Life is fragile…

This morning I opened a WhatsApp message. It came last night as a response to my reply to her initial message, asking how I was.

Her husband, also a friend, has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I was shocked to the core. I’ve known him since he was 14 or younger. He is just a bit younger than me. His brother was my best friend for years.

I responded with all the love I have for them.

Life is not to be taken for granted. Especially our health, family, and friends. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Gratitude does. When we live with gratitude for what we have, the beauty around us, wonderful aromas, the songs of birds, trees, real vanilla ice-cream, the breeze on our face, the warmth of the sun, the wonder of the moon, Venus, the first star of the evening, we can know happiness.

With things as they are with the pandemic, and the regulations here, and when they are lifted it still will be risky to be in crowded places and to travel, I can’t go for a brief visit. When things are safer, I so want to see them. I saw her for coffee in my garden at the end of last summer. Then, he thought he had an injury. Now, one leg is affected, and he gets spasms and cramps. That’s how fast it has progressed. His prognosis is two and a half years.

His wife, my closer friend, and younger, will be a widow at 50.

I know people lose their spouses and partners at any age, but when it’s so close to me it seems young to be a widow.

So he has never smoked, got drunk, or lazed around. No, he just got a most cruel disease.

That’s not to say smoking and alcohol don’t do harm. They do harm suddenly. Heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, etc.

I keep wanting to post poems, but I can’t right now. I feel tired, although I actually slept until 8 this morning. I felt feverish earlier but that’s gone.

Please click like, I know you read. Only a few do now. I’m grateful for them. I welcome comments too.

Back to Microsoft and an infection…

It’s such a relief to be able to do the things I need without frustration, as I finally have been able to afford a new laptop. I can now fluidly move from tab to tab, copy and paste easily, edit easily and so much more. There are things I like about OS – it automatically detects that you are typing in another language, and corrects a spelling error automatically whilst here I get a red line under the word as well as auto correction, depending on where I am writing. It’s nice to get weekly feedback on my productivity to. I don’t worry about being told how many errors I made – that’s why I use this.

I can upload my photos too. And put them where I want. I’m sure OS does that too, but I never had time to learn.

I am grateful that my lovely daughter lent it to me though.

I have another chest infection. I was surprised and yet not. My breathing has been rubbish since I had my vaccine, but I felt too unwell with all the pain and fever that I just kept using my inhaler. This morning I felt like nothing at all was going to my lungs. Worse, I could barely breathe out. I did all the usual things, inhaler, airphysio, and my turmeric, ginger, and lemon tea. That is a real help when I have it every day. I somehow got out of the habit.

I called out paramedics, who arrived in minutes. They checked my sats which was 91, not great, and I had a mild temperature. I hadn’t noticed this, although I did by the time the paramedics left. They gave me oxygen, and told me to start antibiotics. And steroids. Well, I had already taken one. Eight tomorrow morning and until I run out. I will take eight for a week and then take fewer for a while.

They made me a cup of tea and went on their way. I am about to send my thanks.

I am still getting back ache, and pain in my side. It’s not terrible, but it gnaws at my resilience, which is not strong at present.

I am so glad I’ve only smoked at parties or with a friend. Smokers are being killed by Covid-19 like swatting flies. I don’t mean to lack empathy, but smoking leads to no good and I don’t understand why people start now. Like in the last decade. Also, being inactive increases the probability of death.

I’ve never been any of the above, and yet here I am, a former junior champion at sprinting, horse rider, cyclist, and dancer.

Health is so valuable. Health and good friends are our most precious gifts, and good family too. You can’t choose your family, but I really appreciate my daughter and cousin. I have family in Australia and Germany too, but I can’t travel like that anymore.

Tomorrow will be March…

I started to shield on the 6 March last year. I had to go the hospital and I was astounded at how casually people walked past the soap dispenser. I knew we were in a pandemic. So I went to the store on my way home and some shelves were bare. I decided that my socialising would stop.

