I’ve just finished a swimming session and I am now languishing in the David Lloyd clubhouse with a coconut latte and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. I know it is expensive and rather decadent but the thought of going to the local municipal pool filled me with dread (maybe dread is too strong) but the idea of being surrounded by the great unclean of North Birmingham didn’t exactly fill me with delight. In addition, I am child-averse and swimming pools attract a lot of little people squealing and making too many waves. I am not a particularly strong swimmer and not having to fight too hard, or dodge too many bairns, to complete a length has been a blessing. After two months I’m happy to say it is getting easier; I now feel more confident in the water. I no longer swim desperate to reach the other end terrified to stop in case I drown. I usually walk 10-12 lengths (forwards, backwards and sideways) followed by swimming for 10 lengths. I had introduced a bit of treadmill walking but this week I’ve been struggling with my legs and feet a little. Somehow in the water it is so easy, on dry land I feel every ounce of my lipoedemic (if that’s a word) flesh.
Winter is a really hard time for me; who am I kidding every day is a hard time. I am inherently lazy, or is it just the lipoedema?? This is always the dilemma. I struggle because of the lipoedema and find it easy to do nothing because the lipoedema is such a struggle. My legs are huge and heavy. The support stockings (which are utterly unsexy) help me walk, without them I would struggle more. Although it is my upper arms which are more of a worry for me. They too are huge and heavy. I find repetitive tasks, like pegging up the washing, washing the dishes and cooking long complicated recipes, tiring. If only you could get stockings for your arms!! I’m hoping the swimming will help strengthen my muscles and make moving easier over time. In the meantime, I need to keep plugging away making small improvements every day!!
Hubby was out last night, while I went to the pictures with Lesley (Doctor Sleep), with his old work colleagues from Severn Trent, despite my warnings, he didn’t get home ’til 2:30am. I pretended to be asleep to spare his blushes of being a sad, old drunk but, to be honest, I was a little pissed off because he was out so late. I’m not complaining about his going out or his drinking, I just wish he didn’t stay out so late or drink so much, as this tends to have a knock-on effect to our weekend and me specifically. Anyway this morning instead of hanging around the house waiting for him to get up I decided to go out for breakfast. I had planned to go to EAT in the Bullring but whilst driving there I changed my mind because as it is the run up to Christmas I thought he car park would be busy; especially when I’m ready to go home and I didn’t fancy being stuck in a traffic jam. Therefore, I drove round to my favourite ‘disabled’ spot on Bennett’s Hill only to be confronted by ‘no parking bollards’. ‘Bollock’s to Bollards’. I then decided to stick to my first idea and head for the Bullring however, on the way there I changed my mind once again and headed for Costa at One Stop.
It is while at Costa, One Stop that I am writing this. I still feel a little nervous using it whilst in public; stupidly I am scared if some ne’er do well takes a liking to it and knowing I’m physically weak will just grab it off me, or worse, hijack me on the way back to the car. I feel really bad having these thoughts; in all my life I’ve never had any problems (touching wood) and I honestly don’t think I’m likely to. The problem is its hard to ignore the news headlines constantly reminding you of horrible things happening to ordinarly people, every day. I find myself looking around the cafe trying to figure out who, if at all anyone, would be my nemesis. Thankfully, most look ordinary; and older couple, a couple of youngish dads with their small children, another middle-aged woman who looks to be waiting for a friend/lover. Everyone looks incredibly ordinary, then again what does a ne’er do well look like?
This is a question I ask myself quite often and there is no easy answer. Depending on what you read, who you speak to or what TV programmes you watch if can change. In Britain, invariably, young Black men are demonised, followed by foreigners of any type and the archetypal white british male coming in last. Unfortunately, nowadays it doesn’t matter whether they are Black, Asian, White or other I feel ill at ease with most young people. They have a confidence and cock-suredness that my generation, and those before me, seem to lack. Before, you jump down my throat for over-generalising…fuck off… that’s what I do and I’m not going to apologise for it. I believe before you can truly understand a problem/subject etc. it is necessary to start somewhere and over-generalising is my way of framing the question.
