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A typical day 

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Yesterday was a typical day. With me exhausted although I managed to do very little.

Morning :  

Woke at 7.15 am.  Had a cereal bar and water for breakfast. (Keep these by the bed.) Then sent a few text messages. Then had a quick look at Twitter (thats usually where I get any news about whats happening in the world). And re-tweeted a few tweets by other people to help raise awareness about ME or CFS. I don’t manage to talk to people on twitter much. It’s usually too exhausting for me. But retweeting some things makes me feel I am doing something. Taking part. 

 By 9 am I was pretty tired and that was all I had done. Oh – and I had brushed my teeth too.  The headache, which had started after about two minutes of using my mobile phone, was now quite bad. (Even thinking and typing a text can be an exhausting activity.) And the exertion of brushing my teeth had made me out of breath and the movement had made the headache even worse. I had to give in and rest. Lying down in bed again. And took painkillers. 

I had to rest in bed until 3pm. Lying down, doing nothing, no stimulation at all, sleeping much of the time.                   6 hours rest/sleep needed after 90 mins of “activity”.                                                      I put activity in commas because in no normal well person’s world would it take 90 mins to send 4 texts and 4 retweets on twitter. And brush teeth. 

Afternoon :  

Got up around 3 pm.                           Managed to freshen up using body wipes (wet wipes). And got dressed. Eat a banana and a babybel cheese for lunch. And drank more water. Lots of water. As just the exertion of freshening up and getting dressed made me out of breath and thirsty. And I was tiring again.                             Tried to fight the urge to rest – as I was hardly up any time. Tidied up the bedroom, opened window and folded the duvet back to air the bed.    Forced to rest as now very tired, even more out of breath, and chest heavy. Plus neck pain. 

Sat on sofa in living room for about an hour or more. Just resting, with neck and head propped up and supported with cushions (to try to ease neck pain). I was so tired again that I wanted to lie down on the sofa. But the feeling of weight on my chest got worse when I tried this.

By 5 pm I wasn’t really feeling much better. But I needed to eat something more. A sickly headache was starting up,  and I was aware that I hadn’t eaten very much today. Which was probably now causing the headache, or making it worse. (I always feel awful if I go too long without food.)   

In the kitchen I just put some cheese and cold ham on a plate. With some cherry tomatoes. And a muffin. Ideally I would have liked to make a sandwich – but I couldn’t stand long enough to do this. So it was a case of just grabbing what I could.  After eating the food I felt a bit better. And was able to make a cup of tea.  This helped ease the headache a bit  – but the other symptons were still there. 

I wanted to do something (anything) to try and distract my attention away from the symptons. This isn’t easy to do. Because doing anything physical is very hard with the chest symptoms. And usually increases them and I end up even more breathless with a worse “weight” on the chest. Or a tight restricted feeling.  Reading wasn’t possible as I knew it would trigger more headaches. And it is hard to read and remember any of it with the level of “brain fog” that I have with ME.  Watching any TV was out of the question too. As i couldn’t tolerate the sound, or any bright colours or movement on the screen.   

So I eventually decided to listen to a recording from a website from an American Life Coach/trainer/motivational person. I had come across this on twitter and had saved the link, as thought it might be helpful.  To be honest, I have probably saved hundreds of interesting looking links to things over the years on twitter. But I haven’t been well enough to read or listen to most of them.                                             With ME – the gap between what I would like to do and what I can actually do is huge. And a big source of frustration. 

Early Evening : 

I listened to the 30 min recording. And it was good – I liked it. I immediately forgot most if it of course (damn brain fog . . .).  But I will listen to it again for sure.  It was about taking full 100% responsibility for everything that has happened in your life. Especially the bad stuff. And losing any kind of “victim” mindset.  It was good and I can definetely see the value in this. As I know I am holding onto a lot of anger, resentment and distress. And I still have so many nightmares about the bankruptcy (which is still ongoing). And about bad experiences with medical people. Plus the attempted PIP claim and terrible experience with Atos (nurse from Hell) just about finished me off. 

But maybe even listening for 30 mins was too much for me. Not only did my headache and neck pain come back with a vengeance, but my head was spinning. And my mind racing with the memories of all the bad things that have happened over all the years I’ve had ME. All the losses. All the medical mistreatment. The possibly ill-advised Bankruptcy (bankruptcy in reverse really). My marriage almost breaking (several times) with the strain of everything.   Then my brain was running through memories from the Property years – some rubbish letting agents, bad tenants (one actual tenant from hell), scum tradesmen, etc etc.  All bad memories. 

My energy just totally crashed.              And I had to take more painkillers and get into bed. Just as my husband got home from work. Luckily he would make the dinner. (He always has to make the dinner, and I’m really grateful for this.) 

I didn’t manage to get up again until 11.30 pm. Still felt rough but was hungry and thirsty. Hubby had eaten his dinner ages ago and was about to get ready for bed. So I warmed my dinner up in the microwave and eat it at midnight. Not ideal . . .  But very grateful that hubby had cooked it. And also grateful (or relieved) that I had been able to get back up and eat.  There have been many nights I couldn’t do this at all. And had to eat in bed, sometimes in a lying down position. Or just too exhausted to eat at all.  Over the last few years. 

But limited and small as this day was – I would rate this as an OK day. Out of a choice of Good, Bad or OK. 

I have had much worse days than this over the last few years. 

And I have had better days too.

And hope to have more better ones. 

But it shows how far removed our lives are from normal levels of ability when we have ME.  In what other illnesses  would a person class their day as OK when all they could manage to do was : 

Send a few texts messages, be on twitter for 10 mins, up and out of bed for only 3 or 4 hours (much of this resting),  eat some food, listen to a 30 min recording, talk to husband for about 20 mins.

