Letter from the North

Christmas is coming, Tree Cats, Feed a Cold…Feed a Fever, 9-15-Dec-2017

Writing this has been difficult, my brain is like jelly. Don’t get me wrong, I can still think, but my hands are too slow to capture the thoughts and then they evaporate and I lose them (I think it’s the thoughts that evaporate although hands are just as likely in my scrambled universe). So, this week, the blog itself is one large example of how well (or not) I am coping.

Deck the Halls, Sat 9th Dec

In recent years, we have taken to decorating our Christmas tree on 1st December (early, by Teresa’s standards!), but we are somewhat distracted this year. Teresa fetched the tree from Polgoon this morning, but it’s much smaller than usual:

  • Because we don’t have Blossom to transport a large tree
  • Its usual spot in the sitting room is occupied by a desk that I can’t move!

We used the same stand as for the larger tree, but because it was designed for a bigger tree, tightening the 3 screws onto the base of the tree required some spatial awareness and visibility. Holding up the tree while doing it, and ensuring it was straight, was hard work. We both got rather stressed and a bit tetchy, but we managed it. There then followed some discussion as to when to do the lights (it was 11:30), we both felt it wise to ‘strike while the iron is hot’ and while I am still able to cope.

When we were out shopping the other day, I picked up a lovely long string of lights, but it turned out it was far too long (720 bulbs) and we had a lot of faffing to do to get it on the smaller tree. In the end, the excess was streamed across the dining room ceiling, but the important thing is, we got it done. Mind you, by then it was 1:30pm and I was exhausted, in pain and I just crashed. During the afternoon Teresa decorated the tree and it looks lovely.

Tree Cats, Sun 10th

Strictly speaking, this should read ‘cat’ singular, as it is only Barney who thinks the tree is there for his entertainment.

He started just batting a few decorations, escalated to standing on his hind legs and popping his head out from the lower branches, clearly working up to his pièce de résistance namely climbing up inside the tree, all the way to the top.

Teresa loves it, she coos and smiles and praises him and tells me it’s his tree as much as ours. I get mega stressed, Christmas trees are not for cats, I worry about damage, it’s all to do with my autistic brain fighting to defend its idea of ‘normal’. Of course, he has caused no damage. Of course, he gets himself out safer than he would if we tried to drag him out, of course he is cute, and yet, I want him dragged out of the tree and severely punished for not doing things MY right way. While I am not as besotted as Teresa, I do love our cats so I control my nature and he has been ok, but the stress has sometimes been the straw on Bean’s weakened back.

Cats, you gotta love ‘em 🙂

Back to work, Mon 11th

Today I started my “phased” return to work and had a pretty good day (about 6 hours, starting at 7am and finishing 5pm – although I wasn’t working flat out!). I’d had a headache all day, so we checked my blood pressure at the end of the day and it was 157/117, pulse 117. I panicked as that is high, even for me; of course, that meant Teresa was panicking as well. Since the doctors’ surgery in St. Just was still open (just!) Teresa rang and got to speak to a doctor. The doctor was not worried but arranged an appointment with my usual GP on Wednesday morning for a thorough review.  Teresa had a meeting at 10am in Pz but was OK to start late so we could sort out the BP worries.

Feed a Cold…Feed a Fever, Tue 12th

That variation on the old adage has always been my policy but lately, eating has been getting difficult because:

  • I’d really rather not bother, I feel nauseous all the time now
  • What I liked yesterday makes me feel sick today
  • I’m just not hungry

Yet, I know I need to eat and Teresa worries when I don’t, especially because I am usually a ‘feed a cold, feed a fever’ person i.e. the more unwell I feel, the more hungry I get. Neither of us has ever seen me uninterested in food before ☹.

A Bit of Furniture Shuffling

On Tuesday morning, the folks from work delivered a PC, a desk and a chair; they also removed building materials from the room I’ll be using as my work office; this was brilliant, but just standing and “supervising” left me exhausted. Not that they needed my supervision, you understand, but I felt so frustrated standing there while other people did stuff for me. It’s hard enough when Teresa does it, but when others have to… well, mix that with an autistic’s need for control over their environment, and it’s quite a struggle!

More pain meds, Wed 13th

Today I saw the GP. He was fine about my blood pressure but he upped the pain meds; I am now on 150mg Tramadol, twice a day. It helps with the pain but the cancer pills already leave me exhausted and with joint and muscle pain, as well as slowing down the healing of all the bits that were damaged in the accident, add to that the painkillers which also leave me exhausted, and the pain of the broken ribs which, even with the pain killers, hurt a lot. It is mega hard to understand how much of the awful I feel is down to the cancer itself, and how much is due to the broken bones, the painkillers and the cancer meds.

I hope that eventually the broken parts of me will calm down and I can just focus on fighting the cancer!

After seeing the doctor, I pretty much crashed for the rest of the day

A full day of work, Thu 14th

Thursday was a good day. I managed 7.5hrs work for the first time this week, although I crashed as usual around 8pm. I then woke at 10pm and it was well after midnight before I got back to sleep.

I really need help from Teresa to sort out the equipment in my office, but my son is here on Saturday so I will be patient, she already has too much on her plate. It is very frustrating doing the right thing, but it also feels nice to be caring for her and I focus on that.

The new bed is assembled, Fri 15th

The new bed for the annexe was delivered yesterday and it’s now time to assemble it before Tom and Tatch get here. It’s hard work. I have no strength or movement in my righthand side and Teresa doesn’t have a lot of spatial awareness – she even loses track of where I am sitting, as we work, and keeps bumping in to me. As to which way to turn the Allen key to tighten the bolts for the bed – it’s obvious to me, because you can only reach one side of the bolt it’s down if on the RHS and up if it’s on the LHS, but that’s me, I have to keep reminding poor Teresa which direction. It’s not her job to understand, but I’m so useless she has to take on tasks that I usually do because they are easy for me to do and make her life easier.


Well I seem to have completed this and already 4 days into the next week, but as well as an early Christmas celebration with my son and daughter, next week includes a visit to the Oncology consultant so is likely to be a lot busier!


  • Victoria Osborne-Broad

    Too late now, but if you’d asked we could have picked up a bigger tree for you. Please ask if there’s anything else like that. And do keep writing.

    • Bean

      Thank you Victoria, it was a two fold decision and having to move furniture was the decider. Anyway we like how it looks (this year), hoping I am still around next year, we will go back to a big tree. Though that may be too orgasmic for Barney the Tree Climber.

      We will try to remember to ask for help but both of us are so independent it doesn’t occur and we stumble on. Does us good to be reminded, thank you

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