Sunday, 21 October 2012

A bit like Jackanory

I feel I've got you here under false pretences. I started this blog with craft in mind, both my own endeavours and the myriad of talented others in blogland, but I'm afraid there has been a dearth of all things crafty these past nine months. 

I've not been productive in my work room for some time and while I've made a number of comments on that fact they've been rather oblique as to the reason why. Blogland is mighty big and I've always felt that the only way to maintain some semblance of privacy is to keep personal information to a minimum. However in this instance I'm getting just a bit tired of all of the pussyfooting around and think its time I spill the beans (and drop some clich├ęs while I'm at it).

So if you have time I'd like to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

It was a dark and stormy night! I've always wanted to start a story that way but actually, no, it wasn't. It was a rather ordinary Friday evening in the middle of January and I was sitting in front of the fire reading a book. A few chapters in I was having difficulty focusing on the page and decided perhaps I should be wearing at least one of the pairs of glasses I have scattered around the house, especially since I'm constantly reminded that that's what I got them for. 

So I stood up to go and get them .... and almost fell over. Whoa! Must have stood up a bit too quickly. I waited for a moment to regain my equilibrium. But it would seem it had left the building without informing anyone and I was left to stagger from the room like a bagatelle. Don't you just hate it when the minimalist effect you were going for leaves you with very little furniture to hold on to ?   

I was reminded of a similar occasion a number of years ago when a virus of the inner ear had knocked my balance off and prevented me from attending a belly dancing taster session (probably a blessing for all concerned!), and assumed it was the same thing. Fortunately I had an appointment the next week with my GP as my arm, the one that had bothered me last year, was bothering me again. So for the next three days I bounced around the house holding on to whatever I could, if I could see it clearly that is, or crawled when it felt safer than standing up (the boys thought that was hilarious).  On Tuesday the doctor confirmed my diagnosis and I left with a prescription that would see me upright and functioning again. Yay! 

Two days in and the medication didn't appear to be doing much but I knew sometimes these things could take a while. I stumbled to bed that night, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and spat the toothpaste on the floor. What!!!. Well I say spat, what I actually mean is sprayed since my mouth had lost its ability to spit. I would have whistled at this discovery, but I couldn't do that either!

Stupidly I went to work the next morning where I got an ear bashing from my good friend about my lackadaisical approach to the whole thing and a promise from me that I would go back to the GP that afternoon. By the time I got there the entire right side of my face had stopped working, including my eye. Oops! Needless to say a trip to A&E was immediately organised.

After the usual poking, prodding, and the same questions being asked by at least half a dozen different people I was sent for a CT scan. Much to my delight while it proved that I do indeed have a brain (something that had been brought in to question on more than one occasion) it also confirmed that there was nothing else in there taking up space it shouldn't be. They would have liked to have done an MRI to double check but as it was the weekend it would have to wait. I was allowed to go home and told an appointment would be sent out to me.

I was pretty much confined to Moffat for the next three weeks. I couldn't drive anywhere, I always feel its best to stay off the road when you can't decide which white line you should be keeping to the left of. When walking I needed to keep my hands free (thats when I discovered I didn't have any bags that went across my body, what an oversight for someone who makes handbags!), and out to the side slightly to maintain balance. I looked rather like an overgrown penguin and drew some curious looks (and the conclusion in some quarters that I'd taken to drink!). I was still able to go to work, the shop being narrow enough to navigate with plenty to hold on to. 

I took to wearing an eye patch, as much to alleviate the effects of the double vision as preventing scaring babies and small children with my static, unblinking eye. I wish I could say I looked as good as Daryl Hannah but without the sword,...

.... or Gabrielle without the voice......

but in reality I probably looked more like Eli Wallach...without the stetson 

I tried to make light of things. There were numerous quips about where I'd parked my Galleon and what my parrot was doing. At home the boys delighted in swaying from side to side when talking to me, just to see my eye NOT move. There were smiles, there were laughs, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad worried.