…since I last contributed to this blog. A lot has changed but also a lot has stayed the same. The biggest change is I feel mentally more stable; a little happier and generally feeling a lot better. I’m not sure if this is due to my passing through the menopause, attending the gym for the past two months, to swim, or something else. I no longer seem to experience the dark, deep depressions and, although my husband still bugs the hell out of me, I no longer feel like killing him on an hourly basis. This in part is due to changes he has made to his life; he still suffers with anxiety and depression but seems to be dealing with it in a more proactive way. Therefore, I no longer feel like his carer and I now have more time to take better care of myself; like signing up to the gym. I think sometimes you have to reach the bottom of a deep, dark hole before you start coming out!!
Its been a long time since I wrote anything. I’ve been out of work, coming up for three months, after the hospital ditched all its agency staff. I’ve been trying to get a job, had various interviews, to no avail. I seem to have lost the knack of interviewing. I’m not sure if its just because I cannot muster up enough bullshit to impress them anymore. I’ve been working for over 30 years, I’ve got a 2:1 degree, but this doesn’t seem to be enough to impress the eejits. Thankfully I’ve been doing some typing from home and after an age, and jumping through some multicoloured, multi-pronged hoops I got some money from the DWP (I was however, fucked over, good and proper by the Universal Credit folk) – I hope these clowns never have to be on the other end of their own bullshit. Anyway, I’ve another interview on Thursday (through my agency), will do my best but I’m not expecting miracles.
We were due to have work on our new bathroom started yesterday but the chap who is doing it appears to have gone underground. Eventually got a text from him yesterday saying he’s having problems with childcare, so far today, nothing. We’ve cleared everything out and said our last goodbyes to the old room, even Popi came in for a last sniff and groom (it really is a foul smelling hole these days).
Just can’t wait for all the work to start although I’m not looking forward to living here whilst it is going on but the end result will hopefully be worth it.
As I sit here typing this I am becoming more aware of the increasing smell of cat pee. I know we’ve got four (girl) cats with two litter trays but unfortunately it is not our cats who are causing the problem. We have a number of stray (or opportunists) mainly boys, who come in for food and delight in spraying everywhere. The problem is you can’t tell where they have sprayed. Everyday they seem to choose a different spot. The smell is overpowering. As it looks like the bathroom chap is not coming again today I’m decided to spend the day trying to clean up the ruddy cat pee.
Update: We did get the bathroom done; changed it into a shower room and got rid of the bath, which was never used.
Its been a strange couple of days. We’ve had to take one of our cats, for the second time, to the vets as she’s acting a little subdued. I don’t think the first shot she got was long enough (48-hrs), she’s now been given a 2-week antibiotic and a worming tablet. I feel we have single-handedly paid for the vet’s new car or holiday this year. With four cats, two of which are sickly, we end up going to the vet quite a lot; three trips last week cost us >£150. Thank goodness for credit cards!!
She was really good at the vet, I think because she was feeling quite poorly. This morning I got up thinking she’d be more her normal self but unfortunately she is still quite subdued. She’s not eaten much but she did go out into the back garden for a quick sniff about. Thankfully she’s sleeping openly in the lounge; the last few days she’s hidden herself in a corner. I’m hoping this is the first glimpse of recovery. Poor wee Popi, I don’t want to disturb her while she is poorly, the housework will just have to wait.
What a day! It didn’t start well ‘cos I had a bad night’s sleep. Woke up in a very depressed and anxious state around 3:00AM. My body was all achey and my face felt like it had fallen off my skull and was numb. I unintentionally woke Dave up, we ended up having a bit of a war of words. Me trying to explain how I was feeling, begging him to try and understand and all the while creating more stress and anxiety in him which resulted in me having to back-off as usual. I don’t think either of us got much sleep after that until about twenty minutes before the alarm went off when we were both in a deep sleep, typical.
When we got to work it wasn’t much better. Good Bal and Bad Bal in my office had a ding-dong over nothing, but the atmosphere it created was shit. Dave phoned a little after this, just before lunch, to say he’d been called into another meeting with his manager which resulted in his having a full-on panic attack at work. His manager, a 26 year-old suffering with special snowflake syndrome, thinks she knows it all, and has made, what I think, was an error of judgement trying to discipline Dave over nowt.