March is my Dad’s birthday and the anniversary of his death. I found last year so difficult. I hope it will be easier this year. I miss him.

I have been enjoying the warmth of the sun and came up to my bedroom, where it’s streaming in. I am reminded that it’s sunlight through glass that causes most skin cancer, not just too much time in the sun.

I was reflecting on the some of the very bizarre events in my life. Loads happened in California, main due to the nature of my work. But since then there’s been incidents like when I picked up some litter and ended up sitting in a bush. On the way to the hairdresser. Yes, I know.

There’s all the various times I’ve had to be pushed home because my battery ran out. The most bizarre, the prize winning, the totally out there event, was Mike arriving in my bedroom at 3am. “oh, let’s not go that way cos that man got into my room at 3am”, that is not exactly a normal sentence. Neither is, “he invited me over to eat as part of his making amends, and we ended up in the same bed when I asked to be given a blanket”.

None of this is in any way normal, until you add that alcohol is a big factor in his life. The last time I saw him, I thought ‘how sad, he’s heading for a heart attack’. And it really is sad.

I had my vaccine…

Very reluctantly, but because it’s the right thing to do. I knew it would make me unwell, but I didn’t bargain for how unwell. I became very feverish, and every bone in my body hurt. I didn’t bother to take my temperature as I was far too unwell. I was very hot indeed.

I also had trembling and muscle spasms. This is what I had feared most – the effect on my nervous system.

56 hours later, my temperature is down, most of the aching and bone pain is gone, but I have nerve pain and earlier I had sharp pain in my left shoulder.

I am fully aware of what pain in my left shoulder might indicate, but I’ve had it on and off for a long time. I frequently get pain in my chest. I know my heart is affected but not sure how. I am not ready to see a doctor about it yet. I have other concerns.

Most of us here are staying at home, if we can’t go to work. I have become aware of people jaunting around the country to hear/see concerts. I am enraged because two weeks ago our fourth paramedic died of Covid. 41 years old. Doing his job.

The NHS is so stretched. People who go for jaunts risk having accidents. That’s why they’re asked to stay local. This is a pandemic. It’s a virus with which humans have no immunity. I give up on people being decent and doing the right thing.

It’s a bright sunny day today but I shall probably fall asleep. In rugby, the Triple Crown will be fought for. I hope I get to see it.

Undo the lid with your left hand…

It is not about strength, but the direction of the spiral…I am frankly amazed at how many people don’t know this. I have opened jars and bottles that men have given up on. That’s a life hack for you all.

I am constantly amazed at how many people come here to read. The only part of the world that hasn’t it the Sahel of Africa. It is so full of poverty and corruption. My heart goes out there.

Some people who come here do so to make mischief. Only one or two, and they are so detectable. People like this have no purpose in life. They have nothing to do in lockdown except be a nuisance and break the law.

I saw the man I felt love for recently. His face was red and lots of stubble. The redness is caused by binge drinking. He lets stubble grow because his skin is tender. This is counterproductive though. He should use a face balm or moisturiser to protect from the weather. His growing girth around his neck worries me. It’s a sign of bad health due to heavy drinking. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has cirrhosis of the liver.

I have deliberately slept a lot today, although I’ve been productive too. I feel so chastened that I have caused harm to someone I respect. That they had time to let me know to do otherwise seems not to be a factor. Nevertheless, I feel terrible.

England lost the second test match to India. Rafael Nadar lost at the Australian Open, and Ireland lost to France last week. Not a good sporting week for me.

No sleep…

Last night I got no sleep at all. I may have dozed at around midnight.

I am very grateful that my friend Judy helped me sellotape a package and took it to the post office for me. I had ordered a replacement laptop, which turned out to be cheap rubbish, and half of the charger was missing. A substitute was sent, but that didn’t fit. So I sent it back. I have my eye on a better one. I am so grateful to my daughter for lending me this. I just discovered it detects that I’m typing in German and automatically uses the letters that English doesn’t have. Neat. Maybe if my friend in Dubai tells me more secrets, I’ll stick with this.

