Another room complete!

Well I did it, I managed to help Dad with the hall and landing by doing some of the paintwork, mostly sitting work which pleased my hips but I am of course now paying for it, everywhere. But it was so worth it to be able to help Dad and to be able to say that I did some of it. Dad’s been over again today to put my new hooks up for the coats so it is now finished and I can share the photos. I am taking it nice and easy this week so my body can recover, but it was so worth it to see it all completed.

 

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I miss me……

I don’t want to be a moaner or bring anyone down but I miss me, the old me I mean, the healthy one. The decorator, the factory worker, the dinner lady.

I was always healthy, until I wasn’t. Always busy scurrying here and there, no slow & steady pace for me, I walked fast, I was even a pretty good runner at school! When I left school I worked with my Dad, a dream job indeed. Dad was a decorator/handyman/gardener/anything you wanted doing really. When he took me on he thought “That’ll be nice, Gillian can do the weeding and plant flowers etc.”No not me, I wanted in on the big stuff, furniture moving, decorating, turfing, erecting fences and sheds, slapping on bitumen paint and riding the mower! Whatever Dad had to teach me I learned. We worked full days in all weathers & I loved it, getting mucky with mud and paint. It stood me in good stead when I got my own home, I did all the prep and decorating, putting up shelves and doing the garden.

Then I worked several other jobs, shop work (clothes and shoes), and then when I got married I did factory work, I ended up in charge of the printing machines, and then in my second factory I was a bench drill operator. Lifting heavy steel jigs and once again getting messy with the coolants, I loved it all.

Then I left work to have Lorraine, she’s 24 now (almost 25) & I had a whale of a time being a Mum. I was always busy & loved every minute of watching my baby grow. When I fell pregnant with my son Grant at the age of 23 I was doubly thrilled, a sibling for Lollie what could be more precious.

Then ‘it’ happened. My hands and wrists began to swell, like really swell like sausages. I had so much pain & no reason as to why so off I went to the Dr. He was a lovely man, not a permanent at our practice but a lovely man. I can’t remember his name but I can still see his face as he looked at my hands and said these exact words to me. “Don’t panic Mrs Pidler, but I think we may be looking at Rheumatoid here.” I don’t ever remember being scared when he said that, I didn’t even really know what it meant, I was all like “Ok so now what?” He started me on Voltarol to get the swelling under control and referred me to the rheumatology hospital up in Bath. I do remember my early visits up there pretty clearly, lots of blood tests including the day it took one lady 6 sticks to get less than a ml of blood from my uncooperative vein. She gave up after that! I say that but that one vein has done me proud over the last 24 years of monthly blood tests, maybe it was more the lady! I remember bringing home leaflets to read, seeing lots of rheumatologists, never the same one twice I believe. They stuck me on Sulphasalazine for 6 months which did nothing but make my hair come out. Then they decided to try me on Methotrexate (a low dose chemo med). I still take that med every week and I still hate it. I now do jabs instead of the handful of tiny pills that I would sit and look at, daring them to make me feel sick this time, putting off the moment that I had to swallow them. I now also take a bunch of other stuff that has been added into the mix over the years, some of them to negate side effects of the others, some for fatigue, some for dry eyes. They all have huge lists of possible side effects but I have to say in all honesty that I’ve been pretty lucky so far, most drugs they chuck at me my body can tolerate just fine. I know many people who are not so lucky.

My rheumy says I’m pretty well controlled, my labs look great on paper & he’s pretty happy with how I self manage, he trusts me to deal with my meds and pain relief etc as does my GP. But, I still wake up every day in pain and go to bed the same way with differing measures of pain in between, not to mention the fatigue. That’s RD, that’s how it goes, some days one joint may hurt the next every joint is flaring, it’s a crazy and difficult disease to understand because every single day is different. I say at least we get variety, right?! What he didn’t know about me before today’s apt is that I’m not who I used to be, I’m not the me that could do anything I wanted. I told him today how physical I used to be, the things I loved doing and how this last week instead of being the decorator I’ve watched my Dad, my darling Dad who would do anything for me, decorate my hall & landing for me. I’ve not yet lifted a paintbrush.

