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Sick and Sorry

It’s been almost a year and a half since I last wrote. We didn’t die in Iceland. We kept travelling west, we saw the US, we made it home, I finished my Masters’ Thesis, I graduated, I had a baby (he’s divine). A lot has happened.

But many things in life that I have, at some point, had time to do, have fallen by the wayside. Not because I was studying. Not because I became a mum.

It’s because I’m sick.

I don’t really like to talk about my physical condition very often. It’s hard. It’s hard to explain the chronic-ness of what I live with. I have a back injury from a car accident 4 years ago, that will never go away. I also have chronic fatigue, which is a garbage diagnosis, because it’s really doctors admitting that they don’t know what is wrong with you, but they’ll concede something must be wrong, because you look bloody awful.

Chronic fatigue (or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS) affects people differently. Generally speaking, people with CFS aren’t refreshed by a night’s sleep, and this symptom carries on for more than 6 months before you can be considered to have it. So you act like someone who hasn’t slept for 6 months or longer. This is often coupled with other symptoms. For me, too much physical exertion and emotional exertion can result in a “crash”. This is exactly what it sounds like. I just stop being able to move for a day or so. But these “crashes” don’t come out of the blue. There’s a build up. While my sleep is not refreshing, my body still knows if I’m not getting it. That lack of sleep shows up as physical pain. I feel it most in my joints, and it starts in my shoulders and hips and moves outward. So once I get pain in my fingers and toes, a crash is inevitable. Normally, it can take 1 – 8 days to recover, depending on how much physical and emotional rest I can get. As a mother, I haven’t been able to fully recover from the crash that was giving birth. So live nearly every day on the knife edge.

This makes the everyday tasks in life pretty difficult. And now there’s a little baby around, it’s a bit harder again. Grocery shopping isn’t a single task anymore. It’s about 15 tasks. Get self and child into car. Drive to shopping centre. Get self and bub out of car. Locate shopping trolley. Simultaneously push trolley and read shopping list. Talk to deli attendant like human being. Get groceries into shopping trolley. Pray you haven’t forgotten anything because coming back will be murder. Assure bub shopping trip is nearly over (as though that will put off an impending outburst. Ha!). Get groceries onto checkout belt. Get shopping bags into trolley. Get trolley back to car. Get shopping into car. Get child into car. Get home. Get child out of car. Get shopping into house. Put away the essentials and leave the rest for super-hubby. Pray little guy has a snooze. Lie down.

And granted, I imagine nearly every new mother views grocery shopping this way. But there’s the layer of pain and additional fatigue that sits atop these many mounting tasks. Imagine a sharp object repeatedly being jammed into your lower spine all day. Imagine that feeling of needing to crack a joint, but you can’t, you just have to live with that pain (in all your joints). Imagine going to sleep exhausted, knowing you’ll wake up feeling the same. Now you’re starting to get the idea.

But more than just household chores are difficult. A regular conversation is difficult. The innocuous, “How are you?” is fraught with traps. I normally say, “Not too bad.” But I’m lying. I am bad. I’m always bad. I used to have good days, but the demands of motherhood mean there aren’t any good health days anymore. “Is he sleeping?” Sure, sometimes. Doesn’t mean I’m sleeping. But I don’t want to be the little raincloud that whinges about how hard life is. No one likes that person. Why should they? With a roof over my head, a beautiful little family who love me and food on the table, it could be far, far worse. And I’m aware of that. I want to acknowledge that.

So instead of grappling with the difficulty that is explaining myself, I retreat instead. I opt not to talk about my health. I try to steer away from subjects that could be touchy. I engage in less conversation. I don’t explain myself. And I imagine that makes me seem a bit cold.

And seeming cold is not a good idea when you can’t be particularly social. I’m not a particularly social person to begin with anyway, but oftentimes just getting out of the house is too much for me. I didn’t sleep the night before. I need to rest today because I have work tomorrow and I don’t have enough energy for two days worth of being out. I hurt too much to get dressed today, or brush my hair, or eat properly. But when I do come out, people are generally nice. A little perplexed, because I look perfectly normal and have offered no explanation for my general absence, but they are nice. “Will we see you next time?” “Maybe. I hope so,” comes my ambivalent response. I wait for the charity to end. Because I haven’t explained that I’m sick, that every day is bad, that I’m doing my best, but that looks like I’m not doing much. I’m just the cold bitch that doesn’t come out much.