I have been chewing the fat with a close friend in Virginia about how to tell someone some news. I’ve know him since I was twenty. And his wife. It’s hard to chew the fat on WhatsApp. With a five hour time difference. I’ve kind of spilled out while he was sleeping. I know he’ll not be mad at me. The worst is that he’ll be firm.

And I’ve accidentally hurt someone I employ but esteem highly. I can never get over it. The unintended consequence is too much too bear. I can’t undo it.

So I’ve not had the best weekend at all. I feel wretched physically and in my soul.

To love mercy,
To do justice,
and walk humbly before my God

I have had a shock…

I decided to try to find out how many people have the disease I have. It is not known but less than 1:2000 000.

Thrown up in the results was a book, My Life With Dystonia by Cheri Tannenbaum. Like me she is Ashkenazi Jew. Her dystonia has made her body very stiff, immobile and unable to speak although there has been improvement, I don’t know if this was with the help of drugs. Most importantly, she never had OPEN BRAIN SURGERY.

So the atrophy on my left side might have been totally unnecessary. All the pain it causes me….

I can’t dwell on this. It does me no good. But I am shocked to my core.

How to write a Haiku…

I am not that much of a purist with poetry. But I get a bit of a sinking feeling when I see a three line ‘poem’ with seventeen syllables and capital letters on each line.

In Japan, a Haiku is almost like a prayer, such reverence they have for the form. However, in most poets views, the seventeen syllables are not as important as the content of the lines, which are not capitalised. So,

blossom on the tree is bright
the breeze chases petals
my thoughts are scattered

is a Haiku. Each line is stands alone. The first two are poetic, the third is a thought.
So let’s do another,

stormy waves break on the shore
sand is swirled in patterns
arms embrace me

The pattern is clear. Two lines of throw away poetry, and one of a thought. The thought often is in contradiction to the first two lines.

Haiku are always about nature. If you write one about people, cars, streets, planes etc, it’s called a Senryu.

I hope this is helpful.

It could be better…

I am still using my daughter’s MacBook. The laptop I ordered came with an incomplete charger. I contacted the seller. They sent me another charger. It doesn’t fit. I want to send the whole lot back. They need to take up to 48 hours and will email me.

My consumer rights are being breached, but when you are on a very slow ‘chat’, it is less frustrating to just go with the flow.

Flow is one thing I don’t get with a MacBook. No moving effortlessly from one tab to another, copy and pasting, highlighting. Well, I can highlight on this. I just hate Apple. They use cheap Chinese labour, and I detest that. South Korea is at least a vague democracy, with human rights.

I missed a zoom meeting with SWASFT because of all this. I am so embarrassed but my boss is so sweet and laid back.

On Monday night I fell asleep within minutes of going to bed. I woke at 5.30 and napped in the middle of the day. Wednesday night I woke at 2am and fell asleep at 11am. I need to get a handle on my sleep. But my neurological disease needs controlling and that makes me very tired.

I’ve skipped three poetry zoom events. I guess I’m feeling my introversion at the moment. I am an introvert, but can extrovert fairly comfortably except in a group. It’s known as maturity. Being able to do both. In my teens I never said a word.

So now I need sleep and to rest.

Why do I get unwanted attention from men?

I’m a member of a community website. Lots of people use it, and some players in my life have tried to make problems for me there. They get removed. But a man joined, and he messaged me. I ignored that message for days. Then he joined again. As it was I who clicked on his arrival, I commented that he was already a member. Then he messaged me and asked me to phone him to sort out his two profiles. I said that was unnecessary and told him where to find the deactivation. Today I logged in and he is asking to meet me.

Why? Why? Why do I get unwanted attention like this?

It isn’t just he and the one who arrived in my bedroom. I repeatedly get situations like this. I don’t want a relationship. I’ve known that for years. But I get such strange messages and attention that I really really don’t want.

My cousin phoned. That’s always good.

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