Another Catch Up Post

It’s been a busy week.  I’ve been sick, “normal” sick, with a cold, sinus infection, flu, something of that ilk.  As strange as it sounds it almost feels good to be sick with something tangible.  On the other hand, it sure hasn’t helped the other situation much.  I’m exhausted, pained, the usual whatever. Don’t really want to focus on that though; have had enough of it.

A few other things happened this week of note: My Beloved had his stent removed on Thursday.  It was his last procedure from the December Medical Hell. It was horrendous, but mercifully short. Today, he’s feeling much better and hopefully can put the whole mess behind him.  I’m so proud of him, facing the knowledge of impending pain and ignominy with courage.  May hospital never be in his future again.

And today; well, today was amazing.

No, that’s not dandruff in my hair.  Hail.  We had actual hail and snow and rain and slush, and even a freaking rainbow in Ojai, Southern California.

Murphy was…. elated.  It was, I must say, very cool.  If you click on the pictures to make them bigger, you can see the hail pretty clearly.

We didn’t get to see actual snow; that was up in the mountains, and we didn’t quite make our journey that far.  But to see hail, pretty large hail, right in our front yard?  It was beyond awesome.

I would have liked to have gotten a picture of the rainbow, but it was so faint I knew it wouldn’t show up on my phone’s camera.  To see it was enough.

It was such a blast to share this with my family (though we missed Eric, who was at his friend’s.)  All my boys, father and sons, keep me in love with the world and it’s miracles.  The best times of my life.

So it’s now back to bed with me to sip tea and rest, grateful for the experiences I get to share with my family.

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Fiber Post

While I talk a lot about my diet, the fiber I’m speaking of this time is not dietary.  I’m going to talk about my fiber obsession. I’m currently spinning on several bobbins; here’s a few pics.

This is a huge ball, around a pound, I think, of blue/green wool I’m spinning really fine.  At least this bobbin’s full.  The next may be a larger grist.   I love the colors in it, despite the  neon green; bright colors are normally not my thing.  The only downside is that because it’s so fine, it seems like I spin for hours without making the bobbin more full. But it’s so lovely, I’ll get over it.

Then there’s the chocolate Shetland that I’m spinning, hopefully for socks. I’ve never made socks from handspun, but I really want to.  This wool is so springy and fun to touch; I just love it.  It’s going a bit faster, since this is less fine; I’m hoping for a three ply fingering weight, but I suspect it’ll be a two ply.  There’s only about four ounces, a tad less, actually, and I’m about three quarters done.  Then the plying begins!

Then there’s the lovely pink I spun up lickety split one day.  Again, pink is not normally my color; I’m a blue and dark red sort mostly; but my fiber stash inexplicably is full of pinks.  This is cotton candy pink.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  It plied up at a heavy fingering weight, heading towards sport weight. I’m thinking I’ll use it in a Fair Isle design someday.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the wheel.  I won’t bother going into what’s on the various spindles I have going; I can’t even keep track myself.

As for actual projects, again, there are several; this pair of socks I made when my husband was in the hospital.  It was nice to have something to work on while I was sitting beside his bed when he was asleep.  I also made a pair of worsted bed socks, which I don’t seem to have photographed.  I also whipped up a throw rug for the kitchen, knit out of some chenille I had hanging around. 

One of my “stretching my skills” projects is to make two socks at once on two circular needles.  I’m not a huge fan of circs for socks; I learned on dpns and I’m good at them; no ladders.  On the circs, I tend to leave ladders, and worse, I find it very fidgety.  Especially since one of my needles has a bad join that catches.  So these socks are going very, very slowly.

I’m also crocheting a shrug for myself, and a doily based blanket or pillow cover (haven’t quite decided where these are going yet) that I have also neglected to photograph.  I had started a lace scarf that I have since given up on; it was not coming out the way I wanted it to and became too frustrting.

So that’s the current fiber play.  After the Shetland is done, I have some hot pink silk queued up for it’s turn on the wheel.

New definition: Profound Fatigue

Yesterday was my worst day yet.  I woke up with every muscle  fiber in my body screaming with pain and a headache that actually made it hard to see.  I was so exhausted that talking took more effort than I could muster.   It was a very, very long day.

I thought I had been exhausted before, but yesterday introduced me to the concept of “Profound Fatigue” (how CFS is defined) and I thought about the word exhausted, what it really means.

exhausted

ex·haust

1. to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly, as a person: I have exhausted myself working.