Tomorrow I plan to finish the woodwork while Dad’s busy elsewhere. I will get mucky & sit on the floor with my brushes and rag & I will finish that topcoat even if it means the next 3 days or so on the couch. And I will enjoy every minute of it even if it’s just a small glimpse of the old me:)

 

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The worst possible outcome

Hey peeps I know it’s been months!!! Call me slack, I think I’ll let you off! Well yesterday was the General Election, our chance to get a decent party in power & make some changes for the better for our little island. A chance to remove who is possibly the most despicable person to ever reside at No 10 and I despised Thatcher with every ounce of my being.

Alas it all went horribly wrong and I awoke to the depressing news that the Tories had won by a majority. Dad & I went out for coffee, in stony silence, well not really silence but not a word was said about the election outcome,  not one. For sure we’d have been forcibly removed from Mark’s and Spencer’s coffee shop had we dared to even begin to discuss this topic. We drank caffeine and discussed everything else instead. If ever there was an excuse to eat cake, today was it, but I’m back on Slimming World and I stuck to my guns.

Anyway when I left you last I was in agony, a major flare & was suffering with a very nasty bout of costochondritis. My ribcage was constantly inflamed, painful to touch, the bra was tossed aside and I was about to beg my rheumy for steroids. Well I did and he gave them to me, a nice big fat dose lasting about 2 weeks, to enable me to enjoy our family holiday. He also gave me some Arcoxia to take instead of my Naproxen. If only I could live on prednisone forever, but I can’t! Anyway within a few days of taking them I felt a whole lot better and we had a fantastic holiday down in Looe, Cornwall. I even felt well enough to unpack on our return home.

Roll on to about 10 weeks ago and my costo had flared yet again. This time it was equally vicious, causing me to wake feeling as though I’d slept in a vice and every time I leaned back on the sofa I felt as though I had a large zoo animal sitting bang in the middle of my chest. Again my bra was flung aside. I struggled on with it for about 8 weeks or so, I tried doubling my anti-inflammatory med; Naproxen, then I switched out my anti for another type of anti; Arcoxia, with no relief, back to the Naproxen.

Then joy of joys come April the 8th it was time to pay a visit to my rheumy, aka Dr Dishy. I found myself feeling really breathless on the way round, despite taking a new found shortcut, and I had to stop a couple of times. When I got there I sat in the chair, nodded to the nurse that I’d arrived and tried to catch my breath. After 10 minutes I felt a little easier & that’s when the nurse decided to stick me on the evil tool that we know as a set of scales. I walked about 10 paces to the little room where the scales resided, stepped on and off again, puffing like a steam train. I just made it back to the chair and the nurse asked me in her most concerned voice, was I ok? I said yes thank you and promised to call her if I felt like I was about to flake out. It was just my chest/costo I explained and I was sure I’d be ok. So I sat there and breathed hard, it felt as though I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my lungs, it was a huge effort. I became anxious, I’ve never in my life struggled to breathe and now have a new found respect for those that suffer lung/breathing issues. I caught the nurses eye, she came right over. I told her I was feeling flaky so she grabbed the trolley and took my BP and checked my sats, which oddly enough were 100%. BP was up a tad, but I was anxious right! She got me a cup of water which I duly sipped until I was called to the Dr’s office. Again it was only about 10 paces to his room, I flopped down in the chair, struggling for breath and tried to explain to him about my chest, how bad it had been again and for how long, what I’d tried etc, all the while gasping for air. He took me to the exam room, listened to my chest for what felt like 5 full minutes, my lungs were clear. Checked my joints, blah blah. He then said we had 2 options, to either wait a little longer & see if it settled, or he could give me some more steroids. JUST GIVE ME THE PREDNISONE!!!! I didn’t actually yell that at him of course, I just politely said I’d take the steroids and see if that sorted it out, thank you very much Dr.