Its not much . . .                                           But as I mentioned – I have had many poorer days than this. And I’m very grateful for the better days. 

 

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My Life so far – NOT what I expected

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I save a lot of pics like this if I see them on twitter or somewhere – just because I like them.  Mainly funny, upbeat,  philosophical, inspiring,  motivating etc.
Something a friend said to me in a text message recently reminded me of this picture.
It certainly describes my life.

But I’m not OK with it – yet. That will take a while.

I’m 55 – and now have nothing.

The post from 7 Feb 2015 titled Battered, Bruised and Bankrupt explains.

When I say nothing – I mean nothing financially. And no security.

No money
No income
No savings
No ability to earn any income because of all the ME symptoms severely affecting my life. (Certainly not just now.)
No Benefits – I am not well enough to deal with the process. Nowhere near well enough.
No GP ( or as good as no GP).
I do own 50% of this flat I now live in with my husband – but at the moment this is 50% of nothing (financially). As it has a large mortgage on it and there is no equity in it.
And we now have nothing to pay off the interest-only mortgage with in 8 years time. We did have various mortgage Endowments – but they were taken from us by the Trustee In Bankruptcy and cashed in.

Worked hard since 17

With Commercial Union Assurance (now part of Aviva) for 19 years.
Then Prudential for almost a year.
Then NTL ( now Virgin Media) in telecoms for 4 years

Studied for professional qualifications in Insurance (Life and Pensions) and Financial Services (for Compliance work).
Obtained A.C.I.I ( ie. Associateship Of The Chartered Insurance Institute) in the Life & Pensions branch early 1980s .
Obtained MLIA {Dip) and FPC (Financial Planning Certificate} in early 1990s.
During the early 1980s I also worked in pub jobs for 3 (sometimes 4) nights a week – on top of my full time job. I did this over a period of a few years and think I worked in 5 different pubs.
The reason – to save up for my 1st flat. For the deposit, costs and fees, furniture, etc.
I was keen to do this but not have any debt when I moved in.

All these jobs/careers I had to give up and resign from due to my health. And all the symptoms of what I now know to be ME (or CFS as it was called at my diagnosis).
NB. I left all these jobs with nothing – even after 19 years in Commercial Union.
There was no help or support from my GP at all. And I just wasn’t well enough to be able to push for more help.

Finally got diagnosed with what was called CFS in 2003.
After more than 12 years of going back and forwards to GP – but feeling I was being treated like a time-waster each time. As if I was just being lazy.
Appalling treatment really.

By 2004 I had to accept I just couldn’t risk working for an employer again. Assuming anyone would have me . . .
Although I was feeling a bit better again after some rest time, I still had a lot of symptoms to cope with. I knew I could only work when I was able to. And would often need big rest and recovery periods.
No employer could be expected to cope with this.

So the only option left was to work for myself.

In 2004 I started up the Property stuff seriously.
Buying the 2nd flat to rent out (ironically the one we now live in and are very glad to have !).
By using savings and remortgaging our home I got started.
Then managed to build up to owning 15 flats by 2014.
Mainly by remortgaging them or using additional borrowing to raise funds for the deposit, fees and costs to buy the next flat. When the value of the property had increased enough to allow this.

The point of this was to get to a point where I would have been able to sell off a property every year. Or maybe every 2nd year.
And the profit would give me an annual income.
(It is very hard to make any real monthly income from the rent – there are so many expenses and things to deduct from it.)

Ironically, if I had done nothing at all we would now be much better off financially.

Hindsight again . . . . A totally useless thing.

Remortgaging our home was a calculated risk. But it was the obvious and only option to use. Neither of us have ever had any inheritances or lottery wins !
It had loads of equity in it at 2014.
Partly because of the increase in the property market. But also because we had bought it in 1998 with a very small mortgage. We put down a large deposit of 65% of the purchase price.
This was done partly by saving up very hard for a few years and going without most things. Really scrimping on everything.
And the reason for this – our future security . . . .

Now at July 2015 – Bankrupt.

Husband dragged down with me – as some properties were bought in joint names.
But he has been totally supportive and never blaming me. And I’m so grateful for this.
So, the loss of everything – apart from the flat we are living in.
Oh, and we were allowed to keep our beloved BMW. Because it is so ancient now ! (Think I mentioned this in a previous post.)

As I explained in previous post, the Bankruptcy was voluntary because of my health.
I couldn’t go on.
And this was the only way, as I understood it, to give away all control and responsibility for all the properties. And hand over all dealings with everyone to a Trustee In Bankruptcy. ie. All dealings with banks, letting agents, tenants, insurance companies, etc etc.

It hasn’t worked out quite like that . . . .

But that’s life isn’t it ?
You get told something but the reality turns out to be quite different.

But at some point all this horrible Bankruptcy stuff will come to an end. And I will be able to “relax” and have some peace of mind.
No idea when this will be – impossible to get any clear info in writing.
And I will have the energy (well, more than just now) to hopefully find a decent “ME friendly” GP.
Not really for treatment – not expecting miracles. But just for some symptom control and support.

At the moment I have none of this. Just nothing at all.

But I’m still here.
And there are many people out there with ME or CFS who are much much worse than me.

So I’m grateful that I’m not even worse than I am. And that I do have “mini bursts” of energy. And can do some things. Even if the recovery time after it takes days . . . !

PS.
Apologies for any typing errors. I tried my best to check it before hitting the publish button.
But I really struggle to use my laptop or tablet etc. And am all out of energy now.

Jamison Writes

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