Friday, May 30, 2014

Glad to know that

X-rays were made of my back today and I do not have any fractures, so I am moving around a bit better already now that I am not in fear of damaging something in an irreversible way. I think knowing that I will not, has taken the strain of my back. That, and taking the pain medication, should heal me quickly and I ought to be back to normal soon, at least, that is what I assume. I hope to dismiss this subject soon, because it is getting kind of old. I have been concerned about it long enough. 

I just got a text message from my American ex who is now making a stop over at the airport in Houston on his way to Amsterdam. He will arrive there in the morning and take the train to Maastricht. He should be here at noontime. I should really give him a name and I think I will call him The Cowboy. Not that he is in so many ways, but he is an American and I will keep to stereotype. 

Because I had to have the X-rays taken, I missed my hairdresser appointment and that does grieve me. I was looking forward to being pampered which will now have to be postponed. I will try to reschedule it as quickly as I can so that I can be good looking as soon as possible. I did want to make a good impression on the Cowboy and I hope that for the coming week he does not pay attention to me too closely. I will have to use diversionary tactics so he does not notice the state of my hairdo. 

Almost all the chores are done. I have even managed to make the bed in the guest room. I will finish whatever needs doing in the morning and I think that will keep me occupied well enough. I do have to have something to do while I wait for the Cowboy to get here. 

The blog post that wanted to be

I bought a can of extra thick pea soup for my American ex because he loves that so much and it is always one of the first things he wants to eat when he arrives here, but I also have some that was made from scratch by my friend M. and it is slowly defrosting now in the refrigerator. It will be a toss up which he likes best, but the one in the can has sausage in it and I know that he likes that a lot. The one M. made has pieces of ham, it looks like, and I think that must appeal to him just as well, unless it is a vegetarian soup and they are pieces of tofu. I have not yet been able to investigate it well enough. 

I have one day left to get everything in order and I still have to make up the bed in the guest room. My personal helper is going to be here in the morning and I think I will ask her to do that for me, because I do not want to hurt my back. I think she is not going to object to helping me out like that. There is a 5 kg bag of potatoes sitting on the kitchen counter that needs to be moved to the shelf system and I do not think I am going to attempt that. I am getting wiser about what not to do and besides, I would find out immediately that it was to my detriment if I tried to. 

I think I am capable of watering the plants, although it involves carrying them to the kitchen sink and back. The man at the flower shop told me the last time I was there, to give them lukewarm water so as to not shock them. I suppose that would be what a tropical rain feels like. When I was in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, the water that came from the cold water tap was lukewarm and it was just the right temperature to shower with. That would exactly be the kind of water my plants would enjoy getting. No doubt they would thrive there, although they don't do too badly here. 

I think I will go to bed and find a comfortable position to sleep in. It should help if I take a mild tranquilizer along with the pain medication. I have to be as kind to myself as I possibly can be. Already my back is not behaving well and causing me trouble while I sit here. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

That didn't quite work out

The manual therapist looked surprised when I told him that I had felt like I had been run over by a bus after our first session. I think that was not the answer he was expecting when he asked how I had fared. I thought that was the standard answer for people who had had their first physiotherapy treatment, but apparently that is not the case. That must be an old wife's tale then. 

He examined the state I was in, and it turned out to be worse than it was at the start of the first session, so that did cause him some concern. He proceeded with caution, but had to stop the session shortly into it because of the amount of pain I developed and the tingling in my lower legs and feet. He wants me to go back to my GP before he does anything else, and have this back problem further investigated. He does not trust the diagnosis. 

Today is a holiday (Ascension Day), so the doctor's office is closed. Tomorrow he is not there himself, but the female GP will be. I suppose that she can have a look at my back just as well. One will probably be as competent as the other. Or not. Imagine the kind of shape I would be in if I did not have the pain medication. It does not bear thinking of. 

I had hoped to write about more cheerful things here, but I knew I was not in good shape last night and I slept as much as I could. Not that it is particularly comfortable, but when you are asleep, you are occupied and don't notice what is going on, especially not if you have finally found the best position to lie in. It was fun and games at the beginning when Gandhi and Tyke jumped on the bed and wanted to play and I was in their way. Imagine one big lump and two animals strutting over it. 

The Exfactor has done the groceries and walked Tyke and I am settling in for the rest of the day. I have my bathrobe on over my clothes because I am a bit chilly, although it isn't really cold outside. It must be my worries that are making me so. I have to admit that I am concerned and am wondering what is wrong and that several scenarios play through my head. I will be patient and wait for tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

For the love of it

I have a totally free day coming up when I have no appointments at all with anyone and that is an exception for this week. I will have to take complete advantage of it and take a nap when I feel called to do so because I have not been able to in a couple of days. Of course, it is not as if I get so terribly tired during the day, although having a sore back is terribly tiring. I sleep well at night thanks to the new pain medication and I don't have to take any tranquilizers or sleeping pill at all. And I just think of the kind of shape I would be in if I didn't take the pain medication. Thank goodness for small favors. 

I started making a shopping list, but it is getting a bit longer than it usually is because I have to get food for two people instead of just one and a dog and a cat. My American ex will be here this Saturday and I want to get some of his favorite things to eat to start his vacation of right. He very much likes Dutch pea soup (which is unsurpassed in the world), so I want to get a big can of the best brand of that. It may not be the right time of year to eat it, but I can make him happy with that always. And of course, I have to get Dutch cheese, pre-sliced in a big package because he will go through that in no time. 