The hardest part at present, is not being able to connect with other mothers. I need the village that is meant to help raise the child. But I can’t always get to it. And when I do get there, I can’t launch into what life is like for me. These are mothers. Nearly all of them have more than one child. They have hard days all the time. In all honesty, I’ve been to mothers’ group once. I didn’t have to do anything. I became a mum and, BAM, I was invited. The people were nice, but I’d just had surgery on a breast abscess having had mastitis. Someone said, “So you obviously aren’t breastfeeding anymore.” I felt really sheepish admitting that I still was. I don’t know why. The exchange still makes me tear up. It’s a fair assumption that once you’ve had a massive pustule on your boob ruptured by a surgeon, you wouldn’t let a tiny human gobble on it anymore. But I did. Still do. And admitting that makes me cry like a looney, so I don’t like to talk about it. And thinking about that comment makes me afraid to go again. So when the day is rough and I feel sheepish, I don’t go. But I do crave time with mums. I want to make friends. I want my boy to make friends. But I can’t escape being sick.

I don’t like to talk about it. And while I hope people read what I’ve written here, I don’t know that I’ll want to talk about it in person. I don’t want a pity party. I don’t want to be ungrateful for what I have. But I don’t want to be that aloof, unexplained acquaintance that sometimes comes out.

So, I’m sorry this isn’t straightforward. This blog doesn’t end with a bow. The loose ends are loose. I’m sorry I haven’t explained myself before, and I’m sorry I probably won’t want to talk about it much if you read this and bring it up. But there you have it.

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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Illness and Injury

 

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Why It’s Always Funnier Not to Swear

It’s true, a well-timed swear word can truly be the most giggle-worthy part of your day. However, this is not always (or indeed, often) the case when it comes to the use of profane language.

I grew up in a quintessentially bogan area of Australia, no one would deny that. My parents had the presence of mind to raise me to not to pepper my discussions with profanities, despite being surrounded by individuals with no qualms in doing so. Now that I’m all grown up and get to make my own language choices, I still don’t swear, because, quite frankly, you all sound ridiculously unintelligent when you do so. Especially on the internet. If you swear in your online rantings, because I can’t see you, I imagine you with a beer gut peeking out from underneath your overstretched, faded, dark blue singlet and flopping over your stubbies shorts while surrounded by a mound of empty beer cans and a cigarette dangling from the corner of your mouth grazed by your wiry mustache with a radio blaring in the background. And if your male you probably don’t have the singlet.

The internet is a dark den of terrible grammar and name calling with unintelligent profanities. You should always check spelling and grammar, and should never call anyone a name that you would not like others to call you. This being said, the internet is a vast and powerful entity, and I do not foresee grammar improving or name calling reducing any time soon. Ignorance has potential to reign as long as comments are enabled.

The solution to this flagrant display of lack of intelligence is to propose some alternatives to the oft trotted out swear word. Here are my suggestions. In my mind, these communicate the exact same sentiment, but are twice as funny (because they’re accurate) and equally more intelligent sounding. Try reading these substitutes without picturing a man in a monocle next to a woman with opera glasses uttering them. You won’t be able to.

Doo-Doo
Recommended use: a noun to use in comparison to something that is not up to standard.
As in: “This working arrangement is a pile of doo-doo.”

Rumpy-Pumpy
Recommended use: a verb to denote something that is extraordinary or remarkable due to one of its negative aspects.
As in: “This symphony is a rumpy-pumpy joke.”

Donkey Pit
Recommended use: a noun to describe someone who is unusually selfish.As in: “The chap in the seat next to me is an utter donkey pit.”

Genital Noggin
Recommended use: simile for donkey pit.
As in: “The donkey pit next to me stood up and spilled his drink on my lap like a real genital noggin.”

Urinate Away
Recommended use: asking someone to leave.
As in: “If you aren’t going to help move the baby grand to the drawing room, you can urinate away.”

Excrement for Cerebrum
Recommended use: a way to describe someone who has failed to think things through.
As in: “You don’t moor your yacht on the rocks, excrement for cerebrum.”

Nasty Bottom Poop
Recommended use: for dinner parties and sit-down meal functions where the food is sub-par.
As in: “That bowl of caviar is some nasty bottom poop.”

Defecate Countenanced
Recommended use: a term for those who consumed too much alcohol at an occasion.
As in: “I do find it terribly embarrassing that Mr Harvey-Fortescue became defecate countenanced at the last museum board soiree.”

