Well hello! This is the first time I've blogged for ages - I'm not sure why, but it just didn't feel like the right thing to do for a while. I think my last post was about the fire in December, and now it's August. I had another fairly serious depression after the fire - no surprises there - and eventually come out of it in March. I had been told that I needed to have both my shoulders replaced when I saw the surgeon last year, but I put it off and off, and then decided to come off the waiting list for the summer, so that I could concentrate on losing weight and generally getting my life in order. Never tempt Fate - I immediately got diagnosed with stress induced psoriasis, and then became aware that not all was well with my neck. After a series of investigations, including a sudden and unexpected trip to A&E, I was told that I have a prolapsed disc between C5 and C6, and that there are osteophytes (bony arthritic growths) in my neck; both those things are pressing on the nerves to my left arm and my spinal cord. Bummer. I was told that it was "urgent" and that I should have an operation to fix it as soon as possible.
I looked up the dictionary definition of "urgent". Every source said "requiring immediate attention or action". "Imperative". "Especially before anything else". The NHS, apparently, has a different definition. I wonder what it is. I wasn't given an appointment to see the spinal surgeon until some time in August - I went to A&E at the beginning of June - but thanks to his secretary, I actually saw him on 24th June, because there had been a cancellation. He showed me my MRI scan, and then a scan of a normal neck, and mine showed what seemed to be a huge prolapsed disc, which filled the spinal cavity. I just hoped that it looked bad because I didn't understand what I was looking at. The end result was that I was told the operation would be late in August/early September, which didn't actually sound very "urgent" to me.
So, I put up with the symptoms (tingling left arm, neck pain, wobbly legs) and was told I couldn't drive by my insurance company, so had to stay at home unless some kind friend took me where I wanted to go. My friends have all been very good at giving me lifts when I've needed them, but even being driven doesn't help the neck. Meanwhile, the secretary and I had been emailing each other with various bits of information, but even she couldn't make things happen any faster.
Then, last weekend, the symptoms got suddenly worse, and when I saw a new GP on the Monday, she really got the bit between her teeth, faxed and phoned the surgeon's office, marking everything "urgent" (!), and I have now been marked down for an "urgent" admission. Ha fucking ha. I'll see what eventually happens - no news as yet.
So far, my mood has remained strangely stable (I'm touching wood as I type, which is actually quite difficult) and I haven't lurched into a depression or mania. I've always had a severe mood swing after a general anaesthetic, so that's a probability, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Had a fire here last week. My neighbour's shed caught fire with a car full of petrol in it, and went up in flames. We were all told to get out of our houses, and when we did, the extent of the fire became clear. Three people called 999, and we were all told that the engines were on their way. It was dark, but the village was lit up by the flames. The strong wind was blowing the fire towards my garden and suddenly my new (and full) oil tank blew up, taking out the shed and half the garden. Burning oil was running down the road, and bits of burning oil were blowing around the thatch. The fire engines took 40 minutes to arrive and by the time they did, fire was threatening the house. They took two hours to put it out
No one died, the cats are safe and the house is OK. I looked at the damage in daylight - there was a charred side of the shed, two trees were burnt beyond saving, the wall was a mess and worst of all, the grass was black and oil soaked. The stench of oil was ghastly. I did the usual things like call the insurance people and arrange for a loss adjuster to come to see the site. The upshot is that the site has been cleared into a skip, the new oil tank arrives on Monday, followed by an oil delivery, and after fixing new pipes the men will light the Rayburn to make sure it works. I have had no heating, apart from electric heaters, and no oven. I have no idea about Christmas. I'll leave the question of the topsoil until the new year.
I was fine, albeit shocked, until Wednesday, when I felt the tendrils of depression creep round me. Now my mood has plummeted and the Home Treatment team are looking after me. I'm not sleeping and I've become obsessive about leaving electric sockets on. I can't light the wood burner until I've had the chimney swept. I find it difficult to go out of the house in case something happens.
I'll keep you posted.