The shopping list has already gotten so long, that the Exfactor is going to need two runs to the grocery store to get everything and I still hope that I won't forget anything with my drug induced mind. Oh well, it is not as if we are incapable of going to the store ourselves to get whatever has been overlooked.  My American ex likes nothing better than to shop and try out new things, and that is why I am going to give him the use of the bike with the carrier bags, so he will always be able to easily bring things home with him. The seat on it just needs to be raised a bit still. 

I hope the weather will improve a bit because it has rained for the past two days and not a little bit either. I still have to air all the bed linens for the guest bed and I need a bit of a breeze and some sunshine for that. Whoever is in charge of the weather, needs to be appealed to, but maybe you have your own deluge to worry about. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let me count the ways

After I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning, I also saw my GP because I thought it was better if he had another look at my very sore back and that we should clear up some confusion about the state of it. This time we got down to the heart of things much better and I think it must be partly my fault that we don't always communicate well. He examined my back and we had a good explanative talk about it and what was wrong with it and what to do about it. In the end, I felt a lot better about the whole thing.

First of all, he prescribed a painkiller which is a combination of Tramadol and paracetamol and I can take a tablet once every eight hours. Secondly, he prescribed manual therapy, which I have had for back problems in the past and of which I knew that it works. 

Because the Exfactor was coming over to do some chores for me, he was able to stop by the pharmacy to pick up the tablets and I called the physiotherapy practice as soon as I had a chance. It turned out that the manual therapist could see me right away in the afternoon. 

Once the manual therapist started working with me, it turned out how limited I was in my movements and there were things I absolutely could not do. After the first session, I moved a bit smoother and easier, but by the time I got home, I felt like I had been run over by a bus. I suppose that is normal when your sore back gets pushed and twisted around. I have my next appointment on Thursday and in the meantime regularly have to do one exercise to keep my back loosened up. 

The painkiller is a very pleasant medicine to take, not only because it helps with the pain, but also because it makes me feel mentally so pleasant. This is the most "normal" I have ever felt without actually feeling any kind of a high. I can now understand why people get hooked on pain medication. I don't have to take any tranquilizers, nor would it be advisable to. I am relaxed enough like this and would like to always feel this way. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tomorrow, tomorrow...

I am a bit worried about getting all the chores done before my American ex gets here and frankly, a very mild panic is grabbing a hold of me. I have to tell myself to calm down and very reasonably think this through and come up with a solution. It is not that there needs to be an awful lot done, but they are all chores that require someone with a strong back, which I don't happen to have at the moment. I am fearful of doing any bending and twisting and lifting in case of doing further harm. As of yet, I don't know exactly what is really wrong with my back and until I find out, I don't want to do anything that will mess it up further. 

Of course, at the same time I want to stay perfectly relaxed and act like there is nothing wrong and move about completely at ease. I try to use all the relaxation techniques that I know and adopt a good posture in whatever position I am in, whether I sit, stand or walk. I think one of the things not to do, is to slouch, so I constantly try to keep my back as straight as I can. I tell you, being mindful of your posture is a full-time job. 

For a change I am glad that the weekend is over, because I could do so little, that I was bored. Normally, I find all sorts of chores to take care of, but that was not in the planning this time. I constantly had to think of ways to amuse myself and cut the days up in little snippets of time in which I did in each one something different than I did in the one before, but sometimes I had a hard time coming up with anything good. In the end, I pretended that I was recuperating from an illness and that this was my rest and relaxation time. That helped a little bit and I also allowed myself a couple of naps. 

I don't recommend self injury because it is a very boring way to spend your days. There is only so much time you can spend behind the computer and you really do run out of dishes to wash. 

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist in the morning to discuss my sudden stop of the use of the extra antidepressant and my use of the sleep medication now that I am dealing with extra pain during the night. I didn't think these were matters that could be discussed over the telephone or by email. 

And I have to wear a belt around my pants to keep them up. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Let's think that over first

It turned out not to be such a good idea to quit the anti-inflammatory medication and the paracetamol. I had to take an extra sleeping pill in order to be able to get to sleep because of the pain, and the next day I didn't feel all that great either. What surprised me was not the pain in my back, because I had expected that, but how much my right eye hurt. It was mostly for that reason, that in the end I took the anti-inflammatory medication and the paracetamol anyway, and soon started feeling better. I think I will take them for another week, when I run out, and go back to the doctor about the state of my back at that point. I am not to call the eye specialist for another appointment until about the 13th of June. 

I do not enjoy having physical pain and it makes me a miserable person. I do not deal with it well at all if it is not to some extend under control. I do not emotionally fare well if I physically have to suffer. Maybe that is true for everybody, but I can only speak from my own experience. I would always do whatever could be done to control whatever pain I had if it was to a level I could not live with. Pain destroys the mind. 

The good thing was that I had my sunglasses to wear for most of the day, even inside when the sun was shining brightly through the living room windows. That did make a difference and I am so pleased with them. I don't even bother to take them off when I come in from taking Tyke for a walk and can even wear them when I use the computer to guard my eyes from the brightness of the screen. I think these sunglasses are the best invention since the wheel. I don't want to have to close the blinds, because I don't want all my plants to die because of the lack of light. They are all doing very well right now and I aim to keep it that way. 