2. to use up or consume completely; expend the whole of: He exhausted a fortune in stock-market speculation.

3. to draw out all that is essential in (a subject, topic, etc.); treat or study thoroughly.

4. to empty by drawing out the contents: to exhaust a tank of fuel oil.

5. to create a vacuum in.

6. to draw out or drain off completely.

7. to deprive wholly of useful or essential properties, possessions, resources, etc.

I have been tired, but not like this before.  What is terrifying is the thought that this level of exhaustion can be reached simply by sitting at a desk for four hours two days in a row.

I may also be sick, like with a cold; I have a sore throat, a mildly (for me) elevated temp, and vague “cold”-ish symptoms.  I thought it was just a reaction to dust Friday night, as I helped the Beloved clean the heating filter. He and Murph have been really badly snorky for several days despite rain, and he thought it might be just too much dust from the ductwork.  So we cleaned it (which for me meant standing on one side of the filter with him on the other, so he could vacuum it) and everyone was worse that night, which is reasonable.  But I’m still with the sore throat and post nasal drip and swollen glands, so who knows.

Anyway, yesterday was spent often just staring into space, because I couldn’t move to do anything.  Even watching TV was beyond my mental scope.  I did get some spinning done, which was nice; it only involves moving my ankles a bit so at least I could feel somewhat productive.  I tried to crochet but couldn’t hold my arms up.  After noon, I broke down and took some heavy duty meds, which helped relieve the pain to the point where I could eat.

It’s now early Sunday, and I’m doing a bit better.  I can type, the headache is only a dull roar, and I’m actually thinking about making myself some breakfast.

It’s terrifying though to think that I have to work tomorrow.  Bobbye is nice, and understands chronic illness, but we need the money so much I can’t pass up the opportunity to work when I have it.

The other really frustrating thing  is that now that I have insurance, I can’t find a doctor that accepts it, much less a doctor that is knowledgeable in alternative treatments for Hashi’s or conversant with CFS.  Fun times.

Anyway, it’s off to make chia pudding for breakfast, and just maybe, if I’m feeling strong enough, I’ll make COFFEE! (Never thought I’d see the day when I was too tired to make coffee!)

Awareness and Coping from Fighting Fatigue

http://www.fightingfatigue.org/fbchallenge/

Fighting Fatigue is a website that is trying to raise awareness of CFS/ME/CFIDS and tell the stories of the people who live with these chronic illnesses every day.   It’s worth a look for anyone who knows someone with a chronic illness.  I’m going to knit a pair of handspun socks for her to give away.  I can’t give money, but I can donate my mad fiber skills!   Check it out.

Catching up

Sunday, I had the chance to meet several of the people from my online fiber group, Sheep Thrills.  I can’t even begin to tell you how interesting this was for me, in many ways.  These people have been so supportive to me online, and I really enjoy reading their posts.  They’re very intelligent, diverse, eclectic and kind of intimidating to me, being not exactly a social butterfly.  I know I need to get out more, I need to make friends, become more balanced.  So I made up my mind to go.

I’m so glad I did.  I had a wonderful time.  Within moments of my arriving, Carol and Janet made me feel so at home and welcome; I set up my wheel, patted the kitty named Misty, and settled in to spin the day away.  Karen, Randall, Kathryn, Laura, Elena; everyone was so nice and had lovely fibery goodness to touch and feel and admire.  Carol showed off a basketful of shawls she’d made, and they just blew me away.  I wished I could have stayed longer, but the exhaustion and pain got to me, and I had to leave around four pm.

The problem with doing things then became quite evident.  By the time I got home, I was in agony and so tired I could barely move.  Some heavy duty medication helped.  Yesterday I did, well, mostly nothing.  Today, I slept til noon. Woke up exhausted. So exhausted, that this post, started on Tuesday, wasn’t finished til Friday.  I had so much more to write, but it’s all disappeared into the ether.  Maybe I’ll find it again someday…

In Thanksgiving

I am beyond grateful to have married a man so amazing as to truly GET me and all that I’m going through.  Thank you, my Beloved.

Thoughts

I think about things a lot as I go through my day, intending to blog about them, but the brain fog takes the thoughts away before I can summon the energy to blog.