She’s been getting at him for a couple of days now about his screen breaks because of his dodgy eyes, they’re rugby ball shaped instead of regular round (keratoconus) and because he had the gaul to stand up to her. Apparently, she doesn’t like how he talked to her, so she’s enlisted his ex-manager, Carol (who’s also a cow) as a chaperone to help concoct some phoney problem. What is with these new junior managers, they get a little bit of power which goes straight to their egos and makes them think they can treat the rest of us like toddlers. Don’t they know people respond better to encouragement rather than a bollocking. They seem so committed to impressing the next over-inflated numpty in the hierarchy they lose all sense of reason and perspective. They do not care about the unnecessary damage they inflict on their way to the top, which invariably they will never reach ‘cos nine times out of ten, they do not possess the necessary skills; being an uneducated ball-crusher only takes you so far.
I’ve been trying to meditate the last few days but finding my technique just ends up putting me to sleep. I found this information online which may help.
Ideally meditation is done in the Padmasana or Lotus Position i.e cross legged position. But sitting on a comfortable chair is also fine as long as the head doesnt touch the wall or rests against the sofa because then one will go to sleep. Sleeping/lying position is not recommended for meditation because meditation being a passive activity will lead to sleep in lying position.
In heartfulness meditation, we are advised to sit comfortably on a chair/sofa or floor and with the spine comfortably erect so that the grace can flow easily.
At least I now know where I am going wrong; head touching either the bed or back of sofa. I think this meditation malarky is going to be much more difficult in future. I suppose ‘practice makes perfect’. Also, I am hoping if I see/feel the benefits of meditation then it will all be worthwhile.
I’m now a week on from having my Reiki session and things are definitely different. I feel calmer is some respects but finding it increasingly difficult to bite my tongue. I feel I am lashing out at Dave quite a lot. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it ‘cos I feel I’ve almost bitten off my tongue trying to keep calm over the years. I think I now realise I’ve got to be more true to myself, for too long now I’ve been putting his needs (and feelings, especially his anxiety and stress) before my own; bottling up my feelings/anxiety/stresses and letting them burst out, uncontrolled, when I feel I can take no more is not a good way of dealing with things. Mostly because the last niggle or annoyance, which creates the explosion, is minor in comparison to the number of niggles and annoyances which have swallowed down and tried to keep under control.
In addition to the bubbling anger and frustration my aches and pains appear to have come back tenfold. I don’t know if this is because I’ve not been sleeping well over the last couple of nights or it is more to do with the fact I’ve been eating badly (too many carbs) or in the darkest recesses of my mind I think I’m dying from heart failure, or something equally sinister!! It could also be the Lignocaine infusion, I had at the end of last year, is wearing off. I know I suffer with health anxiety but for a while now I’ve felt more breathless on exertion, I’m getting a bit of chest discomfort (which could be indigestion) and feeling bloated regardless of what I eat. I know I need to exercise, to get my heart pumping, to build-up my muscles before they liquify, but I also have this fear when I feel my heart pumping and I start to sweat and feel uncomfortable, I fret more about causing myself a heart attack. This negative thought cycle is only one of the problems I hope to cure with meditation, to be able to just live in my body (as shit as it may be) without fretting, without catastrophizing (but also without pain) would be wonderful. Hence, I need to get on and practice my meditation skills and drown out the endless chatter in my head.
Another work day over, thankfully. I was not looking forward to going in this morning after yesterday’s stressed-out, frustrated day. Despite having a rant at the manager about the pressure I’m under there appears little they can, or are even prepared to, do. It is very difficult for me and my colleagues to remain positive and committed especially when the management team and the consultants do not seem at all bothered about the place. Last week we took a very large bundle of referrals to the clinic for triaging; some have been sitting there since early January. We went back down to clinic this morning to find them all sat there without having been looked at. Its hard to even comprehend this; by avoiding triaging the referrals the consultants are making the patients (and the secretary’s) suffer unnecessarily. Maybe if they had to deal with the telephone abuse they would be more understanding – or perhaps not. After all their egos are more important than the little people they serve. I need to find a way of not letting it get to me, after all no-one really cares; the world will keep on spinning irrespective of what gets done or not!
After work I decided to pop into One Stop on the way home, its been a long time since I’ve been there and I’d read recently that Costa Coffee had opened up. Thought I’d check it out so me and Dave could pop down when we are in desperate need. This will be the easiest and closest Costa to our house!! Anyway, I parked up and had a wee wander inside the mall. True enough there is going to be a Costa but it won’t open until Spring, when is that exactly?? Looks like I’ll have to go back on a regular basis to see when it opens up. I was starving after my busy morning and we wander round so I picked up a Chicken Fajita sandwich from Asda for lunch. I admit I wasn’t expecting anything great but it was actually quite nice.