I went to the A. Vogel website, which is from the company that grows its own herbs and flowers to make natural medicine from, and ordered Atrosan tablets that work like the anti-inflammatory medication that I use now. Some time in the very near future, I want to try them and see if they will do the job at keeping my pain level down. I do believe in herbal medicine and think it can very often do a good job if you don't want to keep taking the regular pharmaceutical ones. 

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with a good old paracetamol. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

An experiment

It may be foolish, but I am not going to take any anti-inflammatory medicine before I go to bed tonight, nor will I take any paracetamol. I want to see how bad the pain is in my back and eyes after having used those two medicines for the past week. This experiment may fail completely and I may change my mind quickly, but I will find that out soon enough. The intention is there anyway. 

Normally I would have already been asleep by now, but I did something interesting for dinner this evening. I ate a lot of vanilla custard just to see if I could and because I had an enormous craving for it. My reaction to it was to become very sleepy, so I had to go to bed immediately and sleep for a few hours. Other than that, I seem to be fine. No part of me is protesting. 

Of course, the custard is so adulterated that you can hardly call it a dairy product, but it is still a nice surprise to be able to eat it. I am going to repeat this experience. I just have to calculate in the fact that I need to sleep afterwards. 

The optician called this afternoon to tell me that my sunglasses were ready to be picked up, which is a week earlier than they said they'd de done. I rode my bike over there with my regular sunglasses on my nose because the sun was shining brightly. It was so busy at the optician's that I had to wait a while for my final fitting, but it was worth it. These sunglasses are great, and never having had a good pair (let alone the prescription kind), I feel that something awfully good has happened for my eyes when I wear them.  The polarized lenses keep out all the UV light without making it so dark that I can't see the details. 

Things are starting to hurt a bit so I have to go to bed and make myself comfortable. A sleeping pill will be in order.  

Some odd days

I have to admit that I have not been feeling quite like my "normal" self (whatever that is supposed to feel like) and I can only guess that it is due to having quit that extra antidepressant about ten days ago. It would be strange if I did not have any withdrawal symptoms at all, and the the odd moments that I go through now must be the effect of them. I would be worried if I did not know what was the matter, but at least I know what to blame these feelings on. I will be patient and wait for these symptoms to disappear, although at times they are a bit hard to bear. Luckily, they are momentary and do not last for a long time. 

I do have to say that having pain chronically is also wearing me down. I realized that when I got up out of bed and my back immediately hurt and I felt so miserable because of it. I wouldn't be so bad if it were a dull ache, but this is a sharp pain, and I suppose I was already tired of pain after having to deal with it in my eyes (which I still am).  It is all good and well to try and stay cheerful and optimistic, but these sort of things do get frustrating and you get exhausted from them and wish for them to be gone. I very much want to go about my daily life in a more normal way. 

I did pull the weeds yesterday, but I left the ones that were too tough to get out. You would not have believed all the little critters that lived in them and how disturbing it was for them that I destroyed their living quarters.  I filled the small green container with weeds and will have to remember to put it out on the curb next Sunday evening. I still have to trim the plants out back and will have to have an empty container to put the waste in, unless I start a compost pile again like I did last time. I am afraid that my Californian ex, who knows nothing about compost piles, will think that is a sloppy way to garden. 

I voted in the European election, but the voter turn out was low, which is a real shame. People complain, but then don't feel called upon to cast their vote. According to me, you lose the right to complain if you do that, because it is the same as if in any other election. It shows mental and civil laziness if you can't be bothered. You have to take the responsibility to care and you can always cast a protest vote. 

I had the opportunity to stop by the bakery yesterday to buy chocolate croissants, but I didn't do it, much as I was tempted. I decided that this was something which should stay a special ritual that the Exfactor is in charge of and that I would only eat them if he brought them over for coffee on Saturday morning. Some things have to stay sacred. I will have to have a similar ritual with my American ex for Sunday mornings when the other bakery is open. I am sure they have delicious things to eat also. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Feeling is believing

While I am waiting for this second cup of coffee to do its trick at waking me up, I will start writing this blog post because attempting to use my brain always helps me in the waking up process. The coffee does not taste as good as it normally does, but I don't know why that is so. It is a real disappointment having looked forward to it so much, but I assume the caffeine will still do its job. 

Despite having lumbago, I tried to act yesterday like there was nothing the matter with my back and in the morning rode my bike to the hardware store where I bought a big ceramic pot  for the plant I was planning on buying next. There happened to be a sale on these pots, so it was my lucky day. It was a bit heavy to manhandle, but I had brought my biggest shopping bag and carried it home that way hanging from my handlebars. 

Next, I went to the flower shop that is close to my apartment and picked out a good sized plant. It happened to be a philodendron that had been trained up a stake in the middle of its pot. Now, I know I can't go wrong with a philodendron because they practically take care of themselves, so I knew this was a good choice. I manhandled it home also and gave it some water before it put it in the newly acquired ceramic pot and set it in the empty place that needed a plant. 

I was much satisfied, and proceeded to do other little chores that were waiting for me, but nothing too rough, feeling my back complaining loudly by now. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it, though, and I am planning on pulling out the weeds that are growing under the windows outside the apartment in the morning. Of course, I am counting on them coning out easily like they did last year, but the doctor did say to keep moving as normal as possible. 

