Head above water

I now carry a small bag with me around the cottage and garden. In it are my inhaler and spacer (a small cylinder that my inhaler puffs into and I then inhale because my breathing is too irregular to use an inhaler alone), my cell phone, and my purse in case I decide to go out. Doing this saves me energy and allows some spontaneity. It prevents unnecessary journeys upstairs or downstairs, and prevents me from panicking.

Panic is my downfall. If I’ve left my inhaler somewhere, looking for it increases my likelihood to need it even more. That can result in needing an ambulance.

I am a governor for our local ambulance service. Local is not quite the word. It covers southwest England- SWAST. Only twice have I needed to raise a concern. Paramedics are awesome people. They are heroes.

I help them by being a good manager of my health. But sometimes when the post comes, garden needs attention etc I feel as though I’m only just keeping my head above water. I always seem to leave something somewhere, but not my little bag.



Yesterday morning my kettle would not switch on. After a few moments I realised the unit had tripped, so I pushed up the thingy on the consumer unit, and made my cup of tea.

A couple of hours later, after having taken some lunch to a friend, my trolley (the mobility buggy I use to get around) was losing power. I could not understand it. Then I realised that when my kitchen electricity had tripped the power to my trolley on charge had stopped. My trolley is plugged into my shed which adjoins my cottage and is on the same circuit as my kitchen. My trolley stays under my porch, but moisture affects the converter which sits on my kitchen window sill outside.

I was hoping I could make it home but I was at a snail’s pace and then I noticed a young couple beside me and I asked if I could be pushed. They asked where I was going, and I gestured forward and said that even a few yards would be a great help. They started pushing and I asked where they were going. The Quay, they said. I live by the Quay so they took me always the way to my gates and to my back door. As we went along, only a few hundred yards, we chatted and I explained that it hadn’t dawned on me that finding my kitchen tripped would mean my trolley would not have got a full charge.

When we were at my place I got a plastic bag and tape and the two of them made my converter as watertight as possible. Then we sat in my garden and chatted. It started to rain. Big, fat, juicy drops of rain. At first I did not move as I was so pleased. Then I realised that not everyone sits in the rain, so we moved indoors and chatted some more. It turned out they were on their way to have lunch, now a very late one, so they left, promising to call when they were next on the Quay or High Street.

Today, my trolley has no power. I don’t know why. I’ve tried to phone the places they work, but as yet no response. But all is well, as this enforced stay at home has given me rest and time to get things done. I know I will hear from them.

What do you see?

Looking at this photo most people think of a bee and the danger of being stung. I see a flower feeding a bee, being pollinated and more bluebells being formed.

It’s our point of view. The place from which we look at life, events, relationships etc. A little while ago someone I thought of as a growing friendship threw our relationship away in the belief that I had behaved maliciously. I had done nothing of the kind, but had inadvertently given three separate pieces of information to someone I thought I could trust, and they pieced that all together by watching ‘likes’ and comments on social media, then saw an opportunity to punish the person who threw my friendship away.

It was not their place to do that. It caused me a lot of pain because they broke my confidence and my trust. It caused pain to the person who was no longer my friend.

A lot of bad behaviour started being directed at me. Stuff was thrown into my garden, I found myself subscribed to stuff online, and other things. So the police were involved and other agencies that help keep our neighbourhoods safe. But one important agent was lied to about me and was not told of the behaviour of the person who lied. So I asked Michael Ebsworth to explain to the agent the truth, otherwise I would have to take legal action.

Mr Ebsworth told me I was blackmailing him. What? I was dumbfound. To ask someone to tell the truth to avoid legal action is not blackmail. Is it?

I guess it depends from where you are looking. In law it is not blackmail, the police and courts are always saying do this otherwise….whatever.

So glad it rained!

Yesterday it rained, much needed water drops fell on my garden and watered my flowers and plants. I was delighted and was leaving the supermarket when the first drops fell. I laughed with pleasure, and expressed it to a passer by, who smiled.

A friend was waiting in my porch when I got home and she helped me put my groceries away before we made a cup of tea and sat to chat. Yesterday was such a different day as nothing unexpected happened. I simply went from one task to another, not tiring myself, just paced and relaxed. Another friend joined us for dinner which we all prepared together under my guidance. Afterwards, I realised my second guest had never tried humous, sweet potato, or avocado. And didn’t eat any. Oh well…

All the time taken in preparing the meal and the rain which had become a downpour prevented planting new plants but the evening was lovely in a social, family type of way.

