Steps

So, I am now seven weeks post op and the cast is finally off…it came off just over a week ago and it has been a mixed blessing really. It is way more comfortable to sleep at night now…I just lose my eyes and off I drift. This is luxury in the extreme and I hope I never forget that. But in the day it is still very painful. I have done some snooping and it’s quite normal for swelling etc to be there for up to 6m after the op so I am settling in for a marathon rather than a sprint.

What am I focussing On? Well, this experience has taught me a lot of lessons…and I can summarize them as follows. I will actively appreciate and care for:

  • My friends and family
  • The level of support I have had has been stunning. My loved ones have scooped me up and carried me, sometimes literally, over the last few weeks. I am taking some of them out this evening to try to say thankyou but it will never be commensurate with what I have received from them. Friends are your chosen family, and mine have gone beyond even that in some cases. I am so so lucky.
  • My health
  • Unexpected? Well, my health is what I would politely term as ‘buggered’ what with this foot, the Parkinsons and other lovelies I have yet to discuss with y’all. Don’t worry, I will, but not now. What I mean is I will not ever ever ever take any movement, strength or ability I currently have for granted again. I completely shut down a number of times over the past weeks and it was SCARY. The gratefulness when I felt the energy surging through my body when the painkillers worked or the Parkinsons meds kicked in is almost overwhelming. I pledged to maintain and then improve my health levels. I intend to keep that promise to myself and my loved ones.
  • My independence

  • Well, I had a glimpse of the future, depending on others and the NHS. I didn’t like it. One bit. I will fight and fight hard for independence as long as I can. I am feeling militant.
  • My mental strength
  • I have always known I am stubborn. I have always known that I have been blessed with intelligence too. I had to draw upon these resources big time. When your body is shutting down and you don’t know why it is very easy to panic, I know I did a number of times, but it is also possible to grit your mental teeth and ride the storm. It takes practice, which unfortunately, I had plenty of opportunities for, but it is doable. I meditated myself silly but hey, it worked. I logically reasoned out my predicaments to myself (very frustrating to those who have different problem so,ca g approaches I admit) so that I could face them with reduced fear. I learnt how ideal With bad news, how I react In a crisis, what it is like to draw on others’ strength and trust them.

    And so I sit here and think about the future. I have to plan to achieve and maintain these priorities. And I have to understand myself so as to succeed. Next time we will go into that particular briar patch….

    Anthropology 2: art student

    I lost my jacket, heels and case

    i left them way behind.

    I cut my hair and changed my spex,

    become another kind.

    I left the ranks of the well paid

    I missed the Budget speech,

    I said goodbye to 9 to 5…

    It all is out of reach.

    ‘These days I google concept art

    i analyze, I sketch

    i think about amorphous blobs

    And starving, arty, wrecks.

    im thankful for this change in stance

    im happy, but it’s funny

    I’d not go back, I’d not return

    but, oh, I miss the money.

     

    Parked

    I have an itch, I have a scratch
    I sometimes wonder if I can match
    My old ways, my triumphs,
    my career success.
    Will I ever, like I once did, get power dressed?

    My glories have gone now
    I’m off the fast track
    I’ve stepped down and slowed down
    I’ll never go back.

    But I am not slower
    Well, life hasn’t receded.
    I’m still in the game girls
    I’m still very much needed.

    I’m just not a desk bunny
    I have two small boys
    They scream and they scooter
    They make so much noise.

    But they need their mother
    They don’t need a shell
    I have to get past sad
    And keep myself well

    It’s boring and hard work
    I’m not good at sense
    I don’t go to bed right
    I drip self defence.

    I’ll get there I’ll make it
    I’ll nail it spot on
    I have to not
    Let’s face it
    If I don’t I’ll go wrong

    So have patience
    Bear with me
    Hang in there with me
    And one day
    You’ll see me
    And not think PD.

    Wake up : fall asleep

    You guys know I have Parkinson’s, don’t you?! Well, I tend to act as if I don’t have what I believe is considered to be quite a serious condition. I’ve never really allowed myself to be stopped or slowed down too much. In fact I take on lots of projects and ideas just to push the Parkinson’s away as much as I can…don’t want to be defined by this thing after all. But the last few days have stopped me in my tracks quite literally. Reader, I have crashed and burned big time. Complete exhaustion, incapable of standing up, an afternoon in A&E and lots and lots of help from lovely friends and family. A real wake up call. I’m going to have to get sensible, stitch style, natch. But where to start….

    Here’s my new regime, god help me.

    go to bed at a decent hour: that’s before midnight at least. I have been going to sleep around 1am recently, not good. Not good at all. I hate missing out on ‘stuff’ tho, and sleep is so boring, esp when the mends mean I don’t even get to dream.

    Pare down my commitments, radically : from now on its family, house, art and allotment (yes, allotment!!!!) expect a post on this development soon…thrilled about getting the plot at last.

    Get healthy : I know, there’s no cure. But I can help myself by losing weight and doing exercises. I’ll try not to bore you.

    And that’s it. No rocket science. No elaborate plans. Just common sense. Sigh. image

    The secret SAHM club….and other campfire tales

    imageSo, here we are at the start of the school summer holidays. These are my first ‘proper’ holidays since I left work. It’s my first year when I’ve been truly free to do what I want (with the boys of course) and, while I am as skint as a flint, I have a good roll call of plans to work through – a bucket and spade list if you will.