But as I write this, there is a storm moving in and the wind is picking up speed and making quite a bit of noise. It is possible that it will be raining in the morning for a bit, although a good day was predicted. I don't mind, because whatever bit of rain we get will be welcome. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rude awakenings

It is an amazing thing that I don't run into furniture when I get up in the middle of the night and go to the kitchen with only the hallway light burning. By rights I ought to be stubbing my toes, banging my thighs and scraping my knees against all sorts of corners and edges and other dangerous protrusions that belong to all the furniture that has been moved around. Everything, except the bookcase, is in a different place and I take pride in the fact that, in the middle of the night, I remember that it is. 

The domestic help did a great job really finishing redecorating the living room properly yesterday morning because she is just like I am and there lurks an competent interior decorator deep inside of her. She always wants to make changes and would do so weekly if I let her. I have no real objections, but we don't always see eye to eye. She likes to place everything at right angles and I like some things at a 45 degree angle. We do make a good team together and yesterday I was the supervisor, of course.  We had a lot of fun together and were satisfied when the job was done. 

I have been told that I must not count on my old personal helper ever returning and that the new one will be my permanent one. Now I will never know what the cause was of the old one's sudden absence and why she will not come back. These sort of things are too personal and not talked about, although it is a shame, because she was my personal helper for almost four years and we were close. I do not even try to guess what the reason is because it will all be speculation. The good thing is that I like the new woman very much and I think that she is very competent, so it doesn't hurt me in the long run at all. 

I think that we, in combination with my therapist, will be able to achieve a lot. She is going to come and see me twice a week so she will be able to always get a good idea of my moods. They will not be long visits, but that is not necessary.  We need someone who can keep an eye on me and who can be objective and notice if anything about me changes and who can then ring the alarm bell if there is a need. Of course, getting a new personal helper was a change in my life that I had to deal with and that caused some havoc itself. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Get yourself a new back

I saw the GP and he said that I had something like lumbago, except that in this case it was a third of the way up my back and not in the lower part like it usually is in most cases of lumbago. I suppose I will take that for an answer for now and besides, he said I should come back if it isn't better within one week. He prescribed paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medicines, and I do have to admit that the latter seem to help a bit. It takes the sharp edges off the pain anyway. I am not doing the rumba yet, but I am moving around a bit easier. The nice benefit is, that it also takes care of the pain in my eyes and my headaches, so we are killing two flies with one stone. All in all, I am in much better shape. 

Everyone who comes here, admires the way the living room looks and I make sure I tell them that it came with a high price and that I will never pay one like it again. I do want to milk all of the drama out of this story. The last decorating touch I applied today, was change the runner on the dining table to a more cheerful and colorful one, but that was light work. I suppose I could go on endlessly with this redecorating, but there has to come a moment when I am done. My scheming mind always sees something that could be changed around just a bit better and maybe I have a lifetime project on my hands. 

I have done something really funny. For this past week or so, I have mistaken the small pot of vitamin D3 tablets for the new pot of extra antidepressants. This is because I take my medicines early in the morning when it is still half dark in the bedroom and I am not quite awake yet because I have not had my coffee yet. So all this time I have been taken vitamin D3 tablets and I have been feeling really good. I decided to not start taking the extra antidepressants at all anymore and I am in the process of making an appointment with my psychiatrist to discuss this with him. He had already said that the reason I was feeling better was because of the changes I had made in my life and not because of the extra medicines. It goes to show you the power of mind over matter. 

It's a silly old world and I am a silly old woman. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Murphy's Law

I wasn't going to mention it, but I hurt my back on Friday when I was moving furniture around on my own. I tried to pick up a pretty heavy cabinet and heard a very strange sound and felt a nauseating pain about a third of the way up my back. Since then I have been in constant pain and now I am undecided about what to do. I can go see the female GP, but then what? She can send me to the hospital for X-rays, but would they show a ruptured disk? They would show a crack in a vertebrae, but what could be done about that? 

I sure as heck don't need another complication in my life, but every time I decide not to bother about my back, I feel the pain and think that this is maybe not such a good decision. I sure as heck do have a streak of bad luck when it comes to physical disabilities. I was determined to keep moving along as I normally would, but that is impossible. My back even hurts when I sit down. I guess when I do well psychologically, something physical has to break down. This pretty much seems to be the story of my life. I hoped to get over this when I got older, but I think the phenomenon only gets worse as I age. 

The living room looks good because I did finish that job despite the pain, I just did it very slowly and carefully and unpacked every piece of furniture that I moved. The cabinet was the most difficult one to manhandle. Don't let it be said that I am not stubborn, but I don't think I will ever do anything like it again. I must have been caught up in moments of sheer madness when I finished putting everything in place, but then again, I was on my own and couldn't leave things standing where they were. 

And nothing ever hurts as bad as giving birth, right?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

For a cup of tea

Nowadays, when I do my best to make the apartment look as good as if an interior designer lives here, I can never pretend that I do that because the queen may drop by one afternoon for a cup of tea. We have a king now and I think he would drop by in the early evening instead for a beer, and I don't think he would care much about how the furniture is positioned and other cozy design details. He is too much like any other ordinary man to concern himself with such things. Nowadays, I need a different motivation than a spontaneous, although unlikely, royal visit to make the apartment look good. 

I have not quite worked out what my motivating factor is now and for which public I perform, so maybe that is why I have sort of lost my direction. I am trying to develop a taste that is purely one of my own, but like anyone else, I do want to please my audience. In the first place I want things to be functional, but I notice that I am moving more and more away from that and am starting to pay attention to the minute little details of nit-picky items that are placed just so in small strategic groups on the coffee table and the bookcase. 