Sorry I haven't been blogging for a couple of days - blame the wretched illness. The good news is that I slept last night, thanks to Mr Nitrazepam and Mrs Quetiapine, but tonight once again, sleep eludes me. Disaster has struck in that my coffee machine has stopped working, so I have a cup of tea to go with my e cig. I've ordered a new machine, but until that arrives, it's back to the cafetiere and hot milk.
My itchy hands are back; they always arrive when I put my quetiapine up, so I shall phone the GP for some cream tomorrow. Haven't had a shower for a while - the thought of doing something as difficult as that is overwhelming. Pathetic. My mood was dreadful this morning, but towards the end of the day, it improved slightly. Apparently that's typical of bipolar depression - one can be suicidal in the mornings, but able to hold a reasonable conversation in the evenings. I'm listening to classical music - which is a good sign as I haven't been able to tolerate noise recently. I've just heard Panis Angelicus, which was beautiful - the fact that I can appreciate it is also a good sign. Often when I'm ill, it's either too sad or I panic because I can't feel anything. The front of house me is coping, but behind the scenes I'm still struggling to experience normality.
Sleep is the key, of course - both mania and depression are the results of lack of it. I'm taking, amongst other things, 300mg venlafaxine, so I might bounce through into mania, and I shall have to watch that. Feeling as I do, mania would be a blessed relief. But not the spending.
I shall try again.
I was feeling too ill to blog yesterday, and I didn't sleep well, which compounded the issue. Today, however, I have felt a bit better although I'm awake now having had a nightmare. I get them when I'm ill - all about dead bodies and corruption. I don't understand the brain - I never have these dreams when I'm well, so why now? I suppose it has to do with the mineshaft and access to bad memories.
The nurse tried to get blood from me again - the veins in my arm don't seem to exist, so no success there. I used to be a blood donor but gave it up because it started to hurt and they couldn't find veins. And, of course, my blood is full of drugs. My hands have started to itch and swell again, because of the increased quetiapine, so the Home Treatment team are picking me up some eumovate tomorrow.
I think I can see a faint light at the end of the tunnel, although mornings are still pretty dire. I managed to have a shower and wash my hair, which although it was a major effort, made me feel slightly better. Tomorrow the team are coming at 1100 so I shall have to try to concentrate, which I can't do in the early mornings.
Still on the e cig - nearly seven weeks of not smoking.
The mineshaft beckons. I did sleep last night, with the aid of nitrazepam and quetiapine, and I got up about seven, feeling slightly woozy. No shower, but that would have been a step too far. I'm not hungry, which is a departure from my usual depressions, but I am drinking a lot of water. Fed the cats, however, as they are perpetually hungry.
I feel split into two. The "front of house" part of me goes through the motions, talking and communicating; the other part is locked in, mute and scared, flat and emotionless. When I speak, it's as though I'm talking through a glass window - I'm detached from the world and disconnected from reality. Time has a fluid quality - sometimes it stops altogether and I am trapped in the moment. That moment is often not my most favourite place as it involves panic and distress. At other moments I feel nothing. The Home Treatment team came out this afternoon which was helpful - they tried to get bloods from me but as usual, my veins weren't having any of it, so they might try again tomorrow.
I've explained about the mineshaft before - basically, the further one drops down, the more one remembers past depressions and feelings. Or lack of them. The voices are back, telling me exactly how useless I am and how I shouldn't be alive. At the moment, I can handle them. I watch crap TV to drown them out, and I leave the TV on at night so that I'm never in the dark with my thoughts. 0300 is the worst time to be awake, and I did phone Home Treatment the other night because I needed a bit of grounding.
I'm still on the e cig and I think I'm through the worst of giving up real fags. The e cig bumph says one battery lasts a day - bollocks. I get through at least three, and five filters. Luckily, I buy in bulk. Speaking of buying, the wine rack arrived today and will go into the spare bedroom, freeing up boxes to fill with stuff for charity shops.
Well, I suppose I'd better go to bed and see if I can sleep. I might be back.
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?