    I’ve ticked the first item already…I’m writing this blog sitting in a golden field, listening to the wind in the trees, drinking a cool drink and with the prospect of an hour or so’s relaxation before driving to a nearby café to meet up with The Child Whisperer, her children and my two. We are camping en famille at CW’s rural idyll and, despite having had only four hours sleep, I have had a brilliant time thus far. Elder is best buddies with CWs eldest and Little One loves her younger child – result! We had pancakes for breakfast cooked on the stove outside and she’s taken them for a yomp in the woods before ice cream at the café while I have a rest here. I take over this evening while she has a break. Perfect.

    There is this hidden world of the non-waged mother…the network of contacts, the mutually supportive coffees, play dates, parties etc that allow you to look after your children through those long six weeks without losing your sanity. I never really saw it until this summer holiday loomed and friends started whipping out their diaries and booking in meets, lunches, bike rides. This year my boys will play with their friends instead of going to holiday clubs. I’m not knocking the clubs, they have served me and mine well in the past but I think I’m going to like the Wageless Wonders’ version more. Cheaper, more friendly and infinitely better coffee. What’s not to like?!

    Pick and mix

     
     
    You know, I have always been in Praise of Slow. Normally it’s in the context of crafty ditherings but it can also be re life choices and similar trivia. I was made redundant almost 5 months ago. I had Little One almost three years ago. I was dx 5 years ago. Yep, it’s my diagnosisary folks. And where have I got to? What have I learnt?
     
     Image
     
    My thoughts have meandered and then centred on how my choices would have been so different had I not been so convinced I needed to stick with my (large, dependable, safe) employer. I now know that it’s perfectly possible to pick and mix AND progress, develop and be commercially successful. I learnt a lot at the mumsnet Blogfest last year, mainly from other, more experienced freelancers. Step up mme Lindor, Mme Guillotine et al. I have also learnt from my RL friedns most of whom are self employed. And then I’ve discovered that the world does not stop when you get your P45. Actually, it changes and it opens new possibilities.
     
    What has fired me up to write more than my habitual haiku? I recently submitted a piece to the wonderful Jump magazine and I got to reflecting on how, when I was at school and later university, the knowledge that a portfolio career could be preferable to a traditional one would have been gold dust to me. 
     
    I have been known to lament that you can’t have it all. You either sacrifice advancement or family time. I still strongly believe that a hefty dose of realism is needed when the concept of SuperMums is aired. But maybe, just maybe there’s a third way? 
     
    Start off in life willing to bend with life’s ups and downs, collect transferable skills, access technology and all it can give you, refuse to be bounded by the traditional working models of 9-5 office life, focus on results and deliverable rather than process, network, share, blend work and life. What if we taught our young these values? Could we help our children avoid sleepwalking into mediocrity and achieve their potential? Boys too. I think so. I really do.
     
    About 6 years ago I wrote a list of what my perfect day consisted of. Despite Parkinson’s, I reckon I’ve got about 90% now. And it’s thanks to going portfolio. I know things could change but whatever, it’s taught me that boundaries should be guidelines and career cliches challenged. 
     
    What do you think? I’m going to expand this issue, build on these bare bones of an idea. What is your view?

    Colour

    Way back at the beginning of the year I said I would Choose Life this year. Wel, here we are almost at the midpoint and how am I doing? A mixed bag, I’d say. I’ve become better at stopping to smell the metaphorical flowers of Life, I’ve grown to realise how lucky I am with the friends and family I have around me. I’ve managed to do a reasonable amount of making too, which is good. Those are the pluses.

    What about where I need to work on for the next six months then?

    Well, I’m writing this post by the hospital bed of a (now) gently snoozing Little One. He has had a nasty chest infection which has led to us having the opportunity to leisurely explore the inner corners of Stitch City’s’ local hospital’s (very well stocked) playroom. And other fun sights. It’s been a worrying time but I think we’re ok now, thankfully. But it’s reinforced my bond with him too and made me very clear that I want to live my life in colour. By which I mean try to enjoy my life and family more without unnecessary stresses playing with my attention and turning everything into greys. What do i mean? Well, i want to work on my health as a priority. And my boys. Lots of playing is on the agenda, oh yes. And similar stuff. Lets sort the wheat from the chaff shall we and focus on the important bits.

    So, my resolution holds good. Choose Life. A life in colour. And knowing my little terrors, with the volume turned up to 11.

    So predictable…

    So I was torn about this post. Do I reflect on times past, review 2011, or do I look forward and consider my resolution(s). Well, dear reader, as a nod to optimism I choose to go forwards, move on.

    I could have made a massive list of resolutions, I normally do. But then, as they fall by the wayside you feel such a fraud, well I do. So instead of that, this year I’m keeping it simple. It’s very chic, non? Everybody’s going back to basics, why not me?

    So my resolution, slightly naff though it may sound, is To Choose Life. Well, I am a child of the 80’s (ok, teen) and I never got to wear one of Those t-shirts. What do I mean by my little slogan? Whenever I have to make a choice I will choose the option that’s enhances my and my family’s life. Simples.

    So, do I eat that bar of chocolate? No, I’ll have a bit and save the rest. Do I actually listen to my physio and do some exercise? You bet I do, I’m not going to start shutting down quite yet if I can help it. Do I have a sleep rather than do the ironing? Ah ha! Trick question! I don’t iron unless physically forced and no doubt that will remain unchanged, I am not a saint or weirdo after all.

    Anyway, that’s the theory. My hope is that I’ll be able to keep true to this goal. Let’s face it, I have to, don’t I? Now, do you think Ms. Hammett has an eBay shop?