And all these things hold memories, even I have collected those, although I pretend I don't care about those sort of sentiments. Once I start looking in all the nooks and crannies of my apartment, all sorts of precious items appear and I think, "Oh, what treasures I have!" For some reason these are important to me now as I enter this fourth era of my life, and things I had forgotten about the end of the second and the beginning of the third one are floating to the top. It seems that I remember much more than I thought I did. Maybe leaving the traumatic behind me allows me access to those memories. 

It is good to close off one era and to start afresh with a new one. It gives me a real sense of closure and liberation. And I really have retired, just like the queen has. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Don't bother with the details

I can't spend too much time behind the computer because of the brightness of the screen. I am getting smart about my eyes and what makes them hurt, and if anything does, it is light. It not only makes my eyes hurt, but also gives me a headache and I know best how to avoid that pain now. 

I was sitting with sunglasses on inside yesterday morning out of sheer despair, when I realized that I was sitting in the wrong spot in the living room facing the windows. I moved all my paraphernalia to the little table beside the sofa, so I was facing away from the windows, and that was a lot better. To be totally safe, I not only rolled the blinds down three quarters of the way, but also closed the nearly sheer curtains. 

Of course, everywhere I go, I have to deal with the exposure to light and that is not only outside, but also inside all sorts of buildings and spaces. I have those sunglasses, but they are an inexpensive pair and are not prescription, so I don't see well when I am wearing them. In a way, I am exchanging one problem for the other. So yesterday, I went to Specsavers and ordered a pair of dark sunglasses to my specifications and I hope they will be ready soon. In the meantime, I will have to make do with the ones I have got and avoid light as much as possible. 

Well, who said that life wasn't one big learning experience and so it is. Unexpectedly you learn about all sorts of different subjects, some of which I could have done without. Murphy's law really does exist, doesn't it? If anything can go wrong, it does. You just have to sort of count on that. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

I am eating my hat

I told the eye specialist that I thought I had Graves Orbitopathy, and he smiled and said, "Well, then I don't have to examine you at all. I will just send the bill to the insurance company." He was obviously amused with me, but very patient. No doubt he regularly sees people who have diagnosed themselves ahead of time. 

His assistant had already put drops in my eyes so he could better examine them and he proceeded to do so. For now he has determined that both eyes are dried out and have damage, including the cornea. It seems I don't blink often enough and when I do, the eyelids drag across my eyes and cause the damage. Apparently my tear ducts don't work well enough anymore, which could be because of a variety of reasons. He said that this causes all the symptoms I have been bothered by, including the great sensitivity to light and the headaches. 

I am to use an ointment in my eyes for a month and to massage them gently every day. This is to stimulate the tear ducts. I also consciously have to remember to blink more often. Every time I feel extra pain, I have to do that because that is a sign that my eyes are dry. 

My brother in law is going through the exact same process as I am at the same time at a different hospital. My sister and I compare notes over the telephone and find out that he and I are exactly on the same track. His eye specialist also suggested that a few times a day he put a warm, damp washcloth over his eyes, so I am going to do that too. It sounds like that would feel great. 

Luckily, there still is paracetamol and I do take advantage of that. I would not get through the day without it. I also need a better pair of sunglasses. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chickens have mothers too

That title sets me off on the wrong track because I don't want to talk about mothers at all, but it is something that popped up on my mind and I decided to use it and see what would become of it. I don't want to talk about chickens either, not knowing that much about them except that they are not treated very well in the bio-industry and that I don't eat them. Maybe later in this blog post the reason for the title will become clear. 

This afternoon I have my appointment with the eye specialist, but I think I already know what the problem is. Forty years ago, I had Graves disease of my thyroid and had surgery done on it. Since that time I take thyroid hormones every day. I think this time I have Graves eye disease, medically known as Graves Orbitopathy. Both forms are autoimmune diseases of which the cause is really unknown, but it has a tendency to run in families. My younger sister had them both at the same time in her early twenties and I was nineteen when I had my surgery. 

I would be surprised if I were wrong about my self diagnosis. I have looked up the most common eye diseases and none of them fit as well. I am fairly confident that this is what has been bothering me all this time. 

I had goiter when I was a child and my mother finally took me to the doctor when I was eleven years old. He prescribed medication of which I didn't understand the use at the time, but of which I now know that is was to slow down my overactive thyroid. My mother did not make sure that I took this medication and I was not aware of its importance. There was never a follow up appointment with the doctor and as I grew older, the goiter grew worse until I became very ill. That is why I hate ignorance so much. 

Whenever someone asked, "Why is Irene's throat so thick?" my mother answered, "Oh yes, Irene has goiter," as if that explained everything. She never said, "Irene needs medicine or she'll get very sick," so I just came to accept that I had this condition. 

Child neglect.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The running of the bulls

I could tell you a whole story that proves the incompetence of my male GP, but I won't because it will only frustrate me. I made an exception when I went to see him for the problem with my eye, but from now on I will be faithfully seeing my female GP again. My male GP had already caused me to have serious doubts about him in the past and I had avoided him like the plague, and it is my own fault that I had chosen to see him this time because I was in a hurry and my female GP was not available. I should have been a bit more patient. No pun intended. The man is obviously an idiot. 

I will be going to the eye clinic this Thursday to see what the problem is with my eye because I have no sinus infection whatsoever, but that should have been obvious from the start because I had none of the other symptoms. My left eye is now starting to develop sympathy pains and I hope it doesn't turn into the same bad case that my right eye is. 