The day of the MRI dawned, and wouldn't you know it it was the day of Ice. There was a mild panic that morning as it was proving impossible to get down off our hill. With the help of my good friend a plan was hatched and I made it to my appointment.

The following Tuesday, Valentines day, the boys birthday, I got a call from one of my GP's asking if I could come down to the surgery. Oooh, you know its not a good sign when they won't tell you news over the phone. Long story short the MRI showed lesions in some areas. Lesions that were indicative of MS. Multiple Sclerosis. 

Later, my husband and I sat in the car. He let out one short, succinct expletive, squeezed my hand until the bones squeaked and then we set off home. I shut myself in the bedroom , called my sister and then my friend. Strangely, telling them, consoling them, letting them know that I was okay made me feel back in control. A quick cold cloth to the face and it was time to continue with the boys birthday celebrations. Well that's what you do isn't it?

A few weeks later a consultation with my neurologist (a rather handsome young man that had me feeling like a Harry Enfield character), suggested there was a possibility that my symptoms were caused by a simple viral inflammation. A lumber puncture would be required for a definitive diagnosis. Oh goody! What? Were we going with the good news bad news scenario here? 

By mid April there was no doubt. MS it was then. A few intensive treatments had my balance restored, my eyesight almost back to rights and my arm more or less behaving itself. I started driving again in June. Life is pretty much back to normal. I administer medication every week to hopefully slow down its progress and any further relapses, but other than that I'm not thinking about it too much. 

I had hoped that once the physical symptoms had been resolved I would get back to my work room but it seems my crafting mojo is still on sabbatical. Please bear with me. I'm sure, like Arni, it will be back :o)   

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Flatpack Frenzy

Space... the constant bugbear.
These are my voyages down the aisles of Ikea. My continuing mission : to explore strange new shelves, to seek out new drawers and new storage solutions, to no doubt buy what everyone’s bought before.

You may remember last year I posted about my addiction to flat pack furniture and no.1 sons new bed . Apart from the struggle I had changing the sheets (stechie me!) I'd discovered, whilst dismantling it, that the solid construction of the bed base had reduced airflow through his memory foam mattress, resulting in the formation of mould/mildew (ewww!). Fortunately this wasn't a problem for no.2 son as his mattress was an old spring one and seemed to cope with the limited ventilation. 
When those very springs began to interrupt his sleep, poking him with a relish I find difficult to attribute to an inanimate object but have his assurance was indeed the case ,it became apparent that a new mattress was required. Subtle hints were dropped that he would quite like a 'comfy' one like his brother (okay not so subtle really)
With last years discovery in mind I eventually managed to persuade him to give up his old bed in favour of something more practical, and less likely to become a biological hazard. A new slat based bed was promptly ordered, although I'm afraid my coaxing didn't go as far as getting him back to floor level. Another high sleeper it was then, very similar to this one (I would have taken a picture of his but I finished it quite late and couldn't find the camera. He had 'colonized' it by the following day and I couldn't bring myself to post such a horrific image). 

His two chest of drawers fit neatly underneath but with the loss of the integrated wardrobe, shelving and desk there was a distinct lack of storage, many items having to languish on the floor. One shopping trip, two days and a case of screwdriver fatigue later...... 

...two new chest of drawers for his brother (my formula for a happy household: never give to one without giving something, what is not important, to the other. Besides I needed his old drawers in the laundry room)...   

....a mini wardrobe on wheels....

...two small drawer units for all of the various little "things" they usually keep in their pockets(*shudder*)...

...and last by no means least, a shelf unit that should accommodate most of no. 2 sons books, those that until now have been doing rather wondrous impersonations of the leaning tower of Pisa. I'd had to admit defeat by this time ( my arm went in a huff) and the boys actually helped me with its construction, even followed the instructions for a while (leading me to believe it's not genetic, it's learned behaviour!)

So was the mammoth flat pack session a success? As far as having my jigsaw fix for the year goes then yes it was. Did it give them a space for everything so that everything could be in its place? No, of course it didn't. It would appear that teenage boys deem any horizontal surface a suitable storage solution, even if they have to walk around, over or through it. Who knew?!

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