So he did, he wants to see me in 4 months and after I questioned what we’d likely do if the steroids didn’t work or if they did but it keeps coming back, he said that we’d have to investigate further and think about maybe some different pain relief. I walked home, slowly, my breathing was easier now but I still had this feeling of having to breath really deeply. That feeling went on for a further 2 weeks, the steroids (which were half the dose and length of course that I had last time, what is this rations??!, did absolutely nothing to relieve it. In sheer desperation one afternoon I decided to try one of my muscle relaxant meds and would you know it, within an hour I  had relief!! Sheer bliss!!!

Yesterday I saw my GP to discuss my costo and the 2 meds that my Rheumy had mentioned in his follow up letter both to her and me. I told her what I’d done with the muscle relaxant, I did that for about 3 days in all, and then it settled down. Whoo bloody hoo!! I told her I wasn’t the least happy about either of the meds he’s suggested, Gabapentin or Lyrica and asked her if she’d be happy if I continued to use the muscle relaxant, Amitriptyline if it flared up badly again. She said that was totally fine, it clearly worked for me and she was in agreement on my feelings over the other meds.

So that’s that. If you got that far you deserve a medal!! And I can’t think of anything else really exciting to share, but I will have soon I’m sure. Until then I will try and keep my chin up despite the Tory rule, I won’t let the buggers pull me down however hard they may try. “Bugger I forgot me tea, it’s gone cold as I typed!” I may have some decorating posts before too much longer as I plan to organise decoration of the 3 bedrooms so that’ll keep me out of trouble for a while. I’m currently in the planning stages so I best get back to that.

See ya xxx

 

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Dope me up good

Can I just say OMFG, I am so over this damn flare. It’s been bugging me for nearly 2 weeks now and right at this moment I’m very close to tears (and I never cry at the pain),  with the incessant ribcage pain that feels like I’ve had a dozen drug dealers kicking the merry crap out of me. It’s almost holiday time and I feel awful. On the plus side I see my rheumy Dr Dishy, on Monday, thank goodness, and I am set to practically beg him for a burst of steroid pills so that I can enjoy said holiday. I’m doped up on painkillers have just necked an extra anti-inflammatory pill in the vain hope that it’ll ease some of the pain. There I just had to get that off of my chest. Lets hope Dr D is accomodating or I may have to actually beg.

 

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Don’t panic, I’m still alive!!

Howdy people, I know I know it’s been a while since I last posted. As I’ve said before my life isn’t that full of excitement and I’d hate to bore you with all my sofa lounging. Ok so what’s happened since I last wrote. Well my Dad very kindly laid my bathroom floor and put up my new shelves, when they finally arrived, thanks B&Q! I’ll add some pictures at the bottom of this post, cos you know I’m on a roll now. Not a huge amount has happened in the grand scheme of things, a few shopping trips, too much money spent in Boots, resulting in overly crammed dressing table drawers but you know me, I have issues! I did have a lovely day out last week with Dad, my sister Jay, her daughter Jess & son Eric and my daughter Nina. We met up and went for coffee, always the first order of the day on any trip out, then we hit a few shops, including Boots! Then it was lunchtime and we found a gorgeous little cafe hidden away, The Corner Cafe in Barnstaple http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g190822-d4242032-Reviews-Corner_Cafe-Barnstaple_Devon_England.html 

We had a nice leisurely lunch and then did a couple more shops before finding a wonderful little cake shop where we tucked greedily into cheesecake and the like and rested up before going home.Time spent with family is so important to me.

Anyway wind forward a week and I’m in another RA flare, no doubt payment for the recent shopping trips and fun, so this week I’ve been stuck at home resting. Such is life!! I’m under orders from hubby to look after myself as we’re away on holiday soon, looking forward to a wonderful week in Looe Cornwall. We’re all really excited and the dog and house sitters are lined up ready. Cornwall is such a gorgeous part of the country and we’re all looking forward to finding delicious places to eat, note the theme here. For now I’m enjoying the last week or so of the summer holidays and my daughter’s company.