Oh lord, I do dislike having to deal with these sort of things and having to worry about the competence of a doctor. I dislike it very much if there is something wrong with me and would rather ignore the whole thing and pretend it is not taking place at all. That is how I have decided to deal with the fibromyalgia because it is a disorder that is clothed in so much controversy. I really don't want anything to do with it. If I knew there was no danger to my eyes, I would ignore whatever is going on with them too and live with the pain. 

I think being at the mercy of other people is the worst thing that can happen to you and in many ways, when you are dependent on a diagnosis of a doctor or a specialist, you are in that dependent position. It gets even worse when the different doctors involved all have a different opinion or understanding of whatever is the matter with you because of what knowledge they happen to have about that particular subject. It is amazing how much ignorance there is. And you as a patient try to survive in all of that with what you know about the diagnosis yourself and have to defend yourself against this onslaught. 

The best places to get the right information about whatever ails you are the websites of the foundations that are specialized in that particular group of disorders. They have all the latest updates and can tell you exactly what you need to know about your disorder and how to deal with it. That way you can take a no nonsense approach yourself. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rock and roll all on my own

It is funny how your life grabs a hold of you and decides to keep you occupied with completely different things than you had been doing for the last little while. I find myself suddenly caring very much about what the apartment looks like down to the tiniest details and over the last three days or so I have been keeping myself busy with rearranging, reorganizing, de-cluttering, and redecorating. It is as if someone came by and gave me a kick in the rear end and said, "Get on with it woman!" It could also be an instinctive case of spring cleaning. Some primitive, hormonal female thing that got a hold of me. 

Whatever it is, I welcome it with open arms because it feels good to go through the apartment and create order and give it the look that I am comfortable with. I would say that it now looks cozy modern, but it definitely has some touches of femininity in the more old fashioned interpretation of that word. I think maybe subconsciously, I am building a nest for the brood to return to. I wonder if the upcoming arrival of my first husband, the father of my children, has something to do with that?

I find myself now to be more like the woman I was some twenty years ago who is not afraid to tackle any kind of a job, even if it is a more technical one. I am a child of my father, after all, and I was raised to be very self sufficient and do whatever needed to be done myself. This self sufficient part of me had been missing all this time and I am glad that it is showing up again and that it validates my feeling of competence and pride. If there was one thing I disliked, it was feeling as though I was helpless and being in a relationship that enforced that idea. 

My life seems to take place in a series of eras of twenty years time span and I now have had three of them, so I am ready for a new era to start.  This is going to be an era of self sufficiency and competence in which I will again be an emancipated woman, but much wiser than the one I was before. I get to apply all the lessons I learned and benefit from the fact that I now am single and not needy. I really get to do this on my own like I ought to. I am free of whatever the hell remains of preconceived ideas I had about womanhood before. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Running on a full tank

My psychiatrist thinks I am so "normal" that he didn't plan our next appointment until eight weeks from now. I said to him, "Well, I don't know if I can make it. I may be at the Riviera then." He took me seriously too. I would love to go down there and pretend I was filthy rich for about a month and do whatever the heck I wanted. Yes, I do have big and unrealistic wishes, but in my mind they are all going to come true one day.  I would like to live as if anything at all is possible because I have already had such an interesting life. 

He has decided that he does want to stay my psychiatrist despite my stubborn solo actions and he is very happy for me that my last one turned out so well for me. We did talk about how we are going to handle any future differences in opinion about the treatment, but I am going to have equal say in it. We do have enough respect and like for each other to want to keep having a successful doctor-patient relationship. We have already achieved a lot together and I have come a long way since I have been his patient. The fact that he became my psychiatrist is one of the better things that happened in my life. 

I had the X-rays made of my sinus cavities in the morning and I rode my bike over to the hospital, taking quite a chance because it looked like it was going to rain something awful any minute. I was quite proud of myself, because I made it over the big bridge that crosses the railroad and the freeway in one go in first gear. That means that my knee is all better and that wearing sneakers all this time has been good for it. I made it to the hospital and home again without getting wet, but will probably not know the results of the X-rays until Tuesday. In the meantime, I keep taking paracetamol. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Come hell or high water

There is one thing I don't like, and that is having national character traits being mistaken for personal shortcomings. Dutch people are for the most part very stoic and don't take compliments very well, nor do they like being told that they are "nice." And this counts especially so for the people in the north of the country where I am from. Whenever I exhibit any of these traits, my therapist acts like they are personal short comings that I ought to deal with and overcome, which makes me feel that I am a failure somehow. It just dawned on me, that to me, and most of the people in the country, this sort of attitude of being stoic, etc. is completely normal and not at all the sign of a maladjusted mind. I must make it a point to mention that to her the next time I see her and to ask her not to put a sick label on every kind of behavior I exhibit. 

Well, that is one thing that was bothering me and I had to get off my chest. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. I wish I knew as good an expression for it in Dutch. 

I saw my GP and based on his examination and my description of the symptoms, he thinks it may be possible that I have an infection in the sinus cavities around my eye. My sight is normal and there are no abnormalities apparent, but this morning I have to have an X-ray made of that area to see if there is an infection. Apparently, the antibiotics course I had last month didn't wipe out the infection I had then. I seldom get sick, but when I do, it does usually take more than one course of antibiotics to get me back on my feet. We will see. 

