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)   


Ali said...

(I'll be back... with a more wordy comment when the words form sentences...)
until then...

Flaming Nora said...

Oh my! what a post. Well done on writing what must be a really hard thing so well. I'm so sorry to hear about this, its a bitch of a thing to happen. Its very brave of you to write of it in this way. xxxxxxxxx
Sorry I'm not so coherent in my response, will try harder next time.

Ali said...

You have such a way with words Linnhe and are able to tell your stories so well with humour, cool illustrations and quirky details. So sorry that this one has such a difficult subject matter.
Looking back on your posts its incredible to think of what you have been going through whilst maintaining your bloggy persona, especially 'Ice' when you were on the way for your MRI.
It is obvious by waiting since your diagnosis that you have chosen the time to tell your tale in a way you feel comfortable with, and it sounds like you have been learning to live with the changes.
What I find most amazing though..and I'm even more awestruck... those impressively humungous heels recently sported!!
Looking forward to your crafty mojo its own time.

Jenny Blair said...

Ditto your husbands expletive.
And what Ali has been able to coherently write..
I only came over to say thanks for the smile and your comment!
I must add THANKYOU for the sharing of what must have been (and remains?) a hell of a time, and doing so with the same canny humour as always.
Amazing. you are.
Big hugs xx

A Time for Stitching said...

I'm so sorry to hear your momentous news! I have to say, I guessed quite early on in the post what the outcome was going to be. The reason being that I too have MS, although I haven't been 'brave' enough to reveal all. Like you, I've pussy-footed aroud the issue, talking about 'my weak leg' and not being able to jog any more.
You're obviously putting on a brave face with the humour to deflect the impact of imparting such news and I admire you for that.
You're very welcome to email me privately to chat and as you must know by now, every case is very different.
Teresa x

Linnhe Mara said...

Thank you, and you were more than coherent

Thanks for the kind words. I look upon writing, any of my writing, as a form of therapy. It stops all the stuff gathering in my head and becoming more than it is :o) As for the shoes, well I figured I'd wear them while I could. Besides, as at all times, I know I have a family that will keep me upright should I ever wobble.

Thanks very much.Yes he may be a typical taciturn Scot but he usually manages to hit the nail on the head :o)

I can completely understand your reserve at revealing all. I don't think I was 'brave' at all, I'm just such a lousy liar that I was running out of plausible excuses for not crafting. I'm afraid guilt trumps secrets in this case. I'll be in touch xx

Starfish Studio said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautifully well written blog post (as ever) on such a difficult and very personal subject.

I do believe that in most difficult situations it's good to share and I hope you're happy with your decision to do so.

I love reading your witty blog posts, whether they are of a crafty nature or not, so please keep them coming!


Kate x
PS. The dark and stormy night intro immediately made me think of Private Fraser in Dad's Army :)

Very Berry Handmade said...

Oh my lovely dear, what an amazing post, and I think it's great that you feel you can share your story. Sometimes craft blogging (like lifestyle blogging) can be incredibly full of hearts and flowers and not very much honesty. Sending you lots of love, and hoping that your crafting comes back, and brings you masses of pleasure when it does. xx

MaryWitzl said...

I had no idea you were going through this, as you seem so upbeat and generally positive about everything. You've got a great attitude, which I'm sure you realize is half the battle won. More power to you, and to your family. And as other people have said, you are obviously still creating -- and I hope you continue to do this.

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