Copulating Imbecile
Recommended use: to refer to an individual who is acting in a manner that gives one pause.
As in: “That gentleman is piloting his Aston like a copulating imbecile.”

And there you have it – all the sentiment, none of the ignorance. Now go forth and swear no more!

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in A-Musing

 

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Mud Slinging

I’ve just done really well on an exam, and my reward is a few minutes to post some frivolous ideas that have been rattling around my head, alongside the version of Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’ with the screaming goat edited in.

Remember real mud cake?  Remember being a child at a birthday party and finding out the birthday cake wasn’t White Wings butter cake, or something equally as uninviting that served only as a vehicle for mounds of icing, it was mud cake!?  The decadent, rich, dense, gooey chocolate, well, mud, that was guaranteed to make you feel ill by your second piece, but it was so rare and so rich you’d eat that much every time.  That was mud cake.  Guaranteed not to disappoint by miraculously turning into a sponge that absorbed all the saliva in your mouth, but promising the world and delivering more.  A real mud cake was a precious occurrence.

Nowadays, you buy mass produced mud cake from the supermarket that had dragged the good name of mud cake through the water suspending dirt (that is, mud).  And it’s the cake you get when your parents can’t prepare anything before hand, when you want to celebrate a workmate’s birthday or going away on the fly, it’s the supermarket Victoria Sponge with metallic mock cream of our day.  Mud cake isn’t precious anymore, it’s pedestrian.  And it isn’t even good.  In a cake with a 15 centimetre diameter, everything within a 1.5 centimetre radius of the centre will be the texture of a true mud cake, maybe, and the rest will be glorified, mass produced chocolate cake with heavier than expected icing.  It’s a crying shame that the world has come to this.  My poor children I will have one day in the future, they will never understand mud cake the way it ought to be understood.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Thought Grenades

 

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Swimming

As mentioned in my last entry, I am pursuing (successfully, so far) an addiction to swimming.  Come with me on the first 10 laps of my 1.25 kilometre journey this morning:

Three people in that lane.  Three, two, hmm… do I brave the fast lane?  Middle ager with kick board going at snail’s pace, so I guess not.  Oh good, she’s leaving, just one in that lane now.  Don’t look at me like that, I paid to swim in this pool too.

The initial submersion.  Goggles on properly, here we go: kick off.

One.  The initial glide through the water is so satisfying.  I feel stronger today, hopefully I’ll make good time.  I wonder what’s going on over there?  Aquarobics class, that looks like fun.  Two.  What time is it?  I should have checked that before I jumped in.  Oh well, must be about 9:30 anyway.  Keep on your side of the lane, buddy.  9:32, excellent.  Call it a 9:30 start.  Three.  Here comes the burn.  Strange how it disappears in just a few laps.  I wonder if that happens with all exercise?  Maybe I could lift huge weights if I’d just push past that horrifying feeling of muscular stress.  Maybe I could run marathons.  Maybe physical limitation is only in the mind and our bodies could be programmed to take on unbelievable physical tasks if our brains were never consulted.  Maybe that’s why zombies seem so strong in movies.  Bother, what lap number is this.  It’s early, five I think?  Yes, last time I swam in this direction it was three.  Five it is.  Gee, this muscle ache is taking its time subsiding.  Surely it won’t be long now.  That lady is wearing socks in the pool.  Aquarobics must be intense.  Six.  If you’re not pushing off, sir, I am. Don’t follow too closely behind, or else you’ll get kicked.  There we go, muscles are warm now.  Time to find the rhythm.  That aquarobics music is helping.  Seven.  Have to get to 50 today, make up that quarter k you couldn’t finish the other day.  If I’m getting faster, perhaps I can boost to 50 laps every time.  Work up to swimming three k’s every week instead of two.  Eight.  I mustn’t forget to send those emails.  It’s hard to get appointments with the College staff early in the year.  I don’t want to get lost in the crush later in the semester though.  Nine.  I can’t believe I enrolled in Greek this semester.  I don’t remember any of it from last year.  I don’t even remember where that exercise book ended up.  Come to think of it, the house is turning into a bit of a book vacuum.  I don’t know where my NIV is hiding and the book I was reading last week is no where to be found.  Bother I’ve lost count again.  I think I’m coming up on eleven…

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Misc 'n' Stuff

 

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