Tyke found a tennis ball when we went for our afternoon walk yesterday and he very proudly carried it home with him and proceeded to tear half the skin off it. That was the best time he had in a while. For the rest of the day, whenever I asked him, "Where is your best ball?" he came back with that half wrecked one. I do like him so much. He is such good company. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Getting back on my feet

It took some extra sleep to recuperate from the domestic help debacle, but that only took one day and now I am back to my "normal" self. At least I am the person I recognize and am most comfortable with. It is an amazing thing how an upset in my comfort zone can be so emotionally exhausting. I do have to learn how to deal with this better in the future, but I do live and learn, even at my age. I seem to be doing rapidly so at the moment. I always have these growing spurts when I learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time. I do wish I had someone who would logically explain these things to me instead of having to find them out the hard way.  But then maybe I would not learn the lesson. 

Tyke has been trimmed and when he got home, he acted just like a child that had been on an outing, meaning that he was not his normal self. My way to deal with that is to make him feel as secure as possible and give him lots of lovin', but there is a point when he has to pull himself together and get with the program. That's when I have to get strict and set his boundaries again. He does have to know where his limits are. I think that is true for dogs as well as people, but it is simpler to establish them with dogs because they don't play games or get angry with you. That says a lot about me, doesn't it?

While Tyke was being trimmed, my sister and I went to her house (where I had not been for a while) and I got to see what she and my brother in law had done to the garden. They had planted a prairie garden with 200 plants and grasses of about 15 varieties. It looked like it was going to be wonderful and I can't wait until this summer when all of them have grown to their full size and are blooming. They have an 8x10 sheet of paper for each variety of plant and grass sort that they have planted with a photo on it and all the details of it's growing habits and potential uses. To say I am jealous, is to put it mildly. I am going to love that garden and will want to see it often. 

I have an appointment with the GP in the afternoon. I have to get a letter of referral from him before I can go to the eye clinic because it has been more than a year since I have been there. This is for insurance purposes. No doubt he will have a look into my eye and maybe he can see something there. It hurt an awful lot when I got up from my bed, but the paracetamol I took has helped a bit. What a relief that is. 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

My vacation

My vacation was officially over today when the domestic help showed up this morning at 9 o'clock to try to fill up her four hours here with enough jobs. That is impossible, which means that we regularly have to drink coffee and kibitz. At least, that's what she expects me to do and, although I like her a lot, I think four hours of company is two too many and I would rather not sit and have coffee at all. I fled to the bedroom and spent most of my time there until she had to clean in there too. 

This all came about because I enjoyed all that free time so much when I had absolutely no appointments with anybody at all and felt happy and relaxed. Yesterday, I already felt the tension mounting in my shoulders and neck and thought with dread of the days that were ahead of me. This afternoon, my personal helper was here and officially she is supposed to stay for two hours, but I immediately told her that I wanted as little disruption as possible and that we should just assess the situation and then she would be free to go. 

She is going to arrange for the domestic help to only be here for two hours a week for as much time as I need to feel comfortable with another arrangement eventually. I will see if this small apartment can't really be cleaned in that amount of time. I told her that it is still my intention to keep my life as simple and as basic as possible and to live as much as I can like a hermit, because that is when I am happiest. I only need to see people for short amounts of time and I am fine in my own company with the animals. I do have enough social contacts not to become completely isolated. 

And then I really did have to cal the eye clinic for an appointment because my eye is hurting more and more and I constantly have to take paracetamol and that hardly works. So, although I hate to have an appointment, I just had to make this one. This is not a problem I think I can ignore. 

Tomorrow, Tyke is getting his fur trimmed and it is high time too. My sister is driving us over to the trim salon and will also help me pick him up, which saves us from making a long walk. Sometimes it is not very convenient to only have a bike and you have to be on good terms with someone with a car. 

It's time to go...

Monday, May 05, 2014

Which pleasure is mine?

The peanuts are just about out of my system. I am dealing with some small after effects today, but I no longer feel like I am under the weather. I have dumped what was left over of the peanuts in the trash so I will not be tempted to even put one of them in my mouth in a weak moment. I know I will be foolish enough to eat something else I am not supposed to one day, because I will convince myself that maybe it will hardly bother me and that my longing for it is so great that I just have to pay that small price. And I will come to regret it, but that is how experience is gained. Again and again.

I did find out that my supermarket has lactose free yogurt, so that is something to look forward to because I wrote it down on the new shopping list. I also read that Greek yogurt, which is so deliciously thick and creamy, has very little lactose and is recommended for people who don't tolerate it. So I put a pint of that on the shopping list as well to try out. Little by little, I am discovering more foods I can eat of the dairy kind and since I am so fond of them...

The Exfactor just came by after work with a package of coffee because I was all out of it. I was just hitting that low point of the day and in dire need of some. Because we no longer have hard water here, the coffee maker doesn't take all afternoon to make a pot of coffee anymore and it is done in no time. By the time you have said two sentences to each other, the coffee is ready. I have two old coffee makers in the kitchen closet that need to be taken to the old appliances depot because they died of the hard water that we used to have. Maybe now is the time to get an electric water cooker for the tea instead of always heating up cups of water in the microwave. It would be guaranteed to have a long life. 