One Stop Shopping, Perry Barr
With the addition of Costa Coffee the gentrification of Perry Barr is complete!!
Just finished 10 minutes of mediation; managed to stay awake for half of it. Result!! Feeling a little mellow now. It was a very stressful day at work, I’m struggling under the sheer volume of work. I am a locum medical secretary, currently working part-time in the ENT department of the city hospital. It is a f***ing shambles. There’s no doubt the NHS is on its knees, government underfunding has certainly taken its toll but where I work the problems are exacerbated by recruiting management positions from a very small gene pool of existing staff. In fact, the vast majority of positions are recruited internally. Is it any wonder the place is going to the dogs. The place needs an injection of new talent but the recruitment process is heavily weighted in favour of existing staff. There are no qualified HR representatives on the selection panels so invariably friends of friends, children of parents, aunties and uncles are getting all the good jobs. Very occasionally jobs get advertised externally but these positions usually get filled by ex-employees who left believing things would be better at another hospital etc. At 53, I feel I am working harder than I ever have in my life; harder but not smarter (not through lack of trying). I feel the working environment has changed quite a lot, before you were given a certain amount of autonomy and responsibility but nowadays you are micromanaged, bullied and harassed on a daily basis. The NHS is less about the health of the population and more about working to budgets, timescales; taking time to fudge the figures to appear more effective than just getting on and doing the job to the best of your ability. Performance management is the biggest misnomer of the modern age as managers responsible for performance are so terrified of failing, or being found out, work very hard at covering up their inadequacies by alienating the teams that work for them through bully-boy tactics. If only they realised nurturing good working relations with all members of their team, not just those higher up the food chain, would elicit more enthusiasm and excitement for the job.
This cartoon perfectly illustrates the reason for management inefficiency; constant meetings to figure out why no work is getting done, constant meetings to justify why they are never in the office to provide actual support. If only they would stop looking at their dashboards and spreadsheets and look at the desks, around the offices, the real world to see how much needs done. (Do you remember when the only time you thought about a dashboard was whilst driving to work and you realised it needed cleaning). Dashboard, smash-board; bane of my f***ing life!!
Its been a while since I last wrote. I’m not sure if the reason for my online disappearance was a sense of despair and hopelessness or just laziness. Anyway, its been a while and I now feel less despairing, hopeless and lazy hence, I’m writing this entry. I have no idea what my last entry was about and I have no intention of reading through it, that is the past and I don’t want to remind myself of how I felt then, especially if I was all doom and gloom, as I now feel slightly more positive. I’m not sure if the positivity has slowly grown over the past month or is as a result of the Reiki massage I had on Tuesday; whatever the reason I now feel ready to do something other than sit, watch TV and feel sorry for myself. Again, I think this feeling has as much to do with the beginning of a New Year. I tend to feel inspired at the beginning of a New Year, it gives me an opportunity to start again, a chance to review and change previous mistakes.
This year like most years the uppermost thoughts in my mind relate to diet, exercise, feeling and looking better, but this year I am going to try and focus on feeling better physically and mentally by not relying on measurements of weight and girth but having fun, making small longterm changes for the better and having new experiences. I have just celebrated another birthday, I am now 53 years-old. As I think about those 53 years I am aware that the last 20, whilst living in Birmingham, have been uneventful and staid. Every year for the past 20 years I feel I’ve lost a little bit of myself; I’m not saying I was anything special beforehand I just have this sense of getting lost along the way. I feel worn down and embittered by life, I feel disappointed by people and I realise I have just sat back and allowed this to happen. Along the way I have made the effort to change my life, myself, my situation etc. but I have lacked the courage of my own convictions, I have given up too soon if the results of my efforts didn’t bear fruit quickly. This blog is testament to that ethos; yet another project started which after a few months dwindled until it slowly died away. I’ve no intention of making false promises of being good and getting better, trying to become the person I see in my mind’s eye. Instead I am going to take one day at a time and try and make a difference. I want to feel at peace in my head, enjoy the things I have and appreciate the people I know whilst at the same time remove the negative thoughts, the stuff that is cluttering up my house and the people who drain my positivity. All in all, I’m going to become a Buddhist!!!