Anyway here are the promised pictures of the finished bathroom, minus window dressings. Until next time I decide to ramble, adieu.

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Slowly but surely does it.

Hi there!  I realised that I’m well overdue for an update as the last time I posted I’d just decorated my bathroom & was about to tackle my kitchen. Well I’ve done the kitchen with help from both Dad & my youngest daughter & I’m now back in the process of adding the finishing touches to  my bathroom, I’m almost there!! I went out last weekend and bought my bathroom floor tiles, ordered some shelves, some beautiful cast iron brackets to hold up said shelves & a gorgeous new light-shade, to replace the one I smashed while decorating! Oh and some new hooks for the back of the door! I’m totally loving finding all the right bits and pieces, as many of them shabby chic as possible & with just the right feel for each room. I found the perfect loo roll holder, that I’d actually had my eye on for months and a very pretty clock too. All that is actually left to buy for this room is the window dressings. Here are the pictures of the bits I’ve added so far & when I’ve laid the floor (with Dad’s help), & put up the shelves I’ll add more pictures of the finished room.

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On to the kitchen, this room is now all finished other than the new flooring (still saving up!), & the red blinds I plan to add. Here are some pictures of the new wall colour, my finished pantry which my little girl painted for me, my clock and blackboard which my lovely late Mum bought me & my new Kenwood mixer, which was a dream of mine to own and I finally got one for my birthday last year!! Oh the DAB radio, next to a sleeping Poppet, was my gift from my lovely son last Christmas, so now I have music while I bake!

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Once I have the bathroom finished, and while I’m saving for the kitchen flooring, my next project will be to repaint the living room, strip out the two alcoves & reline and paint those & find new curtains, cushions and maybe even a new (to us), suite!! We also plan to get rid of the old pc desk and replace it with some kind of pine unit to store our million DVD’s in!! It’s mainly a case of freshening up that room and making it super cosy. I will probably be saving for new wall and ceiling lights too, but of course the ones I’ve seen aren’t cheap, so I’ll be waiting a while for those!! It’ll be a slow process due to funds & my health but I am determined to get this done this year. I ‘need’ to get this done this year as I will then have the hall/landing to do and then the bedrooms! Should keep me out of trouble for a good while eh😉

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Finally I did it!!!

Decorated my bathroom that is! It’s been probably two years since we refitted the bathroom and its’ taken me this long to get my act together. My son was away for a week at the end of June so I decided that while no one was around to try and stop me from hurting myself, I’d buy up some prep supplies & paint and get cracking. Luckily for me my Dad came round one Monday morning to help me with the prep of the walls & windows. I say help but he did most of it to be honest, I made coffees and changed the cds, got bits and bobs and helped with the easy bits (for my hands).

Anyway Dad was busy the following day but that was ok with me as I love the painting part and prefer to do that bit alone. In all it took me the Tuesday and Wednesday to do the two coats on the walls and then I had to rest for a few days then I did the paintwork and door the following week.

I am really thrilled with the results, I wasn’t sure if the colour was too dark when I first slapped it on but once it was dry and in contrast with the white suite and light tiles I was really pleased with the outcome. All I have to do now is lay the new lino, again with Dad’s help as I can’t do the cutting any longer. I also need to buy some shelves & storage etc so I can put all my stuff back in there, instead of tripping over the old cabinet on my bedroom floor!! I currently have a shower screen on the bath but that is being replaced with a pole and white and pink curtain next week as it’s broken & I’ve found it too hard to keep clean with my dodgy joints. Here is the finished result anyway!

Here’s the before picture

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And here is the after

 

 

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My next painting project is my kitchen which was totally gutted and refitted last summer. Dad bought me the paint for that this week and he’s coming round to help me again with the prep work. I’ve promised my 13 year old daughter she can help me with the painting this time. I’ll post again when it’s done!!

These may seem like small accomplishments to most people but when you have a chronic illness it’s a huge thing and I feel very proud of myself getting it done at last. I should say here that I used to work with my Dad doing painting and decorating among a lot of other things and I really miss that. Thanks Daddy:)

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