So I am ‘looking after’ a couple of people in my life who are having a tough time with stress and anxiety. I have chosen to do this because I care about them. This week though I’ve had requests to intervene from others who get paid for their work and I’ve realised I need to state (again, because it’s happened before) that I need payment, either in kind eg household jobs or gardening or financially. I need a text response that says The Doctor Is In or The Doctor Is Out. To take on others’ problems with no notice is an emotional and physical drain. I need to watch this so that I am not taken advantage of.

Who tends to benefit from your career path without giving back to you? How do you address this. I’ve always loved helping people so I find I can be drained before I realise. Ideas please…

Finding the balance…

This local avenue of trees illustrates symmetry, a form of balance. I am still on my search of not exhausting myself whilst enjoying my day, with allowances for the unexpected.

Yesterday, my inhaler ran out and I did not have a replacement in the house. So some lapse of management on my part. I phoned the pharmacy and my doctor and then realised that waiting would only allow anxiety to creep in. So I set out on my trolley on a circuitous route, which took me a part of my neighbourhood I had not ventured in before. I enjoyed this and my plan was to reach our High Street at the ‘bottom’ so that I could book a hair appointment. Success with that. Then I remembered I need some cash, but I hadn’t brought my purse so I did some window shopping in a store as I’m in need of a thing in which to hide my spare key. Nothing. I eventually reached the pharmacy and they had just ‘reminded’ my doctor’s practice to sign a script so I meandered to the practice. On seeing me, the receptionist typed urgent messages to the doctor and I had the script within fifteen minutes. It was filled within another fifteen minutes.

I thought my friend was coming to eat with me so I rested when I got home, knowing we could put a meal together quickly. She was at home having cooked for us there and finally sent a text saying she was worried about me. So I went and we had a wonderful meal that she had cooked, complete with dessert. I became very aware of how tired I was and asked that she walk me home, which she gladly did. She locked my door and then I realised I had no energy to walk back to switch off my kitchen light so called out to ask her to do it. She is learning about my diagnosis as I am learning to manage it.

A wonderful evening closed a busy day with unexpected events. I need to use foresight much more in my self management. What tools do you use? What occurs in your life that can put a spanner in the works?

A happy morning, after anxiety…

Having needed to be nebulised yesterday, I did not get a lot of sleep as I was so wired. Strung out as those who use drugs for recreational purposes might say.

Sam came, she is helping me finish the reducing, recycling and repurposing that I started with such gusto in January. I really impressed myself. My bed is pulled away from the wall, so I’m having to reach back for my drinks, lamp etc, but I’m just so happy to see progress that it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m so grateful for Sam, she is a treasure found unexpectedly, serendipity, and I love her to bits. She accommodates my sudden request to put moisturising lotion on my legs and arms, she will quickly fill my water bottle for me, and move this to there and that to here.

This enabled me to fill the bird feeder before I went for some groceries. I came home to find the garden filled with birds. I’m thrilled.

I have realised I cannot make my neighbours who have caused so much nuisance by fixing their gates open, by means of criminal damage, go away, and in order to keep my breathing going well I must simply tune them out. My chest got tight in the garden yesterday but improved as I went toward the doctor’s and so I returned home to finish my planting only to get tight again because of the noise suddenly coming from the neighbours’ garden. I cannot let this affect my health. I need to make myself oblivious to them and remain calm if their gates impinge on my freedom to use my own.

Any ideas on how to do this? Input please… I’ve always been aware of my surroundings . I’m not someone who lives in their little own world…so ideas please.

Still asking for responses to managing difficulties…

When I encounter someone with a problem they find hard to manage, I ask how they can break it into ‘bitesize’ pieces. One lady found it hard to do her vacuuming, so eventually she decided to vacuum one room at a time.

With my breathing problems, I need to sit often and stay calm. I have always enjoyed gardening, but now I must use patio planters and pots, though a small flowerbed I made with help is flourishing. I am filling it with perennials in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white with a bit of ivy to trail out. It will jostle with flowers from early spring through summer. But now, new neighbours have been making a nuisance by drilling holes into public land to hold their back gates open. (What happened to wanting some privacy?) This has affected my access through my gates, deliveries, collections, tradesmen etc. Sam, my lovely friend, hurt her back by having to close their gate nearest to me so she could take some paving slabs.

So I am less relaxed in my garden on my own, and today after I had planted two plants I was hearing my neighbour making lots of noise in their garden and my chest became tight. I had to go to my doctor’s practice to be nebulised. My doctor asked if I had any anxiety, and when he returned to me I told him about my neighbours . He expressed his dismay and incidentally suggested a new medicine that helps prevent allergies exacerbate inflamed lungs.

I am a good self manager, I just need an intervention now and then and more in summer.

How do you manage your stresses? Do you have good strategies or are you still looking for new ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts please.