky has looked like lately).

Spent Saturday with a colleague and friend and her 4 year old daughter. We work at opposite ends of the building to each other so we don’t often get a chance to chat so it was nice to get some proper time together. Her daughter is amazing – so pretty, so intelligent and precocious. I want one! Can I steal hers? We had a couple of hours at home playing with the cats and having soup. Then we went to a local bird garden to look at peacocks. Then it was back home for millionaire shortbread and Mummy and me to bitch about work – and CBeebies to entertain daughter. The time gave Husband a chance to recover from Glasgow without seeming like a grump – and me some much needed social contact.

Out actually anniversary day was Sunday. I’d popped into town before picking friend and daughter up – so I got a card, a small toy dragon (well why not?) and a bottle of Timothy Taylor’s “Landlord” beer. Husband had managed to arrange some pain au chocolat, a card and a little prezzie for me so we had breakfast in bed. We used to do Sunday mornings in bed quite often in the past – I don’t quite know why we stopped. It was nice to reinvigorate one of our old traditions and have a cuddle and ponder the fact that we’ve made it a year as a married couple.

The weather was glorious so we headed out into the Cotswolds for a drive – and to purchase a revolving shoe rack from the Cotswold Company in Bourton on the Water (how romantic I am). We also revived another old tradition on the way back by getting lost. Our best times out and about in our old stomping ground of North Yorkshire were when we (either deliberately or accidentally) turned off the beaten track and tried to find our way around on the back lanes. We ended up coming into home from the North East and through a village we had only been through once. We missed the turn for home and were looking for somewhere to turn around when I spotted the biggest cat you’ve ever seen perched on a wall. I made Husband let me out the car and I went to try and pat it. It ran away, came back and ran away again. At which point I realised the cat’s owner was giving me funny looks from the driveway. Luckily, he was very friendly and didn’t try to accuse me of stealing his cat. He told me all about Brufus (I think) the Maine Coon – as we peered at him through a conifer. He was twice the size of our cats, but apparently a total wuss. He was a lovely honey colour like this one I’ve found on the internet.

Anyway, once Husband eventually dragged me away from the cat we went home, had casserole and watch the end of Pirates of the Caribbean II. All in all, a lovely weekend.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Cold Cat

My hands are ripped to shreds and I think I’ve temporarily ruined my relationship with Tate. Last week he started winking at us. Then he started sneezing and sniffling. By Monday night he had tears streaming down his cheeks and looked a very sorry sight. We booked him in to see the vet. Of course, as is always the case, he looked 10 times better by morning, but she still did find a raised temperature and a blocked left nostril/tear duct. She gave him an anti-inflammatory injection and some antibiotic tablets just in case.

Husband has been away in Glasgow for two nights and two days this week so I’ve been left to administer the cat tablets on my own. Tate is tense – unlike his brother Lyle who is laid back (this is the mnemonic that my Mum uses to remember which one is which). We had hoped that as the tablets were ‘palatable’ he might co-operate… but we were over-optimistic. I’ve got a nasty scratch on my left forearm and index finger and various puncture wounds on my right hand. Anyway, I have finally mastered the one-personed cat tablet administration so here are my top tips:

- chase cat around the house, slowly closing doors so he has nowhere left to run
- attempt to grab cat but fall over instead
- drag cat out from under bed
- wrap in towel ensuring all front and back legs are inside
- slide the tablet in through the gap in the cats teeth on the side
- clamp the cats mouth shut until he has to swallow because he can’t breathe through his nose
- realise his back legs have got free and attacked you leaving a bleeding gash
- release cat

No wonder he hates me…