Tyke is telling me it is time to go for a walk and then I have to prepare dinner. I am having pasta for a change tonight because I am all out of potatoes, which are really my favorites fixed any possible way. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Stubbing my toe on the same stone twice

I can't eat peanuts. I ate some impulsively the night before last and I have been feeling like I am coming down with the flu ever since. I will the glad when they are completely out of my system and at the rate that I visit the powder room, they should be soon. I hope to wake up tomorrow morning and feel like my normal self again and not feel this general sort of malaise. It is a mistake I will not make again. I do wish I had an antihistamine, but I don't really know if I am dealing with a food intolerance or an allergy. The best thing of course is to avoid the food that I know I will get into trouble with.

I found out that people who have a lactose intolerance can eat cheese, as long as it is a well aged cheese that has ripened for at least 6 months. The harder the cheese, the better. I think I will try to eat Parmesan cheese and goat cheese. Goat cheese naturally has less lactose in it and it is a harder cheese. It would be wonderful to eat an Italian dish with some cheese in it. And a grilled cheese sandwich or a quesadilla would be good too. I do love to eat cheese, but then again, I loved all dairy products and they turned out to be bad for me. I had come to expect and live with the discomfort they always caused. 

I feel like taking on a project and I should anyway because at the end of the month my American ex will be here and I have to get things ready for that. I have some jobs to do before he gets here, but I feel like doing a bit of redecorating too and I hope I am inspired to this coming week once I start organizing things. Of course, normal life starts up again too with all the usual appointments and I am not at all looking forward to giving up any of my freedom. I always feel that I have to put on a public facade and I find that so tiring. I suppose I have to stop that practice as quickly as possible. 

I have to fix dinner. Tyke is telling me it is time to do so because I am running behind schedule. He is a creature of habit. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

First things first

What I had to do first just now, was make some coffee because the afternoon can not be brought to a proper end without some freshly brewed caffeine in a cup. A day needs its rituals to break it up into manageable bites and making coffee at the proper time is one of them. This is also when I physically hit my low point and could easily take a little nap, so to prevent myself from doing such a foolish thing, I have some coffee instead. It's a way to fool Mother Nature. 

I gave Tyke a banana to eat because he was having the same late afternoon dip that I was having and it is not time for his dinner yet because we still have to go for a walk. I think he is perfectly contend now and good for another half hour until we go. Yes, we really do have our rituals, the two of us. We are like a married couple who have worked out how to live well together and we take turns being in charge. All in a good natured way, of course. And in that case, who needs a husband? 

For some reason that is still a mystery to me, I am starting to sleep better at night, as in, I am almost a solid block of sleep until I wake up in the morning. When I go to bed at night with my glass of hot milk to drink while I watch the news on my tablet, I fall asleep before I am done with the milk and the tablet left on. I do stumble around once at night to let out Tyke and go to the toilet, but I fell asleep last night while Tyke was still outside. He had to stick his head through the cat flap and softly bark for a while before I woke up. I think that's called neglect. 

I am so sleepy now and I have things to do and dinner to fix. I can't be in this kind of state yet. A walk and a plate of good food will revive me. I am now wishing for a big jar of applesauce to have with my dinner, but there is none left. I will raid the refrigerator and see what sort of interesting things I can come up with. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

How I get through the day

Once more a day has sped by without me really noticing it that much, although in the morning it did feel like it wanted to dawdle and not get much of a start. I think that really was because I got up way too early and had not had enough sleep. I tried to remedy that with coffee and some breakfast and a walk in the crisp air with Tyke, but I ended up going to bed for another hour's worth of much needed sleep.

After that, I had enough energy for a person and a half and was very happy when the Exfactor showed up so that I could have an interesting conversation which I was much in need of. I needed some intellectual stimulation and to try out some ideas and opinions I had been walking around with. You do need a sparring partner when you want to discuss social and political mismanagement. At least, that is what it looks like in my eyes, having come of age in the 70's.

Common sense seems to hardly prevail nowadays. and we are all being forced into "the new middle class" straight jackets. They tell us how much guilt we should feel about the environment and the animals we eat, but by all means to always be in pursuit of happiness because you are a failed person if you don't feel it all the time. And we are supposed to forgive our enemies and love everyone and lecture the people who are less than perfect.  And by all means, reach for the stars because we all belong there.

I am personally returning to the Age of Realism where people have a mix of emotions and are not perfect and make mistakes and take wrong turns and sometimes feel like shit. And where it is not at all a disaster if I don't like everybody and that really doesn't matter one bit. How deep does your love go if you love everybody? I am a realist and a bit of a cynic, though not bitter, and I see every popular lifestyle and set of believes being adhered to as strictly as if it is a religion. There is no room for deviating behavior.

But that is just my humble opinion.

Hardly any effort

Life is a very odd experience, isn't it? So much of how you get through the day, and deal with the things you have to do, depends on the mood you find yourself in. And then of course, the things you have to take care of influence your mood. It's best to be very even tempered, but even te best of us don't manage that all the time. A mood is like the sea and can be calm or choppy.

I take tranquilizers during the day because at the moment I am extremely sensitive to stress and I quickly experience the least little thing as being stressful. Well, let me clarify that. Anything that involves too much interaction with the world at large, I experience as stressful. That is why I am so much a hermit nowadays. I like seeing familiar faces on a regular basis, but I must not get an overdose of them.

Other than that, I am a well contented woman, although I do not have a perfect life. I muddle along just like everybody else. I think we all find our methods to cope and that is why we get more eccentric as we get older because we are more specialized in them. And there is less desire to conform, at least if you are sure of yourself.

I think there is a certain amount of madness in all of us, but it doesn't matter as long as you deal with it well and like yourself well enough.