The book discussion I spoke about a few days (posts, rather) ago is discussing the positives of being sick.  This is a double edged sword that chronically ill people have to deal with very carefully.  On the one hand, being sick, in pain, exhausted beyond the capacity to even feed yourself, you really need to find positives to hang on to, or you’ll be forever depressed.  On the other hand, if you try to stress the positives of being sick, you’re often accused of gold bricking, being lazy, making things up, taking advantage, especially when your illness is the invisible sort.  Even more so if you’re female; after all, this is where the word “hysterical” came from.

I never really wanted a career; I’ve said that before many times.  I’ve always wanted to be a homemaker, a wife, a mother.  It’s why I’ve never been driven to do anything else.  That said, I often enjoyed working, and since I had to, it was no big deal.  Our family life settled into what worked for us; I worked because I had the best earning power and a decent job, the Beloved took care of the house and kids, and he was good at it.  I had no resentments, no regrets; it was the way life worked for us, and it was fine.  Thank TPTB, our family is still fine; my husband loves me and seems to understand the things I’m going through, or at least he knows I’m doing the best I can, the kids are  reasonably happy and healthy, we have a roof over our heads.  We are so much more fortunate than many.

But yeah, I’m frustrated, angry, sad sometimes.  It’s hard to wake up after 9, 10, 11 hours of sleep still feeling like it’s bedtime, because you’re exhausted.  It’s hard to spend an hour making dinner for the family, and then be too tired to eat it, literally.  It’s devastating to want to go to your child’s soccer game, and know that walking from the car to the field will make you so tired and in pain that you run the risk of snapping at the people you love.  It’s demoralizing to be hunting for a job, knowing that just showering and dressing for an interview takes so much out of you, never mind the stress of actually being interviewed.  Wondering if you get the job, will you be able to do it?

It’s very interesting to me to learn that only in America is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome called that.  In most countries, it’s called Myalgic Encephomyalitis.  At least then it doesn’t sound like you’re just whining about being tired, after all, who isn’t?  I still don’t know what I have; most people with these invisible type of illnesses take 5-10 years to get a diagnosis, and since I can’t even go to a doctor right now, I’m guessing, for the most part. I know I have autoimmune tags in my bloodwork.  I know I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and it may entirely be that, or possibly CFS which often is associated with many other disorders, or both, or neither.  I know it started about four years ago, after a really bad viral infection, which is often the case in CFS.  Since my Chinese medicine doctor thought I had CFS, it has seemed like the most likely culprit in the research I’ve done.

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to discuss the positives I find in being sick.  The first one to come to mind is occurring right now; since I’m not out of the house at work, I get to hear my husband practice his guitar playing.  Even though I’m in my room typing this, too tired from starting dinner to get up and walk to the living room to be with him, I get to hear him play, and I love it. It’s always been one of my favorite things; him playing guitar or piano while I sit near and spin or knit.  When I was working, I wouldn’t get home til  dinner time, then it was kid time and bedtime, and I hardly ever got to listen.  Now, I hear whenever he plays, and it’s a balm to my soul.  Which sounds kitschy, but is true nonetheless.

I get to do more with my kids.  I’m home now to make lunches, attend activities, help with homework, play, read, whatever.  It’s really wonderful to be there.

I also get to spin, knit, etc more.  It does happen sometimes that my hands hurt too much to do any crafting, but most of the time I can do something, for a little while at least.  I really enjoy it, for many reasons.  I love making things for the people I love.  I love turning nasty looking raw fiber into beautiful yarn, then making something lovely and useful out of it.  I love the textures, the gorgeous colors, even the smells of the various fibers. I love being able to talk to people about the process.

I’m reading again.  I haven’t read a book in ages.  Other than knitting books/magazines, I mean.  I love my Kindle App and I’m reading philosophy and religion, and the classics that I’ve always wanted to read and never had time for.  Now I have to take them in small doses, but at least I am reading.

I’m working on me. On being a better person, on being healthier and happier in my circumstances, on being stronger and more confident about my life and my choices.  That’s a really, really good thing.

It’s not the way I’d choose to get these “perks,” of course.  I’d rather be doing them healthy, without pain.  But I am doing them, whatever the reason, and I can feel better about myself because of it.   I’m learning not to care so much about what other people think about  me, though that’s going to be a long road, I know.  A road I’ve at least started.

Having rested a while, I’m going to go drag my carcass out to the living room to sing along with the music while I knit.  Maybe I’ll get